Submitting to BOTW’s Free Queue

Huh?! BOTW has a “Free Queue”?!
Yeah, it’s a deep dark secret. Everyone knows BOTW only accepts paid submissions, right? Naah. If somebody has a hobby they’re passionate enough about to create a site for, or a charity creates a site to help out people in need, expecting them to pay for review would be harsh, not to mention avoiding such sites for lack of a review fee would contribute to holes in the directory’s ontology.

Criteria? Non-commercial sites ONLY
I’ll repeat this a few different ways to avoid misunderstandings, but the criteria are listed clearly in the signup process so if you miss it, you can catch it there. The free queue is NOT for commercial sites.

Repeat: Sites engaged in commercial enterprises are not accepted. A scholarly site about “Flora in the USA”, probably qualifies. A pictorial site named “Flora DOES the USA”, probably doesn’t, but someone may give it a long look to be sure. Seriously, just submit sites that qualify please.

Define “Non-Commercial Sites” Please
Thank you for asking. I’m sure there are many possible ways of defining that, but the bottom line is we will consider entry based on the following criteria…

BOTW considers the following sites “Non-Commercial”

  • personal home page about an individual, musician, or artist;
  • community websites about the community, local sports, dance, movies, parks, and more;
  • local non-profit organizations such as those involving neighborhood associations and volunteer opportunities;
  • school websites from kindergarten through college;
  • places of worship such as churches, temples, synagogues, sanctuaries, mosques, shrines and more.

And of course, there’s the safety line that says…

“Please note that the above listed are the minimum site criteria only, and BOTW editors use additional factors in deciding whether of not to accept your site for inclusion.”

Translation: Meeting the base definition of “non-commercial” doesn’t guarantee entry. We DO still review for quality.

How Do I Submit to that Queue?

-1- Go to the category in which the site *best* fits
For example, that research scientist who created “Flora in the USA” could submit here: http://botw.org/top/Science/Biology/Botany/.

-2- Hit the link at BOTTOM… “Submit a site to this category”

-3- You see 2 boxes. Click one on right, “Non-Commercial”
BOTW Submit Site Buttons

-4- You Now See the Instructions and Criteria (4 Part)
Read the four parts, which clarify the criteria for acceptance and the instructions for submission. If your site qualifies, hit the “Submit” button.

Then go through the process of filling out the blanks, just as you would on any directory submission. Title it correctly and write a reasonable and concise description. If the editor sees a need to change these, they will, but the better yours is, the more likely it might get used.

Congrats, you just submitted a site to Best of the Web entirely free of charge.

Other things to remember about the free queue

  1. Unlike commercial submissions, there is no guarantee of when it will be considered.
  2. Blogs may NOT be submitted to the BOTW Dir (free or otherwise), but there is already a free option in the BOTW Blog Directory.
  3. Submitting multiple times not only doesn’t increase your chances, it probably reduces ‘em.
  4. Submitting to the wrong category slows the process. Just take my word for it.
  5. Did I mention yet that sites that don’t fit the criteria aren’t considered? :-)

The free queue is a courtesy extended to those that build sites for reasons of courtesy. It is NOT a black hole, the sites sent to it ARE considered for inclusion, they just don’t get the guarantee of speed available via the commercial queue and they do have to fit the criteria.

As always, *neither* queue guarantees acceptance if the site doesn’t pass inspection for quality. Anyway, if you have a site that fits the criteria I absolutely advise submitting it to the free queue unless you just have to have it listed inside the timeframe offered to clients.

By the way…
If on reading the criteria for acceptance to the non-commercial queue you discover your site does NOT qualify as “non-commercial”, hit the back button to get to the two boxes again, and hit the button that takes you to the Commercial submission queue. We like those too. :)

Have a great day. ~ Rob

Congrats to Wes LeFebvre – Reseller Contest Winner

Small World These Days
Always amazes me how small the world gets in the age of the internet. Yeah, I know, that dates me a bit since a lot of the guys reading this were probably born post net. Hey I’m a fossil, sue me. Anyway, when Rob Schmid told me the name of the winner of our October BOTW Reseller Contest the name rang a bell.

Winner: Wesley LeFebvre of SEOrankings.com
Wesley LeFebvre owns a media publishing company which runs network of websites focused on search engine optimization and internet marketing. Reason the name sounded familiar is I’ve noticed some quality posts from him over at the V7n Webmaster Forum, including one where he offers a free SEO Book just for signing up at his blog.

You can follow Wes at SEOrankings.com, a regularly updated search engine optimization guide for people interested in learning how to make money online through improved search engine rankings.

Anyway, made it a little more special to get to write this post for someone that wasn’t just a name on an email. Reminds me of the time Microsoft transferred me to a tech in India and it turned out he and I knew each other in several net venues. Gotta love the internet.

Congrats to Wes on winning the Ipad for his October efforts. We appreciate the BOTW Reseller crew, you make our jobs easier while you earn.

Note to BOTW Owners: IPads make great gifts for staff members too.

If you’d like to become a BOTW Reseller…
You too could be earning a 25% commission on all sales. Here are links to BOTW Reseller Information and the Best of the Web Reseller FAQ. In a nutshell, it’s a great way to be able to offer customers, friends, and even yourself a great deal on submissions to the oldest directory on the web… and set up a nice passive income in the process. [Who doesn't like that?]. Tends to add up, and you effectively lock in a super discount for yourself as well.

The BOTW Reseller program’s a win-win for all involved. Check it out, and as always, hope you’re all having a great day. ~ RobJ

Promo: Discounted Directory & Blog Submissions

May Promo: $25 off BOTW Blog or BOTW Directory Submission
Talk about a title that makes the rest of the blog post anticlimactic… just figured every once in a while we ought to post the executive summary version. Title says it all, if you use the promo code you get a $25 discount on sites submitted to the directory(s).

PROMO CODE: 25BUCKS

By the way, if you were already toying with submitting, this is a great chance to do it… as for example that drops the price on a BOTW Blog Directory submission to $50. A 33% break is pretty special. As far as the regular directory goes it isnt as large a percentage, but if a penny saved is a penny earned, Ben Franklin woulda gone nuts for this idea.

—- if you’re on a drivel free diet, snip here —-

Now that you’ve decided to save $25…
Let’s discuss what you should do with the extra $25 you *aren’t* spending. I’ll toss my top 10 suggestions, none of which involve sending it directly to me, though if you want to do that I’m game too.

Top 10 Alternative Uses for the Spare $25

  • 10- Send $25 to Public TV and demand they play Monty Python all day Sunday in return
  • 9 –  Get 25 items from the McD’s Dollar menu and invite co-workers to a black-tie dinner
  • 8 –  Tip the fire outta that cute bartender… should pay for itself in free drinks later
  • 7 –  Get the Celestial Steed and impress your World of Warcraft friends with the new mount
  • 6 –  Pay full market value for all 2500 of my wife’s Beanie Baby collection
  • 5 –  Make a downpayment on shipping 2500 Beanie Babies to someone really evil
  • 4 –  Get that thing on late night TV that’s “Only $19.99!” and
    • finally make real Juliann Fries
    • fix those nagging scratches on the car
    • get those 6-pack abs you always wanted
  • 3 – Upgrade to the Pro Account on Flickr and get unlimited storage
  • 2 – Finally take that “defensive driving online” course that’ll lower the insurance rates
  • 1-  Buy unexpected flowers in hopes of getting several of the above items later

If you have more to add, you’re welcome to put them in the comments section. Bound to be some stuff I missed. Aside from that, we hope you put the money to good use.

Best wishes ~

Selecting a Category When Submitting

Why Choose a Category?
While it isn’t an issue by any means, it is amazing how many submitters leave the choice of category entirely up to the editor. It just seems worth a shot to state a preference. In a directory this size there are generally several places one site might fit. This post will give you an idea how to offer the editor your personal preference should you desire.

So why not make it mandatory?
The simple answer is that we provide a service, and it just isn’t an issue to us. We’re happy to help, and making sure it goes to the right place is part of the editors job anyway. The point of this post is to help if YOU want to state a preference. We’re fine either way. The absence of a category selection will in no way affect the probability of site acceptance. Acceptance is determined by the content of the site.

Nor will submitting to a category we think isn’t suitable adversely affect acceptance. If the review editor determines it is more appropriately placed elsewhere, they will put it where it goes. That said, we do make an attempt to accommodate if there’s a judgment call to be made and you have stated a preference.

How DO we tell BOTW which category we want?
In order to automatically have it submitted to the category of your choice, go to the category where you think it goes and hit the “Submit Sites” button (in the upper right corner). Follow the prompts from there, and the system wiill tell us where you want the site.

But how do I decide which IS the right category?
As stated, in a directory this size there almost always is more than one place a site could reasonably be placed. Let’s use as an example, a Family Law attorney in Los Angeles. The method I utilize to seek placement is to simply open BOTW and implement a user side search. The techs recently enhanced it and it is easily the quickest way to find a good spot for a site. I’d type in “family attorney los angeles” (without quotes) and see what the results are. From there I narrow down by looking at the contents of the most logical categories that appear in the results.

Regional vs Topical
Like most general directories, our primary two “trees” are “Regional” and “Topical. Looking down the matches in the example above, you’ll notice choices that seem right on both sides. This will not be true for every site… for example a site for an online shopping service IS best placed in an appropriate category of Shopping & Services while a brick and mortar retail store is best placed in the Regional category for the city in which it resides.

Why? Because users across the world may use an online shopping site, but seldom go online to decide whether to drive to the store in Denver vs one in Miami. Regional is generally the best fit for a brick-and-mortar operation. [And don't forget to put those in BOTW Local too... the more hooks in the water, the more fish on the table.]

The lawyer example is intentionally selected because it IS an ambiguous call. Granted, nobody will typically try to decide between a family lawyer in Miami vs Denver, but that isn’t the way the choices will be set up because in this case there’s a Regionalized Topical category that’s tied to Regional through See-also links and @links. Whether something resides on the  Regional or Topical side is a non-issue if they are tied together properly.

See-also’s and @links?
If you look closely you will note an @ symbol on the end of the name of some of the subcategories you might choose. Though it will physically act like a subcategory, it is really just a navigation link to get you to the right place (ie – either the correct Topical or Regional subcategory). An @link tells the user “this is a natural subcategory” and takes them there even if it isn’t physicall below it on the directory tree, while a “see-also” link tells the user “if this topic is of interest, here’s a related place you should see”. They’re similar in use, but not exactly the same.

In both cases they are just structure that makes sure the user can find what they want. To those not in the directory business that may seem a little convoluted, but basically it is just a way of keeping structure navigable. The alternative would be to always have overlapping but totally separate subcategories, and it’d make it harder for users to find the material they seek.

Continuing with the family lawyer example:
You’ll notice you eventually end up making a decision between a regionalized Topical category…
Society: Law: Services: Lawyers_and_Firms: Family_Law: North_America: United_States: California:
or placing it in the Regional category strictly for Los Angeles legal sites…
Regional: United States: California: Cities: Los Angeles: Business and Economy: Legal Services

Cool, a choice. Which of those two is “better”?
Depends on who you ask. BOTH work. I’ve seen some people show a knee-jerk preference for Topical, but in the age of contextual search engines (and directories play a part in contextual search results) a listing in Regional is highly effective place to be.

Bottom line… in this case it IS a judgment call, so stating a preference will assist us in making the call.

Hope this helps, and happy submitting. :)

BOTW Offers FREE Trial + Discount!

Online Visibility – The Holy Grail
Every webmaster wants better visibility and targeted traffic. Best of the Web assists in that quest via a number of products… the Best of the Web Directory and the sister site, BOTW UK & Ireland Directory, the BOTW Blog Directory, and BOTW Local to name a few.

We also offer multiple site solutions for customers with 20 or more sites, and recently we’ve added “bundled discounts” for those that wish to use a multi-prong approach for even better results.

Moving to the Next Level: BOTW CATEGORY SPONSOR
One way to enhance visibility beyond those means is a BOTW Category Sponsorship. Category Sponsors are displayed at the top of a relevant directory category, and to drive even more targeted traffic, Sponsors now appear alongside BOTW Local search results and the recently enhanced BOTW Directory search results.

Making a Good Deal a GREAT Deal – Give it away FREE
Right now your first Category Sponsorship is FREE for 30 days and afterward bills monthly at a 30% Discount! This offer is valid only if the sponsorship is ordered during the month of March. To take advantage, use Promo Code “THIRTY30″. Thirty percent off is pretty darned good… but getting to test it out for FREE first makes it a no-risk proposition. Nice bonus.

Note to Resellers: Here’s an opportunity to have fun. How hard is it to give away FREE ads? Enjoy. :)

RECAP: Promo Code THIRTY30 gets you…

  • 30 Day Free Trial – (a $50 value)
  • Premier placement in a relevant category.
  • Featured visibility alongside the search results of the BOTW Directory and BOTW Local.
  • Control your marketing message.

Caveat – Quality and Relevance Count
In order to present users the most relevant sites available, sites in the BOTW Category Sponsorship Program must meet the same editorial guidelines for relevance and quality as listings in our directory.

Are YOU Ready for the Next Level?
If you’re ready and your site qualifies… here’s where to get started!  BOTW Category Sponsorship

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