phpLB Mod :: How to enable longer category descriptions

In another post i will show you how writing category descriptions can increase your traffic and submissions. Everyone should be writing unique descriptions for their category pages in phpLB, but there is a small problem that prevents people from doing so. The descriptions can only be 255 characters long. This is a problem as you need to write more for an effective description. To enable longer descriptions, do the following:


Open up phpmyadmin for the database used on your directory.Go to the SQL page.

In the box, type :

ALTER TABLE `tbl_categories` CHANGE `cat_description` `cat_description` TEXT

Click Go.


This will change the description field to variable length, rather than fixed length. It will allow you to write nice long descriptions without a limit being placed on them.

Hope you found this useful.

~Mike

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How to add thumbnails to your phpLB bidding directory

This post is being written due to several requests. It seems to be a popular thing for bidding directory owners to want to show an image of the site listed. I guess it helps emphasise the look and brand of a listed site. It helps viewers to remember where they had seen that sight before.

We will be using the permanent thumbnails provided by MSN. These will be static, unlike some thumbnails which only show when you hover your mouse near them.

This mod will show a small image of the listed website. It will be shown on the home page and the category pages.


In your file manager or FTP program, navigate to your template name
Edit links.tplFind

<div class="link-place"><a href="{bid_url}">Place Bid</a></div></td>

After it add

<td><img src="http://msnsearch.srv.girafa.com/srv/i?s=MSNSEARCH&r={link_url}"></td>

Well guys thats it. It will show a thumbnail of the listed site. With basic HTML knowledge, you can move the image around for better placement, add WIDTH and HEIGHT properties to the <img> tag to re-size it.If you like the post leave me a comment. You can see the thumnail in action here - the link leader has a nice image of their site displayed.~Mike

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10 essential things you must do with your phpLB directory

Running a bidding directory can be however you like it. It can be complex, hard work and cost you a lot. Or it can be laid back and earn only a little. However much time and money you invest in it, there are 10 essential things you must do with your directory when you launch it.

  1. 1 : Fix IPN Bug - To enable “live” bidding and IPN, you must have your site URL set up properly in the admin panel, otherwise the instant payments and bidding will fail. To do this, log in to your admin panel, go to “Site Configuration” and type your URL in the “URL” box. Enter your address in the following format “http://www.zorg-links.com/” The URL must have a trailing slash “/”. If you don’t add the “/” at the end, when returning from paypal, your customers will get redirected to a dead link, and their bid will not be added to their link. This causes extra manual work for you, and can often lead your customer worried, annoyed or unsatisfied. They may never bid on their link again which means potential revenue lost for you.
  2. 2 : Improve SE Friendliness - The next step you must take is to make your directory more search engine friendly. Doing this won’t send you flying to the top of the Search Engine Pages, but it will make your search engine listing look more professional. Whilst still in your admin panel, add the keywords that describes your directory, each seperated by a comma, into the “META Keywords” box. An example of META keywords you could use are as follows : “bidding directory, bid directory, web directory, bid for position directory”. The next step is to add a META description to your site. This bit will be shown as the normal styled text under the blue title in a google listing. It gives potential visitors some info about your site. Add a 5-20 word description which describes your site in a professional and short manor. Do this by typing your description in the “META Description” box under “Site Configuration” in the admin panel of your bidding directory.
  3. 3 : Add a decent site title - Another vital part of optimizing your site for the search engines is you site title. This can be changed from inside the admin panel, there is no need to modify files. Its changed in the “Site Title” box on the same page where your META keywords and description were changed. Use a sensible title, such as your brand name followed by a keyword. The site title i us is “Zorg links Bidding Web Directory”. Zorg Links is my brand name, and Bidding Web Directory is one of my keywords. The site title gets displayed in the top of the internet browser window, as well as the main title/header in the search engine listings. A good title can help visitors find out about your site, and help Search Engines to rank your site higher. Stay away from using titles like “Bid now on this amazing page rank 4 site”. It is unprofessional and won’t help your search engine rankings.
  4. 4 : Increase minimum bid - Another step you can take will increase your revenue. if you are starting out a new directory, its likely to have a PageRank of 0. Therefore people will only be prepared to pay less than $5 to get listed. Having a minimum bid of $1 is fine, but did youknow that PayPal will take a fee of around 34 Cents for this small amount? Raising your minimum bid to around $3 still gives the customers a low value price to submit to your site for, and it allows you, the site owner to gain more revenue without being hurt badly by the paypal fees.
  5. 5 : Enable USD PayPal Balance - Whilst on the topic of Paypal, i have another point to mention which you should do when starting your bidding web directory. It is vital that the IPN, the automatic bidding takes place smoothly. Whatever currency, usually US dollars, you charge to be listed in your site, you should have this balance “open” in your Paypal account. Otherwise payments made will have to be accepted by you and converted into your own currency. Only when you click the “Accept” button will the IPN and automatic bidding take place. To add a balance in another currency, log in to your paypal account, go to the “My Account” view, then click the “Manage Currency” link in the box where your balance is displayed. Select the balance you wish to open (US dollars balance is essential if your bidding directory uses US Dollars) and click open balance. That should be everything to make sure your automatic bidding is working nicely.
  6. 6 : Add categories - The next step is done to make your directory more professional and attract more customers. PhplinkBid allows you to categorize listings by the category that relates to their site content, or in alphabetical order. Using categories ismuch more professional. It shows potential customers you have spent the time adding categories to your site. It also means that listed sites will be displayed among similar sites of the same niche. I would rather have my directory listed in a “web directories” category, with other related sites, rather than a letter page with totally unreleated outbound links and content displayed there aswell. Having a link froma category page means the backlink is more quality and valuable. It means you can charge extra for submission, and customers will see a backlink from your site as more valuable.
  7. 7 : Make Link Detail Pages more SE Friendly - The next section covers things that can only be completed by changing the php and HTML code of your site. Do this with great care. Backup all your files first to ensure no damage is done. First modification to be made is to change the title of the link detail pages. The phpLB default shows the page title of a detail page as “http://www.the-listed-site.com - your site title that you set in admin panel”. For a link detail page, this is not very friendly for the search engines. Search engine traffic won’t just be directed to the home page. It will get sent to the detail pages too, if a search engine matches someones search phrase with come content on your page. For this reason we need the page title to be more appealing to search engines. To do this, in your file manager or FTP program, open up the “index.php” file. Find the line containing “$cfg->setVar(’page_title’, $cfg->getVar(’site_name’) . ‘ - ‘ . $rs->fields[’link_url’]);” and replace it with “$cfg->setVar(’page_title’, $rs->fields[’link_title’]); “. This will change the title of the link detail page to the title of their website.
  8. 8 : Add deep links mod - The next step will give customers better value for their listing. It will help persuade potential customers to submit their link. It is the deep link modification. Deep links are hyperlinks that target the inner pages of your website. It will allow search engine robots to index a websites inner pages, and give PageRank “juice” to those inner pages. To install this mod, go to the following URL and follow the instructions there. http://blog.rakcha.com/2007/06/19/phplinkbid-deep-links-mod/.
  9. 9 : Change Google Hating Phrases - The penultimate modification you must do will help stop you from getting your bidding directory banned from google. Backlinks are vital as to how high a site ranks in the search engines, so google wants webmasters to stop buying and selling backlinks. Unfortunately, phpLB comes with some bad phrases. Links and keywords like “buy a link” should be replaced by “submit a site” or “suggest link”. This makes your site look more professional, and not like a link farm, text link seller, or general spam site.
  10. 10 : Change your design - The final thing i recommend you to do will help make your site more recognisable, and look more unique. It will help customers and visitors distinguish your site from the rest. It involves changing the visual appearance of your site in some way. This can be done by a whole custom design, or by using a free design, or by using a custom logo. An example of a custom design is seen on this site. An example of a custom logo and how simple yet effective it can be, look here http://www.bigdirectorybid.com/ . The logo helps you to remember the site and distinguish it from all the other phpLB sites out there.

I hope you enjoyed my first blog post, feel free to leave a comment if i have missed any other essential tips or advice.

 

~Mike

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Welcome to the blog!

Here goes my first post. I’m pretty new to blogging, but i’m full of knowledge and a natural English speaker so things should be Ok.

I’ll try not to ramble on all day about my aims. I’m totally open. I like to be popular, and i like that for my websites too. I created this blog to pull in extra traffic, and to provide users with the help and resources they need to run their own bidding directory.

Thats it. Post 1 complete. Next post will be about the essential things a phpLB owner must do when starting their directory. Expect it soon!

~Mike

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