Building Websites with Directory Generator

Directory Generator, a product from Armand Morin and Marc Quarles, builds directory-style websites for you in a matter of minutes. It is simple to use, it's reliable, it does what it claims to do. The tool is essentially a push-button site builder - all you really have to do is upload the generated pages to your host system. There are no fancy technical skills involved.

Directory Generator gives you control over the finished product in a number of ways, one of which is that you can put a "classified"-style ad on each page. As I alluded to above, there is a form in Directory Generator that lets you paste your Adsense code into it, and out come your Adsense ads on your site. You can even control the approach to your file directory structure on your host i.e. put all your generated pages in the root, or in a sub-folder that you name.

You will literally be building very professional looking sites within minutes of getting your hands on this tool. It is, of course, still up to you to decide what the topic of the site will be! :>> Yes, we all still have to think just a little bit. Here's an overview of how it works. The program interface is neat and clean and easy to use. There's a series of tabs across the top of the screen labeled Step 1 through Step 11.

Step 1 asks you to enter the URL of the site you're building. No problem so far. You also enter a text string that describes the site and gets used as the "header" in the header graphic. Still with me? Now just click on the Step 2 tab, which shows you a form that let's you enter a classified-style ad. What a handy place to promote one of your own products. You enter an ad title, then the URL you want the reader sent to when they click, and then the body of the add itself. Still nothing complex, right?

Step 3 is where you select the HTML template that you will use for the generated web pages. There are three fields to be filled in; one names the location of the template for your index page, the second names the location of the template for you results page, and the third gives the location of the header graphic that appears on each page. The nice part of this step is that the two templates and a header graphic are included with the software, so you can just go ahead and use them and get on with the job. As you move along with site building, you'll probably customize these items, but you don't have to right away.

Step 4 asks for the location of your input keyword file. These are the keywords that describe your site. You'll want to have a pretty large set of these. Directory Generator generates one web page per keyword. A keyword file of from 100 to a few thousand keywords is recommended. Where will you get such a set of good keywords? Well, one place is a tool called Good Keywords. You can download it for free at goodkeywords.com. It is very nicely done and very easy to use.

Step 5 is the form that lets you add in your Google Adsense code. If you're already using Adsense, all you really have to do is log in to Adsense and copy the Adsense code you're already using into the Directory Generator entry form. If you're not using Adsense yet, well, sign up and also use it on your Directory Generator sites. You can leave the Adsense code forms in Step 5 empty if you choose to. You just won't be displaying Adsense ads on your generated site.

Step 6, associated with Step 5, lets you copy in your Adsense web search code, if you use it. When you sign up for Adsense, you have the option of displaying context-sensitive ads and of allowing a Google search from your pages. The code we're talking about here is the code that supports the search. Entering it in Step 6 of Directory Generator is optional.

Step 7 in the Directory Generator process lets you control how many results should be shown on your results pages. You can choose a fixed number or let the tool present a random number of results (a number between a lower and upper bound, say between 5 and 15, for example). Step 7 also lets you choose link colors, and how your generated pages will be stored in folders, that is, all in the root directory, or in a subfolder of the root.

Step 8 is the article entry form. Directory Generator lets you add articles directly into your generated pages - a good, convenient way to add useful content to your site.

Step 9, called Add Ons, gives you a place to add Audio Generator code if you're using that product to add audio to your pages. You can paste in RSS Equalizer code into the second box, again, if you're using that product, and you can paste Amazon code into the third add-in box if you choose to, to support selling Amazon items.

Step 10 lets you add an exclusion list if there are particular sites you don't want included in your results pages - like your competitors sites, for example.

Step 11 lets you specify the folder you want your generated pages to be stored in, and provides a few other parameters that determine how fast the generation process will run. It also provides a test function that let's you see what the pages will look like before you generate the entire set.

That's all there is too it! Nothing very complicated at all. By the way, here's a little helpful hint. Directory Generator goes to another site to get a thumbnail picture of each website listed on the results page. If your personal firewall is too tight, you may not see these thumbnails displayed when you look at your generated pages on your site. I thought initially that Directory Generator wasn't working properly (it is) until it dawned on me to look at my security log on my machine. Once I twiddled my settings, everything looked fine.

I haven't found a bug in the program yet - I did, however, try to use one of the input files in a Directory Generator run while I had it open for editing - and guess what? Directory Generator told me so...So, from my personal experience, it appears to be well-written code - not some slapdash thing put together overnight. So if you're interested in putting some sites out there for any reason - Adsense income is a good one - try this product. I'm pretty sure you'll like what you see.

Peter Cullen is the Webmaster at http://www.howtostartonline.com which reviews software packages and tools.

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