Welcome

Welcome to Eclectic, a helpful and convenient link directory guide run by yours truly, Simba (simbaconnie). I hope to provide a guide that will benefit current link directory owners and future link directory owners. My neomail is always open, so feel free to take advantage of it. Eclectic opened on February 19, 2013.

Ec·lec·tic
Adjective
Deriving ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources.
Noun
A person who derives ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources.

Updates

May 3, 2013 // It's May!
Eclectic has moved! Please change your links from /~Kawyanah to /~Tasyui.

April 8, 2013 // Hello.
+2 brand new fabulous looking link back buttons! You can view it in the Sitely section.

March 23, 2013 // 1 month since I last updated?
+1 new link back button from Reverie! You can view it in the Sitely section.

February 23, 2013 // Long time no update?
Seeing as Eclectic is a guide, I'm not going to update regularly. Just maybe once a month or so.

February 19, 2013 // GRAND OPENING
YAY! WE'RE FINALLY OPEN! After like a month? :D
If you see any mistakes, please neomail me.

February 18, 2013 // :D
+2 affiliates, Aesthetic and Opaque!
Received my review from Final Touch! Thank you so much, Wendy! A lot of changes were made to Eclectic.

February 16, 2013 // Pretty much done...
I'm pretty much done! I'm just going to look around the site for any mistakes.

February 7, 2013 // ...
Just 1 more section to go. LOL. I recommend not reading anything yet. There's a lot of typos... Simba is too lazy to fix them. I will revise it this Friday or Saturday.

February 4, 2013 // ...
Finished the Organization section! This section took me a bit to get down, but I eventually finished it. (: Just 2 more sections to go!

February 3, 2013 // Wooooooo!
+1 link back button!
Yeah, I've been slacking a bit on working Eclectic. D: I promise that I will get the rough draft down by February 9th.

January 31, 2013 // Simba is lazy.
Sorry for such a long gap of updates! Semester just ended and now I have a 4 day weekend! Which means that I will get the rough draft down and edited!

January 27, 2013 // Long time no update.
As of now, I'm just trying to get the rough draft down. So there's a lot of grammar issues and boring words.

January 22, 2013 // Just keep on swimming...
I'm still working the the Getting Started section. I hope to complete it tomorrow!

January 21, 2013 // Today is the day.
Huge thanks to Rika (rikaachu) at Flux for this amazing layout and for Shingie (shinning123) for coding this wonderful layout! I can not express my gratitude! :D
I've decided that since the Guide part has 8 sections, that I will be spending a minimum of 3 days on each section. Why a minimum of 3 days? Well, I plan on officially opening Eclectic on The Shelf Directory 1 year anniversary!
Please excuse any grammar mistakes, I'm only getting the rough draft down first.

This is where is all begins. Click to read more!
This section will be about choosing the right name for your directory, along with other helpful tips!
One-page anchored or full on anchored? Decisions, decisions. Here I will discuss the pros and cons between both one-page anchored and full on anchored layouts.
Organization is ideal for link directories! Learn some ways to help keep your directory look clean and elegant!
Want to learn how to get your link directory noticed? Well, look no farther, just click and read!
It's all about link checking! Read about how keep your directory free of broken links.
What do mean by 'Adding Extras'? Well, simbaconnie, why don't you click and find out?
Just some final tips and suggestions!


Getting Started

Introduction

Before we begin, ask yourself the following questions and answer them thoughtfully. Do you really want to own a link directory? Are you willing to dedicate your time and effort? What is your main purpose for wanting to creating a link directory? What do you want to achieve from owning a link directory?

CAUTION! You may think that owning a link directory is a piece of cake, but it's not. It's extremely tough and time-consuming. Be prepared to spend at least 3 hours setting everything up. Link directories take a whole lot of time, effort, and patience. You aren't going to be the number one link directory the day you opened; it's going to take some time for your link directory to even be noticed.
I've seen numerous amounts of link directory close due to loss or lack of interest or too busy. And it's true, link directories can be a bit tedious. They're not the funniest sites to own, but they do play a huge role in the community.

Why create a link directory?

If you want to create a link directory to become 'popular' then you should just not even be here. The purpose of a link directory is to, of course, direct someone to what they are looking for, whether it's a screenie page or a button request site. Link directories play a gigantic part in the site community; they're the source of the community.
In other words, a link directory is kinda like the internet. If you need something, you just go on the internet and search for whatever you are looking for. Same goes for a link directory.


Here are some link directory owners and why they decided to created a link directory.


Annie at Clockwork

I started a link directory primarily because of my love for visiting other sites! I absolutely love seeing all the different site types and the creations people come up with. I wanted to share all of the sites I found with others, so I made Clockwork Directory! I also noticed the lack of prominent directories in the community, aside from the amazing directory, The Shelf, and Lacuna Directory. I want to follow their examples and list so many more sites! I also love talking to all the people who visit Clockwork, everyone's just amazing to work with, and I love owning a link directory!


Alice at Fireflies

I decided to create Fireflies first of all because it took a while to wait for brand new link directories to open to the public, so I had a idea to create my very own.


Chris at Lacuna Directory

I actually decided to open a link directory because I had been through most other types of sites. I'd owned a premade site, multiple types of request sites, a review site and a guide or two. I had gotten out of site making but when I came back, I figured I wanted to start fresh and that my experience with all these other genres would be useful (determining site quality and such) so I went with a directory.

This was also about the time Soroptimist stopped updating and I wanted to fill the void it had left. There really were no big, active directories I knew of at the time so I spent a good couple hours listing sites and getting the directory set up.

Unfortunately I can't say there is a particularly interesting origin behind Lacuna, no touchstone moment that prompted me to make a directory. I just saw there was a void to be filled so I tried to fill it and I figured my experience would do me good.


Maddie at Pixie Dust

At first, I created a link directory solely for the purpose to help myself find links and meet new site owners. Gradually over time, I realized that I enjoyed helping the community with Pixie Dust and that I found joy in listing sites. Owning a link directory definitely helped me meet a lot of new site owners that I am great friends with today. Although managing and taking care of Pixie Dust is hard, I enjoy it greatly because of the many things it has taught me.


Christy at Plethora

About 5 or 6 years ago, I was inspired by a rather large link directory that had existed at that time. I visited it all the time and quickly realized how very useful directories were. At first, I had planned on creating a list of sites I personally liked for my own use, but I thought 'why not share it?' I knew that once I started, I would need to be dedicated to it in order to keep it up-to-date and make it useful to others as well. And while sometimes it can take a lot of my time, such as when doing link checks, I don't mind it. I have seen a lot of really interesting, amazing, and fun sites that I know I wouldn't have if I had never opened up Plethora. The site community is truly wonderful.


Sarah at The Bouquet
I started The Bouquet (my link directory) because at that time it seemed there were very few active directories. And as a site owner I knew the importance of getting the word out about your site and thus I wanted to make my own directory for others to get their sites out the the Neopian World!



Brainstorming

Picking The Right Name

When selecting a name for your link directory, try to stay away from simple names like: Simba's Link Directory or Connie's Directory. Why? You don't want a bland, unappealing, boring name. You want a name that your visitors will remember, something catchy and appealing. So please try and restrain yourself from picking simple names.

Possible Link Directory Names

Here are some link directory names that I made up for you. If you decide to use one of the following names please neomail me and credit Eclectic! It's the least you could do for using a name I came up with.

* - If a asterisk is next to a name, it means that is was submitted from a user. Click on them to see who contributed the name.

A-M

-Already Linked
-Clarity
-Collection
-Constellations *
-Direction
-Documents
-Everlasting Links
-Flashback
-Generosity
-Heaven
-Just Another Link
-Just Links
-Link Catcher
-Link Central
-Links All The Way
-Link Gallery
-Link Hotel
-Link Love
-Link Jar
-Link Stadium
-Machine Link
-Memories

N-Z

-Patch of Links
-Quilt
-Remembered
-Resource Directory
-Scrapbook
-(The) Catalogue
-The City
-(The) Escorter
-(The) Galaxy *
-(The) Index
-The Market
-(The) Navigator
-(The) Showcase
-(The) Solar System *
-Timeline
-Titanium Links



Layout

Down below I will be explaining each type of layout along with both some good aspects about the layout and some bad aspects about the layout. It's up to you to select what layout you think will be the most convient for your link directory.

One-Page

A one-page layout is exactly the same as a continuous layout. What a one-page layout with a fixed navigation is just one page with a fixed navigation.

Pros
-The only good aspect I found for using a one-page layout for a link directory is that you can easily use Ctrl + F to search your entire directory for a specific site.
Cons
-When using a one-page layout, the only bad thing is that it'll be harder to jump from category to another category. You would have to scroll up or down to find the category you're looking for if you don't know the petpage's name.

Anchored

Anchored layouts are generally used for all types of sites; they involve less scrolling and they make your petpage look cleaner and less cluttered. A anchored layout is just multiple pages on one layout. Though it looks like a anchored layout has multiple pages, it's actually just one page.
Pros
-If you deicide to use a anchored layout, you can easily jump from one category to another category and you can search within that page using Ctrl + F.
Cons
-If you decide to use a anchored layout for you're link directory, you cannot use Ctrl + F to search your entire site, but only that one page your viewing.

One-Page With Fixed Navigation

A one-page layout with a fixed navigation is probably the most convenient type of layout for a link directory. What a one-page layout with a fixed navigation is, is that it's just one page with a fixed navigation. So the more content you add, the more it'll scroll and when you scroll the navigation will stay right there (fixed).
Pros
-When using a one-page layout, you can easily jump from one category to another category with your fixed navigation.
-You can easily use Ctrl + F to search your whole entire directory to find a specific petpage.
Cons
-I found that that using a one-page layout has no bad aspects when it comes to using a one-page layout. Therefore I highly recommend this type of layout for a link directory.



Meow - Evenstar

I do believe that the quality and consistency of your buttons do coincide with how I ranked Evenstar. Your button's aren't necessarily low quality at all... Your buttons look very experienced in my point of view.

I find that these animation above aren't very appealing to the eye. The animation seems very pixel-y and rushed. I suggest that for the shine animation, you should try to slow down the speed and/or lower the opacity of the shine. Make the shine animation seem more natural and smooth. Some excellent examples of the shine animations are:



The shine animation's on these buttons are very smooth and subtle. They have this sort of aurora that makes the button seem very sleek and professional.


These 2 buttons are probably my favorites, the animation is very smooth and very appealing to the eye. The font is very clear and easy to read. Fantastic job!



- I'm not really keen on the lime-ish green on the first button, it seems odd and it ruins the color scheme.
- For the second button, I feel as if the animation is rushed and jumbled. I couldn't figure out when the actual animation started.
- The placement of the text from third button base seems out of place, the text should be placed more farther into the upper right corner so your using more of the open space.
- The editing on the fourth button seems nonexistent to me, you should try to play around with different textures and color schemes. (:

Overall, I think Evenstar is well on it's way to becoming a high quality button request site. I think the biggest issue for you is trying to master all the different characteristics of a button. Creating a button has many aspects that are very difficult to master like the border, the font, the focal image, the animation, the color scheme and many more. From what I've seen, you should primarily focus on color scheme and animation. Just keep practicing and playing around with your buttons and you'll see improvement in no time!

Here are 2 fantastic guides that might be assistance/benefit you.

I would just try to study/look at different button requests sites to get an idea of what low quality and high quality buttons look like. It will help you with your button making. :D

Meow, please don't take my advice seriously! I am no button or graphic maker, though I wish I was... xD I just happen to see a lot of buttons and stalk button requests sites... Because button's are so asdfghjkl ;-; I'm practically obsessed with buttons.

You are more than welcome to neomail me whenever you need help! I will be more than happy to help you with a button if your stuck. n_______n I sincerely hope this helps you in some shape or form!


Organization

Organization is very crucial for link directories. The more organized your link directory, the easier it is for your visitors to locate the petpage they were seeking. In the following section, I will be explaining having one, two, or three columns. I will also be giving some suggestions for categories and sub-categories.

The layout in the following screen shots are from The Shelf Directory's current layout which was created by Cameron (periled) at Scheme. Drag and drop any images to the adress bar to view the full size.

One Column


The red box in the image above demonstrates the extra space that the section has. If or when you have a one column for each category, your looking at increasing the amount of scrolling for your visitors.

Two Column


Like I said above, the red box in the image above demonstrates the extra space that the section has. However, in this section we have 2 columns. Even though we added another column, you can see in the red boxes that there are plenty more extra space to maybe even add a third column. If you can definitely not add a third column, then consider just having 2 columns. Just remember that having fewer columns will decrease the amount of scrolling.

Three Column


I really, highly recommend having three columns for each of your categories. It will greatly decrease the amount of scrolling for your visitors. Thus, it'll give more space for having different sub-categories. I would also advise that you do not go beyond having 4 columns. The reason is, it could so potentially make your link directory look too cluttered.

Categories & Sub-Categories

This is a very important aspect to organizing your link directory. It's the way that helps organize your columns. Below, I will be giving you some categories that you might want to consider having for your link directory along with sub categories.

Adoptables & Pixels: Adoptables, pixels, specific (Aisha, Draik, Ixi, miscellaneous, petpet, etc.).
Adoption & Trade: Adoption agencies, trade agencies, application guides, fostering guides, lending guides, pet trading guides, pound chat guides, unconverted pet trading guides, etc.
Artwork & Writing: Artwork, writing, art tutorials, comic tutorials, writing guides, etc.
Coding & Design: HTML guides, CSS Guides, HTML & CSS Guides, specific coding tutorials (blog, guild layouts, petpages, userlookups, petlookups, shop layouts, gallery layouts, guide tutorials, etc.), site making, graphic tutorial, specific graphic tutorials (background, banner, button, etc.), GIMP tutorials, Microsoft Paint tutorials, Photoshop tutorials, etc.
Dailies Guide: Dailies page, neopoint making guides, saving neopoints guides, etc.
Directories: Link directories, spare clothing, game, guide, guild, shop, gallery, coding, Neotime articles, etc.
Fonts: Fonts, font extras, font guides, etc.
Graphics: Graphics, resources, Altador cup, etc.
Guides: General guides, game guides, etc.
Miscellaneous: It's really up to you to decide what sub-categories you want here.
Pet Directories: Specific pet color (Gold, Maraquan, White, etc.), specific pet species (Aisha, Draik, Ixi, etc.), etc.
Premades: Userlookups, petpages, petlookups, guild layouts, gallery layouts, shop layouts, multiple types of premades, etc.
Request: Buttons, banners, icons, petpages, guild layouts, userlookups, general graphics, you can group them like: Buttons & Banners, etc.
Reviews: General reviews, guild reviews, site reviews, pet applications, proofreading, review guides, etc.
Screenies: Screenies, screenie directory, screenie guides, etc.
Untaken Names: Pet names, site names, usernames, combinations of any, naming guides, etc.



Advertising

Advertising your link directory will probably be one of the toughest steps to owning a link directory. It going to requires a lot of time to advertise your link directory.
In the following section, I will be giving you some advice as to how to advertise your link directory and how to get your link directory known and used by Neopians.

Tip #1: Go to the Neoboards.

Go to the lovely Neoboards and go, of course, make a board to advertise your link directory. When making a board, make a good impression because first impressions do matter. So do not use chat-speak or have an attitude. Instead be nice and welcoming.
A good place to visit and advertise your site on the Neoboards would be a on the Help Board, because there's a lot of site owners there. There's also a board called the Site help and advertising that is usually located on the Help Board. It's a board that offers site help and it helps advertises your site. You can view more about that board here.

Tip #2: Get Listed

This is kinda of a no brainer, but go get your link directory listed at places! You'll be surprise at how many people skip this step. The more you get listed, the more you'll get visitors and petpages to list.

Places to get your link directory listed: Against All Odds, Asura, Clockwork, Fireflies, Gentle Touch, Hunter of the Links, Lacuna Directory, Midnight, Pixie Dust, Plethora, Smiley Central, The Bouquet, and The Shelf Directory.

Tip #3: Send in news and advertisements

Tip #3 is to send in news and advertisements about your site. This is a great way to get your link directory noticed. This tip is just plain and simple.

1. I highly recommend sending news or advertisements to Always Connected. It's a fantastic community site that is really frequently updated and is greatly known to the site community.
2. Plethora is a fantastic link directory that is updated frequently as well and a site that I look up to. It's another great way to send in news and advertisements.
3. Lacuna Directory is another great link directory that is a place to send in send in news and advertisements. It's a highly known in the site community and well maintained.
4. The Shelf Directory is a link directory that is owned by me. I update every day and I strive to offer my visitors the highest customer service. You can send in news and advertisements to Shelf's Newspaper, which is where news and advertisements are posted.
5. Against All Odds, Clockwork, Fireflies, Pixie Dust, and The Bouquet are also great sites to post any news and advertisements.

Tip #4: Don't wait, go ask

Another simple tip is to not wait around for people to send in listing requests. Instead go around and kindly ask site owners if you could list their sites at your directory. If you wait around for people to send in listing requests, you will barely get any sites listed.

Tip #5: Help others

Yet again, this tip is quite simple and easy. If you see anyone that needs help finding a page, direct them to your link directory. They might even bookmark your link directory and use it in the future when they need to find a petpage.


Maintaining

Probably one of the most tedious part of owning a link directory is checking your directory's links for any petpages that closed, moved, or changed status (revamping, hiatus, active, etc.). In this following section, I will be explaining some good tips as to when to link check.

So for me, I tend to link check once a month, every month. It becomes a habit for me, and I recommend that it comes for a habit for you. You can request from a review site to check your links or you can check them yourself.

Review sites that offer link checks

Here are the current, active review sites that offer link checks. Please note that, not all review sites will link check your whole link directory, just a few categories.

Simba's link checking tips

If you want to link check your own link directory, in the following section I will be giving some of my tips for link checking.

Link check one category at a time. Your computer or laptop might freeze or crash, and then you have to start all over.
When you're link checking, you can press down Command for Macs or Ctrl for regular computer/laptops, to open links onto a new tab. This will save time instead of going back and forth.
Save every time you finish link checking a category, just in case you accidentally delete something or your computer/laptop freezes/crashes.
Do not rush; take your time. It doesn't really matter how long it takes you, just know ahead of time that you will be spending somewhere between 30 minutes to 3 hours, depending on how many links your link directory has.



Adding Extras

Adding extras is like adding toppings to your frozen yogurt; it makes your frozen yogurt more tempting to eat. While in link directory 'terms', it means to make your visitors attracted to your link directory. What I mean by adding extras is like adding a featured site or graphic of the week section to your link directory. I would highly recommend not adding some of the following extras until you feel like you can handle maintaing your link directory.

Ideas

* - If an asterisk is at the end of an idea, it means that the idea was inspired or originally from someone/someplace else. If you click on an asterisk, it will bring you to where I got the idea from.

Sitely news: This section is where site owners post any important news about their site. *
Open/closed request: A section where you have a list of sites with open/closed requests. (Buttons, banners, icons, layouts, reviews, shields, adoptables, etc)*
Recently closed/added petpages: Another list of petpages that you recently added or a list of petpages that recently closed. *
Featured petpage/site: Where you feature a specific site.
Featured graphic: Just like the featured petpage/site, but this is where you feature a specific graphic.
Competitions: You can have Site of the Month (SotM), Button of the Month (BOTM), Banner of the Month (BAOTM), Icon of the Month (IOTM), Customization of the Month (COTM), etc.
Scavenger hunt: Where you have your participants find certain sites around your link directories.
Link check service: I've always wanted to do with The Shelf, but I've lost interest in it. This is where you offer to link check link directories or petpages.
Poll: A list of choices that your visitors will pick based on their opinion.*
Survey: A list of questions that your visitors will fill out to improve your site.*
Explanation of ranking: Why you chose this site/petpage to be ranked. * *
About yourself: This is section is for your visitors to get to know you better.
Retired Items: Where you put your old buttons, banners, icons, layouts, etc here.
Frequently Asked Questions: All questions that have been asked about your link directory.
Adding Guilds: Maybe when you feel really comfortable with your link directory, you can add guilds.
Adding Neopian Times articles: Another thing you can add to your link directory is Neoian Times articles or NT article for short. This is totally optional. I would recommend not adding NT Articles, until you have a good 700 petpages listed.



Final Comments

I sincerely hope you found this guide useful by the time you finished reading.
The reason I created Eclectic was because I've seen numerous numbers of brand new link directories open up and then they put their directory up for hiatus or say their too busy, in result closing. Furthermore, I wanted to create Eclectic because I've seen many link directories that don't know how to properly maintain their directory. All in all, I want to create Eclectic to show anybody who wants to create a link directory how, but also how to maintain your directory.

Please note that I'm no link directory expert; this guide was just from my experience from owning a link directory and what I know.

Tips

In the following, I will be directing you to some great places to get your link directory even more prepared.

-Top 10 common mistakes! is an amazing little guide that lists the top 10 mistakes. This is a part of Frequent Flyer.
-Site Alphabet is another amazing little guide that gives site tips from A to Z. This little guide is from The Lunch Box.
-Always, always list your petpages in alphabetical order. It's going to be a pain for your visitors to find a specific petage when your petpages are not in alphabetical.
-I would highly recommend trying to update at least every other day. Updating gives a way of saying to your visitors that you're still here and active.
-Here are some good pages for writing: How To Write For the Web and Talia's Writing Guide.



Sitely




Affiliates

Listed At

Against All Odds, Clockwork, Fireflies, Gentle Touch, Lacuna Directory, Midnight, Pixie Dust, Plethora, Smiley Central, The Bouquet, and The Shelf Directory.

Reviews



Credits

-Layout by Rika (rikaachu) at Flux for Simba (simbaconnie) at Eclectic ONLY.
-Coding by Shingie (shinning123).
-Headers #1 from The Lunch Box
-Bullets and header #2 from Bedazzled
-Flower pixel from DBZ's Pixels


Counter started on February 19, 2013





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