As a web designer, I realized that one very important requirement was to get my customer's websites listed in the various search engines and Directory websites. The next logical step for me was to create my OWN Directory. Since I live in the city of Pembroke Pines, Florida I created The Pembroke Pines, FL Business Directory (http://pembrokepinesfla.com/).
I did this in a very crude way: using Front Page, I used the 'shared borders' to create the site. On the left was a list of the various categories, which in this case was the different professions. On the right, I placed links to various affiliate programs that I had joined. I then logged into the local yellow pages and did a search by profession of the businesses in Pembroke Pines, and added those to my Directory. It wasn't necessary for the business to have a website since I really wanted to list as many of the businesses as possible.
I found that in a short time, I was getting hits from the outside, and the site grew in popularity. And then Google entered into the scene! I signed up for an Adsense account, and found that not only was I getting hits on the listings, but on the ads as well.
I was still looking for a script of some kind to ease the administration of the site. I found a script from Focal Media called TurboSeek, and the NEW directory was born! This script made it easy to manage new submissions and send out the confirmation e-mails, but it still had some flaws.
When Focal Media came out with a better version called PowerSeek, I felt that I hit the motherload. The best thing about this software company (http://focalmedia.net) is that they listen to the customers and make upgrades to the software based on customer comments and wishes.
One thing that I didn't need was to have every listing contain a website address. They listened and took away the need to list one. I wanted to be able to offer 'Premium Listings' and they made this happen as well.
For me, the first Directory was the best thing I had ever done to generate hits for my customers. The next best thing was to create more Directories. More on that later.