The Concept

The Emirates Business Directory (Emirates BD) is an ambitious group of individuals who got together and began brainstorming for an idea to start a business directory that is beyond just being a tedious long list of companies to go through. They wanted to offer subscribers several membership options in which they can reap the benefits of several easy to use features that will boost their presence online. Unique and outstanding are the goals they pursue in order to achieve this, and after several failed attempts to properly get what they need via other providers, our team was ready to put to use the state-of-the-art tools we possessed in order to create a truly one-of-a-kind directory that will become the UAE’s favorite.

The Challenge

Given the ambitious vision to create a business directory platform that is also a buzzing social hub, the amount of work and precision required was very vital to the entire process.

In addition to developing a strong website that can handle hundreds of thousands of entries, it also needed to include several portals for newsfeeds, blogs, calendar events, a rating system and integrated Google map function.

But that is not all, the website is going to require regular maintenance as it will see a large amount of traffic daily, including browsers who are searching for listings and users who will list their companies.

One of the first challenges as a start was to include over 300,000 listings of companies that all fall under various categories and geographical locations.

The next step was to ensure all categories were accurately present and the various filtering search options.

After all this was set up, it was time to begin working on what would set the directory apart from the competition and ensure its uniqueness.

What We Did

UCT’s team worked very closely with the Emirates BD’s team and ensured to understand the scale of the project fully. Day and night, testing and experimenting were done with several frameworks, until a proper one was chosen that can handle the scale of such a project. UCT began developing the directory using Drupal, as it was the most versatile to handle a large database, and also includes social interactive functions. Moreover, UCT had integrated other modules into the framework to allow for ease of use of other portals so that newsfeed and blogs can be easily incorporated.

In order to further boost the directory’s usability, UCT was able to include several spaces for banner and text advertisement throughout the website which clients and users of the website can utilize to place their ads on the website. Additionally, for the companies already listed, UCT integrated a function in which users can login to the platform and claim their listing as their own (after providing sufficient documents), so that they can now manage their free memberships.

The Results

The creation of the platform was a success that now sees daily activity of companies logging in to include their listing, and fill in several information, from basic contact info and location map, to more advanced information such as the upload of a whole company profile. An Email campaign was organized and sent out to companies already listed, and the users began claiming their listing and now managing their accounts.

Users and browsers alike can interact and provide comments and rating for each listing, as well as view currently ongoing events, sign up to them and even better, registered listings can also create their own events and send invites via the directory. Moreover, the platform also enabled users to subscribe for the latest news and creative blogs updated daily with trending posts.

The several membership features offered different benefits, and even the free membership had tools to allow companies to make use of in order to increase their online presence. The other paid memberships benefitted of free advertising space, their listings featured on the homepage, as well as the ability to include their special discounts and offers.