Category Archives: Behind the Scenes

First Directory passes the Million mark!


We are always looking for ways to improve the quality as much as the quantity of results users can expect to receive from First Directory and we are just completing a major change which means we have just got bigger, a lot bigger.

We have developed some pretty smart software that uses 17 points of reference to validate the information we will be displaying and along with our new search software we are confident that the best prospects will always be appearing first, saving the user time and delivering higher quality contacts to companies

Every listing now supports multiple Q&A conversation. Allowing companies to inform prospective customers and to also build a library of answers that will help future customers find the answer faster. This unbiased delivery means that users can make a judgement based on real world opinion, not website hype.

We back this up with a unique description of the company, unlimited Brand & Trade Names, Turnover, Employee range, Vat No, Quality Approvals etc so users can work from an informed base.

All of this information is available to every company within the directory and no company can influence any review or Q&A sequence.

Local searching has also got a lot better with an expandable ‘pin point’ UK map on the right of the results page showing the location and relevance of each supplier.

By putting our emphasis on the user, we attract a wide audience, both UK and Overseas (basically 66% UK; 22% Europe and 12% ROW). And quite deliberately we target a far wider user group than the hackneyed term ‘decision makers’. In the B2B marketplace any serious purchase involves a wide range of influencers and we want you to talk to them all.


Who uses First Directory?

A question we regularly get asked by customers is “Who uses First Directory?” and this post is here to answer that question.

Although you may never meet any of the users of First Directory, they mirror UK industry very closely.

In industry the decision to ‘buy’ is often made by several people within the company. For example a Designer will specify the type of product required. An Engineer will approve the technical performance. A Director may approve the expenditure and the Buyer will place the order.

As well as involving a number of people, it can often take a long time from the initial enquiry to placing the final order, so making sure that a company maintains product exposure over the longer term is vital.

We carry out regular online surveys of our users and you can see from the results shown below, we are used by the full cross-section of industry ensuring that advertisers can reach all their potential customers and opinion formers within a company.

Site Traffic

  • Page Views: 8 million (30,800 per day)
  • Users per day: 7,692

59% of the page views are by people who spend more than 5 minutes on the site. The next 14% is by users who spend between 30 seconds and 5 minutes.

Almost 20% of users return to the site within 30 days of their first visit.

Although only 40% are directors or managers, 83% are involved in the purchasing decision showing that our users represent the very people our customers are trying to reach.


User Profile

What description most closely resembles your job title?

How are you involved in the purchasing procedure?


User loyalty


Users by Country


Users by Geographic Area

Gender & Age




Figures based on the previous 12 months site traffic.
Figures last updated September 2015

First Directory Goes Back to University

First Directory has a long tradition of supporting local charities and this year has been no different. Our chosen charity this year was the Buckingham & District branch of the University of the Third Age.

The first University of the Third Age (U3A) was founded in Toulouse, France in 1972 as a summer school catering exclusively for retired people. The movement grew as an academic organisation associated with French universities. When the idea moved across to the United Kingdom ten years later, it established itself as a self-help organization open to anybody over 50 years of age as both a social and life-long learning facility.

Buckingham & District University of the Third AgeIn the UK there are over 900 local groups and U3A Buckingham has been very successful with over 700 members, it is twice the size of the average group.  This success left their ancient website struggling with meeting the members’ needs and as part of our philosophy of giving back to the community we decided to help U3A Buckingham with a complete update of their website and email management system.   Simplicity was a key element as the site will be managed by a member of the group and we wanted to avoid the need for any specialist programming skills.

Their members regularly attend over 60 different group activities and the website is a key factor in keeping everybody up to date with group news, forthcoming events and providing feedback on past events.  In addition the majority of members now use email as an everyday communication tool and they wanted a solution that protected members’ privacy whilst not impeding contact.

The idea was to give ownership to the whole membership so Individual Group co-ordinators can update their group information whilst individual members can comment on any activity, ensuring that views (both good and bad) are shared.  In addition every Group Co-ordinator and committee members now have a ‘public’ email so they can be easily contacted.

The new website can be seen at:

The new site has been very well received and since its launch they now have members in America and Australia who have joined online to share their knowledge with their special interest group.

Home Sweet Home

Having recently moved offices we’ve had a fair few customers ask what the new offices are like so I thought I’d share a few photo’s.

In terms of location we’ve only moved 10 minutes down the road from a fairly drab 80’s office building in the centre of Milton Keynes to a much nicer (and older) 1830’s converted grain barn with pretty much identical square footage. However those 10 minutes make a huge difference, not only do we now get better quality internet (pretty critical in our line of business) but we also get a lake and plenty of walks to enjoy at lunch time through the glorious country side surrounding the office.

As you might guess from the tidy desks, these were taken just before all the staff moved across.