Questions about page content:
Questions about accounts:
Questions about searching Canal Pages
Canal Pages is an independent directory of inland waterways businesses. Each business listed on the site has its own page, containing a business description, contact details and business type categorisation, along with other features including a managed review and ratings system. There are two different interfaces by which you can search for and access these pages:
- A search engine on the home page;
- A list of business categories, in a separate section accessible from the top menu.
How do I get the best results when using the search engine on the home page?
Search results from the search engine are determined by: 1. how businesses have been categorised using our business type categorisation system; and 2. business names, plus the content of business descriptions on listed businesses’ pages (the presence of particular key words within this text).
Search terms concerning the type of business (service, product or professional) in which you are interested should be entered into the first field of the search engine, which is headed ‘I am looking for…’; here you would input, for example, moorings or LED lighting or signwriter – or whatever it is you are actually looking for!
Of course, if you already know the name of a specific business in which you’re interested (for instance, you just want to find out their contact details), then feel free to use their name as a search term here – if the business is currently listed on the site, a link to their page will come up. Please note: we recommend placing the name in quotation marks to help with search precision – so, for e.g., if you’re searching for the company Shire Cruisers, putting “Shire Cruisers”.
You have the option of also specifying the geographical location of the type of business in which you are interested, using the second field of the search engine, which is headed ‘…in or near…’. Here it is recommended you search either by town, by county or by postcode area. Avoid overly precise terms such as road names. Please note that our search engine is not designed to look up businesses either by region or by waterway.
Why are businesses not categorised or listed according to the canal or river on which they are based/close to?
We believe that this would be an artificial and largely unhelpful way to feature listings. A waterway typically runs a significant distance, its course often taking it through more than one county, and sometimes crossing regional borders. To categorise businesses based on their presence on a particular waterway, then, can risk creating a false impression of their proximity to each other – and to you! (Additionally, some businesses may well be based in areas which serve more than one waterway.)
In short, we believe that people find it more useful to search for canal businesses on the basis of conventional understandings of geographical location (i.e., which county businesses are in, or where they are in relation to a particular town or village), just like with any other kind of business.
How does the second search interface work – the list of business categories?
This is an alternative option for searching for and accessing pages. It is a section where pages are ordered into categories, by type of business. You can access it by clicking on or hovering over ‘Categories’ on the top menu.
There are currently 42 categories available for searching – for example, ‘Batteries and Battery Management’, ‘Heating and Cooling’ and ‘Mechanics, Engines and Parts’. Links to categories are listed in alphabetical order, and each category link states the number of businesses that are presently listed within it.
To access a category in which you are interested, simply click on the appropriate link. You will be presented with a list of all the businesses that fall under this category – please note, details of location are visible here for your convenience. You can then access the pages of those businesses most relevant to you.
Questions about page content
What is a business description?
Each business listed has included on its page a description of their services/products/skills/what they offer to potential customers. This helps you to identify which businesses are likely to be most relevant to you even before you contact them.
What contact details do pages contain?
As standard, pages contain the address/location of a business, plus a contact telephone number. (In the majority of cases, a Google map is included too, allowing you to see exactly where a business is located and – if appropriate – providing you an easy way to work out directions to be able to visit; for obvious reasons, this feature is not available in the case of businesses who are mobile on the waterways or who operate from a Post Office box address.) Pages also include a link to the business’s website, where one exists. Email addresses are not included, in the interests of spam protection, but you will see that some pages allow you to use a contact form to email the business directly; pages where this feature is available are ones which have been claimed or added by businesses themselves, and, so over time, more and more pages will likely contain this facility. Some pages may also include links to a business’s social media accounts (Facebook and Twitter), where you can interact with them; again, this is a feature available to businesses who have claimed or added their page.
How does business type categorisation work?
Each page is categorised according to our system of business type – for instance, ‘Marinas and Moorings’ or ‘Sales and Brokerage’ or ‘Toilets and Sanitation’. (See above for more details.) Typically, however, any given page will have the potential to fall under more than one category. To this end, and when it is appropriate, pages are listed within two categories. And businesses who own a Spotlight page have the ability to list their page within up to four categories.
As a visitor, business type categorisation (including the use of multiple categories) is designed to enhance your experience of the site by producing more accurate results from your searches – whether you are searching via the ‘list of business categories’ feature or through the search engine. As a listed business, meanwhile, this feature increases the chances of your page being found by potential customers.
How does the review and ratings system work?
We want to provide a way for canal business users to share their experiences with each other. To this end, the site allows those visitors with registered accounts to leave a review on a given business’s page (along with a rating out of five stars), based on their experience of having used this business.
We welcome reviews written in a balanced, informative and constructive manner. Your review could be invaluable in helping to inform other boaters’ decisions about which businesses to approach, so please read and observe our guidelines below before submitting a review:
- Only review a business that you have direct experience of using in the capacity of customer.
- Aim to keep the word count of your review between a minimum of 75 words and a maximum of 200 words. We specify word count because we want to all reviews to be as informative and relevant as possible, for the benefit of other boaters.
- With this in mind, try to focus on the specifics of your experience of the business in question: whether your review is glowing with praise, takes a critical stance, or is fairly neutral in tone, please tell readers why you are saying what you are saying – for instance, what aspects did you like/dislike about the service or product you received; and what, to your mind, are the business’s particular strengths, etc.?
- Reviews that take an overly personal tone or appear to be written in a ‘knee-jerk’ fashion are discouraged. This is not the place for making complaints, which in the first instance should be addressed privately and directly to the persons concerned. At all times the use of abusive and offensive language is strictly prohibited.
All reviews will be read by us prior to publication: we reserve the right to edit reviews to be in line with our policies, as well as the right to not publish material (in part or in whole) without necessarily having to provide the authors with a reason.
Some pages say “Page content managed by [business name]” above the contact details. Why?
This appears when pages have been claimed or added by a business. It allows you to see at a glance that the page, and its content, is managed by them. (The managed review and ratings system is an slight exception here, insofar that it remains partially managed by the site; businesses have the ability to reply to reviews, but, as stated elsewhere, all reviews must be checked by us before they are published in the first place.)
Questions about accounts
Registering an account with us is free. You do not need an account to use the site’s search facilities. However, registering allows you to bookmark, or favourite, pages of businesses in which you are particularly interested, as well as to participate in our review and ratings system. Business owners, meanwhile, need to register (it is worth saying again, this is free) in order to claim or add a page for their business.
If you have any queries about the site, whether it is something we have not yet covered in the FAQ or some clarification about anything in the above, please do get in touch and let us know – we’d love to hear from you. You can reach us on firstname.lastname@example.org.