Want to learn how to create a free directory website? Here are four steps to help you get started with building a directory website free!
Directory websites have a wide range of uses and applications. However, if you're looking to create one yourself, you might be overwhelmed with trying to figure out where and how to start.
Contrary to popular belief, you don't need to spend a fortune to create a directory website. In fact, it's possible to build one for (almost completely) free. All you need is a live website and the right plugin!
In this post, we'll start by talking about why you might want to set up a directory website. We'll also discuss what you would need to do so. Then we'll explain how to build one for free in four simple steps. Let's jump in!
Why you might want to build a directory website
There are many reasons to want to build a directory website. For starters, it can be an excellent way to earn an income. Moreover, there are different types of directory sites that you can build depending on your niche or area of specialty.
There's a common misconception that directory and listing sites are essentially digital versions of phonebooks or yellow pages. However, online directories offer many more benefits than simply displaying phone numbers and other details about businesses.
For example, they can help boost engagement among audiences and collect user-generated content such as ratings for review sites. Directory websites also provide an effective way to help local SEO with link building. These types of web directories are great to connect small businesses with potential customers and vice versa.
Plus, creating a directory website is simple when you use the right tools, such as Business Directory Plugin:
This freemium plugin provides you with everything you need to get started with your directory website. In the next sections, we'll walk you through the process.
How to build a free directory website (in 4 steps)
Now that we've covered the benefits of building a directory submission site, let's talk about how to go about it. In this tutorial, we'll show you how to start an online directory for free.
Note that we'll assume that you already have a domain name, hosting, and a WordPress installation. Also, you might want to consider using a directory theme for your website. This can help enhance the look of your listings and pages.
Step 1: Install and activate Business Directory Plugin
To get started, you can install and activate Business Directory Plugin on your WordPress site (if you haven't already done so). If you need help with the installation process, you can follow our guide for reference.
Once you activate the plugin, it will prompt you to create your required pages:
You will also notice that a Directory item has been added to the left-hand menu. If you're ready to proceed, you can click on the Get required pages for me button. This will complete the page setup process.
Next, you can navigate to your directory page by clicking on the Business Directory link:
You can also use this page to name your directory. However, for now, let's get the settings taken care of.
Step 2: Configure your free directory settings
The plugin automatically assigns listing settings. However, you can change and configure them according to your specific needs by going to Directory → Settings → Listings:
Here, you can find a plethora of controls for customizing the listings on your website. For example, you can adjust how many listings are shown per page, enable renewal, add time limits, and more. When you're satisfied with the changes, you can click on the Save Changes button at the bottom of the screen.
Step 3: Add categories to your free directory website
With the default settings out of the way, it's time to set up your categories. Before moving on, you should decide whether to create a niche directory for a specific group, or a more general business listing site.
This is an important step as it can help organize your directory and even help boost your User Experience (UX) by making your listings easier to navigate. In turn, this can help enhance your Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
To begin, you can go to Directory → Directory Categories:
By default, the plugin adds “General” as the only category. You can delete this if you want.
Then you can enter a name, slug, and description for all subsequent categories you want to add. After each one, select Add New Category at the bottom.
Step 4: Set up your pricing details
After you have the default settings configured and categories set up, you can add pricing details to your directory website. To do so, navigate to Directory → Plans → Add New Plan:
Again, you can configure these settings to your liking. For example, you can add a limit to how long to run the plan for (by default, it's set to forever). You can also determine whether it's a recurring fee, choose the pricing model, and set the plan price.
Also, if you want to distinguish your premium listings from free ones, you might want to consider adding a listing background color. When you're done, remember to click on the Save Changes button.
Bonus Step: Enable users to claim listings on your directory
Next, it's a good idea to let businesses claim the listings in your directory. This can help increase the credibility of your directory.
To do this, you can go to Directory → Settings → Claim Listings:
This isn't required for a directory website. However, note that to access this feature, you'll need to upgrade and install the Claims Listing Module.
Then you can click on Enable “Claim Listing”? to add a claim listings button. You can also decide whether you should be notified when someone makes a new claim and configure the claim listing workflow.
Also, you might want to consider adding a claim listing fee. This can be an effective way to earn more money through your directory website.
Directory websites are among the most popular types of sites you can create to make money online. However, that doesn't mean you need to shell out a fortune to get one built.
As we discussed in this post, you can create a free directory website by following four simple steps:
- Install and activate Business Directory plugin
- Configure the directory settings
- Add your listing categories
- Add your listing price information
Business Directory Plugin can help you create a powerful, effective directory website according to the steps included in this walkthrough. If you're ready to enhance your site lists to include even more features, consider upgrading to a premium plan today!
Sandra Polnik says
Great post! Learnt a new lesson. Well, I run my website, called: The Herb Centre, which is currently running on Shopify and I would like to create a new website and want to build that on WordPress.
So, is there any problem, if I integrate that new website into my current Shopify website?
My current website is https://theherbcentre.net/
Steph Wells says
Unfortunately, we don’t currently have a way to create directories in Shopify. You would need a WordPress website for this. Hopefully that would be an option!