Wondering how to create a business directory in WordPress? With the right plugin, you can turn your WordPress site into an awesome directory.
If you're looking to learn how to create a directory in WordPress, you've come to the right place. In today's post, we'll show you how to use The Business Directory Plugin to make your directory site with ease.
Seriously! If you can do something as simple as drag and drop, then you can use this WordPress plugin. The best thing about this plugin is that it works with any WordPress theme. In fact, many users believe you need a dedicated directory theme – not true!
Whether you want to make a real estate directory, restaurant directory, or even a paid business directory, you'll have no trouble with The Busines Directory Plugin. We also have directory templates to make building a directory even easier than using a theme.
Let's jump into some background info first, then we'll show you how to create a directory in WordPress the easy way.
Why Should You Create a Directory Website?
Directory websites can be extremely popular–and with good reason. They allow visitors to quickly find business services in their area with a couple of mouse clicks.
One of the most important things a local business can do to improve their SEO is to submit their information to various online business directories. Not only the big directories like Yelp but also niche directories catering directly to their target audience.
In today’s economy, almost everyone is looking for a way to make additional income. An online business directory website can be that perfect source of income. PLUS, it’s a great way to help promote your local businesses.
Running a directory website doesn’t usually take a lot of investment upfront and it’s a sound business model that can be monetized in several ways, such as:
- Paid Listings: Charging business owners for submitting their business to your directory is the most common type of monetization. You can offer different pricing plans, each of which has its own set of benefits.
- Featured Listings: You can expand the paid listings by offering listing owners to appear on special spots on your website which tend to draw more attention from your audience
- Advertisements: You can also sell ad space and allow banners, text, and video ads to be placed at specific positions on your website.
About the Business Directory Plugin
Business Directory Plugin is a free plugin available from the WordPress plugins directory that allows the ability to add a directory to any website.
On top of that, there are other features available that can add more functions to your directory. These additional features and add-ons are offered under three different pricing plans, details of which can be found here.
Business Directory Plugin is frequently updated, and it has a 4.7-star rating. The majority of the user reviews focus on the ease of setup, comprehensive documentation, and the quick support provided by the developers.
With the free version, you can do lots of things including:
- Add a directory listing to any page with a shortcode
- Create submission forms with fully customizable fields
- Create a free directory, or accept one-time or recurring payments via Authorize.net
- Charge a premium fee for sticky/featured listings
- Enable reCAPTCHA to weed out spam listings
- Allow submitters to edit their own listings easily from the front end
Premium features are built to make your directory even more powerful and functional. With premium version features and add-on modules, you can:
- Accept payments via Paypal, Stripe, or other methods
- Set up coupons and discount codes
- Add Google Maps embeds to listings
- Allow users to search with zip codes
- Allow users to claim existing listings
- Offer different levels of featured listings
- Add a 5-star rating system to your listings
- Move data from one website to another using the Migration plugin
- Beautify your directory with ready-made Themes and more.
How to Use Business Directory Plugin
Creating a directory website is incredibly easy using the Business Directory plugin on a WordPress website. Let’s walk through the steps necessary to create a directory website no matter how general or specific your niche is. You can also refer to our Getting Started Guide.
Step 1: Install and activate the plugin
You can download the Business Directory plugin from the plugin directory, or search for it and install it from your WordPress dashboard under Plugins > Add new.
Step 2: Create your directory listing page
After activating it, the plugin will prompt you to create a directory page to display your listings. BD plugin can also create that page automatically for you if you like.
Go ahead and click the “Create required pages for me” button to create the directory page.
Under Pages on the dashboard menu you’ll see the new page has been created with the required shortcode:
Step 3: Adjust your settings
You’ll notice that there is a new “Directory” menu option in your dashboard. You can click on the Settings option to get started.
The Settings area is the main control panel of your plugin where you can configure not only the core plugin but any installed modules as well. You can configure things like:
- Require visitors to register before submitting, or allow anyone to submit
- Enable reCAPTCHA to prevent spam submissions
- Set terms and conditions submitters must agree to
- Publish submissions automatically, or set them as pending until you approve them
- Enable and customize various email notifications to you and to submitters
- Choose your payment settings, including currency
- Setting up sorting order for your listings and categories etc.
Step 4: Modify your form fields
BD plugin comes with some common predefined form fields set up for a basic business directory, but you can customize any field or add new ones by navigating to Directory > Manage Form Fields.
Review the current form fields, and decide if there are any you’d like to add, modify, or delete.
Step 5: Create categories
Business Genre or Category is a required field and it is attached to link listings to their respective categories in your directory.
To add your categories, just navigate to Directory > Directory Categories, and add them as you would for your posts. You can always include an “Other” or “Miscellaneous” category in case a listing doesn’t fit the available options.
BD plugin offers the ability to add child categories under your main or parent categories. With the BASIC plan, you can also add images to your categories in order to make them more appealing.
Step 6: Test your form and add new listings
Navigate to your new business directory page and click the Submit a Listing button.
Fill out the form and submit to make sure it works correctly. Be sure to double-check that any email notifications you have set up are working properly, too.
If you have a database of listings that you’d like to add to your new directory, you can add them in bulk using the in-built CSV Import feature.
Step 7: Link to your directory page
Once you’ve verified that everything’s working as it should be, you can add a link to your directory to your main menu if you like.
You can also consider adding a link to submit a listing. This can be easily done by using the “Submit Listing” shortcode on a custom page. A full list of all valid BD shortcodes is available in our documentation here.
Step 8: Let everyone know!
Last but not least, make sure to promote your new directory!
To get the ball rolling, add a few listings yourself. Then share your new directory on social media, your email newsletter, your blog, etc. We’ve shared some cool tips in one of our blog posts here.
If you are building a directory website, why reinvent the wheel? Try our WordPress directory plugin and see why we've been around for ten years and counting!