Want to create a phone directory? Check this tutorial to learn how to make a phone directory using a WordPress phone directory plugin.
Phone directories, also popularly known as telephone directories are in existence for hundreds of years. The Internet has reshaped them. Now you don’t need to grab a paper-based directory and go through it to find a number. Necessary phone numbers are now a few clicks away.
Are you inspired by the ease and potential of online phone directories? We get it. A phone directory can be a great way to help your community. Your audience will benefit from the phone numbers listed in the directory.
On the other hand, it could be a source of income for you. A phone directory can be monetized in several ways. You can display ads on the site, accept paid listings, offer claim listing opportunities, and more.
In this post, we’ll show how to make a phone directory in the easiest way. Before starting the tutorial, let’s be clear about some basic phone directory stuff so that we can better prepare to do it right.
What to include in a phone directory
Obvious question! Well, a good phone directory would include not only some phone numbers. It would provide something more. A phone directory should cover the following stuff (including but not limited to):
- Listing name
- Phone numbers
In addition to the above content, you can include images and attachments in your phone directory to make the listings more informative.
Best tools to make a phone directory website
As we’ve mentioned earlier, we’ll make a phone directory site in the easiest way. So we’re going to build it on WordPress, a popular and open-source web platform. Choose a web hosting provider and get your new WordPress site from them.
By default, WordPress doesn’t have any directory system. For this, we’ll need an extension. In the WordPress community, these extensions are called “plugins”.
Business Directory Plugin is the best WordPress directory plugin. We’ll use it as our WordPress phone directory plugin. Business Directory Plugin is a free WordPress directory plugin. It has premium versions as well.
You can create a phone directory site with the free version. It would be a basic one. But, a premium plan can add more features like maps, dedicated themes, additional layouts, attachments, and more. For this tutorial, we’ll use a Business Directory Plugin premium plan.
How to make a phone directory in WordPress
We hope you’ve got your fresh WordPress website up and running. Now follow the steps below to turn it into a phone directory.
Step 1: Get Business Directory Plugin
Since we’ll use Business Directory Plugin as our directory system, so let’s get it. We’ll use a table layout for the directory archives. We need a premium version of the plugin to get that layout.
Step 2: Create the phone directory pages
Our phone directory will have several directory pages. Luckily, if we create just 2 pages, the rest will be generated dynamically. We will need to create the following pages:
- Directory home page
- Listing submission page
Main directory page: The directory home page creation process is semi-automated. You’ll see a dashboard prompt for this after activating Business Directory Plugin. Follow that to get this page created.
You can find this page later by navigating to Dashboard → Pages. We’ll rename it as “Phone Directory”.
To assign this page as your website’s home page, go to Appearance → Customize → Homepage Settings → Your homepage displays. Choose A static page.
Select Phone Directory from the dropdown. Save changes by clicking the Publish button.
Listing submission form: It will be a front-end form page. You and your visitors can use this page to submit listing items to your phone directory.
Create a new WordPress page from Dashboard → Pages. Enter the [businessdirectory-submit-listing] shortcode into that page. Publish the page. Now you got the listing submission page.
Step 3: Customize the form fields
Business Directory Plugin gives 10 readymade form fields. You can add, edit, and delete fields as you want.
Let's customize and reorder them by visiting Directory → Form Fields. This ordering will be used on the form submission page and the listing detail page.
On the directory archive view, we’ll display only the following data types.
- Listing name
- Phone number
- Short description
And on the listing details page, we’ll hide the short description. We’ll show the main description content on the listing detail page.
Open a form field in editing mode. You’ll find the options to show/hide it on the archive (excerpt) and detail (listing) views.
For the phone number filed, let's select the Field Type as “Phone Number”, which will make the output number clickable.
Users will be able to make calls by clicking the numbers from the front-end.
Step 4: Set up the WordPress phone directory plugin
In this phase, we’ll configure some directory system stuff. These will make our directory work the way we want.
Tweak the submission behavior: We’ll allow our visitors to submit phone listing items. We want to moderate all the submissions. To ensure this, let’s go to Directory → Settings → Listings.
Select “Pending” for both new submissions and edits.
Configure payments and fee plans: To accept paid listings on our phone directory, we need to add a payment method and pricing plans. For free listings, the default validity of a listing item is 365 days. You can change that from Directory → Fee Plans → Free Listing.
Also, add new fee plans for the paid listings from Directory → Fee Plans.
After adding the paid fee plan, we need to activate the payments feature. A payment gateway integration is required at this stage.
Visit Directory → Settings → Payment to turn it on. By default, you get Authorize.net as a payment gateway. But you can use PayPal, Stripe, and more if you want.
Please see our payment documentation for details on how to accept payments.
Step 5: Customize the phone directory appearance
We want our phone directory to look clean. Also, we’ll ensure a great user experience for the visitors. This is why we’ll choose a table view for our listing archives.
When a visitor will open any listing archive, they will see the items presented in a table. This will let them easily scan the collection and quickly find their desired number.
To do so, we’ll use the Table listing layout of Business Directory Plugin. Visit Directory → Settings → Appearance. Choose the Table layout from there.
Step 6: Add phone directory categories
To list the phone numbers in an organized manner, we want to add some categories. It’s pretty easy. Simply go to Directory → Directory Categories.
Add and manage the phone directory categories on that page.
Step 7: Add phone listing items
After finishing all the above steps, now we’re ready to add phone number lists to our directory. Visit the front-end submission form (created in step 2). Add the listing items with necessary information.
You can also add business listings as the phone directory listing items. This will offer something more than just telephone directory stuff. Adding email addresses along with phone numbers is also a good idea.
Creating a directory is fun. In this tutorial, we’ve created a phone directory with the best WordPress phone directory plugin – Business Directory Plugin. We’ve used Twenty Nineteen as the main WordPress theme. You can use any other theme or drag and drop page builder if you want.
To get the tabular listing archive design, we’ve used the Table listing layout of Business Directory Plugin premium. Here’s our phone directory’s archive view.
And below, we’ve presented a single listing detail view.
Learn More: The Best WordPress Staff Directory Plugin
Business Directory Plugin has many powerful features like Google Maps integration, ratings & reviews, claim listings, and advanced search. You can use these features to enrich your phone directory site. If you need any help, please see our documentation or contact our support team!
We strongly believe that this detailed tutorial will help you make a user-friendly phone directory (or online phone book) on your own. Please don’t forget to explore the amazing features of Business Directory Plugin to make your directory stand out. Good luck!
Business Directory Plugin premium comes with a 14-day money-back guarantee. Get the plugin now and build any type of directory site today.