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How to use Business Directory Themes

Business Directory Plugin offers many choices for changing the look and feel of your directory. One of the the quickest and easiest ways to change the look of your directory is with our Premium Themes. These themes work a little bit like a WordPress theme, changing the appearance of things, BUT they only affect your directory and you can keep your existing WP theme with it!

You can manage which Directory Theme you use under Directory → Themes and you can learn more about installing your new Business Directory theme in this video.

There are a number of themes available for purchase here, but you can also create your own themes or override specific templates from an existing theme. Consult the theme customization guide to get the details.

Important: Keep in mind that Business Directory themes are different than regular WordPress themes. They aren’t mean to replace them and are installed in a different way. Do not use the Appearance → Themes backend menu item to install Business Directory themes.

Directory Themes

Here’s where you’ll find everything related to themes. This page can be accessed via Directory → Themes.

On this page, you can change your current theme, upload or delete themes or delete themes, among other things.

Installing and updating themes

Installing themes

Installing Business Directory themes is easy. Just follow these steps.

  1. First obtain the ZIP package from businessdirectoryplugin.com. Both the link to download the ZIP file with your theme and its license key should’ve been e-mailed to you after your purchase.
  2. Login as an admin to your WordPress backend and visit the Directory → Themes page.
  3. Click on Upload directory theme and select the ZIP file to begin the installation process.
    upload directory theme
    select theme file
  4. Once the installation is completed, you’ll receive a notice to enter your license key.                                        
  5. Follow the link that appears at the top of the page or click on the Licenses tab to add the license key.
  6. You can now activate your new theme by clicking on the Activate button that appears next to its name.
    activate theme

Managing installed themes

You can change or delete themes inside the Directory Themes page.

  • To change your current theme just click the Activate button next to the name of the theme.
  • To delete a theme make sure the theme is not the active one and then click the Delete button that appears when you hover over the theme name.

Updating themes

Business Directory Plugin constantly checks if new versions of your installed Directory Themes are available. When an update is available, you’ll see a badge appear next to both the Directory menu and the Themes submenu, on your WordPress admin backend.

This badge indicates the number of updates that are available for your Directory Themes.

Once you’re on the Directory Themes page, themes that have an update available will show a status bar at the bottom with the details of the new version and a link to update.

Updating is as easy as clicking the Update now link. While the update is in progress, the status bar under the theme’s details provides information about the process.

Advanced topics

Themes settings

You’ll find the theme settings under Directory → Settings → Appearance.

See more about the theme and styling settings.

Theme tags

Business Directory Plugin also uses the concept of theme tags. It allows admins to (optionally) give “meaning” to some of their form fields by mapping some fixed tags to the fields that exist on the site.

For instance, you could tag a field as “Address” to indicate to Business Directory knows that the field is used for displaying addresses. The specifics of the field (such as its name or if it’s a textfield or a textarea, etc.) are not relevant.

Themes can take advantage of these theme tags to display certain fields in particular locations. A theme designed for mobile uses might want to display the business phone number first and in big font, instead of as part of a long list of fields, and the only way to do that if it knows which field represents the phone number.

You can update your theme tags at any time on the WordPress backend, by going to Directory → Themes and clicking the Manage Theme Tags button on top. The same button is also available on the Directory → Form fields page.

Template customization

Currently, Business Directory Plugin allows you to customize the look and feel (and even behavior) of themes in one of two ways:

  • You can add your own CSS file with custom styles. All fonts, colors and spacing can be changed using custom CSS. Here is an article about how to use custom CSS with Business Directory in a way that doesn't get overwritten on upgrade of Business Directory. This file is picked up by Business Directory and loaded after all other CSS files from us. This means any styles you add to the file take precedence over our default styles, allowing you to easily override how things look.
  • You can add your own PHP templates to override the ones bundled with our themes. This offers the most flexibility but requires some PHP and WP knowledge. The customization guide includes details about the locations and names for these templates, as well as the PHP variables and functions available to them.

You can find all the details about these customization options in our customization guide.


While working with themes you might encounter some problems. Some scenarios and possible solutions are considered below.

If you’ve tried these steps and they don’t solve the issues you’re experiencing, you can contact Business Directory Plugin support.

Can’t upload theme packages.

  • Make sure you’re trying to install a ZIP package downloaded directly from businessdirectoryplugin.com. We can’t guarantee that themes provided by other sources work correctly or follow our theme specification.
  • Update Business Directory Plugin to the latest available version.
  • Make sure you’re not trying to upload our ZIP package as a regular WordPress theme. You have to be on Directory → Themes.
  • Business Directory Plugin requires write permissions to the wp-content/businessdirectory-themes folder in order to install themes. If this folder doesn’t exist, please create it and give it read and write permissions (0755 on UNIX systems).

Can’t delete themes.

  • Default and No theme can’t be deleted. These are included in the Core plugin.
  • You can’t delete the theme that is currently active. If that’s the theme you want to delete, you must first activate a different one.
  • Make sure wp-content/businessdirectory-themes has read and write permissions (0755 is recommended for UNIX style permissions).

After enabling a theme, listings appear empty.

    • If you’re using the Restrictions module and have enabled restrictions, make sure the fields are really available to the listing level or plan that the listing uses.
    • The theme might be configured to display fields with certain tags (instead of all fields), so make sure you’ve mapped your fields to tags.  This is particularly important if you saw a warning like the one below after activating the theme:

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