Are you looking for a WordPress alumni directory plugin? We’ve got you the plugin along with a tutorial on how to make an alumni directory!
Alumni directories are amazing. They are a great place to find and connect people from one's educational institution. An alumni directory helps build a strong network among the graduates from an institution.
Alumni associations are known for financial and career aids. It's a blessing network, you can say.
An alumni directory is usually hosted and maintained by a school, college or university. Alumni associations may also have their own directories.
If you’ve been planning to create an alumni directory, you’re at the right place. We have the best WordPress alumni directory plugin. In this post, we’ll show you how to use this alumni directory WordPress plugin and make an alumni directory. It will be fun.
What to expect from an alumni directory
Visitors browse an alumni directory to get information about the graduates. It should be secure and organized. What more to look for? Here is a quick list.
- The directory information should be secure and private.
- Only users with valid credentials should be able to view the listings.
- It should provide the alumni’s institutional overviews.
- The overview should include name, department, session, etc.
- There should be the contact information of the alumnus/alumna for networking.
- Links to professional networking profiles like LinkedIn would be a good option.
- Advanced search and filtering options.
Why use a WordPress alumni directory plugin
To build this alumni directory, we’ll use WordPress as our website platform. There’s no built-in directory system in WordPress. So we need to use a plugin.
A plugin is an extension that extends the functionality of WordPress. (We believe you know this. Don't you?)
Best WordPress alumni directory plugin
You may find many WordPress directory plugins. But, to get the best results, we have to choose the best one. Business Directory Plugin is the best WordPress alumni directory plugin. It has all the directory features that we need to make an alumni listing site, and beyond.
Let’s start the tutorial so you can see it in action!
How to build an alumni directory in WordPress
First thing first, we need a live WordPress site. You can use your existing institution site if it’s on WordPress. Or, get a fresh WordPress site. To have a new WordPress site, you can contact our recommended hosting services, and they would help.
Once you get the site live, please follow the steps below.
Step 1: Install and activate Business Directory Plugin
Yes, it’s obvious! You can build a basic alumni directory site using the free version of Business Directory Plugin. But there will be no premium theme or module. You'll miss out on the advanced features.
Since an alumni directory will be a significant part of your educational institution, so we recommend you using a premium version.
Get your suitable plan of Business Directory Plugin premium, install and activate it on your site. (The Pro package is the most popular one if you ask.)
Google Maps: Displaying Google Maps frames on the alumni profiles will be helpful to find their locations. It will be a great networking opportunity. If anyone is not interested in sharing the exact location, they would skip sharing details. The map will just use the city or ZIP code (if available).
Regions: The location filtering option of this module is very helpful. It lets the visitors find any directory member based on their particular location. It also works with the Google Maps module.
Both of these modules will make it a lot easier to find alumni from any particular location. You can see their documentation from Directory → Modules to know how to configure them.
Step 2: Create the alumni directory pages
The alumni directory will have 2 types of pages. The directory archives/details and the directory listing form. The listing form will be accessed by the site managers only. The users will see the directory archive/single pages.
The main directory archive page can be created right after activating the plugin. You’ll see a dashboard prompt. Follow that. A page called “Business Directory” will be created.
Visit Dashboard → Pages. You’ll find that page. Let’s rename it. See the back-end screenshot!
And here's the front-end view after adding some content.
Then, for the internal users of the site, we’ll create a listing submission page. Let’s go to Dashboard → Pages → Add New. Create a new WordPress page and enter the [businessdirectory-submit-listing] shortcode into that.
It will make a front-end listing submission form. We can use this to add alumni to the site. Only the site managers will have the link to this page.
Step 3: Set up the WordPress alumni directory plugin
Business Directory Plugin has tons of settings options. For this post, we’ll make the following changes.
- Hide the listing submission button on the main archive.
- Configure who can add directory listing items.
- Extend the listings’ time to live.
Turning off the submit listing button: The main listing homepage gets a submission button automatically. For this tutorial, we'll hide that button. Go to Directory → Settings → Listings → Buttons. Disable the “Submit listing” button from there.
Choose who can add listings: We’ll make sure that only internal registered users can add listings to the site. So, open Directory → Settings → General → Registration.
Check the “Require login to post listings?” box. Then select “No” for “Allow users to create accounts during listing submit?”. Save settings.
Extend the listings’ time to live: By default, this WordPress alumni directory plugin sets a 365-day lifetime for a free listing item. We’ll extend it to “forever”.
Go to Directory → Settings → Listings. For the “Listing duration for no-fee sites (in days)” option, set “0”.
This will make a default listing live forever.
Step 4: Create listing categories for the alumni directory
We can categorize the alumni based on their departments. So we’ll add some department names as the categories.
Go to Directory → Directory Categories.
Add, edit or delete the directory categories there. You'll find it easy.
Step 5: Edit form fields in WordPress alumni directory plugin
This alumni directory WordPress plugin brings 10 ready form fields. But these are more for businesses. So let’s edit them to suit our tutorial.
Visit Directory → Manage Form Fields. Customize the field names and options as you need.
Please find details regarding this in our form fields documentation.
Step 6: Add alumni listings to the directory
Now we can add alumni listings to our directory. Let’s open the listing submission form we created earlier (step 2). Yes, that front-end form page.
Fill in the user profile data and add listings! It would be quick and simple. Just add the content you have.
Step 7: Style your alumni directory
Business Directory Plugin offers some premium directory templates. These will look your content more professional. Browse the template collection and select one for your listing site. We’ve used our Elegant Business Theme in this tutorial.
Here is a screenshot of the listing archive.
And below is the single listing view.
Step 8: Protect the directory content
An alumni directory will contain lots of personal information. These should be protected from public access. Only the users with proper credentials should be able to access them.
To ensure this, we’ll use a WordPress plugin called Restrict User Access. We'll use its free version. Let’s install and activate it.
Then visit your WordPress Dashboard → User Access → Add New. In the Access Conditions tab, choose at least 2 types of members-only access.
Choose “Directory” from the post types dropdown. Then, in another condition, choose “Directory Categories” from the taxonomies dropdown. Create the access level. You'll see the Create button to the top right.
Then, inside the access level, open the Options tab. Here you can set a non-member action. This will define what happens when a logged-out user tries to visit the protected content.
You can simply create a page and set that as the redirect destination. So, the logged-out users will see this new page. Here, you can tell them to log-in. (To learn more, please see Restrict User Access docs.)
If they don’t have an account, they can contact the site managers with their queries. Give the support contact details on that page. Also, you can provide a link to the registration page or registration form.
You'll need to synchronize the user roles after having a new user. Don't forget this! It will give access to the new users.
More ideas for your alumni community
An online alumni directory can be a great social media. The member profiles provide contact information like email addresses, social networking profile links, etc. It offers a great way to connect with alumni from the same alma mater.
Plus, there are academic details like graduating class. All of these make it an amazing hub.
You can offer both paid and free memberships in this directory. This can play a good role in fund-raising and help those who are in need. Graduates can donate according to their membership levels.
An alumni directory is much more than just a listings site. It’s a network of bright minds. We hope you’ll find this tutorial helpful to build an alumni directory.
If you thought of creating a high school alumni directory, you're covered. If you want to make a college or varsity alumni directory, we got you too. Business Directory Plugin will work in every way.
Get Business Directory Plugin and create your powerful alumni directory site easily. We have a 14-day money-back guarantee! Your purchase is 100% risk-free!