Are you looking to build a contact directory? Look no further! This tutorial will show you the best way to make a WordPress contact directory.
A contact directory comes in handy when you want to communicate with someone. The data you use can be an email address, a phone number, a contact form URL, or a physical address. In this digital age, who can remember all these details?
Even if you could, is it just worth memorizing lots of phone numbers or contact details? Contact directories solve this problem. Being online, these are now even more accessible.
A contact directory can be built for several purposes. It can be a public directory service. It may or may not have any paid listing features. Or you could create a private contact directory for internal uses.
A public contact directory can help the visitors with contact information. At the same time, it can charge businesses for being listed. This is a great chance for businesses to get exposure.
The directory can be monetized via ads as well.
Whatever may be your plan, we’ve got you covered. In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to create a WordPress contact directory. You could use it for any purpose mentioned above.
What to include in a contact directory
A contact directory is all about contact information. Let’s look at what to expect from a contact directory.
- Phone number
- Email address
- Fax number
- Contact form URL
- Social media links
- Physical address
We hope it covers all major communication media. And yes, you can always add more if you need.
Best tools to create a WordPress contact directory
We need a web platform and a piece of directory software. As the platform, we’ve selected WordPress. And, as the directory software, we’ll use a WordPress plugin. Here’s the list of what we need to create a contact directory:
- A WordPress website
- Business Directory Plugin
The WordPress site is obvious. We can get it easily from a WordPress hosting company. For starters, there’s no directory feature built inside WordPress. So we’ll use a plugin.
Business Directory Plugin is the best WordPress directory plugin. There’s a free version of Business Directory Plugin which is fine for basic listings sites.
However, if you want features like flexibility in payment methods, advanced search, maps, professional themes, and more, you need a premium version. We’re going to use a premium plan for this tutorial.
How to build a WordPress contact directory
As soon as you get your site live, you’re ready to start the directory building process. By this time, we hope you’ve got your WordPress site online. So, let’s build our WordPress contact directory!
Step 1: Get started with Business Directory Plugin
First, visit the Business Directory Plugin pricing page and purchase a premium plan. To use Google Maps, you need at least the Pro plan.
First, please read this tutorial, and then decide on a plan. Or, now you can simply go with the Elite (highest) plan and enjoy all of its features you need.
After purchasing your suitable premium plan, install and activate Business Directory Plugin on your site. If you know a thing or two about WordPress, it’s going to be easy. If not, nothing to worry about. Find details in our getting started guide.
Step 2: Create contact directory pages
We need dedicated pages to present the directory content. Most of these pages generate dynamically. Still, we need to create the front page and a listing submission page.
Directory front page: This page displays the directory categories, a search tool, and some directory buttons. We can create this page with a button click. Business Directory Plugin has made it so easy.
You’ll see a dashboard notification after activating Business Directory Plugin. That will suggest you create the necessary directory pages. Follow that prompt and it will be done.
By default, this page's name will be “Business Directory”. You can find it from WordPress Dashboard → Pages. We've renamed it to “Contact Directory”. Here's the front-end view of this main directory page.
Listing submission page: This page can be used to add directory listing items. It contains the form fields that you define to collect listing data. We can create this page by adding a shortcode to a standard WordPress page.
Visit WordPress Dashboard → Pages → Add New. Enter the [businessdirectory-submit-listing] shortcode into the page.
Publish it. You can share this page anywhere with additional information.
Business Directory Plugin has many other shortcodes. You can use them to create custom directory pages. Find more information on our shortcode documentation.
Step 3: Customize WordPress contact directory fields
To collect listing data, we’ll use a bunch of form fields. Business Directory Plugin gives 10 form fields out of the box. We need to customize them so that they fit our purpose.
Let’s visit Directory → Form Fields. Get these form fields:
- Phone number
- Email address
- Fax number
- Contact form URL
- Social media links
- Physical address
For contact information like an email address or phone number, you can select the field type. If you select the appropriate field type for any given form field, that will make the output actionable.
For example, in the phone number field settings, you can choose the field type “Phone Number”. When the number will be displayed on the front-end, users can click it and make calls.
With all the form fields, we’ll use a description field as well. It will be a text field where we can add any information in addition to the dedicated form fields. If you want, you can have your custom fields too.
We got a detailed documentation article regarding form fields. Please check that out to learn more.
Step 4: Add directory categories
Categories are a proven way to organize stuff. We’ll also use them to keep our directory organized. Business Directory Plugin has a custom taxonomy called Directory Category for this. All the directory items belong to these categories.
To add a directory category, visit Directory → Directory Categories. Create the categories you need for your directory.
Like original WordPress categories, you can add subcategories as well. You can also add category thumbnails using our Enhanced Categories Module.
Step 5: Set up the WordPress contact directory plugin
We’re using Business Directory Plugin as a contact directory WordPress plugin. Now, let’s tweak its settings to match our requirements.
Defining a publishing policy: The default publishing policy of Business Directory Plugin should work for you. It requires a user to be logged in for submitting a directory item. There are several other options.
Visit Directory → Settings → General → Registration. Customize the available options as you like.
Manage plans: Do you want to offer paid listing services on your directory? If “yes”, then you need to add plans for them. These plans will tell how much you’re charging for a given plan. Users can choose a plan while adding a listing item.
To add a plan, go to Directory → Plans. You’ll find a free plan pre-built in the plugin.
The free plan’s listing expiration time is 365 days. That means a free listing item will be live for 1 year. If you want, you can edit this timing inside the plan.
To learn more about managing plans, please visit our plan documentation.
Activating payments: For the paid listing service, you need a payment gateway to accept payments. Business Directory Plugin integrates with Authorize.net, PayPal, Stripe, and more.
Visit Directory → Settings → Payment. Add and manage your payment methods there.
Need some assistance? See our payment docs!
Step 6: Add contact listings
Now that we have our form fields and categories ready. Let’s add our contact listing items to the directory.
Simply visit the front-end “Add Listing” page that we’ve made in the 2nd step.
Fill in the necessary data and publish the listing. Your visitors can also add items from the front-end using this page.
Step 7: Get a directory template
Business Directory Plugin has some premium directory templates. They work with the directory items and beautify them. For this tutorial, we’ll use Business Card Theme. This template is ideal for contact directories with a look and feel of business cards.
Go to your Business Directory Plugin website account. Open the Downloads page. Get Business Card Theme. Then install this theme on your directory from Directory → Themes.
Remember, it’s different from your WordPress site’s main theme. You need to install this directory theme from inside the Directory menu, instead of the Appearance menu. Find more details in our theme documentation.
Here’s a screenshot of the listing archive (with Business Card Theme).
And this is a single listing detail page.
Looks pretty, right?
However, you can use any WordPress theme or drag and drop page builder with Business Directory Plugin. Our list plugin is the easiest one to create a business directory site if you need one.
Most interestingly, even our free WordPress directory plugin offers better features than the competition (e.g. Sabai Directory, LDD Directory Lite, etc.).
Business Directory Plugin doesn't need any form plugin to pave a way to contact the list author. It saves you from buying a form plugin like Gravity Forms.
Do you want to make the WordPress contacts directory private? You can do it using a free plugin. We've described the process for making a private directory in our alumni directory tutorial. Please find it there if you want to make your directory private to the registered users only.
Finally, to get the traffic stats, you can use standard services like Google Analytics. This will let you gather traffic insights and take actions accordingly.
So, that’s exactly how we can create a contact directory site in WordPress. For a contact directory, contact information is the main priority. If you want, you can also add Google Maps frames to your listings.
Business Directory Plugin has many other features to make your contact directory stand out. Explore them and enjoy!
With all these amazing features and ease, there’s no reason to wait. Get Business Directory Plugin and create a contact directory site today!
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