Looking for a way to build a WordPress people directory? Check out this step-by-step tutorial on how to create a people directory in WordPress.
People are the most valuable resource of any organization or community. Having a people directory helps keep an organized record of them. An online people directory is a popular concept these days. This is where a WordPress people directory comes into the picture.
Do you manage a community or got a group of people sharing a common interest? A WordPress people directory could build a hub for them.
A people directory can be used for many different purposes. In a company, it can be utilized as a staff directory or an employee directory. It can host employee profiles on the web, a part of recognizing the staff members. Having the staff list on a directory website is a trending practice these days.
In anything else, it would play as a people directory in general. Today, we’ll see how to create a WordPress people directory.
What to expect from a WordPress people directory
The visitors of a people directory would expect something straightforward. They come to know about the members of that community. Below is a brief list that reflects their expectations.
- Listed persons’ names
- Contact information
- Social media profile links
Best tools to make a WordPress people directory
From the article title, you’ve already realized that we’re going to use WordPress for this tutorial. So, it’s one of the tools we’ll use to create a people directory.
WordPress doesn’t come with a directory system out of the box. This is why we need to use a WordPress directory plugin. Let’s check out the tools for our WordPress people directory.
- A live WordPress site
- Business Directory Plugin
You can use either your existing WordPress site (e.g. your organization website) or a new one. Getting a new WordPress website is easy. Just contact a WordPress hosting provider and you’ll receive all the necessary details.
Business Directory Plugin is the best WordPress directory plugin. With this, you can create ANY type of directory site. It’s very easy to use. The plugin has both free and premium versions.
It's possible to use the free version to build a basic people directory site. If you want to present it professionally, you need to utilize a premium theme usable with Business Directory Plugin premium.
Plus, there are Google Maps, and advanced filtering options only available in the premium plans. So we’ll use Business Directory Plugin premium in this tutorial.
How to create a people directory in WordPress
We need to follow a few simple steps to make our WordPress people directory. Let’s dive in!
Step 1: Get Business Directory Plugin
Let’s install and activate Business Directory Plugin on our WordPress site. First, we need to install the free version and then the premium version. It’s pretty easy. If you need some assistance, please see Business Directory Plugin’s getting started doc.
Also, let’s install the Google Maps module. This will enable us to show people locations. It's not mandatory. It will add some value. Visit Directory → Modules.
Activate the module from the Modules page. Please see the Google Maps module docs to learn how to set it up.
Step 2: Create people directory pages
For a people listings site, we need to create just 2 directory pages. These are standard WordPress pages with Business Directory Plugin shortcodes. Let’s create them!
i. People directory front page: Right after you activate Business Directory Plugin, you’ll see a dashboard notification about this. Follow that, and the directory home page will be created. You can find it from WordPress Dashboard → Pages.
By default, its name is “Business Directory”. We’ve changed that to “People Directory”.
This page will be the front archive page of the directory.
You can also set it as the home page of your site if you want.
ii. List submission page: This page will be used internally to add the people listings to the site. It’s a front-end listing form. Although we can use the back-end method to create listings, the front-end option is more convenient.
To create the list submission page, first, go to WordPress Dashboard → Pages → Add New. Put the [businessdirectory-submit-listing] shortcode into the new WordPress page. Publish the page.
Step 3: Set up the WordPress people directory system
We’re using Business Directory Plugin as our directory system. To fit with this tutorial’s purpose, we’ll customize some of its default settings. We’re going to do the following.
- Hide the list submission button from the front page.
- Decide who can create people listing entries.
- Adjust the listing expiration time.
Turning off the Submit Listing button: Usually, a people directory doesn’t accept listing submissions from the public. The site’s internal team adds the listing entries.
By default, Business Directory Plugin displays a “Submit Listing” button on the directory front page. But we don’t need this button for this tutorial. So let’s visit Directory → Settings → Listings → Buttons.
Uncheck the “Submit listing” button option from there.
Decide who can create listings: We want to ensure that only our registered internal users can add people listings to the directory. So, go to Directory → Settings → General → Registration.
Enable “Require login to post listings”. Then disallow users to create accounts during listing submission. Don’t forget to save the settings.
Listing lifetime extension: Our WordPress people directory plugin has a default 1-year (365-day) lifetime for a free listing. (And an organization won’t charge the people to list them). So we’ll remove this time limit.
Let’s go to Directory → Fee Plans. Edit the plan you would like and select “run listing forever.” This will enable these free listing items to live forever.
Step 4: Add listing categories
We can categorize the listed people to make the list more organized. For example, we can categorize an organization’s staff by their departments.
To create these categories, go to Directory → Directory Categories.
You can manage them from the same place.
Step 5: Edit the directory form fields
You’ll get some readymade form fields inside the list plugin. These can be edited to match your needs. You can also add custom fields if you want.
Go to Directory → Manage Form Fields. Edit the form field titles and options there.
We’ll need the following fields for this tutorial.
- Phone number
- Email address
- Social media link(s)
Want more detail about editing form fields? Please see our form fields guide.
Step 6: Add people listings
After getting our categories and form fields ready, now we can create listing items. We’ll use our front-end list submission page for this. Here’s a screenshot of our list submission page.
We just need to add the user profile data to this form and follow on-screen instructions. It’s easy and quick.
Step 7: Improving design of the WordPress people directory
To present the directory professionally, we’ll use a premium Business Directory Plugin template. For this tutorial, we’ll use the Elegant Business theme.
We’ve taken a screenshot of the listing archive to show you. Check it out!
The single listing detail view looks like the below one.
Also, our plugin works with any drag and drop site builder. It’s a complete directory solution so you don’t need to buy Office 365 or SharePoint Online.
Even any form builder plugin is not needed for the core directory system. Business Directory Plugin is sufficient for itself!
Do you want to make the people directory private? Please see our alumni directory tutorial where we’ve shown how to make the directory content private.
And that's it! Our people directory is now ready.
If you want, you can use Google Analytics to see the traffic stats including the profile page visits. This can give you a view of who is the most popular in your community! Fun, right?
Learn More: How to Create a WordPress Contact Directory
Business Directory Plugin has many features that you can explore and use on your people directory site. We hope this tutorial has helped you get started. Please share your thoughts via comments!
Ready to launch a WordPress people directory? Get Business Directory Plugin now and build the people listings site today!
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