How to Make a Web Directory in WordPress

Looking to build a web directory? Websites like Yelp, Airbnb, and many others are examples of popular and successful web directories. Essentially, web directories are websites that collect and share data about people, events, places, or organizations, often for a fee.

A web directory can be complex and time-consuming to code from scratch, but with advancements in WordPress software capabilities, you can now build one with ease.

Here are three ways to get the job done:

Method 1: Building a Web Directory Using a Custom WordPress Directory Theme

This is possibly the most straightforward method of building a web directory. You can use a theme that has been custom-built for this, and all you have to do is simply upload your data, and customize the design theme’s features. There are several themes that come highly recommended. Here are the top three:

ListingPro is a WordPress theme that makes it easy to build any type of directory site. It includes a drag-and-drop page builder along with a form builder that helps you create customized forms for leads, listings, contact info, and more.

Other features include a built-in ad management tool, an event calendar, and support for more than 10 major payment processing systems. With this feature-rich theme, you don’t need any additional plugins to create your directory, which is a strong plus.

With its impressive collection of features and ease of use, Listify is one of the most popular directory themes on the market. The geolocation feature makes it easier for users to find listings close to them, and bookmarks allow users to save particular listings that may be of interest.

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It also offers features such as subscriptions, paid access, advertisements, and reservations that make it easy to monetize your directory, which will be an important consideration.

Javo Directory

Javo Directory is a WordPress directory theme based on Visual Composer. Much like ListingPro and Listify, this theme is feature-packed. To start with, visitors can interact with the listings on your page by leaving reviews and suggestions.

There’s also the option to allow customers to create profiles and rate businesses. The theme also offers over 100 pre-made templates that you can easily import and customize.

Should you use a Custom theme?

If you’re looking for a quick and easy solution, using a custom theme to build your web directory is an excellent option.

Pros:

Cons:

Building a Web Directory Using a Plugin

If you already have a theme installed on WordPress and you would prefer not to switch to a directory-specific theme, you can simply install a plugin that’s dedicated to creating directories.

These plugins integrate well with most themes and provide the core features to integrate a web directory into any kind of website. There are several out there, but here are a few of the best:

Business Directory Plugin

The Business Directory Plugin is a lightweight and easy-to-use plugin that comes with the most essential directory features for free. These include payment processing, customizable form fields, and media support. You also have the option of purchasing add-ons to get any additional features that you may need.

If you want to build a scalable business directory, GeoDirectory is a great option because it focuses on helping users create global business directories. That doesn’t mean you can’t use it for smaller and more targeted directories, however. The free version gives you an impressive collection of features that are sufficient for most projects. But you have the option to add certain features by purchasing add-ons if you’re looking for more.

Directory Pro

Directory Pro is a feature-packed plugin that gives you the tools to build unique directories that stand apart from the competition. It’s highly responsive, speed optimized, and SEO-friendly. It’s also very easy to use with a drag and drop editor that allows you to make changes without having to write any code.

Should You Use a Plugin?

Using a plugin is probably your best bet if you’d like to maintain your directory settings regardless of which theme you use, or if you don’t want to install a custom theme in the first place.

Pros:

Cons:

Building a Web Directory With Custom Post Types

While using a custom theme and plugins is relatively easy and straightforward, more experienced coders might prefer to create a web directory by crafting custom post types into a WordPress theme.

Perhaps you’re thinking of building a basic business directory like a real estate listing site, or a directory of law firms in your area. You can do this the manual way by using a combination of plugins such as the Custom Post Types plugin, Custom Fields plugin, and Elemntor Pro—one of the top WordPress page builders.

A better approach might be to write a bit of code into your WordPress theme. The steps are easy to follow. In our example, we’ll be adding a custom “listing” post type to the default 2021 WordPress theme, but you can use any multipurpose WordPress theme.

Before you begin, be sure to create a child theme, and back up your website.

First, in the WordPress backend, head over to Appearance > Theme Editor > Theme Functions (functions.php). Copy and paste in the following code at the bottom:

This code leverages the WordPress-specific PHP that allows you to register a custom post type without having to create it completely from scratch.

Update the file and refresh the page, and your dashboard should have a brand new menu item called “Listings”.

That’s it! To view all your listings, navigate to yoursitename.com/listings/. If you can’t view listings or the browser returns a 404 page, simply return to your WordPress dashboard, navigate to settings > permalinks and save permalink settings again. Your listings archive page should now be visible.

Building Your Web Directory

Building a web directory can be a smart way to build and run an online business. As we’ve shown, there are several methods you can use and lots of options you can pick from to execute each of these methods. Take advantage of these possibilities and start building your web directory today.

You might also consider taking on the challenge of building your business directory website from scratch. If you have coding skills, this could be a good idea that allows you to maintain control over the look and features of your website.

David Abraham
(5 Articles Published)

David is a WordPress lover who is passionate about helping small businesses grow!

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From David Abraham

David is a WordPress lover who is passionate about helping small businesses grow!

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Jeff Kerby

CEO | KERBCO Web Services