Directories can be profitable as a stand alone website or as an addition to an existing website. WordPress lets you do both.
If you want to develop a directory website from scratch, there are a number of fantastic directory WordPress themes available; including our very own eList theme.
WordPress plugins let you integrate a directory into an existing website design. This can be a great way of displaying useful resources and relevant links to your readers and customers. For example, you could add a directory of local businesses in your area, or list great hotels from a city.
Let us take a closer look at some of the best themes and plugins that are available to WordPress users.
eList (Included in Elegant Themes Membership)
eList is a dedicated directory WordPress theme that is available in unlimited colors. It uses WordPress posts to store directory listings. Information such as a company’s URL and name are denoted. The location of a company can also be displayed using Google maps.
Visitors can search for listings using a drop down category menu. You can profit by charging users through PayPal to submit new listings. A featured listing option can also be enabled.
Explorable (Included in Elegant Themes Membership)
Another good option for Elegant Themes customers is Explorable. It is one of my favorite Elegant Themes designs.
The theme displays a full screen Google Maps map on the home page. Each directory listing is denoted on the map with a pin. Visitors can leave ratings and zoom in and out the map to see more or less directory listings.
Obviously, Explorable would be a good option for a directory related to travel; such as hotels or great destinations. However, I think it would be great for a local directory website too. As with all Elegant Themes designs, it supports unlimited color schemes, many additional page templates, and shortcodes for styling. The theme looks great on mobile devices too.
Directory Theme ($99)
Templatic’s Directory Theme is a flexible directory solution that displays a Google Maps powered map on the home page with a number of unique pins denoting directory listings. Listings display information such as contact address, visitor rating, images, and map.
The theme comes with over 200 countries and 4,000 states preloaded into the theme. You can monetize your directory by selling advertising space or charging visitors to add a listing. An event manager, advertising manager, and a ratings system, are also built into the theme.
Directory Theme ($99)
PremiumPress also sell a theme called Directory Theme. I am not sure which theme inspired which, however the structure of the design in the demo is almost equal to its counterpart on Templatic. However, don’t dismiss this theme yet, as it features a drag and drop visual page builder that lets you customize your design in any way you want.
An advertising manager is included with the theme to help you manage ads. You can also sell packages to visitors for advertisements and listings and charge customers more for additional features such as Google Maps, highlighted listings, or placement at the top of the category. It is possible to charge different amounts for submissions to different categories too.
GeoTheme is a global directory theme that was created for yellow pages and city directories. It places directory listings on a Google Maps powered map and uses custom post types for places and events.
Visitors can submit directory listings and be charged a recurring fee for doing so. You can also offer discount coupon codes to encourage people to submit to your directory.
Vantage is a business directory WordPress theme that displays a large search bar under the main navigation menu. A Google Maps powered map is displayed on the home page, with featured listings and regular listings, displayed underneath.
Visitors can leave ratings and reviews about listings. You can also profit by charging for normal and featured listings. Listings can also be added manually by yourself and then claimed later by business owners. I found the overall look of Vantage a bit dull, though there is no denying it has a lot of great features.
Directory is a cool WordPress theme that can be used to create a large directory. The home page can display a map, an image, a slider, or even Google StreetView. The search bar is practical, allowing visitors to search via keyword, location, and category.
Listings can be sold to visitors via PayPal and there are many advertising spaces integrated into the theme. Your mobile users will also be pleased with the optimized mobile design.
The first plugin in our list is GeoDirectory; a plugin that lets you easily add a business directory into your existing website. It is a versatile plugin that lets you modify your front end form using a drag and drop form builder.
Directory listings display images, contact information, and reviews and ratings from visitors. 12 unique widgets are included with the plugin, such as a Google Maps widget. There are 12 widget areas to place them into your design.
A number of premium add ons are available that add additional features such as a payment manager for charging for submissions and an events on. These retail at $45 each. A few simpler add ons are available cheaper. Individually, these add ons are cheap; however it would cost you hundreds of dollars to add purchase all add ons. It’s hard to complain about this when the free version has so many great features.
Simple Intranet Directory (FREE / $95)
Simple Intranet Directory is a WordPress plugin that can be used to insert an employee directory into a post or page using a shortcode. It uses a custom post type entitled biographies in order to store information about staff.
I found the free version of the plugin very limiting. When I installed it on my test website, all it did was display a list of users and their images. However the premium version of the plugin looks much better. It features a searchable employee directory, Google Calendar syncing, custom widgets, and more.
Connections is a free business directory plugin that displays a large amount of information about listings. This includes name, address, image, logo, messenger ID’s, email addresses, links, notes, and a large biography. Each listing can be assigned as an individual, family, or organisation. Different fields are displayed for each type. Directory listings can be assigned to categories too.
The plugin comes with four free templates for publishing your directory. Each template displays your directory information using a different structure. A number of premium templates and extensions are also available for the plugin. These start from as low as $2.99. Packs are available that contain all templates and extensions. These will save you money if you plan on purchasing a lot of add ons.
Business Directory Plugin (FREE)
Business Directory can be used to build local business directories like Yelp. You can create listings for free or charge businesses to have their business published on your website. Businesses can also be charged for having their listing highlighted.
Eight premium modules are available for the plugin. Modules include a ratings module, file upload module, and a Google Maps module. These retail at $49.99 each; however you can purchase all eight for $199.99.
Gravity Forms Directory (FREE)
If you use Gravity Forms on your website, you may want to consider trying the free plugin Gravity Forms Directory. It allows visitors to submit listings to your website using a simple form. You can then use the submitted entries to build a directory.
The plugin is setup so that fields and columns are organised through Gravity Forms. The directory can then be placed on our website by inserting a shortcode.
Directory is a premium directory plugin from WPMUDev that can be used to build any type of directory. You can allow visitors to submit listings free or charge them for submission via PayPal or Authorize.net.
The directory is added to your website using a shortcode. This allows you to build your directory using WordPress pages. For example, you can modify the shortcode to only display certain categories, or use a shortcode to display a button for submitting a new listing.
WP Local Plus ($39)
WP Local Plus is a premium business directory plugin that supports Google Maps, discount coupon codes, user ratings, and user reviews. It features an built in advertising system for generating income.
Two versions of the plugin are available. One focuses on USA and Canada. The other has been configured for international websites. Both versions are available at $39 and support one domain and one year of updates. At $67, their developer license offers more value for money, as it allows you to add an unlimited number of directories to an unlimited number of domains.
WP Business Directory ($15)
WP Business Directory is a useful directory plugin that lets you integrate Google Adsense ads onto Google Maps powered maps. It lets you charge visitors for submissions via PayPal. A CSV import feature is also available.
Six widgets come packaged with the plugin including categories, tag cloud, premium company list and recent company list. There is also a theme editor to help you modify the output.
Web 2.0 Directory ($26)
Web 2.0 Directory is a versatile directory plugin that can be used to build a directory portal, a classifieds section, and more. It supports Google Maps, ratings for listings, and PayPal subscriptions for charging visitors for submissions.
The layout of your directory can be changed easily by using one of five available shortcodes. Widgets are also included for search, categories, listings, and social media accounts. I was impressed with the overall look and feel of the plugin. It looks very professional and the option to charge for submissions makes it a good plugin for those who are trying to monetize their website.
SabaiDirectory is a fantastic business directory plugin that supports interactive Google Maps and paid submissions via PayPal. Listings can be displayed in a list, a grid, or on a map. Visitors will love the search functionality that the plugin offers. It allows them to search by keyword, category, distance, and location. They can also claim listings that you have added manually.
The directory can be added to your website using shortcodes. Several shortcodes are available and each shortcode has multiple attributes available. This makes SabaiDirectory a highly versatile directory solution.
I hope you found this list of WordPress directory themes and plugins useful. If so, please subscribe to the Elegant Themes blog in order to get updates of our latest articles. Be sure to share your favorite WordPress directory plugin in the comment area below too 🙂
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