A directory is a vague term based on how they’re used. However, all online directories typically have the same functionality, where it delivers business or personal information based on a location or category. Yelp, one of the more popular directories online, delivers local business information based on the user’s location. Angie’s List is also considered a directory, yet it connects people with contractors and professionals for tasks like plumbing and roofing. To make your own directory like one of these, it requires a WordPress directory plugin.
You don’t need a plan to overtake Yelp or create an enterprise of your business directory. Many companies use online directories for internal or external purposes. A real estate firm might share a directory on its website with a list of all the agents and which areas they cover. A law firm may have a directory of its employees, or maybe a list of key business partners.
Directories serve as user-friendly databases, where they provide search bars, pictures, location information, and contact details. More often than not you see a map, like how Best Buy or Target have public directories for customers to find all store locations. Even Google and Facebook provide business directory tools for those seeking out quality products and services.
Much of the decision depends on the type of directory you want to launch. Is it to make money by charging local businesses to pay for ads? Then you’ll want some features for collecting those payments. Is the directory being used to reveal information about people and not businesses? You’ll want to find one that has fields for personal and contact information.
However, all of the best WordPress directory plugins have several things in common. Here’s what you should look for during your search:
Feel free to use this shortlist to test the waters and play around with each plugin yourself. We also recommend reading further, since we break down each of the WordPress directory plugins to find the best features and reasons for going with each.
The Business Directory Plugin includes all core directory features such as fully customizable form fields, image support, and payment acceptance. These core features are all free when you download the main plugin, but you also have the option to download some add-ons for a premium price. A package with all of the add-ons goes for $199.99 (onetime fee) while the individual modules start at $69.99.
Some of the extra modules include:
As you can see, to turn your directory into something as powerful as Yelp, you’ll have to pay for some of the add-ons. For instance, the rating module is going to cost you that extra $69.99, or the zip search tool is going to cost you as well.
Without any of the add-ons, you still have a solid directory. It even provides support for Authorize.net if you’d like to accept payments for business listings. We like the Business Directory Plugin for those who want a fully functional directory without having to pay anything. The reviews and ratings are quite impressive, and the plugin is lightweight and ready to go on your website. It’s also nice because you can buy some additions for only the features you need.
GeoDirectory allows you to turn any WordPress theme into a powerful, fast directory. The plugin is more focused on generating a global business directory, but you can cut that down into certain sections of the world or only cater to your neighborhood. It’s a multisite compatible plugin, which makes it excellent for building a network of directories or installing it on multiple client sites. The majority of the plugin is given to you for free, but several add-ons are sold for adding events, multilocation, pricing, reviews, and BuddyPress integrations. These add-ons typically start at $19.
One of the main reasons I enjoy GeoDirectory is because of the beautiful search interface. The plugin has a frontend form for both regular users and merchants who want to add listings. The business pages are brought up in order of the proximity to the user, with large, clickable thumbnails to the left and a beautiful Google Map next to it. When someone clicks on a business they can search for directions right from your website. There’s even a CSV import and export tool for filling multiple listings at one time or moving them to another site.
With GeoDirectory’s lightweight, scalable interface, it’s one of the few free directory plugins useful for massive growth and lots of traffic. The developer also sells directory themes if you’re starting a site from scratch.
If you’re looking for more flexibility with your WordPress directory plugin, the Advanced Classifieds & Directory Pro plugin is right up your alley. It’s a strong solution that integrates into any existing website, and it supports any kind of directories such as a movie rating site, a platform for classifieds, or a travel guide. As with the other two plugins we’ve already talked about, Advanced Classifieds & Directory Pro can be downloaded for free. The developers also sell several premium add-ons for upgrades. Some of the add-ons provide tools for WooCommerce support, PayPal, Stripe payments, and a listings slider. They start at around $19.99 per add-on.
As you might notice, the add-on library for the Advanced Classifieds plugin is much smaller than the competition. However, this is mainly because most of the features are already packed into the core plugin. In fact, the only thing you really have to pay for is some sort of payment processor tool.
The unlimited custom fields in the Advanced Classifieds plugin are enough to make us recommend at least trying out the plugin. You can add anything from radio buttons to input boxes, and it allows you to assign categories to each of your listings as well. The user functions are also quite impressive, with a whole area for businesses to manage their listings, renew listings, view payment history, and more. An offline payment feature is included. So, if you’d like to accept checks through the mail or from local businesses, that’s a possibility without having to pay for one of the premium payment add-ons.
The Connections Business Directory plugin combines simplicity with unique features, allowing you to create anything from a small contact book to an empire with thousands of worldwide business listings. The WordPress directory plugin was built to be as compatible and configurable as possible, making it one of the more flexible solutions on this list. The support from the developers is also outstanding.
The business model for this plugin involves giving away the core plugin for free. Then, you have access to several free add-ons, some of which include features for toolbars, logins, and birthday emails. The developers also sell premium extensions, which range in price but don’t go anywhere above $75 for a single website. In fact, some of the simpler extensions are listed at $5. As for the premium extensions, you ‘ll find a decent list of options like a CSV import tool, an option for more advanced forms, and a widget pack.
I also enjoy that the plugin developers have several premium templates. This way, you don’t have to customize and design the directory yourself. You might want to make a small staff directory or a full business directory. Both of those are possible with the templates. The Connections Business Directory also provides excellent support for developers, with open development going on at Github and over 180 action hooks and 300 filters. APIs are open for things like settings, email, and the fragment cache–so the customization and scaling opportunities seem endless with this plugin.
The good news about the Sabai Directory plugin is that it sells for only $29. That gets you six months of support from the developer. This one-time payment also provides every feature in the plugin, so there’s no need to pay for additional directory add-ons. Sabai is sold through the CodeCanyon marketplace, and the reviews and ratings are positive. The plugin is made to create a directory site structure for businesses, restaurants, and stores. It also comes with multiple maps that can be switched using Google Maps.
After my review of the plugin, I started to realize that Sabai is one of the best bets for getting close to a platform like Yelp or Google Places. You can adjust whether the listings are shown on a grid or map and insert a search bar for typing in keywords, categories, and locations.
The custom fields are created and managed with a visual form editor. It’s not as sleek as a drag and drop editor, but those who know WordPress should be fine. The fully interactive map is a feature to keep an eye on. With its hover and click animations and draggable areas, it’s easy for users to find the businesses they want. Considering all of the features are included in the base price, you can expect more advanced tools like reviews, ratings, multi-location support, voting, page flagging, email notifications, and media uploads.
You can even set it up to collect recurring payments through either Stripe or PayPal.
The Web 2.0 Directory plugin is another fine solution found through the CodeCanyon marketplace. It’s a little pricier than the SabaiDirectory plugin, but at $34 you can’t complain. This alternative features Google Maps quite a bit, with maps and marker icons to show off the businesses in your directory. All of the search is done right on the directory homepage, with customizable search options and a tool for honing in on the radius of the user.
Web 2.0 Directory connects with a few payment modules like PayPal and WooCommerce, and you can even link it up with YouTube, and of course, Google Maps. Because of this YouTube integration, you can put both videos and images in your directory listings.
A standout feature from the Web 2.0 Directory plugin involves the different ways to collect money from merchants. Usually, these plugins stick with the recurring model or a one-time fee to post a listing. Web 2.0 Directory takes it to a new level, with payments for listing activations, renewals, upgrades, downgrades, and listing claims. You can also sell packages of listings for companies that might want multiple pages. As you can see, the Web 2.0 Directory plugin seems to focus quite a bit on selling your directory pages.
Name Directory takes an alternative approach to the usual “business index” plugin. It’s more like a glossary, where the admin generates a list of names or terms and shares them on a page for internal or external use. It seems to make the most sense for when you actually need to make an online glossary of terms, or for when your company wants to list out personal information for employees. The Name Directory plugin is completely free, but you won’t get any support besides the WordPress forums area.
After creating the directory list, the plugin presents a shortcode that you place anywhere on your site, whether it is a widget or post or page. This makes it easy to implement the directory, and you don’t have to start with a completely new website to make it work. There is also a bulk import function for when you have a large list of people, terms, or businesses and don’t want to spend all that time typing it in yourself.
The LDD Directory Lite plugin is an easy to install and free solution for those who want a directory on their WordPress website. The plugin can also be downloaded from the LDD Web Design site, along with the various other extensions for things like social sharing, social logins, imports, exports, and reviews. As mentioned, the core plugin doesn’t have a price tag, but the extensions vary in price. For instance, the Directory Social Share extension is listed as $9.99 and the Directory Social Login option is $19.99. Only five extensions are listed on the site, so you can assume you get most of the features in the core plugin. Not to mention, $10 to $20 is pretty reasonable for an extension.
With LDD Directory Lite you take a shortcode and add it to any page or post on your website. This automatically generates the directory, making for one of the more lightweight, yet powerful solutions on this page. You can customize the look and feel of the WordPress directory plugin however you want and connect to Google Maps and a social media website.
The WordPress directory plugin has a clean and somewhat modern design, and it’s mainly for those who don’t want to mess with too many features. It gets the job done and doesn’t weigh down your website.
Consider the Directory Pro plugin if you’re interested in an almost playful, yet professional, design with an advanced payments system that accepts bids and other interesting payment methods. This is a WordPress directory plugin that’s sold through the CodeCanyon marketplace. Therefore, you pay $34 as a onetime fee, then you can upgrade your support length to 12 months for $11.25. The listing plugin seems to work best for local or worldwide business placement, with a beautiful page for your listing and a spot for companies to manage how their online presence looks.
The standout feature involves how you earn money with the plugin. You can basically charge for your listing through a variety of ways, including through a bidding system or when people book appointments. You can also charge folks when they make reservations, view listings, claim listings, or even just to access the website. The bidding module works by asking companies to put in a certain number they’re willing to pay to be seen higher in the directory.
The BePro Listings plugin is free, but the BePro Software company sells both themes and add-ons to expand the functionality of your WordPress directory. For example, one of the themes sells for $4.99 and turns your entire site into a classifieds platform. The add-ons seem to hover around $20, and they provide tools for galleries, documents, audio, video, vehicle listings, and real estate. We like the plugin for brands in those particular niches, but it’s also useful if you’re trying to make a directory with a significant amount of media support.
When you take a look at the BePro Listings demos, it’s clear that there are few limitations when uploading your media. You might have to grab an add-on to implement audio, video, interactive maps, and more, but many of the companies already using the plugin have created highly visual listings.
We have ten viable WordPress directory plugins on this list. Hopefully, we’ve trimmed down your list quite a bit, but you might still be wondering which of these is the perfect solution for your website.
That’s it! If you have any other questions about the best WordPress directory plugins, or you’d like to share your own experiences with the options above, let us know in the comments.
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