Not so long ago, new specific category of catalogue websites emerged into the world of WordPress templates. Directory themes create a unique opportunity for the local and foreign companies to present themselves, as well as providing online money-making opportunity at the same time. Regardless if we’re talking about restaurant directory theme, directory listing of cultural events or a general directory portal containing many different kinds of categories.

There are 5 common key must-haves behind the success of every directory website.

Great Idea

A great idea is the first step where to start when building directory website.

The answers to the following questions may help you to find it quicker:

  • What should the directory listing be about?
  • How do you plan to persuade customers to present their business at your website?
  • How do you want to take over the competition on the directory portal market?

There are unlimited possibilities what types of businesses can be presented on the directory listing portals. The most promoted ones are the listings of gastro business for example pubs, coffee places, restaurants or clubs. But there are many of these kinds of listings. Therefore it is better to try a completely different approach – creation one of directory theme that is focused on a specific area. For example on craftsmen, wedding salons or exclusive events that are taking place in your home town.

Such specifically oriented directory website has much higher prerequisite to attract not only potential visitors but especially potential advertisers.

5 must-haves for your WordPress Directory Theme

Multi-purpose Theme

When choosing a suitable directory theme, you need to consider also versatility of the theme.  Adjusting theme to your actual needs, no limitations in 2 or 5 years. Also you should consider possibility to transform your directory website to a standard business website. Variability of the directory theme depends also on its functionalities and features that are built in. E.g. if the theme contains widget for Pricing Table, what are different Blog options and post details, how the members of the team can be presented in About us section etc.

Good Multi-purpose Theme should also have a user-friendly Page Builder. Page Builder should be comfortable to use by the administrator with no programming skills. Some Page Builders provide quick editing of directory theme directly from your mobile device. This is a feature making it worth the money to purchase such a directory Multi-purpose Theme.

Features & directory plugins for money-making

Directory theme is primarily dedicated to building an online business via advertising of businesses, branches or services – commonly named as listings. The high quality directory theme should contain all the required features for setting up of individual business & pricing strategy:

  • Package settings based on the number of items and other functionalities
  • Functionality for items adding directly by the business owners based on the registration (free of charge or paid service)
  • Payment gates for the payment of registration fees
  • Functionality for additional promo at the set fee e.g. via Featured items
  • Possibility to include ads from various providers like AdSense, insertion of ad banners via admin interface

Multilingual environment

Unfortunately most of directory portals do not offer multilingual plugins suport, what is a great pity! Nowadays it is a must to have a multilingual directory theme. As soon as the website adapts on the market and increases the number of advertised items, expansion to other markets in surrounding countries is very likely. Therefore a theme which supports multilingual interface is a guarantee that as soon as you need to add another language to your website, you will be able to do it without any problems. The way how it works is that once you have a multilingual-ready directory theme, you can then just install a language plugin.

There are two types of multilingual Directory themes:

  • Themes compatible with third-party multilingual plugins (e.g. with WPML plugin)
  • Themes with own multilingual plugin (e.g. AIT Languages plugin)

An advantage of directory themes that support popular third-party plugins is the community who uses them. The benefit of themes which have their own multilingual plugin is that they are created by one team of developers, therefore regular updates of all the related functionalities are provided.

Good quality hosting

For smooth directory portal operation and fast item loading, it is necessary to have an adequate hosting that can cover greater demands of your website. Items put the highest load on the server, especially when there is more than 1k of them. There is lot of data linked to items e.g. images, maps, GPS coordinates or links within taxonomy. All of this has an impact on the required disk size, RAM or allowed bandwidth. When choosing the right hosting for your directory theme, thinking ahead is the way to go – it is better to choose hosting that has better parameters right at the beginning so that there is sufficient capacity for portal growth.

High quality premium hosting is the key investment for any directory theme. Never use Free hosting or the cheapest hosting package for directory & listings themes. None of the Free & low cost hostings can meet the technical requirements that this type of website needs.

Another hosting requirements are: PHP 7 (or above), fast database (MySQL version 5.6 at minimum), simplicity of WordPress directory theme installation, sufficient storage, various security options, website back up or availability of SSL certificates.

Build your WordPress directory theme like a pro

First step of your own online directory business is to come up with a unique project – once you have a great idea, it’s a half-win. Next make sure that the WordPress directory theme you’ve chosen is multi-purpose, multilingual and has enough variable functionalities. And don’t forget to find high quality hosting – so that your directory & listings website provides reliable experience even once it contains lot of items and there’s high traffic of visitors and data.


This post is by a guest author, if you would like to submit a guest post to WPLift, we'd love to hear from you. Please get in touch.

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