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Before buying any directory theme…

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When you are going to create a global directory site, it requires a lot of planning in choosing the right tools and solutions for it! You can opt for WordPress Directory themes or a hosted directory software solution to create your online directory website.

The most important things that you should look for is not just the design or even maps but the things that you will require after building up your site to serve your business purpose.

While deciding and comparing themes to make up your mind, knowing the motive behind the theme creation and on what base it has been created helps a lot in reaching to your decision.

Templatic has pioneered the directory kind of theme in the market with the theme GeoPlaces. And taking this legacy further, Directory theme has been created on the base of the real suggestions and feedback of real users who have been using these kinds of sites and make money out of it. So, here are some points that you should look upon before buying any directory theme.

Really Global?

Global site requires lot of things which are not required by the normal sites. It is like being ready with your large and secure sea vessel before getting into an ocean as you cannot afford a risk of going there with a small boat! There is a difference between “can create” approach and a theme specially targeted making it possible. So, to know whether the solution you are going for serves your purpose or not, you should get the answers of certain questions like,

  1. Will you get countries/states/cities preloaded? And if yes then are they interdependent and grouped logically? This means that on changing country, it will change all the states as well accordingly.
  2. Can you add/edit the existing locations?
  3. Can you show a flag and a city description along with its name on your site?
  4. Is it possible to switch easily between the cities on your site?

Locations and your home page

 Themes are made keeping a target group of audience in the mind but still it is not practical and good to provide a rigid, stubborn option for all of them! When you are managing multiple cities, you might have majority of your clients from a particular city and so you want to set it as a default city of your home page but this will not be the case once your client base starts growing in various cities and countries!

At that point of time, your requirement would be to redirect users to their nearest city available on your site. So, taking up this thing in consideration is equally important. The solution that you are going for must provide you such flexible options keeping future paths in the mind.

Is there something more than a map?

When it is global, maps are required but don’t you think having just maps is an old thing! Does it provide a map search too? This means that when you type in a key word, it will show you the relevant listings right away on the map.

Also, it has been seen practically that when you have lots of listings at nearby locations, the map starts looking clumsy with lots of map marker icons on it, so this is also a feature to be looked upon that does it provide a cluster effect that helps in solving it?

Listing manually? Old idea!

When you already have number of listings with you, why you should insert them manually? The theme must have an option to upload bulk data from the back-end itself. Also, till what extent you can upload the data matters the most.

As a part of the conclusion of the discussion with our clients, it is a fact that real and successful sites are community driven where clients and users take active part in the site listings and other activities and so we can say that adding things only from admin back-end is quite an out dated thing now! It should be possible to create a submit forms using which your clients can have their listings themselves on your site.

Easy data export

Data is something that may cost you a lot if you loose it, especially when it is of your global directory! So, there must be an option of bulk data export right at the admin back-end using which you can have easy data back-ups.

Not every submit form can be equal

After building up your site, when it starts getting popular where you have different post types, diversely popular categories and their unique purposes, you cannot have and use the same submit form for each of them on your site. Submit forms must have different custom fields to be category specific and post type specific. So, another thing that you should be concerned about, is this. Your selected tool must be flexible enough to let you create a specific submit form.

For example, you cannot have “registration” for the post type “Place” on your site but you surely want it when it is for “events”.

Adding your desired custom fields to your forms

Making a well thought site requires well thought forms to take inputs from the users and as no theme can provide you static custom fields for all purpose, it should give you a space where you can create it yourself as per your requirement.

Now, when it is about input, you cannot create the same kind of fields for all required information. For example, you should not create a text box type of field to take the “Gender” input from the user, you need to have radio button for that. So, theme that foresees all such requirement is a good option.

Something more than creating price package

Just having an option to create price package is not enough. You must check for the practicality as well. It should be possible to create numerous price packages that can be applied to any and all the post types you have on your site. Similarly, it should also be possible to use the same price package for all of the post types on your site.

Another thing you should look for is, it should have the option of payment recurrence. Making your regular clients and members buy service manually each time the package expires is not a cool thing! Instead there should be an option where you can just set the renewal date on which user will be charged automatically and his package will get renewed.

Charging more for certain categories of the same post type

One of the best ways to judge any feature is its futuristic way to handle the things.

There is a general perception that creates an illusion in the mind of a site creator that this is just a start of my site right now and if gets popular, I will be including some of the other features as well! But actually what happens is, we always create anything to get success and not the failure, and including some of the features later costs you more as well as takes lot of time and hard work, then why not have them at the time of creating the site itself!

The same way, some of your categories get so popular on the site that you might want to charge extra for letting your users post in it and at that point of time it should be possible to have it with your chosen solution.

Featured listings – An important business strategy

Having a global directory site, good client base and good site traffic takes your demand higher in your clients and users. And it will be natural that they will be eager to have their listings at the top of your home page or category page. So, this kind of option should be there with you using which you can satisfy them and earn some extra money as well. If your chosen tool answers this question in yes, it’s a good deal then!

Extendable payment methods

Usually, there are some default payment methods to accept online payments but are not always useful if you do not fall under the active area of payment gateway operators. And so, easy payment extension becomes the core requirement.

In case if it is not possible to have the exact payment method you want then your theme code should be customization friendly enough to extend payment method adding your own code to it.

Promotion and coupons

Every business requires promotion and so has to make some sort of efforts for that. If the tool has that in built for you then it becomes lot easier to deal with the related stuff as the code is being written that way.

Create, manage and promote community

Like we talked earlier that real and successful sites are always community driven where there clients and users take active part in the listings and other activities, so the solution you are looking for must meet this criterion too.

As people can register themselves with you and can list their listings on your site, two things that you must have in your theme are,

  1. A total dedicated author page where all his listings, favorite lists, his profile information etc are listed which he can manage it himself using his login credentials
  2. A list of authors on your site which can be seen by you being an admin as well as other users on your site with all their specific author page.

SEO and its after effects

Creating a GOOD site is fruitful only when you have equally good SEO done for it. So an ideal theme must have the SEO friendly code and a compatibility to use any powerful SEO plugin with it.

Author comment moderation – Another tool to earn!

On creating a global directory that may have number of authors on your site with their specific listings, it is obvious that they will have reviews/comments too on their listings. And not all the comments will be desirable by an author. As an admin, you can solve their problem very easily and interestingly if your theme solution provides you such a feature where you can let them moderate comments and charge as well.

These were mere few lookups that you should have before making up your final decision of choosing any tool to create your global directory site.

You can also check out the feature tour of Directory theme or can test it yourself for free.