Templatic has pioneered the directory kind of theme on the market with the GeoPlaces theme. Taking this legacy further, this theme has been created based on real suggestions and feedback from real users who have been using these kinds of sites and making money out of it. So, here are some points that you should look out for before buying any directory theme.
Global sites require lots of things which are not required by the local sites. It is like being ready with your large and secure sea vessel before getting into an ocean as you cannot afford the risk of going there with a small boat! There is a difference between “can create” approach and a theme that has been specially targeted for 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:
- 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.
- Can you add/edit the existing locations?
- Can you show a flag and a city description along with its name on your site?
- Is it possible to switch easily between the cities on your site?
Locations and your home page
Themes are made with engaging a target group of audience in the mind but still it is not practical and good to provide a inflexible option for all of them! When you are managing multiple cities, you might have the majority of your clients from a particular city so you might want to set that city as the default city on 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 cluttered with lots of map marker icons on it, so this is also a feature to be looked for which does provides 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 an 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, this is especially the case when it is of your global directory! So, there must be an option to 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 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. Another thing that you should be concerned about, is that your chosen platform must be flexible enough to let you create a specific submission 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-out site requires well thought-out forms to take inputs from the users and as no theme can provide you static custom fields for all purposes, it should give you an option to 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 a radio button for that. So, theme that foresees all such requirement is a good option.
Something more than creating price packages
Just having an option to create price packages 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, that it should have the option of payment recurrence. Making your regular clients and members buy a 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 users can be charged automatically and the package gets renewed.
Charging more for certain categories of the same post type
One of the best ways to judge any feature is it’s flexible enough to handle what gets thrown at it.
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!
In 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 them 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,
- A total dedicated author page where all of the author listings, favorite lists, author profile information etc are listed which let the user manage it all using own login credentials
- 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 own listings, it is obvious that they will have reviews/comments too on their listings. And not all the comments will be desirable by a listing owner. 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 for this extra option.
These were just a few points that you should consider before making up your final decision of choosing the platform to create your global directory site on.