4 Different Ways To Create An Online Directory (CMS, Website Builder, Directory Software, Programming)

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Online Directories are not just for Business owners and entrepreneurs. With the available technologies, you can easily create an online directory and maintain it easily on your own.

These technologies make it possible to easily start with an online directory. Well, there are multiple ways to start an online directory. There are different technologies.

While some are website builders – allowing you to create a site without technical know-how, some are programming platforms for the professional programmers to create a custom website with their design and programming skills.

In this article, we have discussed the four different ways through which you can create an online directory website and it’s pros and cons. We intend to help you choose a platform that best fits your requirements, so read the pros and cons and decide for yourself.

The four ways different ways to create online directories:

CMS like WordPress

There are different CMSs that you can use to create an online directory website. These Content Management Systems are easy to use and are good for the beginners as well as the experts.

Your online directory website, will obviously have a lot of data. Therefore, a content management system can really help you. These systems are for websites for publishing content, search & retrieval management, etc. which is exactly what a directory website requires.

Content Management systems like Joomla, WordPress, and Drupal are very commonly used for different types of websites. They are best for blogs and news/magazine website because of their SEO friendliness, but they are equally great for other websites.

WordPress for online Directory websites

WordPress is by far the most popular Content Management System. I find WordPress really easy to use, and organized. The back end options are intuitive and the complete process of installing and using WordPress is simple.

Even if you have never use WordPress before, you can download it for FREE, install it in your local/test environment, and try it for yourself. The process of using WordPress for building an online directory is simple:

  • Download & install WordPress
  • Download & install WordPress theme
  • Use the Customization options available in the WP Theme to personalize your site
  • Start adding listings

The first step is generally eliminated with the advanced hosting services available nowadays. A few years back, when I wanted to start my WordPress website, I could start easily with the inbuilt option “build with WordPress” available with the host.

With that option available with almost all the hosting providers, you can just skip the step to manually download and install WordPress.

Pros & Cons of WordPress for Directory

Advantages of WordPress for Directory website building 

  • Very easy to build, very easy to maintain
  • Hundreds of pre-designed, customizable templates to choose from
  • Freedom to choose the hosting of your choice and change it as and when required
  • Responsive and Mobile friendly templates for best user experience
  • Different plugins to include more features into your website
  • Very flexible, can even use advanced programming to include new features
  • SEO friendly platforms
  • There are page builder plugins for easy drag & drop page builders

Cons of WordPress for Directory website building 

  • Requirement to look for your hosting provider
  • A little learning curve to get familiar with the theme options for customization

Website builders

To create an online directory website, you can rely on the website builders too. The website builders, as the name suggests, are easy tools to create beautiful websites on your own.

These website builders can used by anyone to create websites on their own. No need to write a line of code for designing or programming. Do it all by yourself.

The website builders are generally self hosted. The popular website builders like wix, bigrock, godaddy can help you get started in just minutes.

All you need to do is register, pay a fixed fee and get started. There are tools and options, and design templates to choose from. So to create your site – you just register, choose a domain name, pick a template and than customize it using the intuitive options.

These were the typical steps to create your site with website builders. However, instead of relying on general purpose website builders, you can go for Directory software – specialized website builders for directory website, to create an effective directory website.

Directory Software for online directory websites

One of the quickest and easiest options to create a directory website, is by using the directory software available as SAAS. These Software as a service platforms like eDirectory, Brilliant Directory & Wild Apricot let you easily create beautiful directories without writing a line of code.

These software tools come with all the basic facilities inbuilt: Listings, custom fields, user registration, paid submission systems, mobile apps, multi site support, etc.

The directory software comes with all the options to let you easily manage it with inbuilt tools and features. Some of the directory software also lets you create mobile apps for your online directory.

This platform comes with option to add new features into your directory website. However, these features may come at a price, even though some basic addons are generally offered for free.

Pros and cons of directory software

Directory Software is best for those who want a quick start, and professional grade features without investing much time. Here are a few advantages as well as disadvantages of using directory software to create your online directory.

Pros of Directory Software

  • No setup, no installation, a quick and easy start
  • Pay and start with your website right away
  • No need to look for hosting services
  • These platforms are generally very easy to use and maintain
  • 24X7 expert support at your fingertips

Cons of Directory Software 

  • Expensive because of monthly subscription fee
  • Cannot pick a host of your choice
  • The features are limited to those offered by the software platform
  • You can integrate additional features but at a price


Even when this is the age of website builder and quick software that can be used by anyone, there are some

Today, CMS like WordPress powers 34% of the websites on the internet. Moreover, there are other tools and software that you can use to create websites very easily.

So, programming for creating directory websites is only used either by expert programmers, or by those who want to create tailor made website, with distinct set of features, not easily found on other platforms.

Pros and Cons having your directory built by Programmers

There are both – advantages as well as disadvantages of using programming languages to create websites. However, you can choose the relevant platform or programming depending on your requirement.

Pros of building websites with programming 

  • Custom made website of your choice
  • Expensive as compared to other platforms
  • You can extend features by further tweaks in program files
  • Design and features can be tailor made, exactly how you want

Cons of building website with Programming

  • Difficult to deploy and setup as compared to others
  • Not very convenient to manage for non-programmers
  • Is expensive to get created, maintain, etc
  • May need a lot of tweaking and professional every time you need a minor change in your directory
  • Hosting and domain name expenses

Wrapping Up

There are different options, and you must choose wisely, an option that best fits your requirements.

If you have a tight budget and want a lot of flexibility and options at one price, you can choose a WordPress theme. However, do your research before you settle on a platform. Check that it has to offer everything you want, check the platform’s features are extensible. If you have a feature plan for the future, you must make sure that the platform will let you add it easily, at little or except-able additional expense.

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