Directory Websites-Everything You Need to Know

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We are the WordPress directory theme Originals, The Masters, if you will. We know how directory websites work, what doesn’t work, and what should be working (we have quite the experience).

Sharing all the tips, tricks and secrets to help you with your directory or listings website is what we do best. From small to large, city to multi-city, to real estate to unique and new directories; We are here to help. 

So let’s talk directory.

Starting with the 3Ws and 1H Questions of Directory Websites.

4 Questions of Directory Websites:

  • What
  • Why
  • Where 
  • How 

WHAT is a Directory website?

Directories are website listings that are gathered into one platform. Directory owners allow other businesses to present or advertise their website on this specific platform.

Many have been reviewed and only allow certain websites to be presented. This gives an easy way to gather quick information all in one website. Directories can bring results for specified areas and searches depending on the topic, niche, or filter.

This can be a lucrative business if managed correctly, because businesses and companies will strive to be placed on your website.

Directories are also known as:

  • Web Directory
  • Search Directories
  • Listings
  • Link Directory

WHY a Directory Website?

Directories are a great way to make money.

As mentioned before, this can be a lucrative and passive way to make more income. Directories come with many ways to enhance monetization for your website, there are many ways to help with that (which we explain in detail)

People always need to find something.

Basically, and people use the internet to do just that. Finding and searching through blogs and suggestions aren’t the most efficient (unless you’re looking through our blogs)

Directories make looking for a certain topic easy, you can narrow down searches with filters and advanced searches

Directories target large groups of keywords.

Users utilize search engines to look for large group of keywords they are more likely to find your directory. This is due to the high volume of number of specific keywords given for the industry. As long as the links are kept updated and lead to respectable websites, Google will not penalize directory websites.

Many ready-made themes and templates (get to that later) have SEO optimized features already included, so you don’t have to worry about personally researching what that even means.

Directories will always be needed for old or new industries.

Whether you are wanting to start a directory with popular types of listings such as:

  • Real Estate Directories
  • Events and Festival Directories
  • Multi-City Directories
  • Job Directories
  • Restaurant/Food Directories
  • Hotel/Short Term Rental Directories

Or starting a unique or new type of directory, listing websites will always be needed.

WHERE Do I Set Up my Directory Website?

There are many options as to where.

The ways to go when choosing a platform or website builder can be vast. You can choose to outsource, or do it yourself. If you plan to do it yourself then there are options such as: Php scripts, Directory Softwares, and WordPress. Here is a quick Pros and Cons List to help you decide on which platform is right for you.

WordPress is highly suggested for directories because of the many capabilities with themes and plugins available for those who are not familiar with coding. (They also come coder friendly)

But many ask why WordPress?

  1. Most popular (With a Huge Community)
  2. Open sourced which means more options
  3. High customization
  4. Can handle powerful and complex databases
  5. Great for planning ahead

More information on Why WordPress.

If you have made it this far and are leaning towards the WordPress option (good choice) then the next question leads us to our H:

HOW Do I Set Up My Directory Website with WordPress?

3 Steps:

1. Pick a Domain Name

2. Purchase Domain 

3. Purchase Hosting


1 Step :

1. Purchase Hosting through BlueHost

I know what type of directory website I want, what next?

Next on the to-dos are deciding between a directory theme or directory plugin (both are pretty great) Which one (in our unbiased opinion) is completely up to what you find fits your needs more precisely.t

Themes are great for:

  • Beginners
  • Massive web directories
  • Specific niches and come already catered to that industry
  • Easy to Use and can handle becoming robust

Plugins are great for:

  • Integration into current WordPress website
  • Simple directory features
  • Keeping design and content as is
  • If directory website isn’t the main framework for your website.

We know how it is to try to find the best plugin for your needs so we have a must have checklist to evaluate each plugin or theme you are deciding. Make sure each one includes these features.

Must Have Checklist for Any Directory Plugin or Theme

(1) Front-end submissions: 

This allows businesses to submit their listings to your online directory . You’re also going to want an admin options that allows management of those submissions. Directories are based on this method, people can submit their company, product, service etc. but you need to be able to sort through, delete, add, and even charge submissions (great way to make money).

(2) Google Map Integration: 

Google Maps dominates many industries. It is important, especially for directories, to have the ability to integrate Google Map features for directions, distance, and a visual enhancement for the users. Many directories will come with full page map option and instant search results that show up on the homepage. Excellent for rapid user experience, and modern design.

(3) Administrator Custom Fields: 

This allows for customization of fields on listings, categories, locations and more. Without this the possibilities of your directory go out the window. Adding and removing of custom fields should be a top priority.

(4) Flexible Price Packages:

Packages are an easy way to charge for certain entries to your directory, and choosing how much for certain groups of packages is a great way to keep certain submissions in check. Another way to make money. See details.

(5) Google Analytics Compatible:

Compatibility for this plugin is crucial for reports and understanding your users. Features include real-time number of visitors, trends and statistics, bounce rates and more.

(6) Filter Searches for Users:

The main purpose for directory websites is to find the necessary company, service etc., for the users needs. Using a search system that is advanced and can filter out certain unwanted links is a top benefit of any directory website.

(7) Gallery Options:

Enhancing the experience of the user is given, and most directories include slide show galleries of the products or services. This is a highly recommended feature and can include many variations.

(8) Mobile responsive:

The most beneficial feature of any website now-a-days is being mobile responsive, not just mobile friendly. There are more devices out there than just mobile and desktops so allowing your directory to be completely optimized for any device is key. 

More information on mobile responsive and mobile friendly.

(9) Multilingual Capable:

Oh the possibilities of reach with a multilingual site.Multilingual is another must-have feature and many directory website make it a top priority for their business. Especially if this is a global website with a niche in different countries. More reach = more traffic for your website.

(10) Other Monetization Options:

Other options for making money through your directory website can include, ad banners, charging for specific categories and charging for a featured homepage ad. Many options should be made available in any respectable directory theme or plugin option.

We put the best plugins against out checklist and see how they do, we also make it easier for you to narrow down the options.

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