Directory websites are some of the most profitable websites ever.
You can create a real estate or a job directory, an event portal, a restaurant finder, a city-specific directory, or a classifieds directory.
Airbnb is without a doubt a great example of a successful directory website. They use a great story to build a home renting business. Now the company earns $2.6 billion in revenues and plans to go public in 2020.
One great thing about directory websites is that there are so many ways to monetize them. They help people find businesses they’re looking for.
To create a WordPress website with many directory categories and listings looks like a time-consuming job. But it doesn’t have to be. If you have the right plugin, creating a business directory website is easy.
In this article, we’re going to show you how to create a directory website using the WP Local Plus plugin. This is a business-oriented plugin made for creating local business directories.
How to Approach Creating a Directory Website
Before we get into the technical stuff, let’s talk a bit about the business side of this project.
Starting a directory website needs a strategic plan and committed execution.
Starting a business directory website is easy.
However, keeping it up to date is a challenge. You too must have come across directory websites that look like someone made them 20 years ago. And were never updated.
That’s where WP Local Plus can help.
Why WP Local Plus?
There are some challenges that those starting directory websites face. And WP Local Plus helps to tackle them faster and with more gain.
No Need for Manual Data Creation
When you create a directory website, you may find it challenging to create the data. You’d have to research information that may be interesting to your visitors. This may be local businesses, deals, sales, discounts, and content. Sure, it doesn’t sound like a quick project.
But with WP Local Plus you can have this data streamed automatically to your website or blog. The source is Google Places or City Grid (US only). In other words, there’s no need to create any data manually. The plugin is able to automate this process and develop dynamic listings. The result is completely new and unique listings that provide visitors with helpful information.
Full Google Maps Integration
This is a must because you want to show the visitors the locations of websites listed on your website. WP Local Plus has a full Google Maps functionality. So they’ll have no problems locating the location of a business that interests them.
Image from wplocalplus.com
Local Search Tool
The plugin has a built-in business and offers a search tool. This is why people interested in finding relevant local businesses find it helpful. By using it to find deals and businesses, your visitors will be able to find the most relevant local results.
Reviews and Listings
Reviews matter for customers, as 84 percent of them report trusting online reviews. This also refers to personal recommendations from family members and friends.
Monetization of Featured Listings
This is one way of making profits for you with a directory website. The plugin has the Featured Listing Advertising System. This feature allows businesses to buy advertising. So their listings appear on top of search results.
To sum up, WP Local Plus provides everything you should have on a good directory website. There are lots of useful information on businesses and deals, reviews, coupon offers, maps. You could start making a difference. Now let’s get to creating (I won’t be too technical, I promise).
How to Create a Business Directory Website with WP Local Plus
Step 1: Download and Install WP Local Plus
Step 2: Configure the Plugin
Once you have installed the plugin, you have to adjust Google Static API settings. You’ll find the detailed instructions when you click on WP Local Plus’s tab in the WordPress dashboard. See the process in the below image. Make sure you’ve completed the actions described in the instructions.
After you’re done, click on the Update button on the bottom of the window.
Step 3: Add and Edit Businesses
WP Local Plus allows creating a wide range of business categories. They include hotels, restaurants, movie theaters, beauty supply stores, shoes, and many others. When you add a list of businesses to your website you can edit each of them – if you must, of course.
It works like a typical WordPress post (see the image below). This way you should find the editing process quite easy. You can add businesses either manually or through the automatic import via Google Places or City Grid.
If you need help with anything, the developers have provided the plugin. It has all the necessary support and tools.
Make sure that each listing has the essential information that people usually look for. Those are usually addresses, locations, reviews, and contact data. The directories use a traditional layout. It displays this information as well as links to each business’s website.
You can access the list of businesses displayed on your website in the Places tab of the plugin (see the image below). As you can see, managing them would be a pretty easy task if you’re familiar with WordPress. You can also get all the essential information about each entry in this tab.
On top of the above data, you can also add a featured image to each business in your directory. You may add the exact map location too. As a result, your visitors will get access to searchable, sortable, and filterable lists of businesses.
Step 4: Manage, Update, and Improve Data (and Monetize!)
And finally, monetization. You can allow the businesses listed on your website to claim the ownership of their listings. They can also get featured on top of your list. Also, there’s always the option of charging membership fees and selling advertising space.
Pro tip: the monetization feature is most useful for large directory websites. Especially if they enjoy a lot of traffic. Businesses are more willing to pay to be featured when there’s a lot of competitors on a high-traffic site, so keep that in mind.
A directory website is a great way to earn income. You can provide customers with fresh and relevant information about local businesses. It doesn’t matter what type of website you’ll choose to start this business with. Pulling out data from online sources can take weeks and even months. This is simply impractical.
That’s where business-oriented plugins like WP Local Plus come in.
As you can see, this one does what it’s supposed to do, so you can definitely rely on it to create your first directory website. It can automate this task and help you to build a large base of businesses within minutes. And you can focus on other important tasks. Creating content, building an SEO strategy, and making customer engagement techniques to work are just some of them.