The Internet is full of directories.
In fact, your website might already be listed on some directories right now.
Directories like Yelp help consumers find a restaurant or service in their area. While a directory like Angie’s List connects people with contractors for things like electrical work, landscaping, and plumbing.
Both of these websites are very different—and they are both directories.
There’s a good chance you can find a way to implement a directory on your website. Law firms use website directories to list their lawyers and employees. Real estate companies have directories for their listings as well as their agents. A retail chain probably has an online directory for its store locations.
If you’re using WordPress, adding a directory to your website is simple. You just need to install a plugin.
The 6 Best WordPress Directory Plugins
- Directories Pro
- Business Directory Plugin
- Sabai Directory
- Web 2.0 Directory
Below are my in-depth reviews of the six best WordPress directory plugins:
#1 – GeoDirectory
GeoDirectory allows you to create a massive global directory on your website.
They have one of the most user-friendly interfaces on this list, and it is a free WordPress directory plugin.
They make it easy for website visitors to find exactly what they’re looking for without sacrificing the look and visual appeal of your website.
This plugin offers a front-end form that allows other businesses and users to submit listings, so scaling your directory is limitless.
When someone searches for a business on your website, the listings are displayed by proximity, so users can see the closest and most relevant options to them first.
The plugin integrates with Google Maps. There is a large and clickable map next to every listing in the directory. Users can find directions to the location directly from that map without having to leave your website.
While most of the features are free, you can buy add-ons for things like:
- Paid listings
- Multi location support
- Advanced search
- Option for businesses to “claim” their listing
I really like GeoDirectory because they’re multi-site compatible. So I recommend it to developers who will add it to their clients’ sites or to those of you who plan to build a network of directories.
If you’re building your directory website from scratch, you could also consider purchasing the directory themes from GeoDirectory as well. But, this plugin will work with any theme, so you’re not obligated.
Merchants with listings on your directory will have access to Google Analytics data. This feature will show them how much your site is helping their company. You can use that to potentially justify your pricing if you plan to charge for listings.
Overall, GeoDirectory is a top option for anyone who wants to build a large and scalable business directory. Get GeoDirectory here.
#2 – Directories Pro
Next up is the Directories Pro WordPress plugin. It’s extremely responsive and uses caching to optimize the performance of the directories from both desktop and mobile devices.
The plugin offers an advanced search and filter for your visitors. You can even enable an auto-suggest feature in the search forms.
All of the fields are completely customizable. Each listing can have fields like tags, locations, reviews, and categories.
Our favorite feature of Directories Pro is their display editor. It’s easy for you to use the drag and drop editing options to customize the directory without having to use any code. Some of the other top features include:
- Map integration
- Paid listings
- Claim listings
- CSV import and export
- Customized email notifications
With Directories Pro, customers can rate and review the listings on your directory without having to register, login, or create an account. So you’ll likely get more reviews that will improve your directory.
You’ll be able to build multiple directories with ease. You also have the option to clone or migrate your directories from one site to another. All of these features make Directories Pro one of the best WordPress directory plugins for developers and average users alike. Learn more and buy now at CodeCanyon.
The Business Directory Plugin offers some of the key features that I look for in a directory plugin:
- Media support
- Customized form fields
- Payment processing
You can also purchase add-ons to enhance your directory with the Business Directory Plugin. If you’re going to use these add-ons, I’d recommend buying the package.
The combo pack is $199.99 for a single site and $399.99 for multiple sites. It may sound pricey initially, but considering the price for each add-on starts at $69.99 and $139.98 (for a single site and multiple sites, respectively), it’s actually a great deal.
They have add-ons for premium features like:
- 2Checkout gateway
- Discount codes
- Ability for businesses to claim listings on your site, similar to Yelp
- Google Maps integration
- File attachments module
- PayPal gateway
- Stripe integration
Even though you’ll have the option for premium add-ons, you can install and use this plugin right out of the box for free. The plugin also comes with a built-in reCAPTCHA tool to avoid spam listings on your directory.
The Business Directory Plugin also has a featured-levels module. This is perfect for those of you who are using this directory to generate recurring sales by implementing subscriptions. Here’s how it works: You can set up your site to offer specific features for paid listings.
For example, a business that pays to be listed can have unlimited character counts, images, and maps, whereas a free listing wouldn’t get these features. Business Directory Plugin even lets you specify between payment tiers based on the features you offer.
This plugin really gives you all of the tools that you need to compete with the giant names in the directory industry. I’m not saying that all of you should try to be the next Yelp or TripAdvisor, but if that’s your goal, you should definitely consider trying the Business Directory Plugin. I think it’d be super smart to create a directory in a very niche area that’s not well-represented or easily searched for in an existing directory. Learn more and get the Business Directory Plugin here.
#4 – Sabai Directory
Whether you’re building a service for your community or simply wanting a way to show your locations on a map or grid, Sabai Directory can get it done.
It’s very customizable, allowing you to set custom fields, categories, user permissions, view filters, and a whole lot more.
The feature list is impressively long, but here are some other aspects that are totally in your control with Sabai Directory:
- Set listings’ rating and review criteria
- Custom pricing structure for paid listings
- 16 different Google Maps styles with custom map markers
- 27 unique email notifications
- Four payment gateway options, including PayPal and Stripe
It’s not as beginner-friendly as some, but Sabai is easy enough to learn and wield with just a basic familiarity of shortcodes and the WordPress backend. And the plugin’s 12 shortcode options help you customize it even further, allowing you to tailor the default display, listing priority, and a whole lot more.
Sabai is ideal for community-fueled directories because of all the user-side actions available. Visitors can vote on whether reviews are helpful or not, upvote good photos and comments on listings, post detailed reviews with one- to five-star ratings, claim listings, and flag errors or unwanted items.
Combined with the built-in tools that make it easier for visitors to use the directory—like advanced search with autosuggestions and user dashboards for their reviews, comments, and bookmarked listings—this plugin lays the basis for your site to become a useful and popular resource.
Sabai Directory is $29 for a regular license that includes six months of support from Envato. If you want to use Sabai as a part of a product that you’ll sell on, such as a website for a client, you’ll need the extended license. That will run you $150.
You can also try out a live demo of the Sabai Directory backend at the product page on Code Canyon. Try it out today and see if Sabai Directory is right for you.
#5 – Web 2.0 Directory
Web 2.0 Directory is a plugin that makes it easy to set up a clean, functional directory and map on your website. But it isn’t light on unique features, either.
It’s a cinch. Just place two quick shortcodes on your site wherever you want the directory and listings page to live.
After that, the possibilities for providing detail to visitors and generating revenue are wide. Web 2.0 Directory makes it easy for visitors to search for all locations of a business or service, sort listings by standard or custom categories, draw search areas, bookmark listings, and a whole lot more.
One unique offering with Web 2.0 Directory is the ability to embed YouTube and Vimeo videos into listings. You don’t often see that with directory plugins, and it’s a great feature for both listing owners wanting to show off what they’re about and searchers to get a better feel for companies, locations, products, or services.
Revenue opportunities include allowing payments for:
- Featured listings
- Raising individual listing ranking
- Renew expired listings
- Activating new listings
Web 2.0 Directory not only syncs well with PayPal and Stripe—it also meshes well with WooCommerce. That’s a big plus for anyone who wants to make their directories a major revenue stream for their business. It opens up possibilities for scheduled sales, discounts, sales reports, fees and taxes, and more.
This plugin is $39 per standard license and $280 for a license that allows to sell an end product that Web 2.0 Directory is built into.
There’s also a free version available through WordPress. That’s great for getting comfortable with Web 2.0 Directory, but it is missing payment and ecommerce features and access to future updates.
Try out Web 2.0 Directory and start realizing the potential of building directories that also will make you significant money.
#6 – ListingHive
You can create gorgeous directory sites with HivePress’ ListingHive theme.
Being a full site theme instead of a plugin, ListingHive is ideal for creating standalone directories that can be shaped to any purpose.
With large thumbnail images for each listing, categorical marquees you can place at the top of the homepage, and a keyword/location search bar, this is a great way to create a place for visitors to browse real estate listings, local guides to food, drink, and hotspots, or just about anything else you’d need a directory for.
And since ListingHive doesn’t pen you in with any preset categories or other strictures, it can be molded easily to fit your vision.
That’s especially true if you or a team member has some coding experience. While you don’t have to be a developer to effectively use ListingHive, it comes with REST API endpoints for connecting to third-party applications, Hooks API for setting custom logic, and CSS or HTML methods for completely customizing the look and feel of the theme.
But if that scares you off a bit, don’t let it—ListingHive also has free extensions for non-coders to add more useful functions, like:
- Paid listings
- User messaging
- Built-in blog
- User reviews
- User favorites
- Listing owner claiming
Most importantly, it’s easy to make money with your new ListingHive directory site. You can sell ad space and integrate your site with Google AdSense, charge users for listing submissions through the paid listings extension, and let listing owners have theirs featured on your directory for a fee.
Best of all, ListingHive and all of its extensions are totally free.
Learn more about how to set up a ListingHive directory and get started today at HivePress’ website.
Key features of a WordPress directory plugin
Since the word “directory” is so vague and has tons of potential applications, it can be a bit challenging at times to find the best WordPress directory plugin for your website.
So before I go through my list of the top options for you to consider, I want to briefly explain what to look for in a directory plugin.
- Payment options (for those of you who will charge for directory listings)
- Location-based searches with integrated maps
- Fully customizable form fields
- Easy ways to add and adjust directory listings
- Ways for customers to rate and review businesses
- Back-end tools
- Front-end submission features
- Shortcodes that make it easy to add a directory anywhere on your site
- Media support
You won’t necessarily need every feature on this list. It really depends on your company, your website’s purpose, and the type of directory you’re trying to create.
There are so many different ways to add a directory to your website.
Some of you might be trying to create giant business directories that will compete with the big players in this industry. Other websites will create local directories in niche categories. You might even just want a directory for something simple, like your staff.
Regardless of your situation, you can add a directory to your WordPress site with ease by installing a plugin. So use this guide to narrow your search. Look for the option that has the specific features you need to help you find the best WordPress directory plugin for your website.
If you are planning to create a large directory make sure you have a fast web host. Check out my list of the best wordpress hosting companies if you need a new host.