Thanks to the power and convenience of the Internet, people are extensively going to online directory site to find a business and search for their favorite products. Among a forest of different online directory businesses, to differentiate yours could be a daunting task. But before that, what you need to do first is to create a website that has all the basic functions to meet the most basic user expectations in a directory listing site.
This article is divided into 2 parts. In Part 1, I’ll discuss core features you need to bring on site first to get it up and running. Then you’re gonna make more worthwhile additions with supplementary features introduced in Part 2.
Determine your Basic requirements
Basic functions are must-have ones to make your site an Online Directory. Without such functions, your website cannot operate properly. And to realize each function, what feature do you need to look for? One way to break down and find out basic functions and corresponding features is to ask questions.
For example, the directory website is expected to have the function to post listings. To complete this task, WordPress has the default feature that allows admin to post the listings in the back-end. However, your site users cannot access that area whereas you want your users to be able to submit their listing. The solution here is the feature “Front-end listing submission”, letting your users submit their listings easily via a form in the front-end.
Imagine I’m planning to build a local restaurant directory website. And here’s my ‘conversation’ after asking and answering by myself to explore basic functions and features I need for my site.
Dive deep into Features you can’t live without
Now that the basic needs for your directory site have been sketched, it’s time you got down on details, how they work and what is expected in each feature?
Front-end listing submission
A directory site, of course, must have listing contents. To create these contents, the function to post listings should be available. What you need to look for is a feature that allows users to submit their listings right from the front-end.
The submission form should have the following fields: directory name, location, address, contact number, listing category, photos, brief description, and other fields for further details about the listing, such as Opening time, Website URL, Facebook, Twitter.
Going in line with directory posting is the searching function. Thus, your site needs the search & filter feature to make it quick and easy for users to browse for directories. Users can search by keyword, by location, or by listing category. Different options help users restrict the location or category of their places, thus; finding a place is processed more quickly and conveniently.
Apparently, any online business needs clear strategy about how it’s gonna monetize its users. Luckily, WordPress themes support different monetization packages which can be created in the back-end.
A tip for this part, when you search for a WordPress directory listing theme, is to check if it is suitable with your choice of monetization. If you’re still not sure about this, read this article to understand possible ways to make money with your directory business.
You can charge per listing posted on site, earn more with featured listings, offer advertising spaces, etc.
Multiple payment gateways
After creating monetization plans, you need to make it possible for your users to make payments on site.
Payment gateways should be integrated to make transaction on site go on smoothly. Usually, popular ones like PayPal or 2Checkout are preferred. However, in case your site operates in the location where these gateways are not yet available, or your site chooses to go locally serving users in a specific area, then local payment gateways should be considered.
The next function of a good directory website is that it can work properly on every device and browser. Here comes the responsive design feature.
There are different screen sizes across phones, “phablets”, tablets, desktops, game consoles, TVs, even wearables. Screens are changing in size and there’s no sign that they will ever stop. So it’s really good when your site can adapt to any screen size.
Modular content layouts, easy to customize
A theme can never 100% satisfy you. But that won’t be a problem if the theme is easy for you to customize.
In this case, a front-end customizer is a great choice as you can make the changes and see immediate results. Built-in content blocks and customizable widgets are the plus. With them, you just simple drag & drop blocks and widgets you want to appear on your site. Especially, It doesn’t require coding skills.
Another necessary function that every website needs is the place where the administration can see, control, and manage all activities on site.
Fortunately, WordPress has the Central Dashboard where you can easily manage and make change to everything with your site. Spend some time to explore it and you’ll soon get familiar with the user-friendly WP Dashboard.
The probably last basic function needed for your site is getting fame with high traffic. There are a lot of websites created everyday and the task of making them appear on top searching results is more and more competitive yet important.
Look for SEO friendly themes. Specifically, a SEO friendly website structure will strengthen your website ranking in search results. Moreover, not only does it help your site content easily be found, but built-in Schema support also makes content well defined and understood by search engines and social networks.
I think you might want to check out these themes since we “happen” to have some Directory Themes which may suit your needs 🙂
To find out a suitable theme for your website might be an exhausting task. Among many different interesting features that might get you amazed, it’ll be good if you look through them, are able to pick out must-have features and check if they run smoothly.
After this article, I hope you can determine core functions needed for your directory site. Other cool stuffs can be considered later as you’re on the way developing the website.
In Part 2 of this series, I will introduce to you supplementary, yet still important, features which make your site as competitive as other sites out there.
Featured image designed by Freepik.