These days, most people won’t set foot in a store or an office without looking it up online beforehand. With online directories, such as Google Maps, Yelp, and TripAdvisor, you can learn everything you need to know about any business right from your phone.

Online business directories might seem complicated at first; however, at the core, they all require a common framework and functionality to deliver marketable information. You should be able to share business locations, reviews, photos, prices, and any other vital information with your audience. And with the right WordPress theme, plugin, and approach, you can set up your online business directory as a marketing and public service powerhouse.

In this article, we’ll talk about why starting your own business directory is a lot easier than you may think. We’ll discuss what features every great directory needs, and teach you how to pull it off using the Avada WordPress theme and the GeoDirectory plugin. Let’s get started!

Why Starting Your Own Online Business Directory Is Easier Thank You May Think

At their core, business directories are all about listings. You gather the relevant information about a business, add it to your directory list, and that’s about it:

Avada And Geodirectory Listing

In practice, however, people expect a lot of functionality from business directories these days. To give you an idea, here’s a quick list of features we couldn’t live without:

  • Being able to find businesses within a specific area
  • Filtering companies depending on what type of services we’re looking for
  • A rating system, to see what other people think about a particular place
  • Lots and lots of pictures (the more, the better)

With an online directory, you can drive sales to the businesses you want to promote. Using the right tools, you can even monetize the project by charging companies and services to be listed within the directory, over ane above standard advertizing. On top of all that, you’re also providing a public service by giving people access to the information they need to find the products and services they want.

How to Build a WordPress Business Directory Using Avada and GeoDirectory (In 3 Steps)

To get started, you’ll want to use a clean WordPress installation. Once WordPress is set up and ready to go, you can start thinking about your theme.

Step 1: Install The Avada Theme

The first thing you’ll need for your business directory site is a theme that’s both highly customizable and works well alongside the GeoDirectory plugin (which is the tool we’ll be using to add in crucial functionality).

Avada fits both of those criteria, on top of packing in a lot more cool features. In fact, the GeoDirectory plugin works out of the box with the Avada Fusion Builder and you can set up and edit your website, without having to touch any code.

To get started, you’ll want to use a clean WordPress installation. Once WordPress is set up and ready to go, you can start thinking about your theme.

Go ahead and set up the theme now. Then you can get down to business and start working on your directory.

Step 2: Install And Configure The GeoDirectory Plugin

The GeoDirectory plugin is free to use, and it also offers a lot of premium add-ons you can install to extend its functionality:

Geodirectory

Right out of the box, this plugin packs all the features you’ll need to create a robust business directory. Including the ability to select a location such as a street or even a whole city, enable visitors to submit listings, and much more.

Let’s go ahead and install the plugin so that you can check it out firsthand. As soon as you activate it, you’ll get access to a setup wizard:

Geodirectory Start Install

First you’ll want to select what maps API you want the plugin to use. By default, it will use the Google Maps API with OpenStreetMap as a backup. This is a great option for most users, so let’s stick with that setting.

To get access to Google Maps, however, you’ll need to generate an API key. When that’s ready, move on to the next screen.

Then you can set a default location for your business directory. That’s the map that will show up on your website, and will help users find the businesses they want:

Geodirectory Maps Setup

You can narrow this down as much as you want or select a broad area – it’s up to you. At this point, the setup will suggest that you install a couple of additional plugins, each of which can make managing your directory easier:

Geodirectory Recommend Plugins

We recommend that you set up these plugins to get the most out of your directory. For now, however, let’s focus on creating some listings.

Step 3: Add the First Listing to Your Business Directory

As you will have noticed, the GeoDirectory setup wizard enables you to test your directory by adding dummy data during the final step:

Geodirectory Content

The dummy data are an excellent way for you to get an idea for what your directory might look like once it starts to grow. For now, though, let’s go over the process of adding a real listing manually.

To do that, go to the WP Dashboard > Places and click on Add New. Now you get to create a new listing using the WordPress editor:

Geodirectory Add New Place

Go ahead and set a name and a description for your listing. Once you start scrolling down, you’ll see options to add all the other information a business listing requires that includes a location, category, contact information, social media accounts, and much more:

This information is the heart of your business directory, so you’ll want to be as thorough as possible. All listings added to the directory will show up within the WP Dashboard > Places tab:

Geodirectory Dashboard Listed Places

The GeoDirectory plugin is integrated and works as expected with the Avada theme and the Fusion Builder.

You can build your page layouts and content with the Fusion Builder and use the vast array of GeoDirectory Fusion Builder Elements that they have hooked in to create dynamic business listing pages.

You can place these elements on any page and customize them, which will give you full control over how your directory looks.

Now all that’s left is to keep adding listings. Plus, if you’re up for it, you may want to flesh out your business website with a few more pages.

Conclusion

Building a successful business directory is no small feat. That is, of course, if you’re not using WordPress. With the Avada WordPress theme and the GeoDirectory plugin, you can have your business directory set up in no time. Then it’s just a matter of attracting enough businesses, and the users will follow.

Here’s what you’ll need to do to get started:

Do you have any questions about how to set up a business directory using WordPress? Let’s go over them in the comments section below!