Build a Directory Website with WordPress

How to build a Directory Website for free using WordPress and GeoDirectory
Create a Directory Website

In this fantastic video tutorial courtesy of Nicole Sauk of Ventus Design Studio, we learn how to setup and start building a directory website using the free version of GeoDirectory.

The tutorial will cover:

  • Install Plugin
  • Setup Wizard
  • Create a Listing
  • Create a Category
  • Set Widgets
  • Add Links to Menu

Useful links:


How to Build a Directory Website with WordPress

Installing a business directory is a great way to get traffic to your website. It’s lots of high quality pages with important content and valuable information with local keywords. So Google Search loves it. Plus, if you make it a valuable research for your audience, they’ll keep coming back. So today I’m gonna show you how to set up a directory.

On your website using the free plugin geo directory. I do wanna note that there are a lot of ways that you can monetize your directory specifically by selling featured listings. A lot of those. Features are not available on the free version of plugins, but what you can do here is get started for free and then if you want to use those premium features, you can upgrade when it’s time to do that.

So let’s get started. All right, so the first thing we have to do is install the Geo Directory plugin. So go to plugins, add new, and then search up. For Geo Directory and then you’re gonna see here probably the first one that comes up will say something like, Business Directory plugin for Geo Directory.

Click install now and then activate. And from here, that brings us to the setup wizard. So let’s go ahead and go through this. First, we need to set up our map. Now you do need a Google Map’s API key for this step. If you don’t have one and you don’t know how to do that, I did make a video showing you how to do that, and I will link that in the description.

So I’m gonna go ahead and leave it as automatic, which is recommended, even though I could click the Google api. Drop down because I am using my Google Maps api, keeping the map as English for me. And then I’m gonna paste my API key here. I’m not gonna show it to you. You wanna keep your API key secret. But I am gonna post it here and then I’m gonna click continue and then you’ll get to.

This part where it’s asking you to drag the map or the marker to set the city or town you wish to use as the default location. Now with the free version of Geo Directory, you can only have one location. So if you want more than one location, you will have to upgrade. I am making mine in Asheville, North Carolina.

So I’m gonna move it there. Where are we, Virginia? Here we go. North Carolina and Asheville. Right there. I’m gonna zoom in a little bit and make sure it’s good. Kind of right in the middle. And then I’m gonna click continue. Next we come to a screen where it asks us if we want to install these recommended plugins.

Now this one, the I Code Connect is the people that made the plugin. It’s their support plugin. And also if you plan on eventually upgrading to paid add-ons, you do need that. So I am gonna install that. It also recommends Ninja Forms and users w. Ninja Forms is a form plugin. It’s good, but I use gravity forms, so I’m gonna uncheck that.

And users, WP is for login and registration, which I’m eventually gonna do, but I’m not sure if I’m gonna use that plugin. It’s something I’m gonna research later, so I’m gonna not install it for now. So you can decide which plugins you wanna install and then click the install. And after that’s done, you’ll get a little check mark next to whichever one you installed, and then click the continue button.

Next, it gives you the option to add some content onto your site. So if you are interested, you can automatically add in dummy data. So there will be stuff on your website for listings, so you can see how the directory works without actually manually adding in listing. You can automatically add widgets to your sidebar and you can automatically add links to your menus.

I don’t wanna do any of this. I wanna be in control of all these steps, so I’m gonna click skip this step and that’s it. We’re pretty much set up now. It is asking me if I wanna allow diagnostic data to be sent. I will allow. And then for next steps, it’s telling us to create your first listing. So Sure.

Let’s, let’s click that and create our first listing. So first things first, you wanna add a name for your listing. This is probably a business name. And then you’re gonna wanna add a description about what makes this business or listing unique. And then when we scroll down, there’s a place to put the category.

We don’t have any categories set up yet, which we will do very soon. Right now, I’m just gonna leave it as uncategorized. . Next, we set the location and to do this I’m going to just kind of drag on the map and if you do go out of the city that you’ve chosen it, it tells you to make sure to keep the address in the city that you picked as a default location.

Note that you do have to enable the Geocoding API for this to work. I will give it instructions. For that in the description, just make sure you move the, the map marker in the city that you picked. So, and here I picked, I tried to just pick Asheville, but it, it seems to be very specific that it wants it in built more forest.

So I will stick it there and set address on the map. It’ll put it in right here. If you really wanna be direct, you can set the latitude and long. and you can also choose which map you’d like to use. Now, let’s add some images. When you click select files here, you could pick whatever pictures you want to show up for this listing.

I’m just gonna use this random picture I have of people drinking wine just cuz it was on my recent downloads. And usually I don’t do tags for WordPress, but in this situation I am because I feel like tags are very useful here. because we’re gonna have categories of the different types of businesses, different types of listings.

But in this situation, people might choose the business depending on what amenities they have. So for example, if it’s an RV park with a pool and they wanna look for all the RV parks with a pool, it’s a good idea to put that for a tag. So I’m actually gonna go ahead and put pool here and then click add.

And then I’m gonna click save draft cuz we still have to make a category. So we’re gonna pop on over to place categories and then name your category. This is going to be very similar to regular post categories. You have the slug option, you can do a PA parent category, and you can put descriptions.

You can also put default listing images and your own unique map icon. If you so choose, you can even pick your own category icon. I’m gonna go ahead and do like a campground icon. You can choose your category color. I’m gonna make this, make sure this matches my branding later, but let’s just choose something for now and you can set the schema type.

You should definitely have this as the correct one. It’s most likely gonna be the default local business, but this is good for seo. So make sure you do this right and then click the add new place category, and then we can go back to places. Click edit. and then set the category to RV parks. Get rid of that uncategorized option and it’ll give the, It’ll make the default RV parks and then hit publish.

Now we can click this link up here to view the listing. Now, when you first do this, you’re gonna get these admin hints. This is some tips from the actual plugin to help you out. I’m gonna just close out of this. and now we have our single listing page. Now, like it said on that little hint, we will be able to, like, the design will be affected by the settings for the plugin, your theme, or if you’re using a page builder, you can change how this page is set up that way.

But right now we have the featured image, we’ve got the category, we’ve got tags we’ve got the description here under the profile tab, photos under the photo. Maps under the map tab and the ability for people to give reviews on the review tab. So we’ve got our basic first listing set up. Let’s click this category link right here.

We’ll go ahead and disable this hint again. And now this is what people are going to see when they choose the RV parks category for that location. . Now this is just a mess. I do definitely have to design this, but that’ll be for another video. Let’s not, let’s not do too much at one time. Right Now, let’s just finish up the basic setup.

So we’re gonna go back to the dashboard, and I’m gonna show you, I, I don’t have my sidebar set up yet, but I do wanna show you that the geo directory plugin does come with widgets that can go on your sidebar. So let’s check those. So if we click this plus sign here to add a block and we just start writing Geo directory, all of the Geo directory plugins are going to pop up.

We have search categories, recently reviews, recently viewed notifications or ad listing. So these are all widgets that you can put on your sidebar if you so choose. Now if you do have a sidebar on your directory listings, I think it would be great to specifically show the search and to also show the categories on the sidebar.

I think that’s a great idea. I think if you have other widget areas on your site, it would be really good to maybe do the recently viewed. So if people are maybe browsing around your site and they look at. One listing to have maybe recently viewed at the bottom so they can go back to it easy would be kind of cool.

Recent reviews would be great too, for like a bigger site, a more active site that has users, has those reviews. I’m actually not going to set up my sidebar right now. I wanna do that later when I design the site better. But I would like to set up my menu. So I’m gonna go ahead and leave and I’m not gonna save changes here.

And I’m gonna click menus on the sidebar under. I’m gonna choose the menu. I wanna edit from the top. I’m gonna edit my main navigation and click select. And then you can see here for, for me, under most recent, it shows it GD details, GD archive item, gd archive, location all of that. If you don’t see it under most recent, you’ll see it under view all.

So we’ve got an ad listing page if we wanna set it up for people to add in their own listing. We’ve got a bunch of stuff here and if you scroll down, we also have all that stuff up here. So you can add in place tags on your main menu. You can add in place categories and you can add in geo directory endpoints so you can add the specific pages to make things very easy for me.

Right now, I’m just going to add this RV Parks category to the menu and then click save. And then when I view my website, it’s right there, and then when I click it, it goes to a page that’s not designed very well, but exists. And that’s it. We’ve got the basic setup of the Geo Directory plugin done. Now we definitely wanna make some design updates.

We probably wanna add on some more functionality, maybe some premium add-ons, which I will definitely do with you guys in other videos. So if that’s something you’re interested in, please subscribe to my channel. And if this video is helpful to you, please give it a like. And if you’re building your own website, don’t forget to check in the description for your free website roadmap download.

Thank you so very much for watching.

Published by Paolo

Paolo Tajani is the co-founder and growth hacker of AyeCode LTD. With his business partner Stiofan, they are the makers of the GeoDirectory, UsersWP and Invoicing plugins for WordPress. Paolo developed his first WordPress website in 2008. In 2011 he met Stiofan O'Connor and together they started building and marketing successful themes and plugins for WordPress. Today their products are used by +100.000 active websites.

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