Business Directory Software vs WordPress [2020]

listimia wordpress directory theme

Business Directory Software or WordPress?

In this article we will look at the top onine Business Directory Scripts and how they compare with WordPress and the Best Directory plugin.

Table of Content

  1. eDirectory
  2. Brilliant Directories
  3. phpmydirectory
  4. Other Contenders
  5. Conclusions

Online Business Directory Software’s have been available since the late 1990’s. New, highly profitable directories are being developed every day.

This business model is accessible, ubiquitous, and is likely here to stay.

That being said, not all of them succeed, and many of those who do fail do so for the following reasons:

  1. Pursuit of an unrealistic project, or ideas supported by poor-quality research.
  2. A foundation built on technological ideals that do not reflect the needs of the projects long and short-term goals.
  3. A budget with insufficient planning or consideration for overhead expenses.

Pursue of a unrealistic projects or ideas supported by poor-quality research

Say, for example, you wish to create a directory for San Francisco which provides a space for users to leave reviews for restaurants and bars.

With a focus on social media style networking opportunities.

An unavoidable flaw of your plan is that someone had that idea in 2005, and created

The same goes if you try to create a website in the style of

Or yet another clone of

Unless your budget somehow matches theirs, your business will simply not be able to compete.

We wrote a blog post with few valuable tips on how to make money online with a business directory.

You may find some inspiration if you read it.

A foundation built on technological ideals that do not reflect the needs of the projects long and short-term goals

Choosing the wrong technology can cause you to waste a large amount of valuable time, money, and effort.

A lot of themes promise many features that they fail to deliver when the business starts to grow in scale. This can be a terrible consequence for a new and growing business.

Recently, we tested some of the best-selling directory themes for WordPress that compete with our products and most of them fell short.

Problems include, but are certainly not limited to, fundamental features missing from the build, or an inability to scale well when put under stress.

Sometimes problems are as simple as software bugs and flawed security.

Starting with the right technology is imperative to future and continued success.

A budget with insufficient planning or consideration for overhead expenses.

I have heard of people attempting to raise money in order to finance their business ideas without having any solid proof of concept or taking the necessary measures in risk analysis to provide them with the information needed.

Many successful companies have started small and thought big. Rather than started with too many people involved and technology that is simply too expensive or difficult to implement.

Unless you have already secured a revenue stream that will justify future large investments, it is better to start with the bare minimum and grow organically.

So what’s best, WordPress or a standalone Business Directory Software?

In order to answer this similar question, we’ll look what’s available besides WordPress, and see how it measures up.



eDirectory is a PHP standalone Directory software developed and marketed by ARCA SOLUTIONS INC.

Established in 2003, eDirectory had already been released long before WordPress existed.

eDirectory claims to have over 3000 customers and between 50 and 200 employees, distributed between their offices in Annandale, Virginia USA and in São Paulo, Brazil, where most of their developers appear to be from.

The impressive list of features includes:

  • Business Listings
  • Events
  • Classifieds
  • Deals & Offers
  • a Monetization System
  • Android App builder
  • and a many more

Their list of features can be found here.

Prices are pretty steep. Starting at $99 per month.

They begin their services six-times more expensive than a GeoDirectory membership.

They don’t provide any kind of public demo.

You need to sign up for a guided demo with an eDirectory Specialist who will walk you through the features and interface with a private shared-screen demo.

In summation, in addition to a higher price and lack of public demo, they also curate a demo experience that is intended to show off the software in a way that services their company narrative.

As I can’t judge a software’s abilities unless I see it in action, I spent few minutes looking for a website built with eDirectory.

Fortunately, they left enough footprints in their source code for me to find few examples.

The following websites appear to have been built with eDirectory:


From first impressions, I have to say I find all three sites to be a bit underwhelming.

This is also keeping in mind the larger price, which isn’t justified considering how the websites look similar, if not identical, in structure and not all that pixel perfect.

The biggest limitation appears to be the access to the source code or customization, which isn’t permitted under their subscriber plan.

To gain access, you have to purchase the Source License, which costs $1,499 and only includes 30 days of support that will allow you to change the design, templates, or add any extra features.

This is pretty unimpressive for business directory software that has been over 15 years in development. With a price tag that high, I would have expected a lot more.

However, I do envy their App Builder and Deals module. Even though websites like Groupon are in decline, it’s a feature that we would like to be able to offer to our customers.

As far as the App Builder goes, this is something we planned to work on after V2 has been released.

Brilliant Directories

Brilliant Directories has been around since 2009 and uses the SAAS (software as a service) model.

This means you cannot install their software on your servers, and can only use theirs.

Like eDirectory, they also don’t have a public demo available where you can just click a link and visit the website.

The demo needs to requested by providing your email address. I found it lame and led to discouraging me from checking their official demo.

However, as they host all of their customers, and as I knew their DNS nameserver, it was easy to find the list of all domains hosted by their servers.

Their full list of (approximately) 1500 clients can be found here:

After joining their service, you can chose between 15 themes.

Their features are very similar to the features offered by eDirectory.

You can see a full list of features here.

The price is, like eDirectory, pretty high too. Their Starter Website Plan starts at $95 per month, or for a one time fee of $750.

Similarly, their complete package costs $195 per month or for a one-time fee of $950.

Like eDirectory, I decided to check out the first three websites of the list above and had to dig a little more to find sites that were not broken or had moved to WP:


The themes look a lot better than eDirectory’s themes, but it is also evident that the level of possible customization is minimal.

Basically you can change colors, branding and the hero image, but the template is the same for all websites using the same theme.

With a similar price tag, I’d expect more options to personalize my directory.

Being an SAAS platform, provide no customization options in their available features. This requires you to adapt 100% to what they offer and you’ll be able to change nothing about your project

Their online reviews are mostly positive. As is the following thread in which they were previously very active, at At the end, one of the most enthusiastic users asked the rest of the forum:

Does anyone here use and run a monetised site with them? Currently we paid the $2000 lifetime plan and a few months after joining they asked for $125USD per month to cover their server costs…We have not yet made back our initial investment and are running at a loss.

If there are any BD sites out there which are making money then please PM me or contact us on the website : PureLocal dot com dot au

Note : I have asked BrilliantDirectories directly for a list of successful sites but due to privacy none can be disclosed.

You can find the comment here.

I’ve provided it as it directly ties in with my earlier point.

Most directory projects that fail do so because their overhead expenses are too high, and adding $195 per month from our point of view could be already too much for a startup.


phpmydirectory is a standalone business directory software developed and marketed by Accomplish Technology, LLC that currently looks like a dead project.

The application was first launched in 2002, and at time of writing is over 17 years old, but it hasn’t been updated in over 2 years and probably never will be updated again.

phpmydirectory feature list was quite impressive, but now it is so outdated that its users are looking for alternative and many are moving to WordPress and GeoDirectory. Especially because PHPmydirectory hasn’t been made compatible with PHP7.

The developer of one of the most popular themes for PHPmydirectory developed it for WordPress and GeoDirectory and it’s becoming quite popular. You can check out the Listimia Directory Theme here.

Update : we offered to buy PHPmydirectory and the developer took 6 months to reply. During these 6 months (and many more before) he’s been completely MIA from his own support forums too. The reply was showing his interest to sell, but when we asked for some financial data for our due diligence, he disappeared again. Meanwhile more PHPmydirectory website have been converted to GeoDirectory, we also created a tool to convert the database with the click of one button.

Other Contenders

there are few other business directory software around and 3 that I’d like to mention:


They appear to be fairly popular and worth a mention, but design and feature wise they appear to be less attractive, and probably quite pricey (none of them have any public prices available).


Business Directory Software that provide an alternative to WordPress are either very pricey and offer little flexibility, or not providing the same features and abilities of the fast-evolving WordPress Directory Plugins and Themes.

phpmydirectory created a WordPress plugin few years ago to try to remain relevant, but it was a fiasco and as of time of writing hasn’t been updated in 2 years.

Both Brilliant Directories and eDirectory invest in Google Ads that target WordPress related keywords.

This is because the keyword WordPress Directory Plugin is searched on average 1500 times per month while keyword Business Directory Software is only searched 300 times per month.

If your company prohibits you from using an open-source software like WordPress, choosing one between Brilliant Directories and eDirectory makes sense, especially if budget isn’t a problem.

Furthermore, choosing one of the hosted versions removes most of the constraint’s brought by open-source software and the difficulties of maintaining your own server.

However, you must adapt to their system and give up any personal ideas you could express creatively on your own website.

In any other case, Directory solutions for WordPress and particularly GeoDirectory is as good, if not better, less expensive, more flexible and comes with the best support in the business.

Get all Official Addons & Themes and save 90%

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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.

47 thoughts on “Business Directory Software vs WordPress [2020]

  1. Hi Paolo,
    I want to start a niche business directory, I know a lot about my niche, but nothing at all about WP …or building websites. 🙂
    I definitely want to follow your advice to start with the bare minimum and grow organically.
    Do you have any suggestions as to where I could look for someone to set up a GeoDirectory based website for me relatively inexpensively?
    Thank you for any suggestions!

    1. Hi Denes,

      I’d look into the GeoDirectory experts directory.

      I’m sure you can find someone that can work with you on that.


      1. Fantastic Thank you!

  2. So… What´s the best one for WordPress?

    Looking in time to make a professional directory like Google Business..

    1. If you ask me, by far GeoDirectory. 🙂

  3. Hi I love this plugin and I have purchased many of the add-ons. Just recently I noticed an issue with the main plugin category settings. I can no longer change the map icon or color. It will not open the additional dialogue box. Any help would be much appreciated. Thank you!

    1. Hi Tolley,

      please submit any support question you may have in our support forum:

      A team of specialists will be more than happy to assist you.

      Thank you,

  4. I use GeoDirectory and am quite happy with the software after doing extensive research on the matter. It does exactly what I need to do and its power and flexibility is unsurpassed for its price.

    That being said, in my opinion the most important part of this article is the section titled

    “Pursue of a unrealistic projects or ideas supported by poor-quality research”

    If your business is not sustainable, if you have not validated your idea with market research it does not matter if you have the best technological platform available, your “business” will not survive.

  5. The challenge with anything WP is scale. WP is lumbering and cumbersome when so many queries are run, and caching is a stop-gap, but not a fix. We host on WPEngine, and it is fine for a blog, but for a heavily used directory, how do you scale? I just honestly have never seen a large, successful directory with REAL traffic levels on WP.

    I wish I did, as we are building what will likely be larger than any other directory to date.

    We are seeking a REAL solution to MASSIVE scale.

    1. Hi Ron,

      GeoDirectory runs on WordPress but doesn’t use its database structure, nor its PHP APIs for queries.

      We have custom database tables and our own PHP API for fast queries on average servers.

      That said, with the right server infrastructure, WordPress can scale better than most people think. and its subsites are one of the entities with the most traffic on the web and it runs on WordPress.

      Some of our clients manage directories with hundreds of thousands of listings and few surpass the million. However, I have no idea what’s the level of traffic of their websites.

      To be honest with you though, it’s a lot easier to add servers when needed, than making sure you are getting the popularity and traffic forecasted.

      Amazon AWS, for example, features an auto-scale solution that automatically adds server power to your instance when needed and that also scales down automatically.

      I’d worry about getting the level of traffic needed to get WordPress stuck on a good dedicated server 1st, then worry about the next step.

      That said, if you are looking for a solution that will scale with no limits on a single server (vps or dedicated), that doesn’t exist.

      You can read more about massive scaling here:


    2. Hi can we modify source with your product?

      1. WordPress and the vast majority of plugins like ours are 100% open source. So you can literally modify each single line of code and each file.

        That said, the best way to customize the plugin is not by modifying the source code, but altering functions via hooks and actions. More info here

  6. Hello Paolo,

    I am testing the GeoDirectory plugin and at the moment it works great. I have very bad experiences with the Listingpro, Listify, Listable, and somewhat less WPresidence templates. Listingpro directly crazy. Geodirectory works for me without an error from the start.

    I would like to know if the Supreme Directory and Starter templates have support. And what do you advise me to create a directory of companies in a country. I have seen that other templates creators divide the directory by cities (ideal for local directories!) What I want is the option to search in all the cities of the country. And also for a specific city. That results are filtered by all the cities of the country, and by a specific city.

    Can you add many listings in the future, without problems? What you are talking about code quality promises.


    1. Hi, and thanks for your comment!

      I would like to know if the Supreme Directory and Starter templates have support.
      Yes they do
      what do you advise me to create a directory of companies in a country
      Because you want to search all the country, you must do only one website for all listings.
      Can you add many listings in the future, without problems?
      As long as the server is powerful enough, GeoDirectory can handle as many listings as you want.


  7. I liked PHP my directory, provides good features. you provided a lot of good links thanks for the article

  8. Hello. I was considering 2 options – BrilliantDirectories or WP theme Listingpro. As I am gonna launch my site on a small local town ( 30k residents ) I decided BriliantDirectories would be too expensive and chosen Listingpro. I spent more then 48h setting up, translating my site just to see that it’s so buggy I cant go live. Almost every single feature is buggy. I am not a programmer but I believe I would build a better theme just with help of Youtube, Google.

    I am so pissed of right now and was looking for a new option and accidentally found your plugin on Google. At a first glance your plugin looks superior but Listingpro looked the same before I start using it.. Can you ensure your plugin is bugs-free, at least main functions like adding listing, paying for it, changing price plain, claiming listing? Is it possible to create simple website, with no location selection ( like i said it will be a local website ), just with 9 main categories, some subcategories, filterable features ( e.g. : wifi spot, free parking etc. ) . Home page must show latest reviews, latest listings and events. It’s all I need ATM.

    And what about translations. Is it easy to translate to Lithuanian?

    Thank you.

    1. Hi,

      You should have read our article about directory themes before buying ListingPro. It would have helped choosing.

      Bug-free software doesn’t exists, but I can assure you that our code is as bug free as it gets, because we fix bugs as soon as we find them or as soon as customers report them.

      We also fix their site with patches if needed before we release an update. There are more than 10k active website using our plugins.

      Translating GeoDirectory is as easy as translating WordPress:

  9. If I buy this directory with all the add ons, in WP Admin, can I change the default “Tag Keywords” limit of 40 characters to (for example) to 200 characters?

    Also, what would be the easiest way to display a list of the recent published articles authored by entry being viewed? I that option on default, or is there an add on for it? Will I have to use buddypress to display articles in the profile of each user o in the detail entry of Geo Directory?

    Thanks in advance,


    1. Hi,

      for the 1st question, yes you can, the price manager allows to determin tags and other fields limits.

      I’m not sure I understand the second question, you want to order the listings by number of views they receive? If that’s the case, I’m sorry to inform you that we don’t provide a similar option at all.

      For the 3rd question, yes you can use BuddyPress or our UsersWP alternative that is a lot more lightweight:


    2. Paolo,

      This is more a follow up than a new question. I could not reply to your answer before, but I think I got everything almost figured out.

      “I’m not sure I understand the second question, you want to order the listings by number of views they receive? If that’s the case, I’m sorry to inform you that we don’t provide a similar option at all.”

      I was talking about if an entry view (e.g. a theologian’s professional profile), you can show a list of his/her recent articles. Like if he has three articles published in the directory, if you go to that particular personal profile and can see what articles/posts he has published, and then click on the links to read his articles.

      See for instance this example I found in Here this author has like 30+ published articles. Each one has a link with an abstract of the article. Very cool.

      I think you mentioned we can do that with if yes (as I think), can we then easily integrate Geo Directory with UsersWP ( ) plug in then?

      Thank you for your answers,


      1. Hi again,

        at the moment there is no way to do that out of the box. A customization would be required. In GD V2 we definitely want to add something similar. but it something that will come in the future and I can’t say how far from now.


    1. To enjoy many more features and a more efficient and scalable solution for exmaple. That theme exists since at least 5 or 6 years and it hasn’t advanced a lot since it’s original release…

    2. Feature such as?

      1. 1) You can use our plugins with any theme, while if you use that theme you are stuck with it and it offers no portability
        2) Scalability. Unlike that theme, our plugins can handle massive database and traffic.
        3) Each of our add-ons offer features that theme either doesn’t offer or are not as sophisticated. Here you can find a list of them: Feel free do the comparison if you like.


        1. Hi Paolo,

          Could you please clarify the options for bulk importing/exporting?Is this valid for the Categories only, or includes the Listings as well?

        2. In GDv2 you can import categories, locations, listings and even reviews…

  10. Sounds v good. When mass-uploading data for multiple members (in excel form):
    1) can the text data include some basic HTML tags? Or just pure text?
    2) The images, can they be just referenced by links, or actual images? (And if in links, can it be specified to actually upload all of them into the directory database?)

    1. You can’t upload in excel format. Import files must be in CSV format. Yes fields that support html like the description will accept html in CSV files. Images are referenced by file name in the csv file. After import is completed the system tells you in which media folder to upload the images.

  11. Lovely article, but overall I am still a support of wordpress.

  12. 1) Can I use *different* settings for UK locations, and for US locations: with Different prices, wording, images, or even page structure and its look etc?
    2) Can I create a YP clone (I do not intend to, but want to know if technically it is any problems with this?
    Many thanks

    1. 1) This is not possible. You’d need two separate directories, 1 for US and one for UK.

      2) Yes you could. Our Whoop theme is the closest thing to a Yelp clone.


  13. Hi Jerry.
    I just read this blog and noticed your question.
    They do have a directory list, it’s quite extensive.
    It’s on the menu under demo/showcase here’s the direct URL
    I’m no techie but based on the research I’ve done to date,
    wpgeodirectory look like the best all-around solution.
    Always happy to hear what other people have found.
    Regards, Mark.

  14. Hi could please share directory list? 🙂

  15. Hi Kelly,

    Thanks for your comments, let me try and answer each point below (by paragraph):

    1. Thanks, yes we are very proud of our solution 🙂
    You can see we point our the good and the bad above, “flaws” we are pointing out are mostly just things they can’t do but others can..

    2. We never said we were not biased, we do a lot of market research and we share that with the public, readers can come to their own conclusions.

    3. I’m glad you asked, we bought and tested the top ones and did an article about it here:
    I did some very basic code checks and found security problems with 50% of them, and actually had to report vulnerabilities to two of them and this was with just a quick check..

    4. Most of the research was gathered in the same way a customer would, try demos, read info and reviews but we do have the added feed back of receiving many customers from these platforms, we get emails every week from current customers of these platforms asking “Can GD do XYZ as my current platform can’t”.

    5. We have been building directories for over 10 years now, the first in 2008 which was built in pure PHP (pages), then a few years later i converted it to a CMS using the CodeIgniter PHP framework and then after discovering WP we built it into a theme and eventually found the ideal solution to be a plugin. We have built every type solution mentioned and with our 10 years of experience have concluded as a plugin. 🙂



  16. You seem to be very proud of your solution and although you are comparing other solutions… you are merely pointing out what you believe are flaws.

    It’s hard to not find this article biased because the creators of GeoDirectory are writing it.

    How does GeoDirectory compare to the dozens of similar wordpress geo directory themes?

    Also – did you even purchase and use the solutions listed in this article to try and build a directory website, or just browse their websites and test the demos?

    Looking forward to how you gathered your information and what qualifies you as an expert on dedicated directory websites business solutions.

  17. There are many directory plugins over at which you can buy under $40 with lifetime support. Any reason why we should purchase geodirectory for $199 instead?

    1. Hi, according to several customers of ours, that moved from directory plugins sold over at codecanyon, they are poorly coded or don’t use WordPress standards at all, with a lot of bugs, barely supported and not that flexible. Basically you get what you pay for…
      Hope this helps

    2. Paola, You respond to Kim with “you get what you pay for” but You mentioned several solutions in this article that are more expensive than GeoDirectory. Are we to assume they are better because they are more expensive or that GeoDirectory is worse because it’s cheaper?

      Prices vary for many different factors. You’re trying very hard to dismiss other qualified solutions in a very unconstuctive manner simply to boast about the value of GeoDirectory. Not cool.

      1. Hi Kelly,

        1st of all my name is Paolo and not Paola.

        I think eDirectory and Brilliant Directory are very good solutions, but extremely expensive, especially considering you don’t have access to the code. However many people use them, so they must definitely consider them valuable enough.

        If you read the review with attention (not like you did with my name), you’ll notice that I praise their features and even say that we are jealous of some of them, but that the price is extremely high compared to what they offer. Especially because with them you don’t own your website 100%.

        Anyway, I’m not trying very hard to dismiss other qualified solutions in a very unconstuctive manner as you say. I’m just stating facts.

        If you think any of the fact that I stated is false, please let me know which one and if you are correct I will edit it.

        Otherwise I hope you realize that your comment is 100% nonconstructive.


  18. I can tell anyone looking to build a directory to save their time an money and just buy the GeoDirectory bundle. It is amazing. My directories are all coming together and are starting generate revenue.

    1. Hi Joe,

      Very good!!! Congratulations!!! Could you share the links to your directories with us?

      Thanks, Best Regards

  19. Looking forward to v2. I’ve been preparing my dataset for almost 2 years now. Just in time for v2 as well with looks of it.

  20. Thanks for this review Paolo. It was quite an interesting and enlightening review. I’m really looking forward to V2 and its ongoing development.

    1. You are welcome Chris, I’m glad you liked it, V2 will change the game!

  21. Wish you offered a Deals & Offers add-on for GD!

    1. Have you looked at GeoDeals plugin? It’s free and in the repo. The plugin works with the Special Offer field and let’s you add and manage multiple deals that appear on the listing page as well as displays all offers on one page using a shortcode. Here is an example of a site using the shortcode on their special offers page:

      Here is the plugin in the repo

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