Business Directory Software or WordPress?
In this article, we will look at the top online Business Directory Scripts and how they compare with WordPress and the Best Directory plugin.
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Online Business Directories have been available since the late 1990s. 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:
- The pursuit of an unrealistic directory project, or ideas supported by poor-quality research.
- A foundation built on a directory software that does not reflect the needs of the projects long and short-term goals
- A budget with insufficient planning or consideration for your directory overhead expenses.
Pursue an unrealistic directory project 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 Yelp.com.
The same goes if you try to create a website in the style of booking.com.
Or yet another clone of tripadvisor.com.
Unless your budget somehow matches theirs, your business will simply not be able to compete.
We wrote a blog post with a 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 a directory software that does 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 the future and continued success.
A budget with insufficient planning or consideration for your directory 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 start 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 Web Directory Software?
In order to answer this similar question, we’ll look at 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
- Deals & Offers
- a Monetization System
- Android App builder
- and 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 a few minutes looking for a website built with eDirectory.
Fortunately, they left enough footprints in their source code for me to find a 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 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 a 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 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: http://viewdns.info/reversens/?ns=NS1.DIRECTORYSECURE.COM
After joining their service, you can choose 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 a SAAS platform, BrilliantDirectories.com provides 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 webdirectoryforum.org. At the end, one of the most enthusiastic users asked the rest of the forum:
Does anyone here use BrilliantDirectories.com 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 directory tool developed and marketed by Accomplish Technology, LLC that currently looks like a dead project.
The application was first launched in 2002, and at the 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 alternatives 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 move to GeoDirectory daily, we also created a tool to convert the database with the click of one button.
New Update: In June the developer re-appeared in the support forum to release a version that would allow its users to update PHP to version 7.3, then he disappeared again.
there are a few other 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 Softwares 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 a few years ago to try to remain relevant, but it was a fiasco and as of the time of writing hasn’t been updated in 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 the keyword Business Directory Software is only searched 300 times per month.
If your company prohibits you from using open-source software like WordPress, choosing one between Brilliant Directories and eDirectory makes sense, especially if the budget isn’t a problem.
Furthermore, choosing one of the hosted versions removes most of the constraints 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.
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