Business Directory SAAS or WordPress?
In this article, we will look at the top online Business Directory SAAS solutions and 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.
Elon Musk started his Business Empire with Zip2.
They developed an online city guide with maps and yellow pages, that he marketed to newspapers and media publishers.
New, highly profitable directories are being developed every day.
This business model is accessible, ubiquitous, and is likely here to stay.
So what’s best… WordPress, a Directory SAAS, or a standalone Business Directory script?
In order to answer this similar question, we’ll look at what’s available for WordPress, and what’s available besides WordPress to 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:
Like first impressions, it is not impressive.
This is also keeping in mind the larger price.
The websites look very 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’s the only way that will allow you to change the design, templates, or add any extra features.
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 be requested by providing your email address. I am not a fan of this practice.
However, as they host all of their customers, and as their DNS nameserver are public, it was easy to find the list of domains hosted by their servers.
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 full package costs $145 per month or $950 per year. They also have an LTD for $1450.
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.
phpMyDirectory is a once commercial software application turned free and open source.
It is now supported only by sponsors and entities with support contracts.
Sponsorship funds are used for the development and improvement of the software.
The application was first launched in 2002, and at the time of writing is over 19 years old, but it the last 3 years, it’s been updated only once.
phpmydirectory feature list was quite impressive, alas, we can’t recommend it anymore.
The developer of one of the most popular themes for PHPmydirectory called Listimia.
Created a version of its theme for WordPress powered by GeoDirectory. You can check out the Listimia Directory Theme here.
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 are as good, if not better, less expensive, more flexible, and comes with the best support in the business.
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