Directory Themes for WordPress and my take on how to run one successfully.
Thinking of setting up a business directory? Perhaps a job board? A local directory for restaurants, or just want to create something that serves people in the town/village you live in. Well, you’re in luck.
If you’re not familiar with WordPress or just think of it as a blogging platform, you’ll be bowled over at how far WordPress has come.
It’s used the world over, powering business websites, communities, and of course blogs. WordPress as a business directory/job board/classified ads website is not only entirely possible, it’s created a booming micro industry within the WordPress theme world.
Gone are the days of “Hello World” as a blog post, say hello to job listings, geo business directories, classified ads sites and a heck of a lot more.
This, of course, is due to the tenacity/hard work of talented WordPress theme developers, crafting themes that are so much more than just blogging themes.
With a real demand for directory themes, be them job boards/ads sites etc, the directory business is booming, with good reason of course. People want them.
[contents h2 h3]
There’s no easy win when running a directory
Now don’t get me wrong, if you’re thinking of a quick easy win with directory themes, getting a shed load of visitors and competing with the bigger sites, your sh*t out of luck.
It simply isn’t going to happen. My advice (for what it’s worth) start small, perhaps with a niche, one that you’re comfortable with.
One that you’re knowledgeable about, one that you can create content for on the reg, without batting an eyelid.
Your passion for the topic will resonate with other interested parties, generate a following and with that more companies may approach you to list their business/products etc.
Creating a local directory with WordPress?
If you live in a small town and want to connect with the town folk, then creating a news site with directory functionality may well be the way to go.
It’s not all online you know, don’t be afraid to get out and about, meet local businesses, get business cards printed up, network and connect.
You might be surprised at the results when you meet with some local businesses, not everyone likes to do things via email or over the phone.
Sometimes, just sometimes, a face to face helps people put the proverbial to a name. Thus increasing your chances of winning business.
Giveaway free listings in your WordPress directory
Whatever type of directory you are creating, be it a job board, business directory or product directory, the biggest asset and the ticket to generating listings is by giving them away for free.
Yeh I know right, you spend all that time creating a directory using the theme of your choosing, then you give listings away.
Trust me, this works. Give away listings, no one in their right mind will pay to advertise in your directory when it’s still in its infancy. That, unfortunately, is a fact.
You need to build up your game, the way to do that is to have content. In order to get content for your directory, you will have to bite the big one, contact companies and offer a listing for free.
Upsell, upsell, upsell
Once you have businesses on board and your website is generating traffic, then it’s time to upsell.
Offer enhanced listings, with additional functionality, like a contact form that goes to the business advertisers email through your website.
Create a section where users can submit deals pertaining to their business, offer coupons, blog about advertisers on your website create a buzz, push traffic their way.
Generate interest in their business and you will see your business go through the roof.
Look after advertisers, whether they are using a free service paid for, treat everyone like gold dust. In the long run, you’ll thank me for that one.
Then package it all up, offer packages for your directory
Once you’re up and running and your directory is flourishing, why not offer packages? For example:
Package one: – free listing for 12 months – barebones functionality
Package two: – $10.00 a month for listing with a website, email form, social links
Package three: – $150.00 for 12 months access to a listing, website, email form, social links, something else really cool (you get the idea right)
The ultimate goal is to get potential advertisers to go for the most expensive option you offer. So by making the most expensive package the most appealing, you’ll generate more revenue.
Of course, your directory would be nothing without a decent WordPress theme, so here are some of the best ones available on ThemeForest.
The directory themes below are for job boards, business directories, product directories and more. They are the top-selling highest rated directory based themes ThemeForest has to offer.
Remember to check the functionality of your potential directory theme, ask questions, will it offer a paid listing feature, if so is it built into the theme or does it work with WooCommerce etc.
By asking questions, reading reviews of directory themes for WordPress and testing out theme demo’s you’ll work out what’s best for your directory idea.
Here’s a few WordPress directory themes & plugins to get you started
Purchasing a directory theme or plugin, invest wisely
Like everything in life, do your research before you commit to purchasing a WordPress directory theme or plugin. When buying directory based themes, ask yourself questions, does this theme offer everything I need?
Are the directories theme functionalities and payment methods for packages baked in? Or do I need further investment in purchasing directory plugins?
Remember if a WordPress theme has it all, sod’s law says it will miss that one minute feature that’s unique to you and one you need. Trust me it happens to me all the time!
Buying a directory theme with features built-in might not suit your business needs in the long run.
By this I mean, what if the theme developer just shuts up shop? Leaving you with an out of date WordPress theme with no signs of support?
Exactly, think about what you’re doing when purchasing themes or plugins to start your own directory, never be scared of asking questions, better to get the answers up front and move on to a theme/plugin which is better suited to your business goals.
Starting a business directory or directory based website is easy
Maintaining it, looking after advertisers, be them free advertisers or paying customers, it’s hard. There’s no quick and easy fix to running a directory business using WordPress.
The most important thing is perseverance, running a directory based business using WordPress, is not unlike blogging. You need to do your research, you need to look at the competition.
What is the competition doing?
Analyse, investigate, address failings on your competitor’s websites. Improve on them, stay connected, persevere and be optimistic.
You may not have a successful directory overnight, but by following some simple advice and being made aware of the pitfalls, you are better armed to achieve that success.
More power to you.