There are a number of ways you can add features to a site that allow you to add more content, revenue, and most-importantly, create a resource that is more valuable to visitors. I built my first directory about two years ago and ever since then have been very impressed with the value these provide and the flexibility they offer.
When I built my first directory I only knew of one way to do it, a PHP solution called PHPMyDirectory. I still definitely recommend PHPMyDirectory but recently have found another solution that seems pretty slick and know of a third that is coming-out soon that I am really excited about!
This is only the first in a series of posts I’ll be doing about building a directory so don’t expect to learn it all right here. What I want to cover in this post is the different platforms you can choose from. Of course there are more than three however these are my top picks and what I think represent some of he easiest directory platforms to get started with.
It’s important to remember that putting a directory on your site does not mean you suddenly have a directory business. You have to build-out the business, make assumptions, test them, and most importantly reach-out to businesses in your niche and make connections. If you’re afraid to pick-up the phone or send an email don’t expect your directory to be an overnight success. Below are the three platforms I recommend with a few details that will hopefully steer you towards the right solution for you:
- PHPMyDirectory – this is probably the most feature-rich, customizable, and robust directory platform out there. They have everything you could ever want and for those features you think they don’t have, there’s usually an add-on available. It’s easy to setup different pricing models, payment gateways, etc. You can also quickly email everyone in your directory and assign unique login/password information so businesses in your directory can update their listings themselves. It does take some technical prowess to get this running but once operational it really is the most complete solution out there.
- WooThemes Listings Theme – WooThemes has been one of my favorite WordPress Theme developers of all time. The listings theme is a great way to turn any WordPress site into a sophisticated directory with awesome Google Maps integration. I find that the Listings Theme looks much nicer than PHPMyDirectory however it does lack some of the power user features which you may or may not need. If you’re a member of the theme club this is included in your subscription as well which is pretty nice!
- Vantage by AppThemes – AppThemes designs some of the most powerful themes out there since they really are online apps. Vantage is a new theme that hasn’t been released yet but looks like it will be the slickest directory solution for WordPress I’ve seen yet. You can sign-up to be notified when it is released, I can’t wait and will definitely be using it once it comes out.
Feel free to share some of your favorite directory platforms in the comment section below. Over the next few weeks I will be sharing how to setup a directory using PHPMyDirectory and Listings and then delving-into developing the business model behind a directory. Stay-tuned, as usual much more to come!