How to create a directory or listing website using WordPress?

Creating a business listing website or a directory website might look like a big thing to do, but with WordPress and so many resources in place, this isn’t a case anymore. There are a lot of premium WordPress themes that let you do that and much more. So the major task isn’t getting the site ready, but getting the site ready properly. By properly, I mean there are different ways of doing things and then there is also a right way. Today we will look at how we can create a directory or listing website and even make money out of it.

Choosing the right niche

The first and foremost thing to do is figure out what you want to list, or what part of users do you want to serve. Do you want to create a nanny listing website, or maybe list people who walk dogs for money, or maybe some enterprise-level business that serves a certain purpose? Irrespective of how big or small you think the site is, it is important that you pay proper notice to small little things, that make your website better and above all, put your site a notch higher than your competitor.

One more thing to consider when creating a listing website is that the site depends upon users and not just you. This is not your ordinary portfolio website, so you will have to keep the visitors and users engaged. We shall take a look at that as well to make sure, that we also are able to convert the users that come to our website. This means, newsletters and good content and more. But we will dive into it later, let’s get started with the website now then.

Choosing the right domain name

A domain is very important part of your website. While I assume, you have thought of a domain name to go with, for your business but a second thought doesn’t hurt. Make sure the domain that you choose is relatable to what your niche is, or is something that people can remember fast. If you haven’t thought of a domain yet, you can try some domain suggesting sites like DomainsBot or Namemesh.

Choosing the right web hosting

The place to start is a good home for your website. There are a lot of web hosting companies that offer different types of hosting and at different prices. I have listed, why I recommend the host and you can choose what you feel suits best, based on your needs. The main thing you need to consider while choosing a good host, is how much traffic you think your website will bring in. Based on that you can choose different plans that the hosts have to offer, for your business listing website.


A very important aspect to consider when choosing a webhost, is support. If I was to rate their support, I would probably rate them 6 out of 5 stars. They are that good with the support. Also, another reason, I recommend them, is because I myself host 5 different high traffic websites with them and in the last 3 years, have never had a single issue and downtime. Their plan starts at USD 3.95 per month and they offer a wide range of options to choose from. I would personally recommend going with the Go Geek Plan that comes at around USD 11.95 per month, because it offers one click staging, so you can quickly create a copy of your website and work on it, without breaking the live site.

Finding the best theme for business directory

The next and the most important thing for creating a directory website is choosing a theme that best suits your needs. There are a lot of plugin based themes, that offer this,  but we shall take a look at themes, that use the WP Job Manager plugin. The major reason being the add-ons that are available for the plugin, giving it a lot of flexibility and lead over other plugins. There are a lot of themes that are based of it and serve the purpose.


Robolist is a fairly new theme by Code Themes. But with them having built the famous Robojob WordPress job board theme, you can be assured of the quality that the theme has. The best thing about the theme, is it’s compatibility with Elementor Plugin and how it offers custom elements for the page builder so, you have the flexibility to show you listings and search filters as you desire, helping you create unique looking designs. The theme comes with Elementor Pro and WC paid listings, both of which are premium plugins. With the help of WC paid listings, you can sell listngs on your directory website. The extension uses WooCommerce letting you handle payments through various payment gateways and also making use of WooCommerce’s various add-ons. This means, you can also make money out of your business directory or listing website. At just USD 59, this theme is a bargain.

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Listable gives you a platform for creating local and global directories. This like above makes use of the WP Job Manager plugin to help create a site that will let you list your business irrespective of what the niche is. This is among one of the most famous listing themes out there. Though a little expensive at USD 85, it still delivers that you ask of it. It supports page builders like Beaver builder and MotoPress for designing your website.

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Keeping the users engaged

Now that you have a good looking domain pointed to a webhost you can rely on and also have the theme setup to have the site look like how you want it to. Let’s get the users engaged. Shall we? Now remember how we discussed, Robolist, integrates WooCommerce to help you sell listings? Now once, we start getting the listings paid or free, we need to make sure that we have our users engaged and keep them coming to the website. For this, a good way to do that is through timed newsletters. You can use a free plugin called “Mailchimp for WooCommerce” by Mailchimp themselves. Once you add an API key and choose the list, to populate from the plugin’s settings page. You are done. What this plugin does is, now everytime a listing is sold (free or paid), the user is added to your mailchimp and you can now email them either manually or send automated emails. Send them offers, based on wether they are paid members or free. Send emails when someone abandons cart mid way, without finishing their purchase.

Speed, SEO and Security

The next thing on your website is making sure the site loads fast and is secure also, that you are indexed well by search engines. With WordPress getting the basics right on these is pretty easy. I generally prefer W3TotalCache for caching so that the website doesn’t have to fetch everything, everytime you make a request.

For SEO you can use either Yoast SEO or All in one SEO Pack, both of these plugins are highly recommended, but then they will do the basics for you and get you started, suggest you what you need to do. But SEO is a huge thing in itself and will need further work from you, or a expert.

Having a site that also take payment, means you will also need to take care of the security of the website. The security of the website is also best handled by experts but there are very good plugins that give you a head start on getting things right. Some of the plugins that I recommend are iThemes Security and Wordfence. Just going through their setup and doing what they recommend, will make sure your website is a lot secure then it initially was.

Customizations and Tweaks

We have now successfully set up the website. Your website should be up and running and taking in listings from users. But, themes are more generic then some of us prefer it to be. Which is why you might need to change how the site looks. Or even how things work on the website. May be take partial payments, or add more fields to the form. Or just about anything, you need done, you may end up needing expert help. Websites customizations and tweaks are best handled by experts. For that, you will need someone you can trust. Codeable is one such platform that you can trust as the experts are tested before they are hired. You can post your requirements and in minutes you will have experts coming back to you with appropriate questions.


What you have now is a working listing directory website. Based on your niche, you probably also have a unique looking design. Make use of the page builder plugins that come along and you have a unique looking site. You can also earn through your website selling listings, using WooCommerce. And keep the users engaged with your timely automated newsletters.