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how to create a directory website

How to Create a Directory Website From Scratch- All You Need to Know

Directory websites have been popular over the years with the rapid growth of online business opportunities. They are wonderful sources to find hospitals, restaurants, plumbers, or even mechanics with a few clicks of the mouse. So, knowing how to create a directory website can be an amazing strategy to make money online. 

Knowing what steps you need to take to bring your business directory website from scratch to the internet seems a daunting task that requires a lot of hard work. But, in reality, creating it is simple and requires a reasonable amount of time if you follow the right procedure. 

In this article, we will teach you how to create a business directory website in WordPress from scratch with extreme ease. 

Let’s get cracking.


  • Domain & Hosting
  • WordPress ( Free Installation)
  • Directory Plugin ( Free)
  • Directory Theme (Free)

These are all you need to have before building your directory site from scratch.  

Steps on How to Create a Directory Website? 

Now, let’s look at some key steps to the business directory website building process that will lead to the best possible end results every single time.  

1. Obtain a reliable domain & hosting

Creating any type of website requires domain and hosting. In the internet world, a domain or a domain name refers to the location of a website. For example, facebook.com is a domain name. Through a domain name, a user can easily access your website. Now, what is hosting? Hosting, in the most generic sense, is a kind of service that provides the users with computing resources and storage.

In simple words, hosting is the resting place where a website or domain rests. You ask how do you buy them? The thing is so simple. There are a number of domains and hosting service providers like Bluehost, GoDaddy, GreenGeeks, and Kinsta that provide excellent services to their customers. You can take services from any of them. 

2. Install WordPress 

Now, it’s time to choose the website platform. The fact is, there are a number of free platforms but we choose WordPress as it is affordable and makes the process easier to monetize a business directory website. Most importantly, WordPress allows users to customize their directory site. 

Let me tell you a few reasons why WordPress. 

  • It’s powering up around two-fifth of the websites on the internet
  • More than 10% of the World’s top websites including CNN are powered by WordPress
  • In the WordPress repository, you will get thousands of themes and plugins to customize your directory website
  • It’s an open source

3. Install a WordPress directory theme to customize your website’s appearance

Once the installation of WordPress is done, then you need to think about the appearance of your directory website. The better appearance comes from the better theme you will take. You will find many free and paid themes on the WordPress repository. Among those, a number of themes like OneListing will cater to directory websites. In this tutorial, we will work with the OneLsting free version for demonstration purposes. However, the premium version will give you a better appearance. To install the theme, go to the WP Admin Dashboard > Appearance > Themes > Add New

how to create a directory website customize your website appearance

4. Install a directory plugin that gives you all directory features

Honestly, you will find many plugins on the WordPress repository. But the question is which one you should pick, right? You should use a directory plugin that renders all directory features. In this tutorial, we will use the Directorist free version. You may ask, Why Directorist? The reasons are

  • It’s a multi-directory plugin
  • Unlimited custom fields to accommodate custom requirements on the listing form
  • 4.7 ratings in WordPress.org
  • Booking system
  • Live chat facility 
  • Social login option 

To install this plugin, navigate to the WP Admin Dashboard > Plugins > Add New > Search for the keyword ‘directorist’ > Install 

how to create a directory website directory features

5. Add the Pages to the Menu

Now, navigate to the WP Admin Dashboard > Appearance > Menus > Give a menu name > check “Auto Add Pages” > Check “Display Location” to Primary Menu > Create Menu

how to create a directory website add the pages to the menu

Now, select all the pages by clicking on the “Select All button” > Add to Menu > Save Menu 

6. Add extra features via plugins

In this step on how to create a directory listing website, you can add extra features according to your needs using plugins. For example, you can add a booking feature to your directory site as this feature is very important for a directory website to let people reserve the services or products beforehand. Thus, it can easily reduce the chances of waiting in the queue. To add this feature to your directory site, you can use the extension. To install it, navigate to the WP-Admin Dashboard ➝ Plugins ➝ Add New ➝ Upload Plugin ➝ and upload the Extension ZIP file and Activate it. 

Now, go to Directory Listings ➝ Directory Settings ➝ Extensions Settings ➝ Extensions General ➝ and confirm if the Booking is enabled.

how to create a directory website add extra features via plugins
how to create a directory website add extra  features via plugins

Again, you can add business/opening hours feature to your directory site. This feature will define your business operational hours. To add this feature to your website, you can use the plugin extension

Final Thought on How to Create a Directory Website

That’s all we covered. With Directorist, you can build your own directory website from scratch. In this tutorial, we have used only the free version of OneListing theme and the Directorist plugin. However, you can take your directory website to the next level, using the premium themes and the plugin

Also, we are optimistic that you have learned the nuts and bolts of how to create a directory website in WordPress from scratch. Now, start your day by building a business directory website

If you have already built a directory website using Directorist, then please don’t forget to share your experience with us by leaving a comment in the section below.  

Written by

Md Hamim Khan

Md Hamim Khan is a man of letters who puts up his hands for technical content writing at wpWax. He loves to keep himself engaged in playing cricket & chit-chatting with friends, family, and colleagues in the time when he leaves out of work.

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