How to Create a Business Directory in Your Membership Site

A business directory can be an incredible resource for both your site visitors and members — providing a place where members can list their services, as well as giving members and visitors access to helpful resources.

The best thing about an on-site business directory is that it gives people yet another reason to visit — and stay on — your website.

In this guide, we'll show you how to create a business directory in your membership site using the free Business Directory Plugin for WordPress alongside MemberPress. But first, a few words on business directory plugins in general…

Business Directory Plugins

As a WordPress user, you have plenty of options when it comes to adding a business directory to your membership site.

As mentioned, for this guide we’ll use the aptly named and highly rated Business Directory Plugin for WordPress. It’s a free, popular, and powerful option. Should you need to unlock extra features, you can easily upgrade by installing the premium modules.

However, there are many other options out there. So depending on your needs, another plugin might be a good choice. GeoDirectory and Connections Business Directory are great plugins, as well. And both offer free and paid options.

You can find more detailed information about these and several other plugins in the WordPress directory plugins article on the Kinsta blog.

That said, let's get started setting up your directory!

Configure Business Directory Plugin for WordPress

You can easily install Business Directory Plugin from inside your WordPress dashboard.

Once you’ve logged in to your WordPress dashboard and installed and activated your plugin, you can begin configuring it. Since we’re using the Business Directory Plugin, we can utilize the helper to quickly create the necessary pages for our directory.

Once you've created your pages, you can move on to configuring the plugin itself. The Business Directory Plugin adds new items to the WordPress dashboard sidebar menu titled Directory and Directory Admin.

From these two menus, you'll find the controls that allow you to structure how the plugin and your business directory will work. A good place to start when setting up your directory is the Manage Form Fields screen.

These controls let you determine which fields are available for your listings. The fields define what information your listings will accommodate. Some examples include the business name, address, and website URL. Business Directory Plugin will also let you easily add new fields to your listings.

Other areas of the plugin and your business directory that you might want to customize include:

  • Directory categories and tags to help you organize your listings
  • Listings duration settings to control how long listings are active for
  • Contact settings to determine whether visitors can contact listing owners
  • Fees and payment settings to charge and collect money in exchange for a listing

Restrict Access to Your Business Directory

With Business Directory Plugin for WordPress, you can completely restrict access to your directory so that only your active members are allowed to view and interact with it, or you can make your directory available to the public.

However, if you’re using MemberPress alongside Business Directory Plugin, your options for restricting access to your directory are almost unlimited. With MemberPress, you can protect specific parts of your business directory from non-members, giving you tons of options for setting up and monetizing it.

If you do want to make your directory totally private, you can also control access to the business directory listings page on your website with MemberPress.

Simply visit the Rules page under the MemberPress menu on the sidebar of your WordPress dashboard. From there, you can create a new rule by selecting A Single Page option and then choosing the page that contains the business directory.

You can then use the Access Conditions settings on the same screen to define which members can view the protected page, based on their membership plan or member name.

Depending on how you configure your plugin, when a non-logged in user or member tries to access the page, they'll see the login page, a registration page, or a custom message.

MemberPress has sophisticated rules functionality, allowing you to control much more than just access to the entire business directory. Depending on how you configure your site, you could restrict access to listings with specific tags, restrict the ability to access the listings creation page, and much more.

Final Thoughts

With right tools in your kit, you'll find it very easy to create a business directory in your WordPress membership site.

While there are lots of good business directory plugins out there, including the one we used for this example, be sure to think about what features you need for your particular project. Then look for the solution that best matches your requirements.

Are you ready to add a business directory to your membership site? Please let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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Categories: How To
About Joe Fylan

Joe uses WordPress to create websites of all types and loves sharing his experiences of using this software with other users. If you need a steady stream of great content for your website, or you want the latest WordPress news and reviews check out his writing services and WordPress blog.