Including a Business Directory in a Wordpress Site... any ideas
March 8, 2011 8:43 AM   Subscribe

I am trying to find an easy way to incorporate a business directory into a Wordpress site.

You'd think it would be easy... there must be a directory plugin that allows for people to submit a business listing, an admin can then approve it and people can search for that business listing using keywords or scrolling through the list.

I have tried out the free directory plugins only to find extreme limitations. I have tried to make BuddyPress and Mingle work. I purchased two directory themes but they usurp the entire site and turn it into one big directory.

I am beginning to think there has to be another way. In an older thread someone said Drupal.

Any suggestions? Can I keep using wordpress and then use some other tool for the directory? Or do I really need to go the Drupal route?

I just feel like I am spinning my wheels. Can someone give me some guidance?
posted by hellodonna to Technology (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
What is your end goal here? That would help me think about what could be best.

Also, which have you tried? That would help me make sure I don't suggest something you've already dismissed.
posted by mephron at 8:51 AM on March 8, 2011

Response by poster: The goal is really simple. The site is for a small business networking group. A place to post information, upcoming events, pictures etc... and a directory where each member can be listed with their logo and information on their business.

The preference is for the users to submit their information and then an admin approves their listing since we don't want just any person listed in the directory. At this time the directory is free for all members. If a member doesn't renew their membership with our group, we need to be able to delete them out of the directory. It would also be nice if the members can update their listings themselves.

The directory should be viewable by any person visiting the site.

I have tried the free plugins: WP Business Directory Manager and Business Directory. The WP Business Directory Manager broke each and every theme I tried it on. Business Directory looked and acted perfect except instead of actually showing a listing, it just directed the user to the business's Website.

I tried to get BuddyPress to work but its functionality was more on the social networking side and the directory didn't have what we needed.

I tried Mingle and I even worked with the author to get the directory to work but the layout was terribly hinky and the author gave up.

I also downloaded DirectoryPress and WPDev's Wordpress Directory. Both are taking over the site so completely that it's now JUST a directory and not a Website that has a directory contained within it.

I am pretty good with Wordpress but this has me flummoxed. I am at the point where I am thinking I will do two installs of Wordpress, one that's the Website/blog and then a second install that is the Directory, either DirectoryPress or WP-Dev's version and link it... but I know there should be a better way.

I have also looked to see if there is something I can install parallel to Wordpress that is just a directory but there is so much garbage out there, I think I find something perfect, click on the demo and I get errors.

I so need help!
posted by hellodonna at 9:09 AM on March 8, 2011

Response by poster: WP-Dev is incorrect, I meant WPMU Dev
posted by hellodonna at 9:16 AM on March 8, 2011

I don't know anything off the top of my head, and my searches aren't coming up with anything you haven't tried.

I will keep looking, though. And the WordPress Meetup in my town (Seattle) is tomorrow night and I will ask people - there's some smart people there and they might have an idea. I hope this isn't horrifically time-sensitive.
posted by mephron at 9:25 AM on March 8, 2011

Response by poster: It's not terribly time sensitive-- I would be curious what your friends suggest. There has to be a way to get this done... I just can't figure out how.
posted by hellodonna at 9:27 AM on March 8, 2011

Are you looking for each entry to have its own page, linked from the directory?
posted by djb at 10:06 AM on March 8, 2011

Response by poster: At this point I am open to anything -- but yes, that is what I was aiming for.
posted by hellodonna at 10:14 AM on March 8, 2011

Best answer: Just use a contact form and built-in wordpress theming functionality.

They submit the listing via the contact form. You want to moderate them anyway, right? So if the listing meets your criteria, create a page or blog post for it, making sure to put it in a certain category or under a certain parent page.

Use custom fields (located below the post) for common information (phone number, address, hours of operation). Use the wordpress template hierarchy to style these specific pages differently from the rest of the site, if you want. Copy and paste, and even if you sweat the small stuff you're looking at five minutes max per posting.

Use wordpress's built in archive functionality for the master list, or use the parent page. Theme it however you want. Mission accomplished!
posted by jsturgill at 10:56 AM on March 8, 2011

(for a small to medium sized site, anyway)
posted by jsturgill at 10:58 AM on March 8, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks jsturgill! I really wish it could be a more automated process... especially because who this task will fall to eventually. Regardless, I didn't even consider making it a manual process and I will consider it. Thank you for your suggestion! I appreciate it!
posted by hellodonna at 12:08 PM on March 8, 2011

jsturgill is on the money here.
But instead of using a simple contact form, I would suggest using the Gravity Forms plugin to create the forms you need. It's a premium plugin, but believe me, it's worth every cent when used for something like this. Gravity Forms can create post drafts and custom fields from a form submission, as well as use conditional logic to display forms elements. Very handy.

Has anyone got any experience with using DirectoryPress? The only reviews I can find for it are from spammy sites who then link to it with their affiliate code. And one person on the forums doesn't seem to think much of it.
posted by davem at 2:40 AM on March 30, 2011

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