How to create a directory with WordPress without a business directory plugin

business directory header image

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When people want to add a directory functionality to their WordPress site, they’re usually looking for WordPress directory plugins. There are a few out there on the market but you can perfectly create a business directory in WordPress (like the one we’ve just created for affiliate sites) without a dedicated directory plugin. It’s much more flexible in terms of content and design.

How to create a business directory in WordPress with CPT UI and ACF?

The stack we’re using on this site to create business directories is a blend of CPT UI, for custom post types, ACF (Advanced Custom Fields) to set up the fields for each entry in the directory and Elementor Pro to design the template of each entry and the template of the archives page. Then we can import data from a Google Sheet using WP All Import (you will need the premium ACF add-on for WP All Import as well as the Yoast SEO add-on for WP All Import).

It’s that simple.

Very soon we’ll detail all the procedure in a short online course but basically the workflow is as follows:

1° create a Custom Post Type using CPT UI (e.g. “affiliate sites”)

2° create a group of fields for each entry with ACF (e.g. site name, URL, traffic,…), based on the fields you’ll have to import / sync from your Google Sheet

3° create a template for each entry with Elementor Pro

fill out the fields in your Google Sheet

import all the fields of your Sheet to the fields of your CPT (title, featured image, ACF Fields, Yoast SEO fields), with WP All Import, properly set up with the ACF and Yoast add-ons.

check the published content to ensure all fields have been correctly populated

You’re now ready to scale your business directory and dominate your niche.

Create your archive template with Elementor, add a search bar

Don’t forget to create a beautiful template for your archive page using Elementor. You’ll use the POSTS module to display your latest entries.

I advise you to add a nice autocomplete search bar on the archive page. I’m using Ajax Search Pro which costs $36 on Envato.

You can also add faceted search with Search & Filter Pro.

As you’ve seen, you don’t need a dedicated directory plugin to create an effective business directory with WordPress.

Don’t hesitate to send me a message if you have any additional question re: this setup.

Have fun creating your WordPress business directories!

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