6 Tips to Create a Directory Website

Are you considering creating a smart directory website but aren’t sure where to begin? If so, you’re not the only one. And the good news is that it’s easier to set up than you think.

A directory website lists products and services in one place for customers to purchase. Think about how you search for a new car, restaurant, or home. You sift through different options on a website until you find the options you’re looking for. These types of sites drive lots of traffic but only when optimized for users.

If you want to create a smart directory website that works for your visitors, here are 6 tips to help you get started.

Set Realistic Goals

When you start a new project, you need to stay realistic about what you can accomplish in a certain amount of time. You set yourself up for failure if you try to do too much at once and cater to everyone.

The best way to set realistic goals is to start small. Think about the smaller steps you can take right now to get you closer to your goals tomorrow. You can generate leads and see ROI from your efforts when you tackle one piece at a time because it’s easier to focus on one or two areas.

Think about which goals are most urgent for you to achieve when starting out with your directory site. Is your main focus on building brand credibility? Or perhaps you want to prioritize building an email list for returning visitors. Regardless, narrow it down to a few so you can concentrate on seeing results in those specific areas.

Choose The Right Platform

When it comes to building a website, we recommend WordPress for several reasons.

WordPress uses open source software that’s free to use so you can customize your website to your liking without breaking the bank. It doesn’t include the cost of web hosting and a domain name, but neither of these elements is expensive.

WordPress also comes with thousands of plugins that add functionality and extra features to your site. This makes it easy to customize so it meshes cohesively with your branding. It also makes it more user-friendly and practical so that even new users know how to navigate your site.

If you need customer service, WordPress provides support around the clock to accommodate your needs and offer solutions. It’s crucial that the platform you choose has your back in case you run into problems so your business doesn’t suffer as a result.

Pick a Web Host and Domain Name

There are several web hosting providers to choose from, so narrowing it down to one depends on your preferences and requirements. It’s up to you to do your research and ensure you pick the one that’s best suited to your needs.

Consider the following for your web hosting service:

  • Budget. You need to make sure you stay within your spending goal so you avoid overspending.
  • Features. Think about what you need to successfully run your website, such as speed, storage, payment options, page builders, etc.
  • Bundles. Most web hosting providers offer deals in the form of bundles so you get more for your money and become a happy customer.
  • Setup. Is it easy to create your website by yourself or will you need to hire someone?
  • Customization. Maintaining consistent branding throughout your site is essential to engage visitors, so customization is a must.
  • You might already have a domain name picked out for your website. If you don’t, you can use a name generator like Nameboy. You simply type in a few keywords and it generates several names that are available for you to use.

    For example, if you’re building a travel directory website, you can enter those keywords and see what options you have for site names:

    nameboy generator

    Try as many name options out until you feel you’ve chosen the right one. Sometimes it takes a bit of thinking and time to create the perfect name, but with a generator, it’s much easier to find one you love.

    Select a Theme

    You want an aesthetically pleasing website so it draws visitors’ attention right away and keeps them there. The longer they spend on your directory, the more your site engagement improves, which is important for your conversions.

    So, you need a visually-appealing theme for your site. If you’re a WordPress user, there are more than 5800 free themes to choose from, so it shouldn’t be difficult to find the perfect one. If you have the budget for it, you can also shell out money for a premium theme that may give you that special touch you’re looking for.

    You can type in the kind of website you’re creating based on different factors and WordPress themes will show you relevant options:


    You want to make money from your online directory, so it’s important to monetize your website and collect your coin. They exist to make money from customers looking for options, so you need a monetization strategy from the get-go.

    However, there are several ways to make money from your directory website, including:

  • Charging for listings: If businesses want to get featured on your website, they need to pay for their spot. This brings both of you more business and creates a mutually beneficial partnership. You can also offer premium listings that put them at the top of the list if they’re willing to pay more.
  • Creating membership options: When you drive enough valuable traffic to your site, you can create a membership site like MemberPress where businesses and visitors have access to premium information. This includes listings without an expiration date or featured listings.
  • Selling advertisements: If enough people visit your site, then it’s the perfect place to install ads for other companies that will pay you for the exposure.
  • Collect Feedback

    It’s also important to garner customer feedback so you know what works for your online business and what doesn’t. It’s crucial to hear what your visitors have to say so you can streamline your marketing strategy and fix any existing issues.

    Collect feedback in the form of surveys, online reviews, ratings, and more to ensure that your business is giving its customers what they want. The more information you gather, the more insight you have into improving your current operations and bringing in more ROI.

    Your Turn

    Syed Balkhi is an award-winning entrepreneur and online marketing expert. He is the co-founder of OptinMonster, WPBeginner, MonsterInsights, and WPForms.