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How To: Choosing the Best WordPress Directory Theme For You

How To:  Choosing the Best WordPress Directory Theme For You

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NEW:  Download the Audio below (I added this 50 minute audio to this post which covers a variety of unique ways to build and monetize a web directory, authority site and online agency…..predicated on reader questions. Feel free to listen or download below


One of my favorite online marketing strategies is building authority sites in niches, markets, or industries that align with my own sense of passion and purpose.

An authority site can be a web directory. It can be a marketplace where your professional peers come together to sell products and services around a general or complimentary theme. (like Yoga and mediation, or life coaching, nutrition, wellness and health)
It can be a job board. It can be a social networking community using Buddypress. It can be a hyper local site that attracts a captive community or ideal audience where you live, work or play right now.

There are tons of great authority site ideas, and many monetization strategies that make these style sites a great way to “own” eyeballs and establish an appearance of instant expertise with your peers. (after all, if you own a site that is considered an authority in your niche, and the public are frequenting that site, it’s a good bet you’ll have lots of value to offer people in your niche, market or industry who would LOVE to connect to your community of readers, subscribers, fans, friends, followers, and so forth.

A directory, is a great way of creating a community out of thin air, and attracting an audience of both the public who are looking for help, and the professionals who would love to work with them.

I have built many directories, around topics that I really love and they have been an amazing way to connect with a community of clients that I would have never had access to otherwise. (as when you own a directory that is getting traffic, and you know the type of people you’d love to work with as clients – your ideal audience will literally come to YOU as they discover your directory, and realize that they’d like to be included in your content, campaign and community as well)

I get a fair amount of questions about which directory themes/frameworks are best, and I’ll share a few of the ones I like and use most confidently below.

Vantage theme. (appthemes)

Probably the best value out of the box. Looks are a bit dated. Performs well. Support from Appthemes is so/so – not always reliable. Decent child themes allow some modernization options that improve the basic design. If you have $150 to spend and want to launch quickly, I recommend Vantage, and the Directory child theme and you have everything you need to build a profitable directory from scratch.

Update March 2017!  Vantage 4.0 is now available.

It’s a huge aesthetic improvement over the  previous version(s) of the theme (the 3.xx series) and in general, is probably the absolute best choice for folks who want a directory that is 100% ready to build, without mess or stress, in one short afternoon.  I’ve written a more detailed Vantage 4 review HERE after purchasing and playing with it on a test site, and another post, where you can watch a video where I share what I like, and what I wished they’d done a tad differently as well.  (some of those suggestions will no doubt be improved within the appthemes marketplace of 3rd party themes, plugins + extensions, which will be exciting to see grow for this version of the theme)

Listify (themeforest)

Listify started with a lot of promise, but really has become a bit of a disappointment. Adam Pickering, the public “face” of Astoundify (the company behind Listify) looks like he eats a lot of donuts and stays out of the sun whenever possible, which I respect – but is pretty bad at responding to emails, or being a decent human being with legitimate questions coming from customers/clients, which I sort of don’t.



I say that only because I’ve had about 50 people buy Listify on my recommendation, without any financial incentive (no affiliate link) – purely predicated on public promises they’ve made about upcoming features that have yet to arrive months later….and most are not only disappointed with the theme – they also feel a bit deceived and ignored as well – and that makes me feel silly and a bit responsible for having made the recommendation.

Considering I’m already in therapy for feeling silly far too often to be healthy, I’ve become less of a fan of Astoundify’s slipperly grip on keeping it real – or being transparent with plans, progress and other important insights that are critical when clients put their trust – and invest their project – in your product.

More importantly, and this is pretty universal when it comes to most directory style themes out there…….having a good grasp on what it takes to build a real directory from a content marketing standpoint – what your clients are going to REALLY need to arm themselves well in the battle of building a real business – rather than just arranging the pixels in a pretty way around the page, should be a basic driver behind designing one – and evidenced by the progress and priorities , I simply don’t think the Listify team have a clue on what really matters most.

(i’ve tried to make recommendations with my typical tact and obviously outstanding manners, but they seem to fall on deaf ears 🙂
That said – Listify looks pretty good still – plays well with a whole host of plugins that (theoretically) allow you to do some pretty cool things to and for your community – and donuts, as we all know, ain’t free. (and I wouldn’t want a really pasty white looking brother to starve)

Do also note that I have been drinking heavily since about 10pm (it’s now 118) and if you’ve ever read “how to win frirends and influence people” by Dale Carnegie, you know it’s never a good idea to write product (or people) reviews after you may have peed (just a little) in your pajamas, which I think I may have just done.
So if you are planning on taking my advice on anything beyond the 3rd paragraph on this page, you’ve been warned.

Listable (themeforest)

Very similar to Listify – better looks, similar style integrations (Woo Commerce and WP manager based system allows for some very cool possibilities) much better support system than the other directory themes on Themeforest (in my experience) and the theme authors (Pixelgrade) do world class work across the board. Highly recommend, and while early (it’s only been available for a month) this is the theme I’m using now – and most apt to use going forward, for small communities that need great looks, woo commerce functionality, and creative UI/UX that keep the community coming back for more.

Superlist (themeforest)

A great directory theme/framework that is a steal of a deal – very powerful options, a bit complicated and even overly complex for the basic WP user (which believe it or not, even after years in this biz, I sort of kinda am) – BUT, has tremendous potential to be used on a “real” directory project that transcends the limitations of the other themes above. I got a copy of the theme before it was released, and was able to make some suggestions/recommendations that made it into the first release – and have found Lukas and the “Aviators” development team to be gifted and receptive to feedback and suggestions that have made working with the theme and planning for the future of a project using it – a really enjoyable and educational experience.

Superlist looks GOOD (maybe not great in some spots) but is the closest WP directory theme I’ve used that emulates a true SAAS directory building experience. (something you’d find with Brilliantdirectories.com, for example – which is much more powerful than wordpress and works great – but sort of looks like poop, and has some other “walled garden” issues as well)

Lastly, “Directory” by Templatic is a very powerful framework as well that can help you create the foundation of a true world class directory in a weekend.

While I like Templatic’s offerings (plugins/parent themes and child themes that drive their directory offerings) they DO do some things in a very unique way, which means that you can’t easily “switch” themes if it turns out that you find a framework that you prefer better. I’m tempted to recommend Templatic’s directory offerings just because they look pretty good AND have some genuine high end functioning that you won’t find elsewhere as easily – I just hesitate because you have to really “buy in” to their products long term if you do. Well worth checking out – they are a tad expensive as well relative to the options above, but in general, my experiences with Templatic have been good and I know people who have done very well with their products on live sites that rock.

 

NEW for April 2017.  LISTINGPRO.  This may be the most advanced and powerful WP theme on the market right now…..simply due to the innovative “back end” functionality that you can now offer your users (folks who are listed on your site AND the public, too) – see a complete video breakdown of Listingpro HERE, and see all the cool, creative and unique ways you can monetize your directory as a result.

In closing – I have bought all of the themes above – and have used them on live projects – and have countless clients who have used them as well (specificlaly Listify. Templatic and Vantage theme) – feel free to drop me a line if you’d like some extra insights on my experiences with each. I also didn’t really pee in my pants. And if I did, it was just a little….and it sort of feels good to not have broken my concentration to get up and check.

That is what it takes to succeed – fierce focus and extra thick padded boxers that block out the world when you work. Look for that in an ebook sometime in early 2016.
Thanks for reading, and see you soon.

UPDATE for November 2016. A new course (and personal coaching) on how to monetize a web directory and use authority sites as the firm foundation for building a fun, purposeful and PROFITABLE online agency style business. Learn how to turn your directory into a cash generating community in under 30 days. Details are here.

More updates! Do the updates never end? Who knows? The apprentice is in the white house, and the lead singer of poison may be our next secretary of state. Let’s just keep talking about directories, as the world is pretty much about to explode. Keep reading below.

Quick update: 10 ways to monetize an online directory Download the Audio below (I added this 50 minute audio to this post which covers a variety of unique ways to build and monetize a web directory, authority site and online agency…..predicated on reader questions. Feel free to listen or download below

NOTE: For those of you who have asked, here is a quick update on 3 ways to enhance, expedite and improve launching your next directory site, regardless of which WP theme you plan on using

0 to 1k Directory Challenge Starts July 5th: You WILL Make Your First 1K in under 90 Days…..Regardless of what Directory Theme, Framework, Niche, Industry or Vertical You Choose. For Details: learn more here

34 Comments on "How To: Choosing the Best WordPress Directory Theme For You"

  • Amy says

    Hi Ian,

    Great post and very helpful. I like the look of the listable and the listify theme (although I now swaying towards listable after reading your feedback above). Anyways, I am wanting to set up a directory based website but which also has the ability to sell classified ads. Do either of these themes have this functionality? Or would it require additional customisation? Are there any other themes that you would recommend that would give me this functionality? Many thanks

    • ian says

      Hi Amy! Thanks very much! And in fairness to the guys at Astoundify (the Listify dev team) much of what I shared above is a tad unfair relative to their support – i’ve tried to articulate that a bit better in updates since this original post. If I had to pick between Listify and Listable (I own both) in May of 2017, I’d go with Listify. Here is why: 1 – both of the themes run on the same plugins and the same basic “framework” (WP manager + a whole slew of different plugins/extensions that “extend” the core functionality of the theme) The primary difference between the 2 themes is aesthetic – they operate almost exactly the same way, short of design differences. 2 – Listable is essentially borrowing on Listify’s innovation. (the companies behind each, but for simplicity I’m referring to the themes) Where Listify has broken new ground with plugins that do super cool things…..Listable will “style” their theme to incorporate these innovations and additions a month or 2 later. So while I DO like the appearance of listable better (especially on mobile) – Listify is def the smarter long term play of the 2 – and better value to boot. (i’d also look at the HOSTED version of Listify – if you visit astoundify.com they have a “done for you” style set up that when I last looked – was very appealing)

      I think the best value right now – in the directory space is LISTINGPRO – I’ve done 2 videos you can see on my blog that illustrates a bit why I think they are a great choice – they are a great value – and have suberb functionality for a WP based directory – I don’t love their looks quite as much as either of the above – but they are close – and as of now, the closest thing to a “YELP” like directory you can buy for WordPress.

      The classified combo idea I’d stay away from – if you want to develop both – i’d simply buy a second domain and link them together (one a directory – the other a classified site) rather than trying to marry two related, yet fundamentally different ideas, under one umbrella. (the Listingpro folks are also building a classified theme/framework – so that may be another reason to go with them as well)

      I’d also take a look at Vantage 4 – I’ve bought that as well – it is super simple to develop and build – there are some nice plugins coming for it to extend it in some cool and creative ways – it’s really a pleasure to work with for a simple site – unfortunately, and i hate to say this because they’ve been really nice to me personally – but the support sucks. (appthemes support isn’t good – there IS an active forum of users – but the guys who run the shop rarely appear – and there are lots of unhappy people in the forum, which I hate to see)

      So there you have it! My recommendations 🙂 Hope it helps!

  • Ian says

    Hi,
    I want to create a curated list/directory of instagram businesses, link out to them, and eventually charge the business owners for listing/featured listings. Which do you think would be the best template? No need for maps but will need to have categories of business, rating system, and ability to search. Being able to create “top ten” and “best of” lists would also be cool.

    • ian says

      Hi there – thanks for the question. Any of the themes listed on this post (or in the directory oriented articles I’ve added to this series) will do what you are hoping to achieve without issue, in terms of the first part of your question. If you have a few weeks to wait – and are on a limited budget (or don’t want to buy a bunch of different directory frameworks to test) – i’d wait until appthemes releases VANTAGE 4.0 to make a final decision – as this should be out by Jan 15th, 2017, and from what i’ve heard (and seen) it’s going to be a huge improvement over an already pretty good directory solution. (you can check out my quick thoughts on Vantage in another article in this series – or just go to appthemes.com and read their blog update to see what’s coming with the new release) My intuition tells me it’s going to compare to the Listify style themes very closely – and contingent upon what you’re trying to do (e.g. – do you want featured listings/members to be able to sell products? Listify may be better. Do you want a more robust out of the box solution without additional plugins? Vantage may be better. etc) – so I’d wait a few weeks before making a final decision – (unless you can buy a few) – but any of the above will do exactly what you’d like to achieve in the initial part of the question. As far as “top ten lists” – or “best of” – you can obviously do that with a static page or a static list that is hardcoded to individual listings – but as far as a dynamic list, curated by the community (or editorially by you) – it’s going to be more challenging without some custom coding – or custom plugins (which are available) – but to integrate it all within one directory on a dynamic basis (e.g. – listings are weighted and re-arranged automatically) – I’m not sure which out of the box solutions will achieve that – but it’s a great idea. (the SNAX plugin (which I own) will do that for sure – community curated which is the best approach – but it may not play well with the directory themes/frameworks/plugin combos out there – it’s something I’m planning on testing though – and a great suggestion as well!)

  • Cy says

    Hi Ian- Great information. Given your experience I wanted to see if you could help clarify after a company “claims” its listing using Listify or Listable and they now want to advertise software products or discounted services etc. it appears WooCommerce offers this plugin to integrate or is this a Listify + Marketify hybrid?

    I read how on marketify they use EZDigitalDowloads- is this appropriate or even setup for say, software tools to be sold and downloaded from a company to a potential customer?

    It seems odd the front end claim feature and backend product/service advertising is not one solution… Am I missing something here?

    I am willing to start with Listify or Listable and then hiring someone to produce a more advanced marketplace integration or a complete site redo as it scales, if necessary but to prove out this venture I need to choose the most appropriate platform especially one that you feel might offer the best ability to attract attention and participation from product/service businesses and users to review these companies and for reading reviews/ and for the businesses to ‘claim their profile/listing’ and eventually have BOTH participating in an actual marketplace.

    I greatly appreciate any feedback! Thanks.

    • ian says

      Hi Cy – I think you may be conflating a few different desired outcomes for your directory or marketplace – “Listify” and “Marketify” do very different things, and although similar when thought of from a certain perspective, they are definitely not meant (or designed) to work together in any way. (nor would this be a really tenable solution for you)

      The “claim” function is an inducement for business to say “hey…..this is MY company – and I want to control the listing” (this would apply when you hand add or manually populate the directory yourself – and a business discovers they are on your site and says – “how can I control this listing”)

      Woocommerce (which is an entirely different ecommerce plugin from Easy digital downloads, which Marketify uses – and one of the reasons you wouldn’t want to mix or match the two) – allows your listings to add products, services and coupons to their listing. This allows you to extend your directory into a full fledged marketplace – so that your users (let say me, for example) could register for your site – have a listing – and then offer my services to your audience as well – e.g. – consulting – or maybe an ebook – or a course – or a product – or even a free giveaway.

      You DO need to extend Woocommerce a little bit to accomplish this, by the way of plugins that are specific to Listify + WP-job manager (the plugin that controls listings, and is free) – these plugins, which you can find on the theme description page – are in total, very affordable (far less than a developer per your comment above) – and allow your users to ATTACH a product or listing to their listing – which then turns your “yelp” like directory – into a full marketplace, with full ecommerce functionality. (powered by woo commerce + 2, 3 or 4 other a la carte “premium” plugins that you can decide from – to see which ones fit the need and aspirational goals of your community)

      You really are only limited by your imagination in this respect – and while there are some pragmatic and practical challenges to implementing some of the more full featured solutions above (e.g. – allowing folks to “book” time on your site from providers can be a bit of a hassle, even though it’s very possible and do able in an afternoon) – i do recommend folks try to keep it simple and focus on traffic, brand building, etc – before you add “Feature creep” with all that IS in fact, possible to achieve. Hope that helps!

      • Cy says

        Ian- You are the man! Thanks for the prompt response and breaking that down, I greatly appreciate your insight.

        I also agree with your point of keep it simple and focus on traffic, brand building etc. before falling into a feature & capability “black-hole”, with no real users its pointless anyway if they aren’t using the basics.

        *Side-Note* Will spread the word to others to read your site. Your posts are legit with no BS which is refreshing. Thanks again for keeping it real… haha

        Best.

  • Arjona says

    Greeting Ian. A monetary question for you ?

    Why would any small business pay to get a listing when google is already making a killing on this with many new and promising features added every day ?

    Is there any real data indicating that directories are making $$$ for portal owners and not just the developers who build them >

    I know brilliant directories is expensive and i get the feeling they are just barely making headway since a lot of their customers are disappointed in the fact that business folks are not interested in paying for a listing.

    This is not or should be a hobby right ?

    Your Feedback is welcomed –

    awesome post btw. I’m also glad your pants are dry 🙂

    • ian says

      Hi Arjona – There are many, many reasons why a business would pay for listing – I’m not sure I fully understand the “Google” reference you make above – if you look at how Doctors are found online, for example – you’ll see that most rank more highly on a “doctor” directory, and are discovered that way, (by dint of a Google search) than they are through their own website. Go and try and find a psychologist – or a life coach – or a therapist – or a yoga teacher – or anyone who offers services for that matter, and you’ll find there is probably a “directory” or a community of some kind that that categorizes them, offers reviews, makes it easy to hire them, buy their products, get discounts/coupons, etc – Google is NOT the competition (they are actually a partner in this process – or a “bridge” between you and your ideal audience) – instead, your comptition in most niches are going to be other directories that are already doing well – and are ranking highly – and you’ll need to improve on or offer more value to entice/persuade or motivate them to see the benefits of joining your community. (and ultimately, paying for a premium listing) Brilliant directories is really NOT expensive in my view – they are about 800 bucks or so I think – and all in all, they are a good value. (I don’t currently use them, but know many folks who do and love them – and some who have made fortunes building and selling directories built on BD) For my purposes – I prefer WordPress. Again, I think as i’ve tried to lay out in the various posts about directories – they need to be looked at through the lens of community – with you as the thought leader or benevolent leader – where you have a back end of products/programs and a suite of services to offer to help improve the lives of those who belong – whether that is building a hYPER LOCAL yelp like directory and then offering web design/marketing/seo services as the back end – or building a NICHE oriented directory of authors and then offering book marketing services behind it – or doing seminars/interviews with people in a specific niche and promoting that to an existing list of newsletter subscribers or a facebook page that you already own and have a large audience for (something I do in my own directory business to demonstrate value to “justify” premium offers) – that makes for a really easy sell – e.g. – if you have a directory of life coaches – and I want to be a life coach – and you have a list of 10k people who are interested in improving their lives iwth a life coach – and you have an active FB page of people who post and share adn comment on life coachy personal growth things – and you offer to INTERVIEW me and feature me on the directory – with a sticky post on your FB wall – and an email blast to your list – and there is going to be a beautiful profile of me that includes my PRODUCTS/services/offers in my listing (something you can do with Listify quite nicely) – and I look at your site – and it has lots of other people i know and recognize – and your FB looks good and active, etc – it’s really quite easy to get plenty of people to pay for premium ANYTHING – if the value proposition is obvious and appealing and attractive. (you’ll also always get far more NO’S than yes’s – but that’s a function of the fact that most folks aren’t intuitively good marketers – (the people you reach out to) or are broke – or whatever – but getting people to PAY for premium stuff isn’t a challenge. In addition, I’d say if your ONLY monetization model is “premium” listings – like you mention above – I think that’s a flawed model – as it’s going to be really heavy lifting to get enough people to pay $20 or $50 or $99 a month for a long time – JUST for premium listings – especially at the beginning as your site is growing – to make it worthwhile to do all of this. But, if you have a BIG idea – and you want to CONNECT with a community of folks in a geogrpahic area – or in a specific niche (but things I’m doing using directories and authority sites in general) and have a BACK end in place (e.g. – THIS is how i’m going to parlay all of this into a real business that endures, is fun and is worth pursuing) – I believe that directories remain one of the best ways of doing that – no question about it. I’d encourage you to start googling high paying professionals – look for what shows up in the search results – I think you’ll discover there are many, many directories that are out there already – with lots of premium members (you can often see by looking at “how to get listed”) – and many more that are dated, ugly, and badly managed – this is where the opportunity lies.

      • ian says

        The other thing I’d recommend you (and others who are curious about this optimizing this process) do – is check out some of the other types of directory models you can do – for example – one of the things i’ve done over the last few months is add a “video” based directory to a niche that i already have a more traditional directory in place (using Vantage) – and I have someone who emails invitations to not only be listed on the first directory (Which is really well established now) – but in addition, they get an “interview” on our video based community – or we’ll feature their existing youtube videos/events, etc – as a premium member. Then we promote these on FB – where our public followers really seem to love the video interviews – or audio interviews, etc – with folks who are listed on (now) both sites. So a VIDEO community (I’m using the “Vlog” theme from Themeforest for this) is another great option that is unique to a standard “directory” type model – and people really see instant value in that. (they’ll think – wait…..you’ll INTERVIEW me, post that on your FB page (that they can see has a decently large community and an engaged audience – promote my listing – or my “channel” of videos on your site, etc – all for X?) – you can similarly do the same thing with a COUPON/DEALS only directory – there is a theme called “Couponhut” which is great for this (again, very different than a traditional directory as it’s primarily special offer/urgency based) – and this is a very diffent approach than the standard listify/directory model – even though you can also do the same thing there as well – with Woocommerce and the right “deals/coupon” plugin) you can use a FREE app community like Mightybell.com which is awesome for community/directory style sites that are also a little bit different in tone/tempo and approach – and charge a monthly fee for that as well – (although you have to pay to charge members to join – but the fees are super affordable) – you can use buddypress and have a social network community/directory with lots of audience updates and interaction – there really is no limit to what you can build/develop/grow on a bootstrap budget – but never look at “google” as the competition – they will help you far more than hurt you – in the long run, for sure! If you have PASSION for a specific niche, market or industry – directories of ANY kind are a great way of stepping up and taking a lead position and saying – hey, I’m going to build something in this market – an asset – that has long term value like real estate – and in the process of building it – i want to help as many people as possible – i want to build relationships with professional peers – and connect with my community – etc, etc – it’s all very exciting and we are living in very lucky times to be able to do all of this so easily and affordably – very inspiring! 🙂

      • Arjona says

        Great response. Thank you for the honest and detailed feedback.

  • debi athos says

    Hello ian,
    Thanks for this review. I’m looking at Listify for an “organic products/company directory. Do you think Listify would be
    good for that with the improvements over the past few months?

    Thanks!

    • ian says

      Hi Debi – I do! I actually think that Listify is ideal for that sort of community – the ability to have specific listings associated with specific products (if you are going that route) is also very appealing to members and very easy to accomplish with a few extra plugins and a few hours of work. There is also a new, upgraded version of “Vantage” being released sometime in the next month (check out appthemes to see screenshots) – which, based on the little bit I know about it – looks to be a pretty good upgrade over their existing product. (which is great – it just looks super dated)

      • debi athos says

        Sweet. Thanks so much for your quick response. I won’t be purchasing the theme until the end of December, so I will have some time to take a look at Vantage as well. That’s one that I have yet to check out. Appreciate your time and feedback. Have a good holiday season!

  • John Edwards says

    I wouldn’t be so quick to get back on the Listify bandwagon. Two key problems with the theme, one you identified and one you would need to buy it to find out, both are discussed below.

    DON”T BUY LISTIFY IF YOU NEED BOOKINGS TO WORK
    Listify is now incompatible with Woo Commerce bookings even though they advertise/claim they are since their most recent release of a month ago. That’s because no colors work, for open or booked blocks, don’t work anymore (key function) and they show available dates that are unavailable as well. How they have not prioritized and fixed a problem they’re well aware of for over a month with no update on when it will be fixed will shut your business down. If you don’t need booking it’s an excellent theme. If you need bookings their lack of responsiveness to a known problem, they caused and know exists, can make you look like a fool in front of your customers without any idea when they’ll fix it, you’ll look even worse.

    LISTIFY SUPPORT IS VERY POOR
    I would echo what you said about Listify support which is very poor. Users are left to complain in the pre-purchase section to get supports attention or simply get poor support. If they ask you a question in support as a follow-up to a problem and you reply, you won’t here from them for many days. It forces you to open a new ticket. I think they don’t track anything but first response. Response team quality dependent on who you get. A couple of them are very knowledgeable, a couple no so. Support is sub-par for what you would expect and laggy.

    I hope they turn it around soon, as I like the theme, and their problems are very easily resolved if they would think like a customer once in awhile.

    • ian says

      I agree with this 100% John – and wouldn’t use any of the themes (Listable/Listify or any of the others) to do bookings for folks who have listings on the directory. It simply is far too much headache – and too many moving pieces/updates/different products and plugins to rely on to run a real site -where income is earned from other endeavors you can completely control. I’d recommend anyone who uses Listify and thinks about using “bookings” as a way to monetize the site – to think again – or to use the WooCommerce External product functionality (built in) to link to their own sites – on the listings themselves (using the additional plugins) – so that folks can SELL stuff on your directory – but manage their own bookings – in their own way. (you can also build in AFFILIATE oriented earnings this way – e.g. – running coupons or time sensitive offers – on the listings themselves – linking to the professionals directly – and then helping those folks create those offers on their own sites – or stores (with you being an affiliate) etc – which is stress free – and offers you another opportunity to monetize your AGENCY without a lot of tech trouble. I own all of the WC extensions – and planned on using them long ago on Listify – but very quickly learned – it was going to be a major pain in the ass in an area I don’t inherently excel – and was going to bring complaints – and quite frankly – far too much interaction with members than we want – so even if it worked smashingly well, it’s not a route I’d run with this sort of site. (as my monetization strategies are probably very different than most, anyway) Also – (for those reading this) if you are running a food/bar/local directory where folks can use opentable and resurva etc – (like many are) – that also feels like a nice tech free compromise to getting all bumfuzzled about with the various booking plugins – which are doomed to ruin your day like John mentions above based on his experience. (not mine – although I believe it’s true)

  • Albin Rdz says

    Hello, Ian. Your article is amazing.
    I’m having a little bit of trouble with themes. I’m working on a project that lists schools and also the careers they are offering, so i need a module for “other school that have the same career”. Any thoughts on this?.
    Thanks & i appreciate your work.

    • ian says

      Hi Albin – thanks! I’m not 100% sure if this is (yet) possible with Listify/Listable and the WP Job Manager suite of themes (as all of those themes are generally just “skinning” or offering an aesthetic alternative to the same base (but not basic) set of plugins). If I understand you correctly, you want to have school A – which has a listing – and in addition – offers career plans/programs – and you’d like to be able to have a “similar” schools with similar careers appear on the same page as the initial listing? (so a way of comparing/contrasting the listings by dint of how they differ?) I know that was something that Listify has been asked a number of times (a similar business style widget or logic) – and I just don’t remember if they’ve done it yet. (it’s not something really important for the project I’m using Listify on) – I do know that Templatic’s themes do have that baked in (although I’m not sure how well or how deep the logic goes) – and you may also want to check Superlist as well – as they have many custom fields/ and ways to manipulate the listings in ways that the other Themeforest directory themes (or at least the Woo commerce/WP job manager ones) don’t seem to do. Of course WooCommerce has it’s own built in compare products capabilities – and a lot of this stuff feels like it should be simple to accomplish (although I am a WP code dummy, so I would be helpless to figure it out 🙂 – so I’m sure you could easily get someone to help you with it on Codeable – or even, if budget is a huge consideration – on Fiverr or a similar site. (i’ve had customizations done to Listify that cost $10 on Fiverr – that look great – although it’s been more design stuff than code) If i’ve misunderstood what you are trying to accomplish – let me know – but if some form of “similar businesses that also “insert logic/conditions here” sort of thing – I do know that’s come up a lot – and I’m sure they have an answer posted on TF if you search for it. Thanks again 🙂 – Ian

  • yelba says

    Hello!

    Thanks for your very informative post! I’m new to creating websites and yet would love to have my own directory up and running before the end of the year(it’s good to be young and hopeful). Have you by any chance heard of mycity? their design looks cool, i’m just not sure if what they are offering is what i’ll actually get. Much appreciated 🙂

    • ian says

      Hi there – I have looked at MyCity a few times – and it looks cool and unique and different from the other directory style themes for sure. (I like the way they do some of the built in affiliate oriented modules – i.e. – they had a cool “Call Uber” bit coded in to the theme that passed affilaite/credit to referring site – and if I’m not mistaken, they had something similar for Airbnb as well – although I’m not sure if Airbnb still has an affiliate program, rather than a usage credit for future purchases program these days)

      The problem I see with Mycity is – it feels like it may be too much of a uniquely coded theme that is going to have proprietary pieces to it – and may make support difficult to get (outside of the theme developer) and may make migrating from – or more specifically scaling – way too challenging in the future. (I did see it was a featured file on TF which means they must have some confidence in the creator – but i also DID see some folks who were having very predicatable challenges with customizing the theme – and getting it to work as promised – what I like about using conventional plugins for these style sites is that there is a large network of support – you have Woocommerce – WP job manager (now owned by automattic, i believe) and a large community of folks using the theme/framework/plugin combo’s to drive their directories – this makes them a very safe option should you need help – which we all will – or inspiration/advice/etc)

      If you read some of what i had written about the Templatic directory themes above – they fall into this pit as well – proprietary software/code/etc – that makes leaving/migratinig or moving predictably challenging – and folks who do try – have problems. (which is why I myself – as a non coder and tech dummy – who has coding help and outsourcing available – still tries to go with the conventional themes – and customize, innovative and do unique things on top of safe solutions. (mycity is definitely trying to innovate – i’m just not sure how well they’ve done it – others who use the theme will know better than I 🙂

      • yelba says

        I hear you. Your openness and willingness to provide guidance is very admirable and I thank you for your time. Will stay connected to your blog.

        Cheers!

  • ANAZ says

    Hi , at this time, which would be the best theme? listify or listable, i look at kleo too. But i like listable. when it come to functionality which would be better?Please suggest

    • ian says

      Hi Anaz – I’d recommend Listify if you are going with the WooCommerce + WPjob manager style solutions for sure. (I know KLEO was/is popular for buddypress users and can see where that could be fit into the approach above – but natively – i’m not sure it is the easiest and most elegant path for a straight directory style site) Listify is.

      • ANAZ says

        Thank you for the reply. But I like the design of listable. Is it possible to make listify as the same design , like the icons below the search and all of listable.

        • ANAZ says

          Also I would like to know which would be the best blog and forum theme. Buddy Boss is a good option?

          • ian says

            Buddyboss is a great framework from Buddypress (and plays really nicely, by extension, with BBpress which is the best WP options for forums) – I’ve used Buddyboss for different projects (They used to have me on their sales page as an example – not sure if they still do) and highly recommend their products. (they actually have some really cool plugins and integrations for building a marketplace style site for Buddypress (with vendors/stores/etc) and another for integrating with WP LMS plugins (Sensei/Learndash/etc) – so I would say Buddyboss, overall, is in a different league than even Listify if you want to create a “real” community using WordPress. (They are also a bit more expensive than the themes you’ll find on Themeforest – but still well worth the value) The other thing you may want to check out (which is 100% free) is MIGHTYBELL.com, which is much better than buddypress/forums – is more of an app community than a web based community – (is being developed by the founder of NING) and we are using it as part of a new project – you can see it here. http://bodhisattva.co (the landing page – the community is invite only for a few more weeks)

        • ian says

          if you prefer Listable – I think you should go with listable! (they are the same basic thing – just a design difference – the same plugins/etc power both sites – the primary difference between the 2 is how they aesthetically appear – e.g. – the design details are different)

          • Anaz says

            Thank you so much Ian for the suggestions and quick replies. Best of luck for your future works. keep it up

  • Maria says

    Hello, Ian. Thanks for this useful article. I’m hesitating between Listify and Templatic’s Directory. We’re planning to use WPML and ideally to have a built-in calendar in the website (no tickets, just a page describing each event). Apparently, Listify still doesn’t support calendars and with Templatic you have to buy Eventum as well to have a calendar. Would you have an insight on which may be the best option for us. Thanks!

    • ian says

      Hi Maria! I just took a second look at this blog post – and I’ll make a quick very overdue update…. and suggestion. First – I wouldn’t really recommend Templatic unless you are 100% sure you are going to stay with their framework, long term – simply due to all of the various proprietary parts and pieces they “force” you to use to run their themes. I’ve seen a lot of folks struggle with Templatic products, especially when migrating or moving or changing up a directory structure or approach later on. (they also got hacked a few months ago with some pretty ugly ramifications that did affect some users as well – and there are just too many moving parts and too much heavy lifting to have to worry about that sort of thing – when building an anuthority site or directory using WP – which should be the “invisible” stuff rather than the center stage concerns)

      Listify is a great theme – and they’ve made some great updates to the platform over the last few months – they are careful and methodical and have built the theme with future proofing (and even migration) in mind – and I’d highly recommend it. I was sort of being obnoxious and silly about my gripes with the folks behind Listify – simply because they can be a bit bad about returning emails – (outside of normal support, which clearly I’m not entitled to – but would be nice to acknowledge) – and I do think they did a bad job with following through on a lot of early upcoming feature promises made on the theme (which I used to recommend it to others – some of which have still not arrived – including as you mention above – integrated events – but for our purposes – home/landing pages coded specifically for cities/categories with WC deals/coupons unique to those qualifiers…which is important to my process) – outside of my very juvenile (and intentionally silly rant above) they DO have the most professional support and have really made some recent improvements that I think, as of late June – make them the best choice overall, arguably by a long shot.

      (Listable, also on TF is really merely a design difference running the same tools/tech and plugins as Listify who are clearly innovating in the feature space and the former is merely following – I think the recent improvements in aesthetics make Listify the clear choice there as well – but that is a more subjective thing)

      So if you had to choose – right now – in July of 2016 – I would buy listify far faster than anything offered by Templatic. (with no disrespect to Templatic) I would also look at Brilliant Directories for a very different approach to building an authority site style business using the directory model – in many ways, they are far easier to use than any WP solution – with many more native integrations – they have great reviews and I have some experience with them and their sales team – which has always been very professional and impressive. (albeit a tad too salesy for my taste at times) The biggest challenge to the SAAS approach (like brillaint directories) is you are locked into their system which I don’t love – and in their case – I think the products look too dated and clunky – but the underlying tools and tech for launching a diretory from scratch are better and beyond what WP can do – right now – on a reasonable budget – for sure.

      Hope that helps – and for waht it’s worth – my newest directory community project, which I’m very excited about – (developed with a few others who know more about WP than me) IS running Listify – I will post a link to it in July on the blog.

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