Have you ever wanted to create a directory in WordPress? I’ve had a need for a good directory plugin quite a few times. There are a few free ones available, and I’ve tried them all at one time or another, but none of them has worked as well as WP Directory Pro. It IS a premium plugin, and the cost is $39 – but after seeing what it can do, I think you’ll agree that it’s an INCREDIBLE value.
I used the WP Directory Pro plugin to launch my newest web site WordPress Directory. At the writing of this post it’s only been live for about 3 days now, and it’s already had 1,600 pageviews, 90 directory submissions – and already more than 500 twitter followers. Now, I can’t attribute all that initial success to the plugin, because most of it was my own hard work. But the plugin sure did make it easy to create a very usable and easy to manage web directory within WordPress itself in under a day.
How the Directory works
WP Directory Pro is a premium WordPress plugin that you can use with any theme. The end result is the ability to turn a portion of your WP powered site into a web directory listing web sites by categories like the phone book.
Here’s an example of the directory I just created:
That image is of the top level of the directory, and each category can have subcategories as well.
Here’s an example of a directory category with links added to it:
Each link that’s added to the directory has a title, description, link, google pagerank, and thumbnail screenshot. Each one also has a link to it’s own “details” page. Subcategories and breadcrumbs are listed at the top of the category page.
Because WP Directory Pro is a WordPress plugin, the major navigation and stat components are four different “widgets” that you can add to your sidebar. Since your sidebar can be anywhere (top, bottom, left, or right), these widgets can as well – as long as your theme permits.
Two out of the four widgets are for navigation and submissions. The Directory menu allows users to go back to the home page, and add, update, and even upgrade (to paid) listings. The directory widget lists the top-most level categories with a count of how many links are in each.
The last two widgets are for stats. The Directory Statistics widget lists total categories, links, and outgoing hits. The Pagerank widget lists the count of the number of links under each pagerank 0-10. You can of course choose to utilize any, all, or none of these widgets. If you don’t use any of them, you will at least need to manually add the links for visitors to add submissions – unless in your directory all links will be added completely by admins or contributors of the blog, which is completely possible.
Behind the Scenes
When you visit the WP Directory Pro admin in the WordPress dashboard, the first thing you see are some stats by default:
These stats are nice because you can quickly where the highest activity is – both by link and by category. I with that this feature were available to add on the public side of the directory as well (maybe in a future version it will be!).
Adding Categories: The Add Categories page has all the features you would need. It lists categories and details for each, whether it has a parent, whether it’s visible, permission (to add), the number of child categories, and the number of links assigned to each.
I won’t show you the actual add categories page because it’s pretty straightforward, but I did want to highlight the “setup” page with the category admin. When you’re in category admin there’s link beside “add new category” that says “setup”. It isn’t very intuitive, but you have to go here to update your category paths (when new ones are added), and to update the link “counts” so your directory lists the appropriate numbers of links listed in the directory. If I hadn’t pointed this out to you – you might not have seen it and wondered (like me) why these two things weren’t updating.
Link Admin: In link admin you can manually add links if you so chose, and you can edit existing links as well. I find myself manually editing links usually when links are submitted to wrong categories and I have to update them. Which brings me to validation of links.
When users submit a link from the web it goes into the waiting queue and you get sent an email as admin. There is an option to allow links to be published without admin review, but I wouldn’t recommend that. My only complaint here is that when I approve the link I can’t “edit” anything (or change the category) as admin. My only option is to approve it, and then go back and edit it and save.
Email Templates: In email template admin you have total control over the emails that go out regarding the directory, confirmations that go out for new submissions, admin notifications, upgrades, etc.
Other settings: There are also settings for the name of the directory and admin email (in case you want it to be different than the blog admin), and you can enter your paypal email as well. An additional setup screen has options to completely uninstall database tables, or export them for backup purposes – which is really handy. WP Directory Pro also comes with a plugin called “WP Dir Tags” which populates a colored tag cloud on your directory home page if you enable it as well.
WP Directory Pro is a very full featured premium WordPress plugin that is well worth $39. It gives you abilities that no other current WP directory plugin has and with the ability to charge for premium or updated listings – you could build a very profitable WordPress directory!
I’ve been saying for a long time that WordPress has the ability to do just about anything, and this premium plugin is a good example of that. In the past you used to have to purchase custom coded PHP scripts for things of this nature, but with this plugin you can have a directory in WordPress AND still use all the WP blogging features to enhance it!