Directory Plugins with Custom Fields and Search Functionality for WordPress Business Website

Directory Plugins with Custom Fields and Search Functionality


Business directories on your website help both the visitors and the businesses in a way that visitors get the needed information or service providers in a particular niche or category and the businesses get the customers and opportunities. It is a win-win situation for both businesses and users.  

Let’s create a City Directory on our WordPress website and get to know which plugin works best for you.

But.. How to Choose the best Directory Plugins for WordPress Website?


Choosing the best WordPress directory plugin depends on the following factors:

  1. Requirements

  2. Budget

  3. Knowledge level.

In this blog, we enlist, showcase the step by step setup and use of the best Free and Paid directory plugins for City Directory on WordPress Website. After reviewing the use of all free and paid plugins for Business Directories, we will recommend you the best plugin that meets your needs, budgets and knowledge level.


Looking to build a categorized directory on your WordPress website and that too for free? Try Connections Business Directory! Here, we build a Business Directory of an organisation offering the following services: 

  1. Affiliate marketing 
  2. Business development 
  3. Digital marketing

This plugin is highly effective for a directory of people such as team members etc. To use it, we have already installed WordPress and now in the dashboard, we hover over the plugins Menu -> Add New. Then, we search for Connections Business Directory -> Install -> Activate. 

From the Connections menu in the dashboard, we create the categories as listed above by adding categories. It is important to note the ID number of our categories. In our case, these are 1,2 and 3 as shown in fig(a).

Fig(a) Categories in Connections Business Directory

Next, we need to create pages for each of these categories and add the shortcode:                                                                                                                         [connections categories_in=X] 

Where X is to be replaced by the ID number of the category. We have shown the Affiliate Marketing page in fig(b) for your reference.     

Fig(b) Affiliate Marketing page

Now, we add a new page, list down our categories and link the pages of our categories to each category as shown in fig(c).

Fig(c) Categories page linked-to categories

Connections Business Directory has its own pros and cons. Advantages being free of the cost, ability to create categories and their hierarchy via its Parent field. 

Cons include unavailability of search functionality. 

Listing, Classified Ads & Business Directory – uListing is a professional plugin that can help build a fully customized directory for any niche such as real-estate, course listing etc. 

Installation of this plugin is very simple as we can go to the WordPress dashboard plugins Menu -> Add New -> search for and find ‘Listing, Classified Ads & Business Directory – uListing’. Install and activate the plugin. Make sure the permalink settings are set to post name. 

Now, to create a Business Directory using this plugin, hover over Listing Types menu and Click on Settings shown in fig(d).

Fig(d) uListing Settings

In the main section, we can manage currencies, add Google API key and limit the number of categories and listings to show. We also need to create four empty pages Account, Add Listing, Pricing Plans and Listing Types to set access points in the pages section. 

We create an inventory shown in fig(e) in the next step of inventory layout using its drag and drop builder.

Fig(e) inventory

Now, we add attributes based on real-estate from Listing Types -> Attributes. We can add images or icons as in fig(f).

Fig(f) adding Attributes of Listing Types

After creating the attributes, we create a new listing type and after giving it a title and adding description, we drag and drop the needed attributes from All available section to Used as shown in fig(g) and click save.

Fig(g) Using the Attributes in the Listing Type

In the Search Forms section, we can add a field as of fig(h).

Fig(h) Fields in the Search Form

Listing order section allows ordering by price, date etc while in the Preview section, we can manage the design of each listing in the inventory by creating grids, adding thumbnails etc. 

In the single page, we have a similar builder but with items like a gallery. We need to choose the inventory we created earlier in the inventory layout section of fig(i).

Fig(i) Inventory created in Inventory Layout

Submit Form has the option to choose attributes for the Add Listing form. This plugin also allows creating categorized business directories from Listing -> Categories section. After that, we Add new Listing by entering a title, choosing a Listing Type and saving. 

This plugin has another useful feature of Pricing Plans giving you options of One-time payment and subscription plan, which can only be used with uListing Subscriptions addon installed as shown in fig(j).

Fig(j) Pricing Plan

All in all, this plugin serves the purpose of business directories with custom styling of including images, icons and managing design. It also lacks the feature of search functionality for which you can use GeoDirectory with its paid add-on.

More Free Directory Plugins

Among these free plugins for WordPress directory, there are some other plugins that we are enlisting here for you to checkout as per your needs:

  1. Directorist
  2. Advanced Classifieds & Directory Pro
  3. Name Directory
  4. LDD Directory Lite
  5. BePro Listings

Paid Directory Plugins

3. GeoDirectory:

With this plugin, users are able to register, login and can also submit listings via a front-end form. The plugin itself is free with the example of dummy data but the extension feature ‘WP All Import’ to import your own CSV data is paid. 

This plugin will give us search functionality for our listings giving results that can be reviewed by visitors on the site. To install, activate and use this plugin to create a business directory, follow the following steps:

  1. If you have installed WordPress, from the dashboard you can hover over the plugins menu and then click on Add New as shown in fig(k).

Fig(k): WordPress dashboard plugins menu

In the search bar of Add Plugins section as of fig(l), search Geodirectory.

Fig(l): Add Plugins Search bar

  1. Install and activate the plugin by clicking on the install now and activate the button. A setup wizard shown in fig(m) will appear from where we can install the requirements step by step. Click on Let’s go to configure the basic settings.

Fig(m) GeoDirectory setup wizard

Create a Google maps API key following this guide. Copy this API key and paste it. Choose the city from the map, we chose Islamabad as shown in fig(n). Continue to complete the setup. 

Fig(n) Choosing City via the map

The wizard suggests the recommended plugins be installed. Install these plugins if you haven’t already, and continue. Also, make sure the permalinks settings are set to post name as shown in fig(o).

Fig(o) Permalinks settings

  1. In the content section, import the dummy data or get the paid extension of ‘WP All Import’ to import your own CSV data. We use the dummy data, you can download the sample CSV file from the import and export section of the menu and then import two CSV files, one for the categories and one for the listings. 

Refer to this guide for complete documentation on this process. 

Once you import categories and listings, the system will tell you where to upload images and map icons respectively. Note the folder path after uploading images and map icons while making sure it’s the same folder in both cases. 

  1. Next, from the themes section of the extensions menu, we install the Directory Starter theme.  
  2. To create an “Add Listing” page, add a new page from the Pages menu of the dashboard and then add the following shortcode:


                                                                            [gd_add_listing show_login=1]

Now, publish the page. 

We can set up the page from the Places Menu -> Settings > General > Add Listing. Click on Show Advanced and head over to the Templates Page Settings. Set the newly created page as Add Listing page. Finally, save your settings.

Congratulations! We have just created our City Directory with Search Functionality as previewed in fig(p).

Fig(p) City Directory with GeoDirectory plugin

More Paid Directory Plugins

Among many premia and paid plugins for WordPress directory, we are enlisting some plugins for you to checkout as per your needs:

  1. FacetWP 
  2. Sabai
  3. Web 2.0 Directory
  4. Directory Pro
  5. Everest Business Directory
  6. GravityView
  7. Map List Pro
  8. Classifier

Our Recommendations

If you are a complete beginner looking for free options, we highly recommend the Connections Business Directory plugin but for search functionality, GeoDirectory plugin will serve the purpose with its paid ‘WP All Import’ add-on. 

For custom styling with a free plugin, uListing is a great choice. If you are a developer who feels comfortable with WordPress concepts including custom fields, we recommend you to use Gravity View or FacetWP with Advanced Custom Fields plugin. 

We would love to know about the WordPress Directory Plugin that works best for you in the comments! 

K2 blocks is a WordPress plugin developed by k2 Plugins. You can contact us for customize plugin development at our Official Site or feel free to leave a suggestion.