Despite the whole pandemic thing, the event market is still running. Many event organizers redesigned their business model and moved events online since the people’s desire to meet up is still there. So the event directory websites are still popular and can be a reliable source of income for their owners.

In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to create an event directory website in just 6 steps using WordPress, the most popular content management system. We’ll also explain how to extend its functionality and monetize it in several different ways.

However, before moving on, make sure that you have a clean WordPress installation. Also, in this guide, we are going to use HivePress, a free WordPress plugin that allows you to create any type of directory and listing websites in next to no time. We’ll pair it with ListingHive, the default HivePress theme, since it’s free, multipurpose and highly customizable.

So let’s get started.

Installing ListingHive

Firstly, you need to install the ListingHive theme in order to get basic layouts and styles for your event directory. Since it’s a free theme, you can install it directly from the WordPress dashboard. Navigate to the Appearance > Themes section, click “Add New,” and find ListingHive via the search bar. Then install it by clicking on the “Install” button and finally activate it.

Once the theme is activated, you’ll get a suggestion to install the HivePress plugin. In order to create an event directory website, it’s necessary to install and activate the plugin since it enables the core functionality of your directory.

If you have any difficulties installing ListingHive, you can follow this step-by-step screencast.

Adding Event Categories

Let’s divide your event directory into categories to make it easier to search through your website. To do this, simply hover over the Listings menu item and click on the Categories link.  Now you need to enter the category title, let it be “Festivals,” then fill in the description if necessary and upload the category image.  When finished, click on the “Add Category” button, so the category appears on the front-end.

Now, you may add several more categories, for example, “Conferences” and “Exhibitions.” You can add as many categories as you need depending on your event directory niche and requirements.

Also, bear in mind that you can turn any category into a subcategory by editing it and then selecting the “Parent Category” for it.

Create categories of an event directory website

Adding Custom Fields

Once you are done with setting up categories, it’s time to add some custom event fields that will be displayed on the listing page. You can do it by going to the Listings > Attributes section and clicking on the “Add New” button. First of all, you need to enter the attribute title, for example, “Date.” Then go through all the other settings and adjust them depending on the attribute type and restrictions. Let’s take a look at each settings section to get a better understanding of how it works.

  • Editing  – here, you should define how the attribute is going to function. If you allow front-end submission, users will be able to fill in your custom field when adding a new listing. And don’t forget to set an appropriate field type for the attribute. For the “Date” example, it’s necessary to select the “Date” field type.
  • Search – this section provides you with search and sorting options so users can easily search your site and find the events they are looking for. For example, if you mark it as filterable and sortable, users will be able to filter results by the attribute value and also sort the results. It’s also important to select an appropriate field type. For the “Date” attribute, it’s better to choose the “Date Range” type to allow users to search events by the date range.
  • Display – in this section, you can set up the attribute’s appearance on the listing page. It’s possible to select a custom icon for the attribute, set its display format and select the page areas where you want it to appear. For the “Date” attribute, you may use the %icon% %value% format.

In the same way, you can add as many custom fields as you need. You can also make attributes category-specific by assigning them to different event categories. It may be useful if you list a few types of events that require some custom details or search filters.

Create custom fields of event directory website

Adding Event Listings

The next step is to add the first listing to your event directory website. In order to understand how it works for users, let’s submit a new listing via the front-end. Navigate to your website’s home page, click on the “Add Listing” button, and select a category. On the next page, you need to upload the image, enter the title, fill in the description and specify the event date (this is a custom attribute we previously added). Once finished, click on the “Submit Listing” button.

Now the listing should be approved by the admin in the Listings section. Simply find the pending listing and click on the “Publish” button, so it appears on the front-end. However, if you don’t want to approve and moderate newly submitted listings, you can disable this in the HivePress > Settings > Listings > Submission section.

When you approve the listing, you can go to the Category page and check the newly-added listing there.

Listings of an event directory website

Customizing the Front Page

Now let’s add a front page to your event directory website. It’s crazy easy to add and customize new layouts since HivePress is integrated with the WordPress block editor. To add a new page, navigate to the Pages section and click “Add New.” Firstly, you need to fill in the page title, e.g. “Home”, then you can start adding layout blocks.

Let’s add a search bar to your homepage. To do this, click on the “Plus” icon and select the “Listing Search Form” block. You may also want to add the “Listing Categories” block to display event categories. You can easily do it in the same way by clicking on the “Plus” icon and then selecting the block. Feel free to check all the available blocks and add those that you need.

Once you are finished with layout blocks, click on the “Publish” button. Now you need to set this page as the main one on your event directory website. Go to the Settings > Reading section and select your freshly-created page as the homepage of your directory.

Also, we recommend going through all the customizing options in the Appearance > Customize section. You can change your website’s look and feel in the way you like to stand your event directory out of the crowd.

Create an event listing website with different categories.

Installing Extensions

At this point, your website already has the core functionality, but there’s always room for improvement. The finishing touch of setting up your event directory is to extend its functionality.

For example, you can install the Authentication extension to allow users to sign-in via third-party services (like Facebook and Google). It may seem like a simple feature, but it’s highly useful for your website visitors. You may also want to add the Reviews extension to allow users to rate and review event listings. If there are recurring events on your directory website, it may be really helpful since they’ll be able to check the event rating before buying a ticket.

The Favorites extension implements one more excellent feature that allows your users to keep a list of favorite listings. For example, they can mark some events as favorites while browsing the directory and return to them later without having to search for them again. Moreover, if you want to allow users to search events by location, you can install the Geolocation extension to enable the location-based search.

You can check the whole list of free and premium HivePress extensions that you can install directly from the WordPress dashboard in order to extend your event directory’s functionality.

Monetizing an Event Directory

An event directory website can be a profitable online business since it’s a platform connecting event organizers with event-goers. Besides selling tickets, there are several more ways to monetize an event directory website. Let’s go through some of the most notable:

  • Host Ads – it’s the most common way to make money for most websites. You can display advertisement banners in different areas of your event directory or integrate the website with Google AdSense. Follow the simple instructions to integrate the WordPress website with Google AdSense and start making a profit from each ad click.
  • Charge Organizers for Listing Events – you can monetize your event directory by charging event organizers for listing events. It can be set up with the Paid Listings extension. Also, you may want to check our screencast that shows how to set up paid listings submission on your directory website.
  • Promote Listings for a Fee – it’s another excellent way to monetize your event directory with the Paid Listings extension. By making certain listings featured, event organizers may highlight and display them at the top of the search results page. It can be an extra option for event organizers who want to stand their events out of hundreds of other listings.
  • Allow Selling Event Tickets – using the Marketplace extension, you can allow users to sell and buy tickets. It’s an excellent way to monetize your event directory website by charging a commission on each event purchase.  

As you can see, there are many different ways of monetization, and you can choose any of them according to the type of event directory you’re building. But keep in mind that profit comes when there’s decent website traffic, so we recommend taking care of it first before monetizing your event directory.

Final Thoughts

That’s it! As you can see, you don’t need to be a website wizard to create an event directory website. Now you need to spend the time on promoting your website and gaining the trust of users. But it’s worth its salt because when your website starts receiving enough traffic, it can turn into a great source of income.

If you’re looking to build an event directory with WordPress, you may consider the HivePress plugin. It’s a free easy-to-use plugin with tons of features that doesn’t require any coding skills to create and set up a directory website. It’s already trusted by 3,000+ websites and has a growing community of website owners sharing tips and showcasing their projects built with HivePress.

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