Tips & Tricks

How to Monetize a Directory Website with WordPress

At least 6 ways to easily monetize your directory website with WordPress.

Previously, we have published a tutorial about creating a directory website with WordPress. Now we would like to describe all the possible ways of monetizing a directory website and help you choose the best way according to the type of directory you’re building.

If you’ve just started to build a directory website, we recommend using HivePress since it’s an extensible, highly customizable, easy-to-use plugin that allows you to build any type of directory and listing websites and offers all 6 ways of monetization described in this article.

Charge Users for Adding Listings

The first and the most straightforward way of monetizing a directory website is charging users for adding listings. We recommend choosing this way of monetization only if you believe that users are willing to pay to have their listings on your site, e.g. if your site gets a lot of traffic or it’s a niche directory with some unique listings.

If you’re building your directory site with HivePress, then you can use the HivePress Paid Listings extension to create different listing packages and sell them. It allows you to limit the number of submitted listings and assign listing packages to different categories.

Promote Listings for a Fee

Another great way of monetizing your directory website is charging users for promoting their listings. Using the same HivePress Paid Listings extension, you can allow users to pay a fee to have their listings promoted for some limited time. Promoted listings are highlighted with a “featured” badge and displayed at the top of the search and category pages.

Let Users Claim Their Listings

If your directory website is somewhat similar to Yelp, Zomato, or TripAdvisor, then the best way to monetize it is to let businesses claim their listings. For example, you can list other companies by yourself and then get in touch with them to offer an opportunity to edit their listing details, view listing statistics, reply to customer messages and reviews, etc.

In case if your directory site is based on HivePress, you can use the HivePress Claim Listings extension to allow users to submit listing claims for a fee, and once the claim is approved, the user will automatically get access to the claimed listing.

Charge Users for Viewing Listings

If your directory listings contain some valuable information that is hard to find or collect elsewhere, then you can choose to charge users for viewing listings. For example, this way of monetization is often used by job boards, to charge companies for searching and viewing CVs.

With HivePress Memberships extension, you can create a member-only directory site by charging users for viewing all listing pages (including search and category pages), single listing pages, or certain listing attributes (e.g. phone number or email address). Also, you can restrict access to certain features, such as sending messages or submitting reviews.

Allow Users to Sell Listings

You can also consider turning your site into a marketplace of services or digital downloads, such as Fiverr or Creative Market. By allowing users to sell their listings on your site, you can earn money via commissions. We recommend choosing this way of monetization only if the services or digital downloads you plan to sell are unique enough since it would be hard to compete with existing major marketplaces.

HivePress Marketplace extension allows you to build a marketplace of fixed-price services or digital downloads. It integrates HivePress with WooCommerce, the most popular e-commerce plugin, by creating a hidden product for each listing and calculating the vendor’s earnings on sales. It’s also integrated with other HivePress extensions. For example, you can install the Messages extension to allow vendors and buyers to communicate via the order page.

Sell Advertising Space

Probably the most popular, but the less profitable way of monetizing a directory website is selling advertising space. If your site already gets decent traffic, you can integrate it with Google AdSense or another advertising platform and earn money by displaying ads in different areas of your site.

If your site is built with WordPress, you can follow these instructions from Google to easily integrate it with Google AdSense and automatically display ads on your site.


There are at least 6 different ways to monetize your directory website, but it’s important to choose the best way of monetization according to the type of directory you’re building. If your site gets a lot of traffic, then the easiest way is to sell advertising space. Depending on the type of listings, you may choose to charge users for adding, promoting, or claiming listings. You can also build a niche marketplace of services or digital downloads, and earn money via commissions.


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