Running a business directory website can be a piece of cake or an uphill struggle. It all depends on how holistic and pragmatic your approach is.

In this article, we’ll cover essential tips for successfully managing a WordPress business directory website.

If you haven’t yet created your platform, we recommend checking out the following posts:

So, let’s start!

Attract Business & Users

Once you’ve built your website, you have to think about promoting it to attract more customers.

In a case of a business directory, you need to focus on two types of users:

  • Business owners & service providers.
  • Customers.

To run a flourishing platform, it’s necessary to attract both target groups.

Let’s move straight to the first piece of advice on how to get more website visitors.

Business Owners & Service Providers

You can start by gathering information on service providers and posting it on your website. For example, you can create listings for any maintenance services companies. Invest the necessary time to do good research and create a complete list since it’ll be the key to attracting a faithful audience.

Even if you don’t have enough traffic, keep scaling up your website and adding various business listings.

Later on, when you reach a decent number of website visitors, you can proceed to draw the attention of business owners and single service providers to your directory website. You can offer them to claim their listings. It’ll enable service providers and business owners to check the information and keep it updated, answer clients’ questions in messages and react to their reviews, all of which is a must to gain consumers’ trust and attention.

Furthermore, you can invest in targeted ads, e.g., on Facebook or Instagram, to get specialists familiar with the advertising space on your platform and encourage them to register on your business directory website.


Simply having business listings displayed isn’t enough for the successful functioning of a directory platform. You should also take care of attracting service consumers to your website. Remember that an increase in the number of visitors is also responsible for an increase in the number of business owners and service providers interested in advertising.

Therefore, the next step would be to think about clients’ needs and foresee what they’d like to find on such a platform, e.g.:

  • Short service description.
  • Contact info.
  • Relevant and easy search by categories and location, etc.

To attract more customers to your business directory, check out the following tips.

Make Sure that Your Directory is SEO-Friendly

Posting on the internet is like sailing in deep waters; you need to know how to navigate to avoid getting lost.

When developing a business directory website, it’s crucial to apply the best SEO (i.e., Search Engine Optimization) practices for traffic acquisition

The common recommendations include:

  • Posting quality content – Keep in mind that useful and informative material is what users look for and expect from a business directory website in the first place.
  • Using keywords – You may want to research the most relevant words or phrases in your sphere of interest and do your best to display them on your business directory website (e.g., Google Keyword Planner is an excellent tool for this purpose).
  • Creating SEO-friendly page titles and meta descriptions – This tip is a must for every website owner as these two things give internet users the most information on what to expect from your website. If you want to build an appealing directory platform, invest enough time in selecting the right keywords to include in pages’ titles and meta descriptions.
  • Building descriptive URLs – Instead of incomprehensible permalinks, go for easy-to-read and identify URL structures. Make sure they illustrate page content, as it’s another SEO trick that may help you gain more visitors.
  • Inserting links – As in real life, more connections mean better chances of reaching the right audience. Therefore, do your best to include referrals to reliable sources and get them to do the same to your website since it’ll improve your credibility “in the eyes” of search engines.
  • Speeding up your website – It’s a significant Google ranking factor. Some studies even show that about 50% of internet users close the tab if the website loading takes more than 3 seconds. In our other article, you can find more tips on boosting your platform’s performance.
  • Maintaining your website up-to-date – As we’ve already mentioned in the previous chapter, when building a business directory, it’s crucial to keep content as relevant as possible. Delegating a part of the responsibility for content actualization to business owners and service providers will kill two birds with one stone: save your time and help raise your website to appear in top search results without any extra effort on your part.

We recommend installing some SEO WordPress plugins like Yoast or Rank Math. Using even a free version can drastically improve your website performance and ranking.

Run a Blog

During the whole history of humankind, people have told stories. This fact demonstrates that narration constitutes a significant part of our value system and has the power to influence our choices.

Writing a blog right from the launch of your website will give you the following advantages:

  • Attract a broad audience – the more people visit your website, the more likely someone will become interested in what you do. Give it your best shot to create fascinating and unique content, as it’s one of the most efficient marketing channels. 
  • SEO improvement – running a blog gives you almost endless possibilities to boost your website operation by applying various SEO techniques, e.g., inserting effective keywords, making references, engaging your readers, etc.
  • Establish your brand – writing a blog may be the fastest way to attribute your platform some personality, which will result in increased brand loyalty.
  • Compile a mailing list – it’s a discreet way to create a list of users, which will especially come in handy when you decide to inform your audience about the targeted business listings.

So, we highly recommend considering running a blog starting from the initial stage and opting for niche content rather than the general one.

Use Paid Ads

Another proven, yet not the cheapest, way to attract more visitors is by paid advertising. Depending on your niche, you might want to try Google Ads or Facebook audience targeting. You can also experiment with influencer marketing which has been at its peak over the last few years. The options are numerous, and you can choose whichever you prefer. Just make sure that when investing in paid advertising campaigns, you already have a fully-featured business directory website and are ready to deal with the new flow of customers.

Retain Website Visitors

The difficulty lies not only in gaining website visitors but also in retaining them. Neglecting the necessity to establish long-lasting relationships is a common mistake of a lot of emerging website owners. So don’t forget that attracting people to your business directory is only half the battle, and you also need to maintain their interest in your product.

Here’re some tips and tricks on how to retain your website users:

  • Statistics – providing business owners and service providers with relevant numbers on their listings demonstrates the usefulness of your services and helps you gain their trust. Check out the Statistics extension to give your website users a tool to measure the performance of their ads on your business directory platform.
  • Search Alerts – Since users often struggle to find what they are looking for on the first try, they may appreciate being notified of newly added listings that match their search requests. You can use the Search Alerts extension to add this feature to your website.
  • Emails – setting up a newsletter about new articles in the blog or personalized listings can be a great way to encourage your platform users to stay active.

Don’t Rush with Monetization

If you’ve built a directory website, chances are you’re considering turning it into a source of income. You should definitely assess various business models in advance, perhaps even better, before launching your website. It’ll give you a clear picture of what features to configure to monetize your business directory platform. 

However, avoid making the beginner’s mistake of scaring your few users with paid services. Bear in mind that your initial interest should be to create value for your website visitors by solving their pain points. Start by putting yourself in your customers’ shoes and answering questions about how to meet their needs.

After succeeding in gaining recognition and reaching a sufficient and stable number of visitors, you can proceed to implement any monetization strategies of your choice:

  • Setting up a fee for placing listings.
  • Including listings promotion feature to advance them in search results.
  • Charging users for accessing some information on business owners or service providers (e.g., their contact details).
  • Allowing businesses to claim their listings, etc.

You can combine different models, add various pricing plans, and test them to figure out which ones work better for your particular needs. Although, until you develop your business directory platform in a high-traffic website, focus on acquiring new customers and keeping the existing ones. 

Measure Analytics

To know your website inside out, you need some good analytics tools. Whether free or paid, they’ll provide you with essential information that’ll help you increase traffic to your business directory site.

We recommend using all available analytics from the start to make data-driven decisions when building your business directory.

The starting point would be to integrate Google Analytics with your site, a free service offered by Google to track your website’s data.

Setting it up will supply you with the following essential metrics:

  • Website users – the number of visitors, including current active users, their demographical data and geolocation, etc. These insights can be useful for refining targeted marketing.
  • Display & Interaction – knowing such things as bounce rate (the percentage of visitors that leave without performing any action) and the type of device used to access the platform can significantly improve your website performance when analyzed and used wisely.
  • Traffic channel – the analytics tool will give you information on the most popular ways for internet users to get to your business directory, e.g., via browser search, following the links on social media, or by referrals. Also, you’ll learn what pages generate the most traffic and improve those that attract no users at all.

These are just a few examples of what you can do with analytics.

Also, we strongly encourage you to set up Search Console, another free service from Google that helps you optimize your website to enhance its visibility on Google.

In short, when running a business directory, make sure to do enough research and keep abreast with the latest trends in this fast-paced world.


These were some of the crucial steps to upgrading any WordPress business directory website. We hope they’ll help you to run a successful platform, highly appreciated among users.

Check out the ListingHive theme, a customizable, free, and easy-to-use solution for launching directory and classified ads websites of any type.
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