Toolset lets you build custom directory and classifieds websites with WordPress. You have full control over everything in the site, without being limited to what a theme or dedicated plugin offers.
You can find directory websites for ads, houses, cars, recipes, courses, tours, and much more. In fact, any website that lists things and offers visitors to search is a directory.
- Create listings for any post type
- Build powerful searches that use fields, taxonomy and post-relationship
- Include custom fields and taxonomy in items and in search criteria
- Build detailed navigation to browse in categories
- Display listings as tables, grids, sliders or on Google Maps
- Create forms for front-end user registration and front-end listing submissions
- Create user accounts, where site members can manage their own items
- Charge payments for registration and for submitting listings
Classifieds and directory websites that you build with Toolset have no preset features. You put together what you want, how you want it. There are no bloated features to disable and no missing functionality.
InkThemes has more information about what you need in a directory plugin in its list of the best free and paid WordPress directory plugins.
You can use any theme that you prefer. We recommend using simple themes, because you’re going to create much of the functionality with Toolset.
Before you start building your directory website with Toolset you will need to download the following plugins:
You might also need to download the following plugins depending on what you want to achieve with your directory website:
- Toolset Layouts – If you need a drag and drop editor to design your pages
- Toolset Maps – If you want to display results on a map or if you need any maps on your website in general
- WooCommerce – If you are building a business directory
- Toolset Forms Commerce – If you want payment functionality for your forms
To install your Toolset plugins follow our guide on how to install and register Toolset.
First, we need to set up the custom post type that will appear on the directory site.
In our example, we are creating a directory site for “ads.” Of course, you can create directory sites for anything else.
- Go to Toolset->Dashboard.
- Create a new Post Type for Ads.
- Use the post title to store the title of your ads.
- Use the editor to store your ad body.
- Return to the Toolset Dashboard. Now, add fields for that type.
- Click Create field group.
- Use the Add New Field button to add the following fields:
- Price (as Number)
- Ad Image (as Image)
- Contact email (as Email)
- Phone number (as Phone)
- Return to the Toolset Dashboard.
- Use the Create taxonomy button to add the “Ad category” taxonomy.You will use this to categorize your ads.
Now, when your taxonomy is ready, add the categories of your ads (terms).
- Go to Ads -> Ad categories.
- Add the following categories:
- Electronic devices
- Add a few example ads to your site.
If you need help creating custom post types, fields, or taxonomies, read the full explanation in the Getting Started guide.
Now, when your WordPress back-end is ready to store the items, it’s time to display them on the front-end.
In Table 2 below, you will find some example templates you could create for your site and learn how Toolset can help you.
Table 2: Example templates you might need for a directory website
|Template||What you need to do|
|Single Ad details||Create a Template Layout for the custom post type that you set up.|
Your template will display custom fields that belong to your post type.
|8 most recent ads in a grid||Create a View that lists your items.|
When creating a View, you decide how your items are displayed (as a list, grid, table, etc.) and which fields to include for each item.
|Random featured ads in a slider||Create a View that lists your featured items in a slider.|
Use filters based on your post field to select featured ads only.
|Custom search for ads||Create a Custom Search View.|
Use custom fields and categories as filters.
|Category Tree||If you have divided your categories into subcategories, you can build a category tree.|
Create two taxonomy views (one for first-level categories and one for subcategories) and include one within the other.
Most directory sites allow visitors to create front-end content submissions. To add and edit items from the front-end, you need to create relevant forms. Next, you need to establish who can access which forms.
Check Table 3 below to learn what front-end forms you might need and how Toolset can help you.
Table 3: Front-end forms you might need for your directory website
|What you will need||What you will need|
|Forms for submitting new ads||Create a Post Form for front-end content submission. Set relevant access privileges.|
|Forms for editing ads||Create Post Forms for front-end content editing. |
Establish who can edit the content. In most cases, you will allow the ad owners to edit their own ads.
You can also set an automatic expiration duration for all posts submitted through these forms.
Learn in: Automatic post expiration in Toolset forms
If you allow your users to edit items from the front-end, most likely you will also need front-end forms for user registration and editing profiles directly from the front-end.
Table 4.1 below summarizes what user forms you will need and how Toolset can help you.
|What you will need||What you will need|
|Front-end forms for creating new user accounts||Create a User Form for registering users.|
In your front-end form, you can also include additional custom fields.
Once created, you can add the form to any
page and custom styling.
|Front-end forms for editing user profiles||Create a User Form for editing user profiles.|
To allow users to log into your site, create a custom login form that fits the overall look of your site. After the user logs in, display links to the user’s resources.
The login form and user’s assets make up the “My account” page. Check Table 4.2 below to see what to cover in the account page and how Toolset helps you.
Table 4.2: Building the “My account” page with Toolset
|My account page||What you will need|
|To allow users to log into your site, create a custom login form that fits the overall look of your site. |
|Once logged in, your users should manage their resources (list, edit, and delete items they create) directly from the front-end.|
You can gather them in one place on the “My account” page.
Often, directory website owners would like to make profits from the site.
- Users are allowed to add free ads that will expire after a pre-set duration and also long lasting ads that never expire but are paid.
- The site might offer courses. Some courses are available to everybody, while others are for premium customers only – customers who have paid for their membership.
Both cases can be handled with Toolset and the WooCommerce plugin.
Use the Toolset Forms Commerce plugin to charge fees for content submission and membership.
Check Forms documentation for details:
I look forward to hearing your feedback. If you are not a Toolset customer yet, feel free to send me your questions using the presales questions form. I’ll be happy to answer. If you’re already a Toolset client and you need help, use the technical support forum.