How to create a private WordPress business directory

In this article we dive into how to create a WordPress business directory. There are many paths to follow and options to consider. Thus, this guide shows a few options in terms of how to build a business directory using plugins and well focus on creating a private one instead of a public one.

Prior to our digital era, most data were available only in limited bits. Any decision regarding other businesses would require task forces to find that information into the paper-based data. Thus, things would be much slower or would be based in less accurate information. Nowadays even small businesses can create their own business directories. In addition, they can be created in digital platforms, making it easy to manipulate this data.

But just creating your business directory may not be enough. After all, our goal here is to use them. Therefore, we show how to use the Users Insights plugin to turn your raw data into useful information. In this way, you can make better-informed decisions regarding customers and suppliers.

Let’s get started!

wordpress business directory

What is a private WordPress business directory?

In general, a business directory website is simply a list of businesses, usually with some attributes. But this simple concept can be used in many applications. The more information you can store and get from your WordPress directory the better. Thus, it is, in fact, an information tool for your business decisions.

In terms of implementation, a WordPress business directory is a great option. That’s because WordPress has many tools to store data points and metadata. Thus, you can store businesses and their attributes with ease.

How to use WordPress user profiles for businesses

As long as we keep the ease of use in mind, it’s a good idea to store businesses as WordPress users. This is a quick way to store information, custom fields and filter them later.

That’s how we are doing our business directory. For that, you can use manual data entry or plugin data entry. For manual data entry, you can still use plugins to add new custom fields. As for plugin-made data entry, you could use frontend forms or even a user import tool. Your best friend for this task is the Advanced Custom Fields plugin.

Advanced Custom Fields

Advanced custom fields plugin

The Advanced Custom Fields plugin can be used to add custom fields everywhere. In particular, we are interested in custom user fields. Thus, you can use it to create new sets of custom fields and admins will take care of the data entry.

With it, you can create your custom fields under Custom Fields > Add new. Then make sure that for the custom field rules you set it to show if “user roles” is “all”. This displays your new field group in your user edit screen.

Now it’s a matter of finding the fields you want to use in your business directory. There is some special kind of fields that can be better used in Users Insights directly. For example, if you want to use some sort of categories or groups you can use the group’s tool. For instance, in order to group all suppliers together, you can add them to a group. Here is how to do it:
Add business to groups depending on their role

In addition, you can use the user notes to save important information for your team. Thus, if one of the businesses in your WordPress directory has a big project coming up, you can add a note for that:
Business profile notes


How to filter your business directory

Now that we have our businesses stored, grouped and organized we can extract information. If you had a good planning phase, then you have all the data you need for this section.

Since we added companies to their groups, let’s filter them now. Here we filter all the suppliers we have.
Filter your WordPress business directory using attributes

You may want to know what the business profile of your peers is. Thus, some demographic aspects are relevant for your analysis. For instance, if you store the company size in your WordPress business directory, you can filter them now:
Filter business by company size

Thus, with this information in hand, we know the company size of our users. In case you want more detailed data, you could combine filters. For example, your strategy is different if your ideal customer is a big company, but your suppliers are small ones.

Another interesting data point to store is when the relationship started. It could be orders, meetings, or even an email. This milestone is interesting as you can use it to contact old time partners to keep the relationship strong. If this is a date-type field, you can even filter users based on how long it was ago:
Filter business by date registered

As our goal is to manage a business directory, it is important to store products and services. This could be products a supplier has, or that a customer usually buys. Then you can filter users based on this data. This is useful when there’s a new version of a product, or when you launch a complementary service.
Filter business by products bought

Furthermore, a great use for your WordPress business directory is to find suppliers to a project. For instance, if you have a new project with a defined budget and scope you can filter suppliers for it.
Filter business by project size and industry



Today we looked into how to implement your WordPress business directory. We learned the basics of how and why business directories can be useful. Then we checked some options to implement your own private business directory. Next, we investigated how to extract useful information from your business decisions.

We hope you enjoyed and see you again next time!