Create An Automated Local Directory With WP Local Plus
WP Local Plus is a local directory plugin that lets you add directory listings to any WordPress powered website automatically. It supports three different kinds of list types: places, offers and reviews.
All listings are powered by Google. As you would expect, Google Maps plays a big part in the plugin with maps being displayed abpve listings.
There are different types of each list. For example, with places you can choose movies, movie theatres, restaurants, hotel, travel, bar club, spa beauty and shopping.
For each list type you need to specify a keyword and an address of zip code. Choosing restaurants, Chinese and New York will show you Chinese restaurants in New York – it’s that simple!
You can set the number of listings that are shown on each page. Many listings come with thumbnails and the vast majority have ratings too.
WP Local Plus comes with a styling area which lets you customise the way listings are displayed. Font types can’t be changed though you can change the colour of most things and change the size of all text areas.
Shadow boxes allow you to style customised directory listings at the top of a page. This allows advertisers to place their shop or business at the top of a page over everyone else. You can customise the name of the box, it’s size and add text and images to the area using an editor.
You can insert business listings into any post or page on your website. The plugin adds a box to your post screen that lets you select the business listing and corresponding shadowbox you want to use. There’s also a featured area underneath the post editor that lets you add featured advertiser details at the top of the listings.
The Google Maps powered listings look great. Users can view all listings on the map itself and change the distance and sorting order. Alternatively, they can view listing details underneath.
When a user clicks on a directory listing, a pop up appears with more info about the business.
I really liked the way that WP Local Plus worked. Most local directories use a traditional directory layout that simply displays a simple description, contact details and link to the business. WP Local Plus works differently. By pulling data from Google you can create a directory almost instantly whereas normally you would spend weeks or months trying to fill your directory with data.
The ability to insert listings into any page or post makes it very flexible. Listings could be incorporated into existing content on your website or you could create pages specifically for showing listings. For example, if you have a travel blog you could display restaurants or hotels in the city at the bottom of your review. The demo of WP Local Plus has great examples of what can be done using it.
WP Local Plus is far from perfect. The interface is perhaps a little basic and could be more user friendly. It’s not really a major problem though as once you have spent 20 minutes testing the plugin you will feel confident in creating directory listings.
A license for WP local Plus retails for $39 and comes with a 60 day no fuss money back guarantee. I recommend taking a closer look at it if you are thinking of launching a local directory or want to insert localised listings into your content.
Link: WP Local Plus
* Thanks to WP Local Plus for sending me a test copy of the plugin for the purpose of this review