We are living in a golden age of WordPress. The imminent addition of Gutenberg to WordPress core is a transition that, although there will be some teething problems, will be a quantum leap forward in design flexibility.
Meanwhile, a healthy array of page building plugins is all competing to provide the best set of tools to enable users without any coding skills to produce increasingly advanced WordPress sites.
Toolset is one of the most popular, providing an entire set of plugins, each providing a different type of functionality you will need when creating advanced sites (WP Mayor readers can get an exclusive 20% discount when they purchase Toolset). I describe the entire set of Toolset components in another article here, Toolset – Now Everyone is a WordPress Developer.
In this article, we will look at the best live, real-world examples of directory sites created with Toolset. This is often the first type of advanced functionality that Web designers discover they need: a client asks you to “put online” a large amount of stock or some other type of information entry, all of which much be divided into a hierarchy of categories, with each entry displayed in a way that will make it easy for users to quickly find the details they need.
As a novice Web developer, that is the sort of job that sounds exciting until it finally dawns on you that, nope, no way, WordPress on its own cannot handle this job. You are going to need some new tools that will add this functionality to WordPress and, like any good artisan, your first job is to find the right tools.
Before you invest your time and money into tools, you want to be sure that they will work well together, so, buying a set that has been designed to work flawlessly together from the start is a good idea.
You also want tools with a large community of users, and a reliable company behind them committed to continually improving and expanding the range of tasks you can handle. In the case of Toolset, the company behind them makes the most popular plugin for creating a version of your site in different languages, the WordPress Multilingual Plugin, commonly known as.
It also makes sense to check that other developers are successfully using those tools to create real, working, live examples of sites similar to what you need to create.
As such, we hope you find this selection of real-world directory sites, made with Toolset, useful. Keep your eyes open for further articles in this series, giving examples of sites in other categories – including Education, E-Commerce, Brochure and Membership sites – all made with Toolset in tandem some of the most popular WordPress themes.
This is a perfect example of the sort of site that a local tourist authority would usually pay some massive agency obscene amounts of money for but, in this case, the whole thing was created by local designer Jean Dunn-Bardo. Are you beginning to see that potential that is unleashed when designers don’t have to learn how to code in order to create sites with advanced functionality?
To attractively list every air, automobile, and motorcycle museum in the world, Ian and Kristian combined their favorite WordPress theme framework, Genesis by StudioPress, with the following Toolset components:
The folks in Omaha take water seriously. It was only in 1994 that the death sentence for peeing in your neighbor’s rain barrel was finally abolished.
This site uses a combination of a WordPress theme from AccessPress and Toolset to give the citizens of Omaha access to the resources they need to better conserve and protect their precious supply of water. There is a lot there, aimed at several different audiences, but as we have seen with other large sites in this article, Toolset makes it easy for the site owners to manage, update and add new resources.
Experience Shark Bay … and learn how to swim faster
Another spectacular tourism site, this time tempting you to go swim with the friendly local sharks in Australia. The Om4 agency in Perth used Avada Responsive Multipurpose Theme, one of the most popular WordPress themes on Themeforest with almost half a million sales, in combination with Toolset to create a site that attractively lists a wide variety of accommodation providers, tour operators, and attractions.
Membership functionality driven by CRED forms allows new providers to sign up and add their listings too. Security procedures are in place to prevent sharks from signing up.
Good Mews Animal Foundation – Cats Can’t Code
Anyone making it easier for cats to be adopted is clearly trying to do good in the world, but using the “Good Mews” pun in the name of their foundation was enough to put me on edge. Then I saw that they refer to their directory of adoptable cats as a CATalog and it made me want to beat them to death with a litter tray. Oh well, on the bright side, at least they haven’t made any pussy jokes.
This site was actually made by a volunteer, an office administrator by day, who knew no code at all but was able to use Toolset Types and Toolset Views, along with the highly popular Divi WordPress theme, to create a fully searchable directory that looked exactly how she wanted it.
Camping Vans and RVs … via RSS??
The designer used the Sydney Theme by Athemes to get the right look, and then used the different components of Toolset to set up a workflow that would allow the site owner to do exactly what he wanted.
I once drove my caravan over to France but it was too dangerous, they were terrible drivers, I had to turn back after just a few miles. Those stupid bastards were driving on the wrong side of the road.
Healthia – Find and book a health professional
This slick directory by David “Fox” Robinson lists over a thousand health and wellness experts in London, a city that certainly makes me sick every time I visit.
Tegra Medical – Excellent Use of Background Video
As an equipment manufacturer, the site owner, Tegra Medical, had compelling video footage of the robots on their factory floor. Designer Jason Houston of Complete Web in Nantucket used a best-selling ThemeForest theme, BeTheme – Responsive Multi-Purpose WordPress Theme, to allow him to use that footage as a video background for the header for this site, and it looks terrific!
Pro tip: If your client has robots, be sure to get them into the website.
Toolset was the perfect match for the directory functionality that Tegra Medical needed to display their wide range of products, parts, and services. Navigating around the various categories and the light, comfortably-spaced layout of every page stops the user from feeling overwhelmed.
NW Sprint Car History – Plain but Useful
Jonah Brown of Sweet Honey Code turned to Toolset when they need to help a client escape from Joomla. They used the GeneratePress WordPress theme to give them a simple design that focuses on the directory listings. In the screenshot above we see the directory of drivers.
Toolset made it easy for the site owner to add new directories to the site, all of which could be added to by the site’s visitors, crowdsourcing the effort of building a comprehensive resource on racing history.
Lugan and Partners – Je pense que tu m’as cassé le nez
Another striking site that packs a visual punch by using a popular theme from ThemeForest, in this case Alterna – Ultra Multi-Purpose WordPress Theme, while using Toolset to provide the functionality necessary to manage and schedule a busy gym in Paris.
We hope you found this selection real directory sites built with Toolset inspiring, you can find plenty more in the Toolset Showcase.
Bear in mind that a directory can be resource-intensive. Before adding any significant new functionality to your WordPress site, you need to consider whether your current hosting is capable of handling that strain.
Once you actually have traffic, you don’t want visitors to your site to be confronted with unexplained delays, they are not going to stick around if a page takes minutes to load, no matter how much they want to see your list of the best piano teachers in their town. More importantly, you definitely don’t want the piano teachers contacting you to ask why your site isn’t working!
The advice we always give is to make sure you get properly resourced hosting in place before you launch. We recommend two hosts that we have seen work out well for our readers, the choice between them comes down to money:
If you are on a tight budget, SiteGround has a good reputation for well-managed and well-supported shared hosting at a good price. They are by far the best at that price level, in particular, consider their GoGeek level.
If, on the other hand, absolute reliability and performance are more important to you than price, WP Engine provides the best possible managed WordPress hosting, I use them for all of my most important sites, the ones that generate money.