how to start a directory website

How to Start a Directory Website Like Yelp

Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, will earn a small commission if you make a purchase.

The Ultimate Beginners Guide to Creating a Business Directory

Welcome to this step by step tutorial on how to build a website like Yelp. In this guide, we go all out to explain EVERYTHING you need to know to start your own online business directory.

Our aim is simple; it doesn’t matter how much experience you have, by the end of the article you will have your own Yelp style business, live and online.

And this is the best bit? You will not need to type a Single Line of Code.

build a site like yelp

Not only that, with the finished results you will be able to charge customers for premium listings and turn your website into a real business earning a competitive income.

This tutorial consists of 3 easy to follow steps:

  • Step 1. We take a look a which Website Platform (CMS) to use and why.
  • Step 2. We show you how and where to purchase your Domain name & Web Hosting
  • Step 3. We go through all the steps on how to Install your CMS & an excellent Classifieds Theme

Once completed, your business directory will be ready to accept listings from your target market.

Click here to see a demo of what your completed business directory will look like

By the end of this very article that website could be yours!

Ready? I know I am… So let’s get to it.

Step 1: Which Website Platform (CMS) Should you use?

Choosing a CMS

The best way to go about creating a site like Yelp in 2021 is to build it on top of an established website platform. This is known as the “Content Management System” and is often called the CMS for short.

Why do website owners need Content Management System (CMS)?

The answer is simple. A Content Management System makes life a lot easier for website owners. And as we are all beginners here, that’s exactly what we want.

A good CMS takes away all the difficult stuff that creates a barrier of entry to web design. It also provides a very simple to use interface from which you can take control of your website.

You can add new pages with written content and images, as well as install themes and plugins that will increase the overall look and functionality of your website.

For example, when creating a business directory website we will choose a theme with features that will allow users to post business details, select the type of listing they require as well as accept payment for premium listings.

And as we mentioned above, the best part is that allows complete beginners to build a website without the need of knowing any complex code.

If that wasn’t encouraging enough, the most popular CMS online (a system called WordPress), is absolutely free.

Let’s take a look at the wonderful world of WordPress now.

Why WordPress is the Web’s most popular CMS


There are many reasons you should use WordPress as the CMS to your website like Yelp; here’s a few of them:

  • WordPress is absolutely FREE and perfect for beginners to use.
  • The internet is chock-full of WordPress guides and tutorials that can help you with any query you may have.
  • There are countless themes to choose from. These can be used to transform your website into any type of online business.
  • WordPress plugins give you the power to alter the function of your website in line with your changing needs.
  • Your site will be ‘responsive’ which means it will adapt its design to any screen size.
  • WordPress is updated all the time in order to provide superior website performance, functionality, and security.

This tutorial is all about building a business directory using WordPress

The remainder of this guide will cover the practical steps of building your new website. This is what we will cover:

  • We will reveal the best, most affordable beginner Web Hosting online (and provide links to a killer, money off deal you won’t be able to refuse)
  • That same deal will give you a year’s FREE Domain Name registration
  • We will then show you how to install WordPress on to your hosting
  • We will then go through all the steps to install a Business Directory Theme onto your site
  • We’ll finish by uploading the demo content that will make your site come alive

Step 2: The Best Hosting & Domain Name Deal Online

So we’ve covered why you should definitely use WordPress as your website platform.

With that out of the way, it is now time to introduce you to what we believe to be the best hosting and Domain name deal currently available online.

Before we get to that, however, let’s just cover what the hosting and domain name is, and why you need them:

  • Domain Name – The domain name is the web address that people will use to reach your website. is a good example of a well-known domain name. Without one, users would not be able to reach your website.
  • Web Hosting – Web hosting is the service you use to store all the data of your website. This service then allows users to visit your website 24/7. Every website needs to have web hosting so that it can be made available online.

This is the deal we have been going on about. By partnering with iPage, we can offer one of the best web hosting packages for beginners available online. Sign up using the link below and you will receive an INCREDIBLE 75% Discount on your hosting plan & a FREE Domain Name


Note: We will earn a small commission if you purchase this amazing deal via one of our links. This will come at no extra cost to you, however. The small amount we make helps us to keep the lights on here at It also means we can continue to improve the site, adding more free valuable guides and helping beginners get started online.

There are many reasons that we consider, iPage is the best beginner hosting service online today.

Starting at only $1.99/month, this feature-rich plan is fast, reliable, and offers fantastic live support, (which as a beginner is a real bonus).

Another great benefit is that iPage will give you that FREE years domain registration as well as $500 worth of extras on sign up.

So if you are ready, we can head over to iPage to Register our FREE Domain Name and Purchase our Hosting

Click this link to open the iPage Website in a new window

Then click the Get Started Now Button on the iPage home screen,

The next screen will ask you to choose your domain name.

When creating this tutorial I typed in “”. Once you have typed in a name, you press search to see if it is available.

Nice, the domain name is available! 

That’s the message you want to see.

However, if you find that the domain name you try has already been taken, don’t worry, this happens all the time.

The popular internet has been around since the 1990s. Many common names have already been chosen. However, there are still lots of variations available.

You can try a different name, you can also experiment with different extensions, (the results page will display a list of alternatives domains with extensions such as “, or .site etc.)

You might even want to try “” as this is a new extension that is available without restrictions and clearly designed for directory style websites.

Anyway, once you have found a domain name that is available you can click Next, choose my term.

A 1, 2, or 3-year term will be available to you. The crazy low price of $1.99 a month is available on each one.

We decided to go for a two-year plan. You can choose the one that suits you best.

After opting for a hosting duration press Next, customize my plan.

This next page will display a number of options you can select for your website. They are as follows:

  • Domain Privacy – You will want this! Domain Privacy will stop spam phone calls and texts from design agencies that have looked at the domain sale database. With Privacy set to yes, your details will not show up for them to contact you.
  • Website Security & Daily Backup – Go for it! Your site needs to be backed up and virus free.
  • All in One WordPress Bundle – Nope, not required.
  • SSL Certificate – Yes to this too. Browsers have started to show security warnings on sites without an SSL.

After making your choices, click Continue to Payment.

Well done, your Hosting & Domain is now Sorted!

Now we are cooking on gas!

After the iPage payment confirmation, you will be taken to a screen where you can create your username, login password, and other security details.

You can then login into your new iPage account so we can begin step number 3 – installing WordPress and a brand spanking new business directory theme.

Step 3: Installing WordPress & a Business Directory Theme

wordpress logo

i. Installing WordPress with iPage SimpleScripts

Log in to iPage and you will see the below Control Panel

Locate and Click My Installs (SimpleScripts).

On the next page Click WordPress, (see below).

On the next page, you can leave the default settings as is.

Click Install and iPage will step in to do all the work for you.

Partway through the install, you will need to create some log in details for your WordPress account.

After this, click complete and…

Woo Hoo!!

Your WordPress Installation is finished. That was easy, wasn’t it?

You now have the number one CMS installed on your website, absolutely free.

Now you can actually take a look at your website. (By entering the domain name; example:, you will see the work in progress.

Don’t worry that things look very bare right now. Without any real content and only the default WordPress theme installed, your website will be a long way off the business directory you have in your mind’s eye.

However, this next step will make all the difference.

It is now time to purchase and install your business directory theme!

ii. How to install a Business Directory WordPress Theme

build a business directory website

With the WordPress up and running, we can turn your site into something that can take on Yelp 🙂

First, let’s login to the WordPress admin panel.

You can do this by adding /wp-admin after your domain name. (in other words,

Enter the username and password, you created just moments ago while WordPress was being installed.

A screenshot of the WordPress admin dashboard.

After typing in your login details you should be looking at something similar to the screenshot above.

This is the main WordPress admin area of your website. The magic all takes place from here.

As we discussed earlier, the WordPress admin is the main management area of your site. Content creation and web design all begin here.

And to give us a massive head start on the look and function of your website, we are going to purchase a business directory theme.

Where to Buy Premium WordPress Themes online

[Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, we will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase.]

There are lots of theme marketplaces online.

However, you should only visit reputable marketplaces that offer extensive customer support, as well as a strict quality review process. You want to be confident that what is being sold is only the best.

In our opinion, the highest quality Premium Themes can be found at the following vendors:

What’s the Best Business Directory WordPress Theme?

To create a website like Yelp or Yellow Pages we fully recommend an excellent directory theme called ListingsPro. You can find this at one of the most reputable theme marketplaces online, ThemeForest.

We’ve trialed a number of Yelp style clone themes while researching this guide and ListingsPro is a clear winner.

It is currently the bestselling directory theme for WordPress, and at the time of writing has an average of 4.8 stars out of 5 (with over 400 reviews and more than 6000 sales).

All those satisfied customers cannot be wrong! 

Not only does ListingsPro feature one of the best interfaces for users to easily login and create their own business listing, but it can also take all manner of payment methods, is simple enough for the complete beginner to use, and has all the functionality you need to grow your site over the long term.

With all that said, it is now time to visit ThemeForest so we can purchase our new theme.

Click here to open the ThemeForest website in a new tab.

ListingsPro payment page

The link above will take you to the main ListingsPro sales page.

Click the Buy Now button.

On the checkout page, fill in your First name, last name & email address then click Next.

If you haven’t signed up to ThemeForest website already, you will be asked to create a username and password

Verify the captcha, click the Create Account & Continue Button.

This next step will ask for your billing details.

After completing these, click Save and continue.

Available Payment Methods

ThemeForest offers 3 secure payment methods; Debit/Credit card, PayPal, and Envato Credit.

Debit/Credit Cards and Paypal will incur a 2$ surcharge. The convenience of using these options far outweighs the extra cost.

However, if you see yourself using the Marketplace regularly basis, you might want to think about adding credit to your Envato account. You will avoid the surcharge by using this option.

After making payment you will receive a confirmation success message.

Now it is time to download your new theme.

Hover over your username (you will find this in the top right corner of the screen) and click downloads.

The ListingsPro theme will be there, ready for you to download (similar to the screenshot below).

Themeforest Downloads Page

Click the green download button.

You will then be able to select two options:

  • All files and Documentation – This download contains the theme, license information, and other related documentation, all in one zip file.
  • Installable WordPress files only – This is just the theme files only, in one single .zip file.

The one we need for this install is option number 2.

Click to download the installable WordPress file only, to your desktop

Once that’s done, head to your main WordPress dashboard again (

We will now head to the WordPress theme selection page so that we can upload and install ListingsPro.

The WordPress Theme Selection Page

To find this you will need to head to the left sidebar menu.

Locate Appearance. Click on Themes.

The WordPress themes selection page

Then click Add New at the top of the page.

Select the theme zip file that we recently saved to your desktop, and click to install.

Installing ListingsPro into WordPress

This is where your website really starts to come alive. This next step will lead to us having a site like Yelp.

The authors of ListingsPro have very kindly created a video that covers all the steps of the theme installation process.

It also shows you how to upload the demo content in order to get started,

Simply follow the video above to launch your new business directory into the world.

An overview of the final steps

This is what the video will cover, (we want to keep our promise of holding your hand to the very end of this tutorial).

  • You’ll see exactly how to install the ListingsPro theme.
  • You’ll see how to install all the plugins that are provided with your new theme
  • You’ll learn how to upload all the content so that your site looks like the real deal.

Follow those steps and you will have a site that is ready to be marketed to those wanting to list their business with you.

Move aside Yelp, there’s a newcomer in town.

Congratulations you’ve just built your very own Business Directory!

Further Details:

How was your experience building this website like Yelp? Was the guide easy to follow? Is there anything you would like to see added? Post your comments in the message section below as we would love to hear your feedback.

And finally, if you like what you found here please Share it with friends. It will help us get the word out on what we are trying to do here; getting absolute beginners started online so they can buildaSitelike… 🙂

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