What Is a Local Business Directory (Plus 4 Examples to Inspire You)

A local business directory is a website that features listings for businesses in a certain town, industry, or niche. Listings usually include basic information, like the business name, phone number, physical address, and website address. They can also be filtered by location, type of business, activity, or even business size.

Local business directories are sometimes known as listings sites. The most famous listings sites are Yelp and Facebook.

For publishers, a local business directory can be a lucrative opportunity that leads to increased revenue from advertisers. Business directories can lead to increased website traffic and subscription sales, as well.

Why don’t more publishers have local business directories on their websites?

For starters, some publishers worry that compiling a list of all the area businesses will be too time consuming. Publishers might also be worried about the steps involved in building a local business directory from the ground up.

When you use the latest tools and directory technology platforms, building a local business directory doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming. Automated online search software can streamline the process of collecting business data, and website development firms like Web Publisher PRO can help build local business directories that include advertising modules for monetization. Web Publisher PRO can even add self-serve portals to an online directory, so businesses can pay for premium or sponsored listings without needing to interact with a live sales rep.

Digital news publishers and online magazine publishers can develop local business directories that cater to their specific audiences. These types of hyper-focused directories quickly turn a profit, as publishers find ways to sell sponsored or highlighted listings to businesses with self-serve features. Audiences love business directories, as well, and the SEO value alone is often enough to encourage publishers to take the leap.

Inspiring Examples of Local Business Directories

MetroFamily Magazine

MetroFamily Directory

MetroFamily magazine is a highly-influential publication in the Oklahoma City metro area that publishes in both print and digital formats. One of the key elements on MetroFamily magazine’s website is a custom directory system that was developed by Web Publisher PRO. MetroFamily now has individual directories for After School Programs, Education, Summer Camps, Service Providers, and Virtual Kids Activities. Each directory contains business listings that can be filtered by activity or sorted by location. MetroFamily’s directories have become a powerful revenue generator, with local advertisers paying for “Sponsored” and “Premium” listings. MetroFamily’s directories have also been optimized for local SEO, so parents in the community have a higher chance of clicking onto directory listings when they search for related keywords, like “summer camps in Oklahoma City” or “best after school programs in Oklahoma City,” on Google and Bing.


TRNTO Local Business Directory

TRNTO’s Restaurant Directory has become a popular destination for people looking for ideas and inspiration on where to eat out in the Toronto area. TRNTO’s directory is stacked with all the latest features and advertising tools, including location searches, maps integrations, and multiple filtering options for users. Restaurant listings feature basic business information, like the restaurant’s name, address, phone number, and website links, as well as social media links and detailed descriptions about what makes each establishment unique.

Austin Monthly

Austin Monthly Directory

Austin Monthly’s business directory is the first place that many people in the Austin metro area go to research the top doctors, dentists, attorneys, restaurants, schools, and more. By creating a local business directory, Austin Monthly has given area businesses a way to publish their own content and self-manage their online advertising. Businesses have the option to “claim” their own listings, and doing so gives them the opportunity to customize the information that appears on the directory site.


SweetwaterNOW Directory

Businesses will pay a premium to have their job listings posted in online directories. SweetwaterNOW is one of a number of local digital publishers to capitalize on this trend with a custom jobs board built by Web Publisher PRO. Similar to an online directory, jobs boards can serve as a valuable revenue generation tool when publishers charge businesses to submit their postings.

While most local business directories do include free listings, smart business owners will almost always opt to pay for enhanced, sponsored, or premium listings. This ensures top billing on the directory site. Premium listings usually come with other incentives or add-ons, like the ability to edit listing information, add images to listings, and even integrate customer reviews from third-party sites. Tools like Web Publisher PRO’s proprietary Directory Publisher PRO product can be added to a publisher’s website and customized to maximize revenue.

To learn more about how to add a custom local business directory to your own website, contact Web Publisher PRO.