Vantage Directory WordPress Theme Review

Vantage is a popular WordPress directory theme which has been designed to create a business and events listings site. This theme has been developed by AppThemes, who have produced a small number of what are known as application themes. These themes not only deal with the appearance of the site, but also add all the required features and functionality to WordPress, in order for the platform to be used to create a specific type of site.

Vantage is one of these application themes, and it contains all the tools needed to build a business directory listings website using WordPress. These listings could be for any type of business, or even tourist attractions, landmarks, and events. The listings are organised by using categories, making it easy for visitors to the site to find the type of business they are looking for. The theme also integrates with Google Maps so you can allow visitors to find a business by browsing the markers on a map. One advantage of choosing this theme to build your directory site with, is that there are a number of child themes available for it which can be used to totally change its appearance.

Vantage Directory Theme Review

Read our review of the Vantage directory theme to find out if this theme is the best directory solution for your needs.

Overview of the Features of Vantage

Vantage aims to allow you to build a fully functioning directory website with WordPress. Two main types of entries can be stored in the directory: listings and events. Both or just one of these types can be enabled on your site, allowing you to decide what sort of information will be featured in your directory.

Vantage Single Listings Page

Creating Listings

Listings can be created by the site admin users via the backend using WordPress custom post types. These work very similarly to regular blog posts in WordPress giving you an indication of how easy they are to work with.

The listings can also be created via the frontend of the website, by those wishing to add their business or event to the directory. The theme comes with a custom form builder to allow you to capture specific data about the type of entities featured on the site. Listings can also be mass imported to save you time and effort.

Browsing the Directory

Users have a number of options for browsing the listings in your directory. They can use the category structure, explore the optional homepage map, or using the search tool. As listings can be geo-coded to include their exact location on Google Maps, it makes it very easy for users of the directory to get directions and find their way to the location of each listing, whether it's a business, a facility, or a landmark. Users can search by location, including ZIP code, and then refine their search, filtering by distance using a handy slider.

Vantage Refine Search

Making Money from Your Directory

Your directory can be monetised by charging users to list their event or business on your site. There are a number of options for how you can charge for accepting a listing, including the creation of multiple pricing plans.

Vantage also supports recurring payments, allowing you make the renewal of paid listings a more hands-off affair for both you as the site owner, and those submitting their business or event to your directory.

To get a better idea of how this theme can be used, check out the live examples on the Vantage showcase page.

Detailed Look at the Theme’s Features and Settings

The above should have hopefully given you a good, but basic idea of what this theme has to offer. The next part of this review of the Vantage directory theme will go into more detail about the various features and settings on offer in order to help you establish whether this is the right tool for helping you to build a directory website.

The Listings

As mentioned earlier, with Vantage there are two options for creating a listing on the directory: events and listings. Although under the standard listings option you can create any type of listing, there is an additional option which has been created for publishing the details of events such as festivals, concerts, conferences, or any other event.

Both types of listing can be enabled or disabled, with each having their own pricing options for charging users to add their listing or event to your site.

The information for both listings and events is stored in WordPress using custom post types. This means creating events through the backend is very similar to creating a regular post, using the same editor and options, but with some extra fields.

Vantage Create Listing Post

When creating a listing or event, the following information can be included:

  • Title
  • Description
  • Separate event or listing categories and tags
  • Contact information
  • Hours of operation (listings only)
  • Event days (events only)
  • Images
  • Pricing details

Vantage Events Listing

Once a listing (or event) has been created through the admin dashboard area of your site, it can be published like a regular post, to make it visible to visitors to the site.

Vantage Listing Location

Listings and events can also be imported and exported, allowing you to bulk add business stored in a spreadsheet or CSV file.

Frontend Submission Forms

While being able to create listings and events through the backend is useful, in order for your site to be a self-service directory, there needs to be an easy way for visitors to create their own listings on the site.

To enable this Vantage comes with standard forms for accepting listings and events through the frontend of the site. These forms fit in with the design of the rest of the site, making the process of submitting a listing very straightforward for users.

Vantage Frontend Forms

However the theme also comes with a custom form builder which allows you to create your own forms for collecting data. With the Vantage frontend form builder you can add a range of options for users to enter data, such as text fields, radio buttons, and checkboxes. This additional information about the listing is stored in a custom field on the listing post.

Vantage Custom Form Builder

With this form builder, you get a visual editor for creating the forms. This makes it very easy to create your own forms for collecting specific data relevant for the type of services, businesses, or organisations your site will cater to. It’s also possible to have multiple forms should you require them.

Claimable Listings

Another interesting feature of Vantage is the ability to create claimable listings. By using this feature you can create listings on your directory on behalf of organisations before they’ve contacted you, and then mark them as claimable.

The idea is that when the organisation sees their listing on your site, they can choose to claim it by paying the necessary fee for posting a listing, allowing them to take ownership of it and add more details if necessary.

The benefit of doing this is that it can help you get your site up and running faster than waiting for businesses to come to you. By creating listings for businesses you can give your site some content, which will help increase the number of visitors it receives, as well as making it easier to demonstrate the site's potential and show customers what the site is all about.

You could also use the claimable listings you create to entice businesses to join your directory by sending them a link to the brief listing you’ve created for them, giving them the option to sign up and add more details to it to better promote their business.

This is a handy feature to have to help get your site up and running as quickly as possible, while still having the potential to monetise the listings you’ve created.

Geo Settings and Maps

Each listing can include a location, which can be connected to the Google Map service. This allows the visitors to your site to browse the listings by location, using the markers on the map.

By default Vantage is configured to use the Google Maps service. Through the settings you can define the region biasing. This ensures the correct version of a location is assumed. For example, if a user searches for London, then you can indicate to Google that they probably meant London, UK, rather than Canada, by entering the country code that applies to your listings.

Monetisation Options

With Vantage you get the option to monetise your site by charging a fee for publishing a business’s listing. Alternatively you can offer free listings and then monetise the site by displaying adverts or affiliate offers to visitors.

Vantage Pricing Options

You can create multiple pricing plans for your visitors to choose from, and there are a number of options for setting them up:

  • Number of days the listing will be live for (or unlimited)
  • Whether the listing is featured on the homepage or category page (and if so, for how many days)
  • How many categories the listing can be posted to
  • Additional fees for specific categories
  • The price
  • Whether the payment is recurring (forced, optional, or non-recurring)

Configuring Pricing Plans and Payments

As the listings in the directory are organised by categories, you can choose to set an additional fee or surcharge for listings added to a particular category. This could be used to charge different rates to businesses that are known to generate more revenue, such as lawyers, or offer lower or no fees to charitable or non-profit organisations, such as museums.

Vantage Pricing Plans

By charging a fee for each category a listing is submitted to, you can also help dissuade users from submitting their listing to non-relevant categories in an attempt gain more exposure. As event listings are stored and managed separately from regular listings, they can have their own pricing and event category surcharges.

Vantage Events Pricing

The payment settings also allow you to choose a currency and add a tax charge which is added to transactions. For receiving payments, bank transfers and PayPal are supported out of the box . With PayPal, you get the option to use a business/premier account, as well as setting up instant payment notifications. There are additional plugins available which allow you to increase the number of payment gateways your directory can use.

Vantage Orders

Listings are stored as orders under the admin dashboard, allowing you to quickly view them by their status, and then inspect them individually.

Vantage Edit Order

User Reviews and Ratings

Users of the site can leave reviews and ratings of the listings and the corresponding business. This can help to create a community around your directory and encourage visitors to keep coming back to continue the discussion. Business listings or events can be rated using a five star rating system giving another option for providing user feedback.

Vantage Reviews

The reviews are essentially WordPress comments and are managed in the same way as regular comments. They can be moderated to ensure nothing untoward is published, and business owners can respond to any reviews left on their listing.

Extending Vantage with Plugins and Child Themes

At the AppThemes site, there is a marketplace which contains a number of plugins that can add new features to your directory. There are also a number of child themes which give you the option of changing the appearance of your site, including the newly released Directory child theme which features a modern and clean design.

Some of the addons you might be interested in include these products:

  • Home Control: add widgets to your front page for a custom layout
  • MapQuest: integrate with MapQuest
  • TwinPress: a slightly more modern looking child theme
  • User Locator: auto-populate the directory with the user's location
  • Multi-City AV: add location based filters to the directory
  • Stripe: integrate with the Stripe payment gateway

You can view the full list of extensions for Vantage here.

Vantage Pricing Options

There are a number of pricing options for getting access to the themes from AppThemes. Each of their themes, including Vantage can be purchased for $99, or $159 with the Photoshop (.psd) files, or as part of the following packs:

  • Single Theme Standard: $99
  • Single Theme Developer: $159
  • Club Standard: $249
  • Club Developer: $349

While these prices are more than you might pay elsewhere for a premium WordPress theme, it’s important to take into account the fact that these are feature-rich app themes which do more than just transform the appearance of your site, and instead add lots of additional features and functionality to it.

The club pricing plans give you access to all their themes, and child themes, as well as over 20 marketplace items. By joining the theme club you can get access to over $1,000 worth of products for a fraction of the price. The above prices include one year of updates and support which can then be renewed for a further year for $29 and $79 respectively.

More information on pricing can be found here.

Conclusion

The Vantage theme certainly has everything you might need to setup a directory site. The separate options for including regular listings and events out of the box is a nice touch. This is a feature that will appeal to those in need of a way to handle events that span multiple dates, each with their own start and end times.

As the theme has recently been updated to make use of recurring payments for charging for listings on your site, all the bases are covered when it comes to monetising your directory. While PayPal is supported out of the box, additional payment gateways can be added to your directory by purchasing the optional addons.

Users have plenty of choices when it comes to browsing the listings, including searching, using the category structure, or clicking on the integrated Google Maps. Being able to filter the results by distance is a nice feature too. The optional plugin which adds the geo-locator feature to the site can also make finding relevant listings easier for those using your directory.

While the design and appearance of Vantage might not be to everyone's tastes, the good news is that there are a number of child themes for Vantage which can be used alongside this theme to totally change how your site looks. One of the newest options is the Directory child theme, which includes a modern design and a responsive layout for visitors on smartphones and tablets, plus lots of other customization options. While there are extra costs involved in using a child theme, considering you are getting access to a tried and tested theme that is under active development, then it is easy to justify the extra expense.

While the Templatic Directory theme offers the strongest competition to Vantage, in terms of design and features, Vantage does have one advantage over its rival. This is its ability to organise listings without tying them to cities. This potentially makes Vantage a better choice for anyone wishing to create a directory that lists businesses on a state, or country-wide basis, rather than by city. However, you will need to weigh up all the features of the other WordPress directory themes out there in order to decide which is the best theme overall for you.

Vantage is a feature-rich theme that should have everything you need to build a directory site. While the design is fully responsive for use on smartphones and tablets, the default appearance isn’t the most modern option out there. When comparing the features of the directory themes for WordPress, it's important to take into consideration the selection of plugins and child themes available for Vantage. These optional extras allow you to expand the functionality of your directory website, and change its appearance, although this will incur additional costs.

Vantage is a strong contender for best WordPress directory theme, with Directory from Templatic being the other high-profile option. However, the exact type of directory you want to build will ultimately decide which theme is best for you, and if Vantage is the best fit, there is every reason to use it.

View the Vantage theme from AppThemes now

Joe Fylan

Joe has been using WordPress for many years, building many different types of websites along the way. Joe now enjoys working as a freelance content writer and is available for hire.
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning that if you click on one of the links and purchase an item, we may receive a commission. All opinions however are our own and we do not accept payments for positive reviews.

22 comments

  1. Vantage is a great business directory theme, however, it still is not ready for prime time. You only need to look so far s their own showcase page to figure that out.

    http://www.appthemes.com/showcase/?theme=vantage-theme

    There are many including myself that are and have been waiting a Loooong time for a stable version to be released. Meanwhile, AppThemes just continues to release new Themes all the while keeping existing paying customers begging in the forums for someone to fix issues that should have been fixed long ago and hoping that at some point a stable version may be release that they can actually implement and run a business on.

    1. I don’t think the showcase proves what you seem to think it does. The sites featured look good to me.

      As David says below, the theme is stable, and has been for some time. Sure, there are bugs, as with all themes. But the important thing is that the team are working on them. A maintenance release of Vantage, which includes a number of fixes, is scheduled for July 2014.

  2. Directory themes by Templatic might look better, but it’s functionality and the way they’re coded that counts. This is something that makes vantage a big advantage. Appearance you can always change to whatever you like. Templatic even without being directory in use, just a demo, even with a very fast internet, perform like a 90 year old grandma. Now imagine having 10 20 k views a day. You’ll need a lot of money for a super dedicated server.

  3. The other commenter is right about the Vantage theme. It is extremely buggy and while the forum is active, the developers don’t seem to care. Lots of complaints and the Vantage theme has sooooo many bugs that go unaddressed. Wish I never bought it.

    1. Hi Chris,

      Vantage is quite stable and has been for a while.

      Can you be more specific as to which bugs you’re referring to? If you’ve started a forum post already, please include the link.

      We’ve got a release coming up soon so any input would be helpful.

      FYI, we actually get a lot of new customers from dissatisfied Templatic users.

  4. I don’t think I’ve been more confused about directory themes. It seems most user comments about Directory from Templatic and Vantage from AppThemes is they have many issues that you only discover after actually using them in the field.

    Are there any Directory themes (even if expensive) that are considered to be very good to excellent? I see Directory from AIT Themes, is this any good? Are there any others that people use in the field that just work, look modern and are easy to update as Word Press is updated.

    Love to know if a directory theme exists that its really good.

    Thanks in advance.

        1. This is what I said in the email.

          Unfortunately, all themes have issues that you only encounter once you buy and use them. This is inevitable. So I wouldn’t let a few bug reports put you off any particular theme. You have to look deeper than that. What bugs are people reporting, exactly? Are they major or minor? Will they affect what you are planning to do? Are the developers pushing updates to fix them in a timely manner? These are the kinds of questions you need to be asking.

          The three themes you mentioned in your comment are all good themes. There are of course numerous others. But if you’re searching for the perfect directory theme, which it kind of sounds like you are, there just isn’t one.

    1. I have been trying to get AIT’s Directory theme to work for several weeks and I’m abandoning it. I’m a web designer who does most of my work in WP so I know the standards and how things are supposed to work. The way AIT’s Directory theme deals with categories is just infuriating. And when I explained the issue to support (and after much time waiting for replies), they didn’t say my complaints weren’t issues, they just said that a lot of people have bought the theme and they aren’t going to fix it because to do so would be a major change in how if functions: http://support.ait-themes.com/support/topic/99751 & http://support.ait-themes.com/support/topic/100246

  5. Hi
    Feel the same way as the previous comment from Andres,
    If someone has used a WP directory theme that it is stable, looks nice and well coded ( even if expensive) please let me know.

    Maybe it is out of range but how do you guys fell about phpmydirectory vs. WP directory themes?

    thanks

  6. There has been a new plugin released called GeoDirectory which looks pretty amazing. It has a lot of the features people are discussing here, and I’m curious if anyone has used it.

  7. I have spend years trying to perfect a directory theme. I purchased in the past Real Estate themes form Templatic, then GeoPlaces then I purchased and tried GeoTheme. I am now with Vantage from AppThemes and it is the most stable of all so far. But… I am very tempted to try Directory Theme from Templatic. It looks very good in the demo.

    I would like feedback from other users/readers on Vantage from AppThemes vs Directory Theme from Templatic.

  8. I use Vantage and have mixed feelings that seem in line with the others. I am currently looking for a developer who is qualifies to modify some of the specifics.

  9. I have tried almost all directory themes for my web site http://www.koshertravelinfo.com. I went away from Vantage to try others only to come back. I don’t make any commission from them. All I can say is that it is a very stable theme and they have good customer support.

    Others look nicer (showcase, demo, etc), but they don’t function as good.

  10. Hello,

    I find it diacouraging that there are so many Reviews on directory themes, where the bloggers only wish to get affiliate money. So, I appreciate the comments from actual users. I understand there are pro and cons to every directory theme, but which is truly the very best one??? I have spent countless hours looking at Vantage, Directory, GeoTheme, GeoDirectory, phpmydirectory, Brilliant Directories, etc., and I know I want to stay within WordPress, but I want the very best option, regardless of price, for my future directory website. I wish we had more comments here from other experienced actual and honest, not affiliated, users. Can someone from 2014 posters please reply and say how they now feel about their themes?? A lot of new releases on all WP directories exist now, so I imagine there are better opinions to be shared…? Please please! Thank you!

  11. Hello people, I am looking for a directory theme to be used as a local directory and I have already bought the directory by box themes from themeforrest but before I even used it I ‘ve decided to not even mess with it since it looks all complicated to customers and not pretty useful after all. I am looking to buy a new one because using a simple but good enough to answer all needs as a local directory theme. I am going to start a business and I am gonna invest in to it so I just want theme to be the best in the whole market. I saw from the comments that support isnt that good and there are bugs in theme. Can anyone please reply ASAP so I can go with this or look for another one?
    Thanks to all who wrote their experiences and those who will in the future

  12. Joe, what directory theme have you seen that is good for businesses, specific to home services businesses, that has csv import and SEO built in? I am specifically looking for a directory plugin or theme that will build /state/city/business url structure. I see a lot of themes that say they do state / city but then put the business on a completely different url structure or category which defeats the purpose of what I need.

    #1. Import CSV
    #2. build state/city/ name of business

    1. Hi Jon,

      Thanks for the comment.

      Could you create a custom permalink structure with any of the themes to achieve the URL you need?

      Some of the themes in this collection do have similar URL structures, which I’m sure you could customize further:

      http://wptry.it/try-geodirectory/places/united-states/pennsylvania/philadelphia/hotels/?preview
      http://templatic.com/demos/directory/city/london/listingcategory/hotels/
      http://enginethemes.com/demo/directoryengine/blog/place/bertrand-at-mister-as/

      As for importing listings, Vantage goes include a CSV importer, and built in SEO fields. Although the WordPress SEO plugin will work with any of the directory themes. Maybe the Local SEO plugin also by Yoast would be of interest?
      https://yoast.com/wordpress/plugins/local-seo/

      WP Geodirectory also supports CSV uploads:
      https://wpgeodirectory.com/docs/csv-upload/

      Hope this helps.

      Joe

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