Directory Themes / Usage



Introduced in Business Directory Plugin 4.0, Directory Themes are packaged templates that can be used to change the look and feel of your directory quickly and easily.

There are a number of themes available for purchase here, but you can also create your own themes or override specific templates from an existing theme. Consult the theme customization guide to get the details.

Important: Keep in mind that Business Directory themes are different than regular WordPress themes. They aren’t mean to replace WordPress themes and are installed in a different way. Do not use the Appearance → Themes backend menu item to install Business Directory themes.

The Directory Themes screen

Here’s where you’ll find everything related to themes. This screen can be accessed via Directory Admin → Directory Themes.

On this screen, you can change your current theme, upload or delete themes or delete themes, among other things.

Installing and updating themes

Installing themes

Installing Business Directory themes is easy. Just follow these steps.

  1. First obtain the ZIP package from Both the link to download the ZIP file with your theme and its license key should’ve been e-mailed to you after your purchase.
  2. Login as an admin to your WordPress backend and visit the Directory Admin → Directory Themes screen.
  3. Click on “Upload directory theme” and select the ZIP file to begin the installation process.
  4. Once the installation is completed, you’ll be redirected back to the Directory Themes screen, but your new theme should be available under the Available Themes tab.
  5. Before you’re able to active the new theme you must configure its license key and activate it. To do that, you can either follow the link that appears inside the box for the new theme or click on the Licenses tab.
  6. You can now activate your new theme by clicking on the “Activate” button that appears next to its name.

Managing installed themes

You can change or delete themes inside the Directory Themes screen.

  • To change your current theme just click the “Activate” button next to the name of the theme.
  • To delete a theme make sure the theme is not the active one and then click the “Delete” button that appears when you hover over the theme name.

Updating themes

Business Directory Plugin constantly checks if new versions of your installed Directory Themes are available. When an update is available, you’ll see a badge appear next to both the Directory Admin menu and the Directory Themes menu item, on your WordPress admin backend.

This badge indicates the number of updates that are available for your Directory Themes.

Once you’re inside the Directory Themes screen, themes that have an update available will show a status bar at the bottom with the details of the new version and a link to update.

Updating is as easy as clicking the “Update now” link. While the update is in progress, the status bar under the theme’s details provides information about the process.

Advanced topics

Themes settings

The themes subsystem in Business Directory Plugin admits some configuration. You’ll find the settings under Directory Admin → Manage Options → Themes (also available via the shortcut button “Settings” on the Directory Themes screen).

Some of the most important settings are:

  • Theme button style: This setting controls whether styles for buttons defined for your Directory Theme should try to override the styles defined by your WordPress themes or not. This behavior is limited to Business Directory pages and doesn’t affect anything else.

Theme tags

Business Directory Plugin 4.0 introduced the concept of theme tags. It allows admins to (optionally) give “meaning” to some of their form fields by mapping some fixed tags to the fields that exist on the site.

For instance, you could tag a field as “Address” to indicate to Business Directory knows that the field is used for displaying addresses. The specifics of the field (such as its name or if it’s a textfield or a textarea, etc.) are not relevant.

Themes can take advantage of these theme tags to display certain fields in particular locations. A theme designed for mobile uses might want to display the business phone number first and in big font, instead of as part of a long list of fields, and the only way to do that if it knows which field represents the phone number.

You can update your theme tags at any moment on the WordPress backend, by going to Directory Admin → Directory Themes and clicking the “Manage Theme Tags” button on top. The same button is also available inside the Directory Admin → Manage Form fields screen.

Template customization

Currently, Business Directory Plugin allows you to customize the look and feel (and even behavior) of themes in one of two ways:

  • You can add your own CSS file with custom styles to a special directory. This file is picked up by Business Directory and loaded after all other CSS files from us. This means any styles you add to the file take precedence over our default styles, allowing you to easily override how things look.
  • You can add your own PHP templates to override the ones bundled with our themes. This offers the most flexibility but requires some PHP and WP knowledge. The customization guide includes details about the locations and names for these templates, as well as the PHP variables and functions available to them.

You can find all the details about these customization options in our customization guide.


While working with themes you might encounter some problems. Some scenarios and their possible solutions are considered below.

If you’ve tried these steps and they don’t solve the issues you’re experiencing, you can contact Business Directory Plugin support via the support forum.

Can’t upload theme packages.

  • Make sure you’re trying to install a ZIP package downloaded directory from We can’t guarantee that themes provided by other sources work correctly or follow our themes specification.
  • Update Business Directory Plugin to the latest available version.
  • Make sure you’re not trying to upload our ZIP package as a regular WordPress theme. You have to be on Directory Admin → Directory Themes.
  • Business Directory Plugin requires write permissions to the wp-content/businessdirectory-themes folder in order to install themes. If this folder doesn’t exist, please create it and give it read and write permissions (0777 on UNIX systems).

Can’t delete themes.

  • “Default” and “Pre BD 4.0 Template” can’t be deleted.
  • You can’t delete the theme that is currently active. If that’s the theme you want to delete, first activate a different one.
  • Make sure wp-content/businessdirectory-themes has read and write permissions.

After enabling a theme, listings appear empty.

  • If you’re using the Featured Levels module and have enabled restrictions, make sure the fields are really available to the listing level or fee plan that the listing uses.
  • The theme might be configured to display fields with certain tags (instead of all fields), so make sure you’ve mapped your fields to tags. See Theme tags for the details. This is particularly important if you saw a warning like the one below after activating the theme: