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Using WordPress for Directory Website

  • Hello,

    I am wondering if anybody could help me think through the best way to develop the following site.

    I am the web developer for a website called http://www.hiatusclub.com

    This is a membership site, where people pay an annual fee for access to the website and the discounts that merchants offer.

    We have about 300+ merchants in 9 different cities.
    In each city, there are 12 categories (restaurants, pubs, rentals etc.)

    People can browse the merchants available in each category, within a city, but in order to view a merchant’s actual listing, the user must be registered & logged in.

    The site is currently built in Joomla. For various reasons, I would like to “rebuild” the site on a WordPress framework.

    I have some ideas about how I could do this, but I am wondering if I could have some input on the best ay – most efficient, easiest to scale, and most logical for the user.

    What is required:

    – Each merchant’s listing page should contain the following:
    – logo, email, phone, website, google map, description
    – The merchant’s listing page should be protected so only subscribed & logged in members have access

    – Each category page (rentals in Vancouver) within a given city should contain the merchants we have on board in that city (their logo and name and links to their particular listing page)

    – Our current live site (hiatusclub.com) has it so that the cities are listed as the 1st menu item beneath “benefits directory”. I think it would be cool & easier to navigate if the user could select a city when they first visit the site, or maybe have a nice looking dropdown menu of available cities in the corner of the page (top-right). And maybe the available menu items could be filtered according to the city selected.

    – So, if you have selected “Vancouver” and are on the main page, the homepage would say “hiatusclub.com/vancouver”
    – If you have selected the “rentals” category and are in “Vancouver”, it would say “hiatusclub.com/vancouver/rentals”

    What we have

    I have created 3 additional tables in the wordpress database
    – listings: this is a table with the merchant info: id, name, email, phone, website, category_id, region_id

    – categories: this is a table with categories like: restaurants, pubs, rentals etc.

    – regions: this is a table with available cities like vancouver, los angeles etc.

    How to do this:

    Instead of creating a page or post for every merchant listing, I was thinking I could create one page called “listing” and assign it to a custom template which queries the “listings” table to retreive the merchant’s information (name, phone etc.) depending on the variable in the url (?merchant=3)

    Then, I could use a subscription plugin like “Membership” to protect the “listings” page.

    How would I deal with the menus? Should I try and use WordPress custom menus?

    Say the listings page is ?page_id=24 – should I manually assign custom menu items to ?page_id=24&merchant=1
    page_id=24&merchant=2 ?

    Is there a way to only show menu items when a particular city is selected?

    Am i thinking about this stuff the right way? Any input would be appreciated. Thank You!

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