How to Build a Website like Yelp?

Yelp is a top-rated online business directory for discovering local businesses ranging from bars, restaurants, and cafes to hairdressers, spas, gas stations, and many more.

You can find many different solutions on the Internet for creating a Yelp like website. There are some Yelp Clone scripts, developers promising to build a Yelp like website and some other solutions. In this article, we will see the beginner-friendly and an affordable way to create a Yelp Clone website.

How much does it Cost to Create a Custom Website like Yelp?

There are hundreds of developers working for Yelp, but don’t worry; I’m not going to ask you to employ hundreds of developers.

You can hire a web developer or a company to create a Yelp like site, but I’m sure they will charge you thousands of dollars. But I will tell you the easiest, cost-effective, and user-friendly way to create a Yelp like website without having to use a piece of code.

You might have already guessed it, yes you are right, it is WordPress. Don’t jump into conclusions already. I’ve read all the available content on this topic, and I have come up with a new way, a much affordable way to create Yelp like website.

Using WordPress for a Yelp Clone Site:

If you are new to WordPress, you might be wondering why anyone would use WordPress to create a business directory website like Yelp.

But let me tell you in 2019, WordPress is the best possible solution you can find to build a Yelp clone. It is simple, mostly free, beginner-friendly, and it has some great themes and plugins with which you can create a professional business directory website like Yelp.

Features of Yelp Website

Before moving on to creating the yelp like website, let’s breakdown the fundamental features of Yelp. Yelp has a lot of features; if you have a clear idea of what you want to build, we can exclude the unnecessary features. It could help bring down the cost.

  1. Local Business Listing – lists local business based on a locality and the business will be put on the map
  2. Business Categories – organize the business into various categories and sub-categories
  3. Sorting and Filtering – can sort and filter businesses by geographical location, price range, and custom features like outdoor seating, delivery service, or the ability to accept reservations
  4. User Reviews – users can write reviews, give star ratings, and add photos
  5. Review Community – the user review itself can be reviewed, and most helpful reviewers are given Elite status
  6. Yelp Events – can post events hosted by businesses, users can book seats and buy tickets for the events
  7. Yelp Talk –  can talk to fellow Yelpers
  8. Yelp Business Login – gives separate login for business owners to claim the listings and add their business
  9. Ads Manager – paid business listings can be added which are clearly marked as Yelp ads
  10. Social Login – users can login using their Facebook and Google accounts
  11. Mobile App – Yelp website can be used on a mobile app on iOS and Android OS.

You may not need all of the features, so lets first see how to build a custom website with the core features of Yelp.

Building a Local Business Directory with WordPress

One of the primary uses of Yelp is finding local services and business, where you can find business based on the locality. You can put your business on the map, and people can find you when they are searching for business establishments nearby their location.

If finding a local business is the main goal of your business directory website, then you can use the GeoDirectory WordPress plugin, to create your Yelp like site.

Also See: Best WordPress Directory Plugins list

Why Use GeoDirectory to create Yelp like Site?

  • First, the core GeoDirectory plugin is free. If you just want the basic local directory features, then you can create a Yelp like website for free.
  • It is performances optimized, and so it can easily handle thousands of listings.
  • With some premium add-ons, you can create a worldwide directory listing business locations all around the world.

How to create Yelp like site with GeoDirectory?

First, you need to get a domain and hosting for your business directory. See this tutorial to get the domain, hosting, and to install WordPress on your domain. Then you can follow the steps below.

Installing GeoDirectory Plugin

After getting the domain and installing WordPress on your site,  on your dashboard go to Plugins –> Add New

Here, search for “GeoDirectory” and when you find the plugin like shown in the picture below, install and activate the plugin.

Installing Directory Starter Theme

GeoDirectory gives you a free theme and its child themes with clean and elegant design. You can use the free Directory Starter theme or its child theme Supreme Directory. You can import their pre-built demo sites in a matter of a few minutes.

To install the free themes, from your dashboard go to Appearance –> Themes —> Add New

Here, search for “Directory Starter”, find the theme, install and activate the theme. After this, you can build your directory site from scratch or import their demo site.

Adding Features to your Yelp like Site

If you have followed the steps so far, you would have a basic local business directory website on your hands. If you want a more powerful directory site like adding business worldwide, pricing manager, create a community, etc., you can up always upgrade to GeoDirectory plugins premium add-ons. 

Making a Modernized Yelp like Site with GeoDirectory

Though you get some free themes with GeoDirectory plugin, there are good but look little old. There is a 3rd party Listimia WordPress Theme which is created for GeoDirectory plugin. It is a premium theme which you can buy for 39$, but you can create a modernized and professional-looking business directory with Listimia.

Building a Small-Scale Yelp like Site

If you want a simple all-in-one solution to create a directory website, you can use LisitingPro WordPress Theme. It is an excellent solution if you are looking to create a directory to list hundreds of businesses. If you want to add thousands of businesses, then you would need a hosting and optimize your site for performance.

I would suggest that you use the ListingPro Directory theme only if your site covers 1 or few cities. Adding many numbers of cites may create performance issues, and if you want an optimized solution, I suggest you go with the first solution.

Also See: Best WordPress Directory Themes list

How to Create a Review Community Site like Yelp?

Another important feature of Yelp website is User Reviews. Any logged-in users can rate a business, write a brief review, and add pictures of the business. The reviews themselves can be reviewed by other users. You can create a review community.

Though many of the WordPress directory themes and plugins come with a basic review system, but they don’t offer much review and rating capabilities. Especially their review systems are not optimized for SEO.

StarCat Reviews Plugin

If you want to integrate a good review and rating system to your business directory, then you should use the StarCat Reviews plugin. It has the best solution to create a review community. If you just want to create a business review website and not a local business directory, then Advanced Reviews Pro alone is enough for you.

Adding Events to your Yelp like Site

Business host events to get more attention and event listing is another important feature of Yelp. Both GeoDirectory and ListingPro has basic event listing features. But Yelp Events offer you options to book tickets and for business owners to manage events.

If you want these events features, then you can use WP Event Manager plugin and its premium add-ons to add Yelp like event features to your business directory.

Other Yelp Features:

We have seen some WordPress solutions for some important features, but there are more features in Yelp. You may not need all of them, but we will see the Yelp feature and its WordPress alternative now.

What do you think of the solution we suggested? Do you have a business listing website? What did you use to build your Yelp like site?

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