Update! We’ve released Vantage. Please make sure you view the following blog posts to see the current state of this theme and future plans:
- Vantage Beta Launched
- Sound the Trumpets, Vantage is Here!
- Video: Creating a Listing in Vantage
- Vantage Introduces the New AppThemes Custom Form Builder
- Vantage 1.0.1 is Near
- Vantage 1.0.1 Released
- Vantage 1.1 Released
We’ve been quietly working away on a special theme which will be our most advanced WordPress App to-date. Vantage is not your typical business directory. It’s a powerful social networking business directory and can be better explained by breaking it down into three primary pieces:
Vantage provides online local search capabilities for site visitors. Typically a visitor will search for a specific thing (i.e. a sandwich shop) and the location (i.e. a specific address, city, state, or zip code). This is all done using the Google Maps API and leveraging geo coordinates since they are the most accurate measure of distance.
Each business listing result contains details such as the business address, hours, website, description, etc. It also includes a 5-point rating system and reviews from other site members which are built up over time. The business owners can directly update their own business’ listing information via the Vantage customer account area.
Listings are organized by city/state and a multi-tier categorization system. Content and listings can also be discovered through categorized reviews or via Vantage member profiles and their review lists.
Having a solid community will help your site grow in leaps and bounds. Vantage automatically does this for you as it ties together user reviews and social networking functionality to create a local online community. Allowing your members to keep track of their reviews and displaying popular reviews on your site helps motivate contributors.
Vantage also plans on including a “First to Review” reward system to create a competition among contributing members, further motivating the creation of reviews and adding more unique content to your site.
Besides local business listings, an events system is also an important feature to have. Not only does it allow your members to create and advertise their offline events (i.e. car show, bbq, WordPress meetup, etc) it further helps to grow and involve your community.
Each event will have specific details like location, date/time, description, etc. Members can view the event and “Attend” so the event creator knows how many people to expect. This system will use an events custom post type and specific taxonomies to keep it separate from business listings and blog posts.
Now that should give you a much better picture of what to expect from Vantage. We’d also like to list out the high-level features to help answer some of your other questions.
Feature highlights include:
- Monetizing your site by selling business listings
- Build and foster your own user community
- Business reviews and rating system
- Allow your members to create event listings
- Home page & category featured listing system
- Custom post types & taxonomies for business listings
- Custom post types & taxonomies for events
- Save this and favorites bookmarking
- Twitter & Facebook integration
- Customer account area to manage business listing
- Separate blog to promote your directory
- Create your own custom fields and business listing forms
- Search by keyword and/or location
- Interactive Google maps for business listings & events
- Multiple advertising spaces
- Fully widgetized sidebar & footer
- and much more!
We’ve spent the last couple of months on the design and getting the layout just right which has taken longer than we expected. In turn, it has pushed back the development so we just recently got underway. We know how important this theme is to everyone which is why we are doing our best to get it completed asap.
In order to do so, we have pushed back the release date back a few extra weeks to
November 5th see our theme release status page for the latest status on Vantage. We know, you of course want it now but a product this advanced takes time to build correctly. 🙂
Here are some screenshots of Vantage:
Our development team is doing their best to get this built quickly. We are always open to your feedback and suggestions but any new feature requests will have to wait for the next release since everything is already locked in for v1.0.