Why your Membership Site Needs a Web Directory

Your professional association has a slick website, powered by WordPress, featuring quality content, member profiles and updated blog, but it still doesn’t get much traffic. Worse, your members aren’t being found there by potential clients.

What can you do to increase visibility for your members and allow your membership to be searchable online?

Add a web directory

By installing a directory on your membership site, you’ll give your members more visibility to visitors who are searching for them.

A good web directory should have the kind of features your members need, including the ability to:

  • Customize form fields
  • Get recurring payments with PayPal
  • Allow for featured/sticky listings for an upgrade fee
  • Multiple fee plans assigned to categories
  • Import and export CSV files
  • Have reCAPTCHA to avoid spam listings
  • Edit listings from the front end
  • Quick search with fields and sorting bar
  • Get ratings and reviews
  • Display location using Google Maps
  • Assign features to paid or sticky listing plans to give users incentive to upgrade
  • Allow upload of PDFs
  • Display categories and icons and parent-child categories
  • Manage attachments on listings

Upsides to a web directory

  1. Getting found by clients seeking professionals in specific areas
  2. Better links and increased visibility to the search engines
  3. More targeted and contextual traffic visiting the site and following links to members
  4. Added value to membership could lead to an increase in member sign ups

Downsides of a Directory

  1. Extra work for the webmaster in the configuration of the directory.
  2. Work for members who need to add information to their listings.

Overall, I think the pluses of installing a web directory in your membership site outweigh the minuses .

Web Directory Themes

To create a web directory for your membership site you have two options.

If you are building the site fresh you should use a theme created especially for this purpose.

For an extensive review of 30 different WordPress directory themes, read this

Directory Plugins

If your site is already built and you’d rather stick with the theme you’re using, try installing a directory plugin.

The plugin will hopefully work with your theme’s stylesheets to create a beautiful and functional appearance.

Here is a good review of 7 WordPress directory plugins.

Great Additions

Having a web directory on your membership is an excellent way to promote your member’s work and boost their exposure. And for the small amount of work it involves, a directory pays back in buckets with good will and endorsements.

No membership site should be without it.

Do you run a web directory? Any preferences on themes and plugins? Please let us know.

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