BlogWebsite & Technology 8 Awesome Directory Website Builders in 2023 Website & Technology 8 Awesome Directory Website Builders in 2023 Author: Sonia Urlando January 10, 2023 Contents 🕑 9 min read One of the big reasons people join membership programs is to find a community. And what better way to create connections than building an online member directory? Don’t be daunted by the idea of building a website—the right directory website builder can make it easy! There are a lot of options out there, so we’ve made you a list of our 8 favorite directory website builders for 2023! Here’s everything you need to know about the benefits of having a directory website and how to choose the right software for your organization’s needs: What is a Directory Website? Think of a directory website as a specialized online catalog. It offers a list of links to external websites and resources that connect back to a shared topic. For example: A member directory is a place where members of an organization can network. A business directory helps people find relevant businesses that can meet their needs. A job directory connects employers with job-hunters. All of these directory examples could be useful for any membership organization—talk about a major perk for becoming a member! Back in the day, many directories were on paper, but thanks to online directory software, people can now find what they’re looking for with the click of a button. The best directory website builder should have you set up in a matter of hours. Who doesn’t love some convenience? Why Your Organization Needs a Membership Directory As we briefly mentioned, directories add value to your membership program—but a membership directory specifically goes above and beyond! Create value for your members Members are members because they care about your mission. Why wouldn’t they want to connect with others who feel the same? Where a luncheon or event offers a couple of hours to network, a membership directory makes the perk last year-round! Become a trusted source for industry news A membership directory doesn’t just help your members out—it also gives your organization a boost of credibility. Think of it this way: if everyone’s gathering at your water cooler, you’ve got to know what you’re talking about! And when people get useful news and updates from your directory, they’ll always associate that news with your organization. Build website authority through backlinking Where there’s a link, there’s a way. If you’re just dipping your toes into the world of SEO, you should know that Google LOVES a backlink. By linking to credible external websites, you make your website look more valuable. This means it will rank higher on all sorts of search engines, which will get you more organic traffic. It might sound a little funny, but it’s just as important to build trust with search engines as it is to do the same with your supporters! What to Include in Your Website’s Directory Curious about how to build a directory website that has all the information you need? Here are the essentials: Business name Address and phone number Opening hours Membership directory photos and images Video A comprehensive description Categories A map listing Reviews Social links If you’re looking for some solid website directory examples, check out these 5 options built using the WildApricot directory template. As the number one membership management software, WildApricot’s website builder has a directory template included to keep everything in one place. Sign up for your 60-day free trial today to get a deeper look! What to Look For in a Directory Website Builder Building a directory website shouldn’t be a chore! Your individual directory will depend on the needs of your organization, but there are a few must-haves to keep in mind. The best directory website builder should include: Simple setup. You shouldn’t have to learn to be a web designer to build your online directory. A directory is meant to make your life easier, not harder. Preset essential pages. Imagine if you had to create a search page from scratch! There are some things that every directory needs—your website builder should take those into account from the start. Plugins and integrations. On the other hand, there are some specific needs you’ll find you have. A wide range of plugins and integrations will help you customize your directory. Easy system management. Keep in mind that your team will be doing administrative work on the backend. Your directory website builder should run smoothly on both the front and backend. Monetization. Some features in your directory might cost money to use. Built-in payment processing will make it easy to pay and get paid! SEO readiness. If your page is SEO optimized both on- and off-page, it’ll be much easier to get clicks and track results. Look for a website builder that supports meta descriptions, image optimization and more. Reliable support. When you have questions about your online directory software (and it’s okay to have questions!), you don’t want to have to go hunting for help. The right directory website builder will come with a helpful and easy-to-reach support team. Whether you choose to go with a paid or free directory website builder, don’t compromise on the essentials! Having these elements in place from the start will save you stress in the long run. Launch Your Directory Website Builder in 5 Steps Ready to get started? Here’s how to launch your directory website builder in 5 easy steps! 1. Choose your directory niche One key part of building a directory website is choosing your niche. Consider: do you want a space that’s for a specific industry, or based around a central location? Do you want it to be a members-only exclusive? While it’s not so different learning how to build a business directory website versus a membership website, the websites’ needs might be different! For example, an association membership directory might benefit from having search options for both organizations and individuals. 2. Plan your web & listing structure Before you build a directory website, take some time to visualize what you want the final product to look like. Try drawing a wireframe (or using a wireframe app!) for both the site and the individual listings. Knowing your wants and needs will help you choose the best directory website builder for you. Your website can either be simple or offer more complex features at different subscription levels. Just be sure it includes those must-have elements we mentioned earlier so Google doesn’t ignore you! The heftier a listing is, the more findable it’ll be for users and search engines. 3. Prep your brand materials Branding branding branding! When users visit your directory, they should immediately know that it’s YOURS. Your online directory branding should include: A directory name that’s tied to your organization Your organization’s logo A consistent color scheme & fonts Keep the niche front and center. When people go to your directory, they should immediately know what it’s useful for and what makes it special! 4. Pick a platform Once you’ve got a solid idea of your wants and needs, it’s time to choose your directory website builder. Keep an eye out for platforms that offer demos or free trials—actually giving software a test drive is the best way to see how it feels. Better yet, shop around and try a few platforms out. It always helps to know your options! (Psst—we’ve got 8 of our favorite examples below, along with the features and perks of each!) 5. Build your website This one’s pretty self-explanatory: build a directory website! Use your platform’s support features if you get stuck, and check in with other team members about how it’s looking along the way. Factor some troubleshooting time into your planning, and run the final product by your board of directors before you go live. 8 Powerful Directory Website Builders A quick google will show you that there are tons of options for directory website builders out there. To save you some time, we’ve gathered our 8 favorite options. Check out the features and pricing to see which one is best for your organization! 1. WildApricot WildApricot is the #1 membership management software for small associations, non-profits, state and local chapter organizations. Along with tools like website builders, member databases and event management tools, we also have an easy-to-use member directory gadget! Features We Love Drag-and-drop website builder Customizable directory settings Secure payment processing Members-only areas Free set-up guide Integrations with WordPress and more Pricing 60-day free trial, and then plans starting at $60/month. 2. MemberClicks MemberClicks is a cloud-based membership software for associations, chambers of commerce and other member-based organizations. Its powerful features help you automate tasks, boost engagement, generate revenue and connect with your members in one central platform. Both MC Professional and MC Trade help you easily set up business or individual member directories! This is definitely the best directory website builder for associations. Features We Love Built-in reports Automated accounting tools Job board Personalized member profiles Conference app Pricing Book a demo to see MemberClicks in action and get a quote. 3. Brilliant Directories Brilliant Directories is used by over 10,000 organizations, making it one of the most popular directory website builders out there. Its software supports member management, payment processing, SEO tools, website support and, most importantly, TONS of directory options. Features We Love Manages 100,000 members Unlimited categories Unlimited admin accounts App-Ready for Android & iOS Tons of themes Source code access Pricing Free demo and 7-day free trial. Monthly Plan: $145/month Yearly Plan: $950/year Lifetime Plan: $1450 Additional add-ons are also available for purchase. 4. DirectoryEngine If you want to build a directory website with WordPress, DirectoryEngine is a great option! This WordPress theme is highly customizable, and lets you make money by charging for listing submissions and ad space. Features We Love Built-in content blocks and widgets for front-end customization Multiple payment plans for users Local payment gateways Super SEO-friendly 12 months of free updates and support included Pricing One-time payment of $89, with higher prices for more extensions. Demo available. 5. ListingProWP Another way to build a directory website with WordPress is by using ListingProWP! This theme is an end-to-end directory website builder that requires zero paid plugins. Plus, it’s super quick and easy to set up. Features We Love Easy set up Highly advanced search system with live suggestions Instant filtering options Form builder Ad management Pricing Starts at $69/month. Demo available. 6. Appy Pie If you’re looking to try something a little different, Appy Pie is an app builder that can be used for making a directory website. It’s simple to use, and can be launched in three simple steps: name the website, create the main pages and go live! It’s also one of the most affordable options on this list. Features We Love Very mobile friendly Drag-and-drop interface—no coding required! Responsive support team SEO features Many integrations Pricing Basic plan starts at $18/month. 7. Rixot Want to build a directory website for free? Then Rixot is the pick for you! Try this user-friendly software to get your website set up in ten minutes, and know that customer support is available if you run into any questions. Features We Love All add ons are free Multiple payment gateways SEO-friendly Many monetization options Mobile-friendly advertising Pricing Free! 8. GoClixy GoClixy is a business directory script you can easily add to your organization’s websites. Not only is it easy to set up and super SEO-friendly, but it also comes with an Admin Panel to customize your website with only a few clicks. Features We Love Featured listings Banner and adsense advertisements Membership tiers Supports multiple languages Rewards for member referrals Pricing Starts with a one-time payment of $149. Demo available upon request, plus free first-time installation. Build a Directory Website You’re Proud Of Having an online directory is a fantastic way to add value to your membership program and build legitimacy for your organization. We hope this list has got you feeling ready to take the leap with your directory website builder! And hey, if you’re looking for a little more support, sign up for a 60-day free trial with WildApricot. We’ll help you get your directory set up in no time, and show you everything else our membership management software can do for your organization! 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