Importing members can be a bit of a tricky process due to the fact that all of the data entered must be simple, clean text (no formatting, line breaks, or other things that can break a CSV file), and the data must all be in the proper columns in order to import properly.

To start, here are some files that will help the understanding of how the import process works:

The template and example files that have ALL fields included show all of the different fields that can be filled out for a member during import.  However, not all imports will need to make use of all of these fields, so we also included a simple / basic version of each that has the most commonly used fields.

If  doing an import for the first time, we would recommend trying to import some data using the basic template / example as a guide first to see how it works.  Once this is working, proceed to try adding additional fields to see how that affects the import.

In this video we will learn how to properly add and import the member's websites so they are linked properly in the member's listing. 

To import members to the site via CSV file, please follow these steps:

Prepare the import file

  1. Download one of the CSV import templates shown above.

    In row 1 of this file, one will see all of the headers required to import the data. Make sure  not to edit the spelling of any of these headers, as doing so will cause the import to fail. In row 2 of this file, one will see an explanation of what kind of text should be added into each column.

  2. Once understood the content that should be added into each column, delete the content of row 2 from the spreadsheet (if it is not removed, the explanations will be imported as a member of the site!)
  3. Enter all of the member data into the correct columns
  4. Delete any empty columns from the spreadsheet - for example, if no data is entered in the twitter column, one can delete this column from the spreadsheet completely. This will reduce the size of the import file and speed up the import process.

Add Categories to a CSV Import Spreadsheet

One will see there are 2 columns on the far right of the spreadsheet- "profession_name" and "services".

Under "profession_name", please put the Top Level Category for the listing to be imported into. For example, if we were doing this for the Local Dessert Shops Directory (Categories seen here:, then I could add “Ice Cream Shop” in this column.

The Membership Plan Settings also allow to pre-assign the op level category to all profiles in that membership plan. For more information on how to do this, please refer to step 2 in the following article.

In the "services" column, please add a comma-separated list of Sub Level Categories one would like the listing added into. For example, for the listing  added the Top Level Category “Ice Cream Shop”, one could add the Sub Level Categories "Ice Cream,Ice Cream Cake,Ice Cream Cupcake" (since these are all Sub Level Categories of “Ice Cream Shop” that apply to this listing). If one would like a listing imported into ALL Sub Level Categories under the Top Level Category it is being imported into (as designated in the profession_name column), then one could simply put "all" under the services column.

Please note that all of the Top Level Categories and Sub Level Categories entered into this spreadsheet must be spelled exactly the same as they are in the category structure in the Directory Planner.

Tips for successful import file setup

  1. If any columns are blank in the import file, it is always best to delete the entire column.  This is also mentioned above, but is a very common issue that people run into!  For example, if none of the members which are going to import have any data for the "fees" column, it is best to delete this column entirely before import.
  2. Some US zipcodes begin with a zero or multiple zeros, which Excel and other spreadsheet programs sometimes remove automatically. Make sure all of the zip_codes are formatted as text and have all of the required 0’s at the beginning of the zipcode
  3. If one is entering data for the logo, profile_photo, website, twitter, facebook, linkedin, or google_plus fields, be sure to use full URLs including the http:// (EG:
  4. Make sure all listings have something entered into either the company or name field (or first_name and last_name fields) to insure that there will be a title for each listing
  5. Make sure to enter either Company or Individual into the listing_type field for each listing (Entering "Company" will make the company name more prominent in the listing; entering "Individual" will make the name of the person more prominent in the listing) *Our variables are case sensitive so make sure to capitalize the first letter for these.
  6. Add the Top Level category for each listing into the profession_name column. Please note that this must be spelled exactly the same as the category is spelled in the directory, or they will not import correctly. (See the section of this article above titled "How to Add Categories to a CSV Import Spreadsheet" for more tips)
  7. (OPTIONAL) Add a comma-separated list of Sub Level Categories in each listing imported into in the services column (See the section of this article above titled "How to Add Categories to a CSV Import Spreadsheet" for more tips)
  8. The fields "name" and " first_name + last_name" will create a conflict if they are both populated in the file. Simply make sure that only "name" or "first_name + last_name" are populated. Either one will import the name of the listing successfully. 

Import the file to the site

  1. Login to the Admin area of the site
  2. Navigate to Members >> Import New Members in the main top navigation of the Admin area
  3. Select the Membership Level one would like to import the members into in the "Select Member Level" field
  4. Select "General Listing" in the "profile Page Design" field
  5. If one would like the members to appear on the site after import select "Active" from the "Initial Account Status". If one would like all of the imported members to NOT appear on the site after import (they would only appear in the Admin area of the site), select "Not Published" from the "Initial Account Status" field.
  6. If there are several members in the import file that have the same email address and one want to make sure they are all imported as separate accounts and not removed as duplicate listings, check the "Allow multiple accounts to have same email address" option
  7. One is able to specify which categories to import members into in the import file. If one would like NEW categories from the import document to be added to the category structure during import if they are not already present, select the "Create new top and sub level categories if they do not exist" option.
  8. If one would like line breaks in the import document to be automatically replaced with HTML <br> tags during import, select the "Replace line breaks with HTML line breaks (< BR / >)" option. In almost 100% of cases,one will want to select this, as having line breaks in the import document can cause the data to import incorrectly.
  9. Select the "Data File Upload" option (selected by default)
  10. Click the "Choose File" button and locate the file on the hard drive that one would like to import
  11. Click the "Upload Members Now" button.
  12. Do not navigate away from the page as the import file is uploaded and processed on the site. One will see a success message indicating that the import has finished when it is ready.

Geocode the members

After importing the members, please follow these steps in the link below:

Geocoding Members After A CSV Import

Import Profile Images (optional)

To complete the import of member images and logos, please refer to the link below:

Member Images: Importing Members With Profile Photos & Logos

In this video we will learn how to properly add and import the member's websites so they are linked properly in the member's listing. 

Get Personal Assistance

We understand that this can be a challenging process, even for some users that are more technically inclined.  If  one would prefer that someone on our team assists with the import of the members, we have Training Sessions covering importing members as shown on the Training Sessions page.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The files below should be downloaded to the computer and viewed in a spreadsheet application like Microsoft Excel, or another similar application.