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 your 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 you are 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 you see that working, you could then try adding additional fields to see how that affects the import.


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

  2. Once you understand the content that should be added into each column, delete the content of row 2 from the spreadsheet (if you do not do this, the explanations will be imported as a member of your site!)
  3. Enter all of your member data into the correct columns
  4. Delete any empty columns from the spreadsheet - for example, if you do not have any data in the twitter column, you 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


You 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 that you would like the listing to be imported into. For example, if we were doing this for the Local Dessert Shops Directory (Categories seen here: http://bit.ly/1bhGDZd), then I could add “Ice Cream Shop” in this column.


In the "services" column, please add a comma-separated list of Sub Level Categories you would like the listing added into. For example, for the listing you added the Top Level Category “Ice Cream Shop”, you 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 you 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 you 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 your 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 you 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 you are 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: http://www.google.com/image.jpg)
  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)
  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 your 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 you would like 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)



Import the file to your site

  1. Login to the Admin area of your site
  2. Navigate to Members >> Import New Members in the main top navigation of the Admin area
  3. Select the Membership Level you 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 you would like the members to appear on your site after import select "Active" from the "Initial Account Status". If you would like all of the imported members to NOT appear on your site after import (they would only appear in the Admin area of your site), select "Not Published" from the "Initial Account Status" field.
  6. If you would like to import these members into a separate Contact List, select the Contact List you would like to import these members into as well in the "Also add Member to Contact List" field.
  7. If there are several members in your import file that have the same email address and you 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
  8. You are able to specify which categories to import members into in the import file. If you would like NEW categories from your import document to be added to your 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.
  9. If you would like line breaks in your 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, you will want to select this, as having line breaks in your import document can cause your data to import incorrectly.
  10. Select the "Data File Upload" option (selected by default)
  11. Click the "Choose File" button and locate the file on your hard drive that you would like to import
  12. Click the "Upload Members Now" button.
  13. Do not navigate away from the page as the import file is uploaded and processed on the site. You will see a success message indicating that the import has finished when it is ready.



Geocode your members


After importing the members, please follow these steps to assign a Geocode to the members:
  1. Login to the Admin area of your site
  2. Navigate to Members >> Search Members
  3. Click on the "Geocode Members" button
  4. Click on the Geocode Listings button (the default settings are recommended for most cases)
  5. Allow the system to run and all of your members who have complete and accurate location information will be geocoded



Import Profile Images (optional)


If you included URLs for a profile_photo or logo during import, please follow these steps to import all of the images to the members that were just imported:
  1. Login to the Admin area of your site
  2. Navigate to the Members >> Member Images page
  3. Choose an appropriate number of members to import the images of at a time in the "Show" dropdown:



    Importing and resizing photos is an extremely resource-intensive activity for a server, so at the time this article was written, 225 images is the maximum that can be imported / resized at a time.


  4. Click on "Search Now"

  5. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click the "Check All" link to select all of the members listed on this page:



  6. Select "Fetch from source and resize" from the dropdown menu:


  7. Click the "Apply Action" button.  You should see a notification that the images are being processed.  If you scroll to the top of the page, you will see all of the icons of a crossed out camera 


    will start to turn in to green checkboxes as they are completed:


  8. Do not close the window or navigate away from the page during this process.

  9. If you have additional members that need to have their images fetched and resized, click on the "Next" button at the top or bottom of the Results table to go to the next page of results:


  10. Repeat the steps above until all images have been fetched and resized.


Once this is complete, give yourself a pat on the back because you are finished!



Get Personal Assistance


We understand that this can be a challenging process, even for some users that are more technically inclined.  If you would prefer that someone on our team assist you with the import of you members, we have a couple of options:

  • Request a Training Session about importing members as shown on the Training Sessions page
  • Request that our team analyze, parse, and import all of your data for you using our Data Importing service as outlined on our Services Page


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