What Member Categories Are And Why They Are Important

The categories of your website determine the structure of your site, how members are organized, and how users will search for members within the directory.  Creating a good category structure is on of the most important steps when setting up your new website - it is the foundation that everything else on your site is built on! 

Because the category structure of your site is so important, it is highly recommended that you complete this step before getting any members on your website, as the category structure will directly impact both how your members create their profiles and how your users find members on the site.  Once you have members on your site, it can be complicated to change your category structure without impacting them, so please choose your categories wisely!

Top Level Categories

A top level category is how an individual or business would describe themselves generally.  We like to use the example of a directory of doctors to illustrate how this works.  A way a doctor would generally describe his/her self could include categories like:

  • Dentist
  • Pediatrician
  • Dermatologist

All members who sign up for an account on your directory are able to choose 1 top level category and will then be able to choose a number of sub level categories depending on the settings for their membership level.


Sub Level Categories


Sub level categories are specialties or services that would be offered by the Top Level Category they are assigned to. Going back to the doctor directory example, a dentist might have the following sub level categories:

  • Dental Exam
  • Tooth Implant
  • Dental Bridge

Anything that you want your members to be searchable by within your directory must be a sub level category.  For example, dentists in our doctor directory may want to be listed under certain insurance carriers as well.  To do this, we would simply add these insurance carriers as additional sub level categories underneath the Top Level Category "Dentist":   

  • Covered by Blue Cross
  • Covered by Met Life
  • Covered by Blue Shield

Planning a category structure


Since planning your categories is an important step when setting up you directory, we recommend first planning your categories in a spreadsheet or other document before adding them to your live website.  

When you signed up for your Brilliant Directories account, you should have received a link to a Google Spreadsheet.  This spreadsheet will help you organize your categories and other important directory setup information before inputting it into your live website.  Using this spreadsheet is optional, but we think you may find it very helpful!


Here is an example of a simplified category structure for a Doctor Directory:


Top Level Category Sub Level Category
Dentist Dental Exam
  Tooth Implant
  Dental Bridge
Pediatrician Check-Up
  Hernia Exam
  Blood Work
Dermatologist Biopsy
  Growth Removal
  Hair Implant

Here is an example of a completed category structure in a Google Spreadsheet like the one you received after signup. Filling out your Google Spreadsheet in a similar format is recommended for quick implementation of these categories on your live site:


Adding categories to your site


Once you have all of your categories planned out the way you want them, it is time to add them to your live site.

First, add all of the Top Level Categories to the site:     

  1. Log in to your Admin area
  2. Click on Website >> Manage Categories in the top navigation menu. This should take you to the Top Level Categories page.
  3. Click the green "Add Top Level Categories" button.  A modal window should appear titled "Add New Top Level Categories".
  4. For "Step 1", select "Professionals"
  5. For "Step 2", paste all of your Top Level Categories, one per line, into the textarea
  6. Click on "Save New Top Level Categories".  All of your Top Level Categories are now saved to your live site.

Next, add all of the sub level categories for each Top Level Category:
  1. Click on "Sub Level Categories" in the sidebar menu
  2. Click the "Add Sub Level Categories" button. A modal window should appear titled "Add New Sub-Level Categories.
  3. For Step 1, select the Top Level Category you would like to add sub level categories for
  4. For Step 2, paste all of the sub level categories you wish to add to this Top Level Category, one per line, to the textarea
  5. Click on "Save New Sub Level Categories".  All of the sub level categories for this Top Level Category are now saved to your live site.
  6. Repeat the steps above for each Top Level Category that you wish to add sub level categories for