Word of mouth is pretty important these days when you are making a new investment in your business. There is so much noise out there, that it can feel overwhelming to turn to Google when you are looking for a new copywriter, web designer or marketing strategist. Have you ever wondered if there is some magical list out there with all the people who hit your vibe? Not some outdated list like yellow pages, but a new modern list of creatives you can turn to? On the flip side, do you wish your business could live on this magical list bringing you all the dream clients your heart desires? In comes membership directories.
Membership directories are different from other online directories like Yelp and NextDoor because these membership directories are exclusive to the people who join the community. These directories have active and engaging communities that uplift and support other business owners. They actually pay to be there because they see the value as a business owner. Being two females, we might be biased, but the female-led membership directories are incredible.
Being a part of a membership directory can help your business gain online brand exposure, awareness, gain more followers, and collaborate with like-minded business owners and entrepreneurs. It’s a win-win-win! But it doesn’t stop here. Did you know that joining a membership directory can actually improve your SEO?
Membership directories enhance your business’s online presence and credibility. How? Because by being on this membership list you’ve secured a high quality backlink for your website. Not sure what a backlink is? Don’t worry, we will break it all down. Along with sharing some of our favorite online membership directories that are actually worth paying for.
How are membership directories great for SEO?
The simple answer — you get a backlink.
A backlink is a link of your website living on someone else’s website.
So why does Google love backlinks so much? Imagine you put a link to someone’s website on your own website. You likely trust that person and consider them really authoritative on the topic. Search engines recognize this and also start to notice your authority on the topic. It’s like the strength of word of mouth for the digital age.
When you pay to be a part of high quality memberships with like-minded businesses, you are telling Google that you and this website are related in some way. Not only that, but joining any directory helps legitimize your business and contributes major credibility to your brand. People are more likely to trust you and your services when they see you have verified your business on directories.
Pretty great, huh!? So let’s dig into some of our favorite membership directories, mostly female, that you might want to consider investing in.
6 Online Membership Directories Worth Paying For
Freelancing Females is actually one of the largest online directories for female business owners and entrepreneurs! You’ll get your own directory spot for an annual fee of $59, which is a great value! Not only that, you’ll be able to access job listings, resources, grant applications, an active community and so much more. We are a part of this directory and can definitely vouch for the fact that it’s worth it.
The 10th House by Female Founder Collective
Female Founder Collective began as a network of businesses led by women, supporting women with a mission to empower female founded & led businesses to positively impact their communities, socially and economically. The 10th House is their new, revamped and rebooted membership platform that fosters meaningful connections, and provides highly vetted resources and skill-building programs to help grow and scale your business. They have both a free and a paid plan to get started. But keep in mind that you only get the directory link on the paid plan.
Women Entrepreneurship offers an amazing public directory helping women-led coaches, speakers and consultants get visible. This membership directory is for you if you believe that women should empower and support one another and thrive being in a community where sharing is natural. Through this directory, you can build your professional network, attend live masterclasses, and get access to opportunities that will propel your business forward.
Outsourcing with Love
Outsourcing with Love is an online directory connecting creative entrepreneurs with vetted support so you can book more dream clients. The goal is to stop stressing about outsourcing and to connect with the right people. There is an application process with references that truly proves how dedicated they are to bringing in the right people who care about growing their business.
The Well Collab is focused on a true belonging for every woman. Their membership offers virtual connection for all members by gathering women in person to talk about their lives. The membership includes a website directory listing, community hub, office hours, business workshop and events. Here, women can connect, create, and collaborate in a safe and supportive environment.
Twin Cities Collective (Local Example)
Regardless of where you live, you likely have a whole bucket of local directories you can be a part of. Your local Chamber of Commerce is a great place to start! For us, here in Minnesota, we love the Twin Cities Collective. It is an exclusive membership directory for Minnesota-based small businesses. It has a great community that offers tons of benefits for educating businesses. They offer classes, workshops, group chats, and other perks that make us proud to be in this directory. Plus, the last networking event we attended for this collective we secured a new client that we absolutely adore.
How to know if the directories you are paying for are working
This is where our trusty friend Google Analytics comes in. We always recommend that our clients do a gut check at the end of an annual directory contract to check and see if this directory is first, driving traffic and second, bringing in new leads. If you are paying hundreds or thousands of dollars a year to be listed on this directory, it should be bringing you new business or connections.
Pop into Google Analytics and check out your referral traffic underneath the acquisition tab in your reports. Here you can see which backlinks are driving traffic to your website. Be sure to update your dates to reflect the full calendar year. Then cross reference this with your leads and sales information. You should be asking the question “how did you find me” on your inquiry forms which will help you understand if these membership directories are bringing you leads.
One final note on membership directories
Membership directories are so much more than just a backlink. The good ones are a community with resources that will help your business grow. It’s important to not just sign up for every directory under the sun. That is actually an example of a black hat SEO strategy — meaning bad and outdated. Instead, pick one or two directories to invest in and then truly invest in it. With your time and your money. Engage in the community hubs, access the resources, join the events and even offer up your time to speak to the community and be a guest expert.
Building backlink strategies are one of our favorite things to do as a part of our SEO audits. Set yourself a goal this year to choose one or two membership directories to invest in. Then watch how it impacts your business in the coming year.
If growing your backlinks is a priority for you, stay tuned, because we have an extra special backlink email challenge coming your way. Get on our list so you don’t miss it!