Membership sites seem to be popping up everywhere today and with good reason. They are an effective way to communicate your knowledge and teachings. They also generate recurring, regular income and who wouldn’t want that?
You may think that creating a membership site is scary proposition, but here are my top 5 reasons why you should strongly consider adding a membership site to your business arsenal today.
1. Everyone already has a membership site
I know you’re thinking right now that, if everyone has a membership site, why should you jump on the bandwagon? Isn’t the market flooded enough already?
Well that’s the great thing about membership sites; there is always a different angle to look at or a different niche to focus on. Basically, there’s more than enough pie to go around.
Think of it this way: the internet is full of people trying to find information on something they love and also to find a community interested in that topic.
Membership sites play on this by providing that info and that community, and if you do it right, people will lap it up.
2. It’s a reliable source of regular income
Making a living on the internet can be tough at first, especially when doing affiliate marketing as you simply never know when someone will buy from one of your affiliate links.
Having a membership site can ease this, by providing a regular (or as regular as it gets) income stream.
As long as you can keep your members interested and active within your community, they will keep paying.
If you decide that managing a membership site is too much, you can also create a membership “product” site. This style of membership site is basically a set it and forget it type site, where someone will buy a one off lifetime membership to gain access to the content within.
These obviously don’t provide a recurring income, but are much less work.
3. It’ll help grow your authority and reputation online
Membership sites are the perfect opportunity to get your name out there in your chosen niche. This will allow you to garner even more members, social media followers and list subscribers.
Not only that but you will have a captive audience to promote and sell other related products and services to. This audience will already be in a trusting and buying mood due to the fact that they are already paying you a regular recurring fee.
As an added bonus, you can also build up a list of email subscribers, as it is very easy to add a person to your mailing list when they join.
That means you now have two ways to get your information and products in front of a person.
4. Your focused help and information will benefit your customers
You can find anything, for free, on the internet if you look hard enough.
This is often a sticking point when you consider making a membership site – why would someone pay you for information when they can just hit Google for the same info?
Simply put, it’s because it will be focused information. There is no need for them to spend hours searching Google, trying this phrase or that phrase to get the desired answer.
Also, the answers these potential customers seek are often buried within other content, and difficult to dig out.
A membership site makes it easy to segment and separate information for your users, allowing them to easily find what they need. Think of the site as a personal niche library.
People are happy to pay if it they can get quality information without having to spend their valuable and unrecoverable time looking for it.
As well as that, if your site has a forum or chat system, your members can contact you or other community members directly for assistance! 1 on 1 help rocks!
As an added bonus, pay-walled forums have significantly less spam, meaning less work for you and less annoyance for your members.
5. It’s easy to set one up
If you have used WordPress before, then it really is not hard to set up a membership site. WordPress on its own could be used, but there are plenty of plugins out there that can be leveraged to create amazingly flexible membership sites.
With the power of WordPress doing the heavy lifting, most of the basic tasks such as sign up, cancellation etc. can be automated, allowing you more time to generate awesome content and to communicate with your members.
Membership sites work by limiting access to content. You can limit the entire site, single posts and pages, or even just paragraphs!
This limitation is done by something called roles and capabilities.
You have roles like Administrator and Subscriber and each role has different capabilities. For example Admin has the ability to change the websites options and lots of other things, whereas a Subscriber can merely “read” as in they can only view the published content.
Membership plugins make use this powerful system, to make sure that users can only see and do what they are allowed to by the site owner.
Most membership plugins will ask you to create different roles or even have them created automatically for you. These roles are basically your membership levels. You could have the Subscriber role as your free member, then Bronze, Silver and Gold members. Each level will gain more and more access to the site, and of course, each level costs more and more to join.
Once you have your roles sorted, then you can set each page to be accessed in different ways: either visible to everyone, just one role, multiple roles, or even a certain role and higher.
You can do that for individual paragraphs too.
By now you should have an idea of how flexible and powerful membership plugins are. They can allow you to show teaser content to users (where some of the content is shown, but the rest is behind a paywall) and even have large chunks of content reserved for VIP members, rather than your basic member.
Some of the plugins will also allow you to charge for membership and even change the amount you charge depending on the role or level of the member.
In my opinion, S2Member is probably the best one out there. It offers a fully featured free version and is very, very flexible. However, it is a steep learning curve at first because of the numerous options.
Wishlist is also really good, but has no free version.
The Bottom Line
Membership sites are not a passing fad. Since the dawn of the internet people have grouped together online seeking people with common interests. Making that desire into a business is not only attainable but easy as well.
So what are you waiting for?