Creating Membership Websites
One of the online internet business ideas we see now is the growth of membership websites.
As the internet evolves people become more willing to pay for information they need, instead of spending hours searching online for it.
Creating a membership website can be a profitable and satisfying way to share your knowledge with the world.
But you will first need some basic website knowledge, and it is helpful if you already have created a successful and profitable website.
There is a learning curve involved, and so if you already have some basic web knowledge, this will be a helpful foundation.
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The potential for profitability of your membership site will vary depending on the industry you are in.
You will need to do some proper, substantial research on the potential demand for your information.
How many people out there are looking for information that you have?
Some membership websites will need fewer members to turn a profit. Business, finance, and legal membership websites can charge higher fees than sites that offer recipes, health information, or hobby information.
Nuts and bolts of creating membership websites
It is important to first research the potential demand for your information, before investing the time and money into building a membership site.
Only go ahead with business ideas that have a clear demand and potential for profitability.
Also, you will need to research your competition.
The more competition there is, the harder it will be for your site to gain visibility.
Once you have a good, reliable and potentially profitable idea for a membership website, you need to think about how you will set up the functionality of your site. Your site should at the minimum be able to:
- Publish, manage, and archive your content easily.
- Manage all the features of your membership site automatically, from member sign up, welcome messages, automatic recurring billing, daily statistics, and so on.
- Offer instant and automatic member sign up.
- Create both members and public areas on your site.
- Flexibility to use different types of member plans … monthly, quarterly, yearly and free trial memberships.
- Discussion forums are essential to creating a robust membership site.
- You will need some comprehensive reporting so you can analyze your site's profitability.
- You'll need a site-wide search feature so members and guests can find the information they need at your site.
- You'll need a good security system to protect the members-only areas of your site.
Additional features that will significantly enhance your membership sites profitability are:
- You may want a shopping cart to be able to sell other items to your members.
- I recommend you create an affiliate program for your membership site, as this will significantly improve the profitability of your site.
- It is helpful to have the ability to offer content syndication so people can publish your public material on their sites, thus bringing in more traffic.
- RSS Feed Syndication is helpful as you can selectively pull in news feeds of interest to your members.
- It is helpful to have the ability for several people to manage your site as it grows.
- It is beneficial to have the ability to list your members-only pages in the search engines, in such a way that the content is not divulged, but that the visitor is enticed to join your site.
Create a new membership site or expand your existing one
Some women in business own a successful website already, and they want to create a membership area on their current website.
This may or may not be possible; you will need to check with your web host.
There are advantages and disadvantages to hosting membership websites on your existing site.
The advantage is that you probably already have some traffic and so you'll have visibility for your membership site.
The disadvantage is that your current site may not be compatible with many of the functions needed for a membership site.
Tips from experienced membership site owners
We did several weeks of research into the process of creating a membership site.
One of the pieces of advice we received from experienced membership site owners, is to make sure that you choose a reliable “backbone” for your membership site that can grow as your site grows.
Some membership website owners became victims of their success!
Their sites grew and exceeded their software and hosting capacity, or their websites were not fully automated, so they ended up needing to move their sites over to a new service!
This cost them big time both in lost profits from the members who dropped off in the transition and in the hours and hours invested in moving the entire site over.
There is a significant learning curve involved in creating a successful and profitable membership site.
You may find it helpful to educate yourself on this while you're still building your membership site so that the critical decisions you make will point you towards success and profitability.