Not so long ago, people only turned to ads and affiliate revenue for making money through their websites. But those days are gone and now talented individuals who produce content of all sorts create a membership website where they earn money through premium features that only their paying members can access.
In theory, this sounds so simple. However, creating and running a membership website is not a walk in the park. It is true that this type of website can generate a hefty income but not many get to that point exactly because they make one rookie mistake – they build a bad membership website.
But have no fear. Below you will find a handpicked selection of tried-and-true tips for creating a membership website that will become a lucrative business venture and a useful place for all your users.
Building a Website
You don’t have to be a genius to guess that the first step is website creation. However, even though it is only the first step, it involves a lot of thinking.
First, a website needs a name. When choosing a domain name, you should bear in mind that it has to be memorable, short, and effective. The name of your website has to show the users what your website stands for.
Therefore, it is only reasonable to choose a name that immediately lets the users know what they can expect once they type the web address of your website in the search bar. If you find yourself having a hard time choosing a domain name, you might want to use a tool that will generate a domain name for your website.
Once you have that sorted out, you have to be extra careful with your website’s design. The primary goal here is to make users find the website visually appealing and easy to navigate. In other words, your website has to be well-structured, engaging, and provide a great user experience.
Last but not least, bear in mind that the tools you use to build a website play a very important role. Choosing free website themes and plugins is sometimes acceptable, as some rather useful tools come free of charge.
However, certain plugins and themes cost money but for a good reason. Remember that you cannot expect too much if you invest no money. Instead, try to find top-notch membership website plugins that will make your website a haven for your members.
Rock-solid Website Means Rock-solid Business
Your membership website has to be stable and reliable. Surely you don’t want your business to be offline every once in a while due to technical issues.
Therefore, you need to prioritize a few things when it comes to the creation and maintenance of your website.
You should review hosting plans carefully since the cheapest providers usually cram dozens of sites on a single server. Your best bet is to go with a dedicated hosting plan, where you will have one server (or more of them) just for your website.
Speaking of servers, if you expect your website to have a lot of visitors, you may want to use a load balancer. This tool will make sure that your website traffic is equally distributed to your servers, thus keeping your website fast and accessible at all times.
Make sure to always back up the database and file structure in case an unexpected website outage occurs. Just like with everything else in life – having a backup always comes in handy. If you are having difficulty in back up the database, let’s take a look at the best WordPress backups plugins.
You should test the speed of your WordPress website now and then just to make sure it is fast enough. Remember, most users expect a website to load in under three seconds, so having a slow website is not an option.
Finally, security is a major factor for every membership website. Keep your plugins and themes updated, use strong passwords, and add a good security plugin.
Coming up With a Membership Model
Since you are building a membership website, you have to come up with a membership model that works best for your business. This model determines the way users will pay to get premium content from your website. In other words, it is a payment system that will help you run a profitable business long-term.
You will find dozens of membership websites with all kinds of membership models. However, some of the most prominent and most efficient ones include the following:
- Premium content
Several websites offer free content to all visitors and premium content to members only. Members, in turn, have to pay to get the premium content regularly.
- Professional service
Your members need to pay the membership if they want to use your services.
- Product Bundle
This model is perfect if you plan to sell content such as online courses, ebooks, and similar items that can be downloaded from the internet
- Group Coaching
Members pay for participating in group coaching sessions. This model is easily scalable over time.
This model is usually supported through forums where a large group of members creates a community that shares a common goal.
Once you figure out your membership model, don’t forget to be reasonable about pricing. Also, listen to your members’ feedback and reward those who are contributing the most. For example, running a loyalty program is a great way to reward your users for being there and using your services or buying your products.
Creating great content
You cannot expect high website traffic without great content. In other words, it is essential that you create high-quality content for your members since the content is what makes them come back for more.
If you have difficulty coming up with the type of content you should offer, take a look at the list below:
If you are well-versed in writing, you should offer your audience articles and guides that will help them solve their daily problems. Always remember that your content needs to be engaging, true, useful, and well-written to attract new users and retain the old ones.
Video content is really popular nowadays thanks to various video platforms like YouTube. Therefore, publishing video content on your website will definitely not be a waste of time.
It is fair to say that webinars are among the most popular premium content. After all, you have probably recently received an invitation or two for a webinar of some kind.
Probably the oldest type of content you can offer is downloadable content such as ebooks, workbooks, and various other types of documents.
Every business has to build a good relationship with its customers. And there is no reason why membership websites should be any different.
As a matter of fact, membership websites revolve heavily around good communication and even better relationship with the members. Therefore, if you want to establish a great relationship, you have to respect your members and listen to them.
You should create surveys regularly, read members’ comments, as well as answer their emails. Paying attention to feedback and acting upon it can not only give you a chance to solve members’ issues but it also offers you an insight into how your members see your website. You can use that feedback to get new ideas that will serve as a firm ground for further improvement.
A membership website is not only a place where your members get what they came for but it also allows you to learn about your community and improve both their and your experience. Just remember to listen to and appreciate the feedback they give you.
If you aim for greatness, every detail matters. Do everything in your power to provide valuable content to your members and keep an eye out for potential issues. Besides, make sure that every visitor has a great experience on your website. User interface and user experience have to be top-notch if you want conversions.
In the end, always monitor important figures. Watch closely how your website performs in terms of speed, features, and traffic. Most of the time, you will know that you are doing a great job when you see those figures flying high.