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Donna Gunter
Internet Marketing Strategist & Online Business Coach
Orange, Texas
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9 Steps to Creating a Quick and Easy Membership Site

Membership sites come in all sizes, shapes, and offerings. Site owners use any number of software platforms to operate their sites. Here are 9 steps to help you create a quick and easy membership site:
Written Jan 19, 2012, read 1836 times since then.
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Membership sites come in all sizes, shapes, and offerings today.  Site owners use any number of software platforms to operate their sites, and the sites can be pretty simple to very complex.  I've been rethinking my membership site strategy lately, as I see many more options for membership sites than ever before.

For example, you can create as a membership site:

  1. Simple "one time payment" products for additional projection and to add new content or updates as you create them.
  2. A fixed term membership site delivered by autoresponder in which the member has to log into the membership site to retrieve the content.
  3. A 4-6 week training program in which each participant has a unique login ID and must login to access new content, forums, etc.
  4. A "free" membership to a content-rich site in which the member receives bonuses for creating an account.
  5. A traditional, ongoing membership site in which members receive new content each month

Here are 9 steps to help you create a quick and easy membership site:

  • Topic and Target Market. What problem will your membership site help solve?  What will be the focus of the site? What group of people will most benefit from your content?  More narrowly focused content works better than broader content, i.e. "Internet Marketing for Chiropractors" (focused) vs "Marketing for Small Business" (too broad).
  • Term of membership.  Will you offer a fixed-term membership for a limited amount of time (3 months, 6 months, 12 months)?  Or perhaps an ongoing membership that doesn't end?  Another option is to offer lifetime access to a membership site once someone has completed your training program and they are eligible to participate in any relaunches of the program and content updates that you provide.
  • Pricing. One of the newest membership models I've seen is Ryan Lee's Nanocontinuity model.  In this model, he offers a membership for about $5/month as a platform whereby he can move you on to his more expensive memberships.  Most memberships offer either a monthly recurring fee or a yearly fee.  Others will offer a certain number of payments (typically training programs) and then you get lifetime access to the content.
  • Content.  What will you give your members and how often?  Some options include new content weekly, training videos, live training or coaching calls, discussion forums, checklists and ebooks and articles... you're only limited by your imagination here.  Some membership sites sell Private Label Rights content (ebooks,articles, videos, graphics) to other business owners that can be modified and resold.
  • Web site platform.  How will you present your content?  On a blogsite using Wordpress, a static HTML traditional web site, on a traditional content management platforms like Moodle or Xoops, or using services specifically designed for membership sites, like Membergate?  The costs of each platform varies greatly, but by and large the easiest and least expensive of the options is a Wordpress membership site.
  • Membership site software and autoresponder platform.  Once you have decided on your platform, now you need to determine the software you'll use to run your site.  There are a number of premium (fee-based) options for Wordpress, including WP Memberchamp, Wishlist Member, and aMember.  Or, you could choose an open-source content management system like Moodle or Xoops.  A third option is to have a programmer build your site, but that will get VERY expensive very quickly.  Rather than having a membership site, you could use only an autoresponder service to deliver your content with simple a one-page sales page.
  • Member upsells.  Once someone becomes a member, do you have other products or services in which they might be interested?  For example, a common upsell for a fixed term membership site is to offer email or 1:1 coaching on the topic for an additional fee.  Or, your may only briefly cover a topic in your training program, but can offer the member more details in a second training program you offer.
  • Site upsells.  If you're using a membership site where your members login regularly, don't forget to "always be selling."  Are there affiliate products or programs that relate to the topic of the membership site which you can recommend to your current members?  Marketing expert Maria Gudelis frequently creates short-term and low-cost "challenges" as membership sites but makes the bulk of her revenue from affiliate products she recommends during her training calls.
  • Next level of membership.  What happens after your customer has gone through your membership site?  Is there an intermediate level of training you can offer?  Once you have developed a "beginner's" level of membership, begin to think about the Intermediate and Advanced levels so that you have something else to offer your customer.

Creating a membership site can be quick, easy, and profitable. Take some time to determine how membership sites fit into your overall business plan. Before you know it, you may have more membership sites than you ever thought you would!

Learn more about the author, Donna Gunter.

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