Why have a membership website?

Membership WebsitesThere are many reasons for a membership website:

  • Steady income
  • Online business
  • Evergreen content
  • Help more people – one to many relationship
  • Focused value to your customers
  • Your message has more reach and impact

Let’s take a look at each one of these points.

  1. Steady Income – this is all called recurring income. If you are a service based business you know what happens each month. You start over at zero for sales. It is like being on a gerbil wheel – run as fast as you can and start over each month. Adding a membership site can help to level out your income. It keeps your business from having really short months as far a s income goes. Providing value to your customers on a monthly basis can keep your business afloat during hard times.  My business suffered from this wheel of always starting over. Some months I barely survived and other months I thrived. Adding recurring revenue into my mix of offerings has allowed my business to grow as well as level out my income.
  2. Online Business – Are you someone who got laid off during COVID? Are you now working from home and not from an office? Looking to get a side-hustle going? All of these are reasons for an Online business. Membership websites are a great Online business solution. If you have knowledge that people will pay for (we all do) then it can be put into a membership site.  It might look like courses, classes, webinars, written, video – you name it. People will pay for your expertise.
  3. Evergreen Content – this is content that does not expire. It will be true today as well as 10 years from now. I made a mistake on my first membership website. It was a membership teaching WordPress and Social Media. These things change all the time – sometimes several times each month. Keeping the information current was impossible. It took all my time and was never finished. I do not recommend this path. Whatever you are teaching needs to not change often. Teach concepts and not “how to”.
  4. Help more people – Membership sites allow you to put your knowledge Online once and many people can use it. I put the effort into creating a course and I can sell that course over and over. The more people that buy it the happier I am! Things that involve groups are the same way. That might look like webinars or live Zoom sessions with a group of people.
  5. Focused value – membership sites allow you to focus your knowledge on a specific topic. Since they are Online your pool of people are no longer in your specific town or even country! Your value can now be sold anywhere in the world. You can focus on expanding your own knowledge while you share it with others. Membership sites also allow you to go way deeper into a subject than blog articles or podcasts. Your courses can have many levels of knowledge and can grow upon themselves.
  6. More reach and impact – Since you are not limited to your own circle of family, friends, and acquaintances; your knowledge can go a lot farther.  Membership sites allow you to have more than 1 level as well. you can provide some information for free, and the rest is paid – for example. People place a higher value on things they pay for. Your expertise needs to be valued and you will get more reach and impact naturally.

What is needed to create a Membership Website?

Here is a list of what will be needed:

  • Your expertise in something
  • Membership software
  • Hosting
  • Domain
  • Email program

Let’s take a look at each of these items.

  1. Your Expertise – you know what you are an expert in. How will that translate into an Online program? Options are written, video, audio, and graphics. come up with a plan for getting your knowledge into a method that can be share with other people.
  2. Membership software – this is a big one to get right form the beginning. If you already have a business and have a website, look into membership software that will go with what you already are using. For example, if your website is in WordPress, look at membership plugins that are supported by WordPress. If you can use what you already have and just expand upon it, this will be much easier. A few things to consider:
    • Membership software hosted on your account or somewhere else. There are many companies that provide an all-in-one solution. These are companies that you pay for monthly to participate in – like Thinkific. The thing to be aware of is who owns the content. If it is not on your hosting account you might now really own the content which could effect your future income. Also if you change your mind in the future these companies are not easy to move away from.
    • If you are not technically savvy then setting up your own membership software might be too challenging.  You might have to hire it out or go with an all-in-one solution.
    • Are you wanting courses that can be sold over and over, or a membership that is billed monthly or annually? What you are going to put into the membership needs to be figured out before deciding on software. They do not all work the same nor do they all offer the same features.
    • Are you wanting to build a community? Are you needing your members to upload items? Make sure the software you choose can do everything you are needing. Sometimes if you add something major in the future and the software you chose does not support that feature, you will need to change platforms. That is more than just moving your content. It also means moving the method of payment and all your members.
    • Does the platform accept your method of payment?
  3. Hosting – this is included if you choose to go with an all-in-one platform. If you choose a WordPress based platform you will need a hosting account. Do not use shared hosting from any provider. Membership websites tend to need more recourses and hosting is something you do not want to cheap out on. Your members will thank you if your site is fast and responsive. Expect to pay 40+ per month. Here is the hosting I use.
  4.  Domain name – this will be your URL. If you already have a website see if you can attach the membership software as a subdomain or part of your current domain name. If you cannot, or you do not yet have a website, then you will need to purchase a domain. Expect to pay around 20 per year.
  5. Email program – this is to keep in touch with your members. You can use a free program like MailChimp or a complicated program like InfusionSoft, or anything in between. Some membership software programs might come with their own email system for sending messages to your members.