Have you ever surfed the net looking for data about a particular subject and landing at a page that holds the information you want, but you can’t have access to it because you do not have membership with that site?
These are called membership websites, sites that require interested users to pay a fee (in the form of a one-time or renewable membership/subscription fee) to access information they seek from the password-protected site.
These sites often contain exclusive articles, information or service on subjects ranging from general to special interests. It’s just like subscribing to a favourite sports, entertainment or trade magazine, only it’s online.
The good news is there’s money to be made in creating your own membership websites, whether you do it full-time or part-time. And you need not have highbrow, technical subject matters to gain a following. It can be a hobby, a profession, a business interest that you share with thousands of web surfers, or even exclusive insider news about your favorite Hollywood celebrities.
What’s in It for You
Here’s what you stand to gain from creating your own membership website:
- Once you’ve put in some hard work to sell your site at the initial stage, you’re sure to get paid over and over again as more and more people begin to access your site.
- You only need a few customers paying a membership or access fee to earn without sweat every month.
- Once your site is running, you can outsource improvements that need to be done on the site.
- You need not be a guru on the particular subject matter. You can just access other experts or authorities as web links to update your content. What’s more, if your site becomes popular enough, these experts and authorities can even pay for having their own sites included in your list of links.
Your challenge is to find that one subject matter that’s worth developing into a website with exclusive content.
Running your own membership site can be lots of fun and worth your while. However, before you decide to take the plunge, planning how to set it up and manage the info and eventual traffic of subscribers will need some work.
How can I ensure that I live up to the legal contract that I will have with my customers especially when I ask for advance payments for the goods or services I provide? How do I sustain the enthusiasm of my customers while showcasing my product or service? How do I maintain my relationship with repeat customers at the least cost but with at utmost quality? How do I deliver multiple orders?
If these questions start swirling in your mind, do not fret. There are quite a few companies online who offer low-cost, easy-to-use software that will help you set-up your website and manage all the tasks involved.
What You Should Do First
Now that you’ve considered the pros and cons of creating your own membership website, it’s time you give the following points your undivided attention before formally getting your site up and running:
- Find out if there is a market for your website. The point is to know if the subject you have in mind is of any interest to a good number of people. Ask around or search the web to find out what interests people the most, and just how many membership websites are already devoted to it. If you can afford, get into one or two of these sites and find out its contents.
- What is your unique selling point? Once you’ve found out what interests people the most, determine what will make your site different from other membership sites. Is it the content of the site? Does having people sharing their own experiences set you apart? Is it simply providing a “real time” feedback mechanism? Are there special offers that your subscribers can avail of be it related or not to your subject matter (maybe discounts for services or products offered by a store or service-provider with whom you have a tie up with?).
- Locate your subscribers. In simplest terms, “how do I get my market to take notice?” It might be through search engine positioning i.e. “pay-per-click” (similar to “Cost-Per-Action” marketing or CPA), through online newsletters, maybe even through your own twitter or Facebook accounts. Sometimes, you need not look far to find your potential set of subscribers.
- Provide add-ons or other services. It’s part of creating your unique selling point. Add some other service or feature that the other sites don’t provide FOR FREE, if possible. Give them a reason to keep coming back apart from the content you offer.
Tips on Writing Your Website Content
When writing your web content, keep in mind that your readers may not have a long attention span as prolonged reading from computer monitors causes eye strain and sometimes severe headache. What’s more, your readers may not have the time to go through a litany of words as they’d like to get the gist of the information they need as soon as possible.
Thus, it will be both to your advantage and your subscribers’ “viewing pleasure” if you keep in mind the following pointers:
- Right on your first paragraph, determine the most important point or subject matter. Does your subject matter deal with Who? What? Where? When? How? What is it that you immediately want your reader to catch from the very beginning?
- Use CATCHY HEADLINES (aka short and sweet)
- Use short and crisp sentences, words or paragraphs much like those you read in the newspapers.
- Use only ONE IDEA per paragraph.
- Use specific words when you want to emphasize a point. Avoid such “general” terms as “great”, “huge”, etc. If you mean, for example, that you have 2,000 subscribers, say so. Do not say “we have a huge number of subscribers”.
- Use bullets to enumerate points you want highlighted rather than stating these all in a paragraph.
- Use BOLD or highlighted letters to emphasize as well key words.
Creating income from your own membership website can prove to be lucrative, especially if you have created an excellent site and word has spread virally about it. You can do more research to further explore this money-making online venture, and you’re sure to find a wealth of other information to help you get started with making money with your own membership website.
Are you making money with your own membership website? Be sure to share your comments, thoughts, ideas below…