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WordPress Website Design – How to Create a Membership Website (Part 1)

There are many ways to monetize a website, one of the best being a membership site. I like to think of this type of website as a library of content, or a sort of Supercenter for content, that allows you to charge for access to a variety of training materials related to your industry. I’ve set up literally dozens of membership websites over the past few years (including half a dozen for myself in addition to my work for clients).

The most common way to set up this type of site is to charge a monthly fee for access to the website. However, there are other programs out there that will let you in for a one-time fee. If you’re looking for a way to monetize your business in a really solid way, and if you want to kind of simplify, then creating a membership website is a great opportunity for you.

A membership website will save you time and energy

As entrepreneurs, our first impulse is to create more and more products, programs, and services for our clients. Within a few years though, you begin to feel like you’re all over the place, trying to market multiple offerings to a broad client base. It can become exhausting. The beauty of a membership website is that it allows you to market just that one site, freeing you to discover opportunities for other income streams within that website. This allows you to grow vertically, rather than horizontally (which leads to stretching yourself thin as you try to appeal to more and more related niches with more and more products, all of which have to be marketed separately – ugh).

How to structure your membership website

Now it’s time to begin making choices, based on what you believe will work best for you:

  • Recurring payment membership model: While it’s definitely nice to generate a monthly income flow (wouldn’t you say?), you need to realize that most monthly payment websites will retain subscribers for only 3-4 months. Whether you charge $20 or $100 per month will depend on how much content you’re offering, as well as the value of that content.

However, even with the greatest of intentions for joining your site, your members may lose their enthusiasm, become lost in your site or simply lose momentum and realize they haven’t even entered your website in a couple of months. This is when they stop paying you every month. Because of this tendency, you’re going to have to work really hard on member retention; that is, how to keep them coming back for more – and paying you every month.

This can be done in a number of ways that we’ll get into later.  But for now, realize that retaining members will become an area of heavy focus for you.

  • One-time payment membership model: This type of membership site, where clients pay a one-time, lifetime fee for access is great because you don’t have to work so hard on member retention. Whether you charge $100 or $1000, your members will pay you one time for lifetime access to your website. This is a great model because you don’t have to worry about your members dropping out after a few months. However, because you’re not receiving a recurring fee, you’ll have to work your buns off to get yourself out there and sign up new clients.

The best solution to this problem is to set up your website using the one-time, lifetime fee model with some kind of recurring monthly model tied into that.

A great way to do this is to include a Special Bonus to your members for the first year, say a live Q&A call every month, with a yearly renewal fee to continue receiving the bonus in subsequent years. This will allow them to retain their membership to your great content for life, but will require renewal for the Bonus Content.

In the next blog post on creating a membership website, I’ll go into content requirements for increasing value to your members and to justify the fee you charge.

Guess what?  I can help you build your very own Membership Website.  Like that idea? Get in touch with me today and apply for that 45-minute free strategy session. Then, I’ll get to work on your behalf, supporting you and keeping you motivated in every way I can!

So, what do you think?  What are your personal experiences with membership websites?

If you thought these tips were helpful, please help me share it on your favorite social network by using the share buttons below!

Like these tips? Comment below and let me know to “keep it comin’!”

Amber Vilhauer

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