If a previous post, I explained Why You Should Build a Membership Site. In this sequel, I will share with you few option for actually building your membership site.
You first need to build yourself a blog that will serve as the lynchpin of your whole business model. This website will most often be a WordPress site, which makes it very easy to build. First, buy yourself some hosting and a domain name that will work with your chosen brand or niche.
Then create a WordPress site on top of this. Assuming that your hosting package comes with CPanel (a control panel that comes bundled with most web space these days), then you can do this through a ‘one click install’.
The Best Membership Site Plugins
It’s then pretty easy to go ahead and make your membership site: you just need to choose the right plugin that will automatically allow you to start accepting payment and controlling who can and cannot see your page.
Many different plugins exist but some to consider include ‘WishList Member Plugin’ or ‘Memberful’.
It really is that easy and these should then allow you to decide precisely which pages will be off-limits to most people and the best plugins will also let you set up multi-level access and more.
Another great option is ‘MemberMouse’.
Compare the differences and see which option is the best for your specific type of membership site: how do you want to collect payment? Do you want to charge monthly or weekly? How much does each plugin cost?
Again, the best options are:
- MemberMouse (membermouse.com)
- Memberful (memberful.com)
- WishList Member (http://member.wishlistproducts.com)
You can also do this through a number of ecommerce platforms. For example, it’s possible to do it through Shopify (www.shopify.com) by using a plugin like Charge-Rabbit.
To be honest though, it’s easier, simpler and preferable to do it all through WordPress. Apart from anything else, this prevents you from having to send your visitor to some other website in order to enter their payment details!
Now create a sales page that will promote the benefits of your membership site and consider adding extra things here like an ebook, a video course or some other kind of incentive. Make sure to detail exactly what your membership offers and why your visitors should consider signing up and put it all here in a very persuasive way so that you can capture and convert as many people as possible through this one page.
In order to do this, you can use another Plugin called ‘Optimize Press’ (www.optimizepress.com). Optimize Press is a sales page creator that helps you to build highly optimized pages that convert visitors into customers. It also has a membership tool though, which allows you to build both aspects of your business model into a single solution. Volusion has a similar all-in-one option and can combine your mailing list with your membership site.
Depending on the plugin you use, there are various options for accepting payment. However, one of the most popular methods is to get paid via PayPal, so a useful thing to do is to sign up for PayPal so you have an account.
This works well because it’s a tool that most of your visitors will be familiar with, it’s secure and it handles all of the payment processing for you. What’s more, is that PayPal is something many users will already be signed up for. This means that they can choose to subscribe to your site without even having to enter any details – they just need their PayPal password.
This lets you do something very important, which is to overcome one of the key ‘barriers to sale’. A barrier to sale is anything that normally prevents people from clicking buy even though they actually want the product – in this case, it’s the worry that the payment might be unsecure and that they’ll have to input all their details again. If you use PayPal, it’s much easier to convince them to make an impulsive purchase and just enter their PayPal password.
An autoresponder is a tool that allows you to build a mailing list and then manage that mailing list automatically. It also allows you to send messages out to everyone on said list and to stagger those messages. This means that you can create an email course for example and then message each member each instalment of course with just the right amount of time between each lesson.
There are a lot of different autoresponders to choose from but some of the best known are MailChimp (www.mailchimp.com) Aweber (www.aweber.com) and GetResponse (www.getresponse.com). As mentioned, Volusion also can be used as a mailing list.
Creating Your Content
Before you do all this though, you first need to create the content that you’re going to charge for, or at least you need to know how you’re going to go about building it once you need to.
How you do this will depend on the type of content/service you are offering to your subscribers. So for example, if you’re creating an evergreen site or a course, you might want to book some time off and simply spend a couple of weeks creating all the content that you’re going to provide to your members.
If you do all of this in one go, then you will have your product ready to sell. This might also mean learning to use video editing software and investing in some good filming equipment if there will be a video element to your creations.
Likewise, if your site is going to include calculators, questionnaires or quizzes, then you may want to look into getting a piece of software that will allow you to do this – or perhaps even just learning the necessary coding skills. On plugin for example that will allow you to build questionnaires and calculators for example is ‘Calculated Fields Form’ which is a free plugin available through WordPress. Likewise, there are countless different plugins available for creating forums and community sites.