How Can You Build a Successful and Profitable Membership Site?

Membership sites are an incredible way to make a lot of money online, and are a very popular product not only for online marketers, but also for their customers. People love joining a membership site, getting new information and products on a regular basis, and being part of a special, members-only community.

You can use this popularity of membership sites to your own advantage by setting up and maintaining a membership site. You may want to consider your membership site your main business, or you may choose to supplement your existing online business with a membership site.

Your first step in starting a membership site is to choose your topic area. The best strategy is to pick the narrowest niche possible, while still having a wide enough audience to thrive. There are currently membership sites on such narrow topics as cross-stitch patterns and starting a cleaning business, so don’t worry about being “too specialized.”

Research the membership sites already out there, and find a topic that is related to what people are offering, but different enough that you can attract people to your unique topic. Focus, above all, on providing information on a topic that people are thirsty for information about, and that does not already have a great membership site. Avoid going head to head with gurus; it almost never ends well.

Next, you’ll want to decide how you’re going to manage your membership site. There are several membership scripts on the market, ranging in price from free to hundreds of dollars. While a free script will probably not fill your needs in the long run, there are scripts you can try free and upgrade to a professional, paid product or subscription as your site grows.

When you select a membership script, make sure it works with the payment processor you’re planning to use, that it effectively blocks non-members from joining, and that it can scale to handle a large number of members as your business grows.

Once you’ve chosen a topic and selected a membership script, it is time to start preparing content for your membership site. You should be prepared to spend several weeks or even months preparing a “base” of content for your membership site, and also have several months’ worth of content ready to add to your site, before you open it up to members.

Preparing content for a membership site always takes more time than you expect, so it is important to get your information ready well in advance and be ready with more content than you think you’re going to need.
When you open your membership site to new members, you will need to promote it heavily. Advertising, including pay-per-click ads, ezine advertising, and joint ventures with list owners in your field, will help bring members to your site. If you have a good product and a strong sales letter, and you bring in quality traffic, you can expect your membership site to build into a strong money-maker over the first nine to twelve months.

While a membership site is not a get-rich-quick scheme, it is a solid money-making venture that you will enjoy running and that will build your reputation in your field.