“Membership site” is one of those terms?that gets thrown around a lot in the small business web?community. It may seem like everyone either has a membership site or needs one. If you’re not sure what all the fuss is about membership sites,?we’ve got the answers for you.
1. What is a membership site?
The answer is surprisingly simple. A membership site is just?a protected website, or an area on a website, that is accessible to members only.
Usually, the point of?restricting access to members only is so that you can control access to?content on your website. This allows you to charge for access to your content or, perhaps, to simply require some data from visitors in exchange for access. For example, you might require people to log in and pay ?in order to?take an educational course, or you might just ask for their email address in exchange for access to an informational PDF.
2. Who uses?membership sites?
Membership sites are often used by coaches, speakers, experts, and other businesses that need to deliver content while keeping it away from the general public. Whether it?s offering paid memberships or free content, there is a wide array of uses for membership sites.
3. Should I have a membership site?
This might surprise you, but the answer is probably yes.?Without one, you could be leaving money on the table. While there’s certainly something to be said for providing a level of free information on a site (such as maintaining a blog to build credibility), you might want to think twice about giving away all your knowledge and materials away for free.
As an example, we created a membership site for coaches Jennifer Barley and Karen Sullivan.?Jennifer and Karen deliver multiple?online courses simultaneously,?and they used to do it without a membership site.
Here?s how Jennifer describes it in her own words:
I was really looking for a solution to my seemingly complex situation. I had seven different programs running, and I needed to share the files with various participants in multiple programs. Keeping track of multiple files, audios, videos, documents, and over 100 participants was overwhelming and really pushing our organizational limits.
The solution to their problem was immediately clear: they needed a membership site to automate all of this for them.?Well Created designed the site to allow members 24/7 access to their course material.?After each weekly session, all the recordings, slides and supporting documents are now available on the site for their members to read, watch and download.
The new system?saves Jen and Karen countless?hours and provides them a platform that can easily scale from hundreds to thousands of students with very little work.?According to Jen,
Our Kickstart site is up and running, and our clients love it.
4. How can I create a basic members area?
The easiest way to create a members only area is to password protect pages on your website. This is easily done from the WP page panel.
When you edit your page or post, look for the Visibility Edit link in the Publish section.
Click to edit, change settings to Password Protected, type in a password and click OK to save changes.
Next time visitors land on this page they’ll be asked to type in a password in order to view the page.
5. How do I create a member site?
Depending on the level of complexity and your technical abilities, you may want to?create your own member site, or you may want to contact a web company like ourselves for help.
If you have a WordPress website, there are several membership plugins that will allow you to build your own membership site:
- S2Member (free)
- Paid Membership Pro?(free)
- MemberPress (paid)
- Wishlist Member (paid)
- MemberMouse (paid)
- iMember360 (paid) Works with Infusionsoft.
We will cover some more advanced techniques in future articles.?In the meantime, if you have any questions please use the comment area below or send us an email.