Your Experience with paid Membership sites/Forums

43 replies
Warriors

I am exploring the idea of creating a membership site...to contain all my stock market, forex, and options trading education and trade alerts. (these are homestudy courses, movies, ebooks etc)

I would like to hear from those of you who have built a membership site..and if you could tell us all about how you got started..and how things are working out

I have a massive amount of content...to add to a site...so content is not really a problem.....it is more the nuts and bolts of the idea

Thanks
Mark.
#experience #membership #paid #sites or forums
  • Profile picture of the author NicheExposed
    I am working on a membership site for my mentor program. The hardest part that I found was choosing the right membership software. Currently I am using an open source remake of the Butterfly Marketing Script. I have been looking for the perfact script but can't find one. Guess i just too picky.

    I installed a copy of amember on another domain and am playing with that now as well. I think that it will be cool to run a membership site and am anxious to see what hapens.

    I am also going to be doing a membership site in the same niche you are doing. The difference is mine pertains to options. This is for a client of mine.

    But all in all I think of a membership site as a great way to keep people together nd have a very easy way to communicate with them.

    Good luck. And have fun.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mike McAleer
    Membership sites seem to be a great way to make money. I heard that Ryan Deiss does a lot of these.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mark Alexander
    I forgot to ask what seems to be a ball park monthly charge

    At the moment...I make some money from my clients who subscribe to my free option trade alerts...(I make a slight mark up on the brokerage)...I then block trade their accounts with my broker (I am a licensed adviser)...

    I see that stock market and Forex courses sell anywhere from $49...right up to $10K....

    It is a hard question to answer.....but let's suppose by signing up to my site...you could make $300 a month from the stock market.....would $69 per month...be too much (or not enough)...

    Also has any body given access for say $1.......for a trial period

    Mark.
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  • Profile picture of the author NicheExposed
    Depending on the content that you provide. What the person does with it is on them. If you write an ezine or newsletter and allow people to download it is one thing. If you offer good content and you can keep members then you got the right price. My site is going from $97 one time fee to $197.00 an $97.00 a month.

    If isn't the price it is the members. If the members see value then you have a site. If members don't see the value then you don't have a site. Play with pricing.
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  • Profile picture of the author Tim_Carter
    Membership sites rock!
    Recurring income rocks!

    I make most of my income from membership sites. Some of my members have been paying me monthly for four years.

    Not tough to do at all. You can use Wordpress to do it all.
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    • Profile picture of the author Kysersoze
      Originally Posted by Tim_Carter View Post

      Membership sites rock!
      Recurring income rocks!

      I make most of my income from membership sites. Some of my members have been paying me monthly for four years.

      Not tough to do at all. You can use Wordpress to do it all.
      That's pretty vague, he asks for some guidance on how to get started. Nice of you to tell us that it rocks and you can do it with Wordpress but his question is more about how you can get started. It interests me as well, don't need a step by step course cause I'm sure you are a busy man but a few informative resources would have been nice.

      Sheila thanks for providing the plugin, looks like a good starting point for a beginner.
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      • Profile picture of the author Jason Fladlien
        Our main goal with WP Member Champ was for anybody who needed a "plain old" membership site to be able to set one up in 2 minutes or less... without ever having to log into paypal to create your paypal button.

        If you're someone who needs drip content, multi-level, the ability to tie it to a merchant account, etc. this is not for you. However, most people who are doing either their first membership site OR just need a simple membership site, then I would say WP Member Champ is perfect for you.

        I like to call it the "southwest airlines" or the "mcdonalds" of membership site plugins. You don't go to mcdonalds to get a file mignon. You go to get FAST food. That's what WP Member Champ is - fast, simple, no learning curve.

        It only currently integrates automatic email list building with aweber and aweber white labels. However, you can leave the aweber list name blank and then put your own optin form on your page to build your list with another autoresponder.

        We do have plans in the future to add other autoresponders to it though.

        Also, WP memberchamp now has download protection (simliar to dl guard) and even free membership option.
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        • Profile picture of the author Kysersoze
          Originally Posted by Jason Fladlien View Post

          Our main goal with WP Member Champ was for anybody who needed a "plain old" membership site to be able to set one up in 2 minutes or less... without ever having to log into paypal to create your paypal button.

          If you're someone who needs drip content, multi-level, the ability to tie it to a merchant account, etc. this is not for you. However, most people who are doing either their first membership site OR just need a simple membership site, then I would say WP Member Champ is perfect for you.

          I like to call it the "southwest airlines" or the "mcdonalds" of membership site plugins. You don't go to mcdonalds to get a file mignon. You go to get FAST food. That's what WP Member Champ is - fast, simple, no learning curve.

          It only currently integrates automatic email list building with aweber and aweber white labels. However, you can leave the aweber list name blank and then put your own optin form on your page to build your list with another autoresponder.

          We do have plans in the future to add other autoresponders to it though.

          Also, WP memberchamp now has download protection (simliar to dl guard) and even free membership option.
          When Sheila above suggested this it looked good and the only draw back for me was that it seemed you can only use Aweber. You have provided another option to get around that which is great. It would be nice if you guys included other autoresponders, hopefully your plans for that will be completed soon.

          It looks like a great plugin!
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      • Profile picture of the author Tim_Carter
        Originally Posted by Kysersoze View Post

        That's pretty vague, he asks for some guidance on how to get started. Nice of you to tell us that it rocks and you can do it with Wordpress but his question is more about how you can get started. It interests me as well, don't need a step by step course cause I'm sure you are a busy man but a few informative resources would have been nice.

        Sheila thanks for providing the plugin, looks like a good starting point for a beginner.
        Okay -

        - Get a domain and hosting
        - install Wordpress
        - Install S2member
        - Set up parameters
        - Add Content
        - collect money

        - Rinse and repeat.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mark Alexander
    Guys can any one please give me some some examples of how they started and what they do?....I am mainly looking for ideas on how much time you spend..what you do day to day etc.....I don't need to know what niche..you are in

    Just want to make sure I approach this with my eyes open

    Thanks
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    • Profile picture of the author Rich Struck
      Originally Posted by Mark Alexander View Post

      Guys can any one please give me some some examples of how they started and what they do?....I am mainly looking for ideas on how much time you spend..what you do day to day etc.....I don't need to know what niche..you are in

      Just want to make sure I approach this with my eyes open

      Thanks
      It really depends. Each site is different. In some cases, a few updates here and there are fine. At other sites, you need to really be in touch with your customers and you have to be ready for some hand holding in addition to constantly updating the site.

      In my experience, the big thing you need to know is that the real money is in recurring revenue and the way to maximize that is to 1) have a lot of updates and 2) be accessible to your customers. Your mileage may vary.

      Fact is, once you start a membership site, you'll never look back and you'll kick yourself that you waited so long to do it.

      By the way, lots of people will tell you that it is too hard, that there is too much competition, that you would be better off being an affiliate... lol... it is all hogwash.
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      • Profile picture of the author Sheila Atwood
        I am in the middle of building a membership site. I am using a new WordPress Plugin by Wilson Mattos and Jason Fladlien. It is one of the slickest things I have ever seen.

        WP Member Champ | Best Membership Site Plugin

        I have joined several membershipsites. I like a flat fee with a goal at the end. For example a membership site that teaches me exactly how to build up my email marketing. With the end goal being a fully functioning Email set up with new subscribers joining daily.
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        • Profile picture of the author Dr Dan
          Originally Posted by Sheila Atwood View Post

          I am in the middle of building a membership site. I am using a new WordPress Plugin by Wilson Mattos and Jason Fladlien. It is one of the slickest things I have ever seen.

          WP Member Champ | Best Membership Site Plugin

          I have joined several membershipsites. I like a flat fee with a goal at the end. For example a membership site that teaches me exactly how to build up my email marketing. With the end goal being a fully functioning Email set up with new subscribers joining daily.
          I am thinking of buying this one only because it looks simple as heck to set up and use. All the others seem to have a steep learning curve.

          Can you change the button images with this? or do you have to stick with the images they provide for the buy now and subscribe buttons?
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          • Profile picture of the author nsmith555
            Yes the images can be changed to something you like better.

            The unprotected page and partial page features look very nice.

            Hope to use this myself soon I grabbed it on the webinar earlier this week.

            Nick
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            • Profile picture of the author Dr Dan
              Originally Posted by nsmith555 View Post

              Yes the images can be changed to something you like better.

              The unprotected page and partial page features look very nice.

              Hope to use this myself soon I grabbed it on the webinar earlier this week.

              Nick
              Thanks and I ended up going with wishlist through the special offer that Robert Plank had with membercube. But now I am thinking I should have just went with Jason's wp member champ. I just dont feel like setting up a freaking drip content because it is actually really annoying to me, when becoming a member and have the content drip in. It is really confusing as a user having to look for what is new content and whats old.

              Also if they have comments open then you read old comments thinking that they just dont answer the comments because they are like 4 months old because it is dripping content that was created 4 months ago.

              I am going to just switch to the wp member champ and make my life easier!
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        • Profile picture of the author Kysersoze
          Originally Posted by Sheila Atwood View Post

          I am in the middle of building a membership site. I am using a new WordPress Plugin by Wilson Mattos and Jason Fladlien. It is one of the slickest things I have ever seen.

          WP Member Champ | Best Membership Site Plugin

          I have joined several membershipsites. I like a flat fee with a goal at the end. For example a membership site that teaches me exactly how to build up my email marketing. With the end goal being a fully functioning Email set up with new subscribers joining daily.
          Sheila that is pretty sweet and slick indeed. Wish that it worked with more than just Aweber but definitely a good solution.
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  • Profile picture of the author Tim_Carter
    WP Member champ doesn't do much for you from what I see. S2Member is free, has four paid and one free level and does lots more stuff.

    WP member champ looks like it was taken from the free ARE-Paypal plugin and slightly modified.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mark Alexander
    Thanks Rich, Tim and shelia

    Yes I have been told how hard it is...I am looking at doing it purely for recurring income..so i guess as long as my updates are good..and regular things should progress along nicely

    The next question is price...ideas anyone???
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  • Profile picture of the author LondonPaladin
    The main advantage of a membership site is the recurring income. IF you have X members then you know you have a certain amount of money coming in. That part is really nice. If you are just doing flat fee products your income is always 100% based on how many sales you bring in each month. More peaks and valleys. You should always have a membership backend to your product.

    Buy this book and get a free month in my membership site with private forum etc. Give more value and higher access to you in exchange for monthly $$.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mark Alexander
    Tim, do you use S2 member for your sites?...does it have an automatic email list sign up like member champ?
    Mark
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  • Profile picture of the author Dean Jackson
    I HIGHLY recommend Digital Access Pass.

    I was looking into membership site scripts a while back and came to the conclusion that it's hand down the best investment you will ever make.

    I researched almost all of them in depth (wishlist, the free alternatives like S2, magic members etc etc etc) and DAP has the most features and security... not only that but the creator is VERY responsive and will help out if you need it.

    The only downside is that you will have to have a little bit of tech "know how" and spend a week or 2 getting familiar with all it's features and options. But it's EXTREMELY well worth it.

    If you can operate wordpress and read a manual, you should have no problems at all.

    - Dean
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  • Profile picture of the author Matt Poc
    Here is how to create a membership site FAST and EASY:

    1. Get an aweber account

    2. Create your content and put that to your follow up

    3. Set up a thank you page with a web form. As you probably know, as soon as someone opt ins they get follow up messages.

    4. Don't worrry about protecting your stuff

    5. Put it on Clickbank

    6. If someone cancels membership, just remove them from your list

    7. Collect profits and send me a testimonial (and checks as well... lol)

    Check out some Lee McIntyre's training on continuity - he is a master of that!

    Cheers,
    Matt Poc
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    • Profile picture of the author Tim_Carter
      That quickly becomes difficult to manage. They likely use a different email in autoresponder than in PayPal.

      A good reason to use a script is to have all that automated. Scripts like S2Member are free and do much more for you. And it is easy to set up. Lots of stuff to set variables in menus at first, but you set it once and thats it.

      Originally Posted by Matt Poc View Post

      Here is how to create a membership site FAST and EASY:

      1. Get an aweber account

      2. Create your content and put that to your follow up

      3. Set up a thank you page with a web form. As you probably know, as soon as someone opt ins they get follow up messages.

      4. Don't worrry about protecting your stuff

      5. Put it on Clickbank

      6. If someone cancels membership, just remove them from your list

      7. Collect profits and send me a testimonial (and checks as well... lol)

      Check out some Lee McIntyre's training on continuity - he is a master of that!

      Cheers,
      Matt Poc
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  • Profile picture of the author noangel
    Hey Mark,

    I'm across the ditch from you :-)

    I am also in the process of putting up a member site for forex traders.
    I have been trading for over a decade and this site will focus only on forex.

    I'm happy to work together with you and exchange ideas, progress, etc.

    Angela
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  • Profile picture of the author tigerwar
    Can anyone suggest the better of the following: "Profit Themes" and "WPmemberchamp"...

    I can't see the wood for the trees, the advantages/disadvantages between the two as certain points are either missing or non-existence in the video introductions. E.g. I can't see if "PT" automates Paypal as "WMC" claims to do.

    Is there a noticable advantage of either one?

    Thanks
    TW
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    • Profile picture of the author darrenscrawford
      Originally Posted by tigerwar View Post

      Can anyone suggest the better of the following: "Profit Themes" and "WPmemberchamp"...

      I can't see the wood for the trees, the advantages/disadvantages between the two as certain points are either missing or non-existence in the video introductions. E.g. I can't see if "PT" automates Paypal as "WMC" claims to do.

      Is there a noticable advantage of either one?

      Thanks
      TW
      I've not used Profit Themes, but as far as I can tell it is just a theme for WP like OptimizePress (which I do use). Being that it is a theme, I don't think it has any plugin functionality.

      So you would install WP, add the theme (PT or OP) and then install the WPMemberChamp plugin to manage the members area & paypal/aweber integration. I'm using OP with WMC right now and loving it. Very simple. I use the membership templates to make it look good, then WMC to control the content and payments.
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      • Profile picture of the author tigerwar
        Originally Posted by darrenscrawford View Post

        I've not used Profit Themes, but as far as I can tell it is just a theme for WP like OptimizePress (which I do use). Being that it is a theme, I don't think it has any plugin functionality.

        So you would install WP, add the theme (PT or OP) and then install the WPMemberChamp plugin to manage the members area & paypal/aweber integration. I'm using OP with WMC right now and loving it. Very simple. I use the membership templates to make it look good, then WMC to control the content and payments.
        Thanks Darren,

        no wonder I was I was confused
        With that in mind, I'll go through the videos again and see if the paypal integration is worth the extra cost, as far as I know PT has a maual integration only and that can be a pain in the B... having to set the payments up everytime.

        Thanks anyway for clearing that for me

        TW
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      • Profile picture of the author Kevin AKA Hubcap
        Originally Posted by darrenscrawford View Post

        I've not used Profit Themes, but as far as I can tell it is just a theme for WP like OptimizePress (which I do use). Being that it is a theme, I don't think it has any plugin functionality.

        So you would install WP, add the theme (PT or OP) and then install the WPMemberChamp plugin to manage the members area & paypal/aweber integration. I'm using OP with WMC right now and loving it. Very simple. I use the membership templates to make it look good, then WMC to control the content and payments.
        Actually ProfitsTheme has the ability to protect and drip feed content without additional scripts. I'm sure a dedicated script would be both more versatile and powerful but depending on your needs PT just might do the trick.
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        • Profile picture of the author tigerwar
          Originally Posted by Kevin AKA Hubcap View Post

          Actually ProfitsTheme has the ability to protect and drip feed content without additional scripts. I'm sure a dedicated script would be both more versatile and powerful but depending on your needs PT just might do the trick.
          Hi Kevin,

          when you say dedicated, do you mean WMC together with a normal theme or how did you mean that please?

          TW
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          • Profile picture of the author Kevin AKA Hubcap
            Originally Posted by tigerwar View Post

            Hi Kevin,

            when you say dedicated, do you mean WMC together with a normal theme or how did you mean that please?

            TW
            No.

            I mean ProfitsTheme provides you with basic membership functionality straight out of the box. It can protect and drip content without using third party scripts such as WMC, Digital Access Pass, MemberWing, S2 Member etc.

            These third party scripts can be used in conjunction with ProfitsTheme and will have more functionality than what's available organically (if you need additional features).

            Also, I'd suggest you take a look at SiteManPro. I don't have WMC but from what I can tell from the sales page SiteManPro does everything that WMC does (actually much more) and costs $50 for unlimited domains. Additionally if you plan on having multiple membership sites SMP allows you to administer them all from one central location.
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            • Profile picture of the author tigerwar
              Thanks Kevin,

              I'll check that out, your help was much appreciated

              TW

              Originally Posted by Kevin AKA Hubcap View Post

              No.

              I mean ProfitsTheme provides you with basic membership functionality straight out of the box. It can protect and drip content without using third party scripts such as WMC, Digital Access Pass, MemberWing, S2 Member etc.

              These third party scripts can be used in conjunction with ProfitsTheme and will have more functionality than what's available organically (if you need additional features).

              Also, I'd suggest you take a look at SiteManPro. I don't have WMC but from what I can tell from the sales page SiteManPro does everything that WMC does (actually much more) and costs $50 for unlimited domains. Additionally if you plan on having multiple membership sites SMP allows you to administer them all from one central location.
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  • Profile picture of the author Apolo
    GO FOR IT, The only you can find out what's not working is finding out what's not working..
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    • Profile picture of the author tigerwar
      Originally Posted by Apolo View Post

      GO FOR IT, The only you can find out what's not working is finding out what's not working..
      That's very true Apollo,

      But some people don't have the time to try 10 different scripts out!

      TW
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  • Profile picture of the author misterkailo
    I did an okay job about 2 years ago with a game related niche. I charged people $1 per month, and it was over 1500 people who were paid members. It wasn't something that I live off but hey.. money is money.
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    • Profile picture of the author BoDarville
      Originally Posted by misterkailo View Post

      I did an okay job about 2 years ago with a game related niche. I charged people $1 per month, and it was over 1500 people who were paid members. It wasn't something that I live off but hey.. money is money.
      ... and you gave it up, sold it, moved on, let it sit there collecting money, became to busy, was too time consuming, your wife hated it, kids complained ... ?
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  • Profile picture of the author TimKerber
    Mark,

    The best advice I can give is don't try and reinvent the wheel the first time around. Look at other "models of success". Sites that are successfully doing similar to what you intend to do.

    You can then find out what software they are using as well as study how they marketing and positioning their site.

    Some of our most successful clients are stock market related. Some are making multiple 6 figures a month but they are a bit more "hands on" then what I think you have in mind. By having daily looks at the market and very active forums, they are charging hundreds per month. That may be more work than you are aiming for, but it definitely can be profitable.

    In your case having those resources and some alerts would suit well in the $47 to $97 a month range... as long as your value to your membership was clear. People will gladly pay you $97 if it is clear that they are profiting above that amount.

    You are smart to be investigating your options as far as software. Make sure that you look at what other sites look and feel like (even from the member perspective as well). That way you know you will be comfortable with the setup.


    Tim Kerber
    http://www.membershipsiteowner.com
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  • Profile picture of the author Gary Ning Lo
    Check nano continuity course..

    The $5 dollar subscription works great for me..

    More than 50% of subscribers are still here 6 months after go live.

    Cheers,

    ~Gary
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  • Profile picture of the author GregSilva
    I have heard good things about Optimize Press:

    Optimize Press | Pro Internet Marketing Tools

    I will probably be using that when I launch my first membership site. Good luck.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ansar Pasha
    Banned
    Membership sites sound great - but in my experience (I've set up 2), the hardest part is keeping your members. Don't just decide that membership sites sound "cool" because of recurring income.

    You need to have a clear roadmap of exactly what you're offering, in what order, and why.

    IMO, it's far simpler to have a set number of months for a member to get through - then have an additional course once it's over. You also need to keep your members thirsty for the next edition to get them to stay.

    Ansar
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