Are Membership Sites Easy?

by Phil Jacobson 29 replies
If I have a niche and some valuable information to provide, and I'm willing to work hard

how easily can I overcome the technical stuff and get a site going?

Phil
#main internet marketing discussion forum #easy #membership #sites
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  • Profile picture of the author Sirius Lin
    With the amount of out-of-box membership softwares on the market these days, Phil, it's pretty much a point-and-click install. Just upload the files, create the MySQL database (if required), input your administrator details and voila - your site is ready.

    ~ Sirius
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    • Profile picture of the author Phil Jacobson
      Thanks. I needed to hear it from a real person. I haven't been to any sites yet, but i know that they will just say that in a real hyped up way.


      I might go do my proper research now. I'm sure I can find a few threads in here that go into the kind of detail I am looking for.

      Any recommended places to study about it?

      Phil
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      • Profile picture of the author Sirius Lin
        Most people will point you to softwares like Amember.com and EasyMemberPro.com - they are quite accessible for someone without much of a technical background (like myself).

        Also, do check out the WSO forums - we have a few membership software creators selling their softwares at great prices every now and then. Functionality varies from software to software, of course, but I'm sure someone can chime in and point out their preferred membership software of choice.

        As for me, I'm using JVManager.com - powerful stuff, but a bit of a learning curve there. Not to mention, the price is probably not something a newbie wants to fork over immediately. But I'm sticking with it anyway, if just out of habit!

        ~ Sirius
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      • Profile picture of the author Johnny Slater
        Originally Posted by Phil Jacobson View Post

        Thanks. I needed to hear it from a real person. I haven't been to any sites yet, but i know that they will just say that in a real hyped up way.


        I might go do my proper research now. I'm sure I can find a few threads in here that go into the kind of detail I am looking for.

        Any recommended places to study about it?

        Phil
        Here you go Phil.. straight from a membership script programmer with no hype.

        First, before you even consider looking at what solutions are available look at your own needs and figure out exactly what features you want your site to provide. Looking at the various scripts available can be very overwhelming if you have no idea what you are looking for in the first place.

        Second, once you have your list of features and options you want your site to provide then search out only those scripts which can handle your needs. By only looking at solutions which fully support your needs you will cut the confusion down quite a bit.

        Every solution has its good and bad points and no one solution is right for everyone. By finding the solutions which fit your needs then deciding amoung those solutions based on reputation, stability, support, and price you will find the right tool for you job and will not purchase something you do not need and will not use.
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        • Profile picture of the author jeffmull
          you might want to check out http://membershipsiteowner.com (not an affiliate link).

          Jeff Mulligan
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          • Profile picture of the author Jason Fladlien
            Sometimes it's best to go simple. some of the best membership sites are just via email. Others are a password protected blog. I would evaluate simple options first before running out and finding some whiz bang software.

            -Jason
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            Co-creator of WP Twin. Perhaps the most expensive yet most reliable wordress cloning tool on the market. We've definitely been used more successfully than all other options :)

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            • Profile picture of the author Andrew Wilson
              Over the past few months I have bought and tried several different scripts and I learnt the following:

              1) Very carefully design the site in concept form before even looking at software. Know how you want your users to be able to interact with the site, how you wish to monetise it and how YOU want to interact with the site.

              2) I'd actually buy a couple of cheap scripts and make a sandbox site or two, learn how the concepts work, get a feel for what is necessary for you and perhaps modify your plans.

              3)You will probably find the cheap scripts do not do what you want but you now know, to a greater extent, what you need. Now do the real buying. Look for a script that works to your specs. Probably nothing will be an exact match but having done the homework you will be better able to judge what is essential and what is just a desired attribute and also be better able to modify your own idea of your site structure to suit an almost perfect script.

              4) Check that the script you buy actually works. Talk to other users and quiz the vendor. Look for comments and posts in forums such as Warriors. Try to find reviews that are more than sales pages disguised.
              Sadly there are many scripts that simply do not work, or work as advertised.

              This may sound like a long process and others may tell you to get going right away - ready, aim, fire but this is a business and mistakes made at the procurement stage will haunt you as long as you run the business.

              In my case, after going through the process I ended up with EasyMember Pro. It ain't perfect but what it does works and it does not have too much of an identifiable visual image. For sure though it will not suit all kinds of sites.
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              • Profile picture of the author Phil Jacobson
                Thanks so much for the replies. Nice to see Jeff Mulligan here!
                A membership site is my secondary goal after making a profit through aff marketing.
                I've read all the posts here carefully and will take the advice!

                Thanks again.

                Phil
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                Why Drink Coffee only?

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                • Profile picture of the author Andyhenry
                  Hi Phil,

                  I'm with Jason on this - check out free options.

                  I've tested most of the membership systems available including:

                  Amember
                  visiongate
                  membergate
                  EMP

                  and many more.

                  Sometimes all you need is an autoresponder and a password protected folder on your server and you're good to go.

                  One thing many IMers don't realise (and make assumptions about that stop them taking action) is:

                  Your system only needs what's required to be able to deliver (or over-deliver) on the expectations you give your customers.

                  What I mean is that if you tell them they're going to get a new report each month - you don't 'need' a forum or anything other than a place for them to go and collect the new content.

                  People often think "membership sites - oh, they're complicated and time-consuming. I can't go there" when in fact what you need to have and deliver are based purely on what you've led your customers/members to expect. and YOU set that expectation so it can be whatever you know you can provide. As little or as much, as simple or as complicated as YOU decide.

                  Andy
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                  nothing to see here.

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                  • Profile picture of the author Ken Strong
                    Check this out from the Rhodes Bros on this subject:

                    A Totally Free, Ridiculously Simple Business Model. (No Strings Attached.)

                    (not aff. link)
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                    • Profile picture of the author Phil Jacobson
                      Originally Posted by KenStrong View Post

                      Check this out from the Rhodes Bros on this subject:

                      A Totally Free, Ridiculously Simple Business Model. (No Strings Attached.)

                      (not aff. link)
                      Thank you thankyou and thank you. That was real cool!!
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                      Why Drink Coffee only?

                      www.GreenTea-Japan.com
                      (Warrior Discounts)

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                      • Profile picture of the author Mr BOLD
                        Great advice Andy, it took me while to realize that its not so much for the membership script but what you deliver or over-deliver.
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                        • Profile picture of the author Josh Anderson
                          I created a system for our publisher network that makes creating a membership site a snap.

                          It literally takes 15 minutes to set up a membership site and the great thing is that I do not have to install a single script, I can create one for any website I want, and I can create as many membership sites as I want on the fly.

                          Adding it to a site is as simple as pasting a couple lines of code.

                          Having something this simple yet with more features than most complicated membership scripts out there has been a real blessing.

                          One of the guys I mentor was on the phone with me and I told him to create a free membership site to provide to people who were going to attend a presentation he was giving at a trade show... he had never used my system before and two hours later he called me back and already had his membership site up and running.

                          Warrior Scott Lundergan had never run a membership site before and set one up in a snap and did 5 figures with it right off the bat.

                          I don't know jack about installing scripts and I have never personally created a database in my life... yet yesterday I set up another membership site and generated $5k in sales from it in the last 24 hours.
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                        • Profile picture of the author Scott Lundergan
                          With what Josh was just saying.. (dude, since when did you decide to post the same time I do...lol)

                          Membership sites are VERY easy to create.

                          To this day, I don't know how to install one on my server or even know what cgi install means and I have multiple membership sites and products that are all integrated with Aweber, Authorize/Powerpay Merchant Processing and Paypal IPN...all with a complete affiliate tracking system that works without a hitch.

                          I use Josh Anderson's Nanacast to run my entire e-commerce product and membership sites and I seriously cannot think of a better all-in one solution with all the features that are integrated in the system.

                          Of course the coolest part is seeing all your sales and transactions in one place with specific search functions

                          Scott
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                          • Profile picture of the author Tuzic
                            Banned
                            Hi,

                            i would also look at how you would be marketing a membership site, free or paid? or both? as its quite good to start off with free memberships this draws a lot of traffic.
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                            • Profile picture of the author freudianslip27
                              To build on what Tuzic said, starting out with a "free" site, even if you just let a few members in, could help you get a handle of things before rolling out the paid site. It would stink to run into some bumps with the paid site and lose potential members because of scripting and setup issues. There's a lot to think about when setting up something like this, depending on what all you'll be providing to your members.

                              Matt
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                              • Profile picture of the author Phil Jacobson
                                Well, the question I put forth has been answered in my mind. Membership sites don't have to be difficult and are certainly not as difficult as they appear to be.

                                I particularly liked the link posted by Ken Strong above.

                                Phil
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                                Why Drink Coffee only?

                                www.GreenTea-Japan.com
                                (Warrior Discounts)

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                                • Profile picture of the author johnmiley
                                  Great information. Thanks. I have been structuring an outline for a membership site, but wasn't sure about the fine details. I'll check out the suggested options.
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                                  • Profile picture of the author ttippmann
                                    I am just getting ready to load up amember to give it a try to see if it has what I need
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                                    • Profile picture of the author leesoes
                                      It is easy as there are lots of membership script available now. I'm considering delavo or RAP. Hope it helps..
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                                      • Profile picture of the author Alminc
                                        Your membership site's technical aspect can be as simple or as
                                        complicated as you make it.

                                        There are dozens of different membership site scripts and I tested
                                        many of them, including even Member Speed, but I always recomend
                                        aMember Pro. It's simple enough, 100% secure, bug-free, and the
                                        price is really low considering what you get.
                                        When you use aMember Pro, running a membership site is very simple.
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                                        No links :)
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                  • Profile picture of the author Phil Jacobson
                    Originally Posted by Andyhenry View Post

                    Hi Phil,

                    I'm with Jason on this - check out free options.


                    Sometimes all you need is an autoresponder and a password protected folder on your server and you're good to go.

                    One thing many IMers don't realise (and make assumptions about that stop them taking action) is:

                    Your system only needs what's required to be able to deliver (or over-deliver) on the expectations you give your customers.

                    People often think "membership sites - oh, they're complicated and time-consuming. I can't go there" when in fact what you need to have and deliver are based purely on what you've led your customers/members to expect. and YOU set that expectation so it can be whatever you know you can provide. As little or as much, as simple or as complicated as YOU decide.

                    Andy
                    That is damn good advice and I'll take note. I certainly thought that way.....

                    deliver or overdeliver.

                    Got it.

                    Phil
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                    Why Drink Coffee only?

                    www.GreenTea-Japan.com
                    (Warrior Discounts)

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                  • Profile picture of the author Ron Hitson
                    Andy,


                    good stuff as usual. I'm glad I saw your post. I have plans to launch 3 in 2010. I pretty much have everything ironed out but your post really simplified the way I looked at mem. sites.




                    Ron







                    Originally Posted by Andyhenry View Post

                    Hi Phil,

                    I'm with Jason on this - check out free options.

                    I've tested most of the membership systems available including:

                    Amember
                    visiongate
                    membergate
                    EMP

                    and many more.

                    Sometimes all you need is an autoresponder and a password protected folder on your server and you're good to go.

                    One thing many IMers don't realise (and make assumptions about that stop them taking action) is:

                    Your system only needs what's required to be able to deliver (or over-deliver) on the expectations you give your customers.

                    What I mean is that if you tell them they're going to get a new report each month - you don't 'need' a forum or anything other than a place for them to go and collect the new content.

                    People often think "membership sites - oh, they're complicated and time-consuming. I can't go there" when in fact what you need to have and deliver are based purely on what you've led your customers/members to expect. and YOU set that expectation so it can be whatever you know you can provide. As little or as much, as simple or as complicated as YOU decide.

                    Andy
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                    "Perseverance is a great element of success. If you only knock long enough and loud enough at the gate, you are sure to wake up somebody"
                    -Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
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        • Profile picture of the author DebbyMettler
          Hi. What membership software would you recommend for a person that doesn't have great computer skills?

          Thanks, Debby
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  • Profile picture of the author WD Mino
    Hmmmm.

    What you guys are talking about is not a membership site. I mean to run it through paypal and use the AR requires no site no setup and no know how.

    If your going to put an actual site together then there is a ton of work involved and that needs to be considered.

    Of course we do have now have a thread all about membership sites but here is what I instruct before beginning any membersite

    The first thing to consider when wanting to start a membership site is -what is my site going to do for people?

    The second thing is how is it going to deliver to them.monthly,1 time,yearly.

    The third thing is what do you expect your members to achieve by joining your site.are you offering training in a specific area that will help them. are you offering plr/mrr content for them to download, or are you having an article creation course product creation etc..

    The fourth thing is who does it target .experienced marketers.newbies. advanced users.

    The fifth where does it fit with competitiveness.do you have the ability to stand alone or would you profit from recirpocal promotions with other membersites offering content that compliments your own. are you able to drive enough traffic to get the site seen for the other person if you chose to go that way?

    The 6th thing what are you going to do for your members they already know what they are doing for you -making you cash. what can you give them that they can't get elsewhere or that they would have to pay big for?

    The 7th thing How are you going to provide new content for your members next year.are you going to create your own products and release them only to members. are you going to write your own content or are you hoping others will have freebies you can add via giveaways other membersites etc. very important if offering a recurring bill .


    The average stay time is 3-6 months depending on the quality and pricing of the site what are you going to do to continually get members added are you going to offer an affiliate program .are you going to advertise in mainstream venues i e newspapers commercial whatever. or are you going to post and baclink your site in various venues such as forums article directories etc.

    The 8th thing you need to consider is how will i handle customer service. will i .put up a support desk. use direct email. use a contact form. use a blog. customer service is utmost importance in any membersite you consider starting you have to be willing to listen and implement things for them to keep them happy or your site will not last.

    The 9th thing are you going to be splitting the membership up. are you going to offer different levels for instance or are you going to use just one membership level. this has to be considered from both ends

    pro: split memberships can bring in more cash quicker.
    con if you offer a content based site some will upgrade download and cancel

    pro split membership at a fixed member level creates urgency and scarcity therefor making the customer understand they are missing something huge by not upgrading or purchasing immediately. i limit my elite members to 100 only that creates a sense of status. urgency and makes them consider if i don't do it now i may not be able to until next year . this is very very powerful when offering content based sites because the higher level recieves more content then the lower the higher receive bonuses higher commission or whatever you offer where as the lower does not receive said things.

    The other part of this is are you going to use this site to build your list to then market to if so how will you seperate them from the sign up form for paid members. i do not offer this many do i do not however if your list needs to be built for a different purpose then i would suggest using the free option that is a very quick way and if you offer a little bit of content each month will make it sticky.

    finally the tenth thing is simple. how are you going to market this site where are you going to advertise to get it in front of as many people as you can if partnering what can you offer them they can't get elsewhere if articles what are you going to write about that pertains to your own site that would cause them to check it out. and what makes you different from me or any other site. i offer something NO ONE does so i set myself apart. membersites are a dime a dozen now people are catching on. you need to have a site that kicks but and overdeliver on your promises to the members. i advise installing a forum not a third party system one where you have full access . maybe a chat room people by nature are social creatures so give them something they naturally are attracted to for proof your reading this in a public forum.

    these are things i had to go through before developing any membersite and i believe it is solid advice i will be teaching this as part of my elite course to help my members get set up with their own membersite.

    i don't use complicated software for wp i use memberwing it is enough for html site i used memberease very simple to use and handles cb and pp as well as provides a free option

    The best way to make a living online is with a membersite once you have proven your site you will then have member evangelists who will spread the word because they are so impressed or unimpressed the reality is people talk this site and every other forum proves that. some more then others.

    this concludes my lesson on how to begin with a membership site and the things needed to consider before creating it. make a list
    systemize strategize then monetize

    -wd
    p.s. don't follow my method of writing your own sales letter unless your good at it i am not but am determined to be so i can then show others how to do it . just the way i am . pays off in the long run but the process sucks.

    HTH
    _WD
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      • Profile picture of the author DebbyMettler
        I've looked at several membership software scripts and still not sure If I can manage putting it all together on my own. I am wanting a membership site on a WP platform.

        I didn't see any replys here for Wishlist Member. Has anyone used this one? I was told it is a little difficult to use.

        I was also looking at Extreme Member which is not a membership script but supposedly one that is set-up for you using a WP platform. Not sure if it is easy to use or not.

        Happy Holidays, Debby
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