Need help starting my Membership Site

24 replies
Hi Warriors,

I plan on starting a Membership Website this coming year and would like to get some advice.

I have two main questions to ask.

1. What are the most successful and popular membership websites you know of (it does not matter what industry or profession)? the reason for this question is because i want to get some ideas on how to design my Membership site.

2. What membership software do you recommend me to use to run my membership site? FYI i know nothing about building websites or programming and etc, whatever software is recommended I'll pass that on to my website designer/programmer to install/setup.

I plan on my Membership Site being very busy with lots of traffic. I plan on having 1000's of members as well as affiliates, I'm looking to create a Authority Niche Membership Website for my industry with both free and paid content. So I hope this little bit of info helps you answer my questions above.
#membership #site #starting
  • Profile picture of the author OnlineAddict
    No offence, but from reading your post, you have no experience to build a website with 5 members, let alone 1000's. Start small...learn and gain experience. Its not as easy as you think and you will only succeed with the right attitude. Its ok to have big plans, but go step by step.
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    • Profile picture of the author CyberAlchemist
      Thanks for your Advice.......

      The plan (End Goal) is to get to 1000's of members, but yes I plan on taking one step at a time.

      OnlineAddict, I'm not sure if you read my post entirely but I personally do not plan on building anything myself. I'm not a techie I'm a businessman, This is why the creation of my Membership Site will be built entirely by a professional.
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      • Profile picture of the author OnlineAddict
        Originally Posted by CyberAlchemist View Post

        OnlineAddict, I'm not sure if you read my post entirely but I personally do not plan on building anything myself. I'm not a techie I'm a businessman, This is why the creation of my Membership Site will be built entirely by a professional.
        Man, its not that easy. Its like if I said: "I have no idea about software or OS, but I'm going to create an OS bigger than windows with the help of a professional programmer". You don't even know what niche to work with or anything...seriously, take it step by step or you will lose 100% of your investment quicker than in forex. You know how many websites who are already set up, work perfect and have a great design, will you compete with? Millions...
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        • Profile picture of the author CyberAlchemist
          OnlineAddict, I know EXACTLY what type of Niche I plan on serving it's just that I'm not disclosing that info to the public right now. The Niche I plan on serving I know VERY well, I know for certain what I plan to offer within my membership site will be viewed as amazing and extremely unique.

          Remember I'm a Businessman so I know about doing my research before jumping into anything. So when I had asked other warriors to send me links of the most successful/popular membership sites they know of, it wasn't so I could get involved in those businesses it was I could get ideas for my website look and feel.

          And another thing, did you know the famous Steve Jobs knew nothing about coding but he built APPLE. Their are tons of other examples like this through out history.

          A person doesn't have to know how a car is built to drive a car.
          A pilot doesn't have to know how a plane is built to fly a plane
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          • Profile picture of the author CyberAlchemist
            Thanks for your Advice Cruella D......
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          • Profile picture of the author OnlineAddict
            Originally Posted by CyberAlchemist View Post

            OnlineAddict, I know EXACTLY what type of Niche I plan on serving it's just that I'm not disclosing that info to the public right now. The Niche I plan on serving I know VERY well, I know for certain what I plan to offer within my membership site will be viewed as amazing and extremely unique.

            Remember I'm a Businessman so I know about doing my research before jumping into anything. So when I had asked other warriors to send me links of the most successful/popular membership sites they know of, it wasn't so I could get involved in those businesses it was I could get ideas for my website look and feel.

            And another thing, did you know the famous Steve Jobs knew nothing about coding but he built APPLE. Their are tons of other examples like this through out history.

            A person doesn't have to know how a car is built to drive a car.
            A pilot doesn't have to know how a plane is built to fly a plane
            I never said its not possible and you can't do it. I just told you to be careful with investments until you research your niche further. But if you already did(didn't look like it from the first post), I wish you good luck on your journey!
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    • Profile picture of the author yakim1
      Originally Posted by OnlineAddict View Post

      No offence, but from reading your post, you have no experience to build a website with 5 members, let alone 1000's. Start small...learn and gain experience. Its not as easy as you think and you will only succeed with the right attitude. Its ok to have big plans, but go step by step.
      I respectfully disagree with you as it does not matter if your membership site has 1 member or a 1,000 members. The same amount of work will be necessary unless it involves some kind of one on one coaching.

      You can start a membership site with only 1 report. Then add additional content as promised.

      I don't think any of the software that is available today will help your affiliate program stand out from any other program.

      That is why I designed and got a Federal copyright on the membership software that I created. I can pay my affiliates, partners, brokers and affiliate managers instantly at the point of sale because it uses PayPal's adaptive API.

      The copyright protects my code because I developed a process that allows users of my software to use parallel payments that appear to the customer like chain payments.

      PayPal did not know how I was doing it and blocked all my Application IDs until I explained how it worked and that it complied to their TOS. Now users of my software can get their Application IDs approved in just 24 hours as long as their sales letter does not violate their terms of service.

      When you run your own affiliate program, the affiliates will want some kind of assurance that they will be paid as promised. Affiliates like affiliate programs that pay them instantly at the point of sale on every sale.

      Otherwise, it is much harder to get affiliates to use your program.

      I also disagree with Istvan, which is not very often, as you need to get educated on what you want to do as developers could sell you things you do not need to accomplish your goals. If a developer does not want your input then find another developer as they do not always know best and may even try to cut corners to make their job easier.

      I have had plenty of programmers try to tell me how to do things, which made it clear to me that they had no idea of what my target market wanted or had the knowledge to do.

      I hope this has been helpful,
      Steve Yakim
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  • Profile picture of the author Joan Altz
    For membership site plugins (if you will be using WordPress for your membership site): MemberSonic or Member Mouse. These have been the best for our clients. With MemberSonic, it's an easy setup and one time payment for the plugin. Member Mouse is very versatile and robust, but it's a monthly fee.

    For scaling up fast, I would recommend Member Mouse. Our clients who have large membership sites usually also have some complex requirements, and we use Member Mouse for those, in addition to some other premium Forms setup and customer service applications.

    For a straight html-based membership site, Digital Access Pass would be your best option, without a doubt.
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    • Profile picture of the author Jill Carpenter
      Originally Posted by CyberAlchemist View Post

      Thanks for your Advice.......

      The plan (End Goal) is to get to 1000's of members, but yes I plan on taking one step at a time.

      OnlineAddict, I'm not sure if you read my post entirely but I personally do not plan on building anything myself. I'm not a techie I'm a businessman, This is why the creation of my Membership Site will be built entirely by a professional.
      Yikes!

      So you are going to go on random suggestions here on this forum? (there are a bazillion software/membership site solutions).

      There is no "best" solution, only "best for you" solution. Also, if you are totally non techie I'm guessing you're going to have a full staff that will be managing the site for you?

      If I were you I'd spend some time familiarizing myself with the options of the different membership programs, and learning just a tad bit of that techie stuff - enough to be able to convey to your programmer what you want.

      I've heard there are some shady characters out there on the internet who will not only over charge you to do things you may not need done - but can also take your sites hostage
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  • Profile picture of the author Istvan Horvath
    I'm not a techie I'm a businessman, This is why the creation of my Membership Site will be built entirely by a professional.
    Then why don't you let the "professional" who knows the details of your planned site to decide what kind of software/script would fit the best for your business plans.
    What kind of businessman are you if you are not able to delegate and let the professionals to do their job... and instead you try to micromanage such issues as the best membership script.

    Ask your "pro" webmaster (dont' even need a designer or a developer) what is the industry standard for the type of the membership site you are planning. And let them do it!

    P.S. When I was doing website development jobs for clients I always fired the type of clients like yourself: my policy was "don't f***ng tell me HOW to do my job, just tell WHAT you want and I will tell you how are we going to achieve that goal". Which means tell your pro developer WHAT you want and let him figure out HOW to do it
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  • Profile picture of the author Cruella D
    Hey!

    1. Designs varies on what type of membership you are creating it varies if you are doing newspaper/magazine or online courses or non-profit or freebies. You should ask an designer if you have one give them list of your needs and they give you samples of it.

    2.I would suggest wordpress for membership website it is easy to use for people who are not developers and need to post/edit and have control.

    if you need any help let me know
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  • Profile picture of the author dsouravs
    I would suggest you do some basic research and info gathering in Google about membership sites and then hire someone from odesk or elance.

    s2Member® | A powerful (free) membership plugin for WordPress® is one good WP plugin.

    There are some also but I forgot their name.
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    I can convert your Non-Responsive website to Responsive website ... How sweet is that? :)

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    • Profile picture of the author CyberAlchemist
      Thanks for the post, I'll make sure to check this out....
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  • Profile picture of the author Sarevok
    This is going to sound absolutely crazy, and many of you will call me out on this one.

    I've been ranting and raving saying how successful Glenn Beck and Alex Jones are for the last few years.

    You know what? TheBlaze.com and InfoWars.com are two of the biggest, most successful membership websites that I know of, PERIOD.

    They have a ton of members (paid members), and they're such a cool demographic to deal with. Because they're easy to rile up. They are VERY passionate.
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    • Profile picture of the author CyberAlchemist
      Sarevok.......Thanks I will make sure to check out both of these websites.

      Yakim1.........Your the Man! I really agree with everything you said in your post, especially with your comments on Istvan.

      I just couldn't understand why Istvan didn't understand my reasoning for wanting to get a little bit of knowledge on the topic before communicating with my designer/programmer on what i want.
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      • Profile picture of the author Jill Carpenter
        Originally Posted by CyberAlchemist View Post

        Hi Warriors,

        I plan on starting a Membership Website this coming year and would like to get some advice.

        I have two main questions to ask.

        1. What are the most successful and popular membership websites you know of (it does not matter what industry or profession)? the reason for this question is because i want to get some ideas on how to design my Membership site.
        This "could" matter.

        The way you organize the site is going to depend somewhat on the niche. Is your niche web savvy? Do you need a forum attached? Will members be able to converse with each other privately? Will there be a lot of video tutorials and downloads?

        2. What membership software do you recommend me to use to run my membership site? FYI i know nothing about building websites or programming and etc, whatever software is recommended I'll pass that on to my website designer/programmer to install/setup.
        I honestly couldn't give you which ones would work best for you without more specifics on what types of materials you are planning to deliver, how much you want to be able to pop under the hood yourself, and your budget. There are solutions that are practically free, and ones that can cost a couple grand but have lots of bells and whistles (including back end affiliate tools built in).

        I've worked within several environments. I can tell you some are easier to navigate on the back end and some can be complicated if you are not familiar with the details of how they work.


        I plan on my Membership Site being very busy with lots of traffic. I plan on having 1000's of members as well as affiliates, I'm looking to create a Authority Niche Membership Website for my industry with both free and paid content. So I hope this little bit of info helps you answer my questions above.
        It's not enough from my personal perspective.

        Originally Posted by Istvan Horvath View Post

        Then why don't you let the "professional" who knows the details of your planned site to decide what kind of software/script would fit the best for your business plans.
        What kind of businessman are you if you are not able to delegate and let the professionals to do their job... and instead you try to micromanage such issues as the best membership script.

        Ask your "pro" webmaster (dont' even need a designer or a developer) what is the industry standard for the type of the membership site you are planning. And let them do it!
        Yep - if you truly want to just be the head guy and not get your hands dirty with any code what so ever and have no intention of doing so then your webmaster (technical foreman in this instance) should be competent enough to handle finding the right formula.

        Originally Posted by CyberAlchemist View Post

        OnlineAddict, I know EXACTLY what type of Niche I plan on serving it's just that I'm not disclosing that info to the public right now. The Niche I plan on serving I know VERY well, I know for certain what I plan to offer within my membership site will be viewed as amazing and extremely unique.
        So if you know them so well you should have a list of the best way they consume information, no?

        And another thing, did you know the famous Steve Jobs knew nothing about coding but he built APPLE. Their are tons of other examples like this through out history.

        A person doesn't have to know how a car is built to drive a car.
        A pilot doesn't have to know how a plane is built to fly a plane
        I don't know how a car is built, but I do have a clue about looking to see if it has gas, oil, and I know what jumper cables look like. Have never had to change the tire - but I do know where the spare one is.

        Originally Posted by yakim1 View Post


        I also disagree with Istvan, which is not very often, as you need to get educated on what you want to do as developers could sell you things you do not need to accomplish your goals. If a developer does not want your input then find another developer as they do not always know best and may even try to cut corners to make their job easier.

        I have had plenty of programmers try to tell me how to do things, which made it clear to me that they had no idea of what my target market wanted or had the knowledge to do.
        Yep - going to boil down to target market - but I don't think that was Istvan's point. OP has said he knows his niche and within this he should know enough about what his members expect of a site like this - enough for a trusted professional webmaster to find the right build.

        Originally Posted by CyberAlchemist View Post


        I just couldn't understand why Istvan didn't understand my reasoning for wanting to get a little bit of knowledge on the topic before communicating with my designer/programmer on what i want.
        I'm not Istvan, but I understand where he is coming from.
        It's not about what we suggest and not even totally what you want - it's about what your niche needs and what will make them feel most at home.

        So again, going to depend on budget, how much you want to poke under the hood, if you will have people running this whole thing for you, if you can completely trust the team you hire, and even the niche itself.
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        • Profile picture of the author Istvan Horvath
          Originally Posted by Jill Carpenter View Post

          I'm not Istvan, but I understand where he is coming from.
          Everybody knows he's coming from "Drakulaland"... and it is also understandable that you don't even want to be Istvan
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      • Profile picture of the author Istvan Horvath
        Originally Posted by CyberAlchemist View Post

        I just couldn't understand why Istvan didn't understand my reasoning for wanting to get a little bit of knowledge on the topic before communicating with my designer/programmer on what i want.
        Because you can rarely get meaningful and useful advice on forums like this where 99% of people are just parroting opinions they've heard from others (and you know what they say about opinions and a**holes...)

        Just look back in this thread: quite a number of people have never used anything else for building sites in their whole life than WordPress. (Not that they have any in-depth knowledge of WP, they just keep saying "use WP"... because they don't know any other script!)

        Make no mistakes: I am supposed to be the forum's go-to WP-guy and I'd be reluctant to suggest anything unless I know more details. (But I am aware that no sane businesspeople would ever disclose too much about a project in a public forum, so I don't ask anything about it!) I have seen quite a number of membership scripts - both based on WP and completely unrelated. Some "famous" ones I've found crappy and absolutely not user-friendly... so it will really depend on the specifics of your project which script would serve the best your goals.

        When you build a custom house do you really learn the builders' job before starting or you do with an architect and a project manager?:rolleyes:
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        • Profile picture of the author Jill Carpenter
          Originally Posted by Istvan Horvath View Post


          Just look back in this thread: quite a number of people have never used anything else for building sites in their whole life than WordPress. (Not that they have any in-depth knowledge of WP, they just keep saying "use WP"... because they don't know any other script!)
          Ha ha. And even if you go WP there's a long list within it of which membership plugins to consider.

          An example of something with more bells and whistles would be along the lines of memberspeed. But if you haven't tinkered with something along the lines of Joomla! first then you could be totally lost. And those too are perfectly good options.
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  • Profile picture of the author jazbo
    I personally always use DAP, because it has the flexibility to be everything you want it to be, rather than just a membership site.
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  • Profile picture of the author aduttonater
    Extract Master extreme is a great lead generation software that offers an affiliate compensation plan that you can be a part of. This is what a lot of people I know have started out with. On top of promoting training products etc.
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  • Profile picture of the author yakim1
    I'm sure people heavily involved in a niche know what they want. I believe the op is looking for a method to supply the solution for that want. If you don't learn about the various ways and methods of delivering the solution, how will one know what to tell the developer exactly what he wants.

    I'm a programmer and I hire programmers to do some of the heavy programming that I don't want to do. I have one programmer that has been working for me for over 7 years now.

    When I give this one programmer a project, he has learned exactly what I expect. and I rarely have to have him redo anything.

    Then I hire other programmers for short term projects and even though I'm very thorough and detailed in my instructions, you will be surprised at how many of them try to take short cuts and do things differently from what I want.

    I have the proper education that allows me to see things that were not done right or won't work and fit in to other parts of my software. I just don't believe in giving the developer total control over a project. So this is the part of Istvan's post that I disagree with...

    P.S. When I was doing website development jobs for clients I always fired the type of clients like yourself: my policy was "don't f***ng tell me HOW to do my job, just tell WHAT you want and I will tell you how are we going to achieve that goal". Which means tell your pro developer WHAT you want and let him figure out HOW to do it

    I hire pros all the time but don't dare give them total control over a project.

    Steve Yakim
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    • Profile picture of the author Jill Carpenter
      Originally Posted by yakim1 View Post

      If you don't learn about the various ways and methods of delivering the solution, how will one know what to tell the developer exactly what he wants.
      https://www.google.com/search?q=memb...ient=firefox-a

      He hee, some of those revert back to old threads on this forum.

      You go and start searching the platforms that are available, go and see some of their example sites, and determine if you can use one of those or if you need something custom made.
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      • Profile picture of the author affenpinscher
        I don't know what business you are in now but there are (I believe) two types of successful membership sites: 1) for the rabid hobbyist who can't enough info about their interest and 2) business to business sites which can charge high prices.

        I was once a buyer for a Fortune 500 company and my employer paid membership fees of hundreds of dollars for websites that provided current data on the cost and availability of various high demand, low supply metals. The law department also had several membership sites. Maritime law is a complex subject with a limited number of specialists. A website that provided current international case law charged four-figure monthly fee and had no trouble getting members.

        Good luck.
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