Many companies and individuals try to monetize their websites. It’s a smart thing to do, provided you have site content that people are willing to see. You’ll have to be clever and entice people.
You might use affiliate marketing to get some money, or you could have podcasts, videos, or images behind a paywall. You might monetize email list access or publish sponsored posts.
However, in this article, we’ll talk about membership sites, a specific and enduring website monetization method. There are benefits to setting one up, but there are some notable challenges as well.
Which Content Management System Should You Use?
The first thing you’ll probably have to figure out is which content management system you should use. The two most obvious choices are:
If you want to set up a WordPress membership site, you will be in good company. Many companies go with WordPress since it’s reasonably intuitive and has many different themes and other customizations you can implement.
Wix is the other popular choice. Wix is user-friendly and free, which are both critical qualities for which you might look. It also has superior drag-and-drop site-building capabilities, and it’s a strong choice if you plan on building a small site that isn’t too complex.
Generally, site admins switch over from Wix to WordPress the larger and more detailed the site becomes. You should do a careful side-by-side comparison before you go with one or the other.
What Should Be on Your Membership Site?
Next up, you will need to think about your content. If you’re going to monetize, and you want people to pay for the privilege of site access:
- You want content that people will feel is worth money
- You need to have a steady content flow coming in
You’ll need to determine whether you should have a “free” site area. That might feature just a little of your content while the rest is behind a paywall. This is the content that should tantalize so the individual will pay for total site access.
Your content might be videos or images. It might be blogs or podcasts. Whatever it is, though, you want static content, but you’ll also need to keep producing and posting new material that will keep your subscribers interested.
It’s not enough to get them to pay one time for a limited viewing license. Ideally, you want them to hand over their credit card numbers so you can keep billing them automatically each month. They’ll only do that if they continue to feel that it’s worth it.
You’ll Need a Site Administrator
Once you have your site’s basic framework in place, you’ll also need a site admin. You might serve that function if you have the tech experience.
You will have to handle the new content posting and any customer complaints. You’ll also have to deal with the security features and any theme or plugins updates as new ones become available. You or someone else needs to do this because hackers can attack your site when you don’t keep the themes and plugins current.
You might hire someone to be your site admin. That costs money, but if your site is profitable enough, you probably will have no problems paying their salary.
You’ll Need to Think About Site Hosting
You’ll need to look into various site hosting options as well. You might opt for shared hosting, which costs very little in most cases but has certain limitations. You might get a virtual private server, or you could try dedicated server hosting or cloud hosting.
Each one has significant positives and negatives. For instance, a dedicated server is just for you, so it won’t compete with other sites. It’s going to be more expensive than some alternatives, though.
If you get a successful membership site going, you might think about hiring individuals who can produce content for you. This helps because it saves you the trouble of having to create and curate that content yourself.
It’s all about whether you can locate individuals who you feel can produce content that goes along with your overall ethos. You probably have a content standard that you want to meet, and not just everyone can create that for you.
No doubt running a membership site can bring you back a lot of money if you figure out something people want. This model can cause some headaches, but if you can navigate the pitfalls, it can certainly be well worth it.