If you are a WordPress web developer looking for a way to monetize your skills and knowledge, creating a membership website might be a great option for you.
A membership website is a site that offers premium content, features, or access to a community for a fee. You can use it to share your expertise, build your reputation, and generate recurring income.
However, running a membership website is not as easy as it sounds. You need to plan your site structure, choose the right plugins, set up payment gateways, create membership levels, restrict access to content, and more.
You also need to attract and retain your members, provide value, and handle support issues.
To help you succeed in this endeavor, here are 7 tips from a professional WordPress web developer who has created and managed several successful membership websites.
The first step is to decide what kind of membership website you want to create and who your target audience is. You need to find a niche that has enough demand, but not too much competition. You also need to choose a membership model that suits your goals and your audience’s needs.
There are different types of membership models, such as:
- Content-based: You offer access to exclusive content, such as articles, videos, podcasts, ebooks, etc.
- Community-based: You offer access to a private forum, group chat, or social network where members can interact with each other and with you.
- Service-based: You offer access to a service or tool that helps your members achieve their goals, such as coaching, consulting, software, etc.
- Product-based: You offer access to physical or digital products that your members can download or receive by mail, such as books, courses, merchandise, etc.
You can also combine different models or offer different tiers of membership with different benefits.
The next step is to choose a WordPress membership plugin that will help you create and manage your membership website. A good plugin should allow you to:
- Create unlimited membership levels with different prices and permissions
- Accept payments from multiple gateways and currencies
- Restrict access to content based on membership level
- Manage your members and their subscriptions
- Send email notifications and reminders
- Generate reports and analytics
- Integrate with other plugins and services
Some of the most popular WordPress membership plugins are:
- MemberPress: A powerful and easy-to-use plugin that offers all the features you need for a membership website.
- Restrict Content Pro: A flexible and lightweight plugin that lets you create unlimited subscription levels and restrict any content on your site.
- Paid Memberships Pro: A robust and customizable plugin that supports multiple payment gateways and integrates with many third-party services.
- WooCommerce Memberships: An extension for WooCommerce that allows you to sell memberships as products and restrict access to content based on purchase history.
The most important factor for the success of your membership website is the quality and quantity of your content. You need to create content that provides value to your members, solves their problems, answers their questions, and entertains them.
You also need to create content that engages your members, encourages them to participate, and builds trust and loyalty.
Some of the best practices for creating valuable and engaging content are:
- Be consistent: Publish new content regularly and stick to a schedule that your members can expect.
- Be diverse: Use different formats and mediums for your content, such as text, images, audio, video, etc.
- Be interactive: Invite feedback from your members, ask questions, run polls or surveys, create quizzes or challenges, etc.
- Be personal: Share your stories, experiences, opinions, tips, etc. and show your personality.
Another crucial factor for the success of your membership website is the pricing strategy. You need to set up a pricing structure that is fair for both you and your members.
You need to consider the value of your content, the size of your audience, the demand for your niche, the competition in the market, and your expenses.
Some of the common pricing strategies for membership websites are:
- Flat rate: You charge a fixed amount per month or year for access to all or most of your content.
- Tiered: You offer different levels of membership with different prices and benefits.
- Pay-per-post: You charge a fee for each piece of content or category of content that your members want to access.
- Hybrid: You combine different pricing strategies, such as offering a free trial, a freemium plan, a one-time payment, etc.
You can also experiment with different pricing options and test which one works best for your site.
Once you have created your membership website, you need to promote it and attract new members. You need to use different marketing channels and strategies to reach your target audience and convince them to join your site.
You also need to track and measure the effectiveness of your marketing efforts and optimize them accordingly.
Some of the most effective ways to promote your membership website are:
- SEO: Optimize your site for search engines and rank for relevant keywords that your potential members are searching for.
- Content marketing: Create and distribute valuable content that showcases your expertise, builds authority, and drives traffic to your site.
- Social media: Use social media platforms to connect with your audience, share your content, and grow your following.
- Email marketing: Build an email list of subscribers and send them newsletters, updates, offers, etc. that entice them to join your site.
- Referral marketing: Encourage your existing members to invite their friends and contacts to join your site and reward them with incentives, such as discounts, freebies, etc.
The last tip is to analyze your membership website’s performance and identify its strengths and weaknesses.
You need to use different tools and metrics to measure how well your site is doing in terms of traffic, conversions, revenue, engagement, satisfaction, etc. You also need to use the data and insights you gather to make informed decisions and improve your site.
Some of the tools and metrics you can use to analyze your membership website performance are:
- Google Analytics: A free tool that tracks and reports various aspects of your website traffic, such as visitors, sessions, bounce rate, time on site, etc.
- MemberPress Reports: A feature of MemberPress that generates reports on various aspects of your membership website, such as subscriptions, transactions, revenue, churn rate, etc.
- Member Feedback: A method of collecting feedback from your members through surveys, reviews, testimonials, ratings, etc.