— June 8, 2019
Bloggers around the world hope to make money with Google Adsense, affiliate marketing, and by asking for donations via platforms like Patreon. Believe it or not, there is an easier way to make money with your blog. Today we are talking about membership sites. Specifically, we are going to help you transition from a traditional blog to a members-only website.
There are thousands of entrepreneurs and big name companies like the Wall Street Journal who currently let consumers read their content for a fee. Many sites in this category allow potential customers to read a few articles for free; then they have to sign up with either a monthly or annual membership.
Here’s how you can make the switch from blog to a full-fledged membership site.
Discover and Explain Your Expertise
The first thing you need to know about turning your blog into an exclusive website is you need to establish your expertise. If you’re like many bloggers out there, you’re covering a wide range of topics that can fit into many different categories.
When a consumer decides to join a website, typically it’s because they see value in their subscription. If you figure out your expertise before the transition, you can start focusing your content on one particular niche in your industry. On your about page — which should be available to members and non-members alike — explain why your opinion is relevant and why consumers should care.
Your expertise is going to vary based on your education, personal experience, and work history around the niche you want to cover. If you’re going to sell a marketing program to consumers, you may want to mention that you have a masters in business technology and explain your work history on your about page. This information builds consumer confidence in your brand.
Consider Your Members-Only Benefits
Next, you have to figure out if there are any exclusive benefits you would like to offer your members, aside from great content. There are tons of ways you can list the benefits of subscribing. For instance, The Wall Street Journal lists the benefits you’ll get by signing up with their membership plan. Here’s how they explain the advantages of being a member on their website.
You’re going to want to tell consumers what features you include in their premium plan. It’s generally a good idea to offer behind the scenes content, access to forums if applicable, and exclusive discounts if you’re operating an eCommerce storefront within your blog.
If you’re unsure what kind of benefits your customers want, ask them! Customer surveys on your social media accounts and website can provide a wealth of information. If you have a list of ideas for features, list them all and let consumers check the benefits that they would like to see. You can then take that information and add the benefits that consumers desire, but none of the features they ignored.
Pick the Right Software
One of the most significant changes you’ll have to make during your transition is figuring out the type of software you want to use when establishing your membership site. You’re going to want to start by choosing a membership plugin for your website. These plugins allow you to mark content as exclusive so you can prevent non-members from reading your posts. These plugins also allow you to create payment portals so new customers can easily subscribe.
Next, you’re going to want to make sure that you add Google Analytics to your website. Google Analytics allow you to track information about your audience and gain valuable insight as to what kind of content your users want to see. You can use this information to build customer personas to develop relevant content to your customers.
Finally, you should invest in customer relationship management (CRM) software to help streamline the customer service experience for those who have difficulties signing up or questions. There is plenty of different CRM software to choose from, and they all offer unique bonuses depending on the needs of your business.
Membership based websites are taking the internet by storm. People are eager to share their expertise and offer valuable customer experience to those interested in consuming their content. If you’ve found yourself struggling to make money through ad placement or affiliate marketing, a membership website may help launch your site in the right direction. There are thousands of approaches to creating a members-only platform. These tips are designed to get you started and help you build an excellent website directly from your blog.