So, you are exploring the idea to launch a WordPress membership site but you don’t know what exactly to do. This article will help you to learn more about the available options and make up your mind.
Forums and Other Social Membership Sites
Forums and other sites where users come to socialize and exchange ideas are a good candidate for a membership site. As with any type of membership site, your chances for success are much higher, if you offer a lot of free content and in addition to it offer a paid membership with some tangible perks. In the case of forums and other social membership sites, these perks could be in the form of more power (i.e. only a paid user can moderate posts) or access to private areas (i.e. only a paid user can access the special offers subforum).
Digital marketplaces are another very popular type of membership sites. They aren’t harder to setup, as you might fear. However, depending on what functionalities you offer, you might need a payment module and a shopping cart in addition to the WordPress membership plugin. If you decide to make your digital marketplace more like an e-store, you will need ecommerce inventory because you will have to accept payments and process them. If you decide to keep it only a place where buyers and sellers negotiate, while the actual payments are done outside the site (i.e. the buyer sends the funds directly to the Paypal account of the seller), you can do without payment modules.
As for charging, if you process payments, you can charge a small percentage (i.e. 3-4, to no more than 10%) for your services. If you don’t process payments, the membership fee is your sole source of income but if you have calculated it wisely, it should suffice to cover your expenses and make you some profit.
E-learning, Coaching, and Counseling Types of Sites
E-learning, coaching, and counseling are very good niches for any type of site and membership sites aren’t an exception. What is more, if your content is really valuable, there will be many people who need it and they will be happy to pay a fee because they will regard this fee as an investment. However, unlike the other types of membership sites, this one needs a really strong personal brand (i.e. you must be perceived as a real authority in the field) to gain the trust of members. Because of this, it isn’t the easiest option but if you have already built some online reputation, you might consider giving it a try.
Digital Content Sites
Digital content sites are probably the most popular type of membership sites, or at least the first that comes to your mind. The premium content you offer could be articles, ebooks, images, audio, video, etc. For articles and ebooks, Private Label Rights and Master Resell Rights used to be very popular because with them your users received good content that with some modification could be used for article marketing. Since the Panda update, when article directories were slapped really bad, this model has lost its gloss but still isn’t completely out of the market.
When your goods are digital content, it is especially important to have a WordPress membership site plugin that offers various types of content protection (i.e. download protection), such as WishList Member or Digital Access Pass. However, no matter how hard you try to protect your content, you must take for granted that at least some of it will be pirated. Nevertheless, digital content sites are still a viable alternative.
If you can’t decide which type of WordPress membership site is best for you, don’t worry. Nobody says you must stick to only one type. You can combine 2 or more types of membership sites into one – i.e. a forum where there is a buy/sell section accessible only to paid users, or a coaching section for upgraded members, etc. If this combination is received well by your users, then you are on the right track and you just need to keep moving.
Ada is the Blogger Relations Manager at WinkPress, which is a web resource about leveraging WordPress, its themes, and plugins to create versatile and unusual websites. Visit the site to learn more about WordPress membership plugins.