The steps to making your own membership website

12 Feb 2019

Making a membership website can be quite hard. Not per se technical, even though that is definitely not always easy, but there is a lot of thought that goes into making a great membership website. So here is the rundown version of How to Make a Membership.

What is a membership website?

Officially a membership is something you pay a monthly fee for and then you have access to something that gets updated, or added to, every month. You might have a coaching membership for instance where you pay a monthly fee and learn something new about the coaching topic each month.

But lately membership is also used for website where you will find multiple courses that are free or that you can buy and as you start that course you can see the progress of your course and the teacher can see who is doing what, who is active, etc.

This means it is a great way to get people attracted to you and make sure they keep hanging around. You can give them something for free first and as they learn more and want more they can see all the different options that you offer in exchange for money.

How to make your own membership

So what would you have to do to make your own membership? There are 7 steps:

  1. Think of what you have to offer
  2. Write out several topics you could talk about
  3. Decide whether you want a true membership website with a monthly fee or several courses they can buy separately.
  4. Choose one small topic or smaller version of a topic as your free content
  5. Make the content for the free one and either 1 month’s content or 1 course
  6. Build the membership
  7. Launch!

Think of what you have to offer

What is it you can teach others? It could be mindset, productivity, systems, social media, .. It could be offered to entrepreneurs but not all memberships are for entrepreneurs. How about teaching about making beautiful photo albums to crafters (yes, I actually have a client that teaches that!!) or teaching busy mums how to Marie Kondo your house.

Write out several topics you could talk about

To be able to have enough content for the membership it is good to realise how much you know about this topic. If this is something you truly know a lot about you should be able to come up with several topics to talk about.

However, that does not mean it might come naturally to you. I see loads of clients that have so much knowledge but struggle to organise it and teach it to others. If you get stuck, try using a mindmap to write everything you know and structuring it. Or let me help you.

Decide what kind of membership

Would you rather have a true membership where people pay a monthly fee and get a monthly chunk of content? Or do you want to have courses on there? Or maybe you want each month to be it’s own course? And so people can buy courses separately or be a member…

Deciding what kind of membership you want to run depends on whether the topic is a one-off thing with a head and a tail, like setting up a specific system for instance, or something that ever evolving like social media. But it also totally depends on your preferences. Some people don’t like having the obligation of adding new information every month but have no problem pushing out a bigger course every now and then.

Really take the time to think about this one because they both have big consequences on your time.

Choose one small topic for free content

So people need to see what you offer, what you can do, what the membership looks like, who you are, before they start buying (in general). Having the chance to have ‘a taste’ of that really helps with getting clients and customers through the door and becoming paying members.

This means that having a free course, workbook, video series can help give people the confidence that you are someone they want to give money to, someone they can trust.

If you have a membership site, you can put your free content on there so they get to see the free content AND get familiar with your site AND get familiar with your paid offerings.

Make content

Once you’ve done all the thinking it’s high time to act. You can’t launch a membership that has nothing on there. It’s time to make the first content and get it ready to add to the membership site.

There is an extra advantage by making your first pieces of content. It helps you decide what you actually need to be able to do in the membership website. What features you need to have to be able to give the best experience for your customers. You might need private videos, progress bars, an easy way to add lessons or restructure something later on… By actually making the content this becomes a lot clearer. And that will help you with this next step.

Build the membership

Another obvious one: you need to BUILD something. You can decide whether you want to add a membership to your website or have a stand-alone platform.

Want to go the website route? I have used an WordPress Plugin called LifterLMS for that and I LOVE it. And even more importantly: my clients LOVE it. It is easy to use, especially once setup, and it makes it all very clear what you are doing. Because it is your own website you can customise it any way you want: branding, what to (not) show, what it looks like…

Want a platform? There are a ton! They all have a lot of the same features but work a bit differently and have different pricing. One I love is MemberVault. I haven’t built with this myself but I am in quite a few vaults as a member and it works great from the clients perspective. And I know it was easy for them to set up. An added benefit here is that there is an affiliate centre within the product so you can have people share they products easily and they might earn something for it. There are others like Thinkific and Podio but I feel like they have less options and are quite expensive. But definitely check a few and come up with what works best for you, your content and your clients!

Launch!

Built it and they will come…

Nope, unfortunately it does not work that way!

You will need to launch your membership and promote it. A LOT! Please do this in a non-spammy way but do not forget to launch and promote your awesome new membership site and the courses that are on there!

Are you thinking about building a membership? Digitalie would love to help you structure and build your membership!

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