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June 29, 2010

Setting Up A Membership Site

Starting and running a membership site can be a lot of fun and very fulfilling, however you need to know what’s involved in setting one up, and then managing it effectively.

There are several factors to consider when setting up a membership site. They include the following:

How do I go arouond to Plan, design and build a membership website?

What is the "theme" or niche I will choose?

What type of Membership? Free, Paid, Or Semi-Free?

How are you going to handle auto-responders, automated sign-ups, credit card processing, automated cancellations?

What software solution is better for it ?

What kind of Content Management System?

How am I going to market and promote it?

The 'free' Membership website option:

Starting with ‘free’ membership sites is a great way to build a list.

You can then sell this list as affiliate products, while at the same time, bring them to a higher level of membership with a price point that is relative to the content you offer and comparable to what the market will bear.

Theme of Your Membership Site

The ‘theme’ can be anything from a broad niche like health, to sub niches like ‘weight loss’ or ‘bodybuilding,’ all the way down to micro niches like ‘diabetic healthy eating.’

You may also choose from giving them simply personal rights (for their own use only), or resell rights or private label rights wherein they can sell the products to others.

Obviously, giving resell or private label rights would attract more members since they get to have instantly profitable products and keep all the earnings.

When deciding on the ‘theme,’ you want to make sure there is enough demand for information products related to your topic. Researching for quality materials you can give to your members is crucial to keep them coming back to your site.

You may either do it yourself, or you could outsource the task so you can focus on your marketing.

Setting Up A Membership Site Using A Content Management System

You can set up a membership site using a content management system like Drupal.

However, many people find Drupal difficult to learn. You can get from instant membership creator to Memberspeed, as there is no programming, coding or SEO involved with it; and many professionals consider it as an all-in-one e-commerce solution for membership sites.

You can use your content management system to 'store' and 'drip feed' content to your members.

The purpose of doing a 'drip feed' is to keep members from signing up, downloading all of your products, and then canceling their membership.

Using Autoresponders For Your Membership Site

Using an autoresponder is another way to run a membership site. With this set-up, you don’t need to install scripts or customize them. You simply deliver content to your members via their very own email boxes.

There are three types of autoresponders. The first is a ‘desktop installation’ that lives on your home computer. The second is a script that you install on your hosting server.

And the third is called a ‘third party’ autoresponder. They all have various benefits and drawbacks.

The advantage of the first and second type is that you only pay one time, and you get to use the autoresponder for life. But the risk you have to take is that the service providers can block you when spam complaints come up.

And the delivery rates are significantly lower compared to a 3rd party autoresponder, which has connections with many service providers.

With a 3rd party autoresponder, you will achieve better delivery rates, have a much better protection against spam complaints, and you don’t need to possess much technical skills because most of them feature an easy to use interface.

Many of them also have a built-in spam filter to let you know if your message is too spammy and liable to end up in a junk mail folder.

The downside is that you have to pay a monthly fee, but this is worth it considering the tremendous advantage it can bring to your business. The top 3rd party autoresponders are GetResponse and Aweber.

With a reliable autoresponder, you can start delivering content to your members. Some autoresponders are designed to integrate with other applications that will make your site more profitable for you.

These applications include affiliate managers like Clickbank and PaydotCom, Paypal and other merchant account processors; and content management systems like Joomla, Wordpress and Memberspeed.

Schedule For Content Delivery

The schedule for delivering products can be daily, weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. With a property integrated ‘drip feed’ system, or a well planned autoresponder, you can set your site to deliver the goods with little more than the initial effort required to set it up.

When you’re about to run out of content, you can simply create new ones and upload them. Then send out a broadcast message or add it to your email series, with the download link for the new products contained in your message.

Marketing Your Membership Site

Your target market will determine where you will place your advertising to bring new members to your membership site. Some popular places to recruit members are forums, answers sites like YahooAnswers, and social networking sites like Facebook.

When ‘marketing’ yourself in these types of places, keep it low key with a simple sig file with a link to a ‘free area’ of your site.

But of course, nothing beats the power of joint venturing with the top marketers in your field, as you can leverage from their mailing lists and reputation.

There are many things to consider when setting up a membership site. Having a clearly defined plan on setting it up, and running it, will make your life easier in the long run.

Good luck with your new membership website!

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Marisol Diaz is a Small Business Facilitator and Online Business Implementation Expert. I help small businesses take their business online. I provide services to solopreneurs and small business who wish to sell or promote their products and services online. Online Business Implementation Expert @

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At 12:30 p.m. , Blogger Wishlist Products said...

A great list to begin the wheels turning about what you have to think about before going ahead and setting up a membership site! Great job!

Another membership site software I can recommend is WishList Member ( - It's an easy to use, yet powerful solution which is compatible with WordPress. Convert your blog to a membership site easily!

Good luck!


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