Membership Website Mistake #1 – Choosing the Wrong Format

Choosing the wrong format for your membership website involves mislabeling your membership website and deciding to build it based off customer relationships instead of making it content-based.

The sheer number of content model choices – which totals nine through six premium models and three affinity models – dramatically increases the chances of choosing the wrong model for your membership website.

The ability to choose the right content models should be based off three questions:

-What kind of compelling information need are you trying to meet?

-How are users interacting with your website?

-Do users need to keep absolutely current on the latest information available?

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If you answered yes, you could go down the list of the nine content models and eliminate most. If urgency were important to you, the blog format would be compatible. A portal would also be compatible, due to its inherent ability to present the most current information in a timely manner.

A forum would not be compatible because the information is not coming from an authoritative source. However, a forum may be an ancillary content model to present a location for audience members to join the in discussion and ask further, related questions.

You could eliminate the club model, application model and magazine model because they have longer lead time in terms of production. Reference would also not be applicable due to its propensity to include evergreen content – not updated news content.

All these eliminated content models bring you to the periodical or the newsletter membership websites content models.

This leads you to some further questions: what is your business model – is your business sponsor-driven, commerce-driven, or a hybrid of the two? Is the urgency need one your trying to meet to build your audience? Or is the urgency need important enough that you can gate content and charge for it?


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