Subscription Website Publishing

Sixteen ways to sabotage your subscription website and stifle member renewals

We’ve all experienced online publishers who are guilty of arrogance. When they make too many of these mistakes, they don’t last very long in the member website business.

We’ve all experienced online publishers who are guilty of arrogance. When they make too many of these mistakes, they don’t last very long in the subscription website business.

1. Don’t add new content to your site regularly. Keep your site staid, static and boring.

2. Don’t offer any unique content or information that your members can’t get elsewhere.

3. Don’t bother to attend seminars or learn any new skills that you can share with your members. Heck, you already know more than they do, so why knock yourself out learning anything additional?

4. Fill your site with personal anecdotes about you, your family, your health, your vacations, your toys, and details on all the ways you’re spending the money you make from your members. They hunger for these personal details and appreciate them much more than the special niche content that you’ve promised to provide.

5. Don’t offer any free content on your site. Make every visitor pay in full before they get to sample your “pearls of wisdom.”

6. Don’t bother writing a free e-zine or tip of the week. It’s not important to collect names and e-mail addresses, or do anything to build trust and relationships with prospective members.

7. Don’t reply promptly to discussion forum questions. Just let the questions and comments hang there until the poster feels humiliated and resigns his membership.

8. Don’t answer your members’ e-mail correspondence promptly or at all. Don’t make them feel important or that you are genuinely interested in meeting their needs.


9. Always talk down to your members and make them feel inferior to your greater experience. Position yourself as an all-knowing “guru,” never as a friendly guide. Above all, never admit that you don’t know the answer to a question.

10. Be careless in your written communications. Never proofread anything for errors. Never, ever use a spellchecker. If challenged, respond by saying that only your content is important. Insist that neatness, professionalism and attention to detail are unimportant and don’t diminish your credibility.

11. Don’t follow up on orders or make certain that your members are satisfied with their purchases. You can always make new customers, so why bother trying to resell to the ones you already have?

12. Have a very restrictive satisfaction guarantee or none at all. Never issue refunds promptly or unconditionally.

13. Never survey your customers or ask their opinions. Assume you know what they want and need.

14. Don’t offer your members any subscribers-only discounts or freebies. Your members aren’t special, so why treat them that way?

15. If you have an affiliate referral program, don’t bother to pay your affiliates their commissions regularly or at all. Who will know or complain?

16. Never hold a physical members’ meeting or seminar for the purpose of networking or intensive instruction. Hey, you’re just a virtual organization. Why get physical?

By Amanda MacArthur

Research Director & Managing Editor

Amanda is responsible for all the articles you read on the Mequoda Daily portal and every email newsletter delivered to your inbox from us. She is also our in-house social media expert and would love to chat with you over on @Mequoda. She has worked with Mequoda for almost a decade, helping to evolve the Mequoda Method through research, testing and developing new best practices in digital publishing, editorial strategy, email marketing and audience development. Amanda is a co-author of our four digital publishing handbooks.

Co-authored handbooks:

Contact Amanda:

Contact Amanda via email at amanda (at) mequoda (dot) com, @amaaanda, LinkedIn, and Google+.

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