Subscription Websites: Master the Pay-For-Access Model

A simple model for subscription websites

Take a moment to consider the benefits behind a subscription website. In user-driven businesses where circulation is the main component driving revenue, subscription websites can become a profitable addition to your internet presence.

Many publishers already like subscription websites for a few reasons. Print publishers like it because they can create an archive of their information and sell subscriptions to these collections. Software developers like to create online programs and allow subscribers to access them for a fee. Finally, research teams collect data and offer the information for a charge as well.

Many publishers utilize a pay-for-access model.

These subscription websites offer subscriptions sold on a time interval. They can be for a day, a month or a year and allow the subscriber to access premium content. The longer the membership, the lower the fee-per-day price. So single-day subscriptions would be the highest priced and the annual subscriptions would be the lowest.

Proper design for when visitors arrive

When non-members arrive at a subscription website, there needs to be a place for the visitor to sign up. This conversion architecture will encourage becoming a registered, paying member.


In order to sweeten the deal, many subscription websites include complimentary content so that the visitor knows what is involved in the subscription. The offer should then explicitly announce that additional premium content is only available to registered users.

Treat your current subscribers well

If you want to keep your subscribers coming back annually, and continuously paying for access, then you have to treat them accordingly. One suggestion is to not waste their time. When a current subscriber arrives at your subscription website, there should be an immediate opportunity to quickly find the information they are seeking.

This properly-functioning subscription website architecture is the reason why some visitors (one to five percent depending on the price and value) will decide on paying for a subscription.

The pay-for-access model is simple, even though it consists of complex units. Let’s be honest, building a subscription website associated with digital books, magazines, email newsletters, audio or video products requires a lot of thought and evaluation before any work is actually done.

Simplicity should be found on the users end. Make it simple for them to become registered subscribers and design the website architecture  to allow for easy access of desired information. The complexity comes with the type of focus you’re looking to create.

Subscription websites that are user-friendly with topic-based navigation can become an excellent source of revenue and profit. For more on types and areas of focus for Subscription Websites, join our Developing Successful Subscription Websites webinar on January 26th at 12:30 pm EST.


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