The Process of Building Subscription Websites

And why it’s more important than ever to do so

Traditional print publishers are realizing the power and potential behind the Internet. As they saw their print subscriptions and profits fall, publishers began looking for alternative methods for delivering their content. Thankfully for them, the iPad emerged on the scene and brought a media-rich experience with it.

Then, some publishers began to realize that the Internet, smartphones and tablets could be utilized to offer subscriptions to content-filled websites and apps. This allows users to access the content on the go.

Now that the popularity of subscription websites is growing, let’s take a look at how publishers are going about building them.

Building a subscription website

Since subscription websites will be valuable for years to come, online publishers should at least consider adopting a model. Subscription websites may not be the best fit for all publishers since a massive amount of content is practically required for a successful subscription website. Regardless, there are nine subscription website models worth examining.

For those online publishers set on developing a successful subscription website so they can stay relevant in the digital landscape for years to come, here is a building process that Phil Ash, the publisher of and uses while developing new subscription websites.

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The process

1. Determine site purpose. If you don’t know what specifically the purpose of your site is, there is no way it can be developed correctly.

2. Find example site. Chances are there will be some form of competition that you can get ideas from pertaining to site design. You can also use these examples to show how not to develop specific parts of the website.

3. Wireframe. A wireframe will help the building process run smoothly and successfully.

4. Develop taxonomy. Taxonomy focuses on the information within and how its used throughout the website. This needs to be developed correctly, especially if you offer downloadable products.

5. Site build. After the first aspects are finalized, the build can begin.

6. QA. Quality assurance will help you determine if the site is running properly.

7. Usability study. This step will help you find specific problematic areas within your website.

8. Final edits and then launch.

9. Subscriber survey. Ask your audience what they think about your website.

10. Review performance data. Take into account what your tests have shown and what your audience says. Make any necessary adjustments after that point.

The goal of a good subscription website is to serve both pre-login and paid, active subscribers. If your subscription website ends up doing that, it is built and operating correctly.

Are you looking to build a subscription website now that they are becoming a core part of the online publishing world? Join Phil Ash and Don Nicholas on October 12th for their Building Subscription Websites webinar and learn about the topic from experienced publishers.


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