Download our complimentary Membership report today and learn what every magazine, newsletter and book publisher needs to know before launching a Membership Website
A Membership Website is an online information product. It is a gated, content-based site, which requires registration and payment in order to view the content (or most of the content) that has been placed behind a firewall. Similar to subscriber-supported print magazines or newsletters, membership sites are considered user-supported—although some carry advertising.
Membership Websites compare to a book, an encyclopedia, or a library, but one that is online, frequently updated, and available 24/7.
Building a Membership Website associated with a magazine, newsletter, or book series always requires a great deal of forethought and evaluation, because the model doesn’t work for every publisher. Success involves much more than simply having an existing archive of issues and articles.
Learn how to choose the best subscription pricing & single-copy pricing strategy for your subscription websites & subscription apps when you download a FREE copy of How to Use Contrast Pricing to Increase Subscription Revenue.
There are what we consider five “deadly” mistakes that have become all too familiar when we evaluate less-than-successful Membership Websites. We call them “deadly” mistakes, because any one of them can cause a Membership Website to flounder. By taking note of these common mistakes, publishers can determine—before investing valuable time and money on the project—whether a Membership Website should be part of their online publishing strategy.
MEMBERSHIP WEBSITE MISTAKE #1
Misunderstanding Membership Website information architecture
Invest the time and money required to create a Membership Website with user friendly, topic based information architecture.
MEMBERSHIP WEBSITE MISTAKE #2
Insufficient content for a valuable user experience
Make sure your Membership Website has plenty of content—at launch and in the future.
MEMBERSHIP WEBSITE MISTAKE #3
Disregarding the historical print business model
Only consider a Membership Website when you’ve historically been a circulation or user-driven business model (70 percent or more of your publishing revenue has come from users buying your information products).
MEMBERSHIP WEBSITE MISTAKE #4
Omitting the all-important Internet hub
Make sure you launch an Internet Hub to power your online marketing efforts and use your print publications to drive online traffic—every other source will cost more and make the success of your Membership Website much less likely.
MEMBERSHIP WEBSITE MISTAKE #5
Pricing membership website access by the pound
Price your Membership Website at the same level you would price a print subscription or reference book to maximize your Membership Website revenue and profit.
While a Membership Website can be a profitable addition to a publisher’s online strategy, the decision to launch one must be carefully considered. If the publisher has been sponsor-driven in print, a Membership Website may be a bad idea unless the publisher can come up with some clever way to populate an Internet Hub and a Membership Website.
Membership Websites are relatively expensive to build compared to other website models. Once set up with a good content management system, however, they can become an excellent revenue opportunity for a competent online publisher.