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Tag: membership site

How to Hire a Membership Site Developer That’s a Good Fit For Your Business

Your membership site developer should be more than just a technological jester, they should be your sherpa.
If you’re a publisher, or are selling a subscription-based information product, it’s likely that at some point you’ll be looking for a new membership site developer. We know this because most of our clients have come to us after years

Three Membership Website Copywriting Tricks to Improve Sales Dramatically

If you want to convert more website visitors into new members for your membership website, or any type of subscription website, write compelling copy. Use emotional copywriting to twist their heartstrings (eharmony.com) or tap into all the ways your product will benefit the new member (ladders.com).

Below are some wise tips from our Executive Content Director Mary Van Doren who has mastered the art of writing landing page copy for every type of subscription website.

The Membership Subscription Website Business Model

TheLadders.com, Match.com and SSWUG.org utilize membership subscription websites to properly serve their audiences

The membership subscription website archetype is a very complicated model. It may be structured as a pure-play site, which does not depend on a primary relationship to, or experience with, an online or offline product. Or it may be structured as a companion website, which does relate to an online or offline product.

Redefining the Club Subscription Website Model

How can a club help you make money?
Mequoda has called one of its paid websites a “membership” website for a decade. Unfortunately, not everyone does as we tell them to do (imagine!) and over the years some folks started getting confused, calling any subscription website a “membership” site.

By popular demand, today I’m going to officially

How to Make a Membership Website

Six membership site ideas all digital publishers must follow

How to make a membership website is a topic many publishers struggle with. Membership and subscription websites can be hugely successful in generating revenue for publishers with evergreen and updated content.

However, understanding how to make a membership website is often overlooked during the planning process. Let’s take a look at six tips publishers must adhere to while making a membership website.

10 WordPress Membership Plugins That Work

Two handfuls of WordPress membership plugins that you can use to turn your free website into a paid membership product

If you’re running a website on WordPress, you probably know that it’s not meant to be run as a membership website. However, being as flexible as WordPress is, you’ll find many publishers who have turned it into a full-fledged membership or subscription site.

WordPress membership plugins are essential in saving both money in time when building a memberhip website. Here are some of the top ten that get a lot of buzz and compliments.

3 Quick Content Tips to Please Your Online Customers

Periodical publishers have historically considered content to be disposable—generated once for use in a periodical or book and then discarded. Publishers who use the Internet to recycle, reuse, and republish information in many different formats (periodicals, books, email newsletters, blogs, wikis, digital libraries, courses, events, DVDs, CDs and more) are the ones—large, small or independent— who have succeeded. Your online customers have an expectation when a company has a website—it’s that you’re working in the 21st century.

SIPA Member Profile: Holland Passes Tests and Then Some

Anne Holland, Publisher, Anne Holland Ventures Inc.

SIPA: What was your first job out of college and how did you get into this business?
HOLLAND: Data entry operator for the World Aviation Directory, which is when I first became obsessed with order form design and how simple changes can increase publication sales. I then weaseled my way into my supervisor’s heart and got her to take me with her as a marketing assistant when she landed a gig at The Oil Daily.

Has there been a defining moment in your career? Perhaps when you knew you were on the right road.
For me it was in early 1999 when a 22-year old tried to convince me to leave Phillips Publishing to help with his dot-com subscription start-up. It had never occurred to me that I could start a publishing company myself… but I thought if this kid can do it, so can I. The entrepreneurial-style environment at Phillips at that time in the B2B division, made a big difference to my eventual success. That grounding made it possible.

Website Design Review of Ragan.com

This week we took a look at Ragan.com, a popular site for communicators, and put it to the Mequoda Website Design Review Scorecard.

1. Strategic Intent: A

At first look it’s easy to see that the homepage of this site is about the content. This site is the free entry point for content into the larger Ragan network of sites. There are no 3rd paid advertisements on the homepage.

There are links to paid products like books, training, and consulting as ways to monetize the site, but there is plenty of free information offered to entice repeat visitors. Some articles are for paid members only but there is a good balance of free content.

A Few Ideas for Turning One Product into Ten

Ideas for an audience development strategy that re-purposes content for additional revenue streams

MPA-IMAG 2009 Conference Coverage: 10 Lessons Learned from Taunton’s Membership Websites

With traffic and sales doubling in the past year, Taunton’s Janine Scolpino discusses some keys to membership website success

To Charge or Not to Charge – Considering a Membership Website?

With advertising sales dropping, many publishers are considering charging for content. Will you?

After hearing Jim Malkin, CEO of SourceMedia spoke this week at FOLIO about how he intends to transform into a paid-subscription model, we thought now might be a good time to talk about membership websites and the Five Deadly Membership Website Mistakes you can make.

Raiders of the Lost Content

The Quest to Unlock the National Institute of Business Management Archives

MarketingSherpa’s Selling Online Subscriptions Summit Take-Away #1

Adapt to changing subscription models

Which Publishers Are Using Video

How publishers are incorporating video where it fits for them

Understanding the Architectural Elements of a Web Page

All online direct response transactions begin on landing pages

Mequoda research indicates that on most websites, a maximum of 20 percent of the traffic arrives at the home page. In fact, on many sites, as little as four or five percent of website traffic arrives at the site’s home page, with the rest arriving at much “deeper” pages.

Unlike traditional direct mail or retail marketing, where the user experience is more linear, every page on your website is a potential landing page. That’s because a landing page is the first page a user sees when entering your site, and a user can enter your site and “land” almost anywhere.

The Motley Fool Media Network Case Study

The Motley Fool uses its powerful brand to launch seven successful print newsletters for personal investors that will generate $22M in 2005 revenues. Traditional advertising-driven Internet business model takes a back seat.

After the 2001 dot-com stock market crash occurred, The Motley Fool was forced to change its online business model. The years of generating more than $20 million in advertising revenue were long gone, much like the employees who suffered layoffs. They abandoned the advertising model for the print subscription model and today are succeeding handsomely. The Fool’s first print investment newsletter The Motley Fool Stock Advisor (launched as a partnership with Phillips Investment Resources) proved to be very popular and profitable. Its success has now spawned the launch of six more print titles, making The Motley Fool a major player in the paid subscription content business.

Fine Woodworking Mequoda Media Brand Case Study

Taunton’s Fine Woodworking launched in 1975 as a black-and-white quarterly, followed by books on woodworking.

A few years ago, they started publishing special newsstand editions, which they now do seven times a year. Most are created from repurposed content from the magazine.

They have been producing video for 20 years and with the advent of DVDs, finally turned a profit on their video content. They also have a membership website at FineWoodworking.com.

They are now putting more emphasis on the advertising component and plan to use the same multiplatform model (or a variation of it) for their other brands

A few years ago, they started publishing special newsstand editions, which they now do seven times a year. Most are created from repurposed content from the magazine.

They have been producing video for 20 years and with the advent of DVDs, finally turned a profit on their video content. They also have a membership website at FineWoodworking.com.

How to Ethically Get Testimonials and Use Them to Add Credibility and Increase Membership

Great testimonials can be very persuasive. The value of member corroboration and its ability to get new subscribers to your membership website cannot be under-estimated.

Know this about the buying process: Whether they know it or not, everybody has a personal strategy for rationalizing his purchase decisions.

All purchase decisions are emotional, but in order to be congruent, buyers need to create reasons for their choices.

The Mequoda SEO Process

Every good wordsmith approaches the task of writing a little differently. Some writers start with an outline or by making copious notes. Others write numerous disparate paragraphs at non-stop speed and then revisit their first draft, cutting and pasting to arrange them in a “logical” order. Still others agonize over the lead or headline and feel compelled to get them perfect before they can write a single second sentence.

America’s Test Kitchen Mequoda Case Study

How America’s Test Kitchen’s Revenues have Grown from About $15 million to an Estimated $46 million in Just Five Years… Shouldn’t you be Using the Same Strategy for Selling your Information Products on the Internet? Doesn’t your Job Depend on it?

Chris Kimball, CEO of Boston Common Press, is master of what we now call multiplatform publishing. Chris has gone from a publishing a single cooking magazine, Cook’s Illustrated to a growing media empire that spans books, another print magazine, books, membership websites, a TV Show on PBS, email newsletters and DVDs.

Online Publishing Secret #7: Make Metrics-Driven Decisions

Key metrics are numbers that, when multiplied together, determine costs or revenues generated and their respective effect on profit and loss. For websites, some metrics are more important than others, depending on the site’s business model. Knowing which key metrics to use can be confusing—many site owners find themselves paying attention to the wrong ones.

ConsumerReports.org Website Design Review

With A’s in Strategic Intent, Relationship Building and Brand Preference, it’s Hardly Surprising that this Non-Profit is an Online Leader in the Paid Membership Website Category.

Consumer Reports’ successful membership website strategy has earned them over two million online subscribers (as of November, 2005). Averaging well over 20,000 new online subscribers per month, it’s obvious this site is doing something right.

Increase the User’s Connection to Your Site by Promoting and Building Community

The Mequoda criteria for community building expect visitors to feel enthusiastic and loyal to the site. Are they inspired with feelings of belonging and encouraged to contribute?

Websites that encourage a feeling of belonging among users, that offer mechanisms for being involved in the site and that motivate them to become involved are good at community building.

In the fourth chapter of Website Design for Publishers and Authors authors Don Nicholas and Jane E. Zarem point out some examples of community-building options:

Five Website Design Tips from The Hub for Internal Communicators

The Hub for Internal Communicators is a membership website with research, information and tools for communication professionals. The product and the audience are identified in the tagline: The most comprehensive resource available for employee communication professionals.

Produced by Melcrum, an information and research company with offices in the UK, North America and Australia, The Hub for Internal Communicators (The Hub) has been online as a UK site since 2005 and launched a North American version shortly after.

The Hub for Internal Communicators Website Design Review

An Online-Only Membership Website is a Good Idea for Melcrum, and The Hub is Taking the Right Steps to Bring the Promised Value to Both the Company and to the Audience.

The Hub for Internal Communicators is a membership website with research, information and tools for communication professionals. The product and the audience are identified in the tagline: The most comprehensive resource available for employee communication professionals.

Produced by Melcrum, an information and research company with offices in the UK, North America and Australia, The Hub for Internal Communicators (The Hub) has been online as a UK site since 2005 and launched a North American version shortly after.

America’s Test Kitchen Media Network Case Study

Boston Common Press, the Publishing Company that Produces PBS TV Show America’s Test Kitchen, Uses the Show’s Viewership to Drive Traffic to its Free Website, Building a Large Database in Which They Market Their Various Print and Online Products

America’s Test Kitchen is a weekly television show on local PBS stations, but it is more than just a cooking show. The TV program and its companion website, AmericasTestKitchen.com, serve as the hub of a well-designed network for Boston Common Press, which produces the show. The program directs the show’s 2.9 million viewers to AmericasTestKitchen.com, where, by requiring registration, the company builds an enormous permission-driven database in to which they market their various products. This strategy makes America’s Test Kitchen one of the most successful practitioners of the Mequoda Network that we have found.

GMarketing.com Website Design Review

Mr. Levinson has been busy practicing, developing and evangelizing guerrilla marketing since 1984, with great success. Many startups and small companies use Mr. Levinson’s techniques to produce tangible results with minimal cost. However, established companies such as Smirnoff and Vodafone have also integrated guerrilla techniques into their marketing mix. The concept of guerrilla marketing has been especially well received by Internet companies, which typically operate on limited marketing budgets, and has given rise to other marketing techniques such as viral marketing and search marketing. Guerrilla marketing is characterized by extreme statements that are intended to grab the audience.

Website Design Guideline #4: Increase the User’s Connection to your Site by Promoting Community

The Mequoda criteria for community building expect visitors to feel enthusiastic and loyal to the site. Are they inspired with feelings of belonging and encouraged to contribute?

Websites that encourage a feeling of belonging among users, that offer mechanisms for being involved in the site and that motivate them to become involved are good at community building. Examples of community-building options are:

PR & Earned Media 101: Isolate a newsworthy idea and tie it to a free downloadable item

Match.com Internet Marketing System Review

To draw traffic to your Mequoda Internet Hub—the place where people can sign up for your free, relationship-building, email newsletter—you need a catalyst, a free item that lines up with a topic that’s endemic to the audience in terms of their interest and on which the publisher or author is a source of authority. To even consider mentioning your free item, the other journalist—the one whom you hope will pick up your news item—must be convinced that the producer or author of the giveaway is a credible provider of information.

CookingClub.com Landing Page Review

Cooking Club of America is an efficient, user friendly membership site. We found this site by typing “Cooking Club of America” into Google, and this is the first page that showed up in the organic listings.

While this page serves as the home page of this membership website, it also serves as a rapid conversion landing page, as it immediately offers a free issue of Cooking Pleasures magazine in exchange for a free trial membership to Cooking Club of America.

TheBookStandard.com Website Design Review

TheBookStandard.com describes itself as “the all-inclusive online destination for publishers, retailers, librarians, agents, authors, distributors, studio executives, screenwriters, publicists, book groups and more!” It’s an accurate description.

VNU Business Media, publisher of The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard, Computing, and other trade titles, launched TheBookStandard.com, its first solely online publication, in January of 2005.

Interview with Larry Pike, who with his wife, Holly, discovered an under-addressed niche market and responded by building a very successful business around a subscription website

Over the years, Holly and Larry Pike have each had numerous careers, but they eventually quit their jobs to become full-time online entrepreneurs. Today, as husband and wife, they own and operate a subscription website for needlework hobbyists that ought to be the envy of every membership website publisher.

A member site that matches vacation property owners with prospective renters is an enviable business model

This is an online matchmaking service with unlimited profit potential. It enables you to advertise your rental home to more than one million annual visitors to its website for a mere $148, and takes no responsibility for the accuracy of the information.
At Vacation Rentals by Owner (vrbo.com) you are responsible for conducting your own investigation

A website portal for the African American community in Los Angeles serves as a member site business model that could be cloned in other cities

Publishing restaurant and lodging reviews for fun and profit

Imagine owning a membership site where most of the content is provided at no cost to you by other people, plus you have at least three profit centers. This business model is fun, especially if you like eating at restaurants and want to extract your revenge when you get bad food or service.

Interview with Steve Sztopek, whose membership website for professional picture framers and gallery owners is a model of decorum

Steve Sztopek says that, metaphysically, you have to be out of your mind to be successful. Whatever he is doing, it seems to be working.

In the following inspiring interview, he tells us how he followed his bliss, learned picture framing, marketing, and finally, online publishing.

Interview with Bob Chambers: This experienced membership website publisher has seen the future and it is spelled M-U-L-T-I-M-E-D-I-A.

Bob Chambers has established a hard-earned reputation for himself as the Multimedia Guy. In this exclusive Mequoda interview, he reveals how he got started in the video business, grew with the many changes in technology, and how he shares his knowledge on the very informative and authoritative member site FlashPublishers.com.

Interview with Dr. Joanne Fritz, a marketer whose interest in the senior market has spawned a new membership website for companies that want to sell to seniors

America is getting older. The immediate post World War II generation—Baby Boomers—are approaching retirement age. Smart companies are creating and marketing products to this affluent group. Her subscription website helps show them how.

Interview: Sam Knoll of MyVitaminGuide.com

Sam Knoll knows his way around the business world. He has had a number of successful careers including in manufacturing, mail order, and retail. His latest enterprise is an online newsletter devoted to health and dietary supplements.

Interview: Reg Hardy of BilliardsCrossing.com

Reg Hardy brings a background as a print journalist, editor and publisher to his paid subscription online newsletter and uses his Palm Pilot to create volumes of content for four websites. In this exclusive Mequoda interview, he reveals how he gets it all done and reminds us of the importance of customer service.

Interview: LeaRae Keyes of The Nurse Entrepreneur Network

Interview with LeaRae Keyes, RN, publisher of a membership website designed to help nurse entrepreneurs develop and expand their businesses.

The Nurse Entrepreneur Network exists to help nurses who are or want to be entrepreneurs succeed. Its founder, LeaRae Keyes, has more than 25 years of experience coaching people to make life-style changes, alleviate their caregiving stresses, have more fulfilling lives, explore career alternatives, and achieve their goals.

Seven rules about writing for a membership website

Brevity is the soul of wit, according to the Bard. And all the more so online. So, of course, someone created rules for you to follow when writing for the web. Okay, so maybe they are more like guidelines than hard and fast laws of cyber language. That said, here is what you want to

How to test the viability of your idea for a pay-for-access online newsletter before developing it

In this scenario, inspired by Frank Kern, you send up a trial balloon and let your potential subscribers tell you what they want, if anything, from your proposed information product.

How to evaluate a market niche for your member website or other information product

The key to success as an online information marketer is feeding a starving crowd.

A starving crowd is any group of people who share an enthusiasm for a topic and are passionate enough about it to spend their money to learn more. They’re “starving” for more information.

This creates an opportunity for you, the information provider.