How can you make your blog more profitable? This is a question most of us are searching for an answer to. And while advertising and affiliate links will bring in some money, what if you could generate more?
If you have a loyal following and are producing great content, you might consider creating a membership site to offer your audience exclusive content and perks while also boosting your profits.
What is a membership site?
A membership site offers exclusive content, products, or other perks for audiences that can only be accessed through a member login. Membership sites can be free or paid and can have levels of perks. Payments can be set from monthly to bi-annually or annually, and the content and products on offer can include everything from videos, one-on-one consultations, merchandise, and online courses.
Membership sites can be customized in a myriad of ways, but here are some of the most common models you'll come across.
Types of Membership Models
Types of Membership Models
If you often read the news online, you've likely come across a paywall. A paywall blocks content until a reader is logged into their account and has a paid membership to access the content.
You can offer some of your most premium content behind a paywall to earn more money and create better engagement with your most loyal audience members. After all, they are paying to access exclusive perks, meaning they are likely to be invested in what you are offering.
Most of us love finding a group of people online with common interests or goals. If your audience is always engaging with your content, and with each other in the comments, consider creating a community membership model where users can create profiles and have a platform to interact with one another.
This could mean access to an exclusive app, a Facebook group, or a forum on your website.
If your audience can't get enough of your content, they might also have an interest in learning about your topic of expertise from you directly. By creating membership courses, you can offer some of your knowledge for a fee.
You can offer courses for a one-time, upfront payment or an ongoing subscription for access to a library of courses that generates a steady stream of profit from your membership site.
Outside of knowledge, what do you have the talent to create and sell on your website? Perhaps you can create WordPress plugins or blog templates, or maybe you can offer social media graphic templates or unique budgeting spreadsheets.
Whatever you've decided to create, you can earn money for your creativity and hard work. You can sell products individually to members, or offer them via a subscription model where users can access the product as long as they have an active, paid subscription.
The all-in-one model is exactly as it sounds. This means your membership site includes most, if not all, of the standard membership model options.
While this could mean multiple streams of income from people subscribing to various parts of your site, it can also become a lot of extra work for you.
Creating exclusive content and perks for varying memberships could be hard to do alone, meaning you might need to spend more money hiring others to help you. Also, it might be off-putting for a user to visit your site and see they have to sign up — and pay — to access nearly anything on your site.
Pros of Starting a Membership Site
Starting a membership site can create a secure, steady stream of revenue for your blog. If your audience already enjoys your content, it's a logical next step to offer them more for a fee.
Once they've started investing money to access your content, you might also find them engaging more, too.
Cons of Starting a Membership Site
Because memberships are so customizable, there aren't many negatives to starting one. But if you are already strapped for time creating your normal content and managing your site, you might find it hard to create exclusive content as well. This will also add another component to your site to maintain.
Once you've decided to turn your blog into a membership site, you can follow these simple steps to get started.
How to Start a Paid Membership Site With a Blog
- Choose your model.
- Find a membership plugin.
- Set up payments, levels, and rules.
- Create content for launch.
- Add a membership page to your site.
1. Choose your model.
Select the model that works best for your site from the list above. With an active and engaged audience, a community model might be the perfect fit. If users are always asking for your advice, you might consider creating products or courses with a subscription attached.
Or maybe your content is increasing page views so you want to create more in-depth content to offer behind a paywall. Weigh these options carefully to find the right fit for your brand.
2. Find a membership plugin.
If your blog is operating on WordPress, you can add a membership plugin to make your work easier. There are many options available, and you'll want to find one that will work with the model you've chosen. Some of the top picks by bloggers include MemberPress, Restrict Content Pro, and Teachable.
Once your plugin is downloaded, you can configure it by visiting your WordPress dashboard menu, selecting your plugin, choose 'Options,' and adjust settings as needed.
3. Set up payments, levels, and rules.
In your WordPress dashboard, go to the menu and select your plugin. From there, you can find payment, levels, and rules settings. Under 'Options' > 'Payments,' set up the payment amounts and types (such as credit cards and PayPal) for each membership level.
To set levels, go to the plugin, select 'Memberships' then 'Add New' for each level. You can name each level as well as define prices and restrictions.
Finally, it's time to set the rules. Go to the plugin in the WordPress menu, then select 'Rules' and 'Add New.' This is how you shield your exclusive content from non-paying members. Just be sure to mark your exclusive content as 'paid' in WordPress as you create it.
Save all of your settings as you go before moving on to the next step.
4. Create content for launch.
Your paid subscribers will likely expect immediate access to some exclusive content right after signing up. Be sure to prepare whatever written content, videos, audio books, templates, or other perks you'll be offering before launching your membership site to avoid frustrated subscribers.
5. Add a membership page to your site.
This can also be easily handled via the plugin settings on your dashboard, but you'll need to create a page where your website users can view pricing and membership models, sign up, and log in to access the content.
Once this page is ready, you'll be ready to launch, and users can start signing up and accessing your content or products from your blog.
Boost Blog Revenue By Adding a Membership Site
A membership site can be tailored to fit your needs and generate more money for your blog. Once you've evaluated whether or not a membership site is right for your brand, you can review the different models to find which path is the best for your blog.
Plus, you'll be able to exercise your creativity and offer the best content possible to your most loyal and engaged followers.