A membership site is merely a website where members can access specific content which is protected and accessible through a member login page. There are membership sites where access is free and others where members must pay to access the content. They both have one thing is common and that is their memberships are made up of people who share a common interest or have a common need.
You can set up a website and not charge for memberships but choose who to admit and who not to admit. This is done when the profit is intended to come from sales to members after they join the site. There are free network sites too that might be used for this purpose which costs nothing to set up and there is no charge at all for a person to join. There are no paid administrators or moderators.
Paid for membership sites are set up by businesses or individuals with the objective of making money by supplying hard to find information, access to specialized data or lists, or instruction in various fields. Membership sites are owned and operated by people who either own the sites or who are hired by the site owners to monitor and administer them. The topics for paid for membership sites are usually more varied than the free sites and certainly more specialized.
Each site sets its own rules for how to join and the code of conduct for the site. The site topics are many and varied. There are many “support” sites for those with health problems or concerns and for those who have suffered the loss of loved ones. There are sites for those who are passionate about crafts like quilting or woodworking. There are sites for those who love to travel. There are sites for different age groups from teens to seniors. The sites include chat software and a limited amount of space for posting pictures, documents and links per member. The free sites usually do not provide access to specialized data or lists.
People are willing to pay for online content and in fact, pay-for content is a hot revenue model. You can sell subscriptions for online content with your own membership site by way of a password protected website and is big business. Not only is it fast to set up, but the start-up and running costs are minimal. Work from home entrepreneurs and big businesses alike are tapping into this lucrative revenue source.
One of the great things about starting a membership site is that you can take your hobby, specialized knowledge or profession and turn it into a profitable business. This can be started on a part time basis and may very well develop into a full-time business. Your biggest challenge is to create quality content that is exclusive.
Planning for and setting your site up for autoresponders, automated sign-ups, payment processing, automated cancellations, etc. is all part of a successful membership website. Starting and running a membership site can be a lot of fun and extremely exciting, however you need to know what is involved in setting one up, and then managing it effectively.
This whole process can seem a bit daunting, however, as complex as this seems, many companies offer a low cost, easy-to-use software solution. This makes it possible for almost anyone to start and market a membership site at an exceptionally low cost.
P.S. The setup of membership sites is covered extensively in the Partnership to Success program, giving you simple step-by-step instructions to make it fail proof. Have a look at this program here. It will be worth your while!