August 19, 2009
Everywhere you turn these days, you read about membership sites. You read how easy they are to set up, and how lucrative they can be. That should naturally lead you to the question, “Should I be operating my own membership site?” Are they really that easy to set up and maintain?
First of all, a membership site is nothing more than a system for password protecting some “content,” and a system for handling recurring billing of members. So they can be very simple, and in fact can be set up using all free resources.
You could even think of a membership site as another type of list, only one where you don’t have to contend with email filters. You communicate with your “list members” inside the site instead of via email.
In deciding to set up a membership site, the first question that you should answer is what niche or topic would the membership site be focused on. Are there enough people interested in that topic to make it profitable? Do people interested in that topic spend money on it?
The simplest way to answer the above questions is to ask yourself, “What phrases would people interested in my proposed topic type into a search engine?” Come up with a list of keywords they’d likely use.
Next, go to Google.com and enter those keyword phrases into their search box, and look at how many searches there are for those terms as well as how many webpages there are out there targeting those phrases. Look off to the right side of the page and see if there are “Google AdWords” ads displayed. If you see ads off to the right side of the page, that means that people are paying to advertise to people interested in that topic. That’s generally a strong indicator that people searching on those terms are also buying!
Your research shows you how many searches are done on your keywords each month, and indicates if there is a large pool of potential members for your new membership site. There is no hard and fast rule for how many searches there should be. This just gives you a feel for if this is a viable niche for a membership site.
How many members do you need for a successful membership site anyway? If you have a site that has 200 members each paying $20 per month, would you consider that a success? What if that site only took 2 hours per month to maintain?
The secret to making a site easy to maintain, by the way, is to have your members interact a lot with each other, and generate most of the content!
There are many successful online entrepreneurs who have a dozen or more small, simple, memberships sites, each with only a few hundred members. Most of these sites don’t generate a fortune, but collectively they afford a very comfortable lifestyle.
There is no reason that you have to stop at one simple, easy to maintain, membership site. You could easily launch one a month, and in a year have a dozen. If each produced just that $4000 in our example above, that would be $48k per month.
If your goals aren’t that lofty, you could stop with just one simple membership site producing just that $4000, or you could go for a lot more members. If you set your site up properly, you’ll have to spend very little time actually maintaining it.
So, are you missing out by not having a membership site?
Willie Crawford has been marketing goods and services on the internet since 1996. He operates numerous simple membership sites. To learn how you can set up your own membership site in under six minutes, using all completely free software, visit: http://YourNewMembershipSite.com