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Is a Subscription Website Right for Your Business?

ByJared Atchison,
business.com writer
|
Oct 29, 2019
AndreyPopov / Getty Images
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> Marketing
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When used correctly, subscription websites can be a good way to increase your company's revenue.

If you are thinking about starting a subscription website, there are a few things you should know first. 

Subscription sites, which you require visitors to pay a monthly fee to become a member, are an effective way for your business to deliver high-quality content to customers. A subscription site can also help you get recurring income.

It's very likely that you've been part of a membership site at some point. Subscription sites cover a whole range of subjects; everything from baking to professional networking. People join these websites to learn and to connect with their peers. It's very likely that your business can benefit from launching its own membership site. 

It's important to remember that when you create a website that's only accessible to members, you're making your content invisible to the internet. You're creating many gated pages that will not show up on search results. This is good if you know what you're doing. When you have valuable content that is useful to a limited number of people, then a subscription site is a good idea. 

The question is, how do you know if your business needs a membership website? 

What are the main components of a subscription website?

Any business that starts a membership site, does so with two things in mind: content and community

Content

If you have in-depth knowledge about a subject matter that will help people, then you have a good reason to start a subscription site.

Content can include any of these things:

  • Articles

  • Video courses

  • Podcasts

  • Webinars

  • Tutorials

  • Counseling and coaching

  • Any combination of the above

A membership site helps you deliver content to specific people who have paid for it or signed up on your site. It gives you a way to share valuable content online without making it accessible to the entire internet.

Community

If your business has a strong community component, then a subscription site makes sense. By creating a membership site, you give people a place to discuss your product or solution. They can ask each other questions and learn from interacting with others. 

A subscription site creates a unique place for people to discuss common interests and experiences that don't need to be visible to the rest of the world. It can also form a support and motivation group where people help each other. These are some examples of membership sites for communities:

  • Health and fitness communities

  • Professional and industrial networking groups

  • Online coaching and counseling

  • Business and expert directories

It's also quite common to start a subscription website that needs to provide both content and a community platform. Building a community for your brand gives users a helpful resource when they run into problems. 

Content and community form the core of any membership website. However, there are additional benefits that subscription sites offer which can help you figure out if it’s right for your business. 

What are the benefits of having a subscription site?

A membership website will help you set up and manage a community. It also allows you to leverage your content to help people who value it. Here are some of the benefits of having a subscription site so you can understand if it's right for you. 

Content protection

Your content is an asset that can generate profit over several years when carefully protected and managed. A membership site lets you create a secure platform that allows you to deliver content easily and automatically. It makes it easier to prevent outsiders from stealing and misusing your content.

With a subscription site, you can get passive income from your content and give value to customers. Your customers will value your content more when they find that it's exclusively available on your membership site.

Community platform

When you create a membership site, you create a space where people can discuss a common interest. Your customers can get in-depth answers about your industry, business or product.

It creates a place for discussions and where people can increase their knowledge about a subject. People can learn from each other by asking questions and sharing ideas. They can also support and motivate each other. 

Subscription site platforms allow you to create and manage online communities. You can control who has access to community discussions and Q&As. This is useful, especially if your users share pictures, stories and personal information. 

Creating a membership site is necessary if your business will have a community of people who will be active and engage with each other. Of course, your business may need a subscription site that has both valuable content and a strong community base. 

Drip content management

A membership website allows you to spread content access across different events and time periods. This is useful when you have a lot of content, or if users need to work with it in a particular order. 

Sometimes, you may offer a discount or a free trial of your website to visitors. Without drip content features, there's nothing to prevent users from downloading all of your content at once. They can then cancel their membership and you've lost a subscriber. 

You can use a subscription site to create and manage drip content. Half of small and midsize businesses send drip emails using marketing automation software.

You can also add email marketing integrations to membership plug-ins to accomplish this. This will ensure that you keep subscribers for a longer period of time. Using drip content on your membership site prevents users from getting overwhelmed with too much information at once. It keeps them engaged and active on your site by making content available piece by piece. 

Automation

When you automate different business tasks, you create more time for yourself. You can use it to work on more content and to grow your business.

Use WordPress plugins to automate many time-consuming activities. It's not practical to manually repeat the same tasks for each new customer. If you have a membership site with hundreds, or thousands, of users, then managing them without automation is impossible. 

You can save time by automating different activities:

  • Allow users to become members and access content with a user registration form.

  • Send emails such as welcome messages, notifications and invoices automatically.

  • Automatically deliver content, like downloadable files, instructions or links to content.

  • Allow users to set their password, edit their profiles and recover their account if they forget their password.

  • Create automatic payments with a membership site so users are charged for access to your site.

  • Manage user profiles to change their membership status, cancel their subscription or carry out other admin work.

Automation creates time that allows you to look after unusual problems. You'll have the freedom and the time to make great and fresh content. You can focus on giving your users excellent value to create a better experience for them. 

Does a membership site make sense for your business?

By now, you should have a good idea about whether your business can use a subscription site. If you have brilliant content to share with customers, then creating a membership site will serve you well. It's a great way to build a close and information-rich community of like-minded people. 

A membership website can help you leverage your business, especially when you have a niche product, or if you're working in a niche marketplace. It makes sense to start a website where the content is not available to everyone. 

Your main consideration, when creating a subscription website, is content and community. When these two things form significant features of your business, a membership website will help launch you to success. 

Jared Atchison
Jared Atchison
See Jared Atchison's Profile
Co-Founder of WPForms, one of the largest WordPress contact form plugins in the market. I have been programming for over a decade and enjoy creating plugins that help people create powerful web designs without touching code.
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