Category Archives: Membership sites

What Niche Can You Run A Profitable Membership Website Around?

If you hadn’t realised it by now, one of the best types of online businesses is a membership website. The subscription model is a fantastic business because not only do you get paid a recurring income each month (for as long as a person is subscribing to your website) but you can create content once and sell it over and over again to many people.

Membership sites are not hard to set up, using the simple to use WordPress system to build your website you can use plugins like S2 Member to lock your content away behind a registration page with a PayPal subscribe button. It is a great plugin, we Minion’s recommend it because we use it ourselves.

s2 member

Membership sites can be built around any topic that you can think of, if you promote and market it well there will always be people willing to pay to access your site and enjoy your content.

Spotify and Netflix are technically membership sites as people pay a monthly subscription to access the content and then when they cancel their subscription they lose that access. Both Spotify and Netflix offer exceptional value for what you pay but they are also in a very huge market dominated by big companies like Sky TV, Amazon and many other TV/music companies.

However there are many MANY other niches and topics where you can start a membership website with paying subscribers. The adult business has shown this to be true, there are big porn companies that sell monthly subscriptions for users to access their adult videos and websites and there are smaller home run adult membership sites which are generating money via paying subscribers. (Click the above link or image below to read the article)

adult membership

Anyone can run a membership site as long as you can produce the content that keeps people subscribing. This can be easy if you love the niche that you build your membership website around or if you turn your website into one where the subscribers add the content for you. I remember many years ago reading about a membership site which was set up by a couple of gardening lovers, at one point they had over 70,000 members paying either a quarterly fee of $5 or an annual fee of $15.

These were people paying to access a website with a forum about gardening…. if there was one subject that you can find loads of information for free all over the place it is gardening. Since I can remember there has always been magazines, papers, TV shows and books focusing on gardening, and yet here were people paying to access a website about it.

Gardening might be too broad a subject today to have as a membership site, you might need to niche down a bit and focus on a specific area of gardening like growing vegetables, growing bonsai trees, indoor plants etc. These are topics that will have a keen group of fans looking for information.

If you are not sure how powerful membership websites can be think of them this way, a membership website is a kind of online magazine. People will happily pay for magazines that are published around the hobbies and topics that they love. Do you regularly buy magazines? If so then you have a great source of information for your membership website/online magazine. 🙂

magazines

The one thing that will keep people subscribing is to deliver quality content and when I say deliver quality content I do mean OVER delivering quality content. A successful business will always deliver more in value than what it takes in payment. This might sound harsh for anyone wanting to make money but the truth is when people feel like they are getting value for money especially if the value worth is greater than what they are paying for it they will keep paying and coming back for more.

With a membership website you can deliver more value than what you take in payment and still make a lot of money because you offer the content to many people. For example, if people paid £$20 a month and had access to a series of videos and that series was grown each month by five more videos which they thought was value for money… you only need to make five new videos each month even though you could have one hundred and thirty people paying for those videos.

It’s all about the numbers, to over deliver in content is actually very small when you have a lot of paying customers… you are not making new content for hundreds of subscribers… you are making content for one subscriber… which is enjoyed by hundreds of subscribers.

To end this article I shall list a few (and I mean a few) of the thousands if not millions of niches that you could possibly build a membership website around.

  • Football (Specific team fan club, football tutorials)
  • Rugby
  • Cricket
  • Breakdancing
  • Line dancing
  • BMXing
  • Snowboarding
  • Skateboarding
  • Skiing
  • Cooking (Specific styles like Chinese, Thai & Indian)
  • Music (Specific genres & bands, music & instrument tutorials)
  • Fashion
  • Writing (Specific genre, writing tutorials)
  • Magic
  • Travel (Location specific)
  • Singing training
  • Acting lessons
  • Forex
  • Stocks & Shares
  • Poker
  • Gambling Tips
  • Horror and zombies
  • And the list goes on

If you want to know how to build a profitable website using WordPress register for the Digital Academy now… click the button below.

the digital academy

How To Replace Your Monthly Income With A £5 Per Month Membership Club

This is going to be quite a bold and adventures article but very informative and thought provoking I think. Well I intend it to be anyway. In this article I want to discuss how you can swap your monthly wage with a membership site that costs as little as £5 a month to the user.

You can charge more if you want but in reality to charge more you really need to give a lot of content and then it needs to be possibly groundbreaking and life changing. When you look at other subscription models such as Netflix and Spotify you will see that people get access to a lot of content for a small amount and this is going to be the benchmark which people will compare you with.

netflix and spotify

The spending habits of people would suggest that it is very possible to run a membership based website that will generate enough money for you to leave your job. When you look at how much people waste each month on trips to the coffee shop, buying papers and magazines then why wouldn’t some spend that money accessing what you have to offer?

People will spend a fortune on food and drink which most of the time they do not need but will only make them fat… and they then spend a lot of time and money trying to lose weight. Mankind is really illogical most of the time but hey that is another story for another day. What is important to remember is that there are a lot of people who will happily spend money on the things they enjoy.

When you look at papers and magazines you will see that most people spend at least £5 on them a month, now they do pack a lot of stuff into magazines and papers and much of it is junk to be honest but they still have people spending money on them. Huge publishing empires have been built by people buying magazines and papers of all kinds. Why can’t you do something similar with a website?

I see this as very doable, even today when there are so many websites giving a lot of stuff away for free. I think anything is possible these days and not everyone wants things for free because ‘free’ usually comes with the headaches and annoyances of having adverts plastered all over the website and videos and can often mean you having to wait for the adverts to finish before you  get to see or hear the things you want.

This is why Google have just launched the new YouTube Red subscription model. Only in the Us for now but users can pay a monthly fee and get access to YouTube without any advertising causing interruptions and annoyances. YouTube has a lot of content and they also have mobile/ tablet friendly versions of their site which I think is going to be very important to running an online subscription service.

The Monthly Income Replacement Plan

So looking at the average monthly wage of people in the UK research suggests it was £2250 in 2014, now that is what they say but I know a lot of people are not making those kind of wages. Bar staff are said to only have a monthly wage of around £1200 and even actors which you would think lived a wealthy glamorous life really only roughly earn the same as bar staff each month.

There are millions of people who are doing unskilled work which certainly do not get paid more than £1200 so I am going to use that figure as the example for this article.

If you wanted to replace or generate a further £1200 a month then you would need to have 240 people paying you £5 a month. 240 sounds a lot but compared to the traffic most sites get in a month it is nothing, it is like a handful of rice from a paddy field harvest.

Remember that there are over 500 million people living in the five main English speaking nations and that does not include South Africa or the countless millions of others around the world who speak English as a second language.

main english speaking nations

How many of those people are online and might want to learn something new or be a member of an online club associated to something they love?

Getting 240 people to join and sign up is not going to be the easiest thing to do nor the fastest but it is possible especially if you deliver quality content to the right market and you give them plenty of it for the money.

In the book The Science Of Getting Rich Wallace D. Wattles said this about becoming rich and successful…

“You cannot give every man more in cash market value than you take from him, but you can give him more in use value than the cash value of the thing you take from him. The paper; ink, and other material in this book may not be worth the money you paid for it; but if the ideas suggested by it bring you thousands of dollars, you have not been wronged by those who sold it to you, they have given you a great use value for a small cash value.”

Basically what he is saying is that you need to give more value than what your customer is giving you in money for example, If I tried to sell one 30 minute DVD of me doing Yoga for £1000 I would not get any sales but if I sold a similar DVD that was over an hour long for £5.99 then I would sell more.

Not only am I giving them more to watch and do but the effects of Yoga could benefit their health for many years to come. But those benefits no matter how great they are would not justify the £1000 price tag for the first DVD especially when there are many other Yoga DVDs and books around.

Giving value to your client is the best way to go when building a profitable business and you should never forget that. If you offer something that is new, completely life changing or has a completely new unique twist then yes you probably can charge more.

ccaobjpic2

In this article ‘Why A Home Run Adult Membership Site Should Inspire You To Start Your Own (non adult) Membership’ site I wrote how a couple in Canada were charging people around $30 to access a monthly membership where they were producing very little new content each month but their clients wanted to see this one ‘specific’ action performed by this one ‘certain young woman’ and so they were willing to pay more.

If you were able to build yourself up to become a popular band or person then people might happily pay to be a member for nothing more than getting access to you, news about you and your opinions.

Remember the ‘pop star’ fan clubs that youngsters used to join back in the 1970s and 1980s? They had a small joining/membership fee to be a member and for that you would get a newsletter and maybe some signed (printed signature) posters and that was generally it but youngsters still joined and stayed joined as long as their favourite pop star was their favourite and/or making music.

So to generate £1200 a month at £5 you would need 240 paying members. £5 is not a huge amount of money, as mentioned earlier, people regularly and happily pay £5 or more on coffee, cakes, cans of pop, chocolate bars and crisps which they probably do not need.

AAF-Costa-Coffee-1

I recently spoke to my daughter who works in a popular high street coffee shop and she told me that they had a lot of regulars who would call at least once a day every day of the week and spend on average £2.80 for a medium sized drink and then many of them would also buy a biscuit, sandwich or cake.

They were spending roughly £14 – £20 a week on coffee and food…. in that one store. That is a staggering £56 – £80 a month and she also went on to say that they got a lot of young mothers, students and benefit claimants so it seems that there are many different types of people in our society with disposable income. I wouldn’t be surprised if during the month they bought food and drink from other stores too.

£5 isn’t a lot, but when money is spent on food like coffee and cake it does seem to be more justified and acceptable by most of society but it is still shows that people will spend small amounts on the things they ‘want’ and not necessarily need.

Over the course of the year £5 a month is only £60 which is nothing much at all, only two days ago I spent £20 on one takeaway meal for two of us. That one meal cost the equivalent of a third of a £60 a year membership fee. So in reality it is not a lot and there are people who will happily pay that.

The reason I decided that £5 is a good monthly price it that many people do not feel like they are losing much money if they do not visit your site often or that it is a lot to spend. It also means that if you do not deliver a ton of new content each month people do not feel cheated or under valued… after all, it is just a fiver… it is a price which I believe people think is enough to warrant a fair amount of content but if they don’t it is not a big issue or loss. It is a balanced amount.

What Can Your Online Membership Club Be About?

So now the hardest part is to find a niche or topic that you can build a site around which you can charge a membership fee for that has not been done to death already on the internet. The biggest problem I think you have to the membership model is that you can be competing against the big giants like YouTube as there are millions of videos online covering all kinds of niches for free and if music is your passion then there are loads of free music sites and again YouTube is a big player here as countless thousands of copyrighted mixes and songs get uploaded daily.

But all is not lost as sites like YouTube can be a real pain to search through as there is so much rubbish on there and people cannot always find reliable stuff so you could be the one to create an environment where people can come to your site and just find the stuff that they want to see, learn or read and that is the stuff that you provide. Also you can remove the annoying adverts and pop ups that you get with these free sites which just annoy people.

Is there something that you can teach? Is there something you know that others would pay to learn? Is there something that you can do that is entertaining and that people would love to watch/read or see and pay to see more of?

The success of a membership site is solely based on supplying something that people want to see or learn, it is as simple as that. Fail to deliver that and people will cancel and stop paying. This model is very popular in the adult niches but there are many niches and subjects that people love which they are willing to spend money to be part of an exclusive club.

spotify

The reason I chose £5 as the monthly fee is that there are a lot of big sites offering a lot of value for that price. Maybe you could charge more, for example Spotify charge £9.99 a month to access thousands of songs, you would have to go a long way to be able to offer that kind of value for entertainment unless you really niched down and focused on a specific music genre.

neflix

Netflix has a basic package at £5.99 going up to the premium at £8.99. They offer a lot of entertainment in the way of TV shows and films as well as now making their own shows so again you have to go a long way to offer value worth more but this is where being niche specific helps.

If you chose a niche like ‘off grid living’ or ‘prepping for a disaster’ then you are focusing only on one set of people who are willing to learn more and pay to learn that information too. As long as you are giving great information that is either very entertaining (think adult entertainment) or very educational then you should be able build a profitable membership that could replace your wage.

When I say educational it really does need to be educational because the web is awash with information and you need to give your paying members a little more.

When it comes to deciding what you could build the membership website around it is a good idea to write down all of the things that you love to do and the things that you can do well or know a lot about. It is possible that you can create a membership site around one or more of the things on your list.

list of passions etc

The other thing you can do is pop to the local newsagents or supermarket and see what magazines are on the shelves, there is a huge selection of magazine which are in print because people have done the market research to see if there is indeed a potential paying market out there. If it is in print then people are buying and if people are buying then there is a market.

Setting up a membership site is relatively easy, I recommend using WordPress to build your site. A nice looking WordPress theme will give your site a great look and then to create the paid membership lock I would recommend using the plugin s2Member.

s2 member

The free version allows you to take payment via PayPal and is enough for managing one membership site but there is a premium version called S2 Member Pro that allows you to use other payment gateways which for a single site license is a one of payment of $89 roughly £60.

I shall be doing more posts and videos on how to set up and run a membership site so keep your eyes open for them

the digital academy

Why Hosting Your Membership Based Tutorial Videos On YouTube Is A Great Idea

A lot of people would tell you not to host your membership or product tutorial videos on YouTube because they are open to theft and other non-paying people may see them but I am here to argue that there are benefits to putting your videos on YouTube.

Firstly, the hosting is free, there is no cost associated to having the videos on YouTube and you embed the videos on your own site so you can keep people on your site and bandwidth costs down.

It is the bandwidth costs that I want you to think about, many marketers put their videos on Amazon’s storage known as Amazon S3 which comes with a small cost. I have known people develop products and then host their training videos on Amazon S3 only to have their product ‘hacked’ and the login details placed on forums and other websites which resulted in a lot, and I do mean a lot, of people going to that product and watching the videos.

Technically the product was stolen by thousands of people, those thousands all flocked to the site over a short period of time which used up a lot of bandwidth and data resulting in the product owner getting a bill bigger than he expected. Not only that, but the hosting cost for some product owners was more than the amount they earned from selling the product.

If the product was just a low $12-20 product they were promoting on affiliate networks like JVZoo then they would be paying out 50-75% of the revenue to other people who promoted the product for them. So if sales were low, sales had to be split with affiliates and the product was shared on dodgy forums with thousands of non-paying visitors using up a lot of bandwidth then you can see why some of these guys actually lost money.

There are a lot of dodgy and unfair people around who will happily rip you off and share your products with others illegally. This can have a huge cost, not only in bandwidth and hosting costs but it is twofold because you lose revenue from sales.

You do not have any of these issues with YouTube, yes people may still hack your site and manage to share your product but it will not cost you more if it happens.

If you wanted to run a membership site and was using WordPress, a cool plugin like S2 Member will lock your site down and the videos that you add to YouTube can be set to ‘unlisted’ which means that your video is not visible to anyone on YouTube other than yourself but it allows them to be embedded on your site meaning that your paying members can watch them.

unlisted

Depending on what your niche or industry is, when a video needs to be replaced with a newer updated version the older ones can be set to ‘Public’ on YouTube meaning that YouTube users looking for certain videos might come across yours and learn more about you and your membership.

You could re make a new video each week and then release the older version to the public so you are also building up a presence on YouTube and a library of videos. If you assign an AdSense account to your YouTube channel you might even earn some extra dollars in revenue from those public videos.

monetized with ads video

Normally the ‘Unlisted’ videos that you embed on your membership would be set to not show ads but if you allowed all of your ‘unlisted’ videos to show ads, then any that were shared illegally could possibly make you money. That is a lot different than actually losing money from your videos hosted on Amazon S3 if they were stolen and shared.

It does take a lot of views to generate a lot of money on YouTube via their AdSense system but some is still better than you losing money due to theft.

The other great thing about YouTube is that if you have an account which is verified, is in ‘good standing’ and you have at least 1000 subscribers then you can set up your videos so that you get paid when people watch them or pay a subscription to access your channels.

paid for yt channels

I cannot say how good the system is or if many YouTubers are likely to pay to watch your videos on YouTube itself but it is an option. I personally believe that having a separate website where you embed the videos along with other content which people pay to access is a better method.

But, this is the mobile generation and people use apps to access social media sites like YouTube and Facebook, they no longer go to them via internet browsers like they once did so accessing YouTube for many is a lot easier than going to a website so maybe the paid YouTube option would work better for you.

As you will see below, popular TV shows are available to watch for a small price via YouTube and Google Play.

paid for tv shows

These are well known and established media companies, TV personalities and broadcasting companies selling their shows but it is possible to create something that people want to watch and would pay for. The possibility is there.

ricky gervais paid for episode

As always if you have a plan in place then you can make it work better for you, again it depends on what niche or industry you work in. Some industries might require new videos being made each week meaning that videos that were once locked behind the membership wall can go live once they are old but still good enough to be seen but some industries might not need so many updates.

Whatever type of membership you want to run there are advantages to hosting your videos on YouTube, it might not be for you but I would not dismiss it straight away. Think long and hard about it, theft is an issue online, it happens but at the same time, many people worry about it more than what actually happens in reality.

YouTube might be a better and cheaper alternative but remember, a membership has its value not only in the content you can access but the content still yet to come and if someone has paid for a month and bookmarked all of your video links or downloaded the videos using one of the many YouTube downloader tools then cancelled their membership… they will not get access to the new stuff so they usually lose out on more than what they actually gain.