One of the most enduring and profitable business models in Internet marketing has to be the membership site. These can be created in nearly every market, and are usually good for quite some time, unless they’re built about technology that becomes obsolete, and even then they may still keep on truckin’! In general, it’s a good idea to make your membership sites about something you either have a great interest or expertise in, so that you don’t lose interest. This is not a commitment you can just bail on easily, so understand you’re in for the long haul!
Also, think about your market when considering how you’ll make money from the site in ways other than the membership fees. Is it a good topic for Adsense or other contextual ad platforms? Can you sell independent ads there? Affiliate products? Your own products?
You can set up membership sites with relative ease, even using WordPress plugins and PayPal for the ultimate in simplicity. There are many other options as well that you can purchase that can create great a looking and fully functional membership site sometimes in less than an hour! You’ll also need to decide how you want members to pay. Is this a one-time fee or a monthly model? Most membership site packages help facilitate this.
Once you’ve got the necessaries out of the way, you’re left with the hardest part: the content. It’s not that your subject is all that demanding (though it may be!), but rather that you’re expected to deliver new and fresh content on a regular basis. Don’t deliver, and you’ll find people leaving in droves. Take the time to plan out your content strategy and then either do it yourself, or outsource this task. If you do the latter, make sure you give your outsourcer as much information as possible to come up with great content for your members. Also, be sure to give them enough lead time as well, in case anything needs to be reworked.
Finally, when you’re all set, be sure to allow some time to promote the launch of your site. Send out a press release (or several!), announce it to any lists you may have, any forums you frequent, and perhaps buy some paid ads. Consider a JV partner if you are comfortable with the payout or you don’t have a list to market to.
A membership site can be a great vehicle to not only make some really good, semi-passive monthly income, but also a terrific tool for branding yourself as an authority in your niche market. Sounds like a plan to me!