Thinking Of Running A Membership Website?

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Imagine having a large number of people willing to pay you a monthly fee to have access to your website -- and have this group increase in size every day. Even with a small monthly fee, a membership website becomes more and more profitable as your membership grows. This is why a membership website can be considered the ultimate Internet business. However it is not necessarily an easy business to set up and it takes a lot of market research to gauge the potential size of the market and coming up with a unique idea to capture peoples’ interests enough to pay a membership fee.

There are plenty of successful membership websites though, and this is a growing area with an estimated increase in membership sites by over 500 percent in the last few years -- if you can find the right idea and a large enough group of people to make it profitable, you have the basis of a very successful business. You will also find that as your membership grows, you will find a variety of opportunities to create other products and service to offer your members. It might also be possible to set up an affiliate program and once you have a large list, you attract the attention of marketers willing to pay to advertise on your site.

Paid or free membership?

There are two models, paid membership and free membership sites. Paid membership sites depend on a group of people who pay you a monthly, quarterly or annual membership fee in order to access your information and services. Fees vary widely and can vary from just a few dollars to over $200 depending on the exclusivity and quality of the service they are getting. If you have a successful paid membership site, you can expect to retain your members -- sometimes for many years – plus you will see an increase in your membership list every month. This amounts to a potentially very lucrative business and one that will develop equity value for the future.

Free membership sites also make money but not from membership fees. These sites make money by selling products and services to opt in subscribers and by affiliate marketing. Statistically, as your list of members or subscribers grows, you can expect to make more sales.

A hybrid of both of these models is a membership site where free membership is offered to everyone with an option to upgrade to a paid membership in return for an enhanced service or more exclusive information. For example, most dating sites will let you survey limited information on a few of their members for free to give you a taste of what they have to offer, but you have to pay a membership fee to be able to contact people through the site or post your own profile.

All of these models depend on you constantly updating your website and adding new information, news and services. The success of your business also depends on the trust and the relationship you develop with your members.