Membership websites are often considered one of the best approaches for making money online. The recurring revenue generated by a successful membership website is an obvious reason that these sites are so desirable, but the truth is that running a membership website is not easy. Many customers are hesitant to sign up for on-going payments, so you’ll need to offer something that makes the recurring fee a worthwhile expense for your members. And in order to keep members you’ll need to work to add new, and valuable, content on a regular basis.
While getting and keeping members is certainly a challenges, it’s the technical aspects of setting up a membership site that present the biggest problems for most entrepreneurs who are looking to go this route.
A membership website needs to be able to do a few key things:
- Allow new members to sign up
- Process payments at the time of sign up and any recurring payments
- Integrate the member accounts with the appropriate payments
- Restrict access to protected content for anyone other than active logged in members
- Provide active logged in members with the appropriate access to protected content
There are obviously other functions as well, but these are the basics. So if you want to start a membership website, how do you go about getting this set up? Of course, you could use a custom solution, but that would be very costly and/or time consuming. For the vast majority of people setting up membership websites the best option is to use an existing script or plugin that provides all of the needed functionality.
Finding the right option to power your membership website can be a challenge, but the good news is that there are more quality options than there were just a few years ago. Here are some of the leading options:
aMember Pro – aMember is a powerful, feature-rich solution that can integrate with a wide variety of content management systems. It’s probably the most popular option, in large part because it can be used with WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Magento, phpBB, vBulletin, and much more. The down side of aMember is that it can be a little complicated to set up and it can be much more than is needed for some projects. The current cost for aMember is $179.95 for lifetime access with 6 months of free updates.