Many Internet marketers are turning to membership sites as a way of earning recurring cash. Membership sites can be great for bringing in money month after month, with very little extra work required to maintain them.
A membership site is a site that’s password protected, and generally requires users to pay a monthly fee. Most membership sites are protected by special scripts that handle the managing of the usernames and passwords of members. They also take care of canceling members whose payments don’t go through, or members who cancel manually.
Starting a membership site is relatively simple. You need a script, a billing provider, and content. The script will generally take care of the billing, member management, and protection of the members’ area.
All you need to do is set up the script, add a billing provider such as PayPal, and add content to the members’ area. One thing to keep in mind with regards to billing is that if you use PayPal, the most popular form of billing for most Internet marketers, you’ll have a harder time selling your membership site later if you ever want to.
Many marketers get burned out with their membership site, or they need money quickly for something. Selling a membership site with members can bring in pretty good cash. PayPal doesn’t have any way to transfer payments to other accounts, and that’s a big problem when it comes to selling a membership site.
If you’re using PayPal, you’ll either have to continue accepting payments yourself (then send them to the new owner), or you’ll have to cancel all of the members and ask them to sign up again under the new owner.
If you continue accepting the payments yourself, you could end up with problems with your PayPal account if the new owner does anything to violate PayPal’s TOS, or if they stop updating and members start complaining to PayPal.
If you ask members to sign up under the new owner, many of them may decide to just cancel their membership. You can always have the new owner bribe members by offering them a bonus like a free month or a special upgrade if they sign up under the new owner, but some members will probably still cancel.
This is why it may be better to try to find other billing alternatives. Unfortunately, there really aren’t very many available. CCBill is one billing company that makes it easier to transfer memberships, but they aren’t used by most membership scripts, and they require a lot of paperwork to get started.
ClickBank offers recurring transactions now, but there aren’t currently a lot of scripts that support it, and cancellations generally have to be done manually. Getting members is probably the only truly difficult part of managing a membership site.
The best way to get members is to run an affiliate program and have other people bring in members for you. You can also get members by running PPC ads, advertising on forums, posting ads to relevant magazines and newspapers, and forming strategic partnerships and JVs with other webmasters.
As you get more members, your monthly income will continue to grow, and you’ll have money coming in each month. You’ll just need to continue delivering whatever it is you promised your members and subscriptions will stay on a steady increase!