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DO NOT Create a 'Membership Site'

(Originally penned as a guest post for 97dollarebooks.com )

Some of you may know that I’ve written “The Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Start A Membership Site”, and the ebook “Start a Membership Site in 24 Hours!”. I’m also the crazy programmer who created the Micro-Membership WordPress plugin – the same software that Donna is using do demolish the abominable Alchemist.

So, why would would I tell you NOT to create a “membership site” – especially when this BattleDome challenge is all about membership sites? It could be:

  • because I’m crazy – a conclusion that most folks who know me came to some time ago.
  • because I’m misleading you – nope. I’m being straight-up with you… honest!
  • because I don’t really mean what you think I mean.

Ahhh… there it is. I don’t really mean that you should give up on membership sites. I certainly don’t want people to do that. But, the problem as I see it is that we’ve gotta stop calling them “membership sites”. So, today, from the halls of the world renown BattleDome, I issue this proclamation:

Ok, I’ll be the first to admit GOPWAECTWYOWPYRFALAYCDVTT doesn’t roll off the tongue quite so nicely as “membership site”, but it does describe precisely what’s necessary for a successful site.

  1. Create a Community – a successful site will always be about community. Individuals will come because they identify with your offer. But they’ll return over and over again because they find a community of like-minded personalities. Make sure your membership site not only builds a relationship between you and your members, but allows them to create their own relationships, and their own unique community.
  2. Create an Emotional Connection – Find out a way to have people connected emotionally with your offer. It’s no surprise that two of the most profitable internet product niches are weight loss and relationships. There are strong emotions at play with each of those. No matter what your product is, make sure what your members and potential members see is a product that is emotionally appealing.
  3. Entertaining Problem Solving – Your members and prospective members are looking for just two things. There’s either a problem they need to have solved (lose weight, repair a relationship) or they want to be entertained. You saw the latter superbly portrayed in the movie “Julie & Julia” where a struggling writer creates a successful blog about her year making recipes from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. She didn’t solve many problems for her readers. She did, however, entertain them with creative and witty insights into cooking and into life. So, solve a problem or entertain. And, if you can manage to entertain while you’re solving problems – then so much the better!
  4. Repeated, long-term perceived value – When you call your product a “membership site”, you’ll usually start thinking of your site as a single entity – like the standard, “one-shot” product… and that’s not a good thing. Instead, think of your site as a series of high value products that you’ll deliver to your members on a predetermined schedule. Each “product” should create an emotional connection with your members while at the same time solving a problem, providing entertainment, or both.

Sounds good, right? But what does this have to do with the Micro-Membership plugin Donna is using?

Well, first let’s start with your delivery mechanism. You need some platform for creating and deploying great GOPWAECTWYOWPYRFALAYCDVTTs… a way to collect, maintain, and distribute the entertaining, problem-solving, emotionally attractive product you’re offering.

Bloggers have been creating GOPWAECTWYOWPYRFALAYCDVTTs for years using the superb WordPress platform. That’s because WordPress has everything you’ll need to deliver emotionally attractive, compelling, entertaining information. With WordPress you:

  • have a first class content management tool that lets you add, change, and manage your content in an effective, efficient manner.
  • Automatically create search engine friendly content
  • have nearly unlimited flexibility in your sites design and “look and feel”
  • can use Web 2.0 strategies (forums, chats, comments, messaging, etc.) to enhance your communities

And the best part of all is that with WordPress, you get all of this great stuff for FREE!

The only thing lacking from the GOPWAECTWYOWPYRFALAYCDVTT formula is a way to have your visitors pay for the WordPress content you’re delivering and a means to protect that WordPress content from moochers who haven’t paid for access.

That’s where Micro-Membership comes in. Micro-Membership is a simple, WordPress plugin that adds:

  • A Fully Automated Membership System which handles the all the mundane, membership tasks like user registration, confirmation of payment, account activation.
  • Five (5) Membership Levels (Free, Standard (Paid), Premium, Executive, and Elite) which lets you create “premium” content and charge more for it.
  • Content Teasers and Content Protection – the teasers are great for snagging search engine traffic
  • Gradual Content Delivery – also called “content dripping”, this feature protects you from subscribers who’ll sign in, grab all your content, and take off
  • Full affiliate support – recruit an army of ClickBank affiliates to help you promote your new membership site
  • Licensed to be used on an unlimited number of your personally owned domains

Pair up the protection and payment processing of Micro-Membership with the content management features in WordPress, and you’ve got a highly-functional, low-cost solution for creating compelling, emotionally attractive, entertaining, problem solving GOPWAECTWYOWPYRFALAYCDVTTs that your members – and your PayPal account – will love.

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