How to create a membership website

Have you built an audience through your podcast, blog, or YouTube channel? Creating a membership website is a great way to start earning an independent income.


Background

I’ve had three podcasts (MegaMaker, Build & Launch, and Product People) all focused on a very specific niche. They’re for software developers, designers, and other makers who want to launch their own digital products (apps, software, courses).

Here are things I tried that didn’t work: 

Here’s what I tried that did work: 


How much revenue can you earn from a membership website?

I initially launched Product People Club as a side-project. Since then, it’s earned nearly $76,000. This is way more revenue than advertising or anything else I’ve tried:

Revenue from a paid membership website
The biggest benefit is I don’t have to chase advertisers, or try to pump up my download numbers for my podcast.

I can make the show my fans wants, and give them an opportunity to dive even deeper to the subject matter in the private forums.

I highly recommend selling annual subscriptions instead of monthly. (I actually just switched to pay once for lifetime access)

Which community platform should you choose?

Last year I tried Mightybell and it was a disaster.I had high hopes for it, especially because it had chat + mobile app built-in. But it was plagued by bugs, and had a really bad UI. It may have improved since then, but our members really didn’t like it.

For context, here are the platforms I’ve tried:

How to set up an online membership site

Here is the setup I use for my community, the Product People Club.

Memberful basically got my business back because of Discourse. They make it easy to accept payment + integrated with Discourse and MailChimp.

Once a new member signs up, they get this is the automated sequence:

How to launch a membership website

It’s very difficult to create an online community if you haven’t first built up an audience.

My recommendation: create a landing page (like this) and create a waiting list. 1,000 email addresses is a good benchmark for when to launch. Only open up 10 spots at a time, so you can personally onboard new members and get the discussion going.

Here’s some further reading:

I hope this is helpful!

Product & Traction

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Published on June 17, 2017