Membership Sites: How Your Virtual Assistant Can Help You Build One
Membership Sites: How Your Virtual Assistant Can Help You Build One
Have you thought about developing a membership site?
There are a lot of good reasons to create one – a private area for your clients, creating a knowledge portal, leveraging a new income stream… Whatever your underlying goals, there are a lot of benefits to membership sites and your virtual assistant can help you to set up and run them.
The success of any membership site depends upon how well you set it up and manage it.
Here are a few things to know about membership sites and where your VA can help:
Why build a membership site?
Here are five great benefits of membership sites:
- Membership sites are about building relationships with people and delivering meaningful value to them. When you’re able to do those things well, you generate goodwill among members and a sense of loyalty toward you. Eventually, you can build your own community.
- They can help you to build a pre-qualified audience for other things you might offer.
- They can be a source of reliable, recurring income (if yours is a paid membership site). While they do take work to maintain, they are easily scalable. You build your membership numbers and all content you create remains as assets to your site.
- Membership sites can help you to share your knowledge and build authority in an area.
- They can provide a valuable space for your customers to connect with you, manage their account, find out what they need to know or connect with others. Many service-based businesses use membership site software to manage their clients.
The bottom line? When you create a membership site, it should be carefully executed so that it delivers value and your members want to be there.
What do you need to build your membership site?
First of all, you need to have a good “why” for building your membership site. What are the benefits to members? What value will you deliver that will draw them in and encourage them to keep using the site? It’s a good idea to map out a plan of what your site will offer and how it will operate. You need to have an enticing “hook” for a membership site model to work.
Secondly, you need to build a user-friendly site. Members should easily be able to operate the website and find what they need, otherwise, they will be discouraged from coming back. Your virtual assistant can be an excellent resource for helping you to build and maintain a membership site. They’re not web developers or coders, but they can help with the key tools that you use to put the site together.
Here are some of the main tools that we operate with on membership sites:
Wix is a website building platform that allows you to develop virtually any type of website. You can either choose from their template designs or build from scratch using their drag and drop editor.
People often wonder about the difference between WordPress vs. Wix – one of the most obvious is that WordPress is open source, while Wix is not. This means that WordPress coding is open for anyone to use and modify. Wix only allows their private development team to create website building tools.
There are pros and cons for each – open source can give you more flexibility in terms of functionality, however, it means you have no guarantees of the reliability of what you’re getting, or that the developer will fix it if it goes wrong. Wix gives you less flexibility, however, they are expanding their apps market all the time, providing extra functionality to websites. If anything goes wrong, then the Wix team has to work on a fix.
Another key difference is that Wix websites must be hosted by Wix – you can’t transfer them anywhere else. This adds a certain element of risk – if Wix were to shut down tomorrow, you’d lose your website. On the other hand, if you have a WordPress.org site, you can host it wherever you like and do anything you like to the site. If your current host were to shut down, you could transfer to another.
To create a Wix membership site, you will either already have a members area included with apps you are using (such as Wix Blog or Wix Forum), or you follow the instructions in the screenshot below. This is the sort of thing that your virtual assistant can help you with.
As we highlighted in the previous section, WordPress is a very flexible platform for building a website. It’s also one of the most commonly used. To be clear, it’s helpful to know the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org. The former hosts a website for you but limits what you can do in terms of themes and plugins, while the latter is where you download the WordPress software and can use it to build a site from scratch, with your choice of theme and plugins that you host anywhere you like.
WordPress can be a bit more of a learning curve than a site builder like Wix, but you do get access to more different features if you need them. To build a WordPress membership site, you start out the same way you do with any WordPress site, with a theme and the right plugins to get it going. (Check a theme site like Themeforest and you will find a lot of options).
Some popular plugins include; MemberPress, LearnDash, Teachable and Restrict Content Pro. If you sell products using WooCommerce, you might also like to look into their membership plugins. Your virtual assistant can help you with setting up plugins on your website.
Weebly is another website builder in a similar vein to Wix. People often wonder about Weebly vs. Wix, and there are a few differences and similarities to note:
- Wix lets you drag and drop everything. Weebly has a drag and drop editor, but it’s more structured – you can’t just move everything.
- Weebly has a smaller collection of tailored templates, however lets you purchase external templates, while Wix does not.
- Weebly has more in-house tools than Wix, but less tools for customization.
- Weebly has a wider selection of apps than Wix.
With an app such as Paid Members, you can transform your Weebly website into a membership site.
Squarespace is another website builder platform that is quite popular. Of course, we get the Wix vs. Squarespace question a lot. Here are a few comparisons:
- Wix tends to be viewed as easier to work with, especially for website newbies (although Squarespace has worked to improve previous UX issues).
- Squarespace offers more design flexibility. You can change anything and can access coding through Squarespace Developer.
- Squarespace supports multiple levels of access (such as admin and contributors) while Wix does not.
While you’ll read about free “hacks” for creating a membership site with Squarespace, a lot (such as password-protecting pages) are really not practical. Consider what you’ll do if or when people share passwords, and if they lose them too.
Clickfunnels is another website builder tool that we often work with. Unlike other website builders, Clickfunnels’ focus is on anything that can be marketed or sold. Its basis is the idea of the “sales funnel,” a model of the customer journey from introduction to purchase with a company.
You don’t need any additional apps or tools to build a membership site with Clickfunnels – they have membership funnels built in as an option with their “build funnel” tool. Our virtual assistants work with Click Funnels a lot and are adept at creating new funnels, including those for membership sites.
A membership site can be a valuable asset to your business. The key is to have a good plan to deliver value (and deliver every time someone logs in). Build your site with the right tools to aid the customer experience.
A virtual assistant can help with many tasks that set up your membership site, or keep it going (check out our bonus download for more ideas!)
You don’t need a whole lot of complicated tools – the options we’ve listed here require varying degrees of skill and knowledge, but all can be up and running fairly quickly.
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