Since January I’ve spent a ton of time creating courses and products around my books and blogs. I even wrote the first draft of my next book while creating an online course. I’m also working on new products and membership sites. Not all of these projects are complete, although a few are. Yet, at this point, I am convinced that if you blog and you want to monetize your blog, you want to learn about membership sites.
Membership sites don’t have to be something a reader pays for to access. They can simply provide you with a way to offer great information to blog readers from a different—private—platform. And from there you can later ask those interested readers to possibly purchase products or join a paid membership site.
You can also use a membership site as a way to simply “host” your products. It gives you a great way to only give certain people—those who purchase something—access to the information you want them to get.
Why Authors Should Should Use Membership Site Technology
As an author, I have found that creating courses from my books, or even from books in progress, can be quite profitable. Readers like to utilize books turned into online courses or home-study courses. If you teach as you write, you can solidify your ideas and bounce them off potential readers. Additionally, you can even write as you teach. That’s what I did with my current project, The Author’s Training Manual. I created Author Training 101 by teaching the course to my students, recording those sessions, and then providing the students with text each week, which consisted of my first draft of the book. (Yes, it was a bit of a mess, but some even stuck around to read the second draft, and almost all provided me with invaluable feedback on that text.)
Books don’t tend to make most author’s rich. If you write nonfiction, courses created from your books can add a nice income. Plus, you can run coaching or consulting businesses from these members-only sites as well as sell other products and services.
Products for Creating Online Courses and Membership Sites
There are a variety of different products you can use to create membership sites. Many people have used Ning, SubHub, SocialGo, MemberGate and Wild Apricot, but if you use WordPress.org you will likely want to look at Wishlist or Premise by CopyBlogger.
When I decided to take the plunge and create some courses using a members-only tool, I purchased Premise. I wouldn’t say this is the most user-friendly plugin. I tried making it work on my own, but in the end, I admit, I sought out some help to get it up and running. It was just a tad complicated. However, once set up, it’s a dream! (I still need help fairly often, and, when I do, I employ Kathleen Craig of www.thegoodgirlsguide.com.)
Here’s a short video I created for SocialMediaExaminer.com a few months ago. It gives you a peak at how Premise can work on your blogs. Since then, I’ve begun to create more product and sales pages. (In fact, I’ll be releasing a new product in less than a week using Premise called “How to Build a Business Around a Blog.”)
Premise for Pages, Sites and Courses
Premise lets you create great landing pages, sales pages and content pages, provide secure login credentials to members, sell products, tie into a variety of email service and digital product providers and let members pay for your products with PayPal or credit cards.
If you don’t want to produce courses, Premise gives you a way to have your blog readers become members of your “private” site. There you can offer great free content in addition to what is on your blog. Later, you can encourage members to upgrade to a paid membership site. This is the current trend for those wanting to monetize their blogs.
I like Premise because it comes from CopyBlogger. They are constantly producing products that help bloggers do their work in the most efficient manner. I trust the product and the company it comes from.
Plus, Premise helps you increase the chances your blog readers become customers and clients. If you’d like to find out more about how to use Premise, you can gain access to a repay of a 1-hour webinar on “How to Use Membership Sites to Build a Business Around Your Blog” with Kathleen Craig when you purchase my course, How to Build a Business Around Your Blog. It contains a 1-hour webinar/video and a workbook that helps you create an actual plan for creating books, products and services around your blog. Plus, you get a bonus from Kathleen that helps you brainstorm ideas for membership sites. To find out more or to purchase How to Build a Business Around Your Blog, click here.