Steps to consider for your Subscription based Website
Please use checklist to access if your subscription website idea has merit to be successful.
1. Objectively: Content is King -The site should offer a unique ‘experience’ and information unavailable anywhere else on the net. Usually original material written from a unique perspective. If there are other sites offering free material recently written by this same author, it can dilute the value of the subscription site. Potential subscribers believe the same material is available free elsewhere, they will not join.
2. Know your Market: The site must target a niche market with very specific information on focused subjects. It is better to have a topic with a ‘hot button’ of just 6000 people who are intensively interested, even emotionally involved, with your topic, than it is to have a topic that ‘everyone is interested in’, but no one is emotionally involved.
Keep in mind that most people make buying decisions based on emotion, not logic. Make sure your subscription website topic has a strong emotionally (as well as logical) appeal to potential subscribers.
3. Sense of Belonging: The site must offer a sense of community. Your subscribers should be made aware of a strong community who come together at this one site to share thoughts, information and opinions on the topic; which they are emotionally about. Subscribersneed to know when they become members of this community, they will be able to network with others.
4. Unique: The site must offer a sense of exclusivity. Your subscribers should feel by joining the site they will be joining an exclusive club (similar to a gated community), where only those inside the gates get to share the benefits of the gated community. Joining the site gives Subscribers access to an ‘exclusive club’ with benefits not available to Non- Subscribers, adding perceived value and appeal of the website.
5. Respect: The site must have a ‘group leader’. The site needs a “Leader” who unites the community, keeping focused on the subject matter by providing a continual supply of updated information keeping subscribers desire to continue their participate.
6. What’s in it for me: The site must have a ‘compelling reason to join’ – Even though you have all the above, unless your site gives a potential Subscribers’ a ‘compelling reason to join’. Then your chances of building subscriptions are low. Your website visitors will file the site as ‘interesting’ and leave. You want your visitor to say, “This is exactly what I have been looking for! I want to join immediately!” Creating this kind of reaction in your target market, will get you subscribers.
7. The site must follow a viable business model – If your business model requires 6000 paying Subscribers in order to break even, you are probably doomed to failure before you start. But if you have low overhead, and need only a small number of members to be profitable you have a much better chance of success.
8. Attraction: The look of the site must be immediately appealing to your visitors. Too many sites are confusing, have no overall theme, are difficult to navigate, and look ‘amateur’. When visitors reach your site, they should immediately feel comfortable with what they see.
9. Knowledge/Information: Every element on the site should give visitors a subconscious reason to join the site. Fine tune the site so that every element (especially on the front pages) gives the visitor another reason to join.
Do this by having departments and article headlines which include intriguing “HOT” headlines. Have interesting content teaser copy, begging to be clicked. When sections or articles are clicked, the visitor already has a reason to join – to see the content clicked. That’s when to display the ‘join us’ page.
If the visitor has come to your site, it is usually because they are looking for the information you offer. Make sure your main page gives them a good impression of what is within your site. Avoid the hard sell – let your content do the work for you.
10. Standardize/Computerize: The site must be easy for you to build and maintain. If done by manual coding, maintaining a content rich subscription website can be very time consuming. Add in time required to review and process all the elements of the subscription side, and the time requirements could easily exceed your resources. You can eliminate this problem by using a fully automatic content management and subscription website publishing tool.
11. Security: The site must have password sharing blocking – If a member posts their user name and password on a discussion board or news group, you could have thousands of unauthorized visitors a day using the password to get into your site. To prevent this, you must have an automated procedure to detect and immediately disable member accounts that are being used inappropriately. Ideally your subscription website management and publishing tool will do this for you.
12. Assessment: The site must have readily available reporting tools – Knowing what is going on within your subscription website is the quickest way to find and resolve problems, and provide better content to current and potential subscribers. Reports should show you where your visitors are coming from, what they are looking for, what they search for, and in general, what is going on at any moment, as well as history and developing trends at your site. And of course, you should be able to view all income transactions and all site activity records quickly.
If you get the above steps on the above checklist right, you will greatly increase your chances of success with your own ‘by subscription’ web site. But if you get just one of them wrong, you can expect problems, some quite severe.
A word about Revenue: Use a trusted method of payment collection – globally acceptable site such as PayPal can provide you with the tools you need. Using PayPal protects both you and the subscriber. In addition PayPal provides a) security for your transactions and b) complete accounting records.