Running a membership website is definitely among the best ways to earn a consistent online income. If you create a WordPress membership site that attracts quality traffic and offers valuable content to visitors, you can reap quite a few benefits.
WordPress is very user-friendly and flexible, allowing you to follow your vision and build a great concept around your membership website. On your website, you can sell access to online courses, a range of downloadable products, as well as private communities.
However, a number of people who run such websites face a number of challenges and end up making mistakes that prevent them from achieving success and earning the profit they want. After some time, they usually become frustrated about the fact that no one wants to be a member on their website, so they give up on the idea altogether.
So, what are the most common mistakes that you should avoid when creating a membership site and what are the best ways to fix them? Find out how to create a WordPress membership website below.
Mistake #1 – Choosing the wrong WordPress theme
If you choose a website theme that doesn’t fit the purpose of your website or one which lacks certain features like mobile responsiveness, you will attract very few members.
When picking a theme, consider the following theme elements, as they can help you make the right choice:
– Style and design
Pick a few websites that you like and make a list of things they get right. This includes page layouts, colors, visual elements, etc.
– Page builders
Some of the best WordPress themes include page builders or visual composers that can be of great help when you want to build interesting page layouts easily.
One way or another, you will have to deal with code, so it is very possible to run into issues. Be careful with your themes and plugins and always check if there are any known incompatibilities.
– Skill level
Are you a WordPress expert or just a newbie? If you are an expert, then working with more complex themes will be a breeze for you. However, if you have just started, it’s better to look for a theme that requires a minimum amount of customization.
Mistake #2 – Using poor-quality tools
Everybody knows that WordPress is a free and open-ended content management system. Many people choose it because it is free, and that is perfectly fine. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that all the tools you use should be free of charge, as this is not the best road to take.
If you use only free resources and tools, there is a much higher probability that things will stop working at some point. So, steer clear of free themes, free email responders, and so on. For your peace of mind and your users’ optimal experience, it is best to pay for tools you are going to use if they serve a critical purpose on your website.
Plugins are among the most important tools that you will use while building and maintaining your site. When choosing plugins, make sure you consider the following aspects:
– Ease of use
Plugins can be lightweight (with only essential features) or full-featured (with plenty of features that can help you create amazing and complex functions).
– Compatibility with theme
To check whether your membership plugin is compatible with your theme, test in your local WordPress install. If it’s compatible, go ahead and use it, but if it’s not, it’s better to look for another plugin.
Mistake #3 – Bad UX
A membership site is created for members, right? It doesn’t take much wisdom to realize that. However, there are so many websites on the web that offer terrible user experience.
To offer the best experience to your visitors, make sure that you make things work. It’s that simple.
Broken links, too large images, unresponsive website, and bad contact forms – all these will encourage your visitors to leave your website. So, instead of sitting there and doing nothing, you need to do your best to optimize user experience.
This includes fixing all your links, adding functional contact form plugins, compressing your images without reducing too much of their quality, etc.
Mistake #4 – Not planning your content structure
A majority of membership websites are created with the goal of educating their members on particular topics. This is a good enough reason to allow your visitors to get to the content on your site fast, which means that you should have a clear content structure on the website.
Your members want to learn, so your task is not to make things difficult for them, but easy. That is why your user interface needs to be simple. Website navigation has to be clear and lead your visitors to the content they are looking for.
If your website offers three different sublevels of navigation, you can say goodbye to your members.
But it’s not only about the navigation. You also need to choose the right content format, which will depend on what you teach. Still, whatever the field, make sure your content is organized based on subtopics or content format.
Once this is done, get your interface tested by a few people to check if it is really as simple as you think it is.
Finally, if you want to go a step further in creating your membership site, create members-only content. This content should be tagged as premium to mark a clear difference between your paying and non-paying members.
Mistake #5 – Not using a CRM system
Boosting sales and strengthening relationships with customers should be the primary goal of every small business. And as you probably know, this is impossible without a good CRM (customer relationship management) system.
A CRM is a management software tool that helps you store, organize, and manage your lead and customer information in one place – names, email addresses, phone numbers, and any additional correspondence information. Also, using a quality CRM helps your sales team as a task management tool for the overall sales process.
What are the things your CMS should have?
– Cloud-based client management
Your CRM has to be accessible to your entire team no matter what device they are using or the location they are working from.
– Pipeline management
Controlling the accessed and shared data, helping people to convert without forgetting a single step, sending out automatic emails based on behavior, etc. – you can do all this with a good CRM.
– Contact profiles
Finally, you need to have a profile of each person that shows interest in your business, including their name, email, phone number, and other information. This allows you to easily get in touch with your contacts when you need to.
Bonus tip – Test and fix
Whatever you do on your journey to creating a great membership website, you need to understand that this journey will be a long and challenging process. Don’t get frustrated when you get a phone call or an email from your users telling you something’s wrong.
Instead, be grateful for these situations, as your customers’ feedback is invaluable. It helps you see things from another perspective and put yourself in the mindset of your visitors. Be patient and don’t expect to do everything correctly the first time.
Instead, always test and fix what doesn’t work. That is the only way to success.