Two Basic Membership Web Site Models
There are primarily two basic membership site types, which can then be expanded to the
way the site delivers their content. The two basic models are free sites or paid for sites.
The common denominator between these two types membership site types is that the memberships
consist of people sharing a common interest or have a common need. Which ever you choose, free
or paid you will have to decide on how members will join and the code of conduct you will accept
in your membership site.
Deciding whether to use the free or paid membership website model is very important and
depends upon your objectives and how you want to operate your member site. If you intend to
do this for profit, those profits on a free site could come from sales to members after they
join the site.
You can buy a domain, set up a website and not charge for memberships but choose who
to admit and who not to admit. Or you can set up a site on established network.
Examples of established network sites to create a membership include Yammer Groups on
MSN, and groups on Yahoo, Mighty Networks and Tribe, and of course there's always Facebook Groups.
It costs nothing to set up a community on these sites up and there is no charge for a
person to join. Though Mighty Networks does have the option to make yours a paid site.
And there are really so many possible topics for your member site that you could have
trouble deciding on which topic to choose. There are many topics for just "support" sites which
can run the gamut from people with health issues or health concerns to people who've suffered
the loss of loved ones.
There are sites for people who are into hobbies like quilting or woodworking. Sites for
people who love to travel, or love certain activities like rock climbing, etc. There are sites
for different age groups from teens to seniors.
The sites can offer members the ability to chat using chat software and the ability to
post pictures, documents and links. Free sites don't normally provide access to things like
specialized data or lists or things like structured music lessons, or painting lessons.
Paid membership sites, set up by businesses or individuals, primary objective is producing
profits by delivering hard to find information or simply information that's out there but provided
in a manner that is easy to easy for the members to absorb. The topics for paid for membership
sites can be even more varied than the free sites and most certainly are more specialized.
Paid member sites can give access to specialized data or lists, or instruction in a wide
variety of areas from musical instruments, computer programs (like WordPress plugins). How
to sites that might give instruction on getting the most from, say, Facebook advertising, etc.
Beyond the differences noted above between the free and paid for membership web site
model, the operational differences is in the manner in which your information is delivered.
Eight Methods of Content Delivery for Member Sites
Drip Feed Model: Members are given access to content at regular intervals. Makes it
easier for each member to digest the information and helps to retain members because they know
more is coming.
Immediate Full Access Model: Here members get full access to all everything as soon as
they join. Good for members who don't like waiting for what's next,to learn at their own pace.
More content should be added on a regular basis so members know more of the good stuff is coming.
Fixed Time Frame Model: Membership is for a fixed period - say from a week to a year.
At the end of the time frame membership is over. For example a 30 day weight loss program,
or a six month how to rebuild an engine.
Online Courses Model: This would include training resources like video's, audios for
lectures, tests to cement what has been learned thus far, downloadable content (PDF's, MP3's,
etc). This could be delivered as a Drip Feed or Full Access model.