Making Money from a Subscription Site
Originally, the Internet was free. It was intended as a way for people to exchange
information. Web sites were basically just text documents posted for all to see.
Over time, more and more people began entering the Internet world and posting and
looking for larger and larger amounts of information. There were enough "eyes" on
Internet sites to make them a good source of income. The sites themseleves were still
free, but often provided space for advertising among the information--much like a magazine.
In the last few years there has been another change. Ad revenue has become less
available and the demand for good information has increased dramatically. When there
is high demand and low supply, basic economics teaches us there is a place to make a profit.
As a result, many sites that once were free are now becoming "subscription" sites. You
want to see the info? You have to pay.
If you want to create a subscription site, here are some keys to success:
1. Choose your Topic Wisely
Choose a topic with high demand and low supply. The more unique and valuable the
information you provide is, the more people will pay for it.
2. Offer a Free or Reduced Trial
If you have a quality site with expanding content, one of the best ways to get
subscribers is to offer a 3 to 30 day free trial. Let people "test drive" what you are
offering. Free is best, but even a $1 membership works well.
3. Offer a Free "Reduced" version
If you are offering investment advice, for instance, you might offer some information
for free to everyone who subscribes, but save the most valuable information for your
paying subscribers. Send out your new information for free but reserve all archives in
your member's section. By going for volume with your "free" version you can leverage
the prospects for your "paid" site.
4. Automate Payment
As your subscriber list grows, you will not want to spend several days every month
simply typing in credit card info. Make sure to use a merchant account provider that
allows you to automatically re-bill your subscribers.
5. Provide a "Tour" of your site
When someone is considering joining your site, give them a clear taste of what is inside.
Even if you have a free trial, a few pages of "tour" can help you make the sale.