Saturday, November 2, 2013

How to Learn Membership Site-Building From Scratch

Getting Your Membership Started from Nothing - Getting Your Feet Wet...

 photo:makelessnoise, on Flickr
photo:makelessnoise, on Flickr

The trick with being completely transparent is that you are committed to travel the road you chose.

For me, it's not enough to poke holes in the Great Mike Dillard effigy, but I have to test his scene out and walk my talk.

I can tell you one thing - the technical backend of a membership isn't for the faint-hearted.

The story begins with setting up a Wordpress installation - which is pitifully simple by itself.

  1. Go to your Cpanel login (http://{]/cpanel)
  2. Maneuver down to Fantastico.
  3. Find Wordpress
  4. Install following the instructions.
The next thing I wanted to do was to get Insta-Member, which was based on it's hype. Unfortunately, the front page is out of date on the site itself - saying that you can only sign up for an email list. (Which I did, later.)

Being the geek I am, I did find an order page, and submitted my order via PayPal. Unfortunately, I'm still waiting 18 hours later. Probably should have gone thorugh an affiliate site to give them the commission. Later today, if I haven't received the plug-in, I will. (But then will have to get a refund for the original purchase [sigh.]) [Update: Found that the download link was on the confirmation I got from Clickbank - at the top of the page. I'm on the install now - look for my next post to see what happens...]

While I was waiting last night, I started poking around for alternatives - and immediately got swamped with all the various price-ranges and options. (It's a wild forest out there.)

Since none of these really matched up with the promises of Insta-Member, I went back to see what the free plug-in's offered.

Found one by the WPMU-DEV community, called "Membership." 

To get this, you 
  1. go into your Wordpress Installation by logging in as admin.
  2. Go to Plug-ins
  3. Click Add New
  4. Search for "membership"
  5. Click on their plug-in out of the 2 pages of choices, and it will install simply.
What this does is to give you a working membership instantly. 

Now the fun begins.

You're now officially immersed in the detail-enriched world of a new learning curve.


The reason I've gone through this and am showing you, is so you can see what you're up against. 

But this will get you started right off with no expense other than the time you need to invest.

- - - -

However, I won't be going there. 

Why? Well, it's not that I can't maneuver through this and set it up. I'll probably play around with this to get the feel of it, and leave it up for awhile to compare features. 

It's missing two key points:
  • Split-testing
You want to be able to constantly improve your landing and sales pages, as well as opt-in forms.
You also want to be able to instantly make all your subscribers into affiliates. This is an old Jay Abraham trick - you turn all your clients into evangelists and pay them for working for you. (This doesn't replace plugging in one or several external affiliate distributors into your membership - getting them to find your membership is indeed key.) Being able to communicate directly with your own affiliates and check their performance is key.

This is the one drawback to Wishlist that Mike Dillard originally set up Elevation Group on - it has only external affiliate program integration.
  • A third would be a theme with pre-built pages to get you started (which Insta-Member promised.)
The membership plugin has a low-cost upgrade which has a huge set of templates that come with the expanded capability. (Still doesn't fix the first two points, though...)
  • Almost forgot: autoresponder integration
Probably more key than thought. You want to add your members to your mailing list for cross-sells and maintain that relationship.

- - - -

This simple set up will get you started from scratch - and you can get going with just this if you want.

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