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How to Create a Membership Website to Grow Your Blogging Income

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If you’re no longer earning more than what you’re getting as a blogger, then you must find another way to make more money.

Aside from affiliate marketing and paid ads, you need to consider setting up a membership site.

Creating a membership section on your blog, however, involves different factors you must consider to always attract new members.

In this post, you will get a detailed step-by-step process on how to create a membership website and generate residual income on a consistent basis.

Why set up a membership site?

A membership site is a departure from your blogging days when you just write posts promoting your affiliate links and driving traffic to them.

However, blogging can only get you so far. There will come a point when you’ll exhaust all money-making opportunities for your blog.

Therefore, below are the reasons a membership site is a viable option to pursue once you’ve plateaued from making money through blogging:

  • Turn your expertise into an income stream – A membership site allows you to monetize your content as a subject matter expert. Turn content that answers your audience’s pain points into exclusive courses that people will want to buy.
  • Build an army of devoted followers – Provide members with valuable content regularly. This will cause them to stick around and pay the price of admission because they believe in you.
  • Generate income passively – By developing a subscription-based membership, you can earn money based on how many people are signing up to your site.

Examples of membership sites that grew from being a blog

Nathan Gotch is an SEO freelancer who used his blog to publish case studies to sell his services in search optimization

gotch 2014

Through the years, he turned his knowledge into one of the most popular SEO courses on the planet:

gotch 2018

Darren Rowse of ProBlogger set up his blog in 2005 for the same reason – discuss the latest trends in his space of expertise: blogging.

problogger 2005

While running ProBlogger, he also ran a digital photography blog where he implemented affiliate marketing strategies to earn from his blog posts.

dps 2007

If you can see on the menu, Darren is already offering photography courses on the blog as already as 2007.

Soon enough, he did the same thing on ProBlogger – offer membership and courses to help newbie bloggers set up a blog and make money off it.

problogger 2018

Nathan and Darren are top bloggers and experts in their respective fields who leveraged the power of membership sites to create an additional stream of income.

How to create a membership website

If you want to replicate their success and create a membership website of your own, below are the steps you need to do:

1. Determine your expertise

It is important that you choose a single topic as the focal point of your membership site. You want to create resources for members that allow them to solve problems and issues about that topic.

By zeroing in on that topic, you develop laser-focused content for your members.

Going back to your blog, look at posts you’ve written and have generated lots of traffic and shares. Also, consider how comfortable you are writing these posts.

You then need to qualify the topics to find the best one to use for your site. Brainstorm for problems and issues that people have about each.

To help you break down the topics. use the tools below:

  • AnswerThePublic – find the different questions people are asking related to the topic.
  • Keyword Revealer – Find how many people are searching for the question on search engines. The more average searches, the better!
  • Quora – Find answers from the users of this Q&A site to the questions. Compile and use them as talking points for your membership site.

Once you’ve used the tools on the different topics you have, find the ones with the most questions and search volumes for each. You will then have your topic for your membership site.

2. Develop content based on your expertise

Creating content for your membership site shouldn’t be different from writing a blog post. This time, however, go the extra mile by providing value to your paying members.

Make it as easy-to-read and actionable to them. If you want to share a process that requires people to follow instructions, use screenshots and guide them by the hand to ensure that they get the process right. Better yet, create videos of yourself doing the process to leave nothing to the imagination.

You will also need to create supplementary content to help make your members accountable in following through with the process. Read this article to understand what those types of content are.

3. Use a platform to set up your membership site

When choosing a membership software, consider the following:

  • Makes accepting and adding members easy
  • Manages member payments like a breeze and send them payment receipts
  • Has an event and calendar registration to help keep members in the loop of what’s to come
  • Creates a hub for high-paying members where they can access exclusive content
  • Accepts donations (for non-profit organizations)

There are lots of membership platforms offering different features. In your case, it’s a matter of finding one that caters to your needs. You may undergo a trial-and-error process to find the best platform for you.

4. Prelaunch

To ensure the success of your membership website, you need to create buzz and anticipation for it.

One of the best ways to do this is to find a group of people – your target audience, in particular – and give them free access to your site. Find those who hold a certain level of influencer. i.e. mid-level bloggers, etc. In exchange, request for a testimonial about your membership and how good it is.

Feature their positive reviews on the landing page of your membership site to encourage more sign-ups!

freelance writers den

Here’s an example at Freelance Writers Den.

There are other ways you can proceed with your prelaunch. Read this post for more information.

5. Promote your site

You need to market your site to your target audience to increase member sign-ups. To do this, you must rely on some of the tactics below:

  • SEO – Optimize the landing pages of your membership site for transactional keywords.
  • Content marketing – Use your blog to create posts that will refer visitors to your membership website.
  • Social media – Share your membership site across platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and more.
  • Email marketing – Create drip campaigns to warm up your subscribers and convert them into paying members.

Implementing these tactics might be too much for you. You can delegate these task to a service provider like Trafficora so you can delegate them to professionals instead of doing them yourself.

What others tips and advice can you share with others readers of this post on how to create a membership website? Chime in by commenting below!

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Christopher Jan Benitez is a freelance writer for hire who provides actionable and useful web content to small businesses and startups. In his spare time, he religiously watches professional wrestling and finds solace in listening to '80s speed metal.

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The Anatomy of an Effective Business Continuity Plan for Bloggers and Brands

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In a perfect world, disasters would announce themselves with 3-5 business days before making an appearance. But alas, no such world exists, and crises tend to show up with no warning. For online business, brands, and even bloggers, this can come in many shapes and forms.

Everything from in-home/office issues to computer repair, or even customer data being hacked. When it comes to running a business, everything is up in the air and there is no telling what the next day may hold.

According to the US Bureau of Labor, 93 percent of companies that suffer a significant data loss are out of business within five years.

Nobody likes when that happens, and there’s little you can do to prevent deadlocks unless you can anticipate every scenario in which things could go wrong. But there is something you can do to make your life easier should a crisis emerge. We’re talking about a business continuity plan.

This type of pre-planning and security, is the same type of ‘insurance’ every business should have — which is also for piece of mind as well. You may never need such a plan or policy in place, but it’s often best to ‘be safe, than sorry‘.

It’s not something people like to think, but they should. A good business continuity plan can allow you to power through disasters, make a comeback, and continue your growth journey. And this guide can help you create a great one.

What Sort of Disasters Are We Talking about?

First of all, it’s worth determining what instances call for a business continuity plan. Right off the bat, you should know that it doesn’t apply if your crisis has to do with a public relation blunder or lousy customer service. If this is the disaster you’re facing right now, then you need a new (and better) communication strategy to improve your image.

A business continuity plan, however, can help you through those instances where there’s physical damage that can impair you from functioning Fires, floods, hurricanes, hacking, and other similar events that can put you out of business, at least for a while.

As such, the plan will outline the procedure you or your team will have to take. The idea is that following these steps can keep your business afloat, as well as protect your assets.

The Anatomy of a Good Business Continuity Plan

If you don’t have one already, then it’s time you start thinking of one. The first step would be to analyze your business and identify its processes, vulnerabilities, and estimate the potential losses in case of a disruption.

Then, follow these simple steps to lay out the plan:

Figure out to What Extent You Can Apply the Procedure

This first step brings in a dose of realism into the mix. Think, realistically, what is the true scope of the plan, what you can cover for how long, and which are the areas you have to leave out.

From a blogging perspective… consider the type of content that is created on your site, how are you managing your subscriber list, and what type of commission or revenue generating methods are being used on your site? Without the proper guidance or disclosure in place, these could cause problems down the road.

Identify Your Key Areas

Most businesses run numerous different processes at the same time. You’ll need to separate those which are essential from those you could potentially live without when you create your business continuity plan.

From a blogging perspective… take a step back from your blog or business and see all of the many components in place. You may have forgotten about some of them in the past, but they are still accessible by others. Focus on the core basics of your business and what is generating money, then consider removing the rest.

(Really) Know Your Weaknesses and Set Your Priorities

Look at the areas where you are vulnerable in your business. That will help you understand better the impact any future disaster may have, and what steps you’ll have to take.

Of all of them, which do you consider to be a priority? Think of these as essentials or the ones you’ll need to cater to immediately in case of disruption to stay afloat.

From a blogging perspective… what are you best at, and should you being managing everything you are on a daily basis? Not only can delegating different projects to individuals make your business and data more safe, it can also improve your efficiency as well.

Think of a Recovery Plan

At this point, you’ll have to think of the ways you can reduce the negative impact a disruption may have on your business. In a way, it’s like you are developing a backup plan by covering your assets to protect them.

For instance, if you are hit by floods and your shop is temporarily out of business, what do you have to do? Then, write down everything from “clean-up” to “insurance policy claims” and even “finding alternative locations.” It’s easier to think about these steps now than it would be during the when chaos installs.

From a blogging perspective… always plan for the worst. You don’t know what tomorrow might bring, but if you have a preparation and repair plan in place, it will be that much easier to make a quick come back. Assume your online business and blog disappears tomorrow… then what would you do?

One Final Word

As final advice, you should never create the plan, lock it up, and only bring it back in case of a crisis. Things may change over time, so it’s in your best interest to review the plan at least once a year. Only then you are truly prepared for the worst.

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7 Tips to Reduce Money Stress Before it Takes Over Your Life

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Having money troubles can be one of the most stressful things in life. Worrying about how to pay the bills or get out of debt can lead to many sleepless nights. This is something many bloggers and entrepreneurs in the making have to deal with all the time.

Whether you are working a 9-to-5 or a full-time job, and trying to do a side hustle to make some money on the side — it’s all about money management and making sure you are prepared for the unexpected.

If you feel a pit in your stomach every time you think about money, it can seem pretty hopeless. How do you get out of it? What can you do?

1 in 4 people report lower performance at work due to the stress of money worries. If you feel the same way, try not to worry. There’s a way out of everything and there are ways to help.

Don’t let money stress get you down. Read on for seven tips to reduce your money worries and get on with your life, and we even threw in a couple on how to make some money online in the process.

Don’t Let Money Stress Get You Down

Take a deep breath and focus. There is always a way through it when financial troubles arise. Don’t let them control you, start taking control instead. When you take charge of your finances you can start to take charge of your life.

Below you will find some of the best advice in relation to money and financial management, while also trying to better manage your stress in the process. We’ve even listed a few ways to make additional money online in your spare time.

1. Face the Statements

When you’re struggling with money, it’s easy to ignore the statements and hope they’ll go away. But that’s not helping anybody, and it’s only making the problem worse.

Rip off the band-aid and look at your bank statements. Sure, it might be bad, but at least you’ll know. When you know the extent of your finances, you can start to take charge of them.

2. Make a Budget

Once you know the state of your finances, you can start to make a budget. If you’re spending too much on unnecessary things, cut them out. Try to reduce your phone bill or cancel a subscription.

The more you reduce your spending, the more you can start saving. Use these savings to chip away at your debt or put money away in a savings account.

3. Start Writing in Your Spare Time

One of the most amazing things about the internet, is that there are so many different ways to make money online. With blogging, this is a path that definitely takes a lot of work and time before seeing any actual money coming in.

However, if you start to focus on your writing skills and being a freelance writer in your spare time, there is no reason why you couldn’t earn $500 to $1000 a month from the comfort of your own home.

Using sites like TextBroker, iWriter, and many others, freelance writers get paid immediately after their writing work is completed. These jobs can pay anywhere from $5 to $40+ for a 500-word article.

Did we get your attention?

4. Get a Financial Advisor

When things are tough, go to the professionals. For example, a financial advisor like Hoyes, Michalos & Associates can help put your mind at ease and work alongside you to come up with a plan to better manage your money and also help pay down your debt in the process.

They are sort of like therapists, but for finances. They can get you on the right track with your money and make it easier to hit your savings goals. They’ll help address your money problems and form a plan with you on how to change it for the better.

5. Get Another Job

It may be the last thing you want to do, but the most necessary. Getting another job part-time to supplement your income can help a lot.

Whether you work a couple nights a week or work a new job at home, it all helps. The extra income can help you get back on your feet in no time. It doesn’t have to be permanent, only until you get your finances on track.

6. Offer Your Skills or Expertise on Fiverr

Did you know that there are thousands of people paying for simple and crazy micro-jobs through sites like Fiverr.com, for $5 and up?

It’s true — and these jobs really range all over the place.

We are talking about everything from drawing pictures, writing jobs, prank calling people, coming up with ideas and much more.

Even if you created a new job and only got one new order per day a $5 each, that’s an extra $150 per month on the side.

Check out the site and see what jobs are doing well, then see what you might be able to come up with for yourself.

7. Talk it Out

Sometimes it can be uncomfortable to talk about money. This is especially so when you come across money worries. It can be embarrassing to admit you’re having trouble.

But don’t keep it all in. Talk it out with someone you trust. A problem shared is a problem halved, and they may be able to help you find a way through it. Even talking about it can take the weight off your shoulders and ease the burden.

Worry Less About Money Stress

It’s easy for money stress to get us down, but it doesn’t have to take over your life. There are lots of things you can do to get back on track. These 5 tips will have you back on your feet in no time.

Find this useful? Check out this article for more helpful tips on how blogging can improve your career and financial situation.

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Everything You Need to Know About Ecommerce & Paid Advertising

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Pop quiz: What is the number one thing an ecommerce site needs to be successful? That’s right, customers!

A robust customer base is essential to the livelihood of any ecommerce vendor, which is why merchants spend so much time trying to reach new audiences and grow their businesses. One of the best ways to do this is through paid advertising.

Paid advertising isn’t for everyone, though. Many fledgling SMBs would probably do well to explore free social media marketing tactics before engaging in paid digital marketing. But for those enterprise ecommerce sites with healthy budgets, paid advertising is a wonderful investment opportunity.

Below is a quick guide to paid advertising for ecommerce sites.

“Buy” Buttons

Consumers love searching for merchandise on social media and will often follow their favorite brands to keep up with the latest sales and product launches. This inspired a lot of smart people to imagine, “what if we could turn this interest into conversions for vendors and immediate gratification for shoppers?” And so, the ‘buy’ button was born.

The Facebook ‘buy’ button, for instance, allows businesses to deliver automated content and customer support (via AI) over Messenger. Customers are empowered to make purchases and submit native payments without leaving the app. Pretty nifty!

If you want to see a perfect example of how an ecommerce site site be laid out, simply take a look at this site on short prom dresses. Not only is the site visually appealing all around, they also have some great call to actions and easy to navigate buttons on the site.

Instagram and Pinterest also offer ‘buy’ buttons, although Twitter has eliminated this functionality.

Ads on Social

Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Snapchat all host opportunities for paid advertising. Of course, it’s important to understand your customers or potential shoppers to avoid ‘spray and pray’ marketing.

For example, businesses hoping to reach fashion-conscious Millennials should post their ads on Instagram since the platform is photo heavy and appeals to 20-somethings. Conversely, Pinterest is perfect for reaching moms and dads in their 30s and Twitter is ideal for reaching businesspeople. This is also proving to be just as important through mobile marketing on social media as well.

Where will you meet your shoppers?

Google AdWords

Google AdWords is one of the most versatile paid marketing methods around. All you have to do is tell Google what ads you want to be placed (based on a set of keyword searches), and AdWords will insert your advertisements in its search results, on its partner websites or in YouTube videos.

And since AdWords is a pay-per-click (PPC) model, you only pay for the number of times your advertisement results in a click. Costs vary based on how much other advertisers are willing to pay for the same keywords.

Email Marketing

Newsletter subscriptions might seem like a relic of the past, but in truth, email marketing is hotter than ever. Research shows that for every $1 invested in email marketing, vendors see $45 in profit. Now that’s a ROI you can’t afford to ignore!

The best part about email marketing is that consumers voluntarily opt-in to subscriptions, meaning they’re actually interested in what your brand has to say. Don’t disappoint them. Share one or two emails a week updating them on clearance sales, product launches, contests or coupon codes without appearing too spammy.

In addition to email marketing, there are also many must-have pages for e-commerce sites as well. These include about me pages, product description pages, contact information and much more.

Brand Ambassadors

Social influencers and brand ambassadors have revolutionized the way ecommerce sites reach potential buyers; and this is especially true for young consumers. Believe it or not, 84 percent of Millennials say user-generated content influences what they buy. In other words, your store would be smart to leverage popular social media personalities to showcase and advertise your products on their channels.

It goes without saying, that you will need to front a little cash to leverage the audience built by your influential partner, so be sure to discuss terms before taking the plunge.

In the end, it’s up to you to decide which technique, or a combination of techniques, will best serve your ecommerce site.

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