3 Mistakes to Avoid When Building Your First Memberium Site
Once a month minimum, we get asked to take a look at a Memberium membership sites that isn’t working. A small business owner is wanting to launch their online course and they reach out to us because:
- the site’s not working,
- it’s quirky or unreliable or
- they are just plain dissatisfied with the results.
It could be the site was built by a web developer inexperienced at building membership sites. It could be the business owner or someone on their team took at shot at it and fell short. Often times, we look the site over and see that it only needs some minor updates. Most of the time, some basics were done wrong and it requires a full overhaul to get things working right.
Here are 3 mistakes we see made often enough by first time Memberium site builders and what can be done to avoid these roadblocks..
Mistake Number 1 – Designing the Site Incorrectly
The Memberium membership site most small businesses need gets them a platform for publishing their online course, membership program or client portal. What they need honestly is isn't that complicated. They need the following features:
- a home page with a login webform requesting a user id and password,
- a dashboard or main page where for members select their course they want to access, and
- a course layout makes taking the course easy for members.
There are a lot of simple site designs that just plain work. Why should any new Memberium membership site builder reinvent the wheel, right? What I typically recommend is you review sites that work. Study other membership sites, and I recommend using a simple one and "borrow" their design, navigation, and page layouts.
I recommend you visit our Memberium membership site at https://members.larryjacob.com where we publish video tours of client membership sites we have built. It’s FREE and allows you to sample designs that work.
One point I want to stress is that your membership site content should be center stage. The membership site that hosts your content should be the supporting cast. Keeping it simple “and in the background” is what we find works best. Stay away from “frilly.” That usually ends up being pretty, but distracting to your learning members.
Mistake Number 2 - Building Membership Site in Your Wordpress Install
In the past 6 months, we have had one instance where building a small business owner’s Memberium membership site and their www site was the right idea. In this case, it was magazine site that has FREE articles and paid articles to different members. It’s not the typical situation required by an online course builder and that’s the main scenario where a single Wordpress site works well.
My reason for this is that the purpose of your www site and your membership site is different. The purpose of your www site is to:
- promote your business,
- educate people on what you do, and
- establish your as the credible expert.
The www site usually includes a list of your service or product offerings, an About Us and a Contact Us. They are all aimed at getting a visitor to evaluate you and contact you as part of the sales journey.
A membership site serves a different role. It:
- delivers the content the member requested from you, and
- upsell members on additional services you offer.
When members use your membership site, you don't have to build credibility. You have enough credibility with them which is what got them to sign up as members. So you can eliminate an About Us page on this site. If they are consuming your content, they start learning more and more about your expertise. So the site contains the educational information and explanations of other things you can provide them.
When you try and build the sites as using a single Wordpress install, you get conflicting goals. Overcoming those makes setting up your site navigation complicated. You have to coordinate and often compromise between a site feature for wooing customers and delivering content. You end up needing to overcome issues that don't ever come up if you had used two Wordpress installs.
So avoid that single Wordpress install approach and save your self a lot of unnecessary work in the short and long term.
Mistake Number 3 –Doing Too Much From the Start
We get a lot of customers approaching us asking for a lot of features I don't think are necessary. They are asking for a lot of fancy features I would prefer to see them postpone until later. The first goal of any course builder is to get members active on their site. What’s the minimally viable product they can release that gets them there.
As uncomfortable as this may feel, I recommend selling stuff that you haven't built yet. Run some tests. Get some paying members and confirm you have a product or service that will sell.
Make your first Memberium membership site a very basic membership site platform. Consider selling your online course over the phone taking credit card payments manually. You can go as simple as offering your membership content via a private Facebook group. Of course that doesn’t require Memberium, but it’s usually a good solution for testing your idea.
A top priority of any business offering a membership site service the first time is sales. Confirm you have an audience for what you sell and convince yourself with real sales that members will buy it. Only when you've done that would I recommend getting elaborate at all with your membership site platform.
One thing my team and I offer is our Breakthrough Course Building System which gets you coaching and a version of our "Perfect Starter Kit" site installed and fully configured in your environment. It's a basic set up for getting you started so with minimal investment. You get yourself a platform for offering your content now with a strong foundation for building features later when you need them. You can click here to get the details on this.