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Quick Tips on How to Start a WordPress Membership Site

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Starting a membership site is an excellent way to explode your earnings, while also bringing in a monthly or annual source of income in the process. However, starting a membership site isn’t as easy as throwing up a new WordPress site, installing a few plugins and calling it a day. Actually, millions of membership sites are started every year, but only a small fraction of them will find success. This is mainly due to the fact that membership sites need paying customers to keep them alive — and this is where most site owners and marketers go wrong.

The good news is that there are plenty of tools and resources out there to help you with the pre-planning and setup process before you get started — all of which I will be providing for you below.

Create a Membership Site

Quick Tips, Tools, and Resources for Building Your First Membership Site

If you’ve ever wanted to start a membership site of your own, you will know there is are lot of options to choose from. Everything from what type of content you will be offering, how much you will charge for access, and also how you will build your site so you can store and lock content for members only. I’m going to cover most of these topics and questions in detail for you below.

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1 – Why should/shouldn’t you build a membership site?

The most common reason to start a membership site is because you have some form of premium content to offer and also want to make money from it. At the same time, a membership or community-based site can bring a lot of loyal to your brand following. If this is something you already have in place, the overall success of your membership site is much more likely to happen.

However, before jumping the gun and going live with your site right away, there are many things you should be thinking about — such as;

  • Do you have the time, resources, and focus to make a membership site work?
  • Is there enough value offered through your program for an audience to pay?
  • How large of a niche audience can your membership site attract and is there a market for it?
  • What is the end goal for your membership, and how can you scale it over time?

Another thing to consider is why you are creating your membership site in the first place. If you are simply going after the money, this might be an immediate cause for concern. It’s extremely hard to convert a free content/blogging audience into a paying audience. Be sure to consider all options (and split test where possible), before actually going live with a membership site.

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2 – Tools and Resources to Build a Membership Site

Having considered launching a few membership sites over the years, I’ve spent hundreds of hours considering all of the different options out there. Since I already use WordPress for most of my sites, this is something I wanted to stay consistent with — yet there are still many alternatives, options and WordPress plugins to choose from. MemberPress, Memberium, WooCommerce Memberships, S2Member and MemberMouse are some of the most popular solutions on the market today. I recommend taking a look at this article on top membership plugins for a full review on each.

But don’t forget… each of these solutions are just one component to your membership site and how your content is set up. You will also need to look at different options and solutions for payment methods, engagement, tracking, content creation and much more. Here are some top solutions on the market today.

  • Paypal / Stripe – These are two of the best payment processors out there. Nearly everyone already has access to Paypal, but not all solutions are compatible with it, or provide enough options for customer payment. When Paypal isn’t your best option, don’t forget about Stripe, which makes accepting credit cards and online payments easy — while also now being more compatible with most membership platforms.
  • GetResponse / Aweber – Don’t even think about launching your membership site without an email platform in place as well. While people will be paying to access your membership site, it will be important to keep them updated with any news, changes and notifications you may want to send out to all members.
  • YouTube / Vimeo – A great majority of membership sites are now focus on video content. When choosing your video hosting platform, be sure to choose one that offers premium video hosting, tracking capabilities and the option to remove ads and embed video. YouTube and Vimeo are two of the top names out there when it comes to video hosting for membership sites.

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3 – Content Creation and Audience Engagement

As mentioned earlier, the end goal of your membership site should be to provide extreme value over whatever else it is you are currently offering. In most cases, when you see a private community or membership online in the blogging or online marketing space, it’s because they are providing step-by-step tutorials and guides on how to accomplish something — in much more detail than what they might be offering to their general site or social media audience. This is also something we have been seeing lately with many gurus and experts within their own space, mainly because it’s a lot easier to set up a membership site than ever before. Names like James Wedmore and Chalene Johnson have launched their own membership sites and online courses through a solution like Kajabi, which is an all-in-one solution for creating and selling content online.

With all of this in mind, it’s important to consider your options and how you want to provide value to your audience. A perfect example of this would be to offer individual modules and courses within your membership area — both through written content and online video. An added bonus to paying members only should be a weekly or monthly video chat session. It’s also a great idea to offer some type of Facebook Group engagement where everyone can chat and meet on another platform outside of just your individual membership site.

As your audience and member base continues to grow, always ask what type of content or improvements they would like to see. After all, your members are the most important component of your membership site.

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4 – Promotion of Your Membership Site

Once you’ve created your membership site and done a soft launch to bring in a few members, it’s important that you have an outreach and marketing plan in place. Membership sites are extremely tough to grow in size, as you need to actively convert free audiences into paying customers. At the same time, if you have a slow growing membership and an audience that isn’t participating, this in itself can be enough to bring the downfall of your precious community.

Here are a few ideas to bring some life and promotion to your membership site.

  • Email – Always take advantage of the power of email marketing and those who may already be subscribed to your mailing list. If someone already gave their email address to subscribe to your content, there is a good chance they would pay for your premium content as well.
  • Content Block – If you already have a website or blog, be sure to make different areas of your site more exclusive than others. Not only will this provide more content for your premium members, it will also draw a lot of interest from your free users as well.
  • Affiliate Program – Depending on the niche market you are in and they type of community you are trying to grow, launching an affiliate program might be a great idea for your membership site. With an affiliate program of your own, you can partner up with other sites in your industry and offering them a commission for each new member they send to your site.
  • Podcasts and Interviews – Participate in podcasts and expert interviews on other sites. This will allow you to show off your expertise and reach new audiences — thus further growing your reach and membership base.

No matter how big or small your membership site may be, implementing each of these methods can result in a huge member increase over the life of your community and marketing efforts.

How to Build a Membership Site Infographic

Special thanks to Become a Blogger for their infographic below. I always like to break down the steps of how something is accomplished, while also including visuals at the same time. Leslie over at Become a Blogger has done an excellent job at covering all of the components of a successful membership site through the infographic below.

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Blog Post Ideas: How to Turn Your Ideas into Engaging Blog Posts?

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Blogging and creating content on the internet is all about ideas and getting creative with what you have to offer. However, what most bloggers and content marketers don’t realize is that you aren’t supposed to come up with new and innovative ideas for content or making money online, but instead, new and innovative ways to portray that message.

This is something I often cover in detail in many of my articles and online courses. The concept of making money online and getting the attention is no different than any other business in the world today. At the end of the day, people are using the internet for three different reasons.

  1. To find information
  2. To be entertained
  3. To buy something

Instead of trying to come up with that completely new and original million dollar idea, just spend the necessary time and focus on a legitimate business model and demand from your audience, while also catering to their needs in the process. Once you have all of this in place, you can then start refocusing your efforts on how to create better and more creative content based on these needs.

To help with this process, today we are going to share some valuable insights that will help you turn your idea in a series of blog posts, while also highlighting a few examples of what’s currently working for other bloggers, brands, and content creators.

How to Know Your Idea is Suitable for a Series?

Being a writer, you have no shortage of ideas. But when it comes to establishing your own niche, there are various things you should consider before penning down your series. This includes everything from your basic knowledge on a specific topic, how far out you would like to schedule your content, and also the monetization and optimization of your content. It would also be a huge benefit if you understand SEO and know how to look up the necessary keywords to see how much of a demand there currently is for your proposed topic.

Below you will find some of the important points that suggest your idea has the potential of a great blog series.

– Different People with the Same Issue: For instance, a physician who blogs about obesity and its health hazards can create a series of articles consisting of several diet and workout tips or plans to help people lose weight. These posts can encourage readers to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

– Come up with a List: If you write for your living, then you have a sense for how to delve deep into your ideas and develop them for an audience.

– Overflow: When you start writing, you a flow but soon you find the post turns out to be something that is focused on more than one topic, like a collection of relative ideas.

– Your Audience Wants More: This is a clear giveaway! You have received several queries related to your posts, and your readers want you to explore a specific topic, expanding your grasp and library.

– A Theory: If you want to teach your readers about something deep and complex by exploring a theory or idea, then creating a series of blog posts will be a great idea.

Hubspot also pointed out “According to our own analysis at HubSpot, headlines between 8–12 words in length got the most Twitter shares on average. As for Facebook, headlines with either 12 or 14 words received the most Likes.“. This is something every blogger and content creator should focus on before and after completing their articles. Not only will the overall content length of your article be important, but so will the headline and words you choose for your article title as well.

Creating Your Own Series

It’s not enough to simply create content for your site, you also need to make sure it stands out from the crowd and has it’s own style as well. The more time and effort you put into your site content and the user experience, the better ROI and longterm growth you will likely see. With all of this in mind, let’s take a look at a few valuable tips that will help you establish a well high engaging series of blog posts that will win you a loyal audience.

An Introduction

You need to an introduction to your series. This can be a dedicated blog post or a paragraph. Make sure you convey your message with it. This is something ConvertKit does extremely well. Not only are they one of the top email marketing and delivery platforms on the internet today, they also know how to create valuable content for their audience. In the example below, you can see how to create a killer introduction for one of their content marketing series. By starting out your article strong, with the necessary text, call to actions, and resources, you can immediately impact the user engagement factor from the start.

Review Your Work

Proofread your post, and search for natural breaking points. Look for areas where you stopped talking about one point and started talking about another. If you aren’t interested in proofreading yourself or would like to hire someone with a better English history, this can easily be done through freelance sites like Fiverr or FreelanceMyWay.

The Format

You need to come up with a format for each post. Try a formal layout but be quick and stay to your point. In case you are going to a traditional format, then compose your introduction and conclusion.

Make it Easy to Digest

Keep things simple, and write short paragraphs. Divide your content between sub-headings to help the reader navigate. Make your content digestible for the audience. To see an example of how to effectively do this in a ‘review style’ article, be sure to check out how the content is laid out on Frank’s review site and start implementing these same methods to improve your own engagement rate.

Be Independent

Write as people read every piece as a standalone post. Consider they won’t read related posts or may read them in a different way than you intended. So make sure every point makes sense on its own.

Interlink Your Content

Help people navigate through your content by putting links to your previous posts. You can also list them at the bottom of newer posts. Let your audience know what ideas you have already discussed.

How to Create the Best Content Possible, from Your Best Ideas

As you can see, there are plenty of factors to consider when creating content for your site or training series. The most important thing to remember is that your title is going to get the most attention, and article length is going to play a big role in the SEO process. At the same time, quality is always going to be important.

Once you’ve laid out all of your content and made sure you have some great titles with call to actions and trigger keywords, it’s then time to make sure your content is format in the best way possible. Separate your text with visuals, resources, reference links and anything else that might be of value to your audience.

Last but not least, ALWAYS put in the necessary time and research to effectively promote your content. There are more than a billion active sites online today — which means you are going to need to promote the heck out of your content in order to compete.

Follow all of these steps and you should have no problem finding success with your latest blog post ideas and content series.

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7 Writing and Marketing Skills to Improve Your Guest Blogging Efforts

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If you are a guest blogger or if you have guest bloggers create posts for your sites, you will want to read this post. It’s important to know how to improve the quality of your posts and maximize the impact you have on your target audience. This is true even if you are posting on other sites.

When you write a guest post for another site, the site or blog owner trusts you to represent their blog in a positive way that will improve their traffic and ROI. Remember guest blogging helps you, too because it serves as a backlink to your site. So you should treat the content that you write for others’ sites just as you would your content for your site.

How can you improve the quality of your blog posts and guest blogging efforts?

Check out these seven tips for writers and marketers that will help you to take your guest blogging to the next level.

1. SEO Content Writing

SEO content writing involves the skillful use of keywords as well as using backlinks and other techniques to increase targeted traffic. SEO is to search engines as excellent quality is to reader engagement. In other words, search engine optimization is the basic sauce you need as a writer or marketer to get your message in front of the people who will be interested in what you have to say.

In addition to having a solid understanding of SEO and writing content that ranks in Google, it should also be a required skill to have a solid foundation of social media as well. As effective and valuable as SEO and organic search traffic is, social media is still one of the most active areas of traffic today. With this in mind, impress your clients and sites that you contribute content to by staying up to date on the latest social media trends, while also growing out your own profiles and social followings in the process. And of course, always be sure to share your guest posts as often on social media and be sure to tag the site you are promoting as well.

2. High-Quality Content

Google still states that producing high-quality content is the most important factor in rankings within their search engine. You do need to include some SEO for natural results. But focusing on your content guarantees that you will rank and that people will stay on your page longer. The goal of effective online marketing and guest blogging is to increase the traffic of the site you are writing for, as well as to keep people on the blog once they get there.

Writing exciting and engaging content includes some various factors including connecting with the audience on a personal level, addressing their problem and offering solutions, and creating value for the reader. This is all a part of creating high-quality content. With practice, you can learn to hit on all of these critical aspects in your guest posts so you will get the results you need.

This is something we are seeing across many freelance writing platforms that not only specialize in creating content for websites, blogs, and brands but also in specialized writing services as well. Once such example is in the assignment writing service industry, where students, professionals, and business experts are looking to outsource their time and expertise from others who can simply put their thoughts and work into written publications. No matter the reasoning behind the content — whether for business or guest blogging efforts, the ‘high quality’ component is a must.

3. Creating Value

Creating value for your posts is perhaps the most important part of blogging. This is because you need to create the kind of content that will make people want to return for more once they read your content. To do this, try to create a personal connection to readers. Study previous posts of the blog on which you are writing and learn what their audience wants. You can do this by viewing comments that were left by readers on former posts or ask the blog owner to tell you more about their audience.

When looking at yourself as a freelance writer or even as simply a guest blogger, you need to be looking at the big picture. The act of creating quality content, value, and getting exposure on big media sites is actually an exclusive service and expertise in itself. At the same time, it’s actually become one of the best ways to turn a side hustle into a real business. If you understand the value and demand of an audience, while still providing a service, there is no reason you couldn’t flip that skill and dedication into a full-service content marketing and brand business.

Knowing the audience, you are writing for is important because you need to know who you are writing for. You are not just writing for the site or blog owner; you are writing for their audience. Recognizing this fact and understanding who you are talking to will go a long way toward improving your posts on other people’s sites.

4. Solve a problem.

The “problem/solution” method in advertising is still as effective as it always has been. Even though the methods and technologies have changed, the technique of showing how your post can help people solve a problem is very effective in creating high-quality posts, whether it is for your site or someone else’s site.

To utilize this technique, only describe a problem that reader might be having such as finding the right car dealership, and then present a list of tips that may help them to locate the best dealer for their needs. This method does not require using sales-based language. In fact, this is discouraged because people come to the blog to learn information rather than to be presented with a sales pitch.

5. Entertain and Inform: Create Shareable Content

If you can develop a skill to entertain your readers, you will be on the right path to providing high-quality, valuable content to your audience, whether you are writing for your blog or someone else’s. Some of the factors in creating compelling copy include the following:

  • Discussing trending or popular topics
  • Creating humorous posts
  • Using emotive techniques that appeal to emotions
  • Posing a question for readers to comment on

All of these techniques will help you to make your posts more entertaining. Informational text can be entertaining at the same time by merely including exciting facts that correlate to the information that you are presenting in the post. People mainly read a blog post to get the information they want about a specific topic. They probably already go to the blog regularly to read the latest post on the site you are posting on. So, when you are presenting a guest post, all you have to do is to continue the high-quality informational posts that the site owner already provides while making it entertaining by citing side references or through creative wording or other techniques.

In addition to this, you should be good at posting and maintaining social media posts and reactions. If you can master this skill, along with strong writing skills, you may be able to offer bloggers more for their money than just excellent writing.

6. Define yourself as a “go-to” source for certain kinds of information.

Another way to look at this is by thinking of yourself as an influencer. If you are an expert on a particular topic, you can create a name for yourself while also adding value and credibility to the site on which you are writing. Influencers can make a big impact on their industries by presenting helpful information for others in their industries. Big names like Neil Patel, Seth Godin, and many others all started by creating their content. But they also often serve as a guest poster on other sites to share their knowledge and skills with other audiences.

7. Creating Writing Portfolios

This tip may seem simple, but it is a good one if you want to guest blog regularly. Most online publishers (including site owners), want to see what you can do with your posts. They are primarily looking for aspects of your blogging that will help them promote their brand or purpose. You may not know who looks at your portfolios every time, but it’s a good idea to have a variety of posts that you have done that blog owners can look through.

By presenting your work in this fashion, you may be able to capture the attention of potential bloggers who are looking for a certain style or writing. You could also post a short resume or cover letter that explains what you can do for bloggers that will help promote their brand.

Guest Blogging Still Works… Just Make Sure to Use These Tips!

This is not a comprehensive list of skills that you need to be the perfect guest blogger, but they should help you to get started when going after blogs to write for. Remember to check to see what their policies are regarding pay vs. shareability. Many blog owners don’t have the budget to pay other bloggers. They may, instead, share your link with their readers in exchange for the post or other perks.

The main thing is to read, read, and re-read the blog you want to write for. Once you have an idea of their audience’s likes, dislikes, and pain points, you’ll be able to provide consistent or intermittent content that will resonate with their target audience. This means they may ask you to do it again, which will be beneficial to your sites, as well.

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11 Expert Tips on How to Successfully Grow and Scale Your Business

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Business growth is always exciting. Seeing your revenue, client base, workforce and market share expand is proof that your hard work and tireless efforts are paying off. Best of all, this is something that you can control, as long as you are putting in the necessary time, work, and effort.

While you may be eager to move your startup onward and upward, you shouldn’t forget about the potential negative impacts of scaling up. Expanding too quickly can mean biting off more than you can chew, and it’s easy for a business to collapse on itself if it cannot handle rapid growth.

Here’s what you need to keep in mind as you scale up if you want to avoid toppling your business, according to 11 members of Young Entrepreneur Council.

1. Do What You’re Best at and Outsource the Rest

As you scale your business, your highest priority is to identify what you do best in the company and then find someone who is even better than you to do that task. This will free up your time to focus on growing your company and not just working for it. For example, my strength is ranking websites so I hired someone I trust to implement my system and it’s saving me 80 hours per month.

Bryan Kesler, CPA Exam Guide

2. Invest in Talent Management Early

Too many startups hire for the present when they should be hiring people with the skills for 18 months into the future. Design roles for capable people to grow into. While a jack-of-all-trades talent seems valuable at the earliest stages, hiring experienced functional leaders is important during a startup’s growth phase. Lastly, turnover is inevitable so be prepared for this necessary reality.

Eddie Lou, Shiftgig

3. Implement Top-Notch Project Management Systems

As you scale and hire people, there will be more to manage and more minutiae will be created to account for the increase in projects and personnel. Having a project management system that can account for tracking projects at the macro level, as well as the minutiae of each project, is essential as you grow. Find a project management solution that is flexible, customizable and scalable.

Marcela De Vivo, Mulligan Funding

4. Make Sure Your Technology Can Grow With You

Make sure that your technology has the capability to scale with your business. For example, many e-commerce businesses find themselves needing to migrate from their current platform to a more robust solution in order to handle higher user and order volume. This is a complex process that can stunt a company’s current growth rate. To avoid this, select a platform built for scalability.

Duran Inci, Optimum7

5. Constantly Monitor Cash Flow

As you grow your business, you will be acquiring new obligations and spending more money. Make sure to constantly monitor your cash flow and P&L. New expenses are not directly proportional to the contracts you are getting. Contracts have different arrangements and payment schedules. I have seen a lot of companies grow really fast and end up failing for this reason.

Felipe Cornejo, Devsu LLC

6. Invest in Continuous Education

When I first launched AFS, we were a small company with an idea. As we expanded to a national player, we maintained the way we did things as a small company, and we didn’t adapt well. Once we instituted a continuous training and education program, we built teams that could adapt to growth and I found myself better equipped for the new challenges we faced as a larger organization.

Rahim Charania, American Fueling Systems

7. Build Your Internal Processes to Handle Scaling

Scaling a business is not necessarily about getting more sales or hiring more employees. If your internal processes aren’t built to handle more business, then you could be wasting money overstaffing due to repetitive tasks that can bottleneck the workflow — an error that could cost you in potential sales and revenue.

Codie Sanchez, Www.CodieSanchez.com

8. Have An Exit Strategy

When times are good, it can be deliriously satisfying to expand your business exponentially. However, it’s important to have a plan for when the money stops flowing in. Markets are unpredictable and can turn sour at any time. A bit of foresight and careful planning can ensure that your business survives a recession.

Bryce Welker, CPA Exam Guy

9. Improve Your Customer Service

Too many complaints can bring your business to a crashing halt. You can’t stop every complaint, but you can reduce them greatly by beefing up your customer service. Train staff to resolve complaints. Stay engaged on your social media pages where customers love to take out their frustrations. Reply and make them feel like they are a priority. Just replying can make a huge difference to customers.

Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker

10. Prioritize Employee Career Development

To sustain high growth, a company needs to retain and attract the right people. One necessary tactic to employee retention and attraction is designing career growth within a company. Employees need to see themselves progressing as fast as your company — and there needs to be buy-in from both employer and employee on what that career development looks like so you can both grow together.

Brett Farmiloe, Markitors Website Development

11. Take a Slow and Steady Approach to Growth

It can be easy to get caught up in growing quickly, but I’ve seen a ton of businesses do that and then have to downsize immediately. It puts people out and isn’t a great way to build a solid reputation for your company. It’s important to take a step back, move slowly and really think about the next steps you’re taking to grow your business so you don’t get ahead of yourself.

John Hall, Influence & Co.

Grow Your Business, By Growing Your Personal Brand

Of the many different ways to grow your online business and brand, don’t forget about the importance of growing your personal brand in the process. This is especially true if you are the face of the brand. Through the power of social media, it’s extremely easy and effective to not only reach new audiences but to also rank higher in Google for personal names and brand names in the process. Be sure to try out this method, along with each of the recommended tips above for growing your brand or online business in 2018.

If you enjoyed this expert roundup, I recommend you also take a look at our previous ones on expert SEO tips and best tips for making money online.

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