Membership Site Designs That Work Much Better Than Others
If you want a membership website that gets results for your business, you are going to need two and possibly three different websites working together to best serve your business. "Three websites???" you might think. "That's right." Please be patient with me and I'll explain.
Every business needs their main domain site or what I call your www site. I'm sure this no surprise to you. It's that main site where people go to learn about your business. It's where you'll have an about us page giving an overview of your business. It's likely to include introductions or bios for your team. It'll include a description of the products and services you offer. If you produce content (and you should be), that's where you'll publish your blog. You'll likely want a contact us form so site visitors can reach you. There will be a lot more depending on what you do and what you offer.
Let's focus on the services or products page. This will typically be in a services section of the site. If you visit our site's "Our Services" page, you'll see a list of what we offer. Each one leads you to another page where we provide a more detailed write up for that service. It isn't a sales page necessarily. It isn't where people go to buy the item, but it could be.
The audience for these pages is usually interested in learning more about you. They are considering you as a possible provider and want to know more about your services. They are looking at other provider sites and comparing what you have to offer against theirs. It's a good idea to have a call to action at the bottom of the services page. That's where you offer something in exchange for their name and email address. We call these things you offer for free "lead magnets."
So let's go over this second site. I'll call this your landing page site. This is where you'll make your lead magnets available to your audience. You'll provide a headline, description of benefits and a web form for registering to get it. This is where people will enter name and email address and when they hit the submit button, the form will take you to a thank you page. Then you send them an email with instructions for getting the lead magnet.
This landing page site is also where you publish your sales pages. This is where you have your products for sale. It's where you give an in-depth description of what it is you're selling. You'll have a "Buy" button there taking them to an order form or shopping cart page where you buy it. When they buy, you can send them an email that gets them the product they purchased. If you offer a membership product, this email has instructions for getting to the item they bought on the membership site.
I call this a website, and it's one of your three, because we usually build this one as a Wordpress site with OptimizePress 2.0 as its theme. If your www site is called "www.(my domain).com," we install this site at "lp.(yourdomain).com." Another option for this is to use a tool like LeadPages, ClickFunnels or something similar. There are Wordpress site themes like ThriveThemes that enable you to build opt-in and sales page too. In that case, building a combined landing and www site is not a bad option.
The point is you are organizing your sites so each site provides you with a specific set of functions. This arrangement keeps things organized and it minimizes Wordpress plugin conflicts. This gives you plenty of flexibility. When you start, you can host these all on a single hosting environment. As you sites grow, because you have them as separate Wordpress installations, you can host them separately if needed and moving them around is a straight-forward exercise.
So you might be asking, "What does this have to do with membership sites?" My answer is, "EVERYTHING!!" This is important. You need is a platform that supports you as you promote what you offer via your membership website.
Your www site will have a button somewhere that says, "Login" or "Member Login." That will provide you a link so members can easily login to your membership website. That should land people to where they can immediately log into that site and get to the content they've gotten from you.
And, by the way, we recommend you install your membership website at "members.(your domain).com" or something similar.
Now that I've given you a general overview of our recommendation, watch the video below. In it, I review several client examples following this model. A pictures worth a 1,000 words so here we go.