There is a fellow who has been corresponding with me for about a year now. He is not somebody that I communicate with real regularly, but maybe every 2 months or so I will hear from him. He is a school teacher. Beyond that, I won’t identify him, for the sake of his anonymity.
This guy, let’s call him Mort, is always looking for ways to supplement his income on the Internet. When Mort writes to me, it is often to run an idea by me to see what I think. From everything I see from Mort, I feel that his problem is that he thinks small. Many people think too big, but Mort thinks way too small.
Most recently, I got an e-mail from Mort and he told me that he was thinking of putting up a membership website. He said that he would make it pay once for a lifetime membership site because if he charged a monthly membership fee, he just knew there was no way he could update the content once per month. He told me that he planned to charge a $5 fee for a lifetime membership.
Now, let’s think about this. How many memberships does he think he can sell for a website that he updates only very rarely? I told him that I thought the best he could hope to do was to sell 1,000 memberships. OK, that would make him $5,000. Now, for me, I must say that it would not be worth the effort of making a website for an upside potential of $5,000. You see, I think he will sell closer to 10 memberships than to 1,000. So, if he sold 10, that is $50 income. Let’s say he sells 100 – $500. It just is not worth the trouble. Frankly, his website hosting fees will eat up a good share of the money he makes.
Now, let me say this – I think that a paid membership site is something that can be done successfully. Much of the web has gone the other direction – free content supported by advertising. However, I believe the day is coming when content on the web will be mostly sold. It might be 10 years from now, it might be next year that it starts. Hard to say. I, myself, though, want to get into this, to position myself for when it is the trend.
However, I would not spend my time when I am going to make $5 for a lifetime membership. Frankly, I would not sell a lifetime membership, because I don’t necessarily want to keep providing content for such a long term. I would probably focus on an annual subscription if I enter this model. Monthly, maybe, but likely annual. Depending on what kind of content you are providing, and it’s value, I would be thinking more on the lines of $30 per year or so. Now, if I could get 1,000 subscribers at $30 per year, that’s a $30,000 income per year, nothing to sneeze at.
There is an important key to this, though. You must provide content! Update your content regularly, daily if possible. When you can provide up to the minute information, that is what people are happy to pay for. Another key is that you need to do this for free for a while first, a minimum of 6 months, before charging for it. That way you can establish consistency, show people what to expect. That way you will establish that you are a legitimate player in the business and that you have information that is worth paying for.
I wish my friend the best of luck. I hope that he can come up with a better idea, because what he is considering now is, frankly, not worth his effort.
Very nice article.
Is the reason for daily updates because the more content you get on web the more pages and more hopeful ad clicks or is to just keep people retuning on a daily basis and not forget to check your site.
One more question, Why wordpress rather than frontpage?
Also think I now no why you say paid site better than free site, other than you keep all money at paid site. I think it so you have control over your own content. Yesterday I had bad experience on free site, I joined the sites forum and was thread asking how much earnings so far this month so I told them 43 with over 23,000 hits. Next thing I know am attack by 3 or 4 people. Doesn’t seem 43 dollars should make person jealous, its chump change. Then if that not bad enough today checked and 75 of my articles had been deleted, their excuse was I was reported for duplicate article by other users, they weren’t really duplicate though. Anyway after that happen it hit me maybe that’s why you recommend not free site also.
Hi Justin – Thanks for dropping by again. I advise for regular updates, whether it be weekly, daily or whatever, but regular to keep people coming back, keep your information current, and just keep your site active. If you put info up and never update it the site will become stale, people won’t keep coming back (why would they, nothing new to look at anyway), etc.
You hit the nail on the head about free sites. You don’t own your own content that you produce on a free site – the site does! Did you see today on the news where there is a big controversy about Facebook? They came out and admitted that they own anything you put there, and there is nothing you can do about it! Even if you delete it, they still have copies and can do anything they want with it. You have pictures of your kids on there? They can sell them if they want. Will they do it? Probably not, but they can. When you own the site yourself, you own the content that you produce. If others steal your content you can take action. This is exactly why I say not to use the free sites like Blogger and Blogspot and such.
Now I understand as didnt enjoy having my articles just deleted. Most where about Philippine mythology as is a topic I find interesting but none where identical lololol.
Now I understand why update everyday and your right if no new content the ppl will just forget you because why go back to see same stuff, Actually thats why I look at your sites daily is because always new stuff if miss a day then next day to hard to catch up again on whats being discussed.
BTW, Why wordpress instead of frontpage?
Was just wondering which is better to use and why?
Hi Justin – Sorry, I neglected to answer your question about FrontPage. Well… the simple answer is something like “FrontPage is so 1990’s” which is the dark ages in Internet Time. It is way out of date.
Why WordPress? Because it is the defacto leader in publishing on the net. Probably 90% of people publishing on the net (not including those who use the free sites) use WP.
If you want to self-publish in HTML, the current day leaders are things like Dreamweaver. But, WordPress is the popular way to go if you want to “blog.”
Thanks for that, was really wondering because today was telling my mom my plan to start a website and she gave me a frontpage software. That’s why was wondering which is best and why. I read some articles on Internet and none made sense to me as talked about static and such.
So basically wordpress is a community so you can use the community to market your site? Was thinking about that as seemed a site would need to somehow market itself to get people otherwise would be a worthless site because no people. I have a friend with a site like that actually.
One last question, Do the free sites get more hits than the paid sites by utilizing the name myspace or etc. I ask because one domain I found is very similar to a well known free site.
I think eventually google or someone may put stop to those free sites because see some that literally have click rings where they just go around clicking each others ads and creating new content just to get new ads to click. Seems smart but also seems advertisers my not like that much.
Bob, sincerely thanks again for all your advise as I’m learning allot by asking you questions, many of which you surely see as ignorant (like my server question lolol) but still you answer. Thank You.
Hi Justin – Firstly, let’s forget the term “paid sites” as that suggests something other than what we are discussing. Instead, let’s talk about free sites and “self hosted sites.”
No, the wordpress community has nothing to do with marketing your site. The fact that there is a large community of WordPress users means that there is a lot of support available. If you have a problem, you ask the community and surely others have experienced the problem too and can help you solve it.
When you talk about a site being a “static” site and a “dynamic” site,what that means is this. A static site is programed with certain information. If you go to a certain page, the exact same information is shown to you each time. On a dynamic site, the site has a database of information, and what shows up varies, depending on how you inquire to the site. The pages don’t even exist in reality, but when you make a request to the server, it can go to the database and get the information that you are asking to see.
When you mention that you found a site with a name similar to a well known site like myspace, that is probably a site that is depending on type in traffic. What that means is that somebody goes to type in the URL, he might want to go to myspace, but maybe he accidentally typed in “myplace” and ended up on the wrong site. People try hard to find domain names that people accidentally type in. A site that has spent a lot of money gaining name recognition can be an attractive target for somebody wanting to find a similar name where get accidental traffic.
Will Google stop linking to the free sites? No way! Google owns blogger! It is in their interest to make that kind of site popular.
Happy to answer your questions, Justin. I am not an expert, but I know just enough to be dangerous! 😆
I see now what word press is. I thought it a community like friendster but where you can type stuff, place ads and etc. Now though I understand more what is is, its a platform where you can use to create blogs but its not a community in friendster like way. So still need to market site by using tag lines and etc.
I thought that was odd no one bought that similar site I found. Knew a fellow in Manila many years ago who earned a living by buying and selling web domain names. Seemed odd to me at time to hear him trying to interest me in what he called web real estate but now it makes good sense actually.
I think your a expert at this stuff, well you must be because you earn a living at it. Thanks for explaining that static stuff as that really sounded funny to me on the site I was reading.
Hi Justin – Yes, you are correct about WordPress. Now, WordPress does have a free site too (WordPress.com). The place for self hosted WordPress sites is WordPress.org. You are right, it is not a social site.
There are many ways to promote your new site. Go to blogs on similar topics and leave comments. Relevant comments, though, not ads.
Buying and selling of Domain names is big business. It is called “domaining.” I’ve done a bit of that, but not too much.