To have the most effective membership site possible, it is a great idea to have a club membership software program to manage your site. The main function of this program will be to protect the area of your website that is reserved for members by asking for a username and password.
Membership programs can do a lot more for you than just protect your site from non-members. Here are a few things to consider when trying choosing the perfect program to run your membership site:
Is the program you are considering purchasing an established club membership software program? Have the developers been in business and tested their program extensively? The last thing you want to do is purchase a new program, only to find out that it is so new the developers haven't found all the "bugs", or you find out the company closed up shop and isn't there to help you with your technical questions.
You may want to seek feedback from other membership site owners and find out what program they use and what their experiences have been. You can find other membership site owners by visiting internet marketing forums and work at home forums.
Installing the membership site program script onto your server can be a bit tricky, especially if you are not technically inclined. Some programs will install the script for you at no additional charge. If you are hesitant to install this on your own and don't want to hire a techie to do it for you, a free installation offer could be an attractive bonus for you.
When you compare membership programs, take notice of the payment integration they offer. If you are just starting out, you may use Paypal for your payment processing, but as your membership site grows you may want to look into a credit card processing service. The reason behind this is that not everyone has a Paypal account, and Paypal is not available in all countries. You don't want to lose out on potential subscribers because they don't have a Paypal account.
Since you may not know what processing service you will be interested in using in the future, it is best to choose a program that offers integration with a wide variety of processors.
You may want to offer free memberships as a way to add people to your marketing funnel and offer them an upgrade to a paid membership. Does the membership program you are interested in offering a choice of free memberships?
One of the biggest tasks in the daily maintenance of your membership site will be handling renewals and cancellations. A good membership program will do this automatically for you. This is one feature that can save you lots of time as your membership grows.
Of course, there is no such thing as a "perfect program". Each program will have its benefits and flaws.