starting and running a membership site

A good website should have highly technical and loaded features. You need to keep on spending time and again as an outdated site will not be beneficial, and you will start losing the membership site. 

Starting a membership site might be expensive, but you will receive back what you spent when you start attracting members. The Maintenance cost of the website can also be extracted from the memberships.

Starting and Running A Membership Site Costs

A good membership site should consist of a domain name, hosting, membership plugin, content management system, payment features, website design, media hosting, and email marketing. Each of these requires varying expenses. Besides, there will be several other expenses as well after the website is built. 

Here is the list of costs for starting and running a membership site

Hosting website costs

Your website should be active. It should have good traffic and reach. It shouldn’t seem to be like a blog. Try to have a full-fledged website. Only then will your website be interesting and will attract more membership site. 

For quality website hosting, prefer VPS over shared hosting from the beginning only. 

  • The cheapest rate would be around $10-$15 per month. This the shared hosting rate. 
  • It will require about $100-$150 per month, and it will be a VPS for budget hosting. 
  • Top-notch quality hosting will require about $250-$400 per month, the outcome of which will be the best. 

Domain name costs

Domain name and cost

For the web address, you will require the domain name. The cost of the domain name varies upon whether you want a shared domain or a new domain. It doesn’t cost much for using the existing domain or shared domain. But if you want a brand new domain name, then you will have to spend a lot. 

  • The cheapest option that will require no cost is to make the subdomain the membership site of your existing website or any other existing website. 
  • Purchasing the domain name from a company like GoDaddy will cost you about $5-$10 per year. 
  • Making multiple versions of the domain will cost about $20-$40 per year.
  • If you want a brand new domain name, then you need to spend several thousand dollars.

CMS cost

The Content Management System cost could be either zero or several thousand dollars depending on whether you want a partial custom made or completely custom made. However, there is no need to have a fully custom system and to spend thousands of dollars. 

  • WordPress gives it for free. So, there is no need for a completely custom content management system. 
  • The other low-cost or free content management systems other than WordPress are Drupal, Squarespace, or Joomla. However, none of these are as good as WordPress. WordPress provides a wide range of membership plugin options. 
  • A completely custom management system costs several thousand dollars.

Membership plugin cost

Membership plugin

This is perhaps the most crucial part of any membership site. This is where payments, management, and subscriptions could be managed and controlled. 

  • Most of the membership plugin platforms need to acquire paid licenses, including WordPress. However, plugins like Paid Memberships do not require licenses. WordPress requires a recurring annual license. 
  • Some membership plugins charge monthly. For example, Member Mouse charges every month. You may also need other additional software for high community memberships. For highly efficient plugins, you can purchase plugins like IPBoard, which will cost $200. 
  • Top-notch membership plugins will cost you several thousand dollars.

However, make sure you stick to one membership plugin that you choose initially, as shifting from one to another is a very complicated and difficult process. If you started from free, then remain in that only.

Website Design Cost

Membership plugins don’t have any designs. It is completely functional. 

  • Some membership platforms may provide you with paid themes.
  • You can use free WordPress themes for your membership site, or you can buy quality WordPress themes at $100-$250 per year. For a complete custom design, you will have to spend about $2000-$5000. The best web designers charge even more.

Payment Processor charges

Paypal and Stripe are the best payment processor. Their charge depends on the amount of the transaction fees. Paypal charges around 3.4% of the transaction value. It also charges $0.3 per transaction. The rates, however, vary according to your location and the type of Paypal account you are using. Your members should have the Paypal Payments Pro, which will charge $30 per month for the credit card payment option. For the credit card payment option, you need to have an SSL certificate to keep the transactions secure. SSL certificate will cost about $100 per year.

Email marketing service cost

Email Marketing membership site

Basic email marketing spaces like Mailchimp will charge you free to few dollars for email marketing. Service providers like ActiveCampaign will charge you around $10-$50 per month. Most expensive email marketing services like Ontrapot will give high automation and cost about $300-$600 per month. 

Video/media hosting costs

You cannot host large-sized videos and files on your website. Hence you host those on other platforms like Vimeo or Amazon S3. Unlisted video hosting on Youtube will not cost anything. Vimeo PRO hosting charges about $160 per year, and Vimeo Business will cost about $320 per year, which will provide huge storage. 

Conclusion

The cost of starting a membership site might be expensive but you will receive back what you spent when you start attracting members. The Maintenance cost of the website can also be extracted from the memberships.

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