How To Start a Subscription Website: The Complete Guide

Did you know that the subscription market is worth about $10 billion? This is a huge growth for an industry that has only been around for a little over a decade. If you are looking to start a subscription website, there are several steps you have to take first. 

Keep reading to learn the ins and outs of starting your own subscription website.

1. Decide What to Offer

First, you will have to decide exactly what you want to offer. Because there is so much free content on the internet, there are many customers that do not want to pay monthly fees if they can get if for free somewhere else.

Whatever you choose to offer has to provide value that can't be found on any of the free sites. Make a list of the niches where you have something you can offer enough value. Think of what you are an expert in, and your knowledge when making your list.

Also, make a list of niches that have lots of buyers that are ready to spend money in. This will take a bit of research because you want to figure out how many people are truly looking for certain topics, services, and solutions. 

2. Research

Once you decide what exactly you are going to offer it is time for the research phase. You want to look at the websites that are already offering more about the topics that you are looking to cover. This is called doing your own market research. 

Look for what you do like and what you don't like about the sites that already exist. If the sites offer a free trial, sign up to check them out in more detail. Browse as much of the content as you can and make notes of everything you would want to incorporate and what you don't.

3. Website Plan

Create an outline of what you want your website to look like and what pages you want to include. To make the planning easier, use a stack of index cards to organize your ideas and thoughts. Use one index card for each site page that you want to have.

Do not forget to plan out the details of the subscription portion of the website. Give yourself a goal of how much money you want to make and how much your fees will cost to keep the site running.

Once you know what your expenses will be you can come up with how much you want to charge for each subscription. Next, is deciding how many subscriptions you have to sell to make a profit every single month. 

4. Handling the Subscription Aspect

After you have your website up and running your work won't end there. You will have to keep up with your members and handling payments along with churn. There are things that you have to keep up with such as who signed up, when did they sign up, how much did they pay, etc? 

Other questions to keep in mind are:

  • How will you handle a declined credit card? 
  • What if the subscriber complains and wants a refund?
  • What if they want to downgrade or upgrade?
  • When is the next bill?

Billing and management can take up too much of your time, which is why you might want to look into shopping cart software that allows you to integrate with your favorite payment gateway like Billsby. This will make it easy for you to take payments, manage the subscriptions, and automate the technical side of your business.

You won't have the time to worry about creating coupon codes, updating cards that expired, adding members, etc. You want this to be automated in order to free up your time to allow you to focus on growing your business and your members.  

5. Promote Your Site

Once your site is up and running it is time to promote it to get new subscribers. Take the time to set up a social presence and promote your website via platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. 

The key is to be consistent in your daily posting to make sure that people know that you are an authoritative figure in the topic you are promoting. 

Take the time to gather emails via a landing page on your website for people that are interested. This will make it easier to use that list and send out a newsletter regularly with valuable information to potential users. The goal is for them to want to sign up because they want to see more. 

Take advantage of referrals and encourage existing subscribers to refer new users to your site. Give them an incentive for giving you referrals, such as a discount on their monthly membership or a free month. 

The biggest difference between subscription sites that flop and thrive is the level of member engagement. Engaging users via live webinars, slack channels, a forum, and VIP private group, are just a few examples to make sure that your members know you are there to help and it will give them a sense of community. 

Ready to Start Your Own Subscription Website?

Now that you know the steps you have to take to start a subscription website, you can get to work and start applying everything above. You can take the time to plan out your content and execution strategies to make sure that your user has the best customer experience. 

Did you find our blog post helpful? Please feel free to browse the rest of our site to catch all of our latest articles. 


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