Are you trying to build a membership site with WordPress?

chrislema-face

Let's say that you and I were talking this afternoon. Somehow the topic of dinner came up (hey, I like people and I like hanging out around food). And after a bit, we decided we wanted Spanish paella.

What do you think we'd do next?

  • Go buy land?
  • Plant a rice farm?
  • Go fishing?

Not likely. We'd likely head to a restaurant that would prepare and serve it to us. Right?

We'd be crazy to prepare it from scratch on our own. Here's what I know: most people think of everything as a DIY project, even when it shouldn't be.

Looking to building a membership site?

I don't know if you've noticed this but I'm guessing you have. The entire world of software keeps getting cheaper.

In virtually no time, Google or Facebook or Amazon will get into the membership site space and offer their platform for free.

What am I talking about?!? You can already use Facebook to create an online membership group. But it's not your own site.

So let's say you want your own site. Well if you're like most people, you're driven by cost. Which isn't a good thing.

Would you want your x-rays or MRIs to be done by the cheapest machine? Probably not.

So maybe this is one of those times where you need to hire help. And that's going to mean spending a bit of money.

That may very well be the right decision.

How do you pick the right person to help you build a membership site with WordPress?

First, like any business venture, you need to know how much you can afford, because people (most of them) don't work for free. So your budget may be the gating factor when it comes to who you select.

Second, you need to become smart enough about the space to be able to distinguish good from bad. That normally requires so much experience that you could likely do it yourself. But you can find people with experience that have no skin in the game to help you. It's why I use Clarity.fm – because I can hire (by the minute) experts with no agenda. In other words, borrow someone else's expertise.

Third, ask for recommendations from people you trust. This works as long as you're clear about what you're asking about. Sometimes I get a question and I have no idea how to answer it. But don't let a glazed look stop you from asking another friend and then another. It's how we've found tons of people we've hired (at my home) – just about every vendor has been recommended to us.

I know what you're going to ask next…

I know it. I just do. You've already thought it.

But Chris…who do you recommend?

You really want to know? Let's jump in. Here are three folks you can trust.

Jared Atchison –  Jared has contributed code to the Genesis Framework from StudioPress. But he's more than that. He's built several membership sites, where the site isn't just a site for the business but it's the business for the business (if you get my distinction).

Curtis McHale – He's a Canadian that knows his stuff. He's known for blogging for freelancers but he's also written a book, run a podcast and built several membership sites. He doesn't tackle really tiny jobs so prepare to talk about your budget. But that's true for anyone you talk to who is a professional.

Travis Northcutt – The folks at the Bright Agency are bright (see what I did there?). They're great when it comes to membership sites because they're more than just technologists. They're focused on your conversions and growth.

Before you reach out to them, let me stop you for a second.

Professionals cost money

None of these guys will build you a membership site for $500.

It's not that they're prima donas. It's that their experience and thoroughness will take time. Some may burn thru $500 just asking you questions so you can figure out the parts of your business that you haven't finalized yet.

So yes, have a budget. Yes, talk about it. Yes, be able to articulate what matters most.

But interview a developer like you would a back specialist. It may cost you money, but it's worth listening to them, because they can make the pain go away.

If you're looking to keep your budget super cheap, your best bet will likely be a DIY project. And maybe that's right for you. If so, be sure to check out my newest site: http://membershiphuddle.com which is an online course just for you.

But here's another idea.

Save your money. Write our more content. Test it on the folks you're already helping.

And then, when you have a budget, hire a professional to help you kickstart your new business.

About Chris Lema

Chris Lema has been working with WordPress since 2005. Over the years he's been a blogger, a speaker at WordCamps, a coach for WordPress product companies, and the founder of the conference for WordPress business owners, called CaboPress. Today he's the VP of Products at Liquid Web, where he manages the world's first managed platform for WooCommerce stores.

Chris Lema

Chris Lema has been working with WordPress since 2005. Over the years he's been a blogger, a speaker at WordCamps, a coach for WordPress product companies, and the founder of the conference for WordPress business owners, called CaboPress. Today he's the VP of Products at Liquid Web, where he manages the world's first managed platform for WooCommerce stores.

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