Creating a video membership site is largely similar to any other type of membership site with one big exception – the complete reliance on video. Serving video content to members is a great way to increase the value and digestibility of content – especially if it is tutorials or how-to type content. The big hurdle membership site builders must overcome is how to modify their decision making process to place a larger emphasis on video.
1. Decide How to Host and Deliver Video Content
If there is one decision which will largely dictate every other decision it is how the video content with be stored and delivered to members. There are two fundamental options to choose from: relying on a 3rd party hosting solution and self-hosting videos. Each option has a unique set of benefits and limitations to consider.
A Brief Summary of 3rd Party Hosting
When most people think about hosted video solutions there are a few key options that come to mind. They are YouTube, Vimeo, and Screencast. YouTube offers excellent overall video quality, visibility, and speed. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to secure the content entirely because URLs can be shared. Vimeo features excellent functionality but can impact website speed because of the large amount of java script which must load. On the plus side, Vimeo makes it easy to rebrand the video play to match your membership site’s brand. Vimeo also makes it easy to protect and secure videos. Screencast is generally easy to use but suffers from many of the same drawbacks as relying on YouTube without the visibility benefits YouTube offers.
A Brief Summary of Self Hosting
Self-hosting all of the video definitely offers maximum control. There are a number of different ways to leverage self-hosting through your website’s servers or through cloud storage located elsewhere. This provides maximum security and flexibility. Unfortunately, it can be noticeably more expensive. This is especially true when you consider both the costs of storage/bandwidth as well as ongoing maintenance.
Keep in mind there are effective ways to combine both 3rd party video hosting and self-hosting to leverage the benefits of both while minimizing the drawbacks.
2. Choose the Right Platform/Member Management Tools
There is an ever-growing number of platforms which can be used to create and manage a video membership site but WordPress has consistently proven to be the best solution. Not is the core architecture solid but it is also versatile. Plus, WordPress easily integrates some of the most robust and easy to use membership site plugins/software on the market. In fact, many of the 3rd party solutions have been specifically designed for WordPress.
3. Choose the Right WordPress Membership Plugin
The final step is choosing the right WordPress membership plugin. This can get tricky because so many popular options are available. A common mistake is to focus solely on plugins dedicated to video membership sites. While the ability to fully support videos is critical there is no reason to choose a video-only membership plugin if a more fully featured solution is equally effective. By selecting a more comprehensive type of membership plugin you give yourself the ability to provide additional types of content to boost the value of your videos and overall value of your membership site.
Once you know how you will be hosting your videos and what WordPress plugin you will be using the rest of the setup process is fairly straightforward. Once the basics of your video membership site is setup the primary focus will shift from creating a video membership site to generating membership growth, developing content, and creating a marketing/promotion strategy.