I thought long and hard about whether to go with Plan A or Plan B from last week’s update. I’ve decided to go with:
Plan B…with a twist
The idea for Plan B is to have all the premium content online as protected posts directly on the site. You would register either for a monthly subscription to gain access to those posts or purchase the posts on an individual basis.
Right now I am thinking there will be 2 new premium articles each week.
I have decided to go with this plan over Plan A, where you would either be either physically mailed or e-mailed a newsletter containing about 4 articles twice a month (for a total of 8 articles).
There are some basic reasons why I think this is the best route to take…
– You get immediate access to the content (no waiting for the mailman)
– If you subscribe at any point, you will get access to every single past article (not just the current month)
– You will be able to interact with the writers and ask them questions
– You will have the option to get a monthly subscription or purchase individual articles (you would not have this choice otherwise)
Though I admit a printed newsletter or magazine would be sweet, there are just too many technical constraints tied to those options.
But there is more to it…
vam.ac.ukI’ve been home pet-sitting our Pomeranian, turtle, and cat the past few days and thus have had ample time to research all the membership software options out there to figure out what would be best for our site. I sat through tutorial after tutorial, not really sure if I would ever find something to suit our needs.
Then today it finally dawned up me as to what software would be a perfect fit and make Underground even cooler.
I am 99% going to go with Amember. You can check it out if you want. There are two really cool things I will be able to do with it:
1. Give You Coupons
I forget if someone had proposed this idea in the comments of one of the other posts, but what this will enable me to do is give people who submit articles that get published to the site coupons toward articles or a subscription.
This is big.
This will give you more incentive to contribute and should improve the quality of the articles on the site as I will become more stringent in picking what gets posted.
So even if you’re just a casual reader, better articles will be posted.
If you want to join Underground or access premium articles, this will help alleviate those costs.
To be clear, credits is probably a better term than coupons. They will have monetary value toward products and can accumulate.
The other cool thing is…
2. Private Members Forum
One thing I realized would be an issue is that comments left on Underground articles would be pretty much unprotected from the public. They would appear on the sidebar widget and also within everyone’s Disqus profile, which is publicly viewable.
I’m sure that by simply reading the comments left on an article, one could get a pretty good idea as to what it’s about. I needed to come up with a workaround for this issue.
Comments for Underground articles will have to be closed because of this, so I was thinking that maybe instead the writer could leave their e-mail address within the article so you could contact them with questions.
I then realized that there was an even better solution…the software I will be using not only integrates with WordPress (what this blog is run on), but it also integrates with vBulletin (the software the forums are run on).
What I can do is create a hidden forum visible to Underground members only. This will be a place where you can discuss the articles with the writers, get deck help, talk strategy with other Underground members, or whatever! I really think this will make having the membership even more worthwhile.
The software will pretty much make all the site integrated. Before you had to sign up separately for the main site, the forums, the newsletter, and Disqus. Amember integrates all that stuff except for Disqus; I’m hoping that functionally is added in the future. This means I may start up a newsletter e-mail list again, just to more directly keep everyone updated with the latest news.
I think this configuration will improve the quality of the site, for both subscribers and non-subscribers.
What do you think? Should I go ahead and start setting things up for this?
Any changes you would make to the plan?