said 11 months, 2 weeks ago:
@mutunga I have written a few articles on this subject and a newsletter that I’ll happily send you (just privately message me and I can email it to you since it’s not on my blog or anywhere I can forward).
Popular services are vBulletin (however you can check out a free forum like http://www.foumotions.com) which is a forum based membership site, however you can add a gallery, it has a blog feature as well. However, this has a steep learning curve. You can also pay big bucks for a custom look. And you’ll need vBulletin hosting.
Then there are WordPress users that can quickly turn their blog into a Membership site or additional site by adding and purchasing WishList Member.For this you would already have WP hosting, and you would simply have to purchase the WishList Member license. Pretty affordable and it is pretty easy to setup and use (which pages and posts can be “seen” by what members, at what level).
Lastly, depending on what your goals is and what you want to share, sometimes it’s simple enough just to have a password protected blog or page that contains content and say links to unlisted YouTube videos. Then you can always change the password or take down the site after the “class” is over.
Another type of membership site may simply be a paid-for newsletter campaign, where you charge a fee (via PayPal for example) and then deliver a series of newsletters to those subscribers (separate mailing list of course from your main, free subscribers list).
So there’s lots of options and choices depending on your short term and long term goals, what type of content you want to deliver and when and how often, or if you want to commit to developing a full-time “membership site” that continuously has to be managed and updated (whether free to subscribers or not, you have overhead).
My articles on Membership sites:http://www.blogsbyheather.com/series-membership-sites/
The newsletter was how to use what you have to build an online, virtual club. This was for those of my clients that already had a Blogger blog or TypePad or WordPress and wasn’t sure if they had to transfer, start a new site, buy WishList and so on. So I wrote a newsletter to address the issues and how to use what you have.
Hope this helps,Heather