Getting the Recurring Signup
Have you ever visited a website that promised great information, only to discover that you had to register before you could see it? The registration process may have been free or paid, but in either case you had to enter your personal information to access it.
Did you complete the registration, or did you look elsewhere for the information?
The answer depends on the type of promised information on the subscription website. If you had already determined this was the only place—or the most convenient place—to obtain the information you were looking for, you probably went ahead with the registration. If not, you probably clicked back the search engine results and tried again.
Subscriptions for websites work in some cases, but not others. If you are considering starting a subscription website, be sure that you have a good reason for doing it, or no one will sign up.
Websites that require free registration for access are seeking to collect demographic information, usually to help them learn where their traffic is coming from or what their visitors are most interested in so they can adjust their advertising campaigns accordingly. Some also use registration forms to capture e-mail addresses for their mailing lists (most will give you the option of whether you agree to receive information or special offers from them when you register).
If the information or services on your website are worth the extra time your visitors will have to spend registering, you may want to consider adding a registration or subscription component to your website. This will allow you to study your market and build your opt-in mailing list.
However, if your website contains information that can readily be found elsewhere without requiring registration, many Internet users will opt to skip the time-consuming registration process (even though it only takes a few moments—remember, online users are used to instant results!) and visit another website instead.
There are now some websites that charge subscription fees, starting at around a few dollars a month. Typically, the types of websites that charge monthly fees are web hosting services, specialized software providers such as autoresponders, freelance job boards and lead locators, and online newspapers or magazines (ezines). There are also a few run-of-the-mill websites attempting to charge a monthly subscription fee.
Paid subscriptions are counter to the “spirit” of the Internet, where free information abounds. Few people are willing to pay for information they could otherwise receive free. There is not yet enough perceived value attached to most websites to justify a monthly charge. If Google were to begin charging a monthly fee, people would simply turn to Yahoo or another popular search engine instead.
However, some information is so specialized and sparsely available that people are willing to pay for it—sometimes dearly. One example is online fitness training. A personal trainer can make 100x more money offering online training vs the 5-10 people they can train in a day at a gym or travelling to client’s homes.