The 11 Most Popular Subjects For Membership Websites

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author/source: Miles Galliford

The 11 Most Popular Subjects For Membership Websites


One of the questions I get asked most frequently is “what are the most popular subjects for commercial content websites?”.

Before showing you the list, I want to make a very important point. There are dozens of successful websites that cover the topics listed below, which clearly suggest that there is money to be made from these subjects.

However, it also means that these membership subjects are very competitive, and my advice is don’t choose a subject just because you think it will make money. Choose a subject because you are passionate about it and you WILL find a way to make money from it.
It doesn’t need to be in one of the groups listed below.

On the web, with its global reach, any subject can become a profitable business.

Here is my list of the top 10 most popular subject areas for subscription or membership websites.

I call these topics the healthy, wealthy and wise subjects.


Subject #1    Weight Loss, Fitness and Exercise


Diets and fitness are evergreen subjects. They will always find a willing audience happy to pay for advice.

eDiets
(www.ediets.com) is a hugely successful site with tens of thousands of members. In 2004 the South Beach Diet website (www.southbeachdiet.com ) took over $20 million in subscriptions revenues.

Be warned, most diets come in and out of fashion, so a weight loss website is likely to be very vulnerable to the latest trends.


Subject #2    Health


Closely aligned to #1, health is becoming an important subject for information sites. They cover topics such as dealing with personal health, alternative medicine, children with illness, coping with your own illness, vitamins, mental health, self diagnosis and treatment.

A couple of examples of a health related websites include eWellbeing (www.ewellbeing.com)  and Your Medical Detective (www.yourmedicaldetective.com ).


Subject #3     'Starting a Business' Advice (often from Home)


Starting a business has always been a popular topic in the magazine and print newsletter world. This popularity has now transferred online. Some of the sites deal with part-time businesses working from home, such as making money on eBay. Others are more professional, helping entrepreneurs put together business plans and raise funding.

Example sites include What Really Makes Money (www.whatreallymakesmoney.com)


Subject #4    Make Money from an Existing Business


Making existing businesses more successful is a rapidly growing area of online publishing.

The best sites enable entrepreneurs in the same industry to share tips, tricks and opportunities to build their businesses. These websites are often far more practical and down to earth than industry associations. A good example is the website Restaurant Owner (www.restaurantowner.com ) which has over 20,000 subscribers paying over $100/year.


Subject #5    Make Money from Investing


Newsletters providing share and investment tips have been around for a long time. Now many of them are moving online. There are a few very important advantages they gain from being on the Internet. These include real-time updates, interactive charts, discussion forums where members can discuss tips and archives of trading information, so members can look back at previous recommendations. A good example is the UK website T1ps (www.t1ps.com).


Subject #6    Internet Marketing


Internet marketing has become a sector in its own right, with dozens of content websites emerging over the last five years. Some of them are very successful blogs, whilst others charge access to content. They look at every niche marketing subject including SEO, SEM, social media marketing, pay per click, etc.

A few of my favorite sites are Marketing Sherpa (www.marketingsherpa.com), SEOMoz (www.seomoz.com) and Fuelnet (www.fuelnet.com)


Subject #7  Improve Your Personal Life


Dating and relationships continues to grow as an important market sector with many sites turning over millions of pounds. uDate.com (www.uDate.com) has 6,000 new members joining every day. Friend Finder has over 6 million registered users. Dating is a sector dominated by the big players, but there are still lots of opportunities for niche dating sites or sites complimentary to the dating industry.

Some niche examples include My Single Friend (www.mysinglefriend.com) and Sugar Daddie (www.sugardaddie.com), which specialises in finding dates for millionaires.


Subject #8    Learn How to . . .


Sites that educate and inform amateurs and enthusiast alike to pursue a hobby or improve their skills. It could be needle work, fly-fishing or digital photography. A couple of such websites are Beading Daily (www.beadingdaily.com), Writing for Money (www.writingformoney.com ) and Ancestry (www.ancestry.com)


Subject #9    Move to . . . 


Sites about moving or retiring to a new location or country have rapidly grown in popularity over the last few years. The leader by a long way is International Living (www.internationalliving.com), but there are many smaller sites specialising in individual countries, for example, Dream of Italy – (www.dreamofitaly.com) and Italy with Us (www.italywithus.biz).


Subject #10    Lifestyle and Religion


Websites that are communities centred around a kind of lifestyle or religious beliefs can attract a strong and loyal following. Examples include the Christian site by Bishop John Shelby Spong (www.johnshelbyspong.com), Youth Work International (www.youthworkinternational.com) or a slightly different a site for naturists, Health and Efficiency (www.healthandefficiency.co.uk)


Subject #11    Adult Content!


Well I had to mention it! The list would be incomplete without mentioning adult content, as it makes more money than all the other categories put together. Topics range from tasteful erotica to illegal pornography. Pornography is fiercely competitive, whilst opportunities still remain at the more tasteful erotica end of the market. I'll leave you to find your own examples!


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If the subject you are considering doesn’t seem to fit under any of the headings, don’t worry, don’t worry at all. You can succeed with any subject. There are great niche content sites about collecting dog memorabilia, origami and even cloud spotting!

By considering your potential global audience and having a strong understanding of your subject and customers, even the most specialist subject can become a successful website.


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