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Are Blog Subscription Services a Good Idea?

Why Blog Subscription Services Matter…

Have you ever wanted to receive ongoing payments for your blogging efforts?

Perhaps you have sold the occasional digital book or made an affiliate sale here and there, but what if people kept paying you for a service on a regular basis?

This is what a subscription service is for. It’s somewhat similar to starting a membership website, but there’s generally more flexibility involved.

The subscription model can provide more stable income due to the ongoing, continuous cash flow that comes with it.

While one-time sales can certainly be lucrative, this requires a constant flow of new customers who may one day become more difficult to obtain.

This is why subscription services are on the rise with no signs of stopping. Here are some examples of these, both within the blogosphere and outside of it:

TV streaming services: It seems like a new TV service comes out every year, and television networks know this is the best way to make reliable income these days.

Plugin and theme developers use a similar tactic: When you purchase a WordPress product, you generally gain premium support and updates on a 12-month basis as opposed to paying a one-time (or lifetime) fee.

Other developers use a similar strategy, where they charge a monthly fee for services like cloud backups and advanced email automation.

Marketing services like Sumo and Hootsuite: Likewise, the aforementioned platforms refuse to let you pay a one-time fee because the real money lies in an ongoing, non-stop cycle. Hootsuite starts their plans at $29/mo, for example. Can you imagine how much monthly income this could bring in?

Video game services like Xbox Game Pass and Stadia: The former can be described as “Netflix for video games” while the latter is a “freemium” service with additional / optional paid features.

How Bloggers Can Create a Subscription Service

Blog Subscription ServicesWhile this article focuses mainly on PAID subscriptions, you can also implement them for free as a way to gain more email subscribers or elevate your blog as a “premium brand.”

I personally suggest you rely primarily on a freemium model, which consists of giving things mostly free of charge, but saving exclusive content behind a paywall.

When something is (mostly) free, people tend to talk about it more and even link to it (due to the benefits provided at no charge).

On the other hand, providing nothing for free tends to make people more hesitant to link back to your offer. Only those with a heavy marketing budget can get away with charging for a service with no free option.

Here are some subscription service ideas to implement on your blog:

Publish 95% of your articles for free, but save exclusive content behind a paywall. I once wrote an extensive guide on making money with a job board, but decided to hide some optional (albeit interesting) details behind a $1 paywall.

This remaining portion talked about some rather amazing stuff you could do with a job board. Needless to say, I occasionally see some payments here and there to this day.

Can you see the potential here? What if you were to implement this with at least some of your extensive guides? And what if you charged more than just $1?

Hide some of your content behind a Patreon page. Similar to the above, you can save exclusive content behind the popular Patreon platform.

YouTubers rely on Patreon quite a lot these days, releasing video content a few days early just for paying members or even keeping some videos permanently restricted to that platform.

As a blogger, use Patreon to discuss important tips within your niche and develop a more active and conversational community. For example, you may disable commenting on your blog posts in favor of moving the conversation to Patreon (along with providing other goodies).

Save exclusive content for newsletter subscribers. As I said earlier, you can create a FREE subscription model from your newsletter by providing exclusive content to those who opt in. It is then up to you what to do with said subscribers.

Woman on a laptop with Coursera partners Yale, Google, MoMA, Duke, and SAS in the background.

Technical and hands-on content. This may include creating a job board but saving the high-paying gigs for premium members, for example.

Other valuable content may include the use of technical software or something more down-to-earth such as food recipes. For instance, providing a written recipe for free but giving premium members access to video-based recipes with step-by-step cooking instructions.

Coaching through your blog or through services like Lynda and SkillShare. Coaching is a popular option among dating/relationship experts, among many other niches. They normally jump on video calls and actually help with your struggles in a more intimate and personal manner.

If you want to be less personal, use a service like Lynda and SkillShare to teach about any given subject with the help of video-based tutorials. These websites allow you to reach the masses without necessarily talking to anyone one-on-one.

Some Promotion Tips to Get Started

Mention your services within every article. And don’t just mention it in passing at the very bottom; rather, encourage people to sign up at the beginning or somewhere around the middle.

Guest blogging and paid advertising are always effective. While guest blogging may take longer, you should experiment with paid ads on platforms like Instagram and Facebook.

Depending on your chosen demographics, you would ultimately redirect users to your subscription service for only a few cents per click.

I personally recommend budgeting at least $20 per month to start, as this amount is unlikely to break your bank and will give you plenty of experience in the process.

Conclusion

Subscription services are not only a good idea in 2021, but rather an excellent option to monetize your blog with ongoing and reliable income.

The above examples apply to just about any type of blogger in virtually any niche. Can you think of exclusive content that would encourage your audience to sign up?