Membership Geeks

The Perils of Building Your Membership on Rented Land

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Back in October 2021, all Facebook properties went down for five hours…

That meant no Facebook, no Messenger, Instagram, Workplace or WhatsApp… 

And the whole internet erupted into a panic.

While for most it was a minor inconvenience…

For those businesses relying on Facebook groups, social media marketing, or website access through Facebook logins, it was a stressful time.

Some membership owners had no access to their communities…

Members weren't able to login into their subscription sites using their social accounts…

Scheduled live training sessions were cancelled…

It was a little bit chaotic to say the least! 

The outage itself may have only lasted a matter of hours…

But what it did for me was serve as a reminder of the risks of relying on a third-party platform for building any element of your business.

Because in essence, its rented land. 

This is something I've decided to explore in more detail in this blog…

So when the time comes for you to make key decisions on things like where to host your membership forum and what membership platform to use for your site…

You're fully aware of the pitfalls and can make an informed decision on how to move forward in the right way for you.

So let's dive in… 

Building your membership on rented land vs. your own

This is a particularly pertinent issue when it comes to online memberships…

And is a debate that comes up a lot.

The big question that arises regularly is where to actually host your membership website…

Should you opt for an all-in-one platform, like Kajabi for example…

Or should you build your website yourself using something like WordPress and a membership plugin?

Of course, even if you choose to build your own membership website, you’re still relying on the hosting company and the platform you build it on…

You don’t own or have 100% control over those, but you still have a lot more control than you do over a third party platform or Facebook group.

And then there's the community side of things

Do you use a Facebook group or an online forum for your membership community?

Which one should you choose? 

Well, there are pros and cons to both:

Facebook groups are free and convenient…

But you don't have any control over features or functionality.

Hosting a community on your own website is more complex, but it’s actually yours.

Another

Let's be clear, we’re not badmouthing Facebook…

We use it ourselves for our business and manage our own group...

But if Facebook goes down, there’s not a whole lot anyone can do about that apart from Facebook themselves.

It’s not just about the groups or the community either…

A lot of websites allow users to access their site with their Facebook or Google login.

So, if you offer this, it could all be disrupted if there’s an outage on either of those platforms…

A five-hour outage is not apocalyptic in the grand scheme of things…

But for you, your business and your paying members, it could be a big deal.

The importance of control

It all comes back to that word: control.

We all need some semblance of control when it comes to our membership…

You need to know that if the worst happens, there are some options to fall back on.

For example… 

If you’re having regular hosting issues, you could switch to another provider with relative ease.

If your email marketing platform is always going down, you could try another one.

If you get hacked, or a dodgy plugin crashes your site, you’ve got a backup to fall back on and the access for a developer to fix things.

With any kind of all-in-one platform or social media site, you’re out of options if the worst should happen.

You can't go in there and fix it yourself…

You just have to sit and wait for the issues to be solved.

Protect your business assets

As business owners, we can't underestimate the value of having this level of control.

Because when you're running an online membership, your website, email list, and community are your most valuable business assets.

After all, they are your business!

That's why surrendering all your control is something to be very wary of.

The willingness people have to do this is a little mad when you think about it.

And yet, so many people do it for the sake of speed and convenience.

Make it an informed decision…

I'm not arguing that membership platforms, community platforms and social media groups are bad.

Far from it… 

There are some incredible platforms and services out there that we frequently recommend to help you build your membership.

And we feature many fantastic options in our Membership Toolkit... 

Membership Toolkit

The ease with which these platforms can enable you to get up and running make them a no brainer if you want to avoid headaches when starting out..

Especially when there are so many tough tech decisions to make at that stage!

But your decision to build on rented land needs to be an informed one.

You need to be aware of the risk involved.

That’s the price of convenience.

If you’re not comfortable sacrificing that control, you should look at alternatives and find the right solution for you.

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