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  1. #1
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    900K Impressions - 80K Unique Visitors - Subscriptions?

    Is there any hope for changing over to a subscription based site?

    We have a content site with somewhere around 200,000 pages. Our monthly statistics show somewhere between 600,000 to 900,000 page impressions (it varies throughout the year) and we have somewhere around 60,000 unique visitors.

    We haven't been able to generate sufficient income from either advertising or ecommerce to justify the overall costs. Iis any possibility of making money from subscriptions?

    Does anyone have any idea where I can find information on profitability for such sites?

    BTW: Our audience is primarily students, educators and researchers.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    pie??? PIE!!!! rsdl's Avatar
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    First, what kind of content does the site have?

    If ther content include some sort of research material or surveys then you could try packaging the info and selling it to the researchers and/or educators. (e.g. provide general survey results for free then charge people if they want to get the more detailed version...etc).

    -rey

  3. #3
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    Our content is World History.

  4. #4
    Hi iKwak's Avatar
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    Subscription base is nice but I bet you will lose a ton of visitors.

  5. #5
    Santos L Halper Zenith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rsdl
    First, what kind of content does the site have?

    If ther content include some sort of research material or surveys then you could try packaging the info and selling it to the researchers and/or educators. (e.g. provide general survey results for free then charge people if they want to get the more detailed version...etc).

    -rey
    I agree. Imho if you change the idea of free content to subscription you lose awful amount of visitors because 'world history' is a theme that have tons of information all over the web + traditional books. Meaning if you don't provide it free people find another place.

    But what you can do: packages like Sitepoint offers. Wrap different themes up and sell them maybe as a book or ebook, like 'world war 2', 'pharaos of the ancient egypt' etc etc. There are only so many themes to choose from. If you have good content and lots of visitors constantly it means people think you have a good stuff there. You must not remove any free content or make it any way worse but you can always add some extra to the not-free-version. Provide some samples to get them excited etc. There is an area for you which requires some extra work but could provide you nice amounts of $$$ if you get the price right, easy orders and make the buying easy too.

    -Z-

  6. #6
    SitePoint Zealot David C's Avatar
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    I think it's pretty evident that a switch from free to paid content can hurt your traffic. However, that's more than likely not what's at issue -- if you're concerned with the business aspect of running the site, you can afford to trade huge numbers of nonpaying visitors for fewer paying visitors.

    I like Zenith's idea; that might work nicely. If you're set on subscription, I would recommend phasing it in -- don't make everything paid at once and continue to offer free content.

    CNN (http://www.cnn.com) is a good example, in my opinion. I've never felt as though I'm missing information by not paying, but at the same time they probably make some significant revenue through their subscription program.

  7. #7
    Huh? What now? tntcheats's Avatar
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    I think it would lower your visitors too, if it's not free from you, it'll probbably be free from somewhere else.

    I know that's how I feel about having to pay for information.

  8. #8
    SitePoint Wizard Crowe's Avatar
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    Obviously, number of visitors isn't the issue, it's number of paying visitors. If you had 200,000 free users who pay nothing and you switch to pay and only 200 users stay and pay, your still better off. Especially if 200 users x subscription is greater than your advertising revenue.

    Running off visitors should not even factor into the equation. Converting those free members to paying ones is the key.

    Most places who go from free to fee lose tons of visitors and those who experiemented with having some free content vs all content pay found that offering some of their content for free didn't convert to paying members as well. You can do a search on goolge for a little more info on pay models for content sites. There are several caste studies (like those done by Content Biz).

    Also, visitors value information based on "percieved value". Do you think a free source is as credible as a pay one? Even if the info was the same, most conumers will see the pay source as the authority. In real estate it's location location location. In the web it's perception perception perception.
    Chrispian H. Burks
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