Starting A Membership Site – What Kind of Support Is Available?

Help Doesn't Just Fall From The Sky

Help Doesn't Just Fall From The Sky

Almost as important as the ability to securely and reliably handle credit cards, technical support for a membership site can be a make or break situation.

If your site is down, you cannot serve your current members or recruit new members. If you are responsible for site updates and backups and upgrades and new plugins – you may have little time left over for the real mission of a membership site owner: delighting your members and creating new content.

How do the Big Three – aMember, Membergate, and WordPress – stack up when it comes to support?

If you are very tech saavy, and don’t mind spending some time tweaking aMember, it can be a good mid-price solution. Generally, a normal install is a straight forward proposition and will be handled by the aMember staff. If you run into trouble, there is a trouble ticket system with a promise of 24 hour turn around. They also host a bulletin board for users to post questions and share solutions.

Membergate suggests (but doesn’t require) you host your site on their dedicated servers. This, of course, is another expense on top of the initial start up cost. However, the hosting fee is a dop in the bucket compared to the level of tech support it brings.

Membergate’s software is completely installed – along with a custom design – by the Membergate staff. The servers are monitored 24/7 and all server related issues are addressed immediately.

Membergate, like aMember, also has an active community of users who can post questions and receive answers from other site owners on the Membergate Support forums. There is a typical Knowledge Base FAQ with common questions and answers. Email and phone support are available as well.

Both Membergate and aMember get good marks from their users. Once again, the higher cost of Membergate helps cover extra service. A Membergate site is likely to run smoothly no matter the technical skills of the owner. An aMember site will run smoothly if you aren’t afraid of poking around under the hood.

And what about WordPress?

Once again – WordPress comes out a distant third. Although there is a huge base of open source developers and WordPress fans, there is no one responsible party to turn to if your site goes down. You are the responsible party. It is up to you to keep everything up to date and purring along.

If you are a sole operator, admin tasks and creating and posting new content probably take all your time. Whatever is left over is used for promotion. This leaves you little time to worry about the state of your software.

SUPPORT SCORECARD

Membergate = A
aMember = B+
WordPress = D

Photo by Army.milReleased under Creative Commons License