When you are looking for products to add to your online services think about programs. This can be a training program or coaching program for example.
Online services are great for entrepreneurship/life balance. You can run these programs from your home office with teleseminars or webinars. A teleseminar is by phone and the program members call a special service where you speak via the phone.
A webinar runs via your webbrowser. The advantage of a webinar over a teleseminar is that the program members can see a presentation, images, or you via their browser. Your presentation can help the attendees understanding your story.
After the webinar or teleseminar you can distribute the recording of the training, Q&A session, mentor session, coaching session. This can be an mp3 file with just audio of the telesemiar or webinar, or a video of the webinar.
You can also support the program members with preparation documents that you share before the training. Extra material that you supply after the training.
Members of the program can ask questions about the training or program. You can ask the program members to do home work.
A great tool for you as the program manager is a forum. In the forum you can supply the members with the above mentioned tools. The members can ask questions that you or other members or moderators can reply to. The members can enter and upload their home work.
Working on my own program and 2 programs for our clients we found that Simple:Press, a WordPress plugin, is the best Forum in a WordPress site for these kind of programs.
Simple:Press for real
This is how the forum looks on the special website for my Attract Clients and Grow Your Business program
The core is Genesis with the Tapestry child theme (aff). The forum is the Simple:Press plugin for WordPress.
Why a Forum
A forum is a place on the web where you can have (closed) discussions with the members of your program.
You can also have closed discussions in a closed group on Facebook. This is convenient for people who already spend a lot of time on Facebook. They do not have to switch to your forum to join the conversation or ask a question.
The advantage of a forum over a closed group on Facebook is that you will always have it on your own domain. You are the owner and keeper of the content, the topics and the discussions.
For the members of the forum it will also be easier to find their discussions, topics they replied to and searching in general in your forum is easier.
A forum on your domain will also brand this domain with you, with your expertise.
A group on Facebook will always have the Facebook look and feel. When Facebook changes something to the groups that you don’t like you will have to learn to live with it.
WordPress is my favorite Content Management System (CMS). I have been working with it since end 2005 and never had problems with it. The sites I build with WordPress always give good results in the search engines.
All my websites, hubs, blogs are build with WordPress and I only use WordPress for my clients hubs, blogs and sites.
There are a number forum plugins available that you can use for WordPress. These plugins add a forum to your website. For example, Tal.ki forums, bbPress, Zingiri Forum, Simple:Press and more.
Using the Simple:Press forum for your client programs has a number of advantages:
- You can create user groups – for each program you start a separate user group
- You can create groups of forums for specific user groups
- You can hide admins from the member lists
You can download the Simple:Press plugin for free. Of course a donation is really appreciated to keep the plugin updated. Note: I have no relation to the developers of this plugin.
I love the support we got in the Support Forum while building and fine tuning our forum. The developers of the plugin actually incorporated a suggestion we made and made it available in the next update. This way we were able to support our clients.
For the owners and users of the membership forums of our clients I have created a owners manual and user guide. Feel free to download one or both for your forum with WordPress and Simple:Press.
The owners guide for a Simple:Press membership forum. Feel free to download it
Table of Content Owners Manual
The Owners Manual has 59 pages and is a PDF of 2.5Mb. You can download it for free.
The Users Guide for the members of your Membership forum. Feel free to download it.
Table of Content Users Guide
The Users Guide has 29 pages and is a PDF of 1Mb. You can download it for free.
Do you use a forum for your program?
Are you thinking about a forum for your membership program or training?
Do you already have a forum for your members? If yes, what software are you using? What do you like about it?
If not, what is stopping you? It is a great support for the members to make more from your program, training, coaching.
Love to hear your thoughts on this.