Welcome to the Treehouse Community

The Treehouse Community is a meeting place for developers, designers, and programmers of all backgrounds and skill levels to get support. Collaborate here on code errors or bugs that you need feedback on, or asking for an extra set of eyes on your latest project. Join thousands of Treehouse students and alumni in the community today. (Note: Only Treehouse students can comment or ask questions, but non-students are welcome to browse our conversations.)

Looking to learn something new?

Treehouse offers a seven day free trial for new students. Get access to thousands of hours of content and a supportive community. Start your free trial today.

General Discussion

Jared Gold
Jared Gold
6,586 Points

Which Tools Should I Choose to Create an Online Membership Site?

Hey Treehouse Community!

Long story short, I plan to create an online membership site - somewhat similar to the functionality of Treehouse (except far different purpose). The basic purpose is to provide sports handicapping information once a week from a team of experts - likely via a short video.

Workflow:

  1. User signs up on website/landing page.
  2. Payment form comes up where user enters info. At the end of the process, the user can also enter email addresses of friends to invite them. If friends sign up, the person who referred them gets a discount as long as they remain active customers.
  3. MailChimp (or another email provider) sends an auto confirmation email, along with a unique referral link that friends can send to others.
  4. Users would access the information through one of the following (not entirely decided yet): password-protected page, email, or some sort of portal with a log-in (with the latter being ideal, though probably the most complex to set up). It'd be great to have one location for all information - in a perfect world.

Considering the following tools: -Subscription billing: Recurly (alternatives: PaySimple, BrainTree, or Stripe) -Site creation: Squarespace or Unbounce/Optimizely/LeadPages - do you all know if Unbounce/Optimizely/LeadPages pages are responsive? -Email tool: MailChimp (alternatives: Infusionsoft) -Referral service: ReferralCandy (alternative: something like ReferralSaasquatch) -Automation/linking between various systems: Zapier -Membership software (e.g. for the private portal I mentioned above): CustomerHub (from InfusionSoft) - seems to be all-in-one...? (alternative: Memberful)

Does anyone have thoughts/recommendations? Know which services/tools to use and how to integrate them to automate this process? I'd prefer feedback on the systems/tools in place rather than the viability of the idea.

To answer the question of "Why won't people just sign up for one account and share/post everywhere?" Quite possible. Hopefully by the time it gets to that stage, there is a better system in place to help prevent that. However, we believe that the referral system (tiered similarly to that of Treehouse) will help prevent sharing the information to a degree. Also, if there is a short video with that information on a login portal, instead of just emailing out text information, that may help mitigate this risk.

Thanks so much for reading this ridiculously-long post and looking forward to hearing your feedback!

2 Answers

Stone Preston
Stone Preston
42,016 Points

Treehouse is built with Ruby on Rails which would be a good option for the main backbone of the site Not sure how well all the tools you want to use would integrate though. Check out some of the Ruby courses to get started

Jared Gold
Jared Gold
6,586 Points

Hey Stone, thanks for the feedback.

To be totally honest, I would not want to build this from scratch. I'd like to automate this through a series of SaaS platforms to sort of serve as an Minimum Viable Product. If this thing really takes off, an all-in-one integrated platform that is custom would be the next step to scale (if needed).

*I agree that Ruby/Rails is an excellent framework.

Stone Preston
Stone Preston
42,016 Points

ah ok I see. what are you planning on using as the main backbone of the site? I know you mentioned all those tools above but how are you planning on putting this all together?

Jared Gold
Jared Gold
6,586 Points

So I'll likely need tools that have built-in integrations/APIs that are easy to use to chain things together (or possibly use something like Zapier).

The site itself would be on Squarespace or a landing page service, and wouldn't need much on it - simply a basic and compelling explanation of the offering with a "Sign Up" button. The other services would just be automated to work with that - they're all SaaS platforms, so certain integrations would trigger them without them actually being too "built-in" to anything. For example, Squarespace and landing page systems often have a MailChimp integration, so if someone signs up, they're added to the customer list, triggering an automatic email with necessary info. Probably should diagram this thing on my own to make sure all of the moving parts make sense, haha.

The backbone could also be the site linked with Infusionsoft's CustomerHub that I mentioned above (still need to investigate).

*Things could be done manually, but that wouldn't be ideal.

Stone Preston
Stone Preston
42,016 Points

oh ok. well, it sounds like a neat idea. good luck putting it together.