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Password Protect to Boost Membership?

Forums: General Discussion
Created on: 09/18/08 07:24 AM Views: 1329 Replies: 7
Thursday, September 18, 2008 at 7:24 AM

Is it a good idea to password protect a few pages (such as photo collections) to encourage new classmates to join?

I know of at least 40 people who are aware of our site, but haven't joined. I've also received emails from many classmates thanking us for the new site, telling us how much they enjoy it, and saying they'll check in for updates... but they haven't joined.

Could it be that we're making it too easy for people to browse the site, so there's no real incentive to join? Long term, my concern is for the reunion itself. The whole point of the site is to gather contact information... well, and to reconnect with people, but we're really hoping to boost reunion numbers this time around.

On the flip side, I don't want people to get frustrated with the site and not return.

Opinions would be appreciated! Yours too, Brad - you always have great insight.

Thanks in advance.

Also, when I log out and try to go to my newly password protected pages, it doesn't encourage me to join the site. Will classmates who haven't joined understand what to do? It says something about needing a "system password," which is a bit confusing. Am I missing something?

Edited 09/18/08 3:00 PM
Thursday, September 18, 2008 at 10:14 AM - Response #1

First, your idea to put something on the password protected page to encourage people to join the site is fantastic. I can't believe I didn't already do that to make it easier for people... Right now we just kind of leave them with having no clue what to do, and nothing to even click on... You are sooooo right about this. It's obviously a password page and we don't want to clutter it up with too much verbiage, but I think a simple line or two telling people where to get a password from, along with a link they can click on, would be extremely helpful. Thanks so much.

Regarding what pages to password protect, that's really entirely your call based on the content you're putting on those pages and the needs/wishes of your own Classmates. Every school is different. In general I do not recommend password protected your home page or your Classmates Profiles page, as doing either one of those things will make it much harder for new Classmates to join your site. Classmates can already choose to restrict their own Profiles anyway, so privacy concerns are already right in their own hands. Most schools have at least something they choose to password protect -- although I personally tend to doubt password protecting more things will make many additional people join due to this reason alone. Although again, I'm not sure how sensitive the content is that you might be posting, or how much your Classmates want this content to be private.

Thursday, September 18, 2008 at 10:55 AM - Response #2

Thanks Brad!

There's nothing truly sensitive, but I thought maybe it would pique people's interest and give them an incentive to join. I've been inviting people to send old photos, newspaper clippings and that sort of thing, but since the link headings don't really explain what non-members are missing - it's probably not practical.

Thanks for your help, and I'm glad I could finally be of some help to you!


Thursday, September 18, 2008 at 11:08 AM - Response #3

I've password protected ALL pages except HOME so that they MUST sign up before getting in. This way their privacy is protected and the site is more interesting (they have to work for it). You will find a LOT of people are intially reluctant to sign in, I too have the smae issue with people, BUt once they see their friends etc, I think they are more likely to do so.

Thursday, September 18, 2008 at 11:25 AM - Response #4

That's what I was thinking, Glenn. If everybody can just come in and look around, why sign up? On the other hand, I want people to see how open it is... I've made friends with people I'd never even heard of when we were in high school. That's been really fun!

Thursday, September 18, 2008 at 11:26 AM - Response #5

Hi, I definitly think you should password protect some of your pages. If I could see everything without a password, why bother getting one? I suggest you password protect your Rocket Lounge, Wonder Years, 50 is the new 50 and the 70's music. I see you already have Friends NEW locked down.
I started out password protecting everything but I think the system password was intimidating and confusing my classamtes as no one was registering so I got rid of it (actually I changed it but didn't send it to the class) and unlocked my Home Page and Classmate Profiles page as Brad suggested, left a few general pages unprotected to peak their interest but locked down the fun stuff, pictures, games, etc. I sent an email telling the class they didn't need the system password anymore to register and after that the registration started trikling in painfully slow, but it's a start. Take a look if you like.
Good Luck

Thursday, September 18, 2008 at 2:04 PM - Response #6

Yea -- I wasn't really thinking of it from a piquing people's interest perspective -- you've all made some good points.

Thursday, September 18, 2008 at 2:33 PM - Response #7

I've decided to see how the password protection goes for a while, and I've added some copy to the home page to make it clear how to joined. I'm beginning to wonder if the people who know about the site, but haven't joined, didn't understand why they should, or maybe even that they could? I'm hoping this boosts our numbers.

I'll keep you posted, and thanks again for the advice!

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