While you are free to make the layout inside member’s area of your paysite any way you wish, I would suggest the following framework because it is used by some of the largest membership sites on the internet. If you look inside the paid member’s area of any large publication’s website, like the Wall Street Journal, you will find a layout almost identical to the one below.

There’s a reason why the billion dollar publishing companies use this time tested layout. It’s simple, and everyone is used to it. The easier it is for people to find things on your pages, the longer you will retain them as members. Most content management systems are flexible in their layouts to make these modifications simply by modifying the template. Suggested element placements are as follows:

1. Masterhead (location: Across top page) This is your logo, graphics, and any slogans. It should be on every page and I would also strongly recommend having the date and time under the right-hand side of the masterhead so you pages have the perception of being current and up-to-date.

2. Navigation Menu Bar (Location: Vertical on left side of page) Your navbar should be on every page of your members area so your member’s can jump to any area they wish to instantly. It should be a static menu, so it looks consistent no matter what page they are on.

3. Bottom Menu Bar (Location: Bottom of page) The bottom menu bar contains all the information and links that are rarely clicked on but should be included on all pages. This includes a copyright notice along with links to your site’s privacy notice, terms and conditions, sitemap, contact page, affiliate program, etc.

4. Content Panel (Location: Center of page) The Content Panel contains the articles, list of articles, video box, download instructions for content, etc. Basically, any and all content goes in the content panel. It’s located under the masterhead and between the left navbar and the right-hand margin of the page.

5. Search Box (Location: Upper right of page) Every member’s area with lots of content needs a search box. The preferred placement is in the upper right-hand corner. It can be placed just under the masterhead or even inside the masterhead.

Some sites use a secondary navigation box on their homepage. This is a matter of personal choice, but be aware that it will take up valuable page real estate. Generally when it’s used it’s used for providing links to up-sell products and services. The one exception to using the above layout would be single page member’s areas. These sites don’t need navigation bars or search boxes because there is only a single page of content. An example of a single page member’s area would be a site offering PLR downloads. Some of these sites are just a single page that only changes once per month and has all their download links on a single page.