A Complete Guide To Creating A Membership Site

Molly Floyd
Content & SEO
March 1, 2022
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You may have heard of people starting membership sites and making tons of money. Maybe you're interested in developing your own membership site but you are a little skeptical about it. We are here to help! A membership site can be an additional benefit to your business that contains premium and quality content. It can either be a functional community of users or a unique or creative area in alignment with your business. And the best part is that you can add a membership website to your existing online business.

What is a Membership Site?

A membership site can be a website, a blog or video content that requires members to pay for using it. These membership portals often have exclusive content. When you update your membership site with new information, your subscribers can easily start accessing it. And you might wonder how this works? As long as the subscription remains active, every consumer can access the membership segment of their site with the unique username and password assigned to them.

Before you begin building your membership site, you need to know that membership sites and advertising are not the same thing. A membership site is a way of making money through content. Now, why would people pay money for your content? This is because they want to acquire knowledge from the content you provide.

Why You Should have a Membership Site in 2023

Here's the thing: If you want to attract more people and expand your community online through the content that you are offering, you can create a membership site. This will also help you to establish your authority, develop loyalty among your audience and remain connected with the people who want to hear from you. The best part is that you can do these things on your regular blog or website and get paid for it. Moreover, these membership sites become useful to people as they can also be treated as a catalogue for digital products for the content they are providing like online courses, free videos, public blogging, books and ebooks, and social media content.

What are the Perks of Adding Membership to your Business?

Let us break down some of the advantages of adding a membership site to your business:

  1. Increases revenue: You might already be making money by selling online courses, ebooks, and other digital products. Developing a membership site for your business can enhance your revenue every month, but for that, you need to have relevant content which people are willing to pay for.
  2. Builds trust and loyalty: Trust and loyalty are a major part of your membership journey. Once your customers develop trust in your business, they return again and again.
  3. Cut the need for physical products: Having a physical store for your products can involve a lot of complications. You would need to find a place to store your products, pay for the shipment, and hire people to manage the store and the sales. A membership site, on the other hand, cuts all these costs and reduces all your headaches. 
  4. Free traffic: If customers are subscribing to your site, that means they are leaving their contact information behind. This contact information can either be the number or email that you can use to contact them for pitching your services. As long as you deliver quality content, you can turn this traffic into customers. 
  5. Increased authority: Authority is an important aspect of business today. Creating a membership site can help you establish that.
  6. Develops relationships: We cannot overlook the fact that it is important to develop a healthy relationship with your customers. If your customers do not get connected to your brand on a personal level, they might not find enough reasons to stick to your business.
  7. Enhances value: A common thought that crosses each one of our minds is that if it is costly, it is worthy. Nothing that is important comes for free. The same can be the concept for your content too. Content that needs subscriptions are considered to be premium. Of course, there are plenty of sites offering content for free, but money gives you the freedom to make sure your content is valuable.

Things to Include in Membership Sites

Based on your membership model, your membership site can include either of the following:

  • Blogs
  • Online courses
  • Webinars
  • A community section for other members to interact
  • Worksheets, templates, etc.
  • Listicles
  • Videos
  • Podcasts
  • Screencasts
  • White papers
  • And more

Membership Models you can Try

  1. Fixed membership period: As the name suggests, this model lasts for a certain amount of time i.e., it's based on a fixed membership period. This could be something like a 30-day cooking challenge or a 90-day weight loss challenge that comes with a certificate. Users just need to pay for the period they are using your membership site. Additionally, you can extend these memberships.
  2. Product membership: You can use this model for products or content that's exclusive. This could either be an online course or actual applications that your members can download. However, you must offer multiple products from time to time for the continued incoming payment.
  3. Service as a membership: You can use this model for a monthly service or products that require subscriptions on a monthly or fixed basis. For example, fitness coaching or cooking classes.
  4. A combination of all: Most of the membership websites offer a combination of all these models. Members might pay in terms of hours for coaching classes or invest in exclusive products or content. Whatever is the model, you can leverage them to deliver your members quality content.

How Much can you Earn from a Membership Site?

You aim for 1000 members for your membership site and charge around $50 for each. This way, you would make $50,000 a month. And even if your members pay less, you can still generate revenue somewhere between $20,000 to $25,000 a month. And if one day, you decide to sell your membership site, you could make millions.

How to Choose a Membership Site Platform?

Choosing a membership site platform would begin once you get to know your niche and the kind of content you are creating. 

Several membership site builders can help you build your site. Here is how to begin:

  1. Set your budget: This is probably the topmost question that needs to be answered:  How much are you willing to spend? Look for platforms that do not have hidden charges and have a transparent pricing option. Memberstack can help you build the best membership site in the best available price range.
  2. Features to consider: Many membership platforms are not aligned to offer a lot of features to their members, which is why they receive less traffic. You must design your membership site in such a way that it offers various possible features.
  3. Support that you need: For a technical person, it is easy to set up as they just need some software to start with. However, if you are not that tech-savvy, you must ensure that you are getting help from the right platform.
  4. Payment setup: Payment processes need to be smooth, both for the members and the owner. If a site supports a third-party payment option, members might feel reluctant in using it. Therefore, opt for safe and renowned payment getaways.
  5. Make it mobile-friendly: Most people use mobile phones for work. If your membership site is mobile-friendly, it would increase the traffic and, thereby, increase site conversions.
  6. Look for customer-domain: You would want your members to have the best possible experience, which is why you need to keep your brand consistent across all channels. You can only do so with your website. Therefore, it is important to have a custom domain with your name to increase the trust factor.
  7. Pay heed to security: Since you will be storing countless member data, security must be your prime concern. One way to do so is by ensuring your site has an SSL certificate. 

Attracting New Members to your Membership Site

You have built your membership site, and published exclusive content too, but now you want the community to grow. How would you achieve this? 

  1. Content marketing: Content marketing is crucial to growing your community. If you are strong in this aspect, you can enhance your community without much difficulty. What you can do is publish a blog post or update your social media with a link to your membership sites, and visitors would automatically be redirected. Do not just pitch sales, instead use CTA to build excitement among the visitors, so they end up clicking on it. 
  2. Paid advertising: Paid advertising is considered to be extremely important and is profitable too. A lot of entrepreneurs have adopted paid advertising in their strategy and benefitted from it too. Though not very often but sometimes at least you must take up this road too. For starters, you can use Facebook ads or implement PPC through Google Ads. 
  3. Social media: Whether or not you are using paid ads, you still need a strong social media presence. Different people have different preferences in social sites depending upon their audience type. Figure out what works best for you and implement that in your strategy.  You can create an 80-20 rule, i.e., 80% of the post should be entertaining and 20% should be promotional.
  4. Default email subscribers list: Your existing email marketing list can play a major role in growing your community. Once you have added new content to your membership site or made any updates, you can send an email to all your existing lists, thereby encouraging them to join your community.
  5. Partnerships: Another way to grow your community is by partnering with other online entrepreneurs. This way, you can have exposure to their audience and vice versa, mutually benefiting from each other.

How to Retain Members?

You have paying members in your community and you are constantly updating your membership site too. But how do you retain these members?

Some tips to help you in this:

  • Continuous interaction
  • Listening to what your customers have to say and work on it accordingly
  • Deliver quality content regularly
  • Keep updating your site regularly
  • Let your members know they are valued

Creating a Successful Membership Site

Memberstack helps you create beautiful membership sites that are easy to use. You can create several membership sites based on your requirements using in-built creative templates.

Memberstack is your ideal membership site builder as it includes: 

  • Digital marketing capabilities to retain the existing customers, engage and acquire new ones.
  • Analytics to understand how your members are engaging with your services.
  • Automated processes to turn the prospective customers into customers easily, and much more.

Steps to create a membership site:

  1. Define your target audience: Before beginning to build your membership site, you must have clarity on what you are building and for whom. Ask yourself: What are you trying to solve? It can be that your competitor is working on the same idea as yours but targeting a completely different audience.

Hence, it is essential to have a deep understanding of your target audience. 

  1. Validate your idea: Once you are sure of what you want to build, you must research your competition.
  2. Price your membership site: Setting a price for your membership site can be a risky task. And you might wonder, how? Well, if you charge too much, people would not be interested in taking your subscription and if you keep the price too low, you could be at loss. 

So, before setting the price, get clarity on your subscriber base whether there are students in your community or experienced professionals, or a mix of both. Based on that, you can fix the price.

  1. Select a platform to host: After you have your target audience and pricing sorted, the next thing is to choose the perfect platform to host your membership site. You must look for the ones that are easy to use and understand and do not have hidden charges.
  2. Design your site: Design is what your audience will notice at first glance. Therefore, you must invest wisely. An interactive design is preferred by the audience and helps them decide whether they want to move forward with your site or not.

Make sure your content and columns are placed correctly. Interactivity should be smooth and the flow of the site seamless.

  1. Create stellar content: The content you put on your site would attract more customers and retain the old ones too. Try to keep it as unique as possible, something the audience can gain value from.
  2. Build your community: Try building and expanding your community through Facebook and other social media platforms before launching your website. This way, you will already have a long list of people who are willing to subscribe to your site once you launch the paid version.

How to Decide a Niche?

Choosing the niche for your membership site can be difficult. Therefore, you must have answers to these questions:

  1. Have you developed an audience already? A common strategy that successful membership sites have adopted is that before launching their membership website, they create their audience base somewhere else. This means they have a pre-default list of users that would add up in their revenue when they launch the paid membership plan. It is not mandatory, however, to create an audience base beforehand; but having one can enhance your paying members list, thus, confirming you are heading in the right direction.
  2. Are you providing your members any value? People will only sign up to your site when they find valuable content. If they can find relevant content anywhere else, they would not be willing to pay for your site. Therefore, you must create unique content so that users find it intriguing. 
  3. What type of content are you sharing? This depends on the topic you are looking to talk about. However, it also needs to match your interests and passion. All you need is to find a way to differentiate your niche from others, so you can taste success as people would find your content unique and helpful. You can also experiment with the content format – video content, blog posts, or articles – anything that would add value for your users.
  4. What should be the price point? Membership site pricing depends upon the type and quality of content you are sharing. Many membership sites offer their users free trial sessions, then they offer paid packages and the user decides if they want to continue. Another way to fix the pricing is by researching your competition and looking for what others are offering. Then you can decide on how you can add or modify the same in your plans. Also, ensure that you are not setting an unrealistic price that your visitors have no choice but to leave the site.

Learn from Other Membership Sites

One way to understand how membership sites work is to be a part of other membership sites and taking note of:

  • What do you like about the site?
  • What would you like to change?
  • How the site owners are communicating with the members?
  • Do you see engagement?

Once you have the answer to these questions, you can plan your strategy, and modify them accordingly. Besides, it is also important to pay attention to the design element:

  • How is the navigation working?
  • What colours are used?
  • How is the font?

These questions are important too, as they help you understand the design value of the site.

Examples of Membership Sites

Now that you know more about membership sites, let's take a look through some of the best membership site examples to understand and learn from.

The following websites are different from each other, so no matter what your idea is about, you can find your inspiration here:

  1. Makerpad: 

Makerpad is a membership platform for education and community building. They specialise in teaching everything no-code to encourage and educate creators to get online. Makerpad have two membership options: 

  • Basic $0
  • Pro $249/year

The Basic membership gives you free access, a profile and basic access into the community.

The Pro memberships gives you access to a private peer community, a profile, discounts for no-code tools and over 350 educational videos led by industry experts.

2. Alura:

Alura is a product research tool for Etsy, it allows you to inspect any product on Etsy to see how many sales it has. Or at least how many sales it's had for the past 30-days. With an algorithm that allows you to inspect the product and look behind the scenes to see what keywords a product is using. Alura have three membership options: 

  • Basic $0
  • Annual $13.33 per month
  • Monthly $19.99

The basic membership gives you basic access to all tools whilst the paid memberships give you premium access to tools and world-class support.

3. CodeCrumbs: 

CodeCrumbs is a growing curated list of code snippets built for people who use Webflow and want to expand on its native functionality. CodeCrumbs saves hours of time looking through forums, communities and code repos for useful code, then figuring out how to save them. You can go straight to the curated list and you're ready to go! CodeCrumbs currently have 1 membership option: 

  • Code $0

The free membership gives you access to all code snippets, library updates, tutorials and cloneables.

4. Polar Analytics: 

Polar Analytics is a centralized marketing analytics dashboard for Shopify brands. Run by a team of just two people, one handling front-end, product, marketing, sales & support and one handling tech, back-end, and data science. They offer three membership options: 

  • Start $119
  • Growth $290
  • Plus $540

Start membership gives you 100,000 visits per month, 15+ integrations, unlimited users. Growth membership gives you 1,000,000 visits per month, multi-stores capabilities, dedicated slack channel and Plus memberships gives you unlimited visits per month, hourly refresh of data, attribution model and multi-brands capabilities,

5. Rassa: 

Rassa gives chefs a platform to digitalize their skills and become creators in the creator economy. Up until now chefs have had to work crazy long hours for low pay, and it's a pretty abusive environment. Rassa are trying to make it easier for chefs to make money online and help people discover cultures from all around the world. Rassa have one membership option:

  • $50 weekly

Membership includes creating 3 original recipes, cooking with new tools and ingredients, joining an exclusive community of chefs, personalised feedback from instructors and lifetime access to your chosen course

How to Build your Membership Site with Memberstack

Memberstack is a membership integration platform. With Memberstack, you can integrate your website design with your branding efforts in a seamless manner. You can create subscription-based revenue by using Gated Content. This refers to the member-only content at Memberstack. The process of building your own Gated content on Memberstack is quite simple. Here are the various steps involved in this process:

Step 1: Go to the Memberstack website.

Step 2: Signup for a free account by providing your email and creating a password.

Step 3: Once signed up, select a website builder. The various options are HTML/CSS and Webflow.

Step 4: Create a new membership. Halfway down the process, you'll see a button to Hide content.

Step 5: Give your content group a descriptive name and enter URLs of any pages or folders you'd like to hide. You can use Starts with to hide multiple pages (including those created in the future) and Equals to hide individual pages right now.

Step 6: Specify an "Access Denied" URL. This could be a pricing page, a login page, etc. It's entirely up to you.

Step 7: You can add multiple types of hidden content. For this example, we have "Basic" and "Premium." Later on, we'll create memberships that unlock each of these groups.

Step 8: If you want to hide individual elements (but not the entire page), we recommend doing so once you've finished setting up the rest of your site.

Step 9: Create!

Checkout this article for more details.

Join Memberstack today for free and start building your membership.

To Conclude

Membership sites are a great way to make some extra money for your business. If you have great content and a good number of consumers, you are good to go. Just make sure you update your content regularly and keep the processes easy for your members. While there are multiple membership site builders available on the market, Memberstack does a perfect job at helping you hide content behind a membership as well as integrate hundreds of features and design as smoothly as possible, thus, creating an impressive membership site for your audience.

Create your Membership website and start earning today!