How To Create A Membership Website: Best Platforms + Tips

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Bart Keating

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2019 March 20th

membership-website

Have an online product or service but you don't want to give it away for free? You're probably wondering how you can charge customers for access to your platform. The best companies in the world don't give their products away for free, so why should you?

Membership and subscription websites can help you monetize your work.

And you don't need to be a computer programmer to set everything up. There is a range of different platforms and plugins that can help you build your own membership site. So, in order to help you get started, I wrote this guide of the best platform and helpful tips.

If you are using WordPress, check out our tutorial on how to create a WordPress membership site.

If you're looking to make a membership website from scratch, these are the best platforms:

  • SubHub (flexible plans for your customers)
  • Memberful (easy to use membership platform)
  • Wild Apricot (plenty of features for your membership website)

Let's have a look at them - and afterward, I'll also have a look at the most important things to do before you start!

1. SubHub

Plans start at $47 per month

Membership Website SubHub

SubHub is an online membership website builder that offers a ton of unique features to its users. With SubHub, you can pinpoint specific members and manage them individually. This gives you greater control over how you provide content to your users. The platform also allows integrated Stripe and PayPal payments, subscriptions, online stores, and an excellent content management system.

One of the features that allow SubHub to stand out from the crowd is its 'Pay-Per-View' function. You can use it to charge non-members a fee to access specific content on your site. It's an excellent way to generate revenue from people who may not want to be full members.

2. Memberful

Free plans available to all users

Membership Website Memberful

Memberful is another popular subscription websites service that de-mystifies the membership creation process. In many ways, Memberful is much easier to navigate than a WordPress plugin because the user interface is less technical. You can create memberships, integrate payment systems, input MailChimp, and more. Best of all, it works perfectly with the WordPress platform.

One of the best components of Memberful is its free version. You don't even need to use a credit card to sign up for its services. While it doesn’t come packed with the premium features on offer with its paid subscriptions, it's an excellent way to get a feel for its platform before you commit to a paid plan.

3. Wild Apricot

Free service with reduced features available to all users

Membership Website Wild Apricot

The last of the three platforms I'll overview is Wild Apricot. This service has a website builder that allows you to build your entire site. Wild Apricot helps you automate your membership services through a range of premium features.

You can automate membership and subscription payments, send mass membership emails, promote membership packages, provide event registration forms, and more. You can even access a limited free version of the site to test out its platform.

Unfortunately, you will have to pay for Wild Apricot's premium service. But don't worry, you get a lot of bang for your buck!

Things To Do Before Starting A Membership Website

Only with a membership platform, you can't do it all. A platform can only give you a place - but it won't do all the planning and give you all the tools.

There are many things you should consider before starting, such as:

  • Membership forms
  • Payment integration
  • Membership mailing lists
  • Locked content
  • Flexible membership options
  • Coupons, discounts, seasonal deals
  • Current platform integration

1. Membership Forms

If you want to build a membership website, you need a platform that can help you collect information from your users. Creating membership forms allows your users to sign up for an account and provide you with the personal details that you need. The top membership website platforms can help you automate this process.

In many ways, this will also mean that you need a membership platform that allows you to manage your member profiles. You should be able to manually alter, delete, and view the membership profiles on your site.

2. Payment Integration

At the end of the day, you need a way to process payments for your memberships. If you want to make money from your website, you've got to charge a fee! Many of the top platforms allow you to integrate a range of different payment platforms on your website. You should consider all the different payment types you're aiming to accept.

Modern web users utilize a wide variety of different payment methods, from credit cards to PayPal. Make sure you can accept the payments your users want to utilize.

Membership Website Payment Integration

3. Membership Mailing Lists

Building a relationship with your members is critical if you want to maintain your paying customers. Sending out mass emails can help you keep members informed. In some cases, emails may be part of your membership package.

Either way, it's a good idea to have a membership website builder that can help you integrate systems for mass emailing. Integrating with platforms like MailChimp can make the process even easier!

Membership Website MailChimp

4. Locked Content

If you want to have a 'pay per view' component of your site, some membership platforms will allow guests to pay to see posts or pages. This can help you generate revenue from one-time visitors who may not be interested in a long-term membership or subscription. Many of the world's top content providers have this type of feature on their sites.

5. Flexible Membership Options

If you want to give your members a truly professional experience, it's a good idea to have flexible membership options. Work with a platform that allows your members to alter their memberships, upgrade plans, cancel subscriptions, and more. Having a multi-tiered membership system can help you target a range of different price points.

6. Coupons, Discounts, Seasonal Deals

Another feature that you should look out for is custom discounts, coupons, and deals. If you want to provide your users with discounts or free trials, you should have the freedom to do so. This is a great tool that you can use to entice new users on your platform. While this may not be a feature everyone is looking for, it's an excellent option to consider.

7. Current Platform Integration

Lastly, if you already have a website builder to host your site, it's essential to work with a membership platform that can integrate into your current setup.

For example, if you're using WordPress to host your business's site, you'll need to use a WordPress plugin to create a membership portal. If you haven't built your site yet, you'll have a lot more flexibility in this department.

Membership Website Plugins

Start Charging for Your Content

Returns on digital advertisements are relatively small if you're not generating large amounts of traffic.

As a business owner, it's essential to consider different ways you can increase revenue. If your content or online service is worth the money, web users will be more than happy to sign up for an account.

With so many different membership website products available, it's never been easier to set up a membership platform quickly!

Now that you know how to create a membership website, it's time to put it into action. The various platforms listed in this article can make it easy for you to build a membership website that can catapult your online business forward!


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Written by Bart Keating

Experienced in copywriting, SEO and creative writing (journalism, blogging, poetry, lullabies etc.). Public communication bachelor and HoReCa expert. A strange sense of humor but bearable. Has a beard, a cat, a fiancee, a hedgehog, and a brand new pug.

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