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Written by:
Layla Acharya
Last Updated:
membership site is and how you can create it

How To Create A Membership Website In Easy Steps

Many companies have used membership sites in their businesses.

It is a private part of your website where registered users can access special content. You can apply the idea behind membership websites to several situations, which is why creating a membership site has become a popular strategy.

People use membership sites to offer gated content, create private forums, and offer special product discounts.

Today easy to create a membership website thanks to the user-friendly platforms available. You can open your membership community for free, charge for access, or mix and match the two strategies by offering different content to free versus paid members.

Regardless of how you implement it, creating your membership site has many benefits. This article will discuss what membership sites entail and how you can create a membership website.

What is the definition of a membership website?

What is the definition of a membership website?

A membership website is where you place content behind a locked gate and earn money by asking users to pay for access.

It’s a different way of delivering content to your audience where you require them to subscribe and make recurring payments.

The membership website requires people to buy a membership review and your gated content provides an ongoing value for the customer.

A membership site allows you to publish and restrict content to people who subscribe to your membership. Depending on your business model, membership requires payment or free.

Sometimes, it’s beneficial to offer a combination of free memberships and premium subscriptions on your website. For example, a crowdfunded site allows podcasters (see also ‘Best Podcast Websites’) to offer additional premium content only for paid subscribers besides the free podcast offering.

Creating a membership site is a popular online business model and for a good cause. They cater pathways for engagement and connectivity and can help you place your best content behind a paywall.

A membership website differs from selling subscriptions despite having similar features.

What are the benefits of a membership website?

There are many benefits of running a membership website.

Here are some of the major benefits of starting a membership.

You get recurring revenue

Creating a membership site allows you to have revenue coming in every month via member dues. You can keep a good percent of your members, providing regular income through subscription models.

For example, if you have 100 members paying $30 per month, you get a $3,000 per month income as long as you keep your membership numbers.

Membership sites are a great way to monetize your content and supplement your income consistently. They can help you generate profit without adding many tasks to your to-do list.

However, focus on member acquisition and retention. Use your gated content to generate leads by requesting an email address as part of the signup process.

Creating a community

creating community with membership program

A membership website promotes relationships, customer loyalty, and a strong community. You can use a membership website to build a community and engage with your audience.

If you provide quality content, your loyal members will refer to other new members and regularly buy your products or services. You can foster a deeper relationship with other people who have similar interests as you. The membership sites allow you to connect.

Offers exponential growth potential

One of the biggest benefits of starting a membership site is the ability to grow your site to unimaginable proportions using the existing infrastructure and content.

If members can view you as the go-to authority in your niche, then your credibility will increase. You can increase income opportunities through coaching and concentration.

Opens new marketing opportunities

Running a membership site gives you a pre-qualified audience for marketing and upselling. Your site members are already interested in what you offer and double-sided to pay for a membership.

It makes them the best possible candidates for your products. Beyond selling your existing premium content, you will make a ready-made audience to sell more content or products with your membership site.

How do membership websites make money?

A membership site makes money by restricting content and receiving monthly recurring subscription revenue. There is a signup form where visitors can enroll.

It enables members to access restricted parts of your website and perform other members-only activities. If you maintain a loyal customer base, their monthly subscription fees provide regular income through subscription models.

You can use a ready-made solution to pay a subscription and upload your content.

Different membership website types

Before creating your membership website, you’ll need to decide on a membership model. This is where you identify the content you’ll offer to your customers.

If you want to get paid for your expertise, you might want the right platform to achieve that. The best thing about membership sites is that there are various ways you can offer one.


create forum

You can run an online community where paying members can access the forum without creating another account. It is usually a community of engaged users who will keep returning to your site.

There are different forums, such as hosted forums, white fuse, and tribe. Key considerations include single sign-on and consistent branding when creating membership website forums.

You need to restrict access to members and feed the usage information into the main contact database.

If you offer paid premium content, you bring in a steady subscription revenue every single month. A subscription-based business model makes money with different packages.

It’s based on the idea of selling a product or service to receive a monthly recurring subscription revenue while focusing on customer acquisition and retention. Many companies have used this model to build incredibly successful businesses.

Freemium model

Freemium is a business model that offers a version of your subscription service to all customers for free. You didn’t charge a premium for supplemental or advanced features.

This model is popular among software applications and internet-based businesses. The free version is a more basic version of the bells and whistles paid survey accompanied with the premium version.

Digital products

You can sell your digital products using the membership website. If you already have digital products, you only need the content.

Use your existing products to configure your membership structure. For example, if you have different pricing levels for your digital products, they will fit perfectly into membership tiers.

Online courses

An online course is a powerful tool to share knowledge and grow your business. It refers to a formal program of learning with an ultimate objective.

You can teach members what to do and get paid for it. In your online course marketplace, you sell your course in an e-commerce style.

Participants take a series of steps to get to the goal, where each part builds on the last one. Today, many people use online courses as a road to a successful online business with passive income.

How to start one?

You need a concept and physical structure to build a membership roadside.

The physical structure is the build of your website, which you can do using WordPress and a membership plugin. The concept refers to how you will deliver your content to members.

Picking a niche

Niche ideas

Focus on a specific niche, which allows you to create highly appealing content for the audience. Depending on your target audience, you may find niche communities and platforms to advertise your membership sites. It is great for conversion rates.

Identify your target audience and tailor your message to speak to their specific needs.

You can not get your membership site more effectively when you have a narrow target audience. When deciding on your niche target, find a large enough to sustain your growing membership site.

Creating a website

If you haven’t already, you’ll need to set up a website to load your content. It’s a great way to create a local community of individuals and builders source of recurring.

You will need a domain name, a web hosting account, and an SSL certificate to create a membership site. Purchase a web hosting and a domain name to create a website.

In creating a website, you may need to choose a platform. The important features to consider include membership management, user registration, content restriction, and payment options.

The next step is to choose the right website plugin for your membership site. Here are some of the popular membership website plugins.

While you can add these features to any platform, most of them require some technical skills to use. You will need to install and activate the plugin


Learndash membership program

The learnDash learning management system has everything you need to sell online courses. It is the most popular learning management system and the best plugin to create and sell online courses.

This plugin comes with an intelligent course builder to create highly engaging courses. You can sell access to your classes at a one-time price or a subscription and membership.

You can send automatic email notifications to your learners through this plugin based on their activities.


This plugin has an advanced permission-based system that allows you to restrict your content based on the membership level.

For instance, you can deny capabilities for specific membership levels. Use this platform to create high-converting landing pages and pop-ups for your membership site. You can also create and design a custom home page.


MemberPress is an easy-to-use WordPress membership plugin that can help you charge your users to access your content (to find out more about Memberpress memberships, read here).

You can use it to create, manage, and track membership subscriptions confidently. The plugin can also help you sell digital download products.

Use it to manage your members by granting and revoking their access to posts, pages, videos, communities, and digital files based on where they belong. 

This plugin comes with advanced features to help you create multiple membership levels, restrict access to content, and accept payment. It also integrates well with email marketing services and other tools.


Teachable plugins

Apart from being a powerful online course builder platform that allows you to create and sell online classes, teachable (see also ‘What Is Teachable?‘) is a membership plugin.

You can use it to create engaging multimedia lectures through video, image, text, audio, and PDF file. The advanced pricing options on this plugin allow you to sell your online courses by charging a one-time fee or selling a subscription.

Creating content for courses (other paid content)

Monetization setup (payment processes, etc.)

Monetization setup

Sometimes you may use memberships as a lead generation tool. Other times you may charge a fee, which requires setting up a Payment Gateway.

The free version can help you create a working membership website, but you need the paid version to add advanced features like recurring subscriptions.

You can have features such as automatic recurring subscriptions, multiple subscriptions per user, and integrations with other sites to enhance your membership community.

Make sure you have payments set up and ready to go if you’ll be charging fees.

The best way to monetize your membership subscription is to install a paid member subscription on your website. You can configure the payment gateways for your membership websites, allowing you to use PayPal as one gateway. Once you activate the plugin, it launches a setup wizard to help configure the basics for your membership website, such as payment options.

You can create your membership levels that grant access to your restricted content. For example, you can make it so that only users can see the post on the Premium access plan.

Paid member subscriptions allow you to create as different access plans as you’ll like, which can include both free and paid options. Once you’ve created your subscription plans, you can restrict access to content on your membership website.

Marketing (PPC, social ads, etc.)

Marketing is where you’ll spend a lot of your time and money. A membership site is only profitable if people join, so you have to market it.

Therefore, start getting members and growing your site by marketing your room membership website. You can use these strategies to push your membership growth and revenue.

Start by creating a testimonial page on your website. When people talk about their experience, they give social proof of your product. The testimonials show how this product can help customers and why they subscribe to your membership website. They can also help drive more organic traffic to your page, thus extending your marketing reach.

Another marketing technique is to promote content on social media pages such as Facebook. Paid promotion on Facebook can help attract more people to your membership website.

Facebook advertising gives the best ROI of any social media platform and costs less than other channels. Advertise your memberships with a platform and post your free content to nurture cold leads.

You can also create explainer videos on YouTube to market your membership website. It applies to people who sell online courses of digital downloads as well. Create video tutorials based on content from your blog since people prefer learning about products through video.

For example, you can post a video tutorial that teaches your members a new skill to promote your membership website. YouTube can also increase the organic traffic back to your website, which gives you more opportunities to land leads.

Successful paid membership websites example


About Appsumo

AppSumo is a marketplace for digital product dates. It’s a great example of how you can apply membership websites to an e-commerce situation.

This membership Marketplace sells discounted digital products in time-sensitive deals where anyone can purchase the deals. However, those who subscribe to a membership get even better deals and a 10% discount on purchases.

Traffic Think Tank

Traffic Think Tank mastermind group

This is a mastermind group and a private membership community run through slack. It helps members master SEO and other subjects to improve their business and ranking goals.

The channels available include content marketing, link building, automation, conversion, and SEO.

The traffic think tank is one of the best marketing community and training resources. Registered members access over 300 hours of exclusive learning materials and monthly webinars. Pay for access to the community and benefit from the industry’s most experts.

Quotes Cover

This safe quote maker and generator tool turn any text into licensed graphics for social media, web, and print.

There is a free version and a paid one on the website. The free version doesn’t require registration meaning only the pro users are active service members.

Directive Institute

DI is an online training platform where marketers can develop the skills to launch effective digital marketing campaigns.

It is the perfect community for anyone looking to make their footprint in the digital marketing space. This membership growth relies on client success, company growth, and self-improvement.


Fizzle is a popular paid membership site for small business owners who want to create successful online businesses.

The members get access to premium content, live group coaching sessions, and forums to interact with each other. There’s also some free basic content to draw in potential members.

Food Blogger Pro

This is a premium membership community helping people create and grow their food blogs. Successful food bloggers run the membership site. Membership gets access to premium course content and a community forum to interact with other members.


Anyone can incorporate memberships into the existing business.

It is a different way of delivering content to your audience that requires monthly subscriptions. However, you must provide an ongoing value for the customer to make them stick around and make recurring payments.

Every membership site is unique, though you’ll find features across the most effective membership websites.


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