After running a website for a while, chances are that, sooner or later, it will gain traction. You’ll generate more traffic, and ultimately, money will start to roll in.
Selling products or services, generating ad revenue, publishing sponsored content and even relying on donations are all great ways to monetize your website.
But, there’s also another method.
And that’s turning it into a membership site.
Membership sites are websites that feature exclusive content, like articles, podcasts, tutorials, etc. This content is usually put behind a paywall as users will have to pay to access it.
In most cases, membership websites charge users via a monthly subscription.
In other words, running a membership website can be an excellent way to generate an additional, steady source of income.
It’s not only about the money, though. There are also other reasons why you should build a membership site.
Let’s take a look at some of them.
Let’s say that you’re running a blog. You could integrate a membership plan that offers users exclusive, more in-depth articles than your free posts.
Who will sign-up for the offer?
Probably, your most devoted followers.
A membership plan will give these users a place to gather, exchange ideas with each other and improve their knowledge regarding your niche.
In other words, with a membership plan, you’ll encourage visitors to interact with one another and form strong relationships, thus, creating a community.
Furthermore, this allows you to get involved in their conversations and understand your target audience better.
A strong community means that users will have a reason to revisit your website from time to time.
Besides, they already paid for a subscription. So users will want to get the most out of it, right?
Most eCommerce specialists say that memberships work exceptionally well with online stores. That’s because they offer loyal customers a sense of exclusivity, making them feel like they’re an essential part of your company.
For them, it’s a way of getting recognized and thanked for their loyalty. Consequently, they’re likely willing to pay for that recognition.
You could offer your members exclusive discounts, or products for example. This gives users an incentive to join in and continue shopping on your website.
Keeping a customer is five times cheaper than acquiring a new one.
If users are willing to pay for a subscription, it means that they’ll most likely buy your products or services in the future as well.
To put it differently, your subscribers are pre-qualified leads. You already know their needs, wants, and what makes them tick. In terms of marketing, this saves you many headaches.
What’s more, as they’re subscribed to your membership plan, you have their contact information. So you’ll be able to reach the audience through other marketing channels as well.
And last, members are excellent targets for upselling. You could use premium content to lead users to other products.
If you’re running a blog, a membership plan will push you to provide higher-quality and in-detail blog posts. Thus, you’ll provide users more value.
That said, you’ll gain credibility, and members will start to see you as an expert within your niche. This will get people to talk about you.
For example, if other content creators subscribed to your membership, they might mention you in one of their own articles.
This puts you on the map, and you’ll most likely attract more traffic to your site.
We had talks with experts from a web design company in New York, and they recommend building a membership site with WordPress.
That’s because, with WordPress, turning your website into a functioning membership site is not a big deal. It’s mostly a matter of choosing the right plugins.
But, with almost 60,000 plugins available, you’ll likely stumble upon some bad apples.
In hopes of narrowing down your search, we’ve come with a list of some of the best membership plugins available.
So let’s take a look.
Setting up MemberPress should be a breeze. It’s a matter of installing the plugin, setting up your products, entering the payment gateway details, and you’d be ready to go.
This is an all-in-one plugin, meaning that it comes with everything you need to run your membership website. For example, it brings pre-made, attractive pricing pages, control over your coupons, content dripping, etc.
It also pairs with bbPress, enabling you to create forums where users can interact with each other.
In terms of pricing, MemberPress starts at $149/year.
Restrict Content Pro is perfect for beginners. That’s because this plugin offers you notes to help you through the installation process.
In terms of features, Restrict Content Pro allows you to set up different membership levels, offer discounts on subscriptions, content dripping, etc.
This plugin also comes with a customer dashboard, where members can view and manage account details.
Pricing starts at $99/year.
WooCommerce Memberships is an add-on for the WooCommerce platform, making it perfect for online stores.
It’s easy to use, and you can set subscriptions both as recurring or one-time payments. But, if you’re going to accept recurring payments, you’ll also need the WooCommerce Subscriptions plugin.
Other features include free shipping for members, content dripping, easy communication with members, and an invite-only area.
Pricing starts at $199/year.
Unlike the other two, S2Member comes with a free version.
Although its features are a bit limited, you’ll still be able to create custom registration pages, restrict your content and accept recurring payments through PayPal.
If you’d like to have access to other features like unlimited membership levels, gift codes, coupon codes, and integration with Stripe, PayPal Pro, ClickBank, and Authorize.net, you’ll have to go for the pro version.
This will set you back with a one-time payment of $89/site.
ARMember is entirely free. This plugin allows you to drip content, restrict content easily, create unlimited membership levels, etc.
Also, ARMember enables you to upgrade, downgrade, cancel or renew memberships.
Creating and managing online courses with LearnDash should be a walk in the park.
It comes with a course builder that allows you to create a learning gateway. Also, this plugin includes a drip-feed feature, meaning users will be able to access the next module only after they complete the current session.
Furthermore, LearnDash provides detailed reports on progress, performance, and enrollment. You can merge it with MemberPress as well.
A one-site license will set you back $159.
MemberMouse is an easy-to-install plugin that lets you sell memberships as well as physical products.
This plugin provides you with tools that track the members’ transaction history, activity, information, and more. To maximize results, you can also integrate any payment gateways and email marketing tools.
Pricing starts at $29/month, including 11 membership pages, payment and email integration with all platforms, one-click purchase and upsells, and basic reporting.
Also, note that the basic plan allows you to hold up to 5,000 members.
What makes WishList Member great is that it provides you with tutorials, videos, and guides to help you use this plugin more efficiently.
In terms of features, you can let non-members have a sneak peek at your content. This can allow them to nibble at your premium content, enticing them to sign-up for your membership plan. You can also offer trials.
Furthermore, WishList Member provides many integration options, including payment gateways, email marketing providers, and other page builders.
A one license account starts at $149/year.
WP-Members allows you to hide pages, posts, and custom post-types easily.
It also lets you set up a dedicated sign-up form anywhere on your website and showcase teasers of premium content to attract more sign-ups.
The features we mentioned above come with the free version of the plugin. Paid plans start at $59/year.
All in all, setting up a membership website is a great way to generate a reliable source of income.
Not only that, a membership website pushes your loyal customers to grow a community and get more engaged with your business. Therefore, marketing your products will be more effective.
And with the plugins you can find on WordPress, getting your membership site up and running is as easy as ever.