Are you planning to build a WordPress membership website? Creating one is great, and if done right, it can become a solid source of income.
This business model is an interesting one as it is a unique way through which you can sell quality content to your target audience. If you take a closer look, there is probably no other model that gives you the control of which type of content members can access.
If you have decided to create a membership website with WordPress, congratulations! Half of your battle is already over. We will help you win the rest of the battle by helping you actually create a WordPress membership website and come out as a winner!
How to Build a Membership Site on WordPress?
Many are pulling their hair, trying to figure out how to start membership websites.
Even if you have no previous experience, these steps will walk you through creating a WordPress membership website with ease.
Step 1 - Select a Membership Model
When it comes to selecting a membership model, you have plenty of options. You can pick and create a model that works best for you or create a custom model. Whichever the case, here are some models to consider.
- All-access – In this model, you can give complete access to all your offerings once members purchase a membership. You can charge a flat or monthly fee
- Drip – In this model, content is released in a regular interval which makes it easy for members to consume and keep them coming back for more
- Paid online community – In this model, people will pay to access a specific community. It may be messaging platforms, private forums, or networking groups
- Timed – In this model, you can offer membership for a fixed time which has an expiration date
- Online courses – This is one of the most famous membership models. You can give access to your courses on a fixed basis or a recurring basis
- Product or service – For a service, you can offer a package deal and for a service, it can be something like a downloadable content
Step 2 - Start your Membership Website With WordPress
You have to use the correct WordPress platform – WordPress.com and WordPress.org are different ones. Beginners often get confused about which version to select.
We recommended you use a self-hosted WordPress.org platform as it will give the option to customize your website, add tools like Google Analytics, install plugins, and more. This option gives you the freedom and flexibility to grow your website the way you want it.
For a self-hosted website, you need a hosting account, domain name, and SSL certificate.
You can opt for Bluehost, a hosting provider recommended by WordPress. They will provide all the necessary items required to self-host your WordPress website in one place.
Step 3 - Choose a WordPress Membership Plugin
WordPress wasn’t originally built to run a membership website. But that doesn’t mean you can’t build one.
The best part about WordPress is, there are many plugins available that can be used to create a fully functioning WordPress membership website.
To select the right WordPress membership plugin, you have to decide what kind of membership website you want. Example- content only, webinars, classes, and paid forum.
Top WordPress Membership Plugins
Get your membership website up and running according to your requirement with these awesome plugins. You can also opt for custom plugin development if the ready-made plugins don’t suit your requirements.
Best WordPress LMS Plugins to Create and Sell Courses
- Lifter LMS
- Tutor LMS
- WP Courseware
- Good LMS
- Namaste! LMS
- MasterStudy LMS
Best WordPress Plugins for Content Restriction
- Restrict Content Pro
- Paid Membership Pro
Best WordPress Plugins for E-commerce Membership
- Easy Digital Downloads (EDD)
- Cart66 Cloud
- Ecwid Ecommerce Shopping Cart
- WP EasyCart Shopping Cart and eCommerce Store
- BigCommerce WordPress Plugin
Step 4 - Select a Theme
First, take a paper and write down the list of features you want in a membership website and the features that are optional.
WordPress comes with a sea of in-build themes. You have to select a strong theme that will allow adding flexible design elements and also give way for future expansion. Make a checklist to ensure the theme you chose has all the necessary components you require.
But, be aware that it is really hard to find everything you want from a pre-built theme and the support may not be good.
That is why at ColorWhistle we recommend the custom WordPress theme development route. In this option, you will always get what you want and add extra features easily. A custom theme will be unique, have better security, no feature overload, and will limit the plugin usage. Additionally, it will be responsive and SEO friendly, which is the need of the hour.
Your WordPress membership website is vital for mobilizing your business and helping it grow. But, it can get confusing when you don’t know how a website is supposed to look like,
Here are a few common characteristics every membership website must have:
- Fully functional – Blogs, member-only sections, and membership management.
- Attractive design – Color, theme, logo, and other design elements.
- Engaging – Encourage member interaction and advocate regular visitation.
- Visibility – Optimized for search engines.
- Ease of use – Easy navigation and quick access to information.
- Flexible – Trouble-free implementation of new design trends.
- Robust – Round the clock availability without functionality issues
If you are struggling to find inspiration, take a look at our 60 top membership website design ideas to see the type of features that membership websites have.
Step 5 - Create content
Creating the content for your membership website is one of the most time-consuming parts. As a good rule of thumb, figure out the time you’ll need to create your content and double it. If you can finish things within the deadline, great! You can spend time marketing your membership website.
Here, we will not explain how to structure your content because you are the expert! We will just cover the types of content you can include in your website.
- Videos – Some of the content formats that you can explain via a video format are tutorials, whiteboard explainer videos, informational videos, interviews, product reviews & walkthroughs, digital courses, webinars, and live streaming videos
- Images – Some of the images you can add are photos and illustrations, infographics, visual guides, quick tips, quotes, and memes
- Downloads – Some of the downloadable content formats you can create are PDFs, audio files like podcasts, and e-books
- Interactive elements – Quizzes, assignments, and placement tests are some of the content you can add to help members absorb and retain information
- Additional resources – You can share a recommended reading list or take a step further and provide a dedicated page for additional resources like podcasts, articles, videos, event listings, or products
Step 6 - Attract Users
No matter how much time you spend building your membership website, you have to spend time to market your membership website to get the word out there and to start reeling members in.
Marking your membership website can be broken down into 3 categories.
- Promote the launch of your website – We bet that you would have already done a lot of research on who will likely be your members when building your content. So, now all you have to do is to find out about the communication channels and preferences of your audience. For example, they could spend a lot of time on social media sites like Facebook. Figure that out and engage with your audience on those platforms
- Acquire new members – Once you have got your target audience excited about your membership website, you need to figure out how to provide valuable content throughout the buyer’s journey (awareness, consideration, and decision).
- Retaining existing members – Remember, your marketing efforts should not be limited to attracting new members, it is important to focus on retaining your existing members because they are easier to sell. You convinced your members to fall in love with you in the first place. So, maintain that relationship by providing consistent value. You can also try the affiliate program route as it is a win-win for you and your members
Initially, it will be hard to bring new users to your website. So you can opt for digital marketing services, which will allow you to market your membership website easily with the help of professionals. Digital marketing is regarded as a proven technique that countless businesses are adopting to get tremendous results.
What are the popular membership websites?
Get inspiring ideas from these membership websites:
1. Style Challenges
2. The Media Method Program
3. kelly Edmonds
With business, sales, purchases, and news becoming more online oriented, having a website is an important part of online development.
If you’re looking for a steady stream of income and increase user engagement, membership websites are a great choice.
Creating and launching a membership website takes hard work. Maybe you are still considering building a WordPress membership website.
Nevertheless, exploring your passion in a new way can be incredibly rewarding. Therefore membership websites might be worth checking out.
We hope that our blog will help you create a perfect WordPress membership website.
If you need help in creating or marketing your membership website, our ColorWhistle team can help you build a full-fledged website with all the marketing elements in mind. We will employ the latest technology and integrations to build a scalable membership website. Get in touch or call +1 (919) 234-5140 our experts today!
Do you have any more questions on how to use WordPress to create a membership website? Post a comment and we can talk more about it.