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What is a Membership Site? 

If you have ever wondered what is a membership site, then you have come to the right place. Having membership sites are one of the best ways to run a successful online business. If you want the flexibility to work online from your laptop and earn income, then a membership site is one of the best ways to form an online business. In this article, we will teach you what is a membership site, examples of some membership sites, and what your membership site should include. 

What Exactly is a Membership Site?

Believe it or not, there are many people out there who have asked, “What is a membership site?” A membership site is a part of an online business where only members can subscribe and access the content that you put out. The thing is, it is completely gated, which means that your “subscribers” need to pay, or you have to charge them a fee. Some people do a mix of both. A “gate” is a barrier that is built into your website using a plugin. Once you have the barrier set, members can log in and access exclusive content, special offers, and even be part of a community of other members. For some membership sites, members can interact directly with the owner. The content on a membership site can vary from e-books and webinars to online courses and podcasts. 

membership website

Examples of Popular Membership Sites 

1 – Fizzle 

Fizzle is a paid membership site that is super popular. This is a membership site for individuals and small business owners. The membership site caters to people who want to create a successful online business. Exclusive members get access to premium content, live coaching sessions and webinars, and a chat where they can interact with industry experts. There is also some basic free content available to draw in potential members, such as a public blog. 

2 – Food Blogger Pro 

Food Blogger Pro is another premium membership community to help people create and grow their own food blog. Members can get access to premium course content as well as a community forum where they can interact with other members. 

3 – Scott’s Cheap Flights 

Scott’s Cheap Flights is a separate membership community where members get access to curated low-cost airfare deals. This community offers more free and paid membership options. To access any type of flight deals, visitors need to sign up for a membership, so there is a strong incentive for visitors to join. After this, free members get access to a limited selection of deals, while paying members get access to the full selection of deals. 

4 – AppSumo Plus 

AppSumo Plus is an application only membership website to an eCommerce situation. If you’re not familiar, AppSumo is a popular marketplace that sells heavily discounted digital products in time-sensitive deals. An AppSumo Plus membership for $99, which gets you 10% off AppSumo purchases and extended access to their public deals. Basically, you can offer more than just content to your members, as this membership website example shows. 

membership site

How Can You Create a Membership Website? 

There are a lot of different directions that you can go with membership websites. You can offer courses, premium content, podcast access, special discounts, discussion boards, and more. You can also do different pricing approaches – going totally premium or offering a mix of free and paid content. You can even offer content to non-members, like a public blog that people can read without signing up for your membership site. Offering some public content also helps you rank in Google and get shared on social media. Here are some things to look for in a membership management tool: 

1 – Pick the Right Platform 

There are so many different platforms that you choose for your membership website. There are website builders like Squarespace, but for membership and course creation tools, WordPress is one of the best options out there. 

WordPress is a free, open-source software that is in charge of almost 35% of all the websites on the Internet. WordPress is both popular and free. This makes it more suited for membership websites. WordPress plugins make it easy to add new functionality to your website without needing to write any kind of code. With a WordPress membership plugin, you can easily turn your website into a membership site. Some other plugins are WooCommerce, which adds eCommerce support to your website to create a membership store like AppSumo Plus. 

2 – Choose the Right WordPress Membership Plugin for Your Needs 

With a WordPress membership plugin, you can turn WordPress into a working membership site. Choosing the best WordPress membership plugin for your situation requires you to consider the ways in which you can restrict access to content. The core principle behind a membership site is being able to restrict access to some or all of your content, so it is important to choose a plugin that gives you a flexible way to do this. 

The Paid Member Subscriptions plugin lets you restrict entire categories or types of content, as well as individual pieces of content. This lets you make sure every piece of content has proper access permissions. It also lets you “drip” your content over time, which helps you keep your members engaged and coming back. If you use another plugin, like WooCommerce or bbPress, you’ll also want to make sure your chosen plugin supports restricting content from that plugin. If you want to sell access to your membership content, you will need a plugin that comes with built-in payment support. There are two basic kinds of payments which are one-time payments and recurring subscriptions, which are great for recurring revenue. 

membership sites

The Benefits of Adding a Membership Site to Your Business 

There are several benefits of creating membership websites. Here are some benefits you can expect to get from opening your own membership site. 

Increase Your Revenue 

If you already sell online courses, e-books, and other digital products, a membership site can become another revenue stream for your business. Diversification and multiple income streams are pretty important parts of sustaining your business in the long run.

You’ll Build Trust and Loyalty 

As an entrepreneur, you depend on other people to put their cash in your pocket. You have to earn their trust and loyalty. It’s just like any other business model. If you love a particular supermarket because it always carries your favorite products, you won’t go to another supermarket unless you have a very good reason. When someone gives you money in exchange for a membership subscription, they are already demonstrating loyalty. You now have the opportunity to nurture it. As long as you don’t let down your customers, they’ll continue paying to access your content. 

There Is No Need For A Physical Product 

Managing an inventory of products can be hard. You need to find a place to store those products, pay to ship them out, and hire people to manage sales. A membership site is 100% virtual. It doesn’t take up any space in your home or office, and you cannot run out of it. Your content is always there for your customers, and it is a key part of what is a membership site. 

what is a membership site

You Build Better Authority 

Consumers have access to so much online content that they do not know where to look first. Naturally, customers are drawn to people who demonstrate their authority the best. But what is authority? Authority is the sense that you know exactly what you are talking about, that you can back up your claims, and that other people follow you. When you create a membership site, you send the message that you have information that is valuable enough to demand payment. 

Develop Relationships with Customers

It is so important to develop relationships with your customers. If your customers do not feel like they know you personally, they will have no reason to stick with you. An online membership helps give your site a chance to build your own community. Only people who want to pay to consume your content can enter. This makes members feel more connected to one another and to you. This is powerful. People who sign up for your membership site are likely to feel devoted to your industry, just like you. They seek solutions and knowledge so they can develop their own talents and skills. 

What Features Should a Membership Site Have? 

Your membership site should include a lot of different content that aligns with your membership model. What exactly should be included will depend on the specific site, but here are some examples: 

  • Written content like blogs or videos 
  • Online courses 
  • Live webinars 
  • Perks for members like digital products or even physical merchandise 
  • A community section/forum where members could interact 
  • Your archive of content 
  • Exclusive downloads like worksheets, templates, and more 

Hopefully, this article showed you a basic understanding of where you can start when you are thinking about running your own membership site. If you have more questions, reach out to SEO Design Chicago today! 

FAQs: 

  • What is a membership site?
  • What is a “gate” on a membership site? 
  • What should a membership site include?
  • What are some examples of membership sites?
  • What are the benefits of having a membership website?

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