how to create a membership site

How to Create a Membership Site That Actually Makes Money

Do you have a wealth of knowledge that people would be willing to pay for? Maybe you’re an author looking to fund your next project. Whatever the idea is behind created a membership site, know that it is doable and you can also earn a decent living.

Understanding how to create a membership site is part of the journey. Once your site is up and running you’ll be well on your way. Your site can begin earning you a passive income as soon as the first member signs up.

There is no one-size-fits-all road to success for content creators. Each person has something unique to offer and a different path to getting there. In this article, we’ll show you the best way to create a membership site.

Creating content that somebody values are the first step to building a membership site people will pay to join. Keep reading to learn more about membership websites and how they can increase your income stream.

What Is a Membership Website?

A membership site is a website that allows visitors to join the website. Not all membership site has a fee to join. In fact, most are free. 

The benefit of having a membership site is to capture information on the people that visit your website. The data you gain is useful in developing targeted marketing campaigns.

In addition, when someone joins your website, they can be notified when new blogs are posted, or new merchandise is added to your e-store. It also makes it easier for members to comment on posts, leave reviews, get exclusive content, and save financial information.

How to Create a Membership Site People Will Pay to Join?

Starting an online business is an important step. Membership sites are essential to online businesses because it increases your opportunity to earn additional revenue. 

Creating a membership site is the same process as creating a regular site. The main difference is access to content offered at a cost is protected behind a paywall. This means in order to gain access to the content visitors must join the site and pay the set fees.

Types of Paid Products and Services

Becoming an influencer in the digital era is easier than before. Having your own platform provides a way to isolate your target audience from all the distractions of social media.

When it comes to creating a membership site there are many types of products and services you can offer. If someone is following you online there is a pretty good chance you are offering content or service they are in need of.

Let’s take a look at the most common types of websites that require a paid membership. 

Digital products

Digital products are anything that the user can download from your computer. Unlike items sold in an e-store, these digital products are typically offered as a free gift to entice site visitors to join the website.

The digital product can be an e-book, templates for legal documentation, or even customizable flyers or posters.

By requiring membership, you have the tools to market to your client base tiered products that come at a cost. 

Educational Publications

Educational articles or publications are content using your expertise and knowledge to create. It can also be content on a wider scale. 

It is becoming commonplace for news media sites to start charging site visitors to view news articles. Sometimes they give visitors access to a set number of free articles. Or they make portions of the website visible, such as obituaries and politics. 

Members-Only Engagement

Members-only engagement is content that only members have access to. As an author, creating a membership site can be built around releasing chapters to an upcoming book. Or you can host live book club chats with your readers.

YouTube creators are turning to platforms like Twitch to provide their subscribers with exclusive content. Instead of creating a channel on a paid platform, you can build your own platform and receive proceeds directly without a waiting period.

Peer-to-Peer Mentoring

For many influencers mentoring is the answer to giving back, by helping new entrepreneurs get started. With peer-to-peer mentoring, you can start off by offering free information via live streams on various social media platforms.

As your audience begins to grow and you see that people are fully engaged in the information you are sharing, offer private sessions. In these sessions, people can get value-added content that isn’t offered in your general streams.

Special Deals

The best practice for creating a membership site is offering something people believe they cannot live without. Usually, this is something that can help them make money. This idea for a membership site can earn you passive cash two-ways.

The first is through the paid membership. The second is by offering deals that involve the member clicking on a link that leads to an affiliate website.

Affiliate marketing is where you earn cash by directing people from your site to another site with the goal of them making a purchase. For each purchase that initiates from your website, you earn a profit.


Too often people with knowledge give their knowledge away for free. Expect this trend to come to a screeching halt as more people learn the value of their content.

By creating a membership site, you can now sell your step-by-step tutorials in either a PDF that can be downloaded or a video that is behind a paywall. 

Finding a Hosting Site

There are different web hosting sites available to accommodate what you need to build a membership site. Most website builders today come with the feature on their free platforms.

If you want to have your own domain, which is important for brand-building, you’ll want to go with a premium plan.

First, you will need to decide what you want your website to offer in terms of bandwidth, storage space, custom emails, and eCommerce tools. Once you determine those needs, figure out a budget and how much you want to spend on annual hosting fees.

Setting up Your eCommerce Platform

To have a paid membership site, you’ll need to have eCommerce capability. Decide if you want to accept credit cards, PayPal, or some other form of online payment. It is not recommended to accept manual payments because it delays access to your content.

You’ll want to review the terms and conditions for the payment provider you choose. Most charge a percentage on each payment, plus a per-transaction fee. The distribution of funds schedule will also need to be established. 

Creating a Price Scale

Another best practice for creating a membership site is to have tiered pricing for your content. Not only does it make your content more accessible to everyone, but it also allows you the potential to upsell.

Upsell is when you offer value-added content as an add-on to basic packages. A price scale is also a good marketing tool.

Visitors can join your website for free. However, to get access to the content they have to buy a tier-package. One package could provide access to videos and a chat feature. The next level offers live chats with you every Wednesday at 8:00 PM.

Create Content

Now that you have gotten all of the technical stuff out of the way, it is time to start working on your content. 

Who is your target audience? Have you already built an audience?

What will you talk about and in what form will the content be distributed? You have written content, video, content, and engagement content.

When will the content be available? Is a one-time deal or will new content come available on a regular or scheduled basis?

Where will this content be housed? Of course, it will be on your website but what will be open-access content and what will require a membership. 

Market Your Website

Once everything is up and running it’s time to get traffic directed to your website. There are several ways to do this. Let’s take a look at the ones that will garner the best response. 

Social Media

If you know anything about optimizing a website, influencer marketing, and brand building, then you know you must have a social media platform.

There are numerous social media platforms but the most popular for influencers include:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • YouTube
  • LinkedIn
  • Periscope

With an active subscribership, you can direct followers to your website by sharing the benefits of becoming a member.


E-marketing is where your site subscribers come into play. Keep in mind, a subscriber is different from a member. On your home page should incorporate a lightbox which is a form that appears over the first page visited that encourages the person to join your mailing list.

You can also include pop-ups with a similar message.

Once someone signs-up for your emails, send a welcome and a bit of info about your membership plan.


Google is a vital marketing tool because it basically owns the internet…not really. However, Google does provide various ways you can market your website and your product or service.

Start by creating a Google My Business Page. Next, create an ad that will appear in your knowledge graph to invite people to join your website.

You can also invest in Google AdWords, Retargeting, and create a YouTube channel.

Landing Page

Landing pages are one-page websites entrepreneurs use to direct traffic to something they want followers to invest in. They are used to promote conferences, events, and even membership sites.

To market your website, include the link to your landing page whenever you are on social media doing promotions. The landing page will include images, graphics, or even a video. It is a hype page to get people excited about new content.

Once you get them ready for the big reveal, have them click on a link that directs traffic to the membership sign-up page.


Word-of mouth will forever be the best form of advertising. Before Google and social media, word of mouth was exactly that, one person talking to another about a great business opportunity or service.

In the digital era, people are encouraged to share their opinions with friends, family, and business associates via online reviews and recommendations. We also want them to share our content with their online friends and followers.


Being an online influencer doesn’t have to be a lonely endeavor. In fact, influencers should network with each other and grow together. this can be done in various ways. The ultimate goal is to promote each other so everyone wins.

People are more likely to take you seriously when they see others in the industry whom they trust, working with you.

Ways to co-promote is by inviting other influencers onto your live streams. participating in events they host and allowing guest blogging on each other’s websites. 

Interact with Users to Boost Engagement

Customer engagement is the best way to boost engagement especially when you create a membership site. People want to hear from you. They want something in return for joining your website so make it worth their time and money.

Don’t wait to interact with members on a certain day or time. Post a question of the day, and encourage dialog, not only between you and members, but also between members. Create a family when people are encouraged to exchange ideas.

Respond to private messages and acknowledge people for their support and engagement. You can also incorporate a brand advocacy rewards plan to acknowledge people that advocate for you.

Are You Ready to Get Paid for Your Expertise?

Now that you have these tips on how to create a membership site are you ready to get started? There is no reason not to benefit financially from your expertise. Your time spent producing content is valuable and you deserve to be compensated.

If you found this article useful and want to learn other ways to earn passive income, we are here to give you the information you need. Click here to learn more about digital marketing and take your business to the next level.

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