We all crave a sense of belonging. That’s why we join sports fan associations to cheer on our favorite team or sign up for local book clubs to discuss the latest mystery novel. We enjoy rallying together around a common interest. 

Membership sites are an effective way to create an online community around your brand. You can offer members exclusive content, premium swag, and first dibs on new products. You can get people excited about a new topic or an innovative technique. 

But how do you build a membership site? A Google search unearths several different methods, from building an entirely new website to purchasing expensive platform software. Lucky for you, it’s possible to create a membership site for free using WordPress.

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In this post, you’ll learn more about membership sites and the tools you’ll need to create one for your business. 

Benefits of Building a Membership Site

A membership site may be uncharted territory for your business. So, it’s important to get team buy-in before dedicating time and energy to build a membership site. Here are a few benefits a membership site can offer your business. 

Recurring Revenue 

Membership sites offer an opportunity to provide your customers with premium content. You can charge a monthly or annual fee for access to exclusive videos, unpublished checklists, expert discussions, and other valuable content. 

Brand Authority 

Thought leadership is crucial to attracting more customers because it compels them to engage with your brand. With a membership site, you can build a tribe of individuals who believe in your brand. You can host weekly chats and share unique content. As you gain members’ trust, they are more likely to purchase your products. 

Customer Education 

You can use your membership site to educate your customers about your products and to get feedback about new product releases. You’ll have direct access to a community of customers that can help you learn more about their needs and, thus, increase customer retention. 

Plugins to Create a Membership Site With WordPress

There is a wealth of plugins and resources to help you create a membership site using WordPress. We have included a few different options below.

1. WP-Members 

WP-Members takes the guesswork out of building a membership site. This plugin lets you restrict specific content for registered site members only and doesn’t require any modifications to your theme. The plugin notifies you of new member registrations and holds any registrations for your approval. The premium version even offers a MailChimp integration to grow your email list.

WP Members plugin to create membership site using WordPressSource: WordPress

2. S2Member

S2Member is a well-known WordPress membership plugin with multiple custom capabilities. Beyond restricting posts and pages, the tool lets you build member-only access to downloadable files and streaming audio and video. If you upgrade to the Pro version, you get the reCAPTCHA feature to prevent spam registrations and coupon code configurations for high volume memberships.

S2Member plugin to create membership site using WordPress

Source: WordPress

3. Paid Memberships Pro

Paid Memberships Pro is a comprehensive membership subscription plugin for WordPress. It handles the full member experience from new registrations to cancellations. Customize your membership site with unlimited pricing levels, six payment gateways, and members-only content restrictions. You also can extend the functionality of your membership site with add-ons, like affiliate tracking and auto-renewals.

Paid Memberships Pro plugin to create membership site using WordPressSource: WordPress

4. Membership & Content Restriction

The Membership & Content Restriction plugin is your solution for creating subscription plans, accepting member payments, and restricting access to premium content. You have complete control of editing subscription details and adding (or removing) members. With the Pro version, you can sell group memberships, accept recurring payments, and drip content to your members on a schedule.

Membership Content Restriction plugin to create membership site using WordPressSource: WordPress

Examples of Membership Sites

Sometimes the best way to get the creative juices flowing is to get inspiration from those who are actually doing it. So, we searched the web for some amazing examples of membership sites. Take a look to develop your own ideas. 

1. Serious Bloggers Only

Smart Blogger offers its members high-quality online courses through its membership site Serious Bloggers Only. For a one-time fee, members get access to more than 30 mini-courses about mastering the skill of blogging. There’s also a private Facebook group to support the community. 

Serious Bloggers Only example to create membership site using WordPressSource: Smart Blogger

2. QPractice

Created for designers, QPractice is a membership site to help design professionals pass the National Council for Interior Design Qualification exam. Members enroll in a monthly plan to get access to a series of lessons with videos, live webinars, and worksheets to help them ace the test. 

QPractice example to create membership site using WordPressSource: QPractice

3. 16Personalities

16Personalities is a resource for receiving in-depth and practical information on the 16 personality types. The membership site, referred to as Academy, is free to anyone who takes their personality test. Members join a like-minded community and get customized content about their personality types.

16Personalities example to create membership site using WordPressSource: 16Personalities

Membership sites are the new engagement tool. Get your members pumped by sharing exclusive content on a regular basis. And don’t miss the opportunity to build brand authority along with recurring revenue for your business.

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Originally published Oct 11, 2019 11:21:41 AM, updated October 11 2019

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