A membership website is the gated section of your business site that is accessible only to individuals who have subscribed to this service. You basically add a “gate” or barrier to a part of your website using a plugin or a tool like the one that we recently launched here at Strikingly. Site membership allows our users to build a membership website and offer premium content to their subscribers.
Examples of membership sites
When we speak of premium content, we refer to digital products such as online courses, ebooks, podcasts and other items that do not require physical shipping. Here are a few examples to give you an idea what a membership site is about:
- Access to a full online course complete with downloadable training materials, coursework and a certificate of completion after subscribers are done with the lessons
- Diet Plans - customized diet programs according to a user’s specific health and fitness requirements
- Complete eBooks on digital marketing including strategies, worksheets and expert advice on running your own campaigns
How to create a membership website
You don’t need to write any special programming code to restrict access to some of your webpages. Strikingly’s built in membership website builder tool lets you enable this setting for store products through the website editor.
With the setup out of the way and handled by a paid membership website builder, you can now focus on the content and marketing for your site.
1. Decide on a membership model
There are different types of membership models that you can explore when you create a membership website free. The most common is content subscription where members pay a monthly or yearly fee to access content that you produce on a regular basis. You can also provide access to a content library - where members can access not just current content but also content that you have published for premium access in the past.
You can also offer coaching and other professional services when you create a membership site. Design, consulting or writing services offer a monthly or annual membership option along with a pre-determined service scope that users can avail. Similarly, you can provide coaching or tutorials in a bundle with learning aids and materials such as ebooks and quiz notes. Finally, in a community membership model, users become part of a network of like-minded individuals that exchange ideas and information through your platform for a fee.
Regardless of the membership model, you need to create content that will keep your audience engaged and encourage them to renew their subscription.
2. Start with free content
You might be asking, why build a membership website when I’m offering free content? Free information such as blog articles and other downloadable files are produced to entice users to sign up for your platform. People need to see the value in your membership site and the way to do this is to tease them with quality content.
3. Build yourself up as a reliable source of information
Membership sites are built around the idea that people find value in paying for quality information. You need to build your brand as a reliable source of advice and information in your chosen niche. Leverage on social media and other forums to make your brand known. Start by offering free advice, participate in discussions and build a following for your content.
Continue marketing your membership site and premium content through various platforms. Share your free content on social media. Add social share buttons on your Strikingly website to make your content viral. Optimize your free content to improve your online visibility and get your website to rank in relevant searches.