laptop and glasses on a table
Easy guide to starting an online membership program through your company site.

Paid content is all the rage nowadays. Have you heard of people making serious money as creators while they build their portfolios? Membership websites make all that possible. This is why it’s important to know how to set up a membership website on your own.

Membership websites work for any product or service. You can create a membership website around almost any brand, limiting your content to an exclusive set of followers who are willing to devote a larger amount of time testing your product and interacting with a wider community that shares their interests. By limiting access to privileges, perks, or content, you are able to funnel your followers into a more meaningful, 360-degree experience of your brand.

Advantages of a Membership Website

When you have a membership website, you are able to concentrate your following and maximize the loyalty of a certain community with common interests.

Remember that as a business, you need to focus not just on sales per se but also on the overall experience that customers get out of your brand, including your online presence. Not everything has to be given out for free. In fact, too much free stuff tends to dilute brand value. You need to earn from your existing assets and create a membership website that adds exclusivity to your business.

This is when a membership website comes in. It can be used to solidify your patrons, building a sense of community among them. It can also be used to promote brand new concepts and tapping an exclusive user community who are willing to test out your ideas. Word of mouth from these loyal followers also has a stronger pull on others to try out your ideas and share their thoughts.

A membership website does not only help with products, but also with content-based strategies. Creators will be able to reach a fanbase that is there solely for their content. Experts can create courses and tutorials around their specialty. They can bring in hobbyists and teach them how to elevate their craft to the next level. With memberships, they gain access to such knowledge without being billed for every single thing they click on.

A community forum can be built within a membership website to encourage common interest groups to share high-quality insights exclusively. This could lead to better quality and more targeted discussions, which is a plus for content.

If you have an existing product that you already sell through eCommerce or many years of subject matter expertise to capitalize on, membership sites are a good idea to enhance your business. You might even have an existing site that you want to improve on and take to the next level. The next step, then, is to choose the right membership website builder for you.

How to Setup a Membership Website

Are you interested in a side hustle or another income stream for your business? A membership website could be the answer. When you entice people to pay for access to content or privileges behind a paywall, it is the first step in increasing your profitability.

First, you will need to have an idea of what kind of business model you will use for your own site. There are many examples of loyalty or membership programs, customer support forums that offer premium privileges, webinar sites, and paid education or short courses that can prove to be highly effective models for your new membership website.

It’s not difficult or expensive to learn how to build a membership website. If you’re a noob, you can start learning about basic site-building first. However, you do need some basic coding or technical skills to put together a decent one. If you don’t code, you might want to hire someone who does. You don’t need to hire a genius, though, just someone who knows their way around popular web services.

web developer at work
Depending on the complexity of the project and platform used, you may need to hire a developer to code some features of your membership website.

There are many platforms and online guides that teach you how to start monetizing your content. The web offers a vast array of options for you to embark on your journey and learn the practical ropes on how to create a membership website.

Let’s run down a list of basics on membership website building. You will go through the following phases in creating your new site:

  • Platform screening and selection
  • Planning product and content offerings
  • Deciding on membership tiers
  • Membership website feature selection
  • Plan selection on your selected platform (free or paid)
  • Setting up tiers and features
  • Going live

workspace table

A little strategy goes a long way. Plan for your site by listing all the features you need to support your membership program.

Platform Selection

There are quite a good number of platform choices available today when you want to create a membership website free. When selecting your membership website builder, consider the ease of the user experience and how comfortable you are with the platform. With the number of generic builders out there, it’s easy to get confused. There are more trusted brands known for generating better output, however, and those are the ones you should shortlist.

Consider what really works for your needs. What features will you be requiring? Make a list of what you want your website to be able to do.

Features requirements enable you to narrow your choices of platform. You need to ask yourself questions such as: Do you want to be able to manage your memberships efficiently? Is there a registration requirement? What do you want the payment options to be? Which types of content do you want public, and which ones do you want behind a paywall?

When you have these particulars in mind, you can then browse around for a platform that can best address your needs.

Options for a Membership Website Platform

You will need a reliable platform that has a good reputation and is a reliable tool to use when you want to create a membership website for free.

The platform needs to provide options for individuals, hobbyists, experts, thought leaders and small businesses to start their own membership programs. With the right platform choice for your membership website builder, you will ideally minimize the technical requirement needed to build a membership website.

It should have available plugins or features to help you create a full-featured site even without much coding knowledge. Again, however, you have the option to hire a developer if you need guidance on your project or want to make the most of certain functionalities, or simply if you don’t want to do everything yourself.

The choice of plugins on certain sites could prove tricky for the uninitiated. Most beginners tend to be overwhelmed by the sheer number of plugins on some platforms. This is not the way to go if you want to keep things simple and achieve results in a quicker timeline.

You can start a subscription business using the more user-friendly tools out there without sacrificing design, user experience or quality.

You will want to use a quickly-growing platform, with customizable features that you can utilize for a variety of audiences. Some platforms allow you a “pay to view” setup for premium articles, online classes and exclusive published material in the academic field. This concept further “retails” the content to smaller portions that can be sold on their own. These features are a great draw for users who might not be willing to buy a full subscription to access your content. It is also a way to bring in more loyal followers while lowering the barrier to entry.

While there are many platforms that market themselves as membership website builders, few are geared towards the noob creator and small business owner who is unfamiliar with coding and tech. You need a site like Strikingly to bridge the gap between such aspiring site owners and their markets.

Strikingly also has many simple tools for turning your visitors into superfans. If you are looking to expand or shift platforms, it is an easy choice that has many interesting features unavailable on regular sites like coupon codes and free trials.

How to Create a Paid Membership Website using Strikingly

Strikingly provides all the tools to “make your website in minutes.” It’s easy to get started on a basic site, but what if you want to upgrade to a paid membership program for your patrons?

Strikingly provides options to add a membership feature to your website. There are options for free or paid registrations, which you should weigh carefully as you build a membership website.

Decide on Membership Requirements

By now, you should have a good grasp of what you need on your site to make it work. A Pro plan on Strikingly means that you can add up to 100 members on your site and create one membership tier. The VIP plan adds to this, and gives you more membership tier options (up to 5), and add 20x more members than the Pro plan.

Another perk of using Strikingly is that you can use multiple pages for your membership program and set up members-only pages on your site. The Audience Plan further boosts your site’s capacity and reach. You can further customize your side and add support using this Audience Plan add-on.

To Start: Build a Membership Website without the Hassle

Getting started on your Strikingly membership website has never been so simple. Go to your Site Editor, Hover on “Audience,” and you’ll see a drop-down menu that includes “Membership.” Click “Activate Membership.” This will ensure that your followers get access to special perks like coupons and exclusive product offerings.

The site will guide you through the rest of the steps, from basic tier setup to user management and support. It’s simple and doesn’t require any coding expertise. This is probably the easiest, most seamless, and easily customizable tool available for everyone new to building a membership website. You can now put up your exclusive content, such as online courses, and let your fans enjoy it while you earn!