By Dave Carr @Review.Casa
This website is reader-supported. When you buy through links on the site, I may earn an affiliate commission.
The advantages of running a membership website
One problem that many online entrepreneurs face is trying to come up with new ways to make money or add revenue streams to their existing sites. One idea that can help bring in that extra money is a membership website.
There are many advantages of running a membership website, and it may be easier than you think. If you are looking for a new way to expand your online business opportunities, it’s worth your time to consider running a membership website.
Membership websites come in two forms- paid and unpaid. No matter which type you decide to run, you will start by requiring visitors to enter their email addresses and create a user profile. This means that you will begin developing a list of subscribers, and these lists are one of the most valuable commodities a web business can own.
While you never want to use this type of list as a way to send bulk messages or spam, you can use it as a way to send information to your customers to market new products that they will find valuable or draw them to other sites that you own.
One way that many website owners make money with membership sites is to use the idea of an “upsell”. You offer different levels of access to members based on their membership level. Members can access limited services using their free membership but have to pay to gain access to full membership benefits.
The goal is to offer visitors enough benefits in a free membership to make them want to spend money on a paid membership. You can even offer multiple levels or different rates for those who sign up for lifetime memberships as opposed to monthly access.
The major benefit to offering a membership site is that you develop predictably, recurring monthly income- a nice feature that many site owners don’t enjoy. To start your membership site, start by deciding what will be included in your free membership and what customers will get when they join with a paid membership.
You should consider offering a free membership that requires a credit card at sign up, which will then automatically convert to a paid membership after a certain period.
A final thing to consider is the level of interaction you will have with your customers. When you run a membership site, you will have to deal with customers regularly and establish a business relationship based on trust.
This creates customers who are more likely to buy from your company in the future, since they already know you and will be more comfortable.
Membership sites offer website owners many benefits. While running a membership site is more labour-intensive than other sites, it can be a great way to bring customers to your other sites while creating a regular income for yourself.
Decide what you can offer customers on a membership site, and get started creating one. With a large number of tools available to webmasters, it can be fun and easy to get a site up.
Purchasing a turnkey site is another fast way to get into the membership business. No matter how you choose to do it, membership sites are a great way to expand your online business opportunities.
What is a WordPress membership plugin?
Membership plugins allow you to add protected areas to your website. There are so many plugins that it’s easy to get overwhelmed when choosing one.
If you want to sell your content and don’t want people stealing it then you need a membership plugin.
WordPress is the most popular content management system out there so it makes sense to create a WordPress membership site instead of hiring a developer to restrict content and create a subscription system.
Most people require a way to sell courses so 2 of the membership plugins I cover are learning management systems, dedicated to creating and protecting your knowledge-based content and sharing it in a way that makes it easy for you to set up and your visitor to consume as a subscription.
Not all membership plugins are created equal in WordPress
So the WordPress membership plugins I will cover are Thrive Apprentice, Learndash, Paid memberships pro and restrict content pro.
They will all allow you to restrict content, add recurring payments, user registration and member management. These are probably the main features you need in a WordPress membership plugin.
The dedicated LMS plugins (Thrive Apprentice and Learndash) will help you get a dedicated Learning management system set up and sell subscription memberships very quickly. Learndash is used by top universities around the world to handle their online content so if you choose either option you will be in good company.
4 membership site plugins to sell memberships and protect your content
Here I cover 4 membership plugins to sell and protect your content but over the years there have been hundreds of membership plugins developed, to cover them all would be impossible.
Thrive Apprentice is an LMS plugin for WordPress perfect for creating and selling courses online.
It’s currently on it’s 4th iteration.
It’s a powerful learning management system for anyone thinking of selling courses online.
The best thing about Thrive Apprentice is that you can set up a full learning portal on a subdomain in as little as 10 minutes.
Learndash has been around for ages and is used by universities and big name marketers on the web today.
If you are looking to create and sell courses then Learndash could be exactly what you’re looking for.
Free membership plugin
Paid memberships pro and Restrict content pro both have a free version although they both have restrictions on the features of the free subscription level.
While both membership plugins are extremely popular Paid memberships pro is the more complete free solution with more payment and integration options and doesn’t come with a 2% transaction fee like Restrict content pro on the free subscription.
Paid memberships pro
Paid memberships pro is one of the most popular membership plugins on the market today. Probably helped due to the fact it’s free and more complete than other free WordPress membership plugins.
Restrict content pro
Restrict content pro is a very popular membership plugin from the guys behind ithemes.