How To Build a WordPress Membership Site

Membership websites offer owners a way to monetize their content and traffic more directly than advertising or affiliate revenue. It turns your website content into a sellable product. Of course, to create an effective membership site, you will need the right platform. WordPress is a popular option thanks to some of the plugins you can use.

Building a WordPress Membership Site - A How To Guide

Creating a membership site requires four major components: the main site, a membership site/section, an access control system and a payment portal. Without these four elements, you won't have a product to sell or a way to sell it.

In addition to the above components, you will likely need a domain name, a web hosting service, a good content management system and an SSL certificate. By using WordPress, you can check off a lot of the above boxes. It is one of the most popular content management systems in the world. Plus it is available from a lot of web hosts (or you can install it for free on your own server).

Furthermore, the right plugin can help make it easy to create your site. Below, learn how to build a WordPress membership site from the ground up.

Step by Step Approach to Building a Great Membership Site

The main product offered by a membership site is access to information or features that aren't freely available to the public. So, before you begin building your site, consider what value you will be offering to your customers. When you are ready to create the site, following these six steps will help you to achieve success.

  1. Find the Right Plugin
  2. Set Up Your Membership and Main Sites
  3. Create Access Rules for Your Membership Area
  4. Set Up Your Payment Processing System
  5. Create Your Sign-Up and Login Systems
  6. Promote Your Membership Site

Step 1

Find the Right Plugin

Although WordPress includes a lot of functionality natively, it does not feature all the tools you need for a membership site. Fortunately, it is very easy to extend using plugins. With the right plugin, you can get all the functionality you need to build your site.

WishList Member offers powerful tools including access control, multiple membership levels, payment processing, marketing tools and more. It is a great way to set your site up as a membership-based revenue stream.

Step 2

Set Up Your Membership and Main Sites

Once you have found the right plugin, it is time to configure your WordPress site and set up the relevant content. You can create your pages using WordPress’s dashboard and designate which parts of the site should be protected by your plugin.

Spend the time to get the initial content of your site right. Both the main and member portions of your website will play key roles in your success. The public-facing portion must be enticing enough to get people interested in signing up. The members-only portion must deliver sufficient value to justify the cost of admission.

Consider finding a WordPress theme that is designed for membership sites. It can be helpful to have different but complementary templates for your public pages and members-only pages. Alternatively, establish some other visual cue that the user is logged in and viewing non-public content. This will help to emphasize that he or she is getting value from being a member.

Step 3

Create Access Rules for Your Membership Area

Set up your rules for how people will be able to access the membership area. You may have multiple tiers of access, for example. You can also determine how long a subscription will be for (annual vs. monthly). You could also consider a pay-per-post arrangement. With the right WordPress plugin, this is easy to set up and manage.

Step 4

Set Up Your Payment Processing System

Accepting payment is, of course, an essential part of running an effective membership site. Typically, this is just a matter of integrating your preferred payment processor with the membership platform you have chosen.

Some options you may be able to offer including PayPal, Stripe,, Infusionsoft and more. WishList Member lets you also integrate a generic payment processor if you want to use one that isn’t already supported by the plugin.

Consider offering multiple payment options. For example, you may offer a way to make credit card payments and also accept PayPal. Letting people pay the way they want (without having an overwhelming number of options) will help you to generate more revenue.

Step 5

Create Your Sign-Up and Login Systems

WordPress has some native account management tools that you can use to help manage your members. Many plugins also help you to create custom registration forms. Make sure that you are collecting all the information you need to efficiently run your website. Additionally, you will need an easy-to-use login page.

These two pages may seem very simple. However, it is critical to leverage them to instill confidence in your customers. If these two pages don’t project a professional and secure image, you will miss out on registrations.

Also, create a clear pricing page that explains exactly what membership will provide. If you have multiple levels, include a comparison to help show why your top tier is worth the money.

Step 6

Promote Your Membership Site

Finally, it is time to start promoting your membership website. Some of this can be achieved with effective content marketing on the public portion of your site. If you have an existing mailing list, use that to promote your membership options.

Having followed this step-by-step guide, you will be in good shape to earn revenue from your site. The rest is a matter of marketing and delivering value to your customers.

Sign Up Today and Start Monetizing Your Content

Build a WordPress Membership Site With WishList Member

You now know the basics of how to build a WordPress membership site. It is easiest when you have a strong starting platform. WishList Member offers a diverse selection of helpful features for membership sites


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