What You Need To Build
a Membership-Based Website
Membership websites come in all shapes and
sizes, and include everything from simple
blogs that require a login to rich content sites
with privileged access to premium content
available to different levels of memberships
(I.e. “gold”, “silver”, and “platinum”
Building and managing a membership website
with different levels of membership is a fairly
sophisticated undertaking, so I recommend
finding and using software that’s already built
for this sort of functionality.
Creating something from scratch can be costly
and time-consuming…and when you need to
update it due to keeping up with frequent
website browser updates, it can be a pain in
Membership software would include an e-
commerce platform (so people can purchase
and make a payment to you for
access) combined with a content
management system (so you can easily post
new content and archive existing
content) that allows you to charge your
members for physical products, downloadable
products, streaming content and page views.
The best membership sites also allow you to
create custom pages and different levels of
They allow you to manage member discounts
or free access to products and content based
on the status of membership.
You also want to be sure you’re using
software that has great support and regular
updates so you can ensure that your website
will stay up-to-date with the latest web
Here’s an overview of several popular
options for building a membership
website or adding premium membership
features to your existing site
For a web-based, all-in-one solution that
supports any combination of free and
paid membership levels plus has
ecommerce functionality, email
marketing and everything you need in
one place, you can check out services
like Subhub, Infusionsoft or Ontraport.
These can be pricier and more
comprehensive than you might need at
first, but offer everything in one
package. They are priced as a monthly
If you would rather download and install
software, Membergate is another all-in-
one solution with a well-established
base of customers.
The software can be purchased outright
so you’ll only pay a monthly hosting fee,
or you can pay monthly with a higher
flat-fee that includes hosting.
For another cost-effective solution that’s
flexible and popular, you can use a
WordPress site and a membership
plugin. This is the solution I use most
often for my clients and myself.
The advantage here is that your costs
are low (hosting fee, a flat-fee purchase
for a membership plugin and varied
costs for ecommerce functionality like
Paypal or 1ShoppingCart) and you’re
working on a platform that’s well-
known, so finding support can be easy.
There’s a few plugins I like and use for
this: OptimizePress, Digital Access Pass
and Wishlist Member.
These plugins add membership features
to a standard WordPress blog.
WordPress is an open-source blog
platform, so it’s possible to create your
own highly-customized solution by
plugging in only the components you
I also like having the independence of
hosting and creating my own solution
rather than being dependent on one
service that runs everything.
There’s a variety of options available to
accommodate simple to complex ideas
as well as your budget.
If you’re not sure what would work for
you, consider your budget and what
functionality you really want.
If you want something basic and low-
cost (i.e. for a solopreneur), I’d suggest
going with WordPress and a plugin.
If you want something for a larger job
(I.e. for multiple sites and programs or
for a company with thousands of users),
I’d lean towards a comprehensive
service like Infusionsoft or Ontraport.
Check out the blog on TechDivaMedia.com for more insights on
online marketing, or see our YouTube channel for tutorials and
demos of WordPress membership plugins like OptimizePress and
Digital Access Pass:
YouTube.com/techdivamedia - See more at: