How to Make A Lightweight Automated Membership Website

There are many perks to having a membership website, but giving your loyal customers the opportunity to become members may seem challenging.

Fear not as you can easily create a membership site of your own in many ways. You can choose a dedicated membership website builder or a content management plugin like SureMembers

create membership site

Member Websites Explained

A membership website can be best described as a platform that offers exclusive content and rewards to their members. When we say rewards we mean things like: 

  • free webinars 
  • discounted online courses
  • special invites 
  • free or cut-price shipping 

There are plenty businesses, organizations and associations who have private membership websites. This is simply a tactical move to build up a loyal following that will be responsive to their brand and vision. 

How to Create a Simple Membership Website

Now, let’s see how you can create a membership website. There are a few methods to get this done and will differ depending on which platform you choose.

The very first thing that you need to do is to have a business website. There are many website builders you can choose from to get the ball rolling. The most recommended of which would be WordPress. 

The benefit of building a site with a state-of-the-art platform is that you may be able to scoop up members in your area. This is somewhat of a bonus feature included into your setup. 

When you have finished crafting your business website, you will be able to offer memberships in a handful of easy steps.

Build Your Membership Structure

Before you go about setting up a platform or plugin to your website, there is another important aspect you need to think through. The next step is to design an ironclad a membership structure. This where you choose what you want to offer and what the monthly or annual fees will be. 

Your membership structure needs to answer some questions your patrons may have;

  • What do I get when I become a member?
  • Is there an assorted membership ranking structure?
  • How much will you charge, if at all, and how frequently?

Now you have to let the brainwaves flow and think about what you would like to offer. Do an independent review of your products to determine the value that you’ll bring to your customers. Here you would be wise to examine your target market’s personalities and consider what they would like to have special access to.

Some of these ideas may come as you would expect. A musician may offer access to his or her “secret songs”, a photographer could offer access to their private gallery, and a psychologist could provide access to exclusive counselling sessions.

Then again there are other ideas that may not be as obvious. Let’s say you have had some luck being successful freelance graphic designer, you could consider giving lessons to other hopeful digital artists hoping to get into your field. “Marketing your designs” would be a brilliant example of this.

If you’re an online shop, you could follow the example of local tycoons such as TakeAlot and Cello and offer free shipping to your members. You can also consider other offers such as include special access to bonuses, points, product samples, e-books, and limited discounts. 

Then you have to think about certain membership ranks. This is often a very intriguing way to get more people interested in your business. Depending on the rank or level they decide on, members can get bonus access to more content and exclusive deals.  SATSA for example, offers three tier level membership. Then again, it might be simple for a small business to start off with just one level. Maybe this can grow as business increases.

Finally, you have to decide whether or not you will be charging for your memberships. 

From time-to-time, you should consider carrying out free memberships. Having free memberships can be beneficial as it can help you in generating a database of promoting eligible leads.

When you decide to go about charging your members, there is no harm and looking at your competition and get an idea of how much they are charging. You also need to decide how long each membership will commonly last. Monthly to annual fees are common and the best options. This will give you enough time to deliberate on including other benefits and pricing modules.

Special Content

Now that you’ve shaped a full-bodied membership structure, let’s look at the special content that you need to create.  This can be access to certain pages, events, limited edition products and other items you think would pique the interest of your members. Forming your special content before issuing your new membership option will make sure that you your customers aren’t scratching their heads when there is nothing for them.

Grafting exclusive items may be the answer to attracting casual customers to become full-fledged members. 

Selected emails to members can be a great way to get the ball rolling. In these emails, you can give discount codes that only your members or have access to.

Remember to include the prices you have setup for membership page together with a form to enrol in. Don’t be too quick to put out your membership pages.  

Make the best out of your membership page by using a content management system or membership plugin like SureMembers. 

Membership Platforms and Plugins.

Great, by now you probably planned out your entire business structure membership model. You have also planned out your pricing (hopefully you didn’t just copy it from your competition), and produced your content.  Let’s move on to choosing a platform or plugin.

If you have used WordPress to create your website, you can weigh out a few available membership plugins and choose the one that best meets your individual needs. 

Irrespective of the option you choose, a decent membership plugin or platform would be able to do the following:

Member Division

The most suitable platforms should give you the option of sectioning off members and non-members. It should also give you the ability to customize these divisions when you might need them.

Gated content

Memberships won’t be of much use if everyone has access to every bit of content you have. So gating your content is obviously vital. 

Gated content is online restricted materials, such as blogs, courses and videos, that your page visitors need to fill out a form for before getting access to the content.

This is a handy way to distinguish website visitors from your members. A good membership platform would give you the flexibility to intrinsically gate content according to membership positions.

Automated workflows 

This is probably the most important part of controlling the activity of your members. Whether you want to communicate with your members or regulate content, an automated workflow feature can help you save time. That is what makes WordPress’ latest plugin, SureMembers, so ideal.

Payment Integrations 

Be sure to use the best payment integrations on your website like Stripe or PayPal. Just be sure not to unnecessarily add integration if you’re offering membership for free. 

Third-party integrations 

If you are using a plugin, it should integrate without a glitch with your other marketing tools. For Example, SureMembers, conveniently integrates with other platforms such as SureCart, WooCommerce, SureTriggers and Elementor so you can connect it to any of these tools.

Membership levels 

When it comes to the different levels of membership, you should use a plugin or platform that supports a mix of levels and pricing.

Knowing what you are aiming for would make it easier to make a choice. 

Right, by now you have your platform all laid out. Let’s bring the whole idea together by publishing the content you created for your members.

Publish Your Members-Only Pages

It is time to post your exclusive pages and allocate them for your members. This could be easy depending on the platform you decide to use. For some platforms, you can do this with one click. In other cases you may need to go to the page you want to hide and choose “members-only” from a pop-up menu.

Here you should also remember to add your pricing page. This should be public, as it will help users make a purchasing decision. If your preferred membership platform doesn’t have a pricing page option, you can also install a pricing table plugin.

Another idea would be to create a community forum that your members can be part of.

Spread The Word

On your completed checklist now should be your membership structure, exclusive offers, membership platform pricing page all done and dusted. All that is missing now for your membership page is well- members. 

Spread the word of your new membership on your social media platforms, tell your email contacts, and subscribers of other media you might be using. To boost conversion rates, consider offering a limited-time reduced membership price. 

Conclusion

Presenting a membership on your website is an effective way to enrich your user experience. When you use a dedicated membership website builder, content management platforms with fixed functionality you can grow your customer engagement and add extra sources of income on your site.

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Justin Steyn
Justin Steyn
A sucker for reading and getting information on a whole bunch of topics. Justin has worked in news as a journalist and content writer for over a decade. When he is not busy reading, he enjoys lounging in the beach areas of MosselBay.
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