How to Create a Membership Site with WordPress

Are you considering creating a membership site for your courses, products, or services? If so, it can be a great way to cater to your target market and increase your business’ revenue among many other benefits.

A membership allows you to build a list of loyal members, create an active email list, and position yourself as a leader in your industry if it gains enough traction.

But what exactly is a membership site? Put simply, it’s gated content that’s only accessible to members and subscribers. Most of the time there is a fee or recurring payment involved, but sometimes it can be as simple as signing up for an email list.

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Why Create a Membership Site?

A membership site means you can sell practically anything: online courses, ebooks, coaching, you name it. What makes it exciting is its exclusivity and the perks that come with an engaged subscription.

Premium services tend to offer subscribers more value to the point where paying a monthly or yearly fee is worth their money. If you’re able to rack up a solid list of subscribers, your revenue will increase drastically.

It’s also a great way to build a list of loyal subscribers who genuinely enjoy your content to the point that they’re willing to pay for it. Think of Youtube Premium or Spotify Premium. Sure, with their free options you get to enjoy their content, but you’re bombarded with ads and can’t enjoy the full, uninterrupted experience. What makes these services powerful is that they deliver an optimized UX and, therefore, have a customer base that consists of happier customers.

Gating your content allows you to offer your target audience the products and services they want while your business expands its subscriber list and grows monetarily.

Before getting started, you need the following:

  • A domain name. This is your website’s URL and it’s crucial that it matches your brand and the products and services you’re selling.
  • WordPress web hosting. HostGator provides quick and easy set up so that even beginners can create their own website. You can also register your domain name here at HostGator.
  • A membership plugin. MemberPress is simple to install and requires no coding knowledge to set up a membership site you’re proud to call your own.

What to Look for in a Membership Plugin

There are many options to choose from when it comes to membership plugins, but what it really comes down to is what best suits your business and its customers. It’s essential to keep them in mind when creating your membership site.

Here are a few questions to consider when choosing a plugin:

  • What is your budget?
  • What are your measurable goals?
  • How well do you know how to code?
  • How many membership levels will you need?
  • What payment gateways do you want customers to be able to use?
  • Are there extra features you want to be included, such as add-ons and integrations?

If you want to create a fully functional, easy-to-use membership site with WordPress, here’s how to get started.

Install and Set Up MemberPress

The very first step to creating a membership site is to use a plugin. This is what’s going to turn your regular WordPress site into a members-only website.

MemberPress allows you to sell physical and digital goods, downloads, subscriptions, and more. It’s easy to set up payment gateways, restrict access based on different subscriptions, and design beautiful pricing pages so you can create the look you want.

First, you need to create an account with WordPress. Then, purchase a subscription with MemberPress that suits your budget, goals, and business needs. Consider what features are most important to you when choosing your pricing plan. Sometimes it’s worth it to pay a little extra to give your customers exactly what they want. Plus, your membership fee could end up giving back to your business with an increased ROI.

memberpress pricing plans for wordpress membership site plugin

Once you choose the plan that’s right for you, go to MemberPress and download the .zip file. From your WordPress dashboard, click on Plugins > Add New > Upload.

how to add new plugin in wordpress

Select the file and click Install Now.

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Then click Activate Plugin and your MemberPress plugin will be activated.

active memberpress plugin

You should now be able to see a MemberPress menu option in the sidebar on your dashboard.

memberpress wordpress plugin

From the menu, click Options where you can configure the plugin’s settings to your liking.

change settings for memberpress wordpress plugin

Your plugin is now fully installed and ready to be optimized for your business!

Getting Started with MemberPress

Creating a membership site is a way to target a specific audience and cater to their specific needs. It makes selling products and services easy and builds a list of happy customers who enjoy content that matches exactly what they’re looking for. MemberPress is a fully functional plugin that makes creating a membership site on WordPress an easy and pleasant experience.

Syed Balkhi is the founder of WPBeginner, the largest free WordPress resource site. With over 10 years of experience, he’s the leading WordPress expert in the industry. You can learn more about Syed and his portfolio of companies by following him on his social media networks.