Want to earn money using what you already know?

If you’re an expert (or really good) at something, you may be able to share that knowledge and make some cash through a membership site. Setting up a membership site isn’t that complicated, especially if you have a WordPress site and the MemberPress plugin.

For a lot of people, the bigger challenge is figuring out their area of expertise and accepting that, yes, customers may want to pay them for it.

There are membership sites for just about every topic you can imagine, from general subjects like starting an online business to very niche topics that only appeal to a small group of customers.

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6 Types of Membership Websites to Inspire You

To help you decide if you should build a membership site, here are a few categories, examples and questions to ask yourself before you begin.

1. Business development membership sites

Is this for you? Have you built a successful business from scratch? Do people often ask you for business advice? You could have the foundation of a membership site for people who want to switch careers, build a business or kick-start their business growth. 

For example: Entrepreneur Chris Guillebeau runs Side Hustle School, a site based on his book of the same name. Side Hustle School teaches visitors to—you guessed it—build a side business to earn extra money or transition to a new career. Most of the information on the site – more than two years’ worth of daily podcasts – is available for free. But for would-be side hustlers who are highly motivated, the site offers The Society, a paid, limited-availability membership group that includes exclusive content and access to an online community of fellow members. 

side hustle society membership

2. Career coaching membership sites

Is this for you? There’s some overlap between business development and coaching, and that’s okay. But for our purposes, we’re talking here about coaching for a specific career or industry. So, if you’re the one people turn to for detailed career tips, you may have a membership site niche just waiting for you. 

For example: Book More Brides is a coaching site that teaches wedding vendors (caterers, photographers, planners and more) how to market their services and grow their businesses.

Their membership program is for wedding pros who want monthly marketing workshops, action checklists, weekly challenges and a community of other motivated wedding service providers. Another coaching site, Pencil Kings, helps member artists improve their technical skills and offers professional career guidance. 

pencil king membership website for artists

3. Fitness instruction membership sites

Is this for you? Are you a certified fitness trainer, yoga instructor or dance teacher? There are plenty of people who’d rather go online than go to the gym for their workouts. This is a great choice for coaches and teachers who are comfortable with video instruction or who have developed plans for achieving specific fitness goals.

For example: Udaya is a membership site for online yoga, meditation and nutrition classes. Nonmembers can buy classes a la carte, but members get access to Udaya’s entire class library, which adds new instruction each week.

Marathon Training Academy is a more narrowly focused membership site. There, serious distance runners get training plans and courses, podcast archives access and an online group for swapping marathon-prep tips. 

4. Hobby membership sites

Is this for you? Love your hobby and love helping others get better at it? A hobby membership site might be just your speed. Most hobby membership sites include tutorials and resources for people who are past the beginner stage but not sure how to level up their skills. 

For example: Urban Farm U helps city gardeners put their lawns into production. Its members get online courses in topics like seed collection and storage, growing produce at home and keeping poultry and bees, plus access to live Q&A sessions and a private online discussion group.

Another hobby site, Seamwork, has a pattern library for members and sends them new patterns to sew each month. 

seamwork membership site for sewing

5. Online tutoring membership sites

Is this for you? Here’s where all those years of helping your friends with their homework can pay off. Whether you’re a certified teacher or someone who has a knack for helping people understand trigonometry, an online tutoring membership program may be a good outlet for your skills. 

For example: ThatTutorGuy’s founder draws on his experience as an engineer and robotics mentor to help students with math, science and test prep topics. Another tutoring site, LearnDutch.org, is run by a native Dutch speaker who’s mastered five other languages and run in person language classes.

6. Niche information membership sites

Is this for you? What if you have a lot of expertise in something that’s none of the above? If there’s demand for it, you can create a membership site to share what you know. And you may be surprised by how specific your niche expertise can be and still attract members.

For example: The founder of Side Hustle School, mentioned above, runs another membership site based on his knowledge of traveling the world on the cheap. Travel Hacking Cartel members can choose from three tiers of membership and get deal alerts, insider tips and tutorials for finding airfare and hotel deals. 

The potential audience of people who want to save money on travel is big. But what about smaller niches, like American families with high-school age children who want to attend university in Europe but don’t speak another language well enough to enroll in a foreign-language degree program? Beyond the States has built a robust membership site (full disclosure, my family has a membership) by doing the research and in person legwork for families who want to learn about English-language degree programs in continental Europe.

Ready to Build Your Membership Site?

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Casey Kelly-Barton is an Austin-based freelance B2B content marketing writer. Her specialty areas include SMB marketing and growth, data security, IoT, and fraud prevention