How to build a membership website with WordPress

February 4, 2022

How to build a membership website with WordPress

Are you looking to offer exclusive content to your audience and charge a premium for it? Build a membership website with WordPress.

WordPress, out of the box, offers an intuitive interface that lets you create your ideal site, without having to code. However, this mostly depends on the WordPress plugins you decide to use.

In this article, we’ll dive deeper into the essential steps needed to successfully build a membership site with WordPress.

Step #1: Choose a solid WordPress membership plugin

Choose a solid WordPress membership plugin

One of the first and most important things you need to decide on is the plugin you want to use to set up memberships on WordPress. Since WordPress by default doesn’t let you build a membership site, you’ll need to use a WordPress membership plugin.

However, finding the right one can be difficult. Let’s take a look at some important factors you should consider when choosing a membership plugin for your business:

  • Membership levels. You want to offer multiple membership levels as a way to cater to all types of people, even the ones who are interested in your content but cannot afford to pay the full price. This is why it’s important for your membership plugin to have multiple membership levels that you can assign to users based on the price they pay, or the plan they select.
  • Content restriction options. Since a membership site is all about offering exclusive, premium content, content restriction options are essential. This is mainly because you need to hide premium or exclusive content from regular users and only display the content to registered members only. For instance, you can create a “members-only” page on your WordPress site and publish high-quality, premium content there. Then, you can restrict the page using your membership plugin from all regular visitors and only allow authorized members to access your content.
  • Payment gateways support. The easier you make it for your audience to pay you, the more likely they will be to register for your membership plan quickly. Ideally, the membership plugin you decide to go with should offer basic payment gateways support so it’s easier to accept online payments.

With a better idea of what to look for when finding the perfect membership plugin for your website, here are some great membership plugin options for WordPress sites:

Paid Memberships Pro

Paid Memberships Pro is a WordPress plugin designed to help you create a full-fledged membership site.

The plugin offers extensive membership features including unlimited membership levels, six payment gateways, and full control over content restriction options. In addition to this, you also have access to over 60 add-ons that let you extend and personalize your membership site even further.

Restrict Content Pro

Restrict Content Pro is a WordPress membership plugin that lets you create premium membership sites within a few minutes, even if you’re not very tech-savvy.

One of the main features of the Restrict Content Pro is the extensive content restriction options. This lets you restrict content on posts, pages, custom post types, categories, and even by membership levels on your WordPress site.


MemberPress offers an “all-in-one” solution for building a membership site with WordPress.

The plugin enables you to create an attractive and professional-looking membership site, restrict content based on specific conditions, and accept all types of payments from your audience securely.

WP eMember

WP eMember is a simple, yet powerful membership plugin for WordPress websites.

The plugin lets you “convert” your existing WordPress site into a fully functional membership website. WP eMember is intuitive to set up on your WordPress site and offers a fully automated system for managing memberships on your site. This means all processes including membership sign-up, profile editing, payment, user accounts expiry, membership plan upgrade notifications, and user password reset are all fully automated.


If you’re still not sure about which WordPress membership plugin to go with, you can check out our detailed guide on the best 4 WordPress membership plugins.

Step #2: Decide on your target audience

Decide on your target audience

Once you’ve selected a solid plugin for your WordPress site, you need to figure out the people or the audience you’re looking to attract with your content. Ideally, you should be looking to focus all your content-creating efforts only to cater to your target audience. You want to focus on creating content for a specific niche that appeals to your target audience. Keep in mind that you cannot create content that attracts just about everyone. This only leads you to create content that isn’t appealing to anyone.

By deciding on a target audience, you can also personalize the experience of your membership according to your audience’s likings. This way, you can tailor your content to offer an exclusive experience for your audience. As a result, it can increase the conversion rate as more people will be willing to pay you for the content they’re interested in.

Having a target audience also makes it easier for you to create content and cater to your audience better, which is essential for any successful membership site. This way, you can dive deeper into the needs of your audience or the people you want to sell to and connect with them better. Additionally, this is also a great way to create high-value clients that pay you a good price in exchange for premium content.

Step #3: Brainstorm and validate membership content ideas

Brainstorm and validate membership content ideas

It’s a great idea to brainstorm and think of content ideas before you actually commit to the content creation process. This not only saves you effort and business resources but also helps create quality content that resonates better with your audience.

When brainstorming membership content ideas, you need to consider your business’s strong points and the type of content you can create easily. For instance, you need to consider whether you can create podcasts or webinars easily or is it much more convenient for your team to create blog posts and e-books. Depending on your team members or the people responsible for creating content, you need to decide on the type of content that’s most convenient for them to create. This ensures smooth workflows for your business and helps create successful content for your membership site.

In addition to this, it’s also important to validate content ideas so you only create successful content. Validating content ideas help enhance content marketing strategies for your business and makes the content creation process more profitable. This way, you increase conversions by only creating engaging content that your audience wants to see.

For a better idea of how you can validate content ideas, check out these tips for validating that your membership site idea will work.

Step #4: Price your membership subscription

Pricing your membership correctly is important for attracting new registrations. This is because you don’t want to overcharge your audience by asking them a price that not many can afford easily. Similarly, you don’t want to undercharge your audience when they can pay more as it can cause a negative impact on the profits generated and the growth of your business.

It’s a great idea to create multiple pricing levels for your membership site. This way, you can offer a different price and include limited content based on the price the user pays. For instance, you can create “Gold, Silver, and Bronze” membership levels and charge a different price for each subscription plan. Users who go for the entry-level membership plan i.e. “Bronze” will receive limited access to premium content while “Gold” membership subscribers will have access to everything.

If you’re still confused about how to price your membership subscription, you can take a look at our guide on how to figure out what to charge for your membership site.

Step #5: Personalize your members-only site

Personalize your members-only site

Along with membership content, you also want your membership site to offer an intuitive experience, especially for non-tech savvy users. Ideally, you want to offer easy membership registrations and set up easy members log-in so users can quickly access your content.

In addition to this, your membership site should also be easy to navigate for people and for search engine crawlers. The easier it is to access your content, the more people will be incentivized to subscribe to your membership plan.

Step #6: Run and analyze your WordPress membership site

Run and analyze your WordPress membership site

With everything in place, you can start selling exclusive content to your audience by offering them multiple membership subscription plans.

However, it’s important to give your audience the value they expect from your membership program. This essentially means you need to remember the “promises” your business made when attracting and encouraging your audience to subscribe.

Additionally, you should also be keeping a check on your membership site’s performance once you start to publish content regularly. You don’t want your membership site laggy and slow to load content as it delivers a poor user experience and can cause some site visitors to bounce off your site for good. This is quite common in membership sites due to high volumes of dynamic content.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I create a membership website with WordPress?

A: To create a membership website with WordPress, you can use various plugins such as MemberPress, Paid Memberships Pro, or Restrict Content Pro. These plugins make it easy to set up a membership site and manage user access to content.

Q: What is the best WordPress plugin to create a membership site?

A: There are several great plugins available to create a membership site with WordPress. Some popular options include MemberPress, Paid Memberships Pro, and Restrict Content Pro. Each plugin has its own features and benefits, so it’s a good idea to research and compare them to find the one that suits your needs best.

Q: How can I create a membership site using WordPress?

A: To create a membership site using WordPress, you first need to install and activate a membership plugin. Then, you can customize your site’s settings, create membership levels, set up subscription pricing, and manage member access to content. The plugin you choose will provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to configure these settings.

Q: What are the benefits of creating a membership site?

A: Creating a membership site offers several benefits. It allows you to monetize your content by offering exclusive access to members. It can also help build a community of like-minded individuals and provide opportunities for engagement and networking. Additionally, a membership site can generate recurring revenue through subscription fees.

Q: What are some examples of membership sites?

A: Membership sites can vary widely in their offerings. Some examples include online courses platforms, communities for specific industries or interests, resource libraries, and paid subscription sites for premium content. The possibilities are endless, and you can create a membership site around any topic or niche that you’re passionate about.

Q: How can I create a successful membership website?

A: Building a successful membership website requires careful planning and execution. Here are some key steps to follow: – Define your target audience and niche – Offer valuable and exclusive content – Create a user-friendly and visually appealing website – Implement a secure and reliable payment system – Foster community and engagement among members – Regularly update and add new content – Continuously promote and market your membership site

Q: Do I need any special web hosting for a membership website?

A: While you don’t necessarily need special hosting, it’s recommended to choose a reliable WordPress hosting provider. Membership websites often have more complex functionalities and higher traffic compared to regular websites. A good hosting provider will ensure that your site can handle the increased demand and provide a smooth user experience for your members.

Q: Can I offer both free and paid membership options on my site?

A: Yes, many membership plugins allow you to offer both free and paid membership options. This can be a great way to attract a larger audience and provide different levels of access to your content. Whether you want to offer a free trial, a basic free membership, or various paid membership tiers, the plugin you choose will have options to set this up.

Q: How easy is it to create a membership website with WordPress?

A: Creating a membership website with WordPress can be relatively straightforward, especially with the help of plugins specifically designed for this purpose. These plugins typically provide user-friendly interfaces and step-by-step instructions to guide you through the process. They eliminate the need to code or have advanced technical knowledge, making it accessible for beginners as well.

Q: Can I integrate a membership site into my existing WordPress website?

A: Yes, you can integrate a membership site into your existing WordPress website. Most membership plugins are designed to seamlessly integrate with WordPress, allowing you to add membership functionality to parts of your website while keeping the rest of your content intact. This means you can have a mix of members-only and public content on your site.


Creating and running a membership site with WordPress may seem intimidating at first, especially if this is your first time.

However, by using the right WordPress membership plugin, you can create your ideal membership website within seconds, without writing a single line of code. It’s a great way to focus on creating high-quality content for your members instead of worrying about the technicalities of building and managing a full-fledged membership website.

Do you have any questions about building a membership website with WordPress? Let us know in the comments box below.

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