How to Create a Subscription Website (Detailed Guide)

February 27, 2024


Have you heard of Patreon, Only Fans, Locals, and other types of Subscription sites? Think of the Washington Post, and having to subscribe to view certain articles. This is a type of Membership site. In this post, Jonathan breaks down the steps to make your own subscription site and use it to build revenue. 


Subscription Website Mastery: Build and Monetize Your Membership Site Effortlessly

In the era of digitalization, creating a subscription-based website has become an increasingly popular method for businesses to generate consistent recurring revenue. This business model allows companies to provide a product or service that users can access by opting for various membership levels and plans. Building a successful subscription website involves utilizing the right website builder, integrating payment gateways, and offering customized subscription models to cater to different customers’ needs.

One of the most popular platforms for creating a subscription-based website is WordPress, as it offers a wide variety of plugins and themes to customize the site according to the business’s unique needs. These plugins and themes also allow companies to quickly set up and manage membership levels, subscription boxes, and recurring payments. Moreover, WordPress provides a range of e-commerce solutions like WooCommerce that can be integrated for subscriptions on e-commerce websites.

When starting a subscription website, businesses must consider the type of membership model they want to offer. In doing so, they should focus on creating multiple membership tiers, incorporating free trials, and deciding on a suitable pricing strategy for each membership level. By considering these factors and utilizing the right tools and platforms, businesses can create a profitable subscription business that provides customers with valuable content and services on a consistent, recurring basis.

Why Creating a Subscription Website Is a Great Idea

Why Creating a Subscription Website Is a Great Idea

A subscription website offers several advantages to both business owners and members. By having a membership-based site, you open up opportunities to generate recurring revenue, build a dedicated community, and provide a tailored experience for your users.



Selling Products or Services for Memberships

One of the primary reasons to create a subscription website is to sell products or services regularly. This allows you to build a monthly revenue stream and offers more consistency. Subscription businesses generally have a higher customer lifetime value, as users tend to pay for an extended period rather than just making a one-time purchase.

For example, you might offer:

  • A video course with monthly lessons
  • Exclusive content such as articles, podcasts, or webinars
  • Access to premium features in a software product

Establish a Community-Focused Website

Another advantage of creating a subscription website is the potential to establish a strong community around your brand, niche, or topic. Members-only access encourages engagement and allows users to network, share experiences, and collaborate. As a result, a subscription site can become a valuable resource that fosters loyalty and proactively contributes to the product or service’s development.

For instance, you could offer:

  • A forum or discussion board for member interactions
  • Networking opportunities through events and meet-ups
  • Exclusive interviews with industry leaders

Limit Content Using Various Subscription Levels

By providing different subscription levels, you can cater to different segments of your audience. This versatility ensures that users access content that best matches their interests, budget, and commitment. As a website owner, it also allows you to test different pricing models and structures.

You might consider offering:

  • Free trials to let users explore your platform with minimal risk
  • Tiered pricing plans that cater to varying budgets and needs
  • Flexible subscription options, like monthly, yearly, or lifetime memberships

A subscription website is a great way to generate consistent revenue, establish a dedicated community, and deliver tailored experiences to your users.

How to Create a Website for Subscriptions

How to Create a Website for Subscriptions

In this section, we will discuss creating a subscription-based website using three essential steps: choosing the right platform, setting up your website, and adding the elements for a successful subscription website.

Choose the Right Platform

The first step in creating a subscription website is determining the platform that best suits your needs. Some popular options are:

  1. WordPress: An open-source platform that offers a vast array of plugins and themes, including subscription and membership tools.
  2. Website builder: Platforms like Wix, Squarespace, or Weebly provide a user-friendly interface but may have limitations for subscription websites.
  3. Dedicated membership website builder: Platforms like MemberPress or Wild Apricot are designed explicitly for creating subscription websites.

Decide on a content- or product-based membership model, and ensure that the chosen platform supports your specific needs.

Set Up Your Website

  1. Domain and hosting: To set up your website, secure a domain name that resonates with your brand and choose a hosting plan that fits your needs. Remember that a reliable hosting provider can significantly impact your site’s performance and uptime.
  2. Install your platform: Once your domain and hosting are set up, install the chosen platform and any necessary plugins or themes to enhance your website’s functionality.
  3. Customize your site’s appearance: Customize your site’s design according to your brand identity and the user experience you want to create. A professional, intuitive, and visually appealing website has a higher conversion rate.

Elements You Need to Start Building a Subscription Website

  1. Payment gateways: Choose a payment gateway, like Stripe, PayPal, or Authorize.Net, that supports recurring payments and integrates with your platform.
  2. Membership levels: Create multiple membership levels or plans with different access privileges, benefits, or pricing.
  3. Content management system (CMS): Useful for organizing and managing your content, especially if you’re running a content-based subscription website.
  4. Free trial offer: Offering new users a free trial can be enticing and provide potential customers with a taste of your subscription content or services.
  5. Recurring billing system: Essential for automating accepting recurring subscription payments.
  6. Security & user management: Implement features such as secure login, password protection, and user account management to protect your content and user data.
  7. Terms and conditions and privacy policy: Establish clear guidelines for subscribers to avoid potential misunderstandings or legal issues.

By following these steps and integrating these crucial elements, you will be on your way to building a successful subscription website.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How can I create a subscription website using WordPress?

A: To create a subscription website using WordPress, you can utilize plugins like WooCommerce Subscriptions or a membership plugin to set up subscription plans and manage member access.

Q: What are the benefits of creating a subscription site for my business?

A: Creating a subscription site can provide recurring revenue, establish customer loyalty, offer exclusive content to subscribers, and help grow your customer base.

Q: What is the best website builder for a subscription business?

A: WordPress is a popular choice for building subscription websites due to its flexibility, range of plugins for subscription services, and ease of customization.

Q: How do I choose the right subscription plugin to create my subscription website?

A: When selecting a subscription plugin, consider features offered (such as recurring billing and member management), compatibility with your website, and user reviews.

Q: What types of subscriptions can I offer on my website?

A: You can offer various subscription models like monthly, yearly, one-time purchases with access, tiered memberships with different levels of content or perks, and free trials.

Q: What steps are involved in building a subscription website from scratch?

A: The steps may include selecting a website builder, setting up a payment gateway, creating subscription plans, designing the website, testing the user experience, and launching the site.

Q: How can I make a successful subscription website that attracts and retains customers?

A: To make a successful subscription website, focus on providing valuable content, offering a seamless user experience, engaging with your audience, optimizing for conversions, and continuously improving your offerings based on feedback.

Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Building a subscription website can be a lucrative venture for businesses looking to generate recurring revenue. Companies can cater to different customer needs and preferences by offering various membership levels, resulting in increased satisfaction and loyalty.

To create a successful subscription site, choosing an appropriate website builder, such as WordPress, combined with a reliable membership plugin is crucial. For eCommerce-focused businesses, WooCommerce Subscriptions is a viable option. This allows for the seamless integration of subscription products and payment gateways, facilitating recurring payments and free trials to new users.

When crafting your subscription business model, don’t overlook the following key aspects:

  • Defining the type of subscription website you’re going to develop (content-based, product, or service)
  • Identifying a sustainable pricing model for each membership level
  • Ensuring you provide a variety of subscription plans to cater to diverse customer segments

Utilizing popular website builders such as WordPress offers businesses a user-friendly platform to create and manage their subscription websites efficiently. Dedicated membership website builders are also available for those who prefer a more tailored solution.

In summary, businesses that invest time and effort into designing a subscription website that meets consumer needs will reap the rewards of a consistent and recurring revenue stream. Companies can create a solid foundation for a successful membership platform by carefully selecting the right tools and strategies.

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