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How a Membership Site is Created | Are they still effective? 

Whenever you think of or are just wondering how to run a successful business online, that’s where a membership site comes into place. And as such, you’ve come to the right place in order to learn more about that and how you can achieve it.

So, do you want the flexibility to work from your computer or phone and earn some income at the same time? A membership site is one of the best ways to form an online business. And then thereafter, make some money through your site subscribers.

What is a Membership Site?

Sincerely speaking, I know you too have been afraid to monetize your website or blog without losing subscribers. Simply, because you’re worried that if you do, you could drive them away and hugely reduce your site traffic.

Yes, of course, according to Neil Patel, Google says that it’s important if you put your site readers first. But, now you can put all your fears aside! The truth is that you can easily monetize your website in a user-friendly way. Ways that won’t send your subscribers running for the hills.

That’s right; it’s possible to have your proverbial cake and eat it, too. There are plenty of ways for you to cash-in on good money-making opportunities for your site. As you also keep your subscribers happy too. So, what is a membership site?

What is a Membership Site?

A membership site is a gated part of an online business where only members who subscribe can access the content you’ve placed behind the gates. Apparently, your membership site can be paid, free, or a mix of both.

In short, a “gate” is simply a barrier that helps you build your website using a plugin, like the one offered by MemberPress. And once you’ve got that barrier in place, members can now log in per their request. This allows them to access exclusive content, special offers, and even be part of a community of other members.

Not forgetting, they can also interact directly with you. And when I talk about “content,” I mean a variety of digital products. These are digital products like ebooks, webinars, online courses, and podcasts. Rather than physical goods that require shipping.

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But, that’s not to say that if your business offers physical goods you can’t expand to the digital products side. For example, if you’re a photographer and you own your own studio and camera store, you could also offer digital products. Like webinars on how to shoot at night or even sell your photos in form of an eBook Publishing. And there is your content!

Pretty simple, right? I think it is, and I can even help you build it when you’re ready. But for now, I’ll just go over the foundational aspects of a membership site. While giving you a general idea of how you go about convincing customers to pay for your content.

Whereby, in reality, if you happen to find the best site monetization strategy that works best for you, you’ll even draw in new subscribers! And with that in mind, there are many ways that you can work towards achieving this goal.

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Starting with the three essential basics – SEO, quality content, and website traffic analytics. All of which are vital to ensure a successful blog monetization and a strong subscriber base. And as an example, one way of making money through your content is by having a fully functional membership site.

But, if you’re just starting out, you may be blankly staring at your screen asking, “how is a membership site created, anyway?” Lucky for you, I’ve got a good 101 guide on how to start right here.

How to Create a Membership Site 

As a starter, you can first take a look at some MemberPress customers who’re running successful online course membership sites. Below are just but a few mentions you can borrow ideas from:

  • Jack Coble and Alisa Wyatt run Pilatesology. A membership site that teaches the art of Pilates to everyone from beginners to pros.
  • Kara Bullock operates an online art school. An online school that offers a large variety of courses for anyone interested in embarking on a creative journey.
  • Callie Willows and her partner, Mike Morrison, started Member Site Academy. A successful business that offers training, coaching, and courses. Specifically, for those who want to build their own successful membership sites. And they use MemberPress to run it!

Generally, if you’re at the place where you’re looking for your own membership site ideas, you should check out the blog post, 24 Ideas for a Killer, At-Home Membership Business.

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The first step toward building a membership site is establishing a membership base. And you’ll do that by first finding a niche in your industry.

That is, by identifying a specific area where you can offer something specialized enough. Something that customers will be willing to pay for your content and services. Consider the photographer from the example above:

  • What does this photographer offer that no one else can?
  • An e-course on shooting your own portraits?
  • A webinar on starting your own photography business?
  • A membership of fellow photographers who look to this photographer for expertise in landscape photography and want to learn from him or her?

As soon as you’ve found your niche, a surefire way to start building a membership base is to offer free content on your site.

Why start with free website content?

Well, for one, it’ll help you build a solid customer and membership base like nothing else. That’s because those who experience your content firsthand will be more open to paying for premium content in the future.

Once you’ve built up a base, it’ll be easier to sell site memberships to those who already want to learn from you. Additionally, if you mix content—free and paid—you can draw new members with your free content. The more members you draw, the greater your chance of securing buyers for your paid products. And as always, consider your audience.

Although a struggling student might not be able to afford your content now, once they graduate and get a high-paying job, they’ll remember how your content helped them. And they might be willing to become a member once they can pay the dues.

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The same can be said for entrepreneurs just starting out and building their businesses (perhaps just like you!). Regardless, make sure you present yourself as a trusted, credible source with plenty of information. Your content should be of value to your customers and illustrate your knowledge.

Members will quickly leave your site if they discover they’re paying for content that’s repeated, recycled, or easily accessed by a simple web search. You’ll be juggling a lot of things as you launch your site, but be sure of these three things:

  1. demonstrate that you’re an expert in the field,
  2. show that you’re passionate about what you’re doing,
  3. convince the world that you want to share what you know.

For detailed information, you can check out the blog on what kinds of content to post.  Also take a look at the post on 7 Tips for Standout Content, to get you started.

In the meantime, you should know that many membership sites typically feature the following types of content. Such as Ebooks, E-courses, Webinars, Podcasts, Virtual conferences as well as Evaluations. But how do I monetize my website without losing subscribers? Of course, many would ask that question, so I’ll go straight to the answer;

1. Start with Search Engine Optimization

You might be wondering what Search Engine Optimization (in short SEO) has to do with monetization. Well, if you want consumers to actually find your website in the first place, so they can help you make money, you need to exist in search engines like Google.

Keeping in mind, effective SEO strategies can help you enhance your site’s visibility. For instance, by identifying keywords that generate high traffic but that have little competition. And by so doing, you’ll have a greater chance of ranking higher in search results.

2. Try to Create Quality Website Content

It’s always important to keep your new and repeat site visitors interested through profound content creation. The longer they stay on your site, the greater your chances of getting some cash out of it. Therefore, engage your visitors by making sure that the headlines of your content are catchy and interesting.

Furthermore, you should include images and videos whenever possible. And if you want them to find value in your site, you need to show them it exists. When your content appeals to your readers, you can boost the likelihood of inbound links as well as reader sharing.

3. Pay Attention to your Website Traffic 

Before you start employing different strategies to monetize, you need to quantify your website traffic. So as to gain an overall idea of what type of advertising might work best for monetization.

For instance, if your website attracts a significant amount of traffic or a specific demographic, you might find one ad monetization method works better than another. The same is true if, on the other hand, your site has lower traffic and attracts more generic demographics.

There are programs that can help you quantify and analyze your traffic. Two good free options are Google Analytics and Quantcast. Below are more monetization strategies you’ll need to embrace;

Monetization Strategies to Help Keep your Subscribers

Just like any strategy involving money, it’s better to utilize more than one website monetization methods. Meaning that you don’t need to put all of your eggs in one basket. As such, you should try combining different monetization methods like the one I’ve mentioned above.

Different monetization methods utilization will greatly help you to find out exactly what works best for your site. So that you can make the most of your site earnings potential. That’s in addition to producing high-quality, relevant, and engaging content for your subscribers.

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In simple terms, don’t be afraid to test out different money-making strategies. However, don’t forget to remain relatable as you try to maintain your integrity. And always deliver value so that your subscribers will stick around.

Now that you’ve got the foundations for an effective membership site monetization, your next step is to apply monetization methods. And not just any type, but a method that won’t cost you the subscribers you’ve gained. Below are some of the great monetization methods:

1. Consider Google AdSense

This is one of the most basic ways to make money on your site, and also the most popular and widely used PPC (pay per click) ad strategy. Whereby, Google AdSense is a free advertising network that automatically generates contextual ads in the form of text or images. Particularly, based on the content of your page.

On a clear note, you’re paid when someone clicks on the ad. And you could be paid anywhere from $0.50 to $5.00 per click.  Plus, if your content targets the highly-valued keywords advertisers bid on, this will earn you more money per click. Well, leading from hundreds to thousands of dollars per month if you’re lucky.

In reality, through AdSense, you won’t lose subscribers. Thus, this is an ideal monetization method worth having. Simply, because it’s easy to integrate and can make you money from new subscribers too. As well as your traffic grows without irritating the subscribers you already have.

2. Sell A Site Ad Space

Other types of ads you can use on your site are CPM (Cost Per Thousand) and CPI (Cost Per Impression) Ads. And by directly selling ad space can be particularly beneficial to websites that receive a lot of traffic. For example, 200,000 or more per month or that target specific demographics.

The reason is you’re typically paid very little for each impression, so you might not make much if you have low traffic. Still, it’s worth looking into. Just like AdSense, the reason why you won’t lose subscribers is that your site visitors don’t have to do anything with these ads for you to be paid.

You simply serve the ad to them. You’ll keep your subscribers as long as the placement of these ads doesn’t disrupt the UX.

3. Start Selling Digitally

Do you remember how I introduced you to Easy Digital Downloads? Surprisingly, this is where you can make money by selling your own digital products. You can make the most money on a per-sale basis with these products. What types of products/services can you sell? Music, video, eBooks, and apps are all great examples.

You can make whatever product you decide to sell exclusively available through your site or you can make it available in other online stores, like Amazon, eBay, or, if it’s an app, mobile apps stores.  Of course, there can be a lot of hidden costs in creating these products, selling and marketing them.

Therefore, it’s a good idea to use services that can help you. For instance, if your web monetization goals are via an app, which is very common these days, a company like Appnext can greatly help you boost your sales and generate more income for you.

And the reason why you won’t lose subscribers is pretty simple. When you know who is visiting your site and what they want, you’ll be able to provide them with the products and tools that will most appeal to them. As well as their high likeliness to buy.

After all, not every sub is looking for something for free. Most of them want something of value and they’ll be willing to pay for it if it’s marketed and presented well.

4. Consider Affiliate Marketing

There are thousands of companies and dozens of networks that offer free affiliate programs. With affiliate marketing, you receive a commission from an online retailer. By sending traffic to their site. Or even from the traffic, you sent generating sales from your referral.

This is an ideal way to promote some of the more physical products you might mention on your site. Adding affiliate links to relevant products mentioned in your content can result in interested or curious users clicking these links. And potentially earning you some pay.

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A great example of this monetization method in the Amazon Associates Program. There is a massive range of diverse products you can link to on Amazon. Other great examples include Commission Junction and ShareASale.

You won’t lose subscribers simply because you’ll have established yourself as someone your subscribers like and trust. While endorsing and promoting a product you like and would recommend on your site. Forthwith, your email list will be able to resonate with your site visitors and subscribers.

And as a result, they will be more likely to click the link and potentially make a purchase. And by so doing, they’ll earn you a commission, as you also keep your subscribers happily interested.


What I can say is that writing great content is a choice. You can choose to put in the time and work required to create great content and build a prosperous brand. Or you can choose to take the easy path and write poor content – a path that ultimately will get you nowhere.

A poorly written content will only result in a waste of time, energy, and resources. In the field of content creation, the path for content marketers is so clear. Such that, in order to boost SEO rankings, gain traffic, and more leads, you need to have great content on your blog or website.

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If you write original content, search engines will help your site get more exposure. For instance, Google has made it plain that they do not like and will penalize sites with duplicate content. Put another way, Google wants to reward high-quality sites that contain original content.

So, not only does great content make a better website, but it also improves your site’s rankings. In the end, this can have a very big and positive impact on your online business. Whatever your reason for having a content site, whether it’s for business or a personal hobby, it’s important you learn how to do it right.

Finally, I hope the above-revised guide was helpful to you and your online team. But, if you’ll need more support you can Contact Us or even share your questions in the comments section. Also, don’t forget to donate in order to support our blog articles, online research work, service solutions, and other related projects.

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