Creating a membership website or platform can seem overwhelming at first. There are so many options out there.
How do you know which membership management platform to use? The right one should make it easy to collect membership fees, easy to use, easy to set up and bring members together.
Regardless of why you’re starting a membership site, my goal is to help you pick the right one. I’ll help you to ask the right questions, and figure out what features to look for. No confusion or overwhelm.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, meaning that if you choose to click through and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no cost to you. I was also compensated to create this post, though all opinions are my own.
Why do you need to create a membership website?
A paid membership website is a great way to have a steady stream of income. You aren’t relying on a sale here or there.
You’ll have recurring revenue coming into your online business monthly. It’s a good way for your members to access all of your content, products, events, and more in one place.
If you’re a content creator, service provider, or product company then this is for you.
Why do you need a membership management platform?
A membership management platform allows you to create different levels of membership. A membership management platform helps you to manage members too. Plus, you can restrict content based on membership level.
The right platform will allow the collecting of payments easily. If you sell physical products, you can use a membership management platform to sell them.
Use it so people can easily register for your next event. A membership management platform can save you loads of time on administrative tasks.
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What is a membership site platform?
According to Wild Apricot, a membership website platform is an all-in-one tool used by many different organizations to manage all their membership functions online.
Membership site platforms allow you to:
- process payments, donations, and fees
- setup event registration
- setup online member registration
- improve member communication
- access financial reports, analytics, and more.
How much does a membership website cost?
You can get a free 30-day trial with Wild Apricot. They’re the number 1 rated membership management software on the market.
To see a comparison between Wild Apricot and their competitors click here. To start your free 30-day trial click here.
Do membership sites make money?
Yes, if you charge a monthly fee your membership site will make money. When people join a membership site it’s usually because they want to learn something and in more detail.
For example, I joined a monthly membership site about Instagram. I wanted to learn more about Instagram marketing.
I found that there’s more value in the IG membership I joined than a course. If you provide more value than what’s in a course or ebook people will join.
To learn more about making money with membership sites click here.
How to choose the best membership website platform
1) Take a look at the monthly cost/ hidden fees
The first question you need to ask yourself is what’s my budget? Then find out what’s the monthly fee of the platform. Are there any hidden fees? Do they offer discounts? Do they charge more for extra features?
Finding out your budget first will narrow down your choices. Then start thinking about what features you absolutely need. When looking for a platform make sure there are no transaction fees.
2) Is the platform easy to learn?
Meaning is there a steep learning curve when it comes to setting it up. Did other customers find it easy to set up?
Or did they find it too hard to set up themselves? Do you have the extra time to set it up yourself? Do they charge a fee to have it set up for you?
Is there anyone on your team who can set it up for you? If you aren’t tech-savvy and can’t hire anyone to do it for your then you want something that’s easy to set up. You don’t want to invest in something you can never get off the ground.
3) Is it easy for members to use?
Is it easy for members to navigate? Do research online to see if other organization’s members had a hard time using it. If members have a hard time using it memberships will drop.
Which means your monthly revenue will drop too. Can you test the platform from a membership perspective before buying?
This is where a free trial comes in handy. Wild apricot offers a risk-free 30-day trial. So you’ll be able to try it for yourself.
4) How much customer support do they offer?
A better question to ask is will you need customer support? If so, how much? Customer support comes in handy in case you run into problems.
What if a member runs into a technical problem? There’s email, live chat, phone support, or help desk.
Find out what type of help comes with your monthly fee. Some companies might charge more for phone support. You might find that customer support is lacking.
This is another reason why a free trial is important. You can test the customer support for yourself. Click here to try Wild Apricot for free for 30 days!
5) Do they collect payments for you?
Does the membership site platform collect membership payments for you? Or do you want to connect your own payments processor like Stripe?
The difference is with tools like Stripe you get your money faster. Whereas when they collect it for you you might have to wait to get your money.
With Wild Apricot you don’t have to choose. You can use their payments processor or a third party. They support several third-party payment systems. Click here to find out more.
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6) Will you need other tools to make your membership site platform work?
Does it offer everything you need? Will you need a separate online store platform?
Will you need a separate place to host your content? Just because they claim to offer everything you need doesn’t make it true.
If you already have certain systems in place, find out if they offer integration. Like do they integrate with Quickbooks or WordPress?
Do they have an app market? For example, Wild Apricot has an email feature. So, you don’t need a separate email service provider.
7) Do they offer course management?
If you’re planning to offer courses for members then you need to find out if your membership site platform can host them.
Do they have options for creating, hosting, and selling them? Do they have a learning management system?
If online courses are important to you and they don’t offer to host them then move on. You don’t want to juggle between a membership site and an additional course platform. It’s easier to have it all in one place.
8) Is it mobile-friendly or responsive?
Most people nowadays use their phones. They hardly use their desktops or laptops.
You need a membership site that’s easy for people to use on their phones. Members will want to consume content, check for events, and more on their phones.
I know I do this all the time. I don’t always have the time to use my desktop. So, I’ll use my phone to go through a course. If your membership site isn’t mobile-friendly people will lose interest.
9) Online membership
According to Wild Apricot, 60 percent of people who join association membership sites do so to network with their peers.
Members like the ability to connect with one another. Make sure the membership site platform has the tools to create a community for your members.
Wild Apricot offers a searchable membership directory. Members can search for each other on a directory you set up.
You can even control what information members can see. You can even set it up to where they can only see business information.
More resources to help you on your journey
20 Easy Side Hustles to Do from Home
15 Ways to Work From Home with Kids
Creating a membership website doesn’t have to be a challenge. It just comes down to what features you want, what’s your budget, and your goals for your membership site.
The best membership management software in my opinion is Wild Apricot.
They have a website builder, online store, member database, event management, mobile app, integrates with WordPress, and so much more. Plus, you can get a 30-day trial for free.
Click here to try it for yourself for free for 30 days!
If you’re looking for free resources for your online business check out my resources page!