Are you considering building a membership website but struggling to decide on the right platform? Consider WordPress, especially over competitors like Shopify or Squarespace. WordPress’s user-friendly interface, powerful customizations, and extensive plugin library make it an excellent choice for creating a thriving online community for your members.
In this post, we’ll explore why WordPress is excellent for subscription-based membership websites and how it can help set you up for success. If you’re looking for a host for your WordPress membership website, also check out our landing page.
Why is WordPress Suitable for Membership Websites?
First and foremost, WordPress is an excellent platform for building membership websites because of its high level of customization. When creating a membership website in WordPress, you have complete control over your site’s design and functionality, allowing you to create a unique and personalized experience for your members.
You can do this via themes and plugins. WordPress has thousands of themes and plugins that can be used to customize how your website looks and feels. It’s also quite easy to hire a developer and create a custom theme or membership plugin specifically for your needs.
- Themes: WordPress offers a wide range of themes that can be used to customize the design of your membership site. Themes can be customized to match your branding, and you can also create a custom theme from scratch or hire a developer to do so. This allows you to create a unique look and feel for your membership site.
- Plugins: WordPress has a vast library of plugins that can add functionality to your membership site. There are plugins for managing user registration, user profiles, membership levels, and payments. If you can’t find a plugin that meets your needs, you can hire a developer to create a custom plugin. All things considered, this is fairly inexpensive to do.
- Customization options: WordPress offers a range of customization options that allow you to control the behavior and functionality of your membership site. This includes modifying the code or using plugins and themes to add or remove features. You can also use WordPress to integrate your membership site with third-party tools and services, like email marketing platforms, social media platforms, and payment gateways.
- User management: WordPress provides a robust user management system that makes managing members on your membership site easy. This includes setting up different membership levels, restricting access to certain content, and managing user profiles.
Above all, however, WordPress is popular for membership websites because of its variety of membership-focused plugins. These plugins are designed to help website owners manage memberships, subscriptions, payments, and content access. With these plugins, you can create different membership levels, restrict access to specific content, and provide personalized experiences to their members. There is essentially no limit to the amount of specific customizations you can implement.
Some of the best WordPress membership site plugins include MemberPress, Restrict Content Pro, and Ultimate Member.
- MemberPress: This is one of the best WordPress membership plugins that allows you to create membership levels, restrict access to content, manage payments and subscriptions, and more.
- Paid Memberships Pro: With Paid Memberships Pro, you can create a customizable membership site and restrict access to content to paying members.
- Restrict Content Pro: Restrict Content Pro is a powerful plugin that lets you create membership plans and 1-click content restrictions on your WordPress site.
- Ultimate Member: This plugin is focused on creating a community on your website, with features such as member profiles and user registration.
- WooCommerce Memberships: If you have an online store built with WooCommerce, WooCommerce Memberships are an excellent choice for creating membership plans and restricting access to content.
Plugins aren’t the only tool in the WordPress membership toolbox. There are also a ton of flexible and membership website-focused themes.
Membership-focused themes offer features such as membership registration, member profiles, content access controls, payment integration, and more. Some other themes are more “generalist” and can easily be customized to match the specific needs of a membership site.
Here are some popular membership-focused themes for WordPress:
- Divi is a versatile and powerful theme that offers a drag-and-drop page builder and a range of pre-built templates for membership websites.
- OceanWP: Another lightweight and highly customizable theme that offers a range of pre-built templates for membership websites
- MembershipWorks comes with built-in membership management functionality, making it easy for website owners to create and manage memberships.
- Astra is a lightweight and highly customizable theme that offers a range of pre-built templates for membership websites.
- Genesis Framework is a highly customizable theme that offers a range of child themes for membership websites.
Let’s explore robust access control features of WordPress in detail:
- User Roles: WordPress has predefined user roles, including Subscriber, Contributor, Author, Editor, and Administrator. These user roles allow you to define different levels of access and control for other users on your website.
- Membership Plugins: WordPress has several membership plugins that help you easily create a membership website. See the plugins mentioned above for more information.
- Restrict Access to Pages/Sections: With WordPress, you can easily restrict access to specific pages or sections of your website. This feature is useful when offering exclusive content to your members.
- Membership Levels: WordPress enables you to create different membership levels with varying access levels. For example, you can offer a free membership level that provides limited access to content, a premium membership level with more features, and a VIP membership level with exclusive content, discounts, and benefits.
- Drip Content: WordPress allows you to release content to your members gradually over time, known as “drip content.” Drip content is a great way to keep your members engaged and interested in your website.
Being an open-source CMS, WordPress itself is entirely free-of-cost for everyone. This is an ideal choice especially for businesses that want to create a membership site while keeping the costs low. After all, one of the primary reasons for this is the ability to create unlimited membership levels and use free or low-cost membership plugins, and themes. WordPress offers a vast library of plugins and themes to help businesses create membership sites with all the essential features without investing in expensive custom development.
However, do note that you’ll need to pay for web hosting and certain plugins or themes, so WordPress is not entirely “free” in a complete sense.
Another cost-saving advantage of using the membership plugin for WordPress is that there are no transaction fees for payments processed through the platform or payment gateway. Unlike other platforms like Shopify, which charge transaction fees for each sale through their payment gateways, the membership plugin for WordPress does not charge fees, allowing businesses to keep all the revenue generated from their own membership site.
Furthermore, WordPress is open-source software, meaning there are no ongoing subscription fees for using other plugins on the platform. This makes it an affordable option for businesses that want to create their own membership website without committing to ongoing membership fees or monthly fee for all the features.
Integrating with third-party tools can enhance the functionality of a new members website and streamline the user experience of a successful membership website or platform. Here are some of the key integrations that make WordPress an ideal choice for membership sites:
- Email Marketing: WordPress integrates seamlessly with popular email marketing tools like Mailchimp, Constant Contact, and AWeber, among others. By incorporating these tools, businesses can automate email marketing campaigns, send targeted messages to members, and keep them engaged with the website.
- Payment Processors: WordPress integrates with multiple payment processors, making it easy for businesses to accept payments from members. PayPal, Stripe, and Authorize.net are some of the popular payment processors that integrate easily with WordPress. This flexibility makes it easy for businesses to choose the payment processor that best suits their needs.
- Social Media: WordPress also integrates seamlessly with social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, among others. This integration allows businesses to connect with their members on social media, promote their membership site, and drive traffic.
Support and WordPress Community
WordPress has a strong community of users and developers who are passionate about the platform. This community provides support and advice to businesses, helping them to solve problems and improve their website. The community also contributes to the development of WordPress itself, ensuring that the platform remains relevant and up-to-date.
- Documentation, Tutorials, and Forums: WordPress offers extensive documentation, tutorials, online courses, forums, and online content to help businesses troubleshoot issues (especially technical issues with membership websites) and learn how to use the platform more effectively. Whether it’s a question about a plugin, theme, or coding, companies can find answers quickly and easily.
- Hiring Developers and Designers: WordPress’s popularity means many developers and designers have WordPress expertise. Businesses can easily find developers and designers to help them build and maintain their membership websites. These experts can provide custom development, design, and other services to meet the business’s needs.
Creating a membership website can be lucrative for many entrepreneurs. If you’re looking for a website platform to build such a site, definitely consider WordPress. WordPress is an excellent platform for creating a membership website due to its flexibility, ease of use, and wide range of plugins and themes designed specifically for a membership site.
WordPress offers a variety of membership platform plugins and themes that make building a membership website easier and more accessible, including popular options such as MemberPress, Restrict Content Pro, and WooCommerce Memberships. With these tools, membership website owners can easily get free memberships, create unlimited membership levels, set up membership tiers, customize paid content for multiple membership levels, and manage their membership base.
WordPress provides a flexible pricing, robust and user-friendly platform for building free membership sites to help businesses and individuals generate steady income streams from existing content and foster engaged communities of loyal customers and supporters.
Looking for hosting for your membership site? Check out Convesio; we specialize in scalable WordPress hosting for membership websites and provide peace of mind.