Membership websites offer a great way to monetize your content and earn revenue for your business. They let you restrict content or exclusive products on your website behind a paywall.
To set it up, you will need a dedicated membership website platform that lets you restrict content, create membership plans, and offer payment options. In this article, we’ll cover some of the best free and paid membership website platforms.
How to choose the best membership website platform
A membership website is where users can access premium content by subscribing to a membership plan. This way, you can monetize your content and start generating revenue for your business.
For this, you will need to use a membership site platform that will let you sell memberships and other digital products under your brand.
These are the key features you want to look for in a membership site platform:
- Ease of use. You want to look for a membership site platform that’s easy to use and offers an intuitive initial setup.
- Online community features. While offering subscriptions to your membership site is important, you also want to offer a way for your members to interact and engage with other members. The best way to do this is by creating an online community for your membership site.
- Integrations. Depending on the membership website platform you choose, you might still have to add more features to your membership site for extended functionality. You can do this by integrating with third-party tools and services.
- Content restriction. You need extensive content restriction options to effectively hide premium membership content from unauthorized users who haven’t subscribed to your membership plan yet.
- Payment options. Your membership platform should also work with popular payment methods and let you offer recurring and annual subscription options to make it easier for all types of users to join.
How to choose the right membership website platform
Here are some factors you want to focus on when choosing the right membership website platform for your business:
- Technical expertise. Does the platform require you to code? Is the membership site platform difficult for non-tech-savvy users to get started with? Will you need to hire a web developer to help you get started?
- Budget. You also want to consider your brand’s budget. There are premium and free-to-use membership site platforms to pick from.
- Features. Go over all the features of a membership website platform before committing to one. You need to ensure the platform offers all of the essential features you’re looking for.
- Support. Choose a membership site platform that offers customer support so you can reach out to an expert if you run into any issues.
12 best membership website platforms (free & paid)
Let’s dive deeper into some of the best membership website platforms.
#1. Mighty Networks
Mighty Networks is a dedicated membership platform designed to let you create online communities and online courses for your audience.
It gives you access to a wide range of dedicated online community tools and an intuitive community builder. This way, you can keep your audience members engaged with your content and make it easy to interact with other membership site subscribers.
Additionally, you can also create and sell online courses and premium membership content to your subscribers. It lets you create monthly or yearly subscriptions and set up different levels of content access on your site.
Mighty Networks is a solid option if you’re looking for a membership site platform with dedicated online community features as well as the ability to set up and sell online courses.
Kajabi lets brands create multiple product types such as coaching classes, podcasts, and other types of premium content. This not only helps you diversify your product offering on your membership website but is a great way to boost revenue for your business.
Kajabi also lets you create an online membership community with Kajabi Communities. Users who are members can get access to premium online communities and interact with your content and other members.
It’s the ideal solution for brands that want a feature-rich membership platform and have set aside a sizable budget for it.
If you’re looking to work with WordPress, Paid Member Subscriptions is an intuitive WordPress membership plugin that lets you quickly set up a professional-looking membership website.
Using your own WordPress site, you can create paid subscription plans to let site visitors access the “members-only” pages on your site. You can set up membership or subscription plans in any way you want along with free trial periods to get more people to sign up.
The robust plugin also offers extensive content restriction options so it’s possible to hide specific parts of your content from regular site visitors. You can even display custom messages to unauthorized users and redirect them to the membership registration pages.
The best part is that the Paid Member Subscriptions plugin automatically creates important membership pages for you including the registration and checkout pages.
Paid Member Subscriptions is the perfect solution for businesses that are looking for a well-rounded membership plugin that’s not only easy to use but offers a wide range of membership and content restriction features at an affordable price. The best part is that you can get started with the free version of the plugin right away.
Kartra is a full-fledged business platform that also lets you create and host a membership site for your business. You can add as much content to your membership website as you want and restrict it behind a paywall.
Additionally, it gives you extensive membership pricing options and payment integrations that make it easier for members to quickly join your membership site.
Kartra is a solid membership website platform if you’re looking for powerful membership site features but don’t really care about the absence of member engagement features like setting up an online community or hosting live sessions for answering your students’ questions.
Podia’s dashboard interface is very easy to navigate and lets you manage all aspects of your membership site from a single place. The platform also lets you set up online courses and create online communities for your members. However, the online community features don’t let you interact with your members and are only suitable for pushing out new membership content to registered members.
Podia is a robust membership platform for your business if you want to set up a membership site with basic community features and focus primarily on selling online courses or premium content to your audience.
MemberPress is another WordPress membership plugin that lets you set up subscription plans, content protection rules, and payments on your website.
Using MemberPress, you can set up your membership site with payment pages, members-only content pages, and registration pages. While the core plugin is very basic and offers limited membership features, you can integrate MemberPress with other WordPress plugins to extend your membership site’s functionality.
MemberPress is great for businesses that want a simple membership plugin with basic features for setting up a membership site.
Teachable lets you create online courses using multiple types of content including videos, images, and audio files. This way, you can create more engaging online courses for your members and enhance the learning experience on your membership site.
Teachable also offers a wide range of integrations that you can use to extend the functionality of your membership site. The only downside to using Teachable is that it lacks functionality for setting up your own online community.
Teachable is an ideal option for brands that want to use a single platform to offer online courses to their members and don’t require online community features out of the box.
With Thinkific, you get access to a dedicated online course builder that not only lets you create online courses but also lets you select how the content is delivered to your members. You can also create members-only or dedicated pages that are restricted by the site visitors’ user role or subscription status.
Thinkific is designed for brands that want a powerful online course builder with lots of content restriction options and don’t require online community features.
Memberful is a professional membership website platform that integrates with your existing WordPress site.
After setting up your membership site using Memberful, you can sell online courses and other digital products like podcasts or PDF downloadable files. It also offers a wide range of features for setting up a dedicated online community on your membership site.
Memberful is a solid option for brands that want to transform their ordinary-looking WordPress site into a full-fledged membership platform.
In addition to offering membership subscriptions on your WordPress site, you can use AccessAlly to sell digital products and offer a learning experience for your audience members. It comes pre-built with a lot of online course features that let you enhance learning for your members.
AccessAlly is recommended for businesses that want to use a single membership platform to handle all aspects of their site including setting up online courses, online communities, and digital products.
MemberSpace is touted for its extensive subscription and payment integrations for memberships.
Using the platform, you can create subscription plans and accept recurring payments from your members. You can also restrict all (or specific) pages on your site using MemberSpace and hide members-only content behind a paywall.
MemberSpace is a solid solution for brands that want to integrate their existing site with a dedicated membership website platform and start selling subscriptions.
#12. Wild Apricot
Wild Apricot is a membership platform that’s designed for non-profit organizations.
It packs an intuitive website builder that lets you set up a membership site. While the design layout of the platform is very outdated, it makes it easy for users to manage members and subscriptions.
Wild Apricot is suitable for non-profit organizations that want to set up a membership site with lots of email and payment options.
Creating a membership site is straightforward, especially if you have a solid membership website platform.
While there are many membership website platforms available, Paid Member Subscriptions is one of the best solutions available. It offers extensive content restriction features and lets you create subscription plans according to your brand’s unique requirements.
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