top of page


What is a membership website and why do you need one?

what is a membership website

A membership website or online membership platform is created for individuals or organizations to provide exclusive content, services or resources to subscribed members. Membership websites, as a type of website, are a centralized hub for members to access privileged information.

8 components of a membership website

There are several essential elements of a membership website that are important for ensuring a good user experience including building a subscriber base. 

01. Membership plans

Membership websites typically feature different plans or levels of access, each offering varying degrees of content or services. These plans may include free, basic, premium or VIP memberships. You can incorporate a CMS into your membership website to control levels of access, set up subscription tiers, restrict content access based on membership levels, handle payment processing securely and manage member profiles.

Let’s say your membership site is focused on travel content. So as part of a free membership, you might send subscribers travel blog posts as soon as they’re published. As part of a premium package, you might offer them special deals on travel packages or accommodation, or an online course on how to make money as a travel blogger, or similar. 

02. Exclusive content

One of the biggest hooks of a membership website is exclusive content. This could range from articles, videos, webinars or downloadable resources that are accessible only to subscribed members. 

A membership website around starting a business could offer downloadable business plans for different types of businesses. A clothing line business plan or consultant business plan, as some examples. 

03. User registration and login

To access exclusive content, users need to register and create an account. The login feature makes sure that only authorized members can access protected and gated areas of the website. 

04. Payment gateway

For membership plans that require payment, a secure online payment system is essential. This allows users to subscribe, renew memberships or upgrade to premium plans with ease. You will need to make sure that the payment system you use is protected by enterprise-grade web security infrastructure and features. 

05. Community pages or forums

Many membership websites include a community or forum section where members can interact with each other, share insights and discuss topics related to the exclusive content offered on the site. As a membership site owner, you’ll need to moderate these community forums and initiate conversations to get users talking. They can be a great way for you to support your subscribers with advice and for them to help each other too.

Be inspired by these community page templates.

06. Member profiles

This feature allowing members to create profiles adds a personal touch to your online community and membership site.  Members should be able to customize their profiles, share information and connect with other like-minded individuals via their profiles. 

07. Newsletter

Membership websites often include a newsletter or updates section to keep members informed about new content, upcoming events or any changes to your site. You can choose to send a newsletter to all your members or as part of paid membership plans. 

“A newsletter builds a base of engaged subscribers eager to hear directly from you. It allows you to develop content that resonates with your audience, even if it falls outside of top search engine results. Newsletters let you forge deeper connections through content crafted specifically for subscribers, not just optimized for keywords. You can provide value on topics and in formats that speak to their interests, driving loyalty. A newsletter audience is there because they actively want to consume and engage with your content in their inbox. This owned and direct channel allows you to enrich relationships beyond what the blog alone can do.” Dor Cohen, Distribution and Growth Specialist at

08. Member support

Providing support to members on your site is crucial. This may involve a dedicated support system, FAQ pages or a customer service process or tool to address any queries or issues members may encounter when using your content or advice. 

Why do you need a membership website?

Monetization opportunities

For content creators, organizations, or individuals with valuable expertise, a membership website offers a way to make money online. Memberships can also generate a steady and consistent income stream through subscription fees.

Community building

Membership websites foster a sense of community among members who share common interests or goals. The community or forum feature encourages interaction and networking, enhancing the overall member experience. It can also help you build a community to later market to or simply improve relations between people in the same industry or field. 

Personalized user experience

User accounts and profiles allow members to personalize their experience on the website. This may include tracking their progress, bookmarking favorite content, or participating in community discussions. This in turn should create more loyal users and subscribers both to your brand and website. 

Content control and security

Membership websites enable content creators to control access to their valuable content. This ensures that only paying members can benefit from the exclusive resources provided which in turn helps to attract more members and payers. 

Top 5 membership website creation platforms

01. Wix 


Wix is a membership website platform with a user-friendly interface and features. It offers a dedicated member's area feature for creating exclusive content for premium users, managing paid subscriptions and customizing the user experience without third-party integrations.

02. Content Hub by HubSpot 

HubSpot's Content Hub integrates membership features with marketing, sales and service tools. It allows providing exclusive content for premium users, controlling access based on membership status using HubSpot lists and leveraging analytics to optimize member engagement.

03. MemberPress 


MemberPress is easy to use for setting up and managing membership subscriptions on WordPress websites. It enables offering exclusive features and content to premium users, restricting access to posts, pages, videos and digital files based on subscription levels and customizing membership tiers for different user segments.

04. Uscreen 

Uscreen is a membership platform for video creators to monetize their content. It allows you to offer exclusive video libraries for premium users, providing live streaming capabilities and creating a community space for member engagement. The platform focuses on delivering a video-centric membership experience.

05. MemberSpace 

MemberSpace is a third-party website plugin that enables creating exclusive features and content for premium users by gating specific pages, controlling access based on subscription fees or actions and creating a personalized membership experience for different user segments.

Membership website examples to be inspired by

This private members site uses a forum to initiate conversation and engage users. 

This Cayman Islands-based site serves pet owners looking to connect and engage through their forum. Members can contribute to existing posts or write their own to start a conversation. 

This adventure community website for off-road vehicles and trips aims to bring together fellow enthusiasts, complete with member uploads. 

This private members site focuses on connecting nail professionals and enthusiasts, providing exclusive resources, insights and online trainings for a monthly subscription fee.

This platform caters to aspiring fiction writers, connecting them with fellow writers and providing resources and workshops to improve their craft. Members can also share their work for feedback and critiques from the community.

What is a membership website? FAQ

Is a membership website the same as an e-learning platform?

No, while both provide valuable content, a membership website typically offers diverse content and services, whereas an e-learning platform focuses specifically on educational courses and materials.

What information is on a membership website?

How much does a membership website cost? 

What’s the difference between a membership website and a subscription website? 

Was this article helpful?

bottom of page