membership site ideas

Membership Site Ideas: 8 Examples to Inspire You

Do you need some membership site ideas to ignite your possibility thinking?

If you’re thinking about starting your own membership site, it’s a good idea to first dig into some proven membership site ideas.

While you’re probably very excited at the prospect of launching your own membership site, you may also be a little uncertain about the niche you want to play in, how to provide value to your members, and how much you should charge for a membership.

And of course, you probably want to know how much revenue you can realistically expect to make.

In this guide, you’ll read about the most proven membership site ideas that will spark inspiration and lead you down the right path toward successful membership site ownership. 

But first, what exactly is a membership site?

What’s a Membership Site?

Membership sites are websites that provide recurring value to members who pay a membership fee, typically on a monthly or annual basis. Owning a membership site is a proven way to build an online audience and community, while simultaneously creating a recurring revenue stream without the need for advertisers.

Of course, it’s not as simple as launching a membership site and watching the people flood in and pay for your content. There’s a lot more to it than that! But that’s a simplified definition of what a membership site is.

When you decide to become a membership site owner, there are a few key areas that you need to clearly define before you go live:

  1. What will be the focus of the site?
  2. What exactly are you going to offer your users?
  3. What, besides making money, is your goal of starting your site?
  4. What types of content do you plan on creating for paying members?

If you don’t provide a lot of value to your users, your site will probably not succeed. The problem is that “value” is a relative term. Everybody has their own personal idea of what value means to them, which makes it important to focus on a specific niche of people that you know how to reach.

The content you create for your members can come in any number of forms. Some people learn the best by reading, while others are keener on listening or watching. In other words, you’ll need to determine what types of content will most appeal to your niche.

Will emails and long-form articles be the best approach? Or would your audience learn more from video presentations or podcast-style talks?

Or maybe it’s a strong combination of all of these types of content?

As you can see, there are a lot of different ways to approach your membership site. This makes it important to focus on the areas that will be most valuable to your members.

After all, they’re the ones that will be giving you their hard-earned money in exchange for your content.

Membership Sites Makes Great Businesses: Here’s Why

With every passing day, more and more membership sites are springing up. The reason is that people are always seeking new and useful information, while entrepreneurs are constantly looking for ways to provide the market what it’s looking for.

Here are some specific reasons why membership sites can make great businesses:

You’ll Build Your Relationships and Community

Successful membership sites know how to keep members interested and awaiting new information. When this happens, they stick around for the long haul. And when they do, you’ll earn recurring residual income as long as you keep providing them with useful content.

Building a relationship with your members is a key component in keeping them on board. Spend time figuring out your member’s pain points, then look to solve them.

Respond in kind to each individual member’s inquiries as soon as you can. Make sure they know how important they are to you, and keep them well taken care of.

When you do this, you’ll automatically build a loyal community of followers that also help each other while trusting you as an authority they can count on. And as you’ll learn, it’s an incredible feeling to build and support a community that begins to grow its own roots.

Recurring Revenue Stream

Probably the most appealing aspect of owning a membership site is the prospect of earning recurring revenue.

The vast majority of membership sites charge a monthly or yearly fee to their members, which means that as long as you keep them coming back, the revenue will continue. It’s difficult to find new customers in any business, so this type of built-in “repeat business” makes membership sites a unique business model.

Of course, you’ll have a certain percentage of members that leave you every month, but others will also be joining. And as long as you keep putting out great content and provide a lot of value every month to your members, your churn rate will likely stay in the positives.

Business Leverage

Leverage in business basically means that you’re getting a disproportionate result from the efforts you’re putting in.

Businesses like restaurants or marketing agencies work on a one-to-one leverage scale, meaning they get back an equal amount of what they’re putting in. However, with a membership site that’s done right, you’ll find that it’s hugely scalable.

This gives you a lot of leverage.

For example, let’s say you’re running a membership site for 100 paying members, and you put 30 hours of work each week into providing them content. For those 30 hours of work, you’re earning roughly $500 each week, in this example.

Now let’s say that you’re running the same site, and putting in the same hours, but you’ve grown your site to 500 paying members.

Now you’re earning $2,500 each week for the same exact amount of work.

That’s some powerful business leverage.

Membership Site Ideas

Without first having an idea, it’s impossible to build a successful business. Spend some time brainstorming your own ideas.

What are you an expert in?

What specific problems do you face on a day-to-day basis that others are facing as well?

How exactly can you help solve the problem?

Answering these questions will help get you started on your own membership site ideas. And to further inspire you, here are eight proven ideas that can help catapult you toward success as a membership site owner.

1. Cooking and Recipes

Cooking is such a big part of people’s lives all around the world. In many cultures, it’s not uncommon for entire families to each have their own role in the cooking process. After all, it’s a great way to bond and spend time together on a daily basis.

Recipe and cooking membership sites are no different. In fact, they’re extremely popular with people of all cultures and of all ages.

A lot of people are looking to improve their health. Some love to indulge in food. Even more, are looking to save money. Because of these reasons, people are constantly looking online for tomorrow’s recipe.

As a cooking membership site owner, you can create weekly meal plans, shopping lists, and full video libraries with you as the chef!

Cooking and recipe sites are widely popular. If you’ve got some solid cooking skills, why not dive into this lucrative niche?

2. Coaching

There are a lot of people right now who are looking for some solid advice on how to run a business or effectively work from home.

If you know how to answer their deepest questions and help drive them toward success, then a coaching site may be a perfect fit.

Consider offering members your knowledge on running or business or creating a great passive income from home. The reality is that nearly anything can be turned into an opportunity for you to coach.

These sites are notorious for being successful, especially in times of uncertainty.

3. Auctions

If you have an interest and expertise in vintage and antique items, an auction membership site might be a great way to go.

As an expert in the antique industry, for example, you could build a secure forum for buyers and collectors to meet in the middle. To make money, you’ll charge a membership fee to your members for the security that all transactions are legit.

Plus, without being a member, site users won’t be able to post listings or buy goods.

You’ll also want to create weekly content about antiques that your members will find a lot of value in. This type of membership model is a great way to keep people on board for the long haul.

4. Fandom or Entertainment

If you already know everything about Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, Star Wars, or any other entertainment niche, this could be the membership model that’s right for you.

And even if you don’t know everything, you can run one of these membership sites by simply knowing more than the average fan.

To monetize your deep love for any different entertainment medium, you can start a site that’s filled with exclusive news. These types of sites tend to attract a lot of traffic and readers of the free content. However, it can be difficult to bring in paying members to an entertainment membership site unless you’re a true personality in the area.

Who’s to say you couldn’t become one?

5. Hobbies

In almost everybody’s life, hobbies are an important part of daily living. Hobbies also have an organic way of building up a community of like-minded people.

Hobby membership sites are filled with valuable niche content that covers everything about a specific hobby. You’ll want to give unique tips and tricks that will help your members make the most out of the hobby they love.

For example, a membership site with a crochet focus would contain long-form articles and blog posts dedicated to things like the best crochet hooks to use on unique projects. But it would also include courses that teach people new to crocheting how to get started.

A successful hobby membership site would also include detailed video tutorials, an active community or forum, and weekly alerts about sales on materials.

If you’re an expert in any hobby, consider starting a membership site based on the hobby you love most.

6. Journalism and News

It’s difficult not to notice that the world has changed a lot in recent years. And with the ease of getting a website going today, there are thousands of sites now offering political opinions, news, and other observations about the world’s goings-on.

By launching a journalism or news membership website, you’ll be able to offer the public your informed opinion about the news topics that you constantly keep your eye on. And the best part is that you can do it on your own, without needing to run your ideas past an editor.

You’ve probably noticed that most magazines that used to be print-only have taken on this type of membership model. There’s a good chance that the news sources you count on require some sort of subscription fee to access content that goes beyond what’s available for free.

Even sports sites like ESPN adopted this model several years ago.

And you can do the same exact thing.

With a news membership site, it’s important that you don’t put all of your content behind a paywall. This is especially true when you’re just starting out. You’ll need to show your users, with free content, that your take on things is good enough that they want to pay to hear more.

In order to succeed in the field of news membership sites, you’ll need to provide extreme value and engage with your audience on a regular basis. That’s your ticket to success. 

Want to take this membership site idea to something closer to home? Consider starting an “About Town” or local news site.

7. Podcast Membership Site

If you haven’t noticed, podcasting is extremely trending (and often quite profitable) right now. Good entertainment can be hard to find these days, so a lot of people are constantly looking for the next best podcast to listen to.

As a podcaster, your fans will be eager to engage directly with you, talk about your episodes among themselves, and see your sources and show notes. If you give them a comfortable place to do these things outside of the big tech platforms, they’ll appreciate it and quite likely pay you for it with a membership.

You can also sell merchandise and exclusive courses to your audience that they can only get on your membership site. 

It’s important to note that, while podcasting is a great option if you’ve already built an audience on a large platform, it’ll take quite some time to gain substantial listenership if you’re just starting out. You won’t get a lot of benefit from a small audience, so you’ll have to expand and build as you go.

In other words, starting a podcast membership site is best for people who already have an audience and who plan on continuing their podcasts for years to come. However, if you’re a niche expert, a great researcher, or just organized and well-spoken, a podcast membership site may take off for you.

8. Business and Marketing Training

Marketing is absolutely essential for anyone hoping to grow a business. The problem is, marketing is also a mystery to a lot of business owners.

Knowing that, consider training other people how to properly market their products and services in the best way they can for their specific business model. Hubspot and DigitalMarketer are good examples of these kinds of membership sites.

For your business and marketing training membership site, you can offer training in specific areas, such as:

  • High-level marketing concepts
  • Advertising
  • Digital marketing
  • Affiliate marketing
  • PPC
  • Copywriting

Business and marketing training is extremely valuable for business owners looking to perfect the way they market themselves. This makes this type of membership site model one of the most lucrative.

It will, however, take a lot of effort to find success. There’s a lot of competition. But if you have sought-after business and marketing knowledge, you could do very well with a business and marketing training membership site.

Getting Started With Your Membership Site

Once you’ve decided the type of membership site you want to launch, it’ll be time to get to work.

By far the most effective and cost-efficient way to start a membership site is to build your new site with the WordPress platform. If you get stuck on the theme you want to use, take a close look at Kadence Theme. You’ll find that it gives you the freedom to create almost any site design you can imagine.

Then, download and install the Restrict Content Pro plugin for WordPress. This is the powerhouse plugin that’ll take your site from a simple information website into a full-featured membership site with minimal effort or skill required.

Welcome to the journey of being a WordPress membership site owner. May success come your way!

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