Build a Better Membership Site: 31+ Inspiring Examples to Emulate
Membership websites are a great way to monetize content and create an additional recurring revenue stream. According to UBS, the subscription business model is expected to grow to $1.5 Trillion by 2025, up from $650 billion.
Therefore, creating a membership site that resonates with your target audience and encourages sign-ups is one of the most important steps to ensure success. However, membership sites require more than a catchy name and attractive design.
Membership sites also need to offer content worth paying for, whether exclusive access to a community or valuable content and resources.
To help you get started, we have compiled a list of 31+ successful membership sites and an overview of what each site offers and what makes it unique. This list includes membership sites from various industries, ranging from health and fitness to travel and lifestyle.
From these examples, you’ll get an idea of what types of membership sites work best and get inspired to create your own.
- Membership sites are great for generating recurring revenue and building relationships with members.
- Use the membership examples below as an inspiration to help you create your own successful membership site.
- There are different types of membership sites depending on your industry or niche.
- You need a domain name, a good web hosting service, a web building service, and a member add-on service for a successful membership site.
- You must create content that appeals to your target audience, have a strong retention strategy, and use marketing and promotion techniques to attract new members.
Membership Sites – The Basics
A membership site is a website or an online platform that offers exclusive access to content, resources, or a community in exchange for a membership fee. Membership sites can range from small blogs with exclusive content to large subscription businesses with thousands of members.
These sites are also typically optimized to make it easier for members to access the content, resources, or community.
Some of the important things to consider when creating a membership site include the following:
- The target audience
- Specific content, features, and benefits you are going to offer
- Website builder to use
- Pricing model and payment methods
- Marketing and promotion strategies
- How to automate support and customer service
- Analytics and reporting – To analyze user engagement, membership retention, and revenue.
These will all be important factors in creating an effective membership site that resonates with your target audience.
Membership Site Examples – 31+ Successful Membership Sites
If you plan to scale your business or monetize your content, use the following membership sites as your guideline. You can observe their features, pricing models, and other aspects to understand how to design your membership site.
Skillshare is an online learning community offering courses in different categories, such as creative, design, and technology. This site is unlike your typical classroom, as it is more of a community where users can learn from each other.
- Access to a library of classes - Once a member, you can access all 35,000+ classes and resources available on the platform, which makes it an ideal place to learn and grow as a professional.
- Customized learning experience - Members get personalized recommendations for classes and learning resources based on their interests and previous interactions with the platform.
- Emphasis on hands-on learning - Classes are designed to be hands-on and project-based, which allows learners to apply what they’ve learned to real-world scenarios and see immediate results.
Birchbox delivers beauty and lifestyle products to your door every month. As a member, you get access to full-sized samples, personalized advice, and exclusive discounts on their products.
Many brands were already offering sampling programs before Birchbox came along, but what sets them apart is they were able to deliver those samples in a more convenient and personalized way.
- Personalized recommendations - Birchbox leverages subscriber profiles, so members are matched with products tailored to their style, preferences, and beauty needs.
- Exclusive discounts and access to special offers - Membership gives you exclusive access to discounts, promotional codes, and limited-edition boxes.
- Product discovery - This membership site is ideal for discovering new products and brands you may not have heard of before.
3. Lonely Planet
Lonely Planet, “the backpacker’s blue bible,” is a travel membership site that allows members to explore destinations worldwide with their detailed guides and expert advice. Membership benefits include access to over 8,000 unique destinations worldwide and exclusive discounts.
- Travel tips - Members get access to their extensive library of travel tips and advice.
- Access to exclusive discounts - Members get discounts on hotels, car rentals, activities, and more.
- Authentic travel experiences - Lonely Planet provides authentic experiences that allow members to experience the culture, food, and people of the destinations they visit.
4. Blue Apron
Blue Apron is a subscription-based meal kit delivery service. Started in 2012, Blue Apron provides its members with ingredients and recipes to cook meals at home.
- Variety of meal options - Whether a member needs vegetarian, gluten-free, or low-calorie dishes, Blue Apron has it all.
- Cooking education - Each recipe card comes with detailed instructions and cooking tips. So customers get new techniques and flavor combinations they may not have tried before.
- Seasonal ingredients – They design the menu with an emphasis on seasonal ingredients, which means that they use ingredients that are in peak season. This guarantees that the ingredients are at their freshest, most flavorful, and most sustainably grown.
5. The Skimm
The Skimm membership site provides daily news summaries, special events notifications, and exclusive content to its members. Membership also includes access to a private Facebook group, free shipping on Skimm products, and discounts.
- Focus on news relevant to women - The Skimm was created by and is primarily targeted toward women. They focus on news stories that are relevant to women.
- Community-based approach - Readers can connect and discuss the news with each other, creating an additional sense of community and fostering discussions on the news and current events.
- Concise and easy-to-understand format – This is especially important for busy people who want to stay informed on the most important current events without spending a lot of time reading through long articles.
Headspace‘s vision is to “improve happiness in the world.” The app includes guided meditations and lessons from Puddicombe and other field experts, providing users with high-quality instructions and guidance.
What Sets Them Apart
- Structured progression through different meditation exercises - The app starts with the basics and gradually builds on what the user has learned.
- Use of animations and illustrations - This makes the content more engaging and interactive.
- Offline access – Users can download meditations and lessons, so they can access them even when they don’t have an internet connection.
Glo online yoga studio provides members access to thousands of yoga videos and classes from professional teachers.
What Makes Glo Unique
- High-quality video production - They ensure classes are filmed with clear and detailed instructions and good lighting.
- Class-review system - Users can leave reviews on the classes they’ve taken.
- Glo offers a diverse range of yoga styles and class levels, like Vinyasa, Kundalini, Iyengar Yoga, Barre, etc.
Duolingo is a language-learning app. It provides interactive language lessons, an integrated practice, and a reward-based points system.
- Gamified approach - Users earn points and rewards for completing exercises and can compete against friends to stay motivated.
- Bite-sized lessons - Duolingo’s lessons are designed to be short and focused, which makes it easy for users to fit language learning into their busy schedules.
- Use of speech recognition - The speech recognition technology allows users to practice their speaking skills and receive instant feedback on their pronunciation.
9. Screen Rant
Screen Rant is an entertainment news and opinion website focusing on movies, television, and pop culture. With over 550 million readers, they give unique insights on the latest news and reviews.
- Original content - They focus on producing original content, not just rehashing news that’s already been reported. They also include exclusive interviews and behind-the-scenes information.
- Strong social media presence - This allows them to engage with their audience and share the latest news and updates in real time. For example, they have over 8.5 million subscribers on YouTube.
- Expert analysis - They have dedicated writers who are experts in their respective fields. This allows them to provide readers with accurate and insightful analyses of the latest entertainment news and trends.
AppSumo is an online marketplace where members can get discounts on digital products and services. It provides businesses and entrepreneurs with access to exclusive deals on software and online tools.
What Makes AppSumo Stand Out
- Long-term deals - AppSumo often offers lifetime deals or long-term subscriptions to the tools they feature. This allows users to lock in a low price for the long term rather than paying full price or subscribing monthly.
- Community of users - Users share their experiences and feedback on their used products through reviews and discussion forums.
- Affiliate program - AppSumo has an affiliate program where partners can earn a commission on the sales they refer. This helps to promote AppSumo’s deals and can be a source of income for partners.
11. The Information
This subscription-based business and technology news website provides in-depth and exclusive technology and business news coverage. They focus exclusively on technology and business news, allowing them to provide a highly targeted selection of news relevant to their target audience of technology and business professionals.
- Events and conferences - They also host events and conferences that bring together their subscribers with the top executives, investors, and startup founders, providing opportunities to learn and network.
- Insider access - The Information has a team of reporters with deep connections and relationships within Silicon Valley and the technology industry. Therefore, they can provide a unique perspective and insider access to the stories they cover.
- Not focused on breaking news - Instead, they focus on providing a deeper understanding of the news and its context, allowing for a more complete understanding of the stories they cover.
Thinkific is an all-in-one platform allowing users to create, market, and sell online courses. It offers a range of features to help users create, launch, and manage their online courses.
- Analytics and reporting - Thinkific provides analytics to track user engagement, course completion rates, and revenue. This helps users measure their courses’ success and make improvements to them.
- Built-in course marketing tools - Marketing tools such as affiliate management, email campaigns, and integration with webinar and webcast services.
- Multilingual support – Thinkific also offers multilingual support for the platform and for the course material, which allows users to create and sell courses in multiple languages.
Skilljar is a learning management system (LMS) that allows organizations to create, manage, and deliver online training programs to their customers and employees. They help software and technology companies to document product education to help their users become product experts.
- Learning paths - Skilljar’s learning paths feature allows users to organize and sequence content, creating logical and personalized learning experiences for the learners.
- Customizable design options - They allow users to create fully customizable online training programs, with the ability to add their own branding, design elements, and layouts.
- Custom reports and data visualization - Users can track the effectiveness of their training programs to help drive adoption and retention rates.
14. Creative Market
Creative Market is an online marketplace for digital goods, selling templates, graphics, fonts, and more. It allows users to quickly find the designs, assets, and resources they need for their projects.
- High-quality curated products - Creative Market handpicks and curates the products sold on the platform, ensuring that all the products available for sale are high-quality and professional.
- Customizable product licenses - This allows users to choose the level of commercial use that works best for their projects.
- Free products each week -Users can discover new products and try them out before they buy.
15. Food Blogger Pro
Food Blogger Pro is a membership website and online community that provides resources, tools, and training for food bloggers and content creators. Their aim is to help foodies build successful food blogs.
- Comprehensive training resources - Food Blogger Pro provides comprehensive training resources, such as tutorials, courses, and webinars, designed to help food bloggers and content creators improve their skills and grow their online presence.
- Community of food bloggers - Food bloggers and content creators share their experiences and feedback, providing support, ideas, and encouragement to one another.
- Exclusive content - Content such as webinars, interviews, and templates that are only available to members, which help users to learn about new strategies, tools, and techniques to grow their blog.
- Food blogging focus - Food Blogger Pro focuses exclusively on food blogging and food-related content, allowing it to provide a highly targeted selection of resources relevant to its target audience.
The Simplero platform provides a wide range of tools for course creators, coaches, and authors to create and sell online courses, memberships, coaching, and digital products
What Makes Simplero Stand Out
- Member management - Simplero allows users to manage member profiles, memberships, subscriptions, and payments all from one platform. It also includes automated email triggers and member communications tools.
- Customizable templates - For websites, landing pages, and sales pages which allow users to create a professional-looking website and sales pages.
- Sales funnels - Simplero offers a drag-and-drop sales funnel builder that enables users to create various funnels, such as webinars, product launches, and membership funnels.
Vimeo is a video-sharing platform that allows users to upload, share, and distribute videos online.
Vimeo primarily provides a platform for creators and professionals (filmmakers, producers, etc.) rather than general users. This allows it to provide various advanced features and tools for editing, sharing and promoting videos.
- Live streaming - Vimeo offers live streaming capabilities with added features such as chats, polls, call-to-action, recording, and archiving the streams for later viewing.
- Advanced privacy settings – Users can control who can view their videos, have password protection, and have the option to hide videos from search engines.
- Creators programs that enable creators to monetize their content through Vimeo on demand, subscriptions, and other means.
Tidal is a music streaming service that offers high-fidelity streams of lossless audio quality.
What Makes Tidal Stand Out
- Hi-Fi music streaming - Hi-Fi streaming options allow users access to lossless audio files and hear the music how it was intended to be heard.
- Music curation - Tidal provides music curation, which includes personalized playlists and recommended tracks based on the user’s listening history and preferences, as well as a team of music editors that curate playlists and discover new talent.
19. Raw Spirituality
Raw Spirituality membership website provides resources, tools, and teachings for spiritual seekers.
By attending Alyssa Malehorn and Zack Fuentes’s spiritual sessions, members gain a deeper understanding of their awakening, life within multiple dimensions, ascension process, and forming meaningful spiritual partnerships.
- Community support - Raw Spirituality provides an online community where members can connect with others on a similar spiritual journey, providing support, encouragement, and accountability.
- Affordable pricing - Raw Spirituality offers different pricing plans, including free plans and a variety of paid plans that are affordable and tailored to the needs of different types and sizes of users.
20. Copyblogger Academy
Copyblogger Academy is a membership site created by Copyblogger Media that provides marketing education and resources to help businesses and entrepreneurs learn how to write.
For close to $500 per year, members gain access to courses, webinars, online forums, and resources that provide insights and strategies on how to write content that engages audiences.
- Hands-on approach - Copyblogger Academy follows a hands-on teaching approach, including actionable instructions, real-world examples, and interactive elements that allow users to apply their learning to their own businesses or projects.
- Access to experts - The site is made for writers by writers. Expert instructors are featured, including seasoned digital marketers and copywriters, which allows users to learn from experienced and qualified individuals.
- Comprehensive training resources - Members can access comprehensive training resources, such as tutorials, courses, and webinars, designed to help users improve their content marketing, copywriting, and digital marketing skills.
21. SitePoint Premium
SitePoint Premium is a site that provides web development and programming resources.
- Interactive learning - SitePoint Premium offers interactive coding exercises, quizzes, and challenges, which help developers to test their skills and learn by doing.
- Suitable for all levels - The resources are suitable for all levels of web developers, from beginners to experts, allowing users to progress at their own pace.
- Access to a community of developers - Members have access to a community of developers where they can ask questions, share code snippets, and get help with specific problems.
22. CodePen Pro
CodePen Pro is a membership-based platform that allows web developers to build, test, and share their code with a community of developers.
What Makes CodePen Pro Stand Out
- Affordable pricing - CodePen Pro offers different pricing plans tailored to the needs of different types and sizes of users—starting at $8 per month.
- Collaboration tools - Collaboration tools allow members to work together on projects. This feature allows users to share code, provide feedback, and work together in real time.
- CodePen Ecosystem - Membership also includes access to the CodePen ecosystem, which consists of various tools, resources, and plugins that can be used to create, test, and share code. Members also get access to the CodePen forums, where they can ask questions and get help from other developers.
23. The Influencer Academy
The Influencer Academy is an online education platform that provides courses, resources, and tools for influencers to grow their audience, monetize their content, and build their brand.
It’s tailor-made for entrepreneurs, freelancers, and YouTubers interested in leveraging their influence to become successful.
- Comprehensive course offerings - The Influencer Academy offers a wide range of courses that cover various aspects of influencer marketing, such as audience growth, content creation, and monetization strategies.
- Hands-on approach
- Tailored to influencers’ needs - The courses, resources, and tools provided by the academy are tailored to influencers’ specific needs and goals, which helps them grow their brand and revenue streams.
24. Creator Studio Pro
Creator Studio Pro provides editing tools, web tools, and resources specifically designed for YouTubers and video creators.
What Makes Creator Studio Pro Stand Out
- Intuitive editor - The intuitive editor has a simple interface that allows users to upload, edit, and optimize videos quickly and easily.
- Integrations - You can instantly import media from Pexels, Unsplash, Pixabay, Coverr, etc.
- Custom animations - Creator Studio Pro has a library of custom animations that can enhance videos and create visually appealing content.
25. Tube Mastery and Monetization
Tube Mastery and Monetization site provides access to a comprehensive course on how to grow, monetize, and optimize a YouTube channel from scratch.
They provide step-by-step instructions on creating and optimizing videos, building an audience, using keyword research tools and strategies, creating effective thumbnails and titles, growing subscribers and views, and monetizing content.
- Strategic approach - The course takes a strategic approach to teaching, offering practical strategies that can be used to grow a YouTube channel.
- Actionable advice - Tube Mastery and Monetization provide actionable advice on optimizing videos, building an audience, and monetizing content.
- Case studies and real-world examples - The course includes case studies and examples to illustrate the strategies and techniques being taught, which helps to provide a deeper understanding of the material.
26. Health My Lifestyle
Health My Lifestyle is a health and wellness membership site that helps its members transition to a healthy plant-based diet. Membership provides access to resources, recipes, meal plans, and more to help you achieve your health goals.
What Makes Health My Lifestyle Stand Out
- Meal Plans - Meal plans are tailored to the individual’s needs and goals. The meal plan is sent to you every Friday.
- Ability to customize your meal plan - With the drag and drop feature, you can easily customize your meal plan according to your taste and preferences, allergy intolerances, and family size.
- Stress-free cooking - Their recipes take less than 30 minutes and involve minimal ingredients and steps for a stress-free cooking experience.
27. Smart Passive Income
Smart Passive Income provides a variety of online courses, resources, and tools to help people start and grow their online businesses and create a passive income stream.
They have an extensive library of courses, workshops, live events, and SPI Pro, a private community for online business owners.
- Access to experts - The site features instructors and guest experts, including successful online entrepreneurs, which provides members with guidance and advice from people with real-world experience.
- All-Access Pass - This is a community-powered curriculum where members get access to all courses and resources.
- Interactive workshops - Smart Passive Income also offers interactive workshops that provide a deeper understanding of the material and allow members to ask questions and receive feedback.
28. Kid Explorer
Kid Explorer is an educational site that provides kids access to interactive games, activities, stories, and more. The site has educational and fun content designed to help kids explore and develop their interests.
Some popular courses include U.S. Presidential Election Course, Nutrition for Kids, and ECONOMICS FOR KIDS, among others.
- Safe and secure - The site is designed to be safe and secure for children to use, with appropriate online safety measures in place and strict privacy policies.
- Engaging and interactive content - Kid Explorer offers a variety of engaging and interactive resources, such as videos, games, and activities, that are designed to keep children interested and actively learning.
29. Sew It! Academy
Sew It! Academy is an online sewing academy that offers courses and instructional videos to teach people how to sew.
- Fundamentals of sewing
- Pattern making
- Up-to-date design methods
- Step-by-step instructions - Sew It! Academy provides concise step-by-step instructions to help members learn at their own pace.
- Auto resume - Members can easily resume their courses where they left off, so there is no need to start from the beginning each time.
- Course guide - Membership includes access to a course guide that outlines the entire curriculum and what each lesson covers.
Netflix is a streaming service that provides access to movies and TV shows. A subscription gives access to thousands of titles and exclusive Netflix originals.
- New content - Members get access to new titles each month, so there is always something new to watch.
- Interactive content - Netflix offers interactive content, such as choose-your-own-adventure style episodes and specials.
- Offline viewing - Members can download titles to watch offline and on the go.
The Shutterstock site provides over 200 million royalty-free images, videos, music, and more.
If you are a photographer, creative, or business looking to create a membership site, Shutterstock provides a great example of what you can offer.
- Easy search and navigation - Users can access millions of images, videos, and music with an easy-to-use search tool that makes it easy to find your desired information.
- Unlimited downloads - Members get unlimited downloads, so they can access as many images, videos, and music tracks as they need.
- High resolution - High-quality images and videos for professional use.
As a designer, you might be looking to sell digital products or offer design services via a membership site. Canva gives you an example of what that could look like.
Canva is an online graphic design platform that allows members to create stunning visuals and designs. It has a library of templates, fonts, images, and illustrations.
What Sets Canva Apart
- Drag and drop design - Canva makes it easy to create designs with its drag-and-drop interface.
- Customizable templates - Thousands of templates are available to subscribers, making it easy for them to create beautiful visuals quickly.
- Integration with other platforms - Members can easily share their creations on other platforms, such as Instagram and Facebook.
These are just a few examples of the many successful membership sites. As we have highlighted, each site offers unique features and benefits to subscribers.
So when creating your membership site, ensure to include features that will set your site apart from the competition. Remember that a successful membership site should focus on providing value to its members and making it easy for them to access the content they need.
Things You Need To Build a Membership Website
Now that you better understand the different types of membership sites, let us look at the essentials you need to get started.
You will need to purchase a domain name for your membership site. The domain name should be relevant to the content or services that you are offering.
Simply select the domain name that best aligns with your site’s purpose and brand. A domain name will, on average, cost between $10 and $20 a year.
Next, you will need a website hosting service. This is necessary to upload your site’s content, manage files, and make it accessible on the internet. See the best web hosting services here.
A Website Builder
To create a membership site, you will need a website builder that is easy to use and equipped with the features necessary to build an effective membership site. Website builders enable you to create powerful websites and member portals with minimal coding knowledge.
Membership Add On
Membership add-ons enable you to manage members, create subscription plans, and receive payments from subscribers.
It’s also called a plugin that you install into your website to create and manage membership features—free or paid.
Types of Membership Websites You Can Make
There are various types of membership sites that you can create depending on your industry or niche. Membership sites have different models and features.
1. Online Courses
Online course membership sites allow members to access educational material such as videos, tutorials, and eBooks.
The online courses model includes one-time payments for access to a course or library, monthly subscriptions for access to multiple courses and materials, and yearly subscription plans.
Other features include tracking progress, integrating payment platforms for members to pay for courses and materials, and discussion forums.
2. Members-Only Community
People like to be part of a community, even more, when they get exclusive access. There is that pride that comes with being part of an exclusive group.
Members-only communities offer members a platform to access content, message each other, and participate in forums. This membership site model is best for businesses that offer discussion platforms, collaboration projects, and other interactivity activities.
3. Limited-Edition Evergreen Content
This model includes “evergreen content” such as eBooks, guides, and other materials that must be constantly updated.
Therefore, subscribers have access to the content for as long as they have a membership, and new materials are continuously added. You can offer single, one-time payment packages, a combination of course and evergreen content, or a monthly membership plan.
This works best for content that needs to be updated over time, such as tutorials, books, industry news, etc.
How do I create a successful membership site?
There are several key elements to creating a successful membership site:
- Identify your target audience and create content that appeals to their interests and needs.
- Make the sign-up process simple and user-friendly.
- Have a clear value proposition and communicate it effectively to potential members.
- Have a strong retention strategy in place to keep members engaged and coming back.
- Regularly update the site with new content to keep members interested and engaged.
- Use marketing and promotion techniques to attract new members and retain current ones.
- Have responsive and effective customer service to handle any questions or issues members may have.
- Continuously gather feedback from members and use it to improve the site and increase satisfaction.
- Have a scalable and reliable technology infrastructure to support the site and its members.
- You should also have a clear revenue model, for example, by providing a subscription service or creating exclusive paid content or perks for members.
Create Your Membership Site Today
Membership sites are a great way to monetize your content and provide value to your customers.
It is important to:
- Select the right domain name that aligns with your site’s purpose and brand
- Choose an appropriate website hosting service for uploading files
- Use a website builder which has all the features necessary for building an effective membership site.
By having a comprehensive understanding of these essentials required when creating a successful membership website, you can maximize its potential to provide valuable services or products while increasing revenue streams over time.
However, finding the right web hosting service can be challenging. HostAdvice Best Web Hosting ranking list will help you quickly find the right web hosting service. Use Host Advice to compare and review hosting services so that you can make an informed decision.
Next Steps: What now?
- Find the Best Web Hosting service.
- Choose a domain name that best reflects your membership site’s purpose and brand. There are multiple factors to consider when selecting a domain name, such as length, keywords, and more.
- Use a website builder with the features you need to create a successful membership site.
- Create engaging content that is of value to your members. This could include videos, tutorials, eBooks, and more.
- Monitor the success of your membership site by tracking metrics such as page visits and time spent on the site.
Further reading – Useful Resources
Here are some additional resources to help you build a successful membership site: