How to Create a Membership Site Using WordPress: A Step-by-Step Guide

Membership Site

Building a membership site with WordPress offers an exhilarating chance to disseminate exclusive content and foster a devoted community. This comprehensive guide will lead you through the stages of strategizing, establishing, and unveiling your unique membership platform. By adhering to these thorough directives, you’ll be able to craft a polished and intuitive website tailored to the desires and anticipations of your intended audience.

What is a membership site?

A membership site is a specialized website that offers restricted content, products, or services exclusively to its registered members. In contrast to conventional websites with openly accessible content, a membership site mandates visitors to register and pay a fee in order to unlock its restricted sections. This approach to content delivery enables you to establish a community of individuals who share common interests, providing them with valuable resources that are otherwise inaccessible to the wider public.

Why create a membership site?

There are numerous advantages to creating a membership site that you should take into account. Here are a few noteworthy benefits:

  • Generate recurring revenue: By offering valuable content or services behind a paywall, you can establish a reliable source of recurring income.

  • Build a loyal community: Membership sites create a sense of exclusivity and foster a community of dedicated members who share common interests and goals.

  • Showcase expertise: Membership sites provide a platform to showcase your expertise, knowledge, and unique offerings to a focused audience.

  • Establish authority: By curating and delivering high-quality content, you can position yourself as an authority in your industry or niche.

  • Foster engagement: Membership sites can encourage active engagement among members through forums, discussions, and exclusive events.

Now that we understand the basics, let’s dive into the step-by-step process of creating a membership site using WordPress.

Step 1: Planning Your Membership Site

Planning your membership site is a crucial first step to ensure its success. Here are some key considerations and steps to follow:

  • Defining your target audience and their needs.

  • Define the type of content or services you want to offer.

  • Determine the membership levels and subscription plans you will offer.

  • Outline the features and functionality you want to include.

Taking the time to plan your membership site will help you make informed decisions during the setup process.

Step 2: Choosing the Right WordPress Membership Plugin

WordPress offers a variety of membership plugins, each with its own features and capabilities. Some popular options include:

  • MemberPress: A comprehensive membership plugin that allows you to easily create and manage membership levels, subscriptions, and content restrictions.

  • LearnDash: Primarily focused on creating and selling online courses, LearnDash also offers membership site functionality.

  • Restrict Content Pro: This plugin provides a straightforward way to set up membership levels, subscription plans, and content restrictions.

  • Paid Memberships Pro: A flexible plugin that allows you to create and manage membership sites with customizable options and integrations.
Paid Memberships Pro

Research and compare different membership plugins to find the one that best suits your needs and budget.

Step 3: Installing and Configuring the Membership Plugin

To create a membership site, you’ll need a WordPress-compatible membership plugin. Follow this guide:

1. Research and Choose the Right Membership Plugin:

Explore options like MemberPress, Restrict Content Pro, or LearnDash to find the best fit for your site.

2. Installing the Selected Plugin on WordPress:

In your WordPress dashboard, go to “Plugins,” click “Add New,” search for the plugin, then click “Install Now.”

3. Setting up Essential Plugin Preferences:

Consult the plugin’s documentation or setup guide to customize general settings like payment methods, email notifications, and membership tiers.

4. Defining Membership Levels or Tiers:

Create distinct membership levels, each with unique benefits and access privileges.

Step 4: Setting up Membership Levels and Subscription Plans

Membership levels determine the access and privileges members have on your site. Subscription plans define the pricing and duration options available to your members. Follow these steps to set up membership levels and subscription plans:

1. Access the membership plugin settings in your WordPress admin dashboard.

2. Create membership levels based on the content or services you want to offer.

3. Define the pricing, duration, and access restrictions for each membership level.

4. Set up subscription plans that align with your membership levels.

Ensure that the membership levels and subscription plans you create align with your target audience’s needs and expectations.

Step 5: Creating Membership Pages

Membership pages play a crucial role in attracting new members, offering information about your site, and facilitating the sign-up process. Follow these guidelines when crafting membership pages:

1. Sign Up/Registration Page: Establish a page enabling visitors to become members. Include a registration form and emphasize the benefits of joining.

2. Login Page: Arrange a page for existing members to log in and access exclusive content.

3. Account Dashboard: Create a page where members can adjust their account settings, upgrade or cancel subscriptions, and review their membership particulars.

Customize these pages to reflect your brand identity and ensure a seamless user experience.

Step 6: Restricting Content for Members

One of the key features of a membership site is the ability to restrict content to members only. Here are some options for content restriction:

  • Manual Content Restriction: Choose specific posts, pages, or categories that only members can access.

  • Partial Content Restriction: Create teaser content visible to all visitors, enticing them to become members and gain full access.

  • Drip Content: Allow members to access content gradually over time, giving them a sense of exclusivity and value.

Use the features provided by your chosen membership plugin to implement content restrictions effectively.

Step 7: Designing Your Membership Site

Design plays a crucial role in establishing your membership site’s branding and enhancing the user experience. Consider the following design elements:

  • Theme Selection: Choose a WordPress theme that aligns with your branding and offers customization options to create a visually appealing site.

  • Color Scheme: Choose colors that align with your brand identity and enhance the visual appeal of your membership site.

  • Effortless Navigation: Guarantee your website features user-friendly navigation, enabling members to effortlessly locate and access their desired content.

Keep your design clean, professional, and consistent with the overall goals and image of your membership site.

Step 8: Testing Your Membership Site

Before launching your membership site, it’s crucial to test all the features, functionality, and user experience. Follow these testing steps:

  1. Sign up as a test member and go through the signup process.
  2. Verify that the content restrictions and access levels are working correctly.
  3. Test the registration, login, and account management functionalities.
  4. Ensure the payment process for subscriptions is functioning properly.
  5. Test the responsiveness of your site across different devices and browsers.

By thoroughly testing your membership site, you can identify and address any potential issues before launch.

Step 9: Launching and Managing Your Membership Site

After your membership site has been established, thoroughly tested, and deemed ready for action, it’s time to initiate its launch. Take into account the following step:

  • Promoting Your Site: Formulate a comprehensive marketing strategy to entice and engage potential new members. Utilize social media, email marketing, and other promotional channels to spread the word about your membership site.

  • Membership Support: Develop a process to handle member inquiries, address technical issues, and provide exceptional customer support.

  • Continuous Improvement: Monitor member feedback and engagement to identify areas for improvement and refine your membership site over time.

Stay engaged with your members and continuously work on enhancing their experience to ensure the long-term success of your membership site.


In summary, venturing into the realm of developing a membership site with WordPress offers substantial rewards. It grants you the opportunity to share exclusive content and cultivate a dedicated, loyal community. By meticulously adhering to the comprehensive guide we’ve provided, you can construct a membership site exuding professionalism and ease of use, perfectly tailored to meet the needs and expectations of your target audience. Embrace the formidable capabilities of WordPress, capitalize on the benefits of membership sites, and embark on an exhilarating voyage to engage, educate, and delight your valued members.

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