A membership site is a great way to generate recurring revenue for your business. A Showit website allows you to create the perfect membership on your own website since it has a direct WordPress integration (yay for the best of both worlds!).
However, with so many plugins and software available online, it can be difficult to choose one that will work best for you. In this blog post, we are going over how to create the perfect membership on your Showit site – from choosing the right features for your needs all the way down to making sure everything works seamlessly after installation!
When choosing the right features, it’s important to think about what you are looking for in the long run and in the immediate future for fast implementation. Do you have a lot of content? You may want video access or article downloads! Are there certain things people must sign up for before viewing your site or accessing other pages? Membership paywalls and restricted membership levels can be really helpful to give your audience access to different content based on their needs.
A as a membership designer I can tell you that the word “membership” can actually encompass many things, from literal recurring memberships Netflix style to having a private area to host a program (like a course), have a paywall behind resources, and downloadable, etc.
You can choose to have different payment structures too! Maybe you’re thinking of monthly recurring payments as the best solution for you, or maybe you want a one-time payment for limited or lifetime access.
A membership software can be in the form of a plugin that you can install onto your website or as software you can access as a third party. With this software, members will be able to log in and access resources for which they have been granted permission for (such as files or pages).
Membership plugins are generally used by those who want to start a passive income stream site because it offers the ability to create different levels of investment with different levels of access. Perfect to serve your audience at different stages!
Basically, membership software serves as a “wall” between your audience and your content. But notice I did not say “paid wall”.
A membership software just guards the content, but not all handle payments. And you guessed it, not all memberships require payment! Some businesses use a free level as the entry point in their sales funnel, so they do require a sign up in order to give access to their content.
It may sound like a no-brainer, and we all start somewhere but I have seen business owners burnout trying to run a membership by accepting payments on one software, password-protecting their content, and they just share that with their paying “members”.
Can you see how that is already screaming “trouble”? Imagine having to keep track of every person, who has paid, who has canceled, giving out passwords, and hoping they don’t share it…
I am all in for bootstrapping things when you start, but when you are ready to be serious about your growth and success, you need to be able to scale and offer your members a great user experience by using a real membership software or plugin to handle things.
Choosing the right membership software is not just about how you will accept payments, but also ensuring that it offers features like easily adding new levels, member notifications for when their subscription is expiring or renewing, etc.
By using a dedicated software or plugin you will be able to have new members sign up and set up their own user and password information, pick their level in case you offer different access to different levels, set expiration ranges, and even have a sign up page that is customized for your site look and feel.
For your members, this also means you will also be able to offer an easier and more secure way for them to update their payment information if needed. And this is a very important one because you always want to give members control over their subscription!
Everyone wants to jump in on the membership train but most of the time they have no idea where are they going and how to even get there, they are just eager to start.
Keep that excitement but make it intentional and strategic so your membership can grow and be the successful passive income you envision.
Do you have mostly downloadable PDFs? Videos? Articles? Images?
Now think: if you could wave a magic wand and have things your way, how do you want your members to experience this content?
Do you want them to be able to download your content?
Read it on the site?
What about recurring access or updates for members only–do those things matter to you too?
So make a list of your content ready to go and also think of the content you want to have in the future (because this is going to be a success and keep growing, right?)
Another list of successful membership owners. Think of this one as your dream list. Do you want to have content dripped? That’s a feature, put it on the list.
See where I’m going? This list is going to help you make decisions about your membership experience and the future of it.
So start writing that dream list, what would YOU want in this space?
Common things to think about:
It may sound silly, but this is so important: When you want to start a membership there will be a ton of different options, and there is NO COOKIE CUTTER SOLUTION. There is not one software that will be the best for everyone. Why? Because we all need different features, and we all run our business using different tools.
Think about your current website, your current email newsletter provider, your way of working: how much time you want to dedicate to building and upkeeping the membership. This should all align with the way you build it in order for it to be profitable and scalable.
Membership sites built on a third-party platform at the mercy of someone else’s design and their ability to deliver your content in the way you want to deliver it. You’re creating an experience here. And not gonna lie, most of those sites are ugly or corporate-looking and don’t feel like a luxury experience.
Your membership site can be built on your own website, giving you the freedom to grow your business independently of a third-party platform.
I actually do this for clients in our signature membership development service. I basically help them build a whole new business stream, they only need to bring in their content.
I run my own membership inside my Showit website by using the WordPress blog in my account. Also as a Showit website designer, that’s how I build Showit membership sites for my clients. By taking advantage of the WordPress blog side of their website. It’s like having the best of both worlds, win-win!
Showit has an advanced blog tier that gives you a WordPress integration. This is the perfect pairing to run your membership on the WordPress side! Everything you do and build stays inside your website looking cohesive!
You also get more options and flexibility since there are many WordPress plugins available that allow for different types of memberships, so you can bet your Showit membership will be perfectly custom to your needs.
Most plugins have great documentation and direct support (look for that! Showit support is amazing but it does NOT help with third-party software or plugins, so they can’t help you with membership questions). I have tried several in my years as a designer. The Showit support team asked me about putting together a list to support our Showiteer community, and I did. You can find my list of tried plugins over here.
Let me break down the most important steps when considering adding a membership to your Showit site.
Picking a well-researched tech stack means you don’t have to worry about anything if you end up needing help as they will most likely have a plugin support team you can reach out to. It’s rare to find one that has no support team, but still make your research.
That is a huge plus when it comes to picking a membership software: support. I offer monthly support for some of my clients so they can have me in their back pocket to answer questions or keep guiding them on the best strategies to grow their memberships, but having good plugin developer support is key.
Do you have more questions about this initial stage of creating your perfect membership or are you ready to have an expert handle it for you?
Send me a message at the bottom of this page!
I'm Ingrid, welcome! I'm a branding designer + Showit Design Partner, doggy mamma, and tea drinker.
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