How to Build a Membership Site

When someone creates a membership site, they are opening the door to passive income, a brand boost, and a slew of other potential benefits. However, setting up a successful membership site takes work. We at MemberSpace want to make the process of creating a membership site as easy as possible, which is why we founded MemberSpace in the first place. It's also why we are writing this guide. Creating a membership site is a journey, and we want to make sure you are equipped with everything you need to start.

Content Chapters

Basics of Building a Membership Site Choosing the Right CMS Platform Choosing the Right Membership Platform/Plugin Choosing Essential Tools for Your Membership Planning and Creating Your Membership Sitemap Choosing the Right Membership Site Design/Theme Creating Your 'Core' Membership Pages Testing Your Membership Site

Chapter 1:Basics of Building a Membership Site

The first step to creating a membership site is coming up with a niche and a plan. It's critical to plan out your membership idea, strategy, site model, and more. If you try to plan this on the fly, it can not only prolong the site building process, it can cause a lot of backtracking and do-overs. Membership sites are not all designed the same way.

We strongly recommend having a solid plan in place before starting the site creation process (and this guide). If you are currently in the planning stages, check out our How to Start a Membership Site Guide. It will take you through an in-depth planning process so that you will be fully prepared to build your website.

Once you have a plan, it comes down to the actual work of creating the membership site. That's where this guide comes in.

Don't worry if you don't have web design experience. We will walk you through all the elements you need to create your first membership site. This guide will take you through the different elements that a membership site needs in order to function. We'll be talking about website fundamentals and different ways to design your site.

The first steps to creating a website depend on the following things:

Your website will be built on these elements, so it's important to make sure you understand how they work together.

Domains

The first website element you need to consider is the website domain. A domain is the website URL. It is what visitors type into their browser to visit your site.

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For example, our website domain is “memberspace.com.” If you type “memberspace.com” into any browser, you will be taken to our website. Once you have a domain, you can use it to send people to your website. It's like an address where your site lives.

So, how do you go about acquiring a domain? You will need to visit a domain registrar. Many web hosts and website builders (which we will cover in the next section) offer domain registration along with their web hosting offerings. Some even include a free domain when you sign up for your first account. However, you can also use a separate domain registrar, like Google Domains. Your registrar and web host do NOT need to be the same in order for you to successfully register a domain and use it with your website. The process is similar wherever you go.

First, visit your registrar and search for your desired domain name.

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The registrar will tell you whether or not the domain is available, and some may even offer similar options.

If your domain is available, proceed through the domain registration process.

Domains need to be registered for a certain period of time and renewed periodically. This is because domains are not a one-and-done purchase – domains are hosted on servers that require upkeep. If domains are not renewed, the domain name expires and becomes available for registration by someone else. Domains can only be used by those who have registered them, so registering a domain is an important first step in the website creation process.

While this may seem like a pain, many domain registrars have the option of automatic renewal. If you automatically renew your domain, you won't have to worry about it expiring.

Once a domain is registered, your domain registrar will have an interface where you can manage your registered domains. You will need to go to this area once you have chosen a website host (which we will talk about in the next section), so it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with this interface when you have the chance.

Because, unless you get a domain in the same bundle as your web hosting, you will need to point your “nameservers” to your hosting account. This sounds complicated, but it's just the process of finding the “nameservers” for your hosting account (usually something like: ns1.hosting.com, ns2.hosting.com), then going to your domain registrar and pasting them into the nameserver field. Both your web host and domain registrar should have documentation outlining this process, so be sure to check their knowledge base for help.

Changing the nameservers will “point” the domain name to the web host, essentially telling the web host that it is free to use the domain however it wants. Meanwhile, any other web host who tries to use the domain, will not be able to. So changing the nameservers is an important step in the website creation process.

However, before that, you must choose a website host.

Website Hosting

In order to have a website, you must first have a website host (also referred to as web host). Websites don't just exist on thin air and the internet; they are actually made up of data. These website files need a place to live so that when someone searches for them (using a domain, which we talked about in the last section), the website appears.

This is where the web host comes in. Think of it as a house for your website. If the domain is the address that people use to get there, then the web host is the house where your website lives.

When someone enters a domain into their browser, the browser automatically requests the website files from the web host. The web host then responds by sending the files, thus loading the website. This all takes place in a matter of seconds.

Needless to say, the web host plays an important role in website creation. However, the type of web host you choose will depend on how you want to build your site. If you are going to code your own website, you can opt for pretty much any web host out there. If this is the route you plan to take, check out PC Mag's list of the best web hosting services for 2019. Any of the options listed there are reputable web hosts.

However, if you don't want to manually code your website, a CMS (content management system) may be the best option for you.

CMS & Website Building Tools

CMS stands for “Content Management System,” which is just a fancy way of saying it's an interface that helps you build and structure content.

Popular CMS include WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, and many more. These CMS make website building easier by doing most - if not all- of the coding for you. Many even come with pre-created website designs, so all you have to do is choose a design you like and make some tweaks.

Most CMS also have some sort of membership site platform or tool that can be used to transform the CMS into a functional membership site.

So choosing a CMS is a valid choice when deciding how to build a membership site.

Chapter 2:Choosing the Right CMS Platform

If you would like to use a CMS, there is an abundance of platforms to choose from. Since there are so many options, making the right choice can feel a little overwhelming. That's why we are going to walk you through the most popular CMS for membership sites. That way, you will be equipped with the information you need to make an informed choice. There are various factors that can influence what CMS works best, so we will also be touching on those.

Self-Hosted (More Control) vs Hosted CMS Solution (Less Control)

The first factor to consider is the type of hosting you want. In general, there are two main types of hosting: self hosted and hosted CMS solutions.

While the “self-hosted” category can include servers you build and run yourself in your own home, we are going to focus on the managed servers that you can purchase from web hosting companies. These, while not truly self-hosted, are more involved than the fully hosted CMS solutions.

Fully hosted CMS solutions are exactly that: CMS builds that have hosting built-in. When you sign up for an account with the CMS, the hosting comes with it. There are no extra steps or backend tinkering you need to do to configure your site; the fully hosted CMS solution has already done everything for you. All you have to do is sign up and build your site.

This is a great option for those who aren't familiar with (and aren't interested in learning) how web hosting works. A fully hosted CMS solution is very simple. However, because of this simplicity, it does sacrifice some of the control you can have over a site on a self-hosted server.

Servers that you run through a web host require more set up. You will likely need to configure or install the CMS onto the server – though, many web hosts now have one click installs to make it easier to add popular CMS to your server.

Self-hosted servers do afford more control over the server and are often cheaper than the fully-hosted CMS alternatives. They are very customizable in terms of server resources, since there are different server types and packages. Some web hosts will even build a custom server for you with the resources you want.

On the other hand, fully-hosted CMS solutions often have different tiers, like “Personal Site” or “Business Site” that will tell you what each package is “best for.” However, these packages usually aren't very customizable and aren't very transparent about what you are actually getting in terms of server power.

In a nutshell, if you aren't concerned with the backend and want the process to be as easy as possible, fully-hosted CMS solutions are a great option. If you prefer to tinker around in the backend of things and would like to have more control over your server, self-hosting might be the way to go for you.

Self-Hosted CMS Options

If you chose self-hosted as your preferred hosting type, you will be interested to know about the different CMS options you can use. You could always create a custom HTML site (or buy an already made HTML site template) to use with a self-hosted account, but if coding is not for you, check out these CMS:

We've gone over each of the self-hosted CMS types below and categorized them based on the amount of coding and tech know-how needed to use them.

Amount of Coding/Tech Understanding Needed

Low

Medium

High

Webflow

Amount of Technical Knowledge Needed: Low-Medium

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Webflow is a drag-and-drop builder that allows you to visually arrange your website by using provided elements. It's a great option for those who are familiar with the basics of HTML/CSS, but still want a site builder to save them time and effort.

While Webflow also offers a fully-hosted CMS, you can use Webflow to build a website, then export the code to use on a self-hosted solution. This can give you the best of both worlds: the extra control that comes with self-hosting and the ease that comes with a website builder.

You can read more about how to export Webflow site code here.

WordPress

Amount of Technical Knowledge Needed: Medium

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Keep in mind for this section, we will be discussing the free WordPress.org platform, not WordPress.com (a WordPress.org host).

WordPress is an overwhelmingly popular choice when it comes to CMS. To give you an idea: according to W3Techs, WordPress sites account for about 30% of the entire internet.

That's a huge chunk of websites and a testament to the WordPress platform. While it was originally built as a blogging platform and might not be as easy to use as Webflow or Weebly, its thousands of plugins can add almost any functionality imaginable. Plugins are essentially add-ons that you can install on your site with a few clicks. Among these plugins there are a variety of membership options, like WooCommerce Membership. Install the plugin, then follow the plugin's instructions for set up. We'll be talking more in-depth about plugins later in this article.

WordPress has also been working to improve their platform's ease of use. For example, last year, WordPress implemented a block-building system similar to Weebly and Webflow to help users design their posts and pages. While WordPress may require more technical know-how, depending on your theme choice, it can be a great option for those looking to self-host.

Many web hosts out there offer WordPress-specific hosting, which is designed with the WordPress platform's needs in mind. Not sure where to start your WordPress hosting search? Check out these WordPress.org recommended hosts.

Jekyll

Amount of Technical Knowledge Needed: High

Jekyll is a static site generator designed to be managed from the command line. You install Jekyll, set up the site, and preview changes all from your terminal or command prompt. You will be using commands to accomplish the majority of your tasks, like using jekyll serve or jekyll build in order to preview content.

While it might not seem like it, Jekyll is a great choice for those who are comfortable using the command line. Once Jekyll is set up, the commands make it simple to deploy new content and keep your site lightweight. It's also very developer-friendly, so if you want to do some custom coding on the side Jekyll is the perfect platform.

And just because it's not as simple as WordPress or Wix doesn't mean that Jekyll doesn't have a helpful assortment of themes you can use to design your site. Just be prepared to dig around in the site's code to make changes.

Content in Jekyll is created in text editors and formatted in a language Jekyll can read, like Markdown or HTML/CSS. So it is important that you are comfortable creating content in this manner. In fact, most of Jekyll requires some sort of technical knowledge. It works in a GitHub-like structure.

Jekyll works with almost all web hosts. Some web hosts even go as far as to advertise their Jekyll compatibility, like Site Leaf.

While Jekyll does require a lot more technical knowledge than some of the other self-hosted options, it's a stellar choice for those fledgling developers out there that want to build something lightweight, without all the frills and trimmings that other CMS may come with.

Fully Hosted CMS Options

Fully-hosted CMS takes care of the hosting for you. You pay for a package type, then all you have to worry about is designing your site.

We'll briefly describe each other fully-hosted options below so you can get a better feel for the CMS.

Squarespace

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Squarespace was created in 2003 and has a reputation for great looking themes and mobile site speed and responsiveness.Their intuitive interface allows you to build your website with absolutely no code - a boon to those with little technical experience.

You can add pre-designed site elements to your site - like photo galleries or text headings, making it easy to create a functional, professional looking website. Squarespace starts at about $12 a month for the beginner package.

Webflow

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Webflow is also a visual site builder that uses drag-and-drop blocks on a grid. While the interface is not as intuitive as some of the other platforms in the fully hosted CMS list, Webflow makes up for it by supplying a lot of customization options.

However, these customization options rely on a basic knowledge of CSS. While someone unfamiliar with CSS could easily understand with a bit of research, Webflow feels primarily designed for those who are familiar with HTML/CSS, but don't necessarily have the time (or patience) to fiddle with a custom HTML site.

For those with a basic understanding of CSS, Webflow is the perfect combination of ease and customization. You can build a site without the constraints of the predetermined customization options, but you can also use their pre-created elements and drag-and-drop site builder to build your site.

Webflow's fully hosted option starts at $12.

Wix

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Wix is a website builder with an amazing drag and drop editor. While other website editors force you to drag and drop elements within a grid, Wix allows for a lot more latitude. You can drag many elements onto the screen and arrange them exactly how you want them - without them snapping into a grid!

For those who want the extra customization that comes with free element placement, Wix is a great option. It also comes with a large quantity of pre-designed elements and an intuitive user interface. Their plans start around $13 a month.

Weebly

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Weebly is a drag-and-drop builder known for its simplicity. It has a live editor interface that reflects your changes as you make them. It also offers pre-designed elements that you can drag from the left sidebar onto your site. The Weebly editor will automatically align the elements so that you never have to worry about your site elements being out of line.

Weebly's biggest draw is its ease of use. Someone with next to no coding knowledge can feasibly create and publish a professional looking website.

Weebly's drag-and-drop editor is a great option for those with no coding experience. Everything is visual and it's super easy to create a functional looking site by using the supplied elements and themes.

Weebly package prices begin at around $6

All-in-One Membership Site Solutions

There are all-in-one membership site solutions that take it a step farther than fully hosted CMS. All-in-one membership site options refer to a tool that not only offers built-in hosting, but also a way to build a membership site directly from the get-go and additional add-on tools. There aren't any membership integrations you need to install or configure. Instead, all-in-one solutions give you all you need built right into the process of setting up the site.

There are a few popular all-in-one site builders we'll cover:

Kajabi

Kajabi is an all-in-one-platform that can help you create the perfect membership site. It offers tools to build the site, create landing pages, natively design courses, and more. It sports a wide array of tools - everything you could need to create a functional membership site. All the while keeping their user interface user friendly. It even takes care of email marketing!

It has a built-in payment method, as well as no transaction fees. So you don't have to worry about the payment collection tools you use taking a cut.

Overall, Kajabi is a great option for those who have the resources to afford it. Kajabi starts at $149 per month.

Teachable

Teachable is marketed primarily as a course builder, but it can work as a membership site creator, too, even if you don't plan on creating courses.

Teachable has an easy-to-use website builder to help you create sites that are fully optimized for both web and mobile. They also allow you to dig into the code of your site, if you desire, so you can add or modify any aspect of your offering.

It also has the built-in ability to create landing pages, as well as email marketing. It has its own payment tool, though it does charge a 5% transaction fee for its Basic package. This may be a welcome exchange from Kajabi, though, since Teachable's base package only costs $29 per month.

Chapter 3:Choosing the Right Membership Platform/Plugin

So, once you have chosen a potential website building method, it's time to think about how you will incorporate the membership capabilities into your site. Unless you chose a all-in-one membership site solution, you will need a way to add membership functionality to your site.

Membership functionality is imperative to a membership site. You can't have one without a way to limit what people see based on their membership (or lack thereof). There are also additional considerations, like multiple membership tiers, membership signup and login capabilities, and membership content security.

All of this is to say, the next step in building your site is to figure out how to add membership functionality to your site. There is no right or wrong answer here, though we think MemberSpace is a great option, of course! In the end, the choice will come down to the type of site platform you chose to build (i.e. CMS, HTML site, etc) and the functionality you want.

WordPress Plugins

WordPress is unique from some of the other CMS because of its plugins. There are thousands of plugins in its plugin directory. There are various membership options that you can add to your WordPress site just by adding a plugin. A few popular ones are:

All of these options are specifically designed to add membership functionality to WordPress sites.

Using a WordPress plugin is usually straightforward. You install and activate the plugin, then follow the plugin's steps to implement it on your site. Plugins are usually very easy to implement, which is one of the draws of using the WordPress platform.

However, plugins only work with WordPress sites; they cannot be used on any other type of CMS or site-builder.

WordPress, when downloaded from WordPress.org (not WordPress.com), is completely free. All you have to pay for is the hosting and the membership plugin. This makes it a budget-friendly option. However, keep in mind that because WordPress requires more resources to run than your basic HTML site, WordPress-specific servers are usually more expensive. The more your website grows, the more server resources your site will demand. There are fixes, like caching, to help keep WordPress from eating up too many resources, but if your site continues to grow, it can be expensive to scale.

Membership Software

There are a host of membership software options out there for hard coded and other CMS sites. Some membership software can even be implemented into WordPress. Each membership software is designed differently, so it's important to compare the functionality that they offer and what you were anticipating.

Each membership software has its own list of integrations, so it's important to check on those before choosing one. However, membership software is often compatible with more than one type of site building platform, so don't despair. There's likely a membership software out there that will fit your needs.

Popular membership software in this field are:

Membership software usually has some amount of backend implementation so that the software can work on the website. However, this should only have to be completed once and is normally a painless process.

If the idea of tinkering around in the backend of a site scares you, it might be worth investigating the potential membership software implementation documentation. That way, you know what you are in for before you sign up.

While these may have a more difficult setup than a WordPress plugin, they are much more versatile. Many different CMS are compatible with membership software and offer working membership functionality for these platforms. So while the installation process might be easier on WordPress, a membership software opens up the potential platforms you can work with.

The price of the site platform will vary depending on what you choose. HTML and Jekyll sites will be very low cost to set up and maintain. Hosting for these sites will also be very low.

However, if you choose a fully-hosted CMS site, you will need to take a look at their package pricing. Many fully-hosted CMS are more expensive than regular web hosting because you are also paying for their site builder. For those who aren't code-savvy, this extra price for convenience is worth it. However, for those who have the coding knowledge, it may be more cost-efficient to put in the extra work of creating an HTML or Jekyll site.

Membership software pricing varies, depending on what you're looking for. However, among the most popular software, it's usually around $25 a month to start out. As your site grows, the price may increase. It's important to factor in growth when calculating cost - you want to be prepared for when your membership site is a smashing success!

All-in-One Membership Solutions

All-in-one solutions are for those who don't want to worry about the details. They take care of the hosting and the membership functionality and supply their own version of site building. For those who don't have the time or don't want to waste any extra effort troubleshooting, this is the ideal option.

However, while all-in-one membership solutions are the easiest option out of the bunch, there are some notable drawbacks. For one, they are expensive. More expensive than just paying for hosting and implementing a membership software. You have to pay for the added convenience.

The other drawback is that everything is in the system, so this cuts down severely on the control you have over the site. You don't have access to the hosting backend, nor can you decide to use another type of site editor. In order to use the all-in-one solution, you have to stay within their system.

However, the ease of use and not having to worry about the technical side of things may be worth the bump in price for you.

Chapter 4:Choosing Essential Tools for Your Membership

While membership software, plugins, and all-in-one solutions give you the structure for your membership site, there may be things you want to add on.

Not everything in a membership site is necessarily a membership function, after all. You may have a newsletter or a forum. These extras aren't always included in the membership platform, but some do allow for integration.

So what should you be thinking about for extra functionality?

Payment Method

A payment method is essential to a membership site. After all, the content you offer your members isn't just theirs for the taking. If it was, you would have a blog. Instead, here you are, sweating away over a membership site. You know your content is worth the price.

So make sure that you set yourself up for success by selecting a payment service. Some membership software come with payment methods built-in or with the ability to integrate. However, if this isn't the case or you have more than one option, it's important to do your homework on the potential payment methods.

Some membership sites even offer more than one payment method. That way their members have the ability to choose the method that works best for them. By doing so, the site owner makes it easier for members, therefore increasing the chances they'll subscribe.

It's important to check the reputation of the payment method tool; you don't want a business of ill-repute managing your money!

If you're at a loss at where to start, take a look at some popular payment methods. In fact, some are so large that you might have already heard of them, like Stripe and PayPal. These two are giants in their field and are a good place to start when investigating payment methods for your site.

Email Marketing

If you have ever signed up for a membership service before, it's likely that you received emails from them. There are so many different types of emails that can be associated with a membership site. Welcome emails, update emails, new content launch emails - you name it! All these emails really start to add up. It's just not feasible for you to handle them all from your personal email.

So that's why we recommend looking into an email marketing service. Now, just because it's called an email “marketing” service, doesn't mean you have to use it for marketing. You can use it just to set up welcome emails or announcement emails. All in all, email marketing services are just a better way to manage emails in large batches.

You can create email lists, organize them, automate emails to new members, and more.

So where do you begin researching? There are many great email marketing tools out there. Some popular ones are:

You can read more about these and other excellent email marketing tools in this post.

Community Software

Some membership sites rely strongly on their communities. In fact, some membership site tote access to the membership community as their main offering.

Do you want to have a membership community? If so, there are many types of community software to choose from. Many membership software products offer community integrations, so check with your preferred membership software to see what they support. There may even be several options! For example, MemberSpace supports integration with Muut, Website Toolbox, and Community Box, all of which are great community tools to use. Other popular community software includes:

Communities allow your members to interact with each other, which can help take the pressure off of you. Plus, it's a great way to meet your members and gather ideas and stories for new content. They do require some work - both with setup and overseeing. But overall, membership communities can be a rewarding addition to your site. For more information about how membership communities can benefit your site, see How to Start a Successful Membership Community.

Chapter 5:Planning and Creating Your Membership Sitemap

A sitemap is a file that shows how your website is put together. Sitemaps are used by search engines to help them comprehend how your site works and how it should be listed in search results.

This is an important step if you want your membership site to have good SEO.

Not only are sitemaps used by search engines to better categorize your site, but it also is a great practice when it comes to planning out your site. You can map out your pages, the relationships between them (that is, what pages link to what), and more.

For information on how to build an actual site map file for search engines to “crawl,” check out this great resource by Google.

But how do you go about structuring a sitemap for a membership site? As a planning routine, this practice can really help you iron out how your site will look. You want to think about how a visitor will work through your website and where you want them to go. It's like a tunnel that they're travelling down - you want to know where the tunnel will lead them, what's along the way, and what is at the end!

So let's say you start your sitemap with your Sales page, the page that will drive traffic to you. This is the page where you pitch your offering, make it look super awesome, and hook your visitors. Then, this page could lead to your Register or Thank You page. Once they have completed sign up, point them to the Login page/area. Now that they've signed up, you want them to experience your offering for the first time!

See how this is a natural progression? You want to map out how your visitors will “flow” through your site. Doing so will help make sure that your site is set up to help members take full advantage of your offering.

In the example earlier, the site map was very linear: Sales to Register/Thank You to Login. However, your site map can also branch off. For example, if they land on your page that consolidates all of your content, such as a Content Library, the site map might branch off into Blog, Community, Courses, and Lessons.

Planning your site out now will help you (and search engines) in the long run.

Chapter 6:Choosing the Right Membership Site Design/Theme

One of the most exciting parts of creating a website is choosing the design. It's the moment that your site really begins to look the part. And the best part? Unless you're hard-coding your site from scratch, there are thousands of themes and designs you can choose from. So you don't have to worry about not being creative enough - all the hard work is done for you. And if you are creative, many of the themes and designs are fully customizable so you can shape it into your ideal site.

There are many different website builders that we covered earlier in this guide and each of them have their own set of themes/designs to choose from! We've compiled a list of places where you can look for themes and designs for each site solution:

WordPress

WordPress offers free themes in its theme directory, but if you want something more premium, you can check out these sites:

Squarespace, Wix, Weebly, and Webflow

Squarespace, Wix, and Weebly each have their own theme marketplace where you can find premium themes:

Kajabi/Teachable

Kajabi and Teachable are two of the full membership site solutions we talked about earlier in this guide. All of their themes are built right into the interface, so there is no need to go searching for a premium theme. To get a feel for what their themes look like, check out these examples of sites and templates:

Custom HTML

Even if you're building an HTML site, you can make sure of a pre-made design. You can find premium designs at:

When you come across a theme you like, it's important to ask yourself a few questions. It's all too common to get sucked into how great a theme looks, then realize it's not quite what you needed after the fact. To save yourself (and your waller) some heartache, ask yourself these questions when you find a tempting theme:

If all of these answers are acceptable to you and you are still in love with the theme, it might just be the theme for you.

Chapter 7:Creating Your 'Core' Membership Pages

Every membership site is different, but many membership sites have a set of “core” pages that they rely on. After all, a membership site is a membership offering; there were bound to be some similarities. So, what pages should you make sure to include on your website? We'll go over them below with a little more information about each page.

Also, these are pages you will want to work into your site map, so be sure to go back and update it if you end up making any changes.

Welcome Page

The welcome page is first page that new members will see after signing up. This page is important because it sets the tone for the rest of the membership. You appreciate them signing up, so show them you care! You can also use this page to introduce them to what is in store for them. You can point them to content, courses, or where to find help if they're struggling. The welcome page is necessary to get your new members acclimated; it's also a confirmation to the new member that their membership indeed went through. So be sure to include this page on your site.

Dashboard Page

The dashboard is the page where users can go to see all their options. If you have various offerings, like a content library, courses, or a membership community, list them all here. This is the place that all your members will gravitate to in order to navigate around your offering.

Content Library Page

The content library is exactly what it sounds like: it's a place to put all your content. Collect all the links to your content here. You can arrange this however you like, but make sure that your members can find all the content.

Course/Lesson Page

If your offering has courses or lessons, you will want to consolidate them all in one place! Not only does this make it easier for members to find it, it can show them in what order they should go through the courses or lessons. While you may think lessons/courses count as content, it's good to have its own dedicated page to differentiate them.

Manage Account Page

An account management page is essential for membership sites. After all, a member may not want to be a member forever. OR they may want to upgrade to a new membership tier. Or change their password/email. There are a lot of account changes that can happen directly in the account management page. You want to make all this possible by creating a page where they can manage their membership and change their account details.

Help/Links/Contact Page

Lastly, make sure you have a page where members can go if they are struggling. Whether this is a page with links to help documentation or links or a form to directly contact you, you want your members to have an outlet. Not only will this make members feel better, this gives you a chance to fix whatever problem they're having before they quit your membership.

Chapter 8:Testing Your Membership Site

So you've built your site, got all the kinks worked out, and have it published. You're done now, right?

Wrong. There is still one last, crucial step. You need to test the site. You would be surprised how many bugs you can find after the initial creation stage. It's better for you to find these bugs than your members. You want your members to have a sparklingly easy experience. Signups that are buggy not only will turn members away, it can give your membership a reputation for technical difficulties. And once a reputation is in place, it can be hard to shake.

So save yourself the pain and test your website! We've come up with a handy checklist of items you should check during the testing phase. Make sure that:

Once you are finished with the testing phase, you are ready to launch your site. We congratulate you on all your hard work and wish your new membership site all the success! A membership site doesn't stop after it's been built, however. Check out our blog, What it Really Means to Have Members for insight into life post-membership site launch.