Membership site advice: Best practises for managing an online community

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There’s a lot that goes into a great membership business, from keeping your audience’s attention to handling logistics behind-the-scenes. One of the issues Memberful creators often run into is knowing what features they want to incorporate into their membership offering but not knowing how they want to showcase them.

The good news is, it’s not as hard as it looks! You don’t need expensive help or robust coding skills to set up your own website. Here's some membership site advice for putting together a site that not only works, but gives your members the best user experience.

Own your platform

An all-in-one solution may seem ideal because it keeps your content, audience, and payments in one handy place. But there’s a lot more freedom to be had in owning your brand and entire membership offering on your own website.

WordPress uses open-source software which is not controlled or owned by anyone. The platform’s popularity makes it easy to build on and customize, especially if you end up needing professional help. Unlike other site-builders like Wix, Squarespace, and Weebly, WordPress keeps your content safe with server-side security, making it difficult to hack or bypass. With a dizzying number of themes, plugins, and templates, the options are yours to play with.

The best part is that WordPress integrates seamlessly with the Memberful plugin. With a dedicated dashboard for member management that keeps your business going even if your site goes down, Memberful also offers:

  1. Streamlined checkout for higher conversion rates
  2. Easy integration with membership tools
  3. Hands’ on technical support
  4. Membership metrics to grow your site
  5. No extra coding or customization needed

Want a little more membership site advice or some WordPress tips and tricks? Our quick start WordPress guide gives you step-by-step instructions for creating a basic site and installing the Memberful plugin. Don’t forget to set up a payment platform!

Capture your audience's interest (and contact information)

Once you have a basic website up and connected to your Memberful account, it’s time to attract an audience. The quickest way to start capturing your audience’s contact information is through a landing page. Instead of selling something outright, landing pages draw visitors in with a teaser or a free offer, such as downloadable content. Landing pages have two objectives: creating an email list and introducing your brand.

Once you have a list, you can reach out to your new audience with consistent messages, newsletters, and offers. This will help you build a warm list of leads, add people to your membership base, and generate sales. Down the road, you can also consider adding a separate sales page for specific products or services.

The key to creating a great landing page is the copy. Don’t be afraid to test new copy on your audience. Experiment with different benefits, formats, and styles to determine which combination converts the most visitors. For some creators, long-form sales copy works best, while others find persuading their audience in fewer words more effective. Get started on your own landing page with LeadPages and check out more membership site advice such as these tips for successful landing pages.

Find ways to engage

So you have a basic site and landing page. Perhaps you’ve already sent a few emails. But how do you keep your audience engaged once you’ve caught their interest? Membership businesses rely on retention, bringing people back time after time and getting them invested in the brand. In order to combat your churn rate or the number of people who stop coming back over time, consider how some of these following options can help you hold your members’ interest for the long-term.

A great way to keep your audience consistently engaged is by setting up an interactive platform for discussion. This type of engagement requires more participation on your end, so you have to be able to commit to being an active part of the community. Exclusive, special access to you can also become an added incentive for potential members.

Add a members-only forum to your website so they can discuss ideas and trade tips. Live video, voice, or text chats can also heighten engagement and encourage collaboration. You’ll want to set aside a regular time to chat live and commit to being available for your audience during those times. Read our membership site advice discussing whether you should add a forum to your site or not.

In the end, building a membership site is not just about looking ahead, it’s about continually looking at what’s working, what isn’t, and making changes along the way. It’s great to experiment and try new things as you build your business, just make sure your members are the priority as you do! After all, what would a membership business be without people? Perhaps our best membership site advice is simply focus on creating a lasting, long-term connection between you and your audience and you can’t go wrong!

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