Can a Membership Site Help Your Local Business?

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What is a membership site?

In the “offline” world, we’re familiar with the membership concept. Most of us pay membership fees for things like fitness (gym membership), recreation (team sports), and everyday items (warehouse clubs). Membership is a common feature of life these days. It creates value for the customer and loyalty (and recurring revenue) for the merchant.

The online membership concept has been growing for years and is now big business. You can subscribe to just about anything. In some cases, you cannot buy a product or service without a membership.

For example, major software companies like Adobe require a regular monthly subscription to use their software. To keep your website online, you need a regular monthly or annual subscription (membership) with a web hosting provider. And if you cancel your Netflix subscription, well, no more binge watching for you.

In other cases, membership is not required, but it does provide significant advantages over not subscribing. Amazon, for example has their “Prime” program to give you fast shipping, discounts, storage space, and more. If you’re in the USA, the advantages of Amazon Prime are even bigger.

Why have a membership section on your website?

Membership programs and monthly subscriptions make sense for large companies with millions of customers and bottomless marketing budgets. But what about your small, local business? Can a membership model help you serve your customers better? Could it help you attract new customers? I think it could.

Most of my clients are small business owners and I’ve been seeing more of an interest – and need – for adding a membership feature to their website. Even small businesses have content that they do not want to give away for free. They need a way to restrict access to certain areas of their website to make sure only paying customers can see it. It might be a library of articles or manuals. It might be digital files, apps, videos, or PDFs that only paying customers can download.

What’s the best membership site solution for WordPress?

Of course, WordPress provides many options for setting up a private section on your website. If you’ve been searching for a membership site solution, you might feel overwhelmed. I’ve researched options for a few clients and I discovered an excellent resource that has helped me choose solutions for specific client needs.

WordPress expert Chris Lema has compiled a detailed yet very accessible review of membership options for WordPress website owners. What is the best membership site plugin available? As I often say when considering options for your website, it depends on your needs. What’s best for one business is not good at all for another. That’s where Chris Lema’s reviews can help get you thinking about what you need.

I’ve tried a few of the membership site plugins available, and it’s true: it really depends on your needs. So check out these great articles on WordPress membership solutions and start narrowing down your options!


About Steady Sites

Steady Graphics Services provides a WordPress maintenance plan to ease concerns like:

  • Is my website performing at peak performance so visitors get the best experience possible?
  • Do I have regular backups of my website in case something happens to my web server?
  • What if my website gets hacked?
  • How can I get up-to-date, professional training so I can use my website better?
  • Who can I trust to do the updates that are beyond my technical or creative abilities?

Tired of trying to maintain your own website? A WordPress maintenance plan might be the solution for you.

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