We all want to be a part of something. That sense of belonging can become a huge part of our identity and can help us better understand ourselves. Which is why membership platforms have become so popular over the last few years.
Membership platforms give exclusive access to content and can be a safe place for a community, or be a place to learn cool and interesting things.
If you’re already thinking of launching a membership platform, you’re on the right track. But after you figure out what niche you want to build a membership site for you need to decide where and how you’re going to do it.
We’ve created this guide to 12 of the best membership platforms and website builders out there.
That’s what you came for, and we’re here to help, with a handy list of…
- drag and drop website builders
- plug-ins for your existing website
- an app for your Shopify store
… plus companies that’ll even help you put together an Android and iOS app.
If this is what you came for, keep on scrolling.
Here are the top membership platforms & website builders in 2021:
- Mighty Networks
- Bold Memberships
Disclaimer: The information below is accurate as of today (05/14/2021).
What is a Membership Platform?
A membership platform is a website or app that hosts exclusive content that’s only available to people who have signed up to become a member.
A membership site can be run in different ways for different purposes:
- Some are free to join.
- Others require an ongoing monthly fee.
- Some will charge a one-off fee for a limited access period.
What they all have in common is the idea that your user has to join up, usually pay some money, and get more than what’s available to Joe Public.
A couple of examples are in order.
Example #1: Sarah Beth Yoga
A big perk of yoga is the community that comes with it.
Yoga classes are a place where you can find your authentic self, connect with your breath, and improve your wellbeing.
Building an online community around yoga, like Sarah Beth Yoga has, is a great way to connect people from around the world.
The content is accessible, with different levels of ability and a range of session lengths to choose from.
Sarah Beth Yoga even has an app to download so you can stretch it out on the beach or at the local park with just your phone.
Here’s our next example.
Example #2: Horse.TV
Would you believe this channel is dedicated to all things equestrian?
This site has a range of documentaries all about horses, from competitions to series following the work of horse trainers – if you enjoy getting in the saddle this is one’s for you.
You even get a free week to make sure the content you get is what you’re looking for before you start paying.
Having flexible pricing and discount options to give a teaser of your membership platform is one of the key things you should be looking out for – but more on that later.
For now, we’re going to jump right into the first membership website builder we’ve got for you.
First draw from the deck is Uscreen.
I saw you check the address bar – yes, it’s our very own platform that we’re going to look at first as the place to host your membership site.
We’re a great place to host all the content you want to give membership access to, as well as the video-on-demand (VOD) and live streaming capabilities you know and love us for.
You get a whole lot of control with us; you can build your own website to host your video and other content, create mobile and TV apps, and get detailed analytics on all of your user activity.
Build your membership from the ground up or bring your current crew when you move your membership site to us and get the complete suite of membership features.
What exactly are those features?
Uscreen Membership Features
We’re an all-in-one platform with all kinds of cool features for your needs, and we know one of those needs is to monetize your content through memberships.
To help you do that, our membership website builder has all these cool features:
- Build your own website with our plug-and-play builder to host your content catalog.
- Access a range of marketing tools like our landing page builder, lead generation funnels and a churn reduction tool.
- Offer tiered membership options as well as discounts, free trials, gift cards, and coupons.
- Create a branded app to make your content even more accessible.
- Have your own domain name with an SSL certificate and all the hosting taken care of.
- Host non-video content like PDF downloads, podcasts, and class notes.
- Analyze your site data such as growth rate, retention, and churn.
- Use multiple languages to connect with wider audiences.
- Handy integrations with your marketing tools and Zapier so you can build automations for your email, affiliate program, and more.
- Automate email sequences to reduce abandoned carts and retain people trying to unsubscribe.
- Work with a range of payment gateways like Stripe and PayPal to process your members’ subscription payments.
How much does all this cost?
Here at Uscreen, we have three tiers of pricing.
As you can see above, our Basic package lets you build a custom website including membership features, plus marketing tools and automations for $49 plus 50c per subscriber.
The next level up, Amplify, gives you all that plus options to live stream content to your members and add more features and integrations to your site, all for $399/month and 50c per subscriber.
To get the full suite of services for your membership website with our Enterprise option, such as mobile and TV apps and access to our API, get in touch and we’ll have a chat.
That’s all about our membership features, let’s explore the market.
Weebly is a platform that lets businesses build their own website for any purpose at all.
They have a range of templates depending on your business model that should be easy to piece together and get you online.
How does this translate into a membership site?
Weebly Membership Features
One structure that’s available on your Weebly website is memberships, allowing you to charge subscriptions and paywall your content.
The main features you can expect from the Weebly membership site builder are:
- Full security and domain hosting managed by the platform with tech support.
- Search engine optimization (SEO) tools such as adding meta tags to your pages.
- An app builder to take your membership or course platform to mobile devices.
- Create membership groups – or tiers – and control access to all or some of your pages.
- Upload existing member data to the site through a CSV file.
- Customize emails and email marketing funnels.
- Integrations for membership analytics Stripe, PayPal, and Square and apps to enable subscription payments.
- Options to offer coupons to users and members.
Now it’s time for the pricing.
Weebly offers three ecommerce payment tiers, with more features available when you pay more, as you’d expect.
In terms of membership site features, you’ll need at least the Business plan, which has the payment processing options you’ll need for your paid membership plans.
Business Plus gets you extra features like email sequences to make your processes smoother.
Time for our third membership platform.
MemberSpace is the first plug-in rather than website builder on our list.
Instead of creating your site all in one place, with Memberspace – and other plug-ins – you use their features in the backend of other website building tools such as…
… and any other content management system (CMS) you choose to use.
Shall we check out the features?
MemberSpace Membership Features
There’s a lot you can do with the help of MemberSpace, including:
- Use it on a fully customized site that you build any of the major CMS tools out there.
- Add unlimited members with tiered access to your content that can be upgraded and downgraded.
- Users can manage all their own account details on your site.
- An option to approve members when they sign up, giving more control of membership.
- Full control over your user data that can be imported and exported.
- Payments and promotions including subscriptions, instalments, and one-off fees, plus trials and coupons.
- Email automations for contact on sign-up and missed payments.
- Integrations with email marketing tools, plus Stripe, Zapier, and affiliate marketing tools.
- Analytics down to individual member actions as well as long-term trend analysis.
All these features come at a cost, so let’s get into it.
The four price plans that MemberSpace offers are designed to scale with your business and add functionality.
For a business that’s Just Starting, $25 per month gets you unlimited members, VIP support, and a 4% transaction fee on your subscriptions.
As you pay more, your transaction fee decreases and you lose the MemberSpace branding from your site.
Ready for another one?
MemberPress is another plugin to transition your website to a paid membership model.
This is one of the exclusively WordPress membership plugins; working with your WordPress site to monetize the content you’ve created and plan to create.
It’s got plenty of features, so we’d better take a look.
MemberPress Membership Features
When you use this membership software plug-in on your site, you’ll get:
- Full customization control of your website – you build it yourself in WordPress.
- The option to put a subscription paywall around some or all of your content.
- The ability to sell digital downloads as well memberships.
- An unlimited number of users who all get full access to update their details on site.
- Tiered membership options and the option to run your site as a learning management system (LMS).
- Content dripping over time along with expiration on access to content.
- Complete ownership of all of the data held on your members.
- Credit card payment processing plus coupons with the help of API integrations.
- Integrate and automate your processes with Zapier, plus other integration options.
- Analytics that look at lots of elements like revenue and sales by product.
How does the price stack up?
To use this WordPress plugin, you get three pricing options.
Starting with the Basic package, you can have unlimited members and content, payments through Stripe or PayPal, and the option to build and monetize online courses.
Moving to the Plus package, you’ll be able to also take payments through Authorize.net, integrate Zapier and other tools, and use the tool across 2 different sites.
The Pro tier, meanwhile, works across 5 sites, integrates with Affiliate Royale, and has more add-on features.
That’s your lot for MemberPress, we’re heading to the next one on the list.
Memberful is targeted at the smaller, independent creator who wants to create value from their blogging and other content.
It works as a membership plugin for WordPress as well as allowing you to charge members for content like newsletters, podcasts, and online courses.
The features are coming right up.
Memberful Membership Features
When a business signs up to Memberful, they get all these features available to them:
- The option to add a membership plan to your new or existing WordPress site.
- Gate some or all of your content like classes and webinars.
- A range of subscription plans including coupons, discounts, trials, and group subscriptions.
- Full membership management and analytics that gives details of conversions and user activity.
- Integrations for services like Mailchimp and Stripe, plus affiliate management tools and Zapier.
- A simple checkout that’s customized to your branding.
You know what’s coming next; it’s the pricing.
To get going with Memberful, you can choose the Starter option, which is free and is limited to functionality like…
- website integrations
- collecting taxes
- the option to sell podcasts
- two different plans, or tiers
… whilst the features bump up a notch when you start paying for the Pro package.
With that one, you get more features like free memberships, coupons, custom branding, and lots more extras.
Up at the Premium level, you get everything the other two have plus group membership options and the removal of the plugin’s own branding.
Not everyone has a WordPress site, so we’ve got another plugin that works with a range of CMS tools – MemberDash.
It works with Weebly and Squarespace, among others, and prides itself on the easy process to get a membership area on your site.
It’s not all about the easy though, so we should look at the features you get.
MemberDash Membership Features
When you start to use MemberDash for your online business, these are things you need to know about:
- On sign-up, you can request for custom data about your users, which can be exported along with all other data.
- Set-up is simple, getting a registration page or protected content link up and running quickly.
- Memberships can be tiered, along with recurring and non-recurring fees, free memberships, trials, and coupons.
- Members can manage their own data on the site such as addresses and billing details.
- All the payments work through a Stripe integration.
- The analytics cover data points such as your recurring revenue and member numbers through a dashboard.
- Your sign-up emails are automated.
Turning to the price.
This one is super simple!
For all of the features that we’ve covered, there’s one fixed price of $19.95 per month.
That’s all we’ve got for you on that one.
The 7th one is coming right up.
Promoted as a WordPress plugin for memberships and to host an LMS, AccessAlly is open-source so is ripe for some tinkering.
Even if you’re not into getting under the hood, the tool has plenty of features that come out-of-the-box.
We’ve got more details coming right up.
AccessAlly Membership Features
When you want to host paid-for exclusive content on your site, AccessAlly helps by:
- Letting you build courses, sell memberships, and monetize any other digital products you have.
- Having different membership levels with access to different parts of your site.
- Giving you full access to your user data.
- Dripping content over time to your users to maintain engagement.
- Working with Stripe and PayPal for recurring payments, plus options for new member trials, coupons, and payment by installments.
- Integrating with your LMS provider, analytics, and your affiliate program.
- Providing LMS-focused analytics such as quiz scores and student progress, and business intelligence like renewal and cancellation rates.
- Automating emails when a cart is abandoned or a new member comes aboard.
The pricing is coming right up.
The Essentials plan over at AccessAlly offers businesses unlimited…
- protected areas of your site
… plus other features like affiliate tracking, member directories, and gamification options, along with some other details.
Move up to the Pro package and you get more options available, plus LMS tools, social sharing options, and detailed course statistics.
The top-level, called In-house Training adds even more features which are targeted more towards companies wanting to use the tool to train employees.
Up next is…
Ever used Infusionsoft?
They rebranded to Keap in January 2019, and are a SaaS that helps eCommerce businesses manage their customer data and automations.
Memberium is their WordPress plugin that pairs with Keap to allow membership subscriptions on your website.
Shall we check out the details?
Memberium Membership Features
Anyone who wants to start using Memberium gets to take advantage of all these features:
- Build a simple website that can grow with your business on WordPress and use the Memberium plugin.
- Create courses and video libraries with member-only access.
- Offer tiered subscriptions membership with limited access for non-members.
- Members can service their own accounts online without support.
- Process all payments through your Keap (InfusionSoft) account.
- A range of integrations for your Google Analytics, LMS tools, ecommerce needs, and affiliate program.
Time to look at the money.
When you already use Keap software, you can use one of three Memberium packages to add paywalls to your blogging or video content.
The Standard package offers unlimited…
- subscription tiers
… along with a site builder and online support through the process, plus the option to link one Keap account.
At the Pro level, you get all that plus group accounts and subscriptions and use of the tool across unlimited domains.
Head over to the Advanced tier and you get extras like linking to 3 Keap accounts and high-priority support added.
That’s eight down, don’t stop now.
MemberMouse aims its tool at the enterprise level.
Like lots of the other options we’ve got for you, this functions as a plugin for WordPress, allowing you to offer online membership to your customers, fans, or supporters.
Details are coming right up.
MemberMouse Membership Features
There are lots of features to help you create and build a successful membership site, which are:
- The option to tier your content access through SmartTags, offering personalization to membership levels.
- Drip content to members, with a plan for every individual person who signs up.
- Offer new members coupons, discount codes, free and paid trials, and payment plans.
- Members can do their own admin with password resets and other account management.
- The site owner retains full ownership of members’ data.
- Create custom data fields to collect the information you need during sign up.
- There’s a range of payment processors, such as Authorize.net and Stripe, to choose from.
- Automated emails that trigger at specific events.
- Customer-led analytics about retention, lifetime value, and churn.
- Integrate with Zapier so anything can be automated, and integrate with affiliate plans.
You know the drill by now; time for the price breakdown.
In their Builder plan, MemberMouse includes their core features which means you get 11 pages for your members’ area, all the payment and email integrations they offer, plus one-click sales and upselling.
For a higher fee, the Advanced plan gets analytics, affiliate set up, and more control over billing, plus a few more additions.
The top-level Premium plan gets everything we’ve just covered, plus integration with Sticky.io.
Stay with us for the next one.
10. Mighty Networks
Shifting gear away from the members access plugins for a moment, Mighty Networks is a website builder that works around communities.
They offer a full branded experience for your gated content with lots of features to take advantage of.
Let’s take a look at them.
Mighty Networks Membership Features
Signing up for Mighty Network gets you:
- Their page builder that allows you to create your own website with your own content and community.
- An app builder that works across Android and iOS to give a broader user experience.
- Create sales and landing pages to promote your content.
- Your own domain and URL, with hosting taken care of.
- A place to host content from bloggers, online courses, video hosting, and community content.
- Membership tiers with gated content and some free access.
- Member-level analytics with activity reports and broader datasets to work with.
- Integrations available for online payments processing and to create Zapier automations.
On to the pricing.
Mighty Networks Pricing
As you can see, the Free plan offers limited features including being able to monetize your content and get some basic analytics data.
Start paying for the Community package and you get your own domain name and as many moderators as you need.
Up at the Business end, you can add in video hosting, Zapier integrations, and more details on your analytics.
The Pro option offers you access to developers to design something more bespoke, with tailored pricing, too.
Also built into the cost of working with Mighty Networks is a payment processing fee that works like this:
- The Free plan has a 5% fee
- The Community plan costs 3%
- The Business plan takes a 2% fee
So you need to take this into account when comparing pricing for online community and membership platforms.
You’ve stuck with us this far, let’s ride it out to the next one.
Squarespace is a website page builder that works in a very similar way to WordPress.
Back in November 2020, the company added member areas to websites so users could sell subscriptions for extra perks and content.
How did Squarespace design their membership site offering?
Let’s check it out.
Squarespace Membership Features
Squarespace has only just started to let you build membership sites and community platforms, and their gated content features include:
- Create your own website with their drag and drop templates that are fully customizable, and create areas for members only, or update your current site to have membership.
- Use Squarespace Email Campaigns to set up email automations for triggers and events.
- Options for one-time or weekly and monthly recurring payments and free membership with tiered pricing.
- Include events, courses, calendars, and downloads for sale on your site to boost monetization.
- Analytics and insights to understand members and users.
- Integrations with your current Squarespace payment provider.
All of which comes at a cost.
Adding membership areas to your Squarespace site brings an extra cost – that you can check out above – on top of whatever plan you use to host your website in general.
Whichever plan you opt for, you’ll be able to choose your subscription fee structure, manage your members, get analytics on their membership, and take advantage of payments and integrations that come with your Squarespace package.
The difference comes in the form of how many member areas you get and your transaction fees, as you can see in the screenshot above.
Let’s take a look at the last membership platform we have for you.
12. Bold Memberships
You’ve stuck with us to the end, and we’ve got an interesting option to round out our list – Bold Memberships.
Unlike any of the other membership tools we’ve looked at, this is an app that works on your Shopify store to let you sell exclusive content and memberships.
Time to see how that works with a rundown of the features.
Bold Memberships Membership Features
Bold Memberships is like a WordPress plugin, but for your Shopify store, and when you use it you get:
- The option to put a paywall around content.
- Recurring revenue with monthly subscriptions across unlimited tiers.
- Online and offline memberships, so you can sell online courses or a food box subscription.
- Integrates with Bold Custom Pricing & Wholesale and Bold Loyalty Points apps.
- Payments made through a Stripe integration.
Bold Memberships Pricing
As you can see in the screenshot above, there’s one set price for all of these features – $9.99 per month.
They offer a 14-day free trial so you can check out if it works for your needs on your Shopify store.
We’re just about done with our twelve best online membership platforms, join us in the next section?
How to Choose the Best Membership Site Platform
Befuddled? Baffled? Discombobulated?
Yeah, we get that there’s a lot of information and features to choose from.
To help you pick your way through the information, we’ve got some tips that should help you figure out the best membership website platform for your needs.
Time to get combobulated.
Tip #1: Understand your needs
There’s loads of features on offer from every company we’ve covered.
Which ones you actually need are going to be the biggest decider when you pull out the business credit card.
- the type of content you produce
- your plans for adding different content types in the future
- who your audience is and what they’re looking for
… so that you can future proof your choice of platform.
Tip #2: Know your payment options
Your membership site is all about monetization; adding a revenue stream by harnessing your social media presence or your already-established Facebook group, for example.
Choosing how you get paid is going to impact on important parts of your business very quickly.
Find a payment processing option that will grow with your business and that has manageable fees – then pick a membership platform provider that integrates with them.
Tip #3: Own your data
With your own trawling through the internet and reading this guide, you’ll see that not all membership platforms let you own your customer data.
Being able to access and analyze what your subscribers are doing and even export that data to create social media audiences, for example, is really important to your growth.
Be sure you pick a platform that gives this option.
Tip #4: Integrate, integrate, integrate
Your membership isn’t a silo.
It needs to work with all the other moving parts within your business like your…
- email marketing tools
- affiliate program
- messaging tools
… and some of the other hundreds of tools your team might be using.
Don’t forget Zapier – that little wonder tool that integrates everything and does all the funky automations that make you so happy.
That’s the four things you need to be on the lookout for when picking the best platform for your needs.
Shall we wrap this up?
Now Over to You
You made it!
You’ve got everything you need – the platforms you can pick from and the things you should be looking for.
Any of them pique your attention?
We reckon Uscreen has it all.
“Well you would say that…”
Wait, hear us out.
You know we do video well – like really well – but there’s a lot more that we offer for your new membership site that we went through up top.
Let us show you around the place and you’ll see how seamless the process is to get your membership platform ready to roll.
How to Create a Stellar Membership Site
The post 12 Best Membership Platforms & Website Builders in 2021 appeared first on Uscreen.