5 Membership Ideas You Can Start

These days, membership sites are getting a lot of attention, thanks to the recurring revenue that it can generate for any savvy businessperson. Searching the Internet, it seems as though membership sites are popping up everywhere and many businesses or are looking to get one started. But what exactly is a membership site, and how will it benefit you?

A membership site is nothing more than a website that has a restricted-access part of your online business where only those members who subscribe, either paid or not, are capable of accessing the content that you’ve placed behind closed doors.

Membership sites provide several benefits for businesses that are looking to generate recurring revenue. You can use your membership site to grow your loyal followers and customer base, or you can use a membership site to support your current clients with how-to videos and other information that is only available to those who are members.

Either way, a membership site can prove to be an incredible asset for your business.

Once you’ve decided to build a membership site, the next thing that you need to do is decide on what kind of membership site you want to start.

Membership websites are an excellent way for you and your business to earn recurring income. However, deciding on what kind of membership site you should start can get a little tricky. This means that you will need to brainstorm for possible membership site ideas.

Your membership site needs to revolve around one central idea, which is solving your members’ problems. This means that you have to have a deep understanding of the challenges and difficulties that your members struggle with and provide them with a practical solution.

Once you’ve determined two to three possible membership site ideas, you have to go through the process of validating the ideas to ensure you won’t end up investing too much time and money in an idea that won’t be profitable. You have to know if your idea is going to work before you start the process of creating your membership site.

If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to brainstorming and validating a membership site idea, here are five membership site ideas that have proven to be profitable and that can jump-start the process of starting a membership site.

Online Courses

One way to build a profitable membership site is by offering online courses to your members. You can create educational content that can only be accessed by paying members. Online courses are common because they are in high demand in just about every niche.

You can think of a random thing that can be taught, and the chances are high that there is already an online course tackling the subject. Online courses are also great revenue-building sites because you can tailor the course so that the mode of delivery, content, and frequency of payment fits with the subject matter and target audience.

For example, you can create a substantial online course, upload all of the content, and then charge a fee to those who want to access the material. Once they’ve finished reading through the material, the members can cancel their membership.

You can also apply a fixed-term model to your membership site where students pay upfront for a set number of months to access the site. Then, their membership to the site is automatically canceled at the end of the fixed period. If you want to establish more long-term members, you can drip feed new content to members every month.

With this kind of membership site, you can also include a message board for students so they can interact with one another and share notes, inspiration, and resources. The most popular format for an online course membership site is video. However, you can include any kind of related content like checklists, eBooks, self-assessment tests, and worksheets.

If you have the time, you might also want to consider offering a higher membership tier, with a higher fee that provides perks to your members like a dedicated support line or email, additional expert guidance, coaching sessions, or one-on-one mentoring.


If your particular niche is an entire industry, or if you are looking to cater to a broad target audience, you might want to consider setting up a library of premium resources, like industry reports from prominent research companies, published eBooks, expert interviews, and more.

A drip-fed model is the best fit if you want to start this type of membership site. A drip-feed provides members with a regularly updated resource.

With a library membership site, you can even add a VIP membership tier that provides members with special privileges, like giving them access to premium content or allowing them to upload their own content.

Like with other kinds of membership sites, you can also set up a member forum so members can discuss and compare notes regarding particular material.

Job Board

Another membership idea that can generate recurring revenue for your business is to run a community-based membership job site that focuses on helping people get hired for jobs in a certain industry or niche and providing them with the tools and resources to do the jobs well.

You can create a membership site that becomes a link to those companies that are looking for hard-working and experienced employees and the applicants that are looking for jobs.

Along with providing a job board for your members, you can also host forums for your paying members to interact with others and exchange useful industry information. You can even provide resources on how to be the perfect candidate for certain positions and how to do the jobs better.

Additionally, you can provide a frequently updated company directory that lists companies, associations, training facilities, and other relevant industry organizations for your members to utilize.

Society or Club

Establishing a membership site for the genuine enthusiasts in your niche can end up being a thriving site with a potential for substantial profits. With a society or club membership site, you can provide your members with training and resources for beginners, a forum for them to get into productive and educational discussions, and the latest news surrounding the niche.

Since this is another community-driven membership site, you can promote members to forum moderators instead of tackling everything yourself or delegating the tasks to a third party. This results in your members having the impression that you trust them enough to do the job, which then increases their trust in you.

The most challenging part of this kind of membership site is making sure that everyone is participating and regularly contributing so that everyone gets value from the membership.

This can be accomplished by setting up forums and subforums that help to promote regular interaction. These can be anything from progress logs where members check-in and provide a progress report, to daily inspirations.

Dating Site

Before you begin to laugh you should know that sites like eHarmony have more than 750,000 paying members and have seen more than 600,000 of their members get married since first setting up shop. Online dating isn’t an easy prospect for many, which is where a membership site comes in.

The last thing that you want to do is become the next eHarmony because it is going to be an uphill battle. The key to creating a successful membership site for online dating is to be extremely specific with the types of members you accept. You will need to narrow down your ideal member. You can accomplish this by choosing specific hobbies, religion, or other various affinities and interests that your potential members might have.

For example, you might decide to start a site that only allows Harry Potter fans as qualified members. Or you might choose to start a website that is solely for gamers. The possibilities are endless.


Setting up a profitable membership site isn’t at all difficult; the challenge lies in deciding on a niche that will continue to generate recurring revenue for you and your business. Before you get started, make sure you do your due diligence and brainstorm a few ideas and make sure that you go through the proper steps to validate your idea.

These five membership ideas are sure to be successful and should take you no more than two hours to create your first content, especially if you are already familiar with the niche.

Membership websites and the recurring revenue that they generate can be incredibly stable, scalable, and rewarding. While they involve a lot of work, it is extremely rewarding and allows you to serve a broader audience than you will with your other products and services. Once you’ve settled on the kind of membership site that you want to start, the real work begins.

You’ll need to create content, determine your membership fees, build your website, and attract members. Once the word gets out about your membership site, you can sit back and watch the recurring revenue come in.

If you have an idea for a membership website or if you are interested in seeing if one would be a fit for your business or brand, get in touch, we’d be happy to talk with you about it. Contact Us Here 

Not decided if a membership website is for your business or brand? Check out our Your Membership Site Ebook Guide And Video Series

About Curt Freeman

Curt specializes in web design, website management, and project management. With over 40 years of experience in offline and online marketing.