Today, membership websites are more popular than ever, and it makes sense. Not only do membership websites generate more revenue long-term, but many people like being able to customize their experience based on packages. For example, instead of charging one fee to everyone, membership sites offer different levels of services, each with a different price. This gives customers the option to pay less if they don’t need every service offered.
Are you tasked with creating a membership site for a client? Whether you build a membership site on WordPress or design one from scratch, these tips will help you create the best site for your clients.
Don’t start building until you know all the details
This tip goes for any website project, but more importantly, for membership websites. Make sure you know exactly what your client wants before you start building their membership website. There are so many things that can go wrong if you don’t have all the necessary information first.
For example, your client might want a specific feature that isn’t possible with certain membership scripts. If you start building their site using one of those scripts too early, you’ll either need to make customizations to add the feature or start over. Either way, it will add more work to the project.
Focus on aesthetics
When designing a membership website, aesthetics are extremely important. Nobody is going to sign up to make recurring payments on a website that doesn’t look professional.
If you’re designing a membership website from scratch, make sure you get the visual design down perfectly. If you are more into development and not so much into design, hire a graphic designer to create your site’s visual elements. Or work with a more experienced designer.
If you’re designing a membership website with a pre-made script, make sure the template options look good. You can always customize a template in terms of colors, typography, and other design elements. However, you’ll want to make sure the basic layout looks good, since it will be harder to rearrange elements on the page.
Be especially aware of scripts that use Smarty templates. Smarty templates are amazing and powerful, but if you’re not used to customizing these templates, you’ll have a steep learning curve to get through. In this case, it’s easier to outsource your customizations to a Smarty developer.
In the design and development world, many people are torn between using WordPress and using other platforms. However, when your client just needs a simple membership website, WordPress is the easiest way to build their site.
Using WordPress to build a membership site has many advantages, including ease of use, a shallow learning curve, and your clients can learn how to manage their own content with just a little help. In addition to these benefits, there are several popular membership plugins for WordPress that are powerful enough to run just about any membership website.
The most popular WordPress membership plugins include:
- Restrict Content Pro
- LearnDash Review
- S2Member Review
- Paid Memberships Pro
WordPress is highly customizable and widely known, so if you need to create additional features from scratch, you won’t have any trouble finding a programmer who can do the job.
Test the entire membership signup process
There are plenty of things that can go wrong with a membership website. With so many different ways to sign up, you’ll definitely need to test the entire process using every possible signup combination. For example, say you have four membership tiers and you offer three ways to pay – directly with a credit card, Paypal, and Stripe. Make sure you run a test where you sign up for each membership tier using each payment option. If you offer upgrades during the signup process, test each option with and without adding those upgrades.
Testing every possible option is the only way you’ll know your client’s site is functioning properly. Never assume that all of your payment options work for every membership just because you tested each level with PayPal. Always test every combination to avoid losing customers who run into problems that make them abandon their efforts.
Build amazing membership websites faster with software
Although there are times when it’s appropriate to create a membership website from scratch, it’s much easier with software. If you’re pressed for time, or you just want to make the development process easier, consider using membership software for your projects. Your clients will get what they need much faster.