Make a membership website ( 2020 easy guide)

by | Last updated Mar 17, 2021

If you decide to make a membership website, you are in for that sweet recurring revenue. But hold on, people will not stay if your website sucks.

That is what we are here to solve, we want to show you how to make a membership website that is beautiful and converts visitors to customers. We also want these visitors to keep on paying monthly because they enjoy the website and the service.

to make a membership website, we need a domain name, hosting, free WordPress, and a plugin. This is all you need, no coding, and no hiring an expensive developer.

So let us jump into the steps.

Step 1: Search Domain name Availability

Domain

Before we make a membership website, we have to choose a name for it. This is called the domain name. This is what your visitors will search for in order to find your website.

A good domain name is short and to the point. It should be brandable, and easy to remember or pronounce. Make sure to use english that anyone can understand.

However, do not spend too much time worrying about it, you should focus more on what you are going to deliver under the domain name.

For example, Samsung was a brand name used to sell noodles but now it is widely known for electronics because of the quality they deliver.

Step 2: Get Siteground Hosting

A quick explanation of hosting: Your website contains folders and files, these files contain pages. Just like the ones you see on your pc.

Now when someone visits your website, they are logging into a certain computer that is always online to view those are pages inside your files.

These computers are live at all times and that costs a lot of money to keep them up. That is hosting – An always online computer that keeps your files ( website ) live at all times.

This is necessary to make a membership website and nobody does this better than siteground because of the following reasons:

Best Support✔️
Fast Loading Website✔️
Website Security✔️
More Advanced Features✔️
30 Day Money Back Guarantee✔️

Step 3: Pick a Plan

Which plan is best to make a membership website? That all depends on you. If you are 100% sure that you are only going to be working on this website then Startup is the best choice.

It has most of the features in the other plans for a very cheap price. After generating revenue, you can then update to Growbig or GoGeek. Even if you have a big budget to spend, we recommend you also keep some funds for marketing.

Think twice about your budget before signing up for Growbig or Gogeek, in the first few months, you are most likely not going to surpass Startup plan limits.

Step 4: Domain Signup

We already chose the name we are going to use to make a membership website. Now we want to officially purchase it and make it our own. No need to worry, If you already had a domain name you can just use that one.

If you had a domain name then you will need to change the nameservers. You need to point your domain to siteground. This is an easy copy and paste process. The process can only be done after you finish signing up for hosting.

For now put already own domain, then later read this Article.

Step 5: Email and Password

A lot of things happen on the internet, You need to make a membership website that is not easily compromised. This starts from the email you use to sign up.

We recommend you sign up using a gmail account. This is always the safest. If anything suspicious happens to your Siteground account, The support will notify you immediately!

This is only possible if the hacker did not hack the account straight from the email you used to sign up. As you can see, this part is really important so you should, therefore, use an email you have been using for a long time and you will not forget the password.

Step 6: Client Information

You will need to apply for a lot of programs later. They will require you to provide receipts and other documents. Those documents must match with the receipts from your siteground account.

The information on those receipts will be the client’s information. Including domain ownership documents.

You need to make a membership website under the correct ownership. So, make sure that you provide authentic information. You will only be hurting yourself if you do not. However, if you mistakenly put the wrong details, you can always edit these details inside your siteground account after you finish the signup process.

Step 7: Payment information

Siteground accepts a lot payment cards. If you wish to use payoneer or paypal you will need to contact support. The support team will help you through live chat to make the transaction. We however recommend you just use one of the accepted cards because the card will be used if you wish to purchase any other addons.

Siteground is totally worth it for the price, we have been using it for a long time and we have never had any serious problems. Any problems that we might face we always just contact support and they help us right away. So if you are asking yourself if they are the right hosting, the answer is yes. We vouch for them.

If You are still not sure, just contact support and they will help you understand and make a membership website.

Step 8: Data Center

Remember that computer we talked about? Now they have a lot of those, but they are in different locations. You have to choose the one that is not close to you but close to your potential visitors. These are called Data centers, the close you are to the data center, the faster the website will load.

Do not skip this part because you will have to pay some money if you want to change the data center after signing up. What if you have members all around the world, is your website going to be slow or unreachable to others? No, we will explain how Cloudflare solves this to make a membership website that loads fast for all.

Step 9: Plan recheck

Im oder for you to make a membership website on a budget, you will most definitely need the 1 year plan. There is a big discount if you choose the 12 month plan. Altering this will result in a higher fee so it is best you do not change it.

If you already have a lrage email list and an audience that you know will quickly convert, meaning you will need to change the plan soon, then you cn change it to 6 months or so. However, for any business it’s hard to get it off the ground, that is why we always recommend a 1 year startup plan to reduce pressure on yourself and do things step by step at your own pace.

Step 10: Finish

Now the last part is to accept the terms, pay and proceed to the next level. We recommend you accept Siteground news. They sometimes host free webinars to help beginners like you learn how to optimize their sites for the best.

These optimizations include so speed and security. We will mainly handle your website design and a bit on security and speed. These webinars show you how to use all the features you will get in Siteground.

Step 11: Log in to the site tools

Congratulations you made it to the Siteground account.

A quick description of the Siteground main account: This area is where you make changes that affect all your websites. It also contains the referral program, the marketplace, Billing, and Services.

Referral Program – make a membership website with free hosting through the referral program. You can only join this program after purchasing hosting. Refer your friends to Siteground and get free hosting added to your account.

Marketplace – This is where you can buy extra features to your website through partner perks.

Services – You can upgrade your hosting plan under services.

Billing – View your receipts and change your credit cards anytime you wish.

Step 12: SSL Install

You need to protect your website and your customer’s credit card data from hackers around the world. To do this you have to make a membership website with an SSL certificate. If you make a membership website without an SSL certificate, your membership website will be flagged by browsers as insecure. Some browsers will not even let that website load.

To install the ssl certificate go under Security then go to SSL, Choose any ssl and click get. You are not yet really good to go after this. You still need the following step.

Step 13: Https Enforce

We want to make a membership website that has an SSL that is active at all times. This means every link on the website must pass through https.

We have to force every link to go through this that is why we need to enforce https. To enforce https go under Security > HTTPS Enforce then activate. As simple as that our website is now more secure than ever.

Step 14: Cloudflare

Let’s talk about speed! We are going to make a membership website that is fast all around the world regardless of distance from the main data center. There is only one way to do that, we need more data centers for our website. We need more computers to keep our website files, live at all times open to everyone.

This is where Cloudflare comes in! Cloudflare keeps your website files at different locations. This means almost every country, therefore your website will load faster from any location. That is not even the best part. It keeps your site unreachable from malicious traffic ( hackers and spammers ). It does this by blocking this traffic through a firewall.

Step 15: Email Account

We do not only want to make a membership website. We want to make a paid membership website. This is a big difference. To do this we are going to need certain partners that will help us accept payments on our website. The likes of paypal, stripe and 2checkout.

We need to contact these companies and if you do so with your gmail email then you have blown up the chance of having a good impression. It is highly professional to use a domain email instead of generic gmail or outlook emails.

Put an account name and a password then click create and you are done. Congratulations, you have a domain email, Now you can easily contact other big companies with a good first impression.

Step 16: Log in to WordPress

It is now time to get to the fun part. WordPress is the content management system we are going to use to make a membership website. WordPress is unbeatable and free. You do not see that combination very often but here it is.

We assume that WordPress is already installed on your website by Siteground. To log in, click the arrow under actions. Exit the Siteground wizard because we intend to make our own website in order to be unique.

What if WordPress is not installed? – No worries! All you have to do is click under install new wordpress > Select. Install it on the root domain.

What if WordPress is not showing but says already installed? – Even easier. All you need to do is click the Click Here text at the top of the page under install and manage.

Step 17: Install a Theme

Atheme is used to determine the layout and design of our website.

We want to make a membership website using the best free theme. We however Recommend Divi as a paid theme. For the sake of your budget, we will do this tutorial using a free theme. Astra is the best free theme on the market. You can get the pro version here if you wish.

Astra is fast and secure. These are the most important things to note about a theme.

To install astra go under appearance > Themes. Search for Astra and ignore Astral. Click install on Astra.

The first thing you need to decide before making a membership website is a logo. The website logo is going to be the first thing your visitors will see before they even view the whole website.

You will never get a second chance to make a first impression so why not make the best impression with the best logo for $5?

With Fiverr, you can hire a professional designer to make a membership website logo for as little as $5. But we understand if you want to have more control and we know exactly what you want, an online logo maker.

Step 19: Get the plugin

You can add a plugin inside the WordPress dashboard. Click add new plugin at the left menu column and search ultimate member.

You will not make a membership website without this plugin. It iS completely free but you might need the pro version for extra features.

However, Since you are just starting, That might not be a good idea. It is always best to test the basic version first then move on to the pro when you have a bigger audience and a solid plan.

Here are the settings you will need for this plugin > Read Article.

Step 20: Get some extra plugins

To make a membership website that is different from all the others, You will need some extra plugins. Do not worry, they are all free.

You can install all these plugins from your WordPress dashboard, no need to buy the premium versions.

Elemetor – This is a page builder used to to visually build your website without the need of coding. View Settings

Wordfence – This is a security plugin, Reduces chances of attacks from hackers. View Settings

W3 Total cache – This plugin is used to make you website load faster. View Settings

Contact Form 7 – You will need this plugin so that your visitors and customers can contact you.

Step 21: Get a payment gateway

Just in case you want to charge your website as soon as you make a membership website, you are going to need a payment gateway.

A payment gateway is a partner that will help you accept payments on a website for a very small percentage of the revenue. Stripe is the best and we highly recommend it.

Step 22: Setup Pricing tables

Make a membership website

You cannot make a membership website for revenue if you do not have pricing tables. These are easy to set up thanks to elementor and Ultimate membership pro.

Install the Responsive Pricing Table by WP Darko and start making your own pricing tables.

Step 23: Start running your website!

If we are going to make a membership website, we are going to need some members. Here is how you can market your website

SEO – learn how to get free visitors from google and other search engines. We recommend Brian Dean.

Email – learn how you can start emailing potential customers.

Paid Ads Advertise on Facebook and google to gain more members.

Influencer campaigns – Hire the most followed people on social media to post about your membership website.

Did you just make a membership website?

Congratulations if you did! The next step is to share this post with friends so that you can start your businesses at once. This will make the road easier for you and us.

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