The Best Membership Website Builders in 2022

Website & Technology September 29, 2022

Sonia Urlando

By Sonia Urlando

Looking to build a membership website for your nonprofit? Finding the right membership website builder can be a lot of work, especially if you don’t know where to start. After all, you want something affordable, attractive and easy-to-use on both the front and backend. 

But have no fear—we’ve done the research for you!

Before we dive into our 15 picks for the best membership website builders of 2022, let’s explore what a membership website is and why it’s so useful for your organization.

What is a membership website?

A membership website is a gated site where members can gather and receive benefits. 

These websites are used by nonprofits, associations, clubs and businesses who have a membership model. This often comes with member dues.

 

Much like your public website, your membership site represents your brand, and is a hub of information about who you are and what you do. However, unlike your public website, your membership website is exclusive! Members must log in with a username and password in order to gain access to experiences, resources and special content.

 

This exclusive content could include:

 

  • Blogs

  • Videos

  • Webinars

  • Learning modules

  • Podcasts

 

A rockstar membership website is meant to retain your members and deliver value to their experience. It should feel like having access to a VIP lounge!

 

It’s a great idea to offer membership at different levels as well. There should be plenty of perks for people who pay the base dues, as well as extra-special things for those who give a bit more. This can motivate people to give more without shaming anyone who is currently supporting you at a lower level.

 

Membership websites are also great for collecting additional non-dues revenue, such as bonus donations or discounted event tickets.

How much does a membership website builder cost?

If you're wondering how much it costs to build a membership website, you’ll be happy to hear that there are options for any budget. 

 

Our favorite membership website builders vary in pricing: some monthly rates are in the $15-$20 range, others closer to $50, and the highest level in the $100-$300 range. The price really depends on the features, so consider what your needs are alongside the size of your organization. How much you’ll pay will also be impacted by your payment processor and web hosting, so keep a note of that in the budget.

 

Keep in mind that a well-priced membership software can keep costs down in the long run! Hiring someone to do your membership website development can get pretty costly, so investing some money to easily DIY it is a great way to go.

 

Plus, a website that’s up and running efficiently won’t need constant attention—which saves resources for your staff.

How can I make a membership website for free?

You can absolutely create a free membership website. We’ll go into the specific functionalities of these options later in the blog, but a few free options you can start with include:

 

Here are our 7 steps to creating a membership website:

Before you dive right into choosing a membership site creator, remember to set up some groundwork!

 

Here are 7 steps to get you started on your membership website:

1) Pick Your Membership Site Build Team

When you’re figuring out how to build a membership site, the first step is choosing the dream team! These are the people who will:

  • Create the website with a membership site builder.

  • Test out the website and work with any quirks.

  • Train the rest of your team so everyone can log-in with confidence.

Having multiple administrator accounts is key to choosing your builder. You always want someone to be able to troubleshoot in case technology gets fussy!

Your build team doesn’t actually need to be limited to the most tech-savvy folks on your staff. Look for people who are comfortable getting creative, excited to learn something new and willing to teach other people.

And if you’re a 1-3 person operation, don’t stress—we have a bunch of membership website builders designed for absolute beginners!

2) Determine Your Membership Model 

Sit down with your team and decide what kind of membership model is right for your organization. This means choosing what perks you want to offer, and what the entry fee for those perks looks like for members.

Think about your mission, goals and needs as an organization. Is there a financial goal you’d like to meet in membership dues? Do you envision making a virtual community space? What resources can you provide without overextending your team?

Be sure to consider:

  • Free and paid content: do you want to offer a tier of membership without dues?

  • Subscription levels: what do member perks look like at different tiers of giving?

  • Individual and family pricing: can people buy bundle memberships?

Research what similar organizations are doing. This can give you an idea of where to start, and then you can adapt as you learn more about the needs and wants of your members.

3) Clean Your Contact Database

One of the biggest benefits of a membership site is that it links right up to your contact database. With everything in place, you can automate processes like payments, registrations and more. Talk about taking a load off!

Having a tidy contact database will make this process nice and smooth. Dump all the information you have into Excel or Google Sheets, and then:

  • Check for spelling mistakes. Little errors can confuse your system, and no one likes seeing their name spelled incorrectly.

  • Standardize, standardize, standardize! Have names, dates, city, state, membership tier names, etc. all organized in the same way.

  • Remove duplicate entries. (Though isn’t it nice that people love you enough to sign up twice?)

This process might feel a bit tedious, but just think of it as a break from the high-level creative work!

4) Create Your Member Content

This is the fun part—create your member content! Your members' benefits are what will motivate your supporters to become members. They should be unique and add value to your nonprofit’s member experience.

 

Getting this content ready well in advance will take the burden off you in the long run. Have a few months’ (yes, months!) worth of backlogged content will keep your team from scrambling to come up with new ideas.

 

This means:

 

  • Pre-record your videos so all you have to do is post them

  • Research significant dates you might want to plan blog posts around

  • Connect early with special guests you want to feature on your member website

With all of this content prepared, you can also entice potential members with sneak peeks!

5) Gather Up Your Organization’s Creative Assets

It’s not just your content you want ready—get ahead on your logos and images too! Have your creative team pull together a few potential logos and then run them by trusted eyes. This could be other teammates, your board of directors or some dedicated volunteers.

It’s easy to get stuck inside the fishbowl, so a couple of outside perspectives can really show you if you’re reaching your branding goals. You can hire out a designer if you have the budget, but you can also just use a tool like Canva. They have plenty of templates to guide design beginners!

Have your images and logos come in multiple sizes and shapes. That way you can use them to fill space on your website either as a banner or a simple image.

6) Plan Out Your Membership Website

This might sound strange, but your membership website is going to need a blueprint. No matter how prepared you are with your resources, everyone freezes when faced with a blank page!

 

Drawing out a wireframe (think of it as a sketch of the webpage) gives you a place to start with your membership website. If you decide mid-build that you want to change something, that’s perfectly fine! But having a starting point gives you something to work with.

 

Look through some membership website examples to get an idea of possible layouts. If any of them really stand out, draw out the elements that you think will look best for your goals.

7) Choose Your Membership Software to Build Your Website

The ideal membership website builder is one that integrates with your nonprofit membership management software. After all, the work doesn’t stop once your website is built. Now you have to keep up with your members!

But what is the best membership site software? Well—we think it’s one that offers you the full package.

WildApricot can help you build a membership website in minutes with its drag and drop functionality. Plus, it gives you all the tools you need to nurture your member relationships. And if you already have a site on WordPress, not to worry—WildApricot can integrate with it.

Start your 30-day free trial today and see for yourself!

What should a membership website include?

Every organization is different! So every membership website will be different depending on its needs and goals. 

That said, there are a few core elements you’ll definitely want to include:

1. Gated content

As we’ve already said, people come to a membership website for exclusive content—videos, blogs, webinars, you name it. It might feel strange to put information behind a paywall (especially when it’s information you’re passionate about!), but remember that this adds value to the membership experience.

On the public part of your membership website, clearly state which tiers of membership come with what perks. How you present your content can encourage people to join your organization or even upgrade their membership type!

2. Members-only area

Creating a website with membership and user login is what turns your website into a private social space for people with shared values. A members-only area is that VIP lounge we were talking about!

This space should include things like:

  • Job boards (great for associations!)

  • Community forums to promote discussion

  • Online member dashboards

A members-only area is what makes your supporters feel like part of a community!

 

3. About us

Your membership website will be visited by more than just your existing members. An “About Us” page gives potential members the information they need to make the decision to join. Mention your mission, member benefits and a breakdown of membership tiers.

 

This is also a place to put your images and member testimonials. Show prospective members that this is the place to be!

4. Membership information

Build a dedicated Membership Information page which includes a breakdown of membership levels, pricing and benefits. An FAQ wouldn’t hurt either, and a live chat option is even better. The more willing you are to answer peoples’ questions, the more they can trust that this is a place where their voices will be heard.

Choose a membership website builder that gives you dropdown menu options so supporters can find this page without too much clicking.

5. Membership application form

Above all, applying to be a member should be EASY! The best membership website builder should include an application form that:

  • Is clear and concise

  • Focuses on essential information like their membership tier

  • Integrates into your member database

Once members are signed up, send them a welcome email and invite them to check out that exclusive content ASAP.

6. Online payment processing system

Make paying membership dues (and managing membership renewal!) easy with a secure, online payment processing system. Members should feel safe sharing their bank information, and not end up redirected to a bunch of different websites.

The key here is to make sure your payment processing system connects DIRECTLY with your member management software! In fact, when you’re choosing that software, make sure you’re happy with the payment processors it’s compatible with.

7. Gamification

What better way to encourage members to track progress on achieving member or community goals than with gamification? 

To keep members motivated to engage, try using:

  • Points systems with swag rewards

  • Profile decorations for top commenters

  • Process bars for webinar goals

8. Simple design

When in doubt, keep it to the essentials. While there’s probably a lot of things you’re excited to include, you don’t want to visually overwhelm your members.

Try using a customizable website builder with drag and drop functionality. It takes the guesswork out of building your membership website, and encourages attractive design!

 

9. Eye-catching Calls-to-Action (CTAs)

Don’t make your members search for crucial information! Make sure you have multiple CTA buttons that:

  • Have colors that POP

  • Are at the top right corner of your page

  • Include a clear and urgent action

All humans have the desire to push the big red button—so put it where they can see it!

10. Concise and clear messaging

While your wall of text might have some great information, it might end up scaring away your readers. Break things down with short paragraphs, friendly bullets and useful bolding. If you can put the information into a graphic (with alt-text), that’s even better!

 

Also, remember to put the most important information first. A website isn’t an essay, and there’s no need to bury the lede.

15 Best Membership Website Builders in 2022

Here are our top choices for the best membership website building solutions for 2022. This list covers everything from pricing, account details, and who these builders are built for.

WildApricot membership website builder

1) WildApricot - Best Member Management for Small Nonprofits and Member Organizations

WildApricot is built for membership organizations and meant to help you build community. Our software can set up your membership management website no problem, and then support all of your other tasks!

Whether that’s managing your email newsletter, dues reminders, online payments, or keeping your member database looking sharp, WildApricot has got you covered.

How to build a membership site on WildApricot

  1. Set up your 30-day free trial with WildApricot.

  2. Take a set-up tour to get the lay of the land.

  3. Build your website (and contact us if you have questions!)

  4. Navigate to Site Pages and choose which ones to restrict.

  5. Set up membership levels.

  6. Review and upload!

 

Already have a website? WildApricot can easily integrate with your existing website and help modify it to fit your membership needs. 

WildApricot Pricing

  • Free version available

  • 30-day free trial for all plans

  • Basic Plan starts at $48 per month

Features

  • One to unlimited admin accounts allowed

  • Multiple membership levels with subscription fees and periods, and benefits.

  • Membership management and directories

  • Event registration support

  • Easy online payments

  • Mobile apps

If you're interested in learning more, you can read this article on setting up an easy members-only website using WildApricot.

Read More: How to Develop a Successful Subscription Business Model for Your Organization

 

Using other websites banner

personify-corp-memberclicks

2) MemberClicks - Best for Growing Associations and Chambers

MemberClicks is a great option for associations or chambers that need to keep all of their data, communications, administration, and marketing in one central location. On top of building websites, MemberClicks can also help with membership and event management.

How to build a membership site on MemberClicks

  1. Sign up for MemberClicks.

  2. Build your website using the best membership features for your organization.

  3. Review and upload.

MemberClicks Pricing

  • Pricing models differ based on which features you use

  • Payment terms include options like year-long terms to no terms at all

  • Pricing discounts available

Pros

  • Multiple admin accounts allowed

  • Built-in membership form creator

  • Online community features

Cons

  • Specifically made for associations and chambers—it won’t be as helpful if this isn’t your type of organization!

 

 

IM Creator membership website builder

3) IM Creator - Best for Organizations Without Volunteer or Donor Management

IM Creator was founded by members of Wix’s developer team, IM Creator’s tools are good enough to create a stunning website with little effort. Using their plug-ins (which sometimes cost more), you can add membership-specific features to your website.

How to build a membership site on IM Creator

  1. Sign up for IM Creator and build your base website.

  2. Add a plug-in to the website editor.

  3. Choose which membership elements you want to include.

  4. Input the elements, test and upload!

IM Creator Pricing

  • Free trial available

  • Free for students, artists and registered nonprofits

  • Premium Plan starts at $8 per month

Pros

  • Multiple admin accounts allowed

  • Wide range of elements: form builders, social feed, event boards, surveys etc.

  • Built-in SEO

  • Free and fast support

Cons

  •  Doesn’t support volunteer or donor management

 

 

SquareSpace membership website creator

4) Squarespace - Best for Creating Premium Content

Squarespace offers a complete, straight-forward website builder package. It’s well-known and trusted for creating a simple and beautiful website. One thing to keep in mind is that if you want to turn it into a membership website, you’ll have to install plug-ins.

How to build a membership site on Squarespace

  1. Sign up for your free trial.

  2. Choose a template and build your base website.

  3. Add a form block element to the editor for membership forms.

  4. Choose and add membership features (member-only content and protected pages).

  5. Choose which pages are protected and add the content.

  6. Set up payment type.

Squarespace Pricing

  • Free trial for all plans

  • Basic Plan starts at $12 per month

  • Monthly and yearly payment terms

  • Can switch plans at any time

  • Discounts available

Pros

  • Multiple admin accounts allowed

  • A variety of attractive templates

  • Web hosting

  • SEO tools

  • eCommerce options

Cons

  • Limited membership features

  • Minimal customization options

 

SubHub membership website creator

5) Sub Hub - Best for For-Profit, Established Membership Organizations

Sub Hub has been providing a membership builder for more than a decade now. They have membership-centered features and tools that can make start-up and management of a membership website easy for admins.

How to build a membership site on Sub Hub

  1. Sign up for Sub Hub.

  2. Choose your template and build your website.

  3. Create membership form via third-party plug-in.

  4. Choose and input other membership features.

  5. Review and upload.

Sub Hub Pricing

  • Free trial available

  • Basic Plan starts at $47 per month

  • Monthly and yearly payment terms

  • Can switch plans at any time

Pros

  • Designed specifically as a membership website platform

  • Many membership-centered features (membership management, members-only content, pay-per-view content, recurring subscriptions, events board and community forum)

  • No need for multiple plug-ins or extra configuration

  • Payment processors for international organizations 

Cons

  • Only one admin account allowed

morweb

6) Morweb - Best for Nonprofits With 1-3 Staff Members

If you have a staff of only a couple people, the ease-of-use of Morweb’s website builder and event management options may be what you need! However, they also have features robust enough for enterprise-level organizations.

How to build a membership site on Morweb

  1. Sign up for Morweb.

  2. Build your site (with extra support at no charge).

  3. Create membership forms via plug-in.

  4. Add other membership features.

  5. Review and upload.

Morweb Pricing

  • Free trial available

  • Basic Plan starts at $99 per month

  • Monthly or yearly payment terms

Pros

  • Multiple admin accounts allowed

  • Tier 1 web hosting and daily backups

  • Great for a small staff

  • Strong security and accessibility features (including an accessibility audit for some subscription types!)

  • Support with no extra cost

Cons

  • On the pricier side

 

Weebly membership website builder

7) Weebly - Best for Blogs and Online Stores

Weebly is another general membership website builder that has gained popularity, thanks in part to its ease of use and modern designs. Although their most marketed features are more fit for blogs and online stores, they added membership features a few years ago for those who want to build one using Weebly’s tools.

How to build a membership site on Weebly

  1. Sign up and build your website.

  2. Create membership forms with a drag and drop form builder.

  3. Add in other membership features.

  4. Review and upload.

Weebly Pricing

  • Free option available

  • Basic Plan starts at $6 per month

Pros

  • Very affordable

  • Multiple admin accounts allowed

  • Many new membership features (member registration, customized invite emails, member search)

  • Flawless backend experience for admins (group and page management, CSV file import, password reset)

Cons

  • Most features are for blogs and online stores—which can be a bonus depending on your organization!

 

Memberspace

8) MemberSpace - Best for Non-Technical People

MemberSpace boasts a simple and easy-to-use interface for people with no technical skills. With their platform, you can make a membership website from your existing website. No coding experience is required. All you need to do is select the existing pages and content you want to restrict to members.

 

Memberspace is currently available for sites that are hosted on Squarespace, Webflow, Wix, Weebly, Jekyll, and Custom HTML. However, this builder doesn’t have any other membership management features, which you should keep in mind if you decide to choose it!

How to build a membership site on Memberspace

  1. Sign up for Memberspace.

  2. Select the pages on your existing website you want to lock for members.

  3. Lock them!

Memberspace Pricing

  • Free trial available

  • Basic Plan starts at $29 per month

  • 4% transaction fee

Pros

  • Multiple admin accounts allowed

  • Unlimited members (paid or free)

  • VIP support & free migration

Cons

  • Transaction fees

  • No other membership management features

Site123

9) Site123 - Best for Small to Medium Business and Private Users

SITE123 is built for small to medium businesses and private users. You can create your membership website without design or coding experience, or the cost of hiring extra support. It has ready-made layouts and templates so it’s easy to start building. 

How to build a membership site on Site123

  1. Sign up for Site123.

  2. Choose your ready-made template.

  3. Populate your content and choose your membership features.

  4. Review and upload.

Site123 Pricing

  • Free

Pros

  • Multiple admin accounts allowed

  • Landing pages, web forms and an online store builder

  • SEO management, and Reporting/Analytics

  • Third party integrations

  • Website management

Cons

  • Members-only restrictions apply to your whole site. That means anyone who is not a member will need to create an account to see your content.

Drupal

10) Drupal - Best for Tech-Savvy People

Drupal is software that’s free to use for anyone. But what makes it stand out is that it’s an open-source CMS where anyone can modify the code–this makes it the most flexible website builder out there. Anything you want to customize, you can!

How to build a membership site on Drupal

  1. Sign up for Drupal.

  2. Build your website.

  3. Create the membership features that work for you.

  4. Review and go live.

Drupal Pricing

  • Free

Pros

  • Multiple admin accounts allowed

  • Lots of room for creativity

  • Content publishing options

  • Electronic Forms

  • Full Text Search

  • Text Editing

Cons

  • If you’re NOT tech-savvy, you’ll need to outsource for support

 

Wix membership website creator

11) Wix - Best for Beginners and Basic Website Builds

Wix is a crowd favorite when it comes to website builders, and for good reason. Their popularity comes from the versatility of their highly-customizable builder.

How to build a membership site on Wix

  1. Sign up for Wix.

  2. Create your website.

  3. Navigate the App Market where you can choose from free and paid apps and services for your website.

  4. Review and upload.

Wix Pricing

  • Free with ads

  • Free trial available

  • Monthly and yearly terms available

  • Basic Plan starts at $14 per month

Pros

  • Easy to use without losing versatility

  • Admin membership features: form builders, event calendars, subscriber boosters, schedulers, live chats, login pages, etc.

  • Community features: member directory, chat rooms, community forums, social stream, etc.

Cons

  • Only one admin account allowed

WordPress membership website creator

12) WordPress - Best for Customization With Plug-Ins Galore

WordPress is a powerhouse when it comes to website building. With a vast selection of themes and the flexibility of their platform, it’s no surprise why they’re popular. 

 

WordPress plug-ins that are designed for membership include DigitalAccessPassMemberPress, and even WildApricot! They each have a subscription fee which can be a bit expensive, but given that using WordPress itself is free, it’s the only thing you have to worry about.

How to build a membership site on WordPress

  1. Sign up for WordPress.

  2. Choose your template.

  3. Install all the specific plug-ins you would like.

  4. Populate your content.

  5. Review and upload.

WordPress Pricing

  • Free option available

  • Basic plan begins at $4 per month

  • Monthly and yearly terms

  • Membership plug-ins are paid

Pros

Cons

  • Managing multiple plug-ins can get complicated compared to an all-in-one

 

GoDaddy

13) GoDaddy Web Hosting - Best for For-Profit Membership Sites

GoDaddy is one of the oldest website building and hosting services. Its reputation as a hassle-free website builder with thousands of design templates precedes it. It’s easy-to-use and has high-customization to create great websites.

How to build a membership site on GoDaddy

  1. Sign up for GoDaddy.

  2. Get your website and domain set.

  3. Customize with an easy-to-use page editor.

  4. Review and upload.

GoDaddy Pricing

  • Free option available

  • Free trial available

  • Basic Plan starts at $5.99 per month

Pros

  • Multiple admin accounts allowed

  • Shared SSL certificates for super secured data

  • Malware scanning and removal

  • Discount, promotion and coupon code management

  • Drag-and-drop page editor

Cons

  • Mostly caters to businesses and for e-commerce, so it's best for for-profit membership sites.

14) IONOS — Best for The Basics on a Budget

IONOS is the largest web hosting company and cloud partner in Europe for small and medium-sized businesses. It specializes in SSL and domain security, and its website builder is only one of its many offerings!

How to build a membership site on IONOS

  1. Sign up with IONOs.

  2. Choose your template.

  3. Add your content.

  4. Publish to your website.

IONOS Pricing

  • Basic: $1/month for first year, then $5/month

  • Plus: $5/month for first year, then $10/month

  • Pro: $10/month for first year, then $15/month

Pros

  • Highly affordable

  • Domain name and website hosting

  • Includes professional email

  • Customer service agent for every customer

  • Thorough analytics

Cons

  • Doesn’t specialize in membership websites

15) Shopify – Best for Member Organizations That Need eCommerce Features

Shopify is a website builder primarily made for developing online stores. It’s often used for for-profit businesses, but comes with many advanced options.

How to build a membership site on Shopify

  1. Sign up for Shopify.

  2. Choose your domain name.

  3. Pick your platform.

  4. Customize your website.

  5. Review and upload.

Shopify Pricing

  • Basic: $29/month, credit card fees 2.9% + 30¢ USD online

  • Shopify: $79/month, credit card fees 2.6% + 30¢ USD online

  • Advanced: $299/month, credit card fees 2.4% + 30¢ USD online

Pros

  • Level 1 PCI compliant

  • Easy, no-code website builder

  • Own your own custom domain

  • Great for e-Commerce focus

Cons

  • Not overtly designed for membership

 

Let’s get ready to build!

There you have it, the 15 best membership website builders available in 2022! Once you've decided on a platform, don't forget to check out these 25 examples of great membership websites for some inspiration before building your own.

Remember, the right membership website builder is the one that best suits YOUR organization. 

 

The Membership Growth Report:

Benchmarks & Insights for Growing Revenue and Constituents

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Leave a Comment

Comments

  • Albert Martinez Sampedro:
    Thanks fot the post! I would like to share my experiencie using another website builder don't appear in this post, is www.bowwe.com, is really usefull and fastlearning builder, you can also use HTML and CSS, but you dont need this knowledge, you have free version and in the premium one, its even cheapest than the other ones!! hopefully this information helps someone :)

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