5 Best Membership Site Platforms
Though Kajabi is known for being an online course platform, it’s also actually a competent membership site platform. The fact that it’s all-in-one is what lets it be both.
When you sign up for Kajabi, you can create your own membership website. You can create a site for different uses.
For example, you can make the site for your personal brand or compile all your content as an online instructor.
There are tools to add modules, assessments, and other content to the site.
Kajabi has built-in customization tools that make designing your membership site much more manageable.
There are plenty of ready-to-use layouts and themes available on the platform. You can choose one for your site and then tweak it a little further to make the look more personalized.
You can even toggle a Community feature on Kajabi. This option lets you make a private community for selected members of the website. With it, they’ll get to access exclusive or premium content that you upload.
If you’ve already used Kajabi, then you already know that it has useful marketing features. When you’re signed up, you can create sales pipelines for your online business.
You can also promote your membership website to other people through email and affiliate marketing.
Analytics and reporting tools are also available for use on Kajabi. Creators can view their overall revenue, click rates, and churn rates on the platform.
Kajabi is also perfect for website creators that like always to be on-the-go. The membership site platform is optimized for Android and iOS devices.
Kajabi isn’t among the most affordable membership site platforms. Many users have commented that the price range isn’t for tight budgets.
Despite the high price points, Kajabi is still recommended, though. All the useful features it has makes up for the premium costs.
You get a chance to try out Kajabi for free when you first sign up. The trial usually lasts for 14 to 28 days, and with it, you can access all of the basic features.
Plus, even if the paid subscription plans are pricey, there are still options to pay in installments. Kajabi offers weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly payment schemes to its membership site users.
Kajabi won’t ever charge you any extra transaction fees when you’re subscribed either. This is unlike other membership site platforms that are affordable but need you to pay fees.
If Kajabi’s prices are too high for creating your membership site, then Podia is the next best thing.
Though Podia is also more known for being an online course platform, it’s actually an excellent membership site platform as well.
When creating online courses, you can add supplemental content to the modules. Different types of digital files like PDFs, videos, and audio files can be uploaded to Podia.
Everything you add to the courses is also optimized for viewing on all devices.
As for membership site features, Podia stands out from other membership site platforms. This is since it lets you make separate posts.
This means that selected users can access different content that you assign to them. For example, if a member hasn’t accomplished a module, he won’t be able to view uploaded content.
Podia’s only downside is that since it’s affordable, it doesn’t have as many tools as other membership site platforms do.
Quizzes can’t be added to the courses you upload to your membership site. Unlike Kajabi, it doesn’t have a community feature either.
But the limitations of Podia aren’t reasons to not try it out, though. Podia will still help you create a decent website with its essential features and settings.
One more thing about Podia is that you can also run an affiliate program with your account. This means that you can partner up with affiliates to promote your membership site and online courses to gain more users.
As we’ve said, Podia is a great affordable option if you find other membership site platforms to be too pricey for your budget.
There are two subscription plans that creators can choose from once the free trial ends. These are the Mover and Shaker plans.
As for the trial, you will get to use it upon signing up for Podia for the first time.
Membership site creators can also set subscription plan options for their members. Podia will let you create a monthly or yearly subscription option for your users.
One more thing is that third-party payment processors can be incorporated into your business account as well. These third-party processors include PayPal and Stripe.
Teachable is another popular online course platform that is also capable of creating membership sites. You can add different content and courses to your membership site with the built-in tools on Teachable.
Teachable’s content creation features include a competent uploader that lets you add a variety of file types to your courses. You can add PDFs, videos, and audio files to enrich your modules.
Teachable is also known for allowing its creators to bundle their courses and modules together. That way, you can earn more revenue by putting together similar lessons that users can subscribe to.
There’s a drip content feature that you can customize on Teachable as well. You can create specific interval times for releasing new content to your members.
Added features like course certificates and graded quizzes can also be done on your membership site.
One disadvantage to Teachable is that it doesn’t have a community feature on the platform like Podia. Users can’t create discussion threads or interact with each other.
And unlike Podia, it doesn’t have a tool for creating individual posts for selected members. This also makes it harder to create different membership plans and tiers.
The best you can do on Teachable is have on standard membership plan for all members of one website.
But apart from those minor disadvantages, Teachable still is recommended as a membership site platform. The essential features it offers are more than enough for establishing your website.
You can access affiliate marketing tools, a sales page creator, and a checkout page editor to enhance your marketing strategy.
Though Teachable does offer a free trial for first-time creators, it doesn’t allow creators to provide the same to their members.
This means that you can’t give your users a trial to the content on your membership site even if you want to. They’ll have to pay upfront for full access to anything.
Teachable is also known for having extra transaction fees for the subscription fees. For example, even the free plan requires a 10% transaction fee for any sale you make while subscribed to it.
But then again, having a free plan is also an advantage because you won’t have to shell out any money unless you make a sale.
Also, the transaction fees are only applicable for the first two lower plans, Free and Basic. The other two plans, Professional and Business, won’t require you to pay any transaction fees.
Thinkific is another membership site platform that is actually well-known for being an online course platform as well.
It’s usually marketed as an alternative to Kajabi and Teachable because of their similarities. For one, when users can create online courses and modules from scratch.
As for membership site creation features, Thinkific lets you add different types of files and content. You can upload videos, documents, and quizzes to the sites with the platform’s powerful uploader.
Like Kajabi, Thinkific lets you put up a community feature for your membership site. It will help increase engagement and interaction among the members of your site.
One downside you should pay attention to when using Thinkific, though, is its lack of marketing features. Though it does let you do basic email marketing and promotion, everything else is still lacking.
You will only get so far with the marketing tools on the membership platform, so you may have to sync a third-party plug-in. A third-party platform may provide you with more advanced options.
Overall though, Thinkific is still a competent choice for membership software. We should even add that it’s compatible with all devices, whether it be your smartphone, tablet, or computer.
Thinkific pricing has a variety of options to choose from for creators. What we love the most about it is that apart from having a free trial when you get started, it also offers a free plan.
The free plan alone makes us deem it as the best membership site for novice creators. Newbie creators won’t feel too hesitant to try it out and stick to it since they won’t have to shell out any money to stay subscribed anyway.
Membership site creators can create different membership levels for their users as well. This means that they can make specific courses be only accessible to members of a particular membership plan.
And as for the membership plans’ prices, you can set them to be paid in monthly or yearly installments. You can even let your members access a free trial at first so that they can determine whether or not they want to stay subscribed or not.
For those who prefer more advanced features for their membership site, we recommend AccessAlly. It’s actually a WordPress membership plug-in that you can sync to your WordPress membership site if you already have one.
Many creators tend to add this WordPress membership plugin to their already existing WordPress site. It’s a top choice for WordPress users because it lets you stay right on WordPress, a self-hosted platform.
Once you integrate AccessAlly to your WordPress site, you’ll be able to convert it into a fully-functioning membership site.
AccessAlly will let you upload different file types to your site. You can add online courses, educational videos, and graded quizzes to your WordPress site as well.
Like other online course platforms, you can also set a drip content schedule for everything you put up on your site. Members can be able to access released online courses after specific intervals.
And since everything will be on WordPress, you can customize and design your site using the usual WordPress design techniques.
For example, you can use Elementor to set up the theme and layout of your site. You can also set a specific color scheme for the elements on your WordPress site.
If you’re an experienced web designer, you can even try to alter the CSS and HTML codes of your WordPress website.
And AccessAlly stands out as a membership plugin because but it also has competent sales features.
You can design checkout pages, have an affiliate program, and track engagement rates with this membership plugin.
One catch to this plugin would be its price, which we’ll discuss more below.
Many users find AccessAlly expensive. This is especially when compared to best membership site platforms like Podia and Thinkific.
There are only two options for membership site creators, so there isn’t much consideration for different budgets.
But as for the pricing for the membership sites you create, you can set different payment schemes. Creators can set one time, monthly, or annual installments for paying for subscriptions.
There’s also the option to create different membership levels for the members. You can offer a trial for free when your members first get started.
Your members can even upgrade or downgrade from their current membership plans since the interface of AccessAlly is easy to use.
Even if AccessAlly will require you to shell out a little bit more money, it’s worth it because you get useful features with an easy to use interface.
What is a Membership Site Platform?
A membership site platform is actually similar to an online course platform if you’ve already heard of the latter.
On an online course platform, you get to create online courses and lessons for your students. The students, in turn, pay a subscription fee for being able to access those digital products.
On a membership site platform, you get to create online courses and lessons as well but make them exclusive for a selected number of users. You can lock your content into one website that is inaccessible to non-members.
The idea of it being a membership-only basis puts a premium on the content that you add to your website. It gives your members a sense of security that the things they pay for and access on your site aren’t going to be found anywhere online.
You can curate who can access the things you upload to your website with membership site platforms. Creators can even set different membership levels with other price points.
What to Look for in a Best Membership Site Platform:
Content Creation Tools
As mentioned, a membership site platform is an enhanced version of an online course platform.
You should ensure that the membership site platform has all the tools you need for creating online courses and products for your members.
A competent course maker and file uploader are essential features needed for finding the best membership site.
Usually, these platforms also have drag-and-drop mechanisms for setting up their layouts and themes.
It’s also a norm for membership sites to offer drip-feeding options. That way, creators can release new digital products and content to their users at set intervals.
Other content tools that would be nice are quizzes, course certificates, and video-hosting features.
Sales and Marketing Features
If you’re looking at creating membership sites, you want to ensure a good revenue flow. And the only way to do that is to market your site well so that more members will subscribe and pay fees.
The best membership site would have built-in sales and marketing features. For example, Kajabi allows email marketing and affiliate programs for their creators.
Email tools will let you promote your website and online courses to potential subscribers. Affiliate programs can also increase promotional reach to audiences that you may not be able to interact with otherwise.
It’d also be a plus if your membership site platform had sales pipeline builders to help you organize your marketing campaigns.
Pricing Plans and Payment Channels
It’s also important to look at the pricing plans of the membership site platform, both for you and for your members.
Of course, you want pricing plans that will suit your budget as a membership site creator. Different platforms offer different subscription fees. Be sure to subscribe to one that is within your budget.
As for your members, the membership site platform must have flexible payment options for them.
A good membership site will be able to offer different payment schemes and installment options to its users. Most platforms let you charge your users with one-time, monthly, or yearly payments.
Another good feature to look for in a platform is the option to offer a free trial for your members upon sign-up. It’s a good tactic to entice them to subscribe to a paid plan.
Also, having various payment channels is an important feature to look for in your membership site platform.
What use is offering flexible payment and installment schemes if your members won’t be able to pay for them?
Usually, all the good membership site platforms offer credit and debit card, PayPal, and Stripe payment options.
The fact that you’re creating a membership site means that you want to foster a sense of community among your members. Therefore, an option to build a community is a good thing to look for in a membership site platform.
Usually, membership platforms will allow its users to post questions and ideas on discussion threads. From there, other users can react and reply to whatever was posted.
Having regular engagement going on in your membership site will encourage your members to keep going on the site. They’ll be enticed to keep reading through the threads and responding to queries.
Now that we’ve reached the end of this round-up review of the best membership site platforms, we hope that you’ve found which one suits you best.
Kajabi stands out as an excellent membership platform because it’s also an online course platform. It has marketing features and course creation tools. It also has customization options for your membership website.
But if you’re on a tight budget, then it’s Podia that we recommend for you instead. With it, you can create digital products and then offer them right on your membership site without breaking the bank.
Finally, if it’s course creation features that you’re after, then try out Teachable. It allows you to enrich your site with different file types and resources. You can also customize the courses you upload to your website.
If you want more options, you can check out how Squarespace Membership works!