How to make your own membership site with No-Code (+ examples)

Mariam Ispiryan • Updated on Apr 25, 2022 • 13 min read

So, you’ve got a great idea, premium content, and an online community of people to share it with.

All you’re missing is a platform where you can build and host it.

Building a membership site is one of the fastest, most efficient ways to store, organize, and share information with a captive audience. 

Whether you’re building an employee portal for an online business or a members’ area for a specific community, no-code platforms like Softr make creating a successful membership site possible even for those with little to no technical expertise.

This article will take you through everything you need to know about membership websites. We’ll empower you to develop your own with examples, best practices, and FAQs. So, let’s begin.

Table of contents

  1. What is a membership site?
  2. Who should build a membership site?
  3. What are some great membership site examples built on Softr?
  4. What should a membership site include?
  5. How to build a no-code membership site
  6. How can I create a membership website for free?
  7. Start building a no-code membership site with Softr
  8. FAQs about building a membership site

Ready to make your membership site dreams a reality?

Softr is the easiest way to create your site and share it with the world, no coding necessary.

What is a membership site?‍

A membership site is a gated, members-only website that contains exclusive information, valuable resources, and other added benefits. Basically, it contains content that only members with log-in credentials can access.

What are the benefits of building a membership site?

Membership sites are a great way to:

  • Build community
  • Boost engagement
  • Increase authority
  • Deliver additional value
  • Foster loyalty
  • Generate recurring revenue

Who should build a membership site?

If you’ve got exclusive content and a community that would love to access it, you should absolutely try building a membership site using a no-code online community software like Softr.

Here’s who’ll benefit the most from building a membership site:

  • Small business owners and general managers
  • Start-up founders and entrepreneurs
  • Creators, makers & side-hustlers

Let’s take a look at each category in more detail.

Small business owners and general managers

If you own or run a business and don’t have a lot of time on your hands, technical expertise, or resources to hire developers, building a membership site will definitely make your life easier. 

A good membership site will help you organize and share your data seamlessly and securely while keeping all your most important information in one place.

Small business owners and general managers have great success using membership sites to build resources like:

Start-up founders and entrepreneurs

If you’re trying to get your latest business idea off the ground, you likely haven’t got time or resources to spare. Building a membership site is an easy way to validate a new product or service, optimize it, and get it to market as quickly as possible.

Many entrepreneurs struggle to find the right platform to scale their business ideas. They find software that are either too technical or too basic, with not much in between. No-code tools like Softr are the perfect solution because they pair advanced functionalities with impressive accessibility.

Entrepreneurs love using membership sites for:

Creators, makers & side-hustlers

Some of the best products come to life out of passion projects and side hustles. However, it can be difficult to get these kinds of initiatives off the ground when you’ve got big ideas, limited coding experience, and lots of balls in the air. 

Membership sites are a great way for creators and side-hustlers to build digital products quickly, share them with the world, and watch them take off. They’re handy ways to bring in a little extra revenue as well.

Membership sites work great for these kinds of digital creations:

  • Learning communities
  • Professional and interest-based communities
  • Curated resource directories and listicles
  • Members-only sites with gated content
  • Upvoting sites
  • Matching services like Humble Help

What are some great membership site examples built on Softr?

Softr users have built all kinds of fantastic membership sites using our software. Take a look at the examples below to see what you can do with Softr.

1. 100DaysOfNoCode: Learning community for no-code developers

100DaysOfNoCode: Learning community for no-code developers

100DaysOfNoCode used Softr to meet their growing online community’s needs. They needed an advanced site with features like membership plans and video courses.

Source: 100DaysofNoCode

100DaysOfNoCode is an online learning community that helps people with non-technical backgrounds build software with no-code tools. Founder Max Haining’s goal is to empower the first generation of citizen developers.

The community started on social media sites like Twitter, moved onto Carrd, and then finally landed on Softr. Our platform helped build a more advanced site with features like:

  • A blog
  • Memberships with different levels of access
  • Video courses
  • Landing pages
  • Custom code blocks to build interactive quizzes and embed a conversational chatbot

100DaysOfNoCode found all that and more with Softr, already attaining 250+ paying members, 5000+ connections, and 10,000+ learning hours.

2. Nanny Network: Childcare platform for parents & nannies

2. Nanny Network: Childcare platform for parents & nannies

Online childcare platform Nanny Network used Softr to create a membership site that’s flexible, easy to update and customize, and cost-effective.

Source: Nanny Network

Nanny Network started off as a childcare agency but has evolved into a dynamic online platform. It allows parents to source quality, secure childcare, and experienced nannies to find work.

Their platform has a few different areas:

  • A job portal where parents can make posts when they’re looking for a nanny
  • An online marketplace where nannies can create profiles and apply for jobs
  • A booking page to organize online or in-person consultations
  • Educational guides for both parents and childcare professionals

Before Softr, Nanny Network was using a custom-built website: it worked fine at first, but became expensive, confusing, and time-consuming as the platform grew. Their team also didn’t have much technical knowledge, so it was complicated to make necessary changes to their website.

Nanny Network’s new site recently went live and founder Lucia is very happy with the result. She particularly enjoys Softr’s frequent new feature roll-outs, SEO capabilities, built-in integrations, and technical support.

3. Humble Help: Online marketplace and academy for students & small businesses

3. Humble Help: Online marketplace and academy for students & small businesses

Humble Help was looking for a platform that offered the perfect balance between powerful features and accessibility. They landed on Softr and created an online marketplace and academy within the same CMS.

Source: Humble Help

Humble Help is an online marketplace and academy that connects students looking for internships with small businesses. The platform benefits both parties: students get access to meaningful learning opportunities and small businesses receive help with digital marketing and growth.

This exchange is particularly effective because students take courses on artificial intelligence and no-code tools before they begin their internships.

Humble Help experimented with several different platforms before landing on Softr, and consistently ran into the same problems: tons of features but too technical and difficult to use, or no-code and straightforward but with limited functionality.

Humble Help now uses a Softr membership website for both their marketplace and their academy. Their team enjoys our platform’s speed, accessibility, seamless Airtable integration, and custom domain capabilities.

4. DS Automotive: Employee portal

4. DS Automotive: Employee portal

DS Automotive’s employee portal does it all. Technicians can keep track of the vehicles they’re working on and office staff can access customer data with just a few clicks.

Source: DS Automotive

DS Automotive is an independent, well-established Land Rover specialist based in the United Kingdom. Their company director Dan Smith used Softr to build a comprehensive, user-friendly internal tool. Employees can now easily access information about everything from their vehicles to their customers.

Dan was already using Airtable for the company’s internal databases. After reviewing various options, he decided to build their Airtable front-end with Softr due to the platform’s user-friendly interface and flexibility.

DS Automotive’s team is much more productive now they have a new employee portal. Their technicians can keep track of the vehicles they’re working on, as well as consult their job cards and history. Their administrative staff can also look up customer information and booking data whenever they need to.

What should a membership site include?

Design club template

Softr’s Design Club template homepage tells potential members what they’re all about. However, they’ll have to sign up to access the good stuff.

Membership sites vary a great deal depending on industry and other parameters. However, they should always include the following elements:

  • About us
  • Membership information, e.g. pricing
  • Gated content

Here’s a detailed look at each section.

About us

When a potential member visits your site for the first time, they’ll likely want to learn more about you. A comprehensive About Us section makes it easy for all your new site visitors to instantly understand what you’re all about.

Ask yourself the following questions to make sure you’re including the right information in your About Us section:

  • What’s the purpose of my membership platform?
  • What makes my membership site unique and/or valuable compared to others?
  • Why does my site offer that members can’t get anywhere else?

Membership management

Next, you’ll need to provide potential members with more information about how your site membership works. Where applicable, this section should include information about membership tiers and pricing.

With Softr, you can divide your members into different user groups. That makes it easy to give them different permissions and even membership options within your site.

The Membership Information section also normally includes a sign-up form for new members or offers a free trial.

Gated content or members-only area

gated content or member-only area (client portal)

The members-only area is the most important part of your membership site. It’s where all your valuable, gated content lives.

All your valuable or private content should live in the gated part of your membership site. Site visitors who aren’t logged in won’t be able to download it, which will motivate non-members to sign up themselves!

You can include so many different types of content in your members-only area. Here are some examples:

  • Online courses & workshops
  • Blogs, articles & white papers
  • Ebooks, action plans, tutorials, & workbooks
  • Podcasts & screencasts
  • Videos & other multimedia content
  • Webinars
  • Exclusive interviews
  • Day-to-day updates & news
  • Members-only calls
  • Client portals
  • Online marketplaces & forums
  • Company & employee information
  • Employee directories & contact information
  • Other private members-only information

How to build a no-code membership site?

Ready to start building your own site? Look no further. Put these pointers into action step-by-step and you’ll have it up and running in no time.

1. Identify your audience (and determine how they’d benefit from your site)

To build a successful membership site, you need a well-defined audience. When you’re building a platform like an employee directory or a client portal, your audience is obvious. But audiences for sites like marketplaces and online communities can be harder to pin down.

It’s vital to get crystal clear on exactly who your audience is because you’ll be tailoring your site to them.

Narrow down your audience by asking yourself questions like: “What kind of person would enjoy and/or benefit from accessing this site?”

For example, Nanny Network’s audience consists of parents looking for childcare and nannies looking for work. Parents benefit from finding excellent childcare solutions and nannies benefit from obtaining steady employment.

Excellent membership sites take things a step further and deliver various benefits. Nanny Network does this with its educational guides and other free resources.

2. Start developing your content

This step is the most labor-intensive part of building a membership site. 

If you’re starting from scratch, decide on the kind of content you want to deliver to your members. Begin with the most valuable resources you can think of to motivate as many early sign-ups as possible. Don’t get overly ambitious⁠— focus on one or two types of content when you’re starting out.

For instance, if you’re developing an online course, focus on the most important elements first. Create the best-possible core course modules before moving onto extras like bonus videos, blog posts, and other additional resources.

If you’ve already got content to work with and you just need to repurpose, format, or edit it, your life will be a little bit easier. Read through it all and make sure everything aligns with your target audience.

3. Decide what kind of membership program you’ll offer

Not all online memberships are created equal. 

Next, decide on the types of membership you want to offer on your site. Some of the most common include:

  • All-in-one: Members get access to all your gated content. There aren’t any tiers or conditions involved here.
  • Drip: Members get access to your content little by little. You either release new resources periodically or share new content as you create it.
  • Fixed-term: Members get access to your site for a specific period of time. This is a common type of membership for online courses.
  • Multi-tiered: Members get access to different kinds of content depending on their membership tier. 

4. Establish how much you’ll charge for paid membership

Not all membership sites require payment. Nevertheless, if you want to charge members for access to your gated content, decide on your pricing plans early on.

If you want to go with a tiered membership model, make sure the value you deliver aligns with each tier. There are normally at least three membership levels:

  • Free membership, free trial, or other low introductory pricing
  • Standard general membership
  • Premium membership with special added benefits

How can I create a membership website for free?

Softr offers a Free plan that’s perfect for getting your membership site set up and testing it out with your first few members. It includes some great features and full functionality, including:

  • Unlimited applications
  • 1 custom domain name
  • 5 members
  • A paywall for recurring and one-time payments
  • Airtable integration to create a user-friendly front-end for your database
  • Supports 200 distinct items (records)
  • Live chat support

Once you’ve got your site up and running with your free account, you can upgrade to a Professional or Business plan to start welcoming in more new members and take your features up a notch.

Start building a no-code membership site with Softr

All in all, the sky’s the limit with membership sites. All you need is some valuable content and an online community of people to share it with to begin, so what are you waiting for? You’ve got a highly-engaged, loyal audience, recurring revenue, and authority in your niche to gain.

Softr is designed to help you put together a high-quality, comprehensive site and share it with the world quickly and easily. You don’t need any coding experience, and our tech support is here to help if you get stuck. Putting together a membership site has never been easier, especially with our video tutorial.

Ready to make your membership site dreams a reality?

Softr is the easiest way to create your site and share it with the world, no coding necessary.

Frequently asked questions about building a membership site

There are tons of benefits to building a membership website. Not only do they enable you to share valuable information with your community, but they also come along with advantages like: - Increased and recurring revenue - A loyal, engaged audience - Authority within your industry or niche - Enhanced value, perks & satisfaction for users - Better user experience With easy-to-use, no-code software like Softr, nothing should stop you from creating your own membership site.

Creating a membership website can be absolutely free if you use a membership site platform like Softr. Our free plan has great features, full functionality, a custom domain name, live chat support, and the ability to add up to five members. It’s the perfect way to get your site set up and test it out before launching it to a wider audience.

Yes, membership sites can be extremely profitable. The amount of money you make from your membership site largely depends on how many paid members you have. If you have high-value, gated content and a captive audience willing to pay for it, your membership site can turn into a great source of revenue. Setting up a variety of membership subscriptions is a great way to leverage your premium content while keeping prices accessible. The best membership site is one that’s profitable, so it’s a good idea to get started with an affordable platform like Softr. We’ve got an introductory free plan as well as reasonably-priced paid plans for when you’re ready to take things up a notch.

In order to determine how much to charge for access to your membership site, think about the kind of value that you’re delivering to your members. It’s also a good idea to offer a variety of membership tiers so members have some options. Most successful paid membership sites have tiers like the following: - An introductory plan that’s either free or low-priced - Standard general membership - Premium membership with special perks, rewards & benefits Make sure to choose a membership site platform that includes payment gateways and different payment options like Stripe and PayPal for optimal accessibility.

Client Portal | Internal Tools | Web App Builder | Free Website Builder Made with Softr