Hi everybody, does anyone here have success running a membership site?

Hey whats up everyone? Just wondering, is there anyone here running a successful membership site? If so what do you use to run it (i.e. paid membership pro, profitstheme ect.), and what kinds of obstacles have you faced? thanks in advance for your time and insight all!

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That’s a great question, and I’ll be looking forward to hearing some of the answers. I am also thinking of creating a membership site and would love to have a discussion about best practices, tools used, lessons learned, etc.

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I have been running a membership site on custom software for about 10 years now. I have almost finished converting it to allow it to be used for other membership sites - currently looking for a couple of clubs that are prepared to beta test the site over the next 12 months.

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10 years?

That is awesome man. I have been running mine for about a year now and it has allowed me to quit my job. It has been a great experience so. Just wanted to compare notes with some other membership site owners. If I could keep mine running for 10 years that would be amazing to me. What do you run it from BTW? (i.e. wordpress, theme? whatever)

Kam (aka zerofatz)

In my “spare” time I was writing it from scratch. The first five years I managed to produce a basic system that did enough to scrap the desktop program that did half the job and all the manual processes that did the other half. The next five years was rewriting it to remove all the hard coded references to the specific club and to add more features such as allowing the members to renew themselves using Paypal, lots of membership reports and a letter generator to make it easy to produce letters on letterhead to post to members.

Trying to adapt an existing application would have taken a lot longer. The desktop software we were running before I started writing this required updating about five or six fields manually just to renew one member and couldn’t produce renewal forms or labels - and that was as close as we could find after an extensive search for membership software.

I have done searches more recently and there are only a couple of web sites offering online solutions and they don’t look as if they have as many options available in them as mine does.

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Kind of an ambiguous question, but I ran a chat/cam (non-adult) site with a few hundred concurrent users for fun for about 2yrs. I dropped out of the project, but the project still continued by a good friend and I still help every now and again.

One of the lessons I learned is that users will create drama out of nothing and will feel that they own the site or that things are a democracy, rather than … well just a website owned by 1 or a few individuals or even a company. A website that could be turned off at any time for any reason. Especially when you’re just doing it for fun and make no money. They don’t understand your point of view or the desire to grow, only their narrow point of view as users of the site. It really sucks to have to ban popular users, that crap always blows up in your face.

There was actually a very recent drama that came out of Reddit, where a mod of one of the largest subs talks about what the Admins did and what they wouldn’t do and how their are corrupt. You can listen to it here. Basically, everything he says I completely agree with the opposite. Except the threats about promoting child porn, which I think is pure drama taken completely out of context what it was or just a flat out lie…

Which is something else that I found out. You have to be very careful of what you say to members. You should always expect that everything you say or do is recorded and will be shown to everyone else and possibly taken completely out of context. I think that if you want to actually be a member of a site like that and run it at the same time, it’s best to use 2 separate identities.

Our users were general public average ages of 18-25 if that makes any difference.

I’m currently working on my own community based project in my spare time and I will be implementing different strategies like Hellbans and other possible alternatives to all out banning. Banning tends to make people mad. Personally, if I ban a user I don’t care if they are mad or sad or anything… I just want them to go away. The project I mentioned above had a strict suspension/ban setup. When you have a general public based site (and not a highly niche market), how you handle bans is very important and generally just become headaches.

This is a good coding horror blog entry about banning.

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Yes. The type of membership site you created is completely different from the one I created.

The one I created is for a club that was founded in 1951 and less than 1/3 of the members have visited the site. My main purpose in creating the site was to be able to maintain the membership records and make processing the renewals for the approx 1300 members easier.

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it’s true the question was ambiguous. it was meant as a conversation starter. I run a paid membership site for amazon sellers (digital and physical product) and it does pretty well. I was just looking for other people who had similar business models that I could bounce ideas and problems off of. Appreciate all your insight guys!


The part that all membership sites have in common is that they need to control who has access to the site.What is actually inside the site will vary a lot depending on the type of membership site that it is.

For the first four years after I started creating my membership site I didn’t provide access for anyone other than me to login because there wasn’t anything there to give them any reason to need to. All it had in it was the means to update the membership records. It was only after I completed that part and started adding things of use to the members that I then provided a way for the rest of the members to log in.

I’ve tried for years to create a successful membership site and only recently found success. It definitely takes the right combination of niche, tech and marketing.

For tech, I’m using Wordpress with the Memberful plugin, my niche is B2B web design & dev leads and my marketing has been word of mouth and some email lead campaigns.

Hope that helps!