Recurring Revenue Series: The Membership Website Model: Is it Right for You?


Are you an expert in your field or industry?

If you have a well-defined niche and a target market that is hungry for education, you might consider setting up a Membership Website as a subscription model.

Chances are, you’ve heard about people starting membership sites and having phenomenal success.

But is a Membership Website right for you?

The Membership Website Model is the sixth model in our series on The 9 Models of Recurring Revenue. If you’ve read our previous articles, you’ll know that recurring revenue models come in all manner of shapes and forms, and recurring revenue is a great way to increase the value of your company.

To date, we’ve reviewed The Network Model, The Subscription Box Model, The Content Subscription Model, The Private Club Model and The Front-of-the-line Model.

 The Membership Website Model combines elements of The Content Subscription Model and The Private Club, offering a unique mix of information and community. It allows you to offer exclusive access to your niche expertise.

This Membership Website involves publishing your knowledge behind a pay wall. Once people are inside, you can offer them access to exclusive content and member privileges.

Regardless of how obscure your knowledge, people may be willing to pay for access to what you know. The type of content you offer may be in the form of articles, videos, webinars and forum discussions. The more diverse your methods of information delivery, the greater your subscriber uptake is likely to be.

Set-up the Membership Website Model

Types of businesses that have successfully set-up the Membership Website Model

Whether you’re a plumber, restaurant mogul or B2B problem-solver, if you have valuable knowledge to share, you could be driving up your business' revenue.

Here are a few interesting and diverse examples:

The Wood Whisper Guild

If woodwork is your thing, The Wood Whisper Guild is a great membership site, a $129 subscription gives you access to Marc Spagnuoloto’s knowledge. This site is set up as an online project-based woodworking school. Members can learn at their own pace and become part of a community.

Dream of Italy

Another site popular for people seeking inside information, is Dream of Italy, which covers travelling ‘off the beaten track’ in Italy. This is the brainchild of Kathy McCabe, the American site owner, who grew up with an annual trip back to her Italian homeland. She leverages the network of contacts (farmers, restaurateurs, boutique hotel operators) she’s built to ensure a steady flow of inside information about emerging Italian travel experiences. Kathy is likely to be one of the first to hear of the opening of a new boutique hotel, information she shares with her loyal subscribers.


There’s also SmartBlogger, a membership site designed to help people learn how to start a blog and grown an audience. Members have access to high-quality online courses as well as a range of tools and resources. Jon morrow, the creator of the site has a truly inspirational story. He’s bound to a wheelchair and can only move his eyes and lips, with all other parts of his body a paralyzed, yet he’s been able to build his membership site income to over $100,000 per month.

Aspiring Chefs and restaurateurs look to, for example, to create profitable restaurants. Plumbers and Electricians build their companies off the back of

What do you know that nobody else does?

Perhaps you have a unique approach to running your business or you are achieving above-average profitability in a competitive industry, if so other companies in your industry may want to know how you did it. Helping other business owners master a specific industry or skill tends to be the most financially successful type of Membership Website.

The Membership Website Model Is Ideal When You Have…

  1. A tightly defined niche market like ‘ambitious dance studio owners’ or ‘woodworking enthusiasts’.
  2. Ongoing insider information
  3. Related products or services you can sell to your subscribers

Insider Tips

  • Business-to-business companies that solve a real problem are the most profitable Membership Websites. They offer ‘must have’ information and maintain forums that are constantly evolving.
  • Most successful operators produce content in multiple formats (video interview, podcast, written transcript). This accounts for subscriber preferences and increases the chances the site will be found by search engines (SEO).
  • Create ways to monetise your subscribers through adjacent products and services (conferences, coaching, courses). Membership subscriptions are rarely a company’s most profitable revenue stream.

" The Membership Website Model is most effective in a tightly defined niche market, where experts are hard to find, and members can gain from interacting with each other."

Membership Websites to Create Recurring Revenue

An online membership site can take many forms, from packaging types of information, resources, community, coaching, or a combination of them all.

It can help you to increase your customer base and manage your sales funnel, but it’s also a great way to create recurring revenue for your business.

Most membership sites charge by the month or year, or both and enable you to automate access to some of your products or services for this regular fee.

So, for example, instead of spending all your time teaching people how to learn a language, design their home, or improve their digital marketing skills, in a one to one setting, you can set up a membership site that will teach them all the steps to successfully achieve this, without having to set foot in their home or office.

Now it’s time for you to consider whether this recurring revenue model is right for you. Remember, creating a recurring revenue in your business will increase it's valuation.

If you can't wait to read about the rest of the models, we've listed them here:

Recurring Revenue Series: A Guide to Recurring Income – The Network Model

Recurring Revenue Series: Surprise and Delight People with The Subscription Box Model

Recurring Revenue Series: Create Content That Pays with the Content Subscription Model

Recurring Revenue Series: How to Create a Private Club Model

Recurring Revenue Series: Jump the Queue with a Front-of-the-Line Subscription Model

Recurring Revenue Series: The Membership Website Model: Is it Right for You?

Recurring Revenue Series: Simplify Peoples Lives with this Powerful Subscription Model

Recurring Revenue Series: A Subscription Model for Peace of Mind

Recurring Revenue Series: How to Create a Subscription Model That Solves Everyday Problems

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