Dornubari Vizor October 13, 2022

Top 5 Membership Website Builders: Picking the Right One for Your Business

Building a membership website is an excellent way to generate recurring income while growing your online community.

Because, let’s face it, monetizing an audience is not a simple task. You need to create an effective conversion funnel with content that caters to every stage of a buyer’s journey, plus get tools to help you with that. All these processes can be overwhelming for an entrepreneur new to the digital marketing field.

A membership site allows you to skip most of the processes. You can build a community of high-qualifying leads where you can give them access to you, your business, and all your expertise.

To achieve this, you need a membership website builder.

While all membership website builders are designed to help you create and manage your community, most of them fall too short when it comes to the level of customization, usability, and marketing tools included.

In this post, we’ll show you the following:

  • What to look for when choosing a membership website builder
  • Detailed steps on how to create a successful membership website
  • Best membership website builders to choose from
  • And how our membership website builder (GroupApp) stacks up against its competitors

Let’s delve in.

What Is a Membership Website?

A membership website is a gated website that provides complete access to resources and benefits to only those who have signed up. This includes access to online coaching, online courses, webinars, special invites, exclusive video content, and special reports, to mention a few.

A membership website is often confused with a subscription website because both involve building a community. The truth is there are notable differences between the two.

A subscription website is focused on building a customer base who will need to pay a fee to access a service, product, or content.

Customers will need to pay a regular fee over a given time to continue accessing the content or service.

For example, you need to pay a subscription fee on Spotify to listen to Ad-free music. In this case, you hardly get to interact with like-minded users or the content owner.

On the other hand, a membership website focuses on building a community. Besides accessing content, members can interact with each other, engage with the creator/brand owner, and even participate in a discussion.

For instance, when you join Wall Street Journal membership, you can connect with the WSJ Community members, meet journalists behind the stories you read, and access WSJ virtual events and exclusive offers tailored to only WSJ members.


How to Create a Membership Website

Membership websites are one of the best ways to monetize your content and upsell your customers. That’s because you have a group of loyal users who know about your brand and are ready to convert.

At GroupApp, we’ve developed a robust community builder platform with all the features you need to create a successful membership website.

So in this section, we’ll show you how to create a membership website, plus some tips you can employ to convert your community into revenue.

Let’s get started, shall we?

Choose Your Membership Model

Creating a membership website requires a strategy just like any other business. To do so, you need to decide what kind of membership website you want to build.

Specifically, you want to decide on the following:

  • What niche is your membership in
  • Your member’s pain points, goals, and passions
  • What benefits do you like to offer your members
  • If it’s a paid membership or free
  • Whether you’ll have membership levels in your community
  • The membership content formats you want to share with your community

For example, let’s say you own marketing software. A membership site can be a great way to capture leads, drive engagement and boost your business sales. In this case, you’d want to create a more unrestrained membership platform to help drive conversion.

On the other hand, a membership website can be a great platform to share your expertise with your audience if you are a content creator. To monetize your skills, you’d want to charge a fee for your members to access your resources.

That being said, choosing a membership business model will help you create a membership site that purely resonates with your member’s goals.

Signup for a Membership Platform

Creating a membership website can be easy with the best community-building software. You don’t have to be tech-savvy to do it because we have a platform that helps you with all the technical aspects.

Allow us to introduce you to our membership website builder—GroupApp.

GroupApp is a membership platform that allows you to monetize your expertise and includes all the tools you need to achieve that. You can set up your community and monetize it in a couple of clicks.

Here’s how to do it:

Visit our homepage and then click on the “sign up” or “create your free account” button.

You’ll be sent a confirmation email requiring you to confirm your credentials.

After confirmation, you’ll be redirected to a page requiring you to enter your community name, description, and privacy settings and select your branding appearance from one of our presets.

And ta-dah! There you have your own community.

Create and Organize Your Community Topics and Resources With Channels

Channels help you organize your community resources, discussions, and conversations. You can keep how-to documentation, customer videos, demos, podcast episodes, and other helpful resources in your channel.

Here are examples of channels from this community.

Now here’s how to create a channel.

Access the admin dashboard by hitting on the “admin panel” button at the header bar on your community page.

Click on the “channels” section and then the “create new” button, where you can choose the “channel” option from the down drop items.

Enter your channel name and write a short description of the channel.

Upload your channel image, choose your layout, and once done, hit on the “save channel” to save the changes.

Create Members-Only Content

GroupApp features the best tools to help you build a community and create learning materials for your audience.

Here’s how to upload members-only content using our course builder.

On your community page, hit on the “admin panel” to access your community setting dashboard and start building a course.

Proceed and click on the “courses” tab and then the “create” button, where you’ll see the course creation page.

Go ahead and enter your course title, summary, and description and finally, upload an enticing thumbnail that’ll help you create the first impression of your course.

What’s next? Set the access level for your course to limit who can see or view the course.

You can set the access level as free if you’re looking to create a free community. You can also restrict your course resources to paid members or a one-time fee where you can set the pricing of your course.

Once done, you can configure your visibility settings to limit who can see your course. Add your course URL and then save the settings.

After that, you’ll be redirected to the course builder, where you can upload and organize your learning materials.

You add a course section in the course builder by clicking on the “add section” button. Within the section, you can add your course content. You can embed videos and PDFs and add texts and quizzes, just to mention a few.

Once done, you add presenters to your course, reconfigure your access level and then publish your course.

Here’s how your course will look when created and published on your membership site.

And here’s how it looks to a student when accessing it.

Alternatively, you can add members-only content by clicking on the “Library” tab and then the “Add New” button, where you can select the type of materials you want to add to your content library from the dropdown menu.

You’ll then follow the same process as the previous one to set access levels and upload your learning material.

To learn more on how to create a course using GroupApp course builder, you can watch our product demo here.

Integrate Your Favorite Business Software

At GroupApp, we allow you to integrate the business software you are already using to add more functionality to your membership website.

For example, you can integrate your membership site with Stripe to set up a payment gateway where you can accept payment from your members.

Just head to your admin panel and click on the “Integrations” tab, where you can choose the software you want to integrate with your community.

Market Your Membership Website

Definitely, you won’t create your membership website, upload the content and cross your fingers in hopes that people will magically find it and sign up.

A membership site is a business like any other. It would help if you promoted it in places where your ideal audience hangs out to gain some traction.

Here are the best ways to get more people to join your online community.

  • Share it with your email list
  • Facebook advertising
  • Create a Youtube explainer video and share it with your audience
  • Encourage your blog readers to join by offering an incentive or a sneak peek to your premium content
  • Effectively promote it on social media platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter

Best Membership Website Builders

Here are our top picks for the best membership website builders you can choose from to create a membership site.


GroupApp is one of the best membership website builders that allows you to create a community and online courses and set up membership subscription plans in one place.

The platform has a “channels” feature that allows you to group your community discussions and even set access levels with a gated membership.

What’s more interesting is that with GroupApp, you can upload your learning materials in different formats, such as videos and PDFs, or embed resources from external platforms such as Youtube and Vimeo.

Monetization with GroupApp is super straightforward. You can easily integrate a payment gateway like Stripe, where you can receive membership subscription payments via a credit card from your members.

Whether you’re looking to start an online coaching membership website or to build a free community where you can educate and help your product users, GroupApp has the tools you need to launch your online community all without breaking the bank.


  • User-friendly online course builder – GroupApp offers one of the best online course creation tools in the market. It features an interactive course builder that allows you to upload learning materials, monetize your course, and set the access level you want.
  • Third-party software integration – want to add extra functionality to your membership website? GroupApp has your back. You can integrate third-party apps like Strip, Zapier, Integrately, and Pabbly.
  • Membership subscription – with GroupApp, you can easily integrate a payment system that allows you to monetize your content depending on your membership model.
  • Feature-rich free plan – at GroupApp, we offer one of the most robust free plans with all the tools you need to create your online community and monetize it.
  • Use a custom domain – use a unique domain that resonates with your brand to host your community.
  • All-in-one-course builder – using GroupApp, you don’t need a separate course builder and community platform. Instead, all the tools are included allowing you to host and sell your online courses in one place.
  • Drip content – GroupApp allows you to release content in bits at particular times, which prevents overwhelming your new users with a large amount of content.
  • No transaction fees on paid plans – unlike most members and builders, GroupApp does not charge a transaction fee for their paid plans.
  • Host cohort-based courses – GroupApp isn’t just a community-building platform; it allows you to bring the same sense of community and camaraderie to your online courses.


  • Stripe needed – with GroupApp, you need to have a Stripe merchant account to add a payment gateway to your premium memberships.
  • No donation button – you cannot accept donations or tips using GroupApp. Instead, you can only add subscriptions to your premium content based on a one-time fee or monthly/yearly subscriptions.



Squarespace is a reputable website builder popular among creatives due to its outstanding user interface and beautiful templates.

Besides being a huge Wix rival in website building, the platform allows you also to create membership websites.

Squarespace Members Area allows you to monetize your community and set access levels with secure paywalls. The bad news is that Squarespace does not offer a free plan. This can be a limitation for starters who have a small community and want to monetize it.


  • Intuitive landing page builder – Squarespace offers free templates that you can use to create a landing page and signup page in minutes.
  • Different payment options – Squarespace members can use a credit or Paypal.


  • No free plan – Squarespace does not offer a free program to create a membership website. Instead, you must choose from their paid plans to develop and monetize your community.


WishList is a powerful Membership WordPress plugin that allows you to turn your WordPress site into a membership site. The plugin has seen huge updates recently, making it among the top contenders in the membership space.


  • 20 + Payments integration – WishList Member allows you to integrate various payment gateways like Stripe, SmaCart, and Paypal, just to mention a few.
  • Frictionless WordPress connection
  • Third-Party integration


  • It can be confusing to use due to the overwhelming features
  • Limited design functionality


MemberSpace is a software solution that allows you to restrict access to any of your website’s pages. The platform is compatible with major content management systems (CMS), including WordPress, Squarespace, Webflow, Wix, and Weebly.

If you own a website in either of the CMS and want to restrict access to particular pages and resources on your website, MemberSpace can be an ideal option.


  • Supports different content management systems (CMS) – MemberSpace integrates with many leading CMS platforms, so you can quickly switch without disrupting your members’ or their paying information.
  • Friendly user interface – MemberSpace has a straightforward interface that allows non-technical people to start and build a membership website.
  • Provides the most significant level of content security to secure gated content


  • Limited resources make it not the best option for larger businesses and communities.
  • Lacks the ability to customize the emails that you send to your community.
  • It does not offer live video and forum features which discourage engagement in your community.

Wild Apricot

Wild Apricot is membership management software that you can use to create a membership site, keep track of your members, charge them for particular content, and keep them informed.

While it offers outstanding reporting features and email marketing, it is not as well-organized or feature-rich as GroupApp.

But with a bit of tweaking, you can be up and running quickly and import your spreadsheet-based databases.


  • Multiple payment processing systems – Wild Apricot supports additional payment gateways like Stripe, PayPal, and Authorize.Net, allowing you to choose which works best for you.
  • Automated and trigger-based emails – with the membership website builder, you can automatically send emails based on users’ activities.
  • Website builder software – WildApricot features a drag-and-drop website builder that lets you customize your site to your liking.


  • Lacks solid integrations – with Wild Apricot, you cannot integrate your membership site with third-party software to create custom workflows.
  • Less appealing design – Its user interface looks outdated, which can be a quick turn-off for users who evaluate a site’s appearance to build trust.
  • A very limited free plan that feels almost useless to sign up for.

Membership Websites Examples

Wealth Nation Money School

Wealth Nation Money School is a successful membership website example focusing on all matters about personal finance.

Carmen and Darius started the course to teach ambitious entrepreneurs and high achievers how to maintain an independent banking system that generates independent wealth, helping them take control of their lifestyles.

If you are looking for a zero-fluff personal finance course to learn the secrets of wealth creation, Wealth Nation Money School is a great place to start.

Little Flower Yoga Online Learning Community

The membership website is a community from Little Flower Yoga that brings together their trainees so that they can support and encourage each other while taking their yoga and mindfulness course.


SCALING:lab is a membership site that specifically focuses on helping entrepreneurs scale small businesses so they can achieve the freedom and impact they envisioned for their business. The site shows you how to turn your small business into an empire by first reclaiming your most precious non-renewable resource—your time.

Prepared Marketers

The Prepared Marketers is a private community of marketing agency owners and consultants.

Created by two professional marketers, David Baer and Ken Cook, the community focuses on helping marketing agencies grow their client’s business revenue using results-driven processes.

Stream Bosses Network

The Stream Bosses Network is an online community focused on helping coaches, consultants, and course creators scale their businesses with video marketing. The membership site is a great place to find support if you’re looking for expert advice on video marketing.


Creating a membership website is one of the best ways to engage with your audience, grow your brand and generate recurring revenue. With the best membership website builder, it’s easy to build your community and monetize without any coding knowledge.

At GroupApp, we’ve built a platform that helps you achieve that. Our online community builder lets you create your own community in minutes, upload your teaching materials and monetize your membership.

The platform also features engagement tools such as direct messages and group chats that you can use to engage and offer support to your community. Get started with GroupApp and join over 575 creators using our tool to create membership websites.


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