#1 and #2 are build-it-yourself platforms
#1 WordPress and #2 Memberful are better solutions if you want to build a community and give members access to more than just an online learning course. These two are the best options for building a recurring revenue stream that goes beyond online courses.
#3-#5 are all-in-one ready to go platforms.
#3 Kajabi, #4 Thinkific, and #5 are better solutions for online course learning content. These are good solutions if you have training content in mind already and are ready to get your membership website set up from scratch as quick as possible.
Click here for a full guide on how to create a membership site from scratch – including everything from what software platforms to use and how to efficiently grow your membership base.
This is what we build our own membership sites on, and what we build sites on for clients. WordPress is our favorite membership site platform because it is extremely functional and affordable. This platform requires some more hands-on work (compared to the other platforms in this list) setting up your entire membership website, and will require a membership theme and wordpress membership plugin. However if you don’t want to be limited by what features a certain membership platform includes, this is the platform for you because thousands of developers support the WordPress platform, and millions of sites worldwide are built using it.
- Most popular website builder platform on planet earth
- Thousands of plugins available to fulfill every need you would ever want within a website
- Lots of room for long term growth potential – you won’t be limited by the membership site platform you build on
- FREE initially
- Domain (www.yourwebsite.com)
- WordPress membership plugin (you can use a free one to start)
- You can find a wordpress plugin to accomplish any feature you want to add to your website
Memberful is the underdog of membership software platforms. They may not have as many features in terms of website building, backend course structure, or marketing funnel tools, but what they do great is connecting several different platforms together. This is a great option if you want to create more a community around your membership and want to give your members access to more than just your website content. Memberful is more of a membership community platform than it is a content membership platform.
Memberful integrates closely with Zapier – a service for automating workflows easy with drag and drop. So if you are anything like me and don’t like to get into the nitty-gritty programming side of things, but still want the abilities of a magical tech wizard, Memberful + Zapier might be the platform for you.
- Connects many platforms together
- Makes it easy to build an online subscription service connecting many elements
- You will still need to build your own website seperately
- $0/month +10% of sales
- $25/month + 5% of sales
- $100/month + 5% of sales
This is the ultimate drag and drop subscription website and online course platform for if you want to spend the least amount of time on the techy side of things. You are ready to get your content up and selling now, and you don’t want to mess around with tediously setting up your website. You’re going to have to pay a hefty price tag of $149/month, but this is platform can have you set up with membership website from scratch in just a few hours. We recommend this option if you have a larger budget for your subscription business, and/or you specialize in a less technical industry and don’t want the most efficient solution.
- All-in-one, drag and drop membership site creator
- Extensive E-learning & Course structure tools
- Fastest, most intuitive way to create a membership site from scratch
- $149/month lowest option
- $199/month more contacts, members, features
- $399/month more contacts members, features
Thinkific is another great all-in-one platform for membership and subscription websites. Its not as extensive as Kajabi in terms of sales funnels and prebuilt layout options, but it has plenty of functionality for online learning content and is focused more just on that. What we love about Thinkific is they also have plenty of resources for learning how to grow your own subscription service, and a whole movement behind the platform for evolving your business to the next level. We think its worth giving Thinkific a look if you want a simple membership platform that isn’t going to break the bank.
- Lots of themes and website design options for your membership website
- Best Online Learning & Engagement features available
- (Limited marketing/sales funnels & support)
- Doesn’t take a % of your overall transactions
- Starts at $39/month
- $79/month is the most popular option
- $399/month full option offers unlimited sites and more development features
Teachable is similar to Thinkific – its built more specific for online course learning, without the extra widgets and gizmos of extra sales tools and funnels. Choose a prebuilt layout, pick what types of course content you are including, and upload away. Teachable is super flexible and easy to build on. It includes user analytics tools, and even has an iOS App.
- Plenty of themes and templates for building the membership website you want
- Great functionality for online course, lecture, & learning content
- Drip Content – schedule your lecture sessions for a specific date
- 1-page checkout process (essential for tracking leads and growing sales)
- Doesn’t take a % of your overall transactions
- $29/month + 5% of your transaction fees is the starter plan.
- $99/month & $249/month upgrade paths, with 0% of transactions
These are the top 5 subscription website platforms we think you should consider if you are trying to build a membership website. Again, it is important first to decide what kinds of aspects you are looking for in your website before choosing a platform, to ensure you can integrate.
In our opinion we think its better to build a subscription service that goes beyond online learning courses. In order to build a successful online membership site, you want to build a movement behind your membership and motivate your members beyond just technical learning content. Grow a relationship with your members instead of looking at it from a transactional point of view. This is why we think WordPress and Memberful are really better options in the long run. All-in-one platforms for building membership websites such as Kabaji, Thinkific, and Teachable are great for easily building a website, but to create sustainable revenue you want to focus on bringing people together and inspiring them.