How to Use a WordPress Membership Plugin to Earn Side Income for Your Business

Posted by Ann Taylor last updated on November 1, 2018


ARMember - Email Marketing



If you run your business website on WordPress (good idea, by the way), you are most likely always looking for fresh ideas to utilize in your niche and create more income channels.

What if I told a WordPress membership website is one of them?

That’s right, providing an exclusive member-only premium content / products is not necessary the primary business, though it is so for many entrepreneurs. Creating a WordPress membership website / area is a great idea to add value to your existing, established business.

Put simply, it doesn’t require shifting your business focus completely, but if you consider making it part of your strategy, well, you can expand your brand and find new customers!

Let’s now cover all whys and hows in a greater detail.

Why Create a Membership Website + WordPress Membership Website Ideas


How to hit your million dollar membership idea?

Let’s face it - it doesn't open up opportunities for everyone, but in many cases, you can base your membership around anything ranging from a simple lead magnet to a full-fledged online course.

You are the only person who can pinpoint a perfect membership idea for your website. Surely, this should be something in consistence with your business realities and customer needs.

Here is our list of the main benefits a membership website can yield, plus, several real-world membership ideas for your inspiration.

1.Refresh your business with sub-branding

Have you thought about setting new business goals? Creating a new service? Since a membership doesn’t require changing everything in your current roadmap, you can create your membership-based sub-brand, with no risk to your major product or service.

Take Basecamp - a renowned company. Apart from providing a top-notch project management software, these guys earned thousands of dollars from a side project - “Rework” - a bestseller business book, in which they shared their own tips on how to run a business.

rework book

Should I mention that in addition to the huge revenue, they gained more popularity and trust worldwide?

The main point is, when your business is evolving, there is always space for a companion project or whatever applies to you. On top of that, an idea of a premium member area as a side product perfectly fits into the present day - people love cost-effectiveness such solutions often provide.

If you have already gained niche knowledge and skills, people are ready to pay to pick up your brain. And it shouldn’t necessary be face to face!

Here are some membership ideas you can employ:

  • Online courses. They can be free or premium depending on how quality content you are going to provide. This sort of membership website is perfectly suited for consulting companies or coaches, social media and marketing companies, experienced travel bloggers and yoga instructors, teachers and so forth. You can create multimedia or standard lectures and offer them as an alternative to your consulting service. As a consultant, this will help you avoid a time-for-money trap still keeping a “conversation” with your customers. This is a perfect way to make your online portfolio more attractive and, moreover, create a channel for passive income!

  • VIP member club for creative industry representatives. In terms of this membership solution, you can provide special discounts, tickets, posters and more content that is relevant to your community.

  • Bodybuilding communities or healthy nutrition guides. Create workout plans, meal plans or the like involving maximum customer personalization. Many marketing strategists call such online membership solutions “the next frontier of fitness” as they generally cost less than personal training services.

  • Research institutions that share unique research and statistics results. If you carry out specific niche research quite often, don’t be afraid to share results of all stages on a paid basis. Why do people pay for Harvard Business Review articles? Quality information is a very expensive asset today and people are ready to pay for it, so this idea is already validated. You can easily implement it with content dripping.

  • News portal with member-only content and article catalogues.


Get people hooked into your sub-brand and later find them as users of your key product.

2. Membership can add value to your current product lineup
A supplement membership area can help you make your current product or service more interesting and holistic, serving your customers much better than your competitor does.

If you work in the direction of making your clients feel more privileged - overdeliver, and it will definitely pay off. Adding an extra value to your product is a tried and trusted way to outperform your competitor.

How can you utilize a membership mechanism in this case?



    • A training area for your typical customer. If you are able to create a structured step-by-step guide on how to get better results and reach success while working with your product / in your niche and provide actionable tips, this will help you get product support more automated and increase its overall value.




If customers get results, they will refer their friends and family!

3. Diversify the product line with tiered membership levels
If you sell different digital products or services, a WordPress membership plugin can help you shape different suites of products / services to serve different needs. Scale the price to fit each business and let them choose!

For example, if you sell software with extensions, you may also offer prospects register as members of your club and offer them to download all products at a discounted price. Some people will need one or two products only, others would be happy to benefit from your membership program.

Here is one of your options:

  • Tiered suites of downloadable products + optional services available for members only.


4. Position yourself as the go-to industry expert
If you manage to become an educator in your niche, that’s a proven path to build a strong relationship with the current members and increase your odds to get more referrals.

In terms of a membership area, these can be:

  • Mentoring platforms

  • Premium webinars, events and meetups.


5. Grow your email list with a super-powerful, irresistible lead magnet
Let’s admit it - "sign up for our newsletter" or "download our free guide" don’t work that wonders anymore. Moreover, not every client is ready to pay you outright.

Go an extra mile and give people a self-serve access to your expertise (e.g. a step-by-step course) in exchange for their email address. If you offer a special chunk of value with the membership area, you definitely increase your chances to get contact information and create clients out of prospects.

How to put it to work?

  • Free online training course. Typically, a lead magnet is based on a completely free product/service, so you can offer a free access as a part of your lead magnet strategy. Also, it can be just an entry-level version that is free (a free trial period), while the entire course is premium. Technically, it’s absolutely doable with a WordPress Membership plugin like ARForms.


In the long run, you can build a more sustainable model of systematic lead generation.

Use a WordPress Membership Plugin to Build a Self-Serve Online Club Easily


Implementing a membership area into your WordPress website is not an overwhelming experience anymore!

There are tons of solutions that are going to nickel and dime you for every feature, but the beauty of WordPress is that it unlocks the most cost-effective options for you with plugins. We proudly consider ARMember WordPress Membership plugin to be one of those plugins.

It’s a perfect thing to create a powerful membership website from scratch.

Let’s briefly highlight the most important features you can make use of with ARMember:

  • Pricing models of all types - yearly or monthly billing, recurring payments, etc.

  • Flexibility in content restriction rules and content dripping

  • A breeze in setup for a non-tech WordPress user

  • Powerful WordPress contact form mechanism integrated for free

  • Easy member registration via social networks

  • Seamless integration with WooCommerce plugin to activate dozens of online payment gateways

  • A choice of member profile templates

  • A straightforward member management

  • Badges and achievements to add a gamification twist to your membership website

  • The functionality gets deeper with dozens of optional extensions to add more tools to your website


wordpress membership plugin Add-ons


  • BuddyPress plugin support to create and manage membership conversations and online meetups.


As you see, there is no limitation to a type of membership website you can create with ARMember. This WordPress Membership plugin always has some features in the pipeline, so you can be sure it’s up-to-date.

Best Membership Website Practices to Keep in Mind


Even though it’s really easy to set up and manage a WordPress membership area fromt the technical standpoint, creating valuable content doesn’t come easy.

The biggest downside is, of course, the upfront investment you have to make. Passive income always requires initial time and money resources, but the simple truth is, it will pay off over time.

Probably you’ll even need to ask more people to come on board that can help you get the things from A to B.

Still, if you plan to do it all yourself, we’ve put together some generally recommended tips:

  1. Give people only well-research and quality membership content.

  2. Be super selective - serve the needs of your typical customer (have a clear idea in mind of who your customer persona is).

  3. Be straightforward in providing tiered membership levels.

  4. Provide a user-friendly membership experience.

  5. Reward members with coupons, badges and other perks.


Bottom line


There are different ways you can make use of the ARMember plugin to earn side income for your existing business: turn your industry expertise into a purchasing club, build a more sustainable lead generation strategy, get more automated in product support, add more value to your business to stay ahead of your competitor, become an industry expert, you name it.

So are you ready to roll up the sleeves and build your next source of passive income?

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