Community Membership Sites Are Thriving. Here’s How to Build Yours

by | Nov 22, 2022 | How To

The Creator Economy is on the rise — and community membership sites play a huge role in how this new, digital economy is flourishing. How to be part of this story and how to create a community of your own?

In this article, we take a closer look at community membership, how to build one, and how to keep your community members engaged.

Data Doesn’t Lie

In 2017, it was estimated that 17 million Americans made money by posting their creations on nine platforms. This was already an increase of more than 2.4 million creators (as compared to what data showed in 2016.)

What’s even more interesting is that WordPress ranked second in the top most profitable channels to share on, with 4,851,266 people made $347,737,771 on this platform.

Since 2017, the Creator Economy has only continued to increase. By 2021, almost a quarter of those who considered themselves “content creators” earned a decent $50,000/ year doing something they love. In 2022, the Creator Economy market is worth more than $104 billion.

Building a community membership site is one of the best ways to tap into this huge market. Community WordPress sites are easier than ever to build. People are flocking away from large influencers and “hiding” in more intimate communities on the internet. You have all the good reasons to create a community and share your expertise and story there.

community building

Smart Tactics to Attract & Engage Community Members

If you’re keen on building a community membership site, you know the importance of…community. Sure, many would imagine “community” refers to people helping each other — but the reality of the matter is that most people join communities to help themselves first and then help others.

Just think of it: did you join that local Facebook real estate group or parenting group because you wanted to help others? Chances are you had questions — and the community provided them with what you needed. 

Sure, you may have chipped in to help others as well, but essentially, you went there to fulfill a need.

Essentially, being an active, engaged part of any community membership site is all about the value you get there, whether that value is based on information, reassurance, or overcoming a struggle. The more of what you need you to find in your chosen community, the more likely it is you’ll succeed.

How to reverse-engineer this and attract more community member registration and engagement on your site? Here are a few smart tactics good community creators use:

Your Community Isn’t for Everyone

It’s important to understand you’re not building a community membership site for everyone. Your community members should have something in common, some sort of interest that binds them together. Your community isn’t for everyone — it’s for those who are genuinely interested in your specific niche.

Include an On-site Forum

An on-site community forum is a great way to encourage community members to engage with each other. Ask your community members questions, give them polls, and share discussion topics. All of this will encourage community involvement.

Keep It Small with the Forum Sections

The community members should not be overwhelmed by the forum sections. Don’t create too many forums, especially at first. Keep it simple, small, and manageable on all ends. Otherwise, community members might feel overwhelmed by the number of forum topics and this might prevent them from actually engaging in discussions.

Use a Seed Group

A seed group is a great way to create community engagement right off the bat. Look for people who are already talking about topics related to your community and invite them in. This will give your community an early boost and make it easier to engage community members from the start.

Be Realistic with Your Expectations

The reality of the matter is that most communities can be a challenge to build. Power is in the numbers (and how much the community members are willing to engage with each other.) As a general rule, you should expect 90% of the community members to be lurkers, 9% will be regular users, and 1% will be “power” users (who are there almost every day, engage in a lot of discussions, and so on.)

Use Your Community to Create Content for Your Community

Community-driven content is another great way to get your members’ attention and encourage community engagement. Ask your community members questions, then use that community-driven content to create blog posts and further engage community members as they read it.

community membership

Be an Example

Be an example for community members. Lead by example and set the community culture you want to cultivate. Great community creators are humble, generous, active community members that community members can look up to.

Make Sure Community-Building Features Are Switched On

Make sure that community-building features like the community forum, status updates, and private messaging are switched on. Also, remember to keep all community members informed about community-related announcements and updates.

Get Friends and Staff to Make Some Noise

If you have friends in your community or if you have people working with you, asking them to make a little bit of noise can be a completely acceptable way to get community members involved.

Share Content on a Regular Basis

Share content with your community membership, but don’t make it all about your content. Share articles, blog posts, social media posts, or videos created by other content creators in your niche (or even by members of your own community.) Doing this can encourage community members to start conversations and engage in discussions.

Keep a Discussion Inspiration List

Running out of ideas on what to talk about in your community membership site? Keep a discussion inspiration list. This can include topics related to your community, questions you can ask community members, or any other ideas that come to mind. The simplest spreadsheet can be a complete life-saver when you need topics to discuss with community members.

Create a Newsletter

Creating a newsletter is another great way to engage community members. Send members curated content from your community, let them know about upcoming events, and use the newsletter to keep community members informed and entertained, even when they don’t actively engage in the community.

Use WordPress for Your Community Membership Site

As mentioned before, WordPress is one of the easiest ways to build a community membership site. You’ll only need a basic site and Ultimate Membership Pro, which is a plug-in you can easily install on your WordPress website to gain access to a multitude of membership site features, such as:

  • Community forum
  • Private Messaging
  • Community profiles
  • Community member registration
  • …And more

All you have to do is download the plugin, sign up for Ultimate Membership Pro (the lowest pricing tier starts at $59 for a one-time payment.), and then install it on your WordPress website to make magic happen.

That’s the easy part. Now comes the community building and engagement part — which isn’t exactly a walk in the park. Building a community requires patience, effort, and commitment. You need to be active and engaging community members, providing value to them, and being there for them every step of the way.

Sure, it might take a bit of time and effort until your community really takes off — but the results of your hard work will make it all worth it!

You might also like