Content Restriction: Everything You Need to Know

by | Mar 5, 2023 | Resources

Content restriction is like a superpower: it allows you to build a community, control the conversation, and protect your audience. But like any superpower, it requires a bit of practice to get it right — particularly if your goal is to use content restriction to increase your membership site’s revenue.

In this article, we’re taking a closer look at content restriction: what it is, why you need it, and how to use it efficiently. Let’s dive in!

What Is Content Restriction? How Does It Work?

Content restriction allows website owners to manage how visitors can interact with content on their website or app. It’s often used by businesses to ensure that only people in certain age groups, locations, or with certain permission have access to content.

Content restriction can be implemented in a number of different ways: it could be as straightforward as setting up a password-protected page, or as sophisticated as using an API to restrict access based on membership levels. In some cases, content restriction is also used to create paywalls so that visitors must make a purchase (or sign up for a freemium or a newsletter) before accessing premium content.

Content restriction can be used both for security purposes (e.g., you’re still working on a landing page for a new feature for your product, and you don’t want any strangers — or competitors — peeking in) and for community-building purposes. In this article, we’ll refer to content restriction from the community-building perspective.

login content restriction

Benefits of Content Restriction

Content restriction allows you to be in control of how your content is fed to your audience. It also grants you the ability to create exclusive content, which is often helpful in cultivating a community of loyal members and driving revenue from your membership site.

Content restriction can help you create a sense of exclusivity and urgency. By restricting content access to those with permission, you make it more likely that members will see the content they’re looking for, while also giving them the incentive to join or upgrade their membership. This will also help you build a larger and more engaged community of members, as well as create some buzz around your brand, ideas, or products.

Finally, content restriction can help you identify which topics are most popular among your audience or members, and which topics aren’t worth exploring further. This information can be invaluable in helping you create content that’s more tailored to your audience’s needs (and thus, more likely to keep them close to your business.)

How to Set Up Content Restriction

Fortunately, setting up content restriction is as easy as clicking a couple of buttons. With a tool like Ultimate Membership Pro, all you need is to install our plugin and restrict the pages you only want people in a specific category to see.

For instance, let’s say you have fifty articles on your website. If twenty-five of them are advanced-level, you can restrict them from being viewed by non-members, or even members with a certain membership level. This way, those who’ve paid for higher-level membership get exclusive access to the higher-level content.

Content restriction is helpful for managing different levels of membership: it allows you to offer different types of content for each level, without having to manually manage access levels.

How to Decide What Content to Restrict

Setting up the content restriction “machine” is easy when you have the right tool. What you do have to put some thought into is which specific types of content/ pages you want to restrict. It’s a delicate game, as you want to show enough for people to be curious (and potentially interested to pay you for your content). But at the same time, you also don’t want to give away the farm.

The key is to think carefully about what content you want to keep exclusive, and why. Some of the questions to ask yourself include:

  • What topics are popular among my audience?
  • What content could I restrict that would be valuable to my members, while preventing it from being freely available to everyone?
  • What kind of content do I want to reserve for higher-level members only, and why?
  • What’s in it for my members? Why would they subscribe or pay for the higher-tiered content?
  • How can I drive more people to subscribe for free, and then slowly nurture them into paying for higher-level access?

Once you have answers to these questions, it’s time to set up the content restrictions.

Content Restriction Strategies and Tactics to Consider

Restricting content isn’t rocket science, but that doesn’t mean you should do it thoughtlessly. Setting up a good strategy and picking your tactics wisely is extremely important for your success. Here are some strategies you might want to consider:

Free Trial

Offer a free trial period, during which members have access to certain exclusive content. This will help them get an idea of what kind of content you’re offering, and why they should stick around.

Free Tiers with Limited Access

Create different tiers of membership, giving each one access to more content and features. This allows members to start with a lower-cost tier, slowly progressing through the tiers as they become more comfortable with (and confident in) your content.


Add incentives to join or upgrade their membership, such as discounts, exclusive content, or any other offers you can think of.

Free Tier and Nurturing Leads

Offer enough content in your free tier to be useful and helpful, while slowly nurturing leads through additional emails or newsletters. Remember to always focus on the benefits they get for joining or upgrading their membership.

tracking and measuring membership site

Top 5 Mistakes to Avoid with Content Restriction

When running a membership site based on content restriction, remember to avoid these mistakes, as they can have a tremendous effect on your efforts:

Over-restricting Content

When you over-restrict content, you’re not giving people enough of a taste to get interested in subscribing. You need to offer enough content that people can see the value and be tempted to join your membership site.

Think of it this way: if you were standing in front of a sampling table, you wouldn’t just show someone the box and expect them to buy it? You’d give them a sample first, so they can make an impression, and then you’d talk them into making a purchase. The same principle applies to membership site content too.

Poor Communication

Make sure you communicate clearly and in an engaging way. Your members should be aware of what they get when signing up, and what they can expect from the different membership tiers. Be crystal-clear in every message and every email, to make sure everyone understands what they get, how to get it, and why it is good for them.

Lack of Consistency

Be consistent when it comes to creating content. If you want people to stay around and upgrade their membership, they need to be sure that a steady stream of content is coming their way. Not only that, but make sure the content is of high quality and relevant to your audience’s needs.

Lack of Flexibility

Make sure you offer a range of payment options and plans. Not everyone will be able to pay the full price, or even the minimum price. Giving people options is important and letting them choose the one that fits their needs is important. Plus, if your entire content restriction system doesn’t allow for bypasses, you might miss out on marketing opportunities, such as coupons, discounts, collaborations with influencers, or other promotional activities.

Failure to Monitor

Tracking and measuring is key to the success of any content restriction strategy. You need to track key metrics, such as page views, sign-ups, and other indicators that can tell you more about how your content restriction strategy works. If something isn’t right, you need to take action immediately and tweak things until they are running as smoothly as possible.


Content restriction is an important part of keeping your members engaged and interested in what you offer. By following the strategies and avoiding the mistakes outlined above, you can ensure that your content restriction system is set up for success.

It’s important to remember that content restriction, while powerful in its own right, is just one tool of many you can use to run a successful membership site. Don’t forget to also focus on creating valuable, engaging, and relevant content for your target audience.

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