Membership Prices, Explained: How to Know How Much to Charge for Your Membership Site

by | Jan 22, 2023 | How To

Owning a membership site is an excellent way to add a new stream of income to your business (and there are a lot of reasons now’s the best time to start your membership site, by the way). However, it can be difficult to decide how much to charge for your membership, as there are a variety of factors that go into membership prices.

How to know how much to charge for your memberships?

Let’s take a look at the main things to consider when deciding your membership prices.

First Things First: Recurring Payments vs. One-Time Payments

If you want to know how to set the best membership prices for your site, you should first decide whether to offer a recurring or one-time payment option.

Sure, subscription website businesses are increasingly popular — but that doesn’t mean every membership site in the world should ascribe to the same business model. Sometimes, one-time payments are not only better fitting but also more advantageous for you as the membership site admin.

Many reasons make subscription/ recurring payments a good option. First of all, they allow you to charge members on an ongoing basis and give them access to your membership site indefinitely. This also means that you will have a better handle of your membership site’s cash flow and the amount of money you are making from it.

Meanwhile, charging a one-time payment are often more attractive to new customers because they don’t require a long-term commitment. This can be particularly useful if you are targeting one time buyers or customers who have a short-term need or want. Moreover, one-time payments can also be a good option if you are offering more premium content that requires customers to pay more upfront.

Some types of membership sites that fit the subscription/ recurring payment model include:

  • Online learning communities
  • Networking groups
  • Course and training websites

Meanwhile, one-time payment models are more suitable for:

  • Product or service bundles
  • Online event tickets
  • Content libraries or archives

These are not rules set in stone, though — so before you decide on your membership prices and their model, take a look at what you offer and which model would benefit you and your members the most.

How to Determine Your Membership Prices

There are five main factors to consider before deciding on your membership prices:

Value of Content

The first thing to think about is what kind of content you are offering your members. Is it something that they could find elsewhere? Do they need it to accomplish their goals? Knowing the value of what you offer is extremely important, for many reasons:

  • You can position your membership site (and membership prices)
  • You can (very roughly) estimate how many people would be likely to join your membership site
  • It enables you to determine if you should improve your content

For instance, if you’re a business consultant and you are providing people with a one-on-one consultation — that’s something they can’t really get anywhere else. So you should consider charging a higher price for it.

Here’s a quick resource to help you better understand what perceived value is and how to leverage it to your advantage.

Membership site content value

Target Audience

On the other hand, if you’re selling an online course, and there are a lot of options out there already — you may need to consider offering discounts or promotions in order to attract new customers and nurture/ up-sell them into higher membership prices later on.

The second important factor to consider is your target audience:

Who are you trying to sell the membership site to?

  • What do these people need from you — or what are the things they want?
  • Where do they hang out? Who are the people they follow on social media
  • What kind of learning or membership site system works best for them?
  • What are they aspiring to, and what kind of content do they need to get there?

For example, if you’re targeting people in the fitness and health industry, it would make sense to offer a lower membership price for those who are just starting or who have a limited budget. But if you’re targeting experienced professionals, you can offer more premium packages at higher prices.

The goals your target audience has can also influence your membership prices. To circle back on the fitness vs. professionals example above, someone looking to get fit will not necessarily assign a monetary value to their goal. So they’re unlikely to pay a premium price for your membership site. However, someone looking to step up at work and make, say, $30,000 more a year is likely to want to invest more money in a comprehensive course or system with proven results.


The third factor is competition: what are other people offering in your specific niche, and how can you make your membership site stand out? If the membership prices for similar content in your niche are lower, it may be a good idea to offer discounts or promotions to entice customers.

On the other hand, if prices for similar content are already high and your membership site is new to the game, it might be a good idea to come up with a lower membership price to attract new customers.

Do keep in mind, however, that your membership prices shouldn’t be a race to the bottom. The cheaper you sell, the less value people perceive in your content. Plus, if your prices are too low you risk not reaching your membership site revenue goal.

At the end of the day, it’s all about balance and you should find a sweet spot between competitiveness, value, and your business goals.

Membership site competition

Business Cost\Revenue

Finally, you need to consider your own business costs — what does it cost you to create and run a membership site and what are your revenue goals?

Some elements you should include in your membership site cost include:

  • Domain and hosting for your website
  • WordPress membership site plugins
  • Payment processor fees
  • Content creation fees (writing, editing, graphic design, motion design, etc.)
  • Support and customer service costs

Plus, you should also set your own revenue goals. How much do you need to make in order to cover your costs, make a profit, and continue growing?

Once you know the answers to these questions, you can then determine what kind of membership prices you can afford to practice.


Finally, it’s important to consider risk when setting your membership prices. How much are you risking by investing in a certain membership price?

For example, if you set your membership prices too low and no one signs up, you’re risking a lot as far as your business, and revenue goals are concerned. On the other hand, if you set your prices too high, you’re risking having no one buy or sign up for your membership site.

The best way to approach this is by carefully analyzing the market, testing various prices and measuring their success over time. This way, you can make sure that your membership prices are in line with what the market will bear, and that you’re maximizing your profits without taking too much of a risk.

Membership prices risks


When setting prices for your membership site, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Although there are many suggestions on what the “sweet spot” is, the truth is that it really depends on your specific business model, target audience, competition and cost/revenue goals. The best way to find your sweet spot is by testing different membership prices, asking your audience what they think (even when they cancel their membership), and adapting as you go. Remember: your goal should be finding the right membership prices to provide enough perceived value and help you increase your retention rate.

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