9 Inspiring Membership Sites and Why They’re Successful

by | Aug 5, 2023 | How To

Membership sites are an attractive proposition for pretty much anyone who wants to build an extra stream of revenue. With social media increasingly noisier and user attention spans getting shorter, creating a membership website is an effective way to offer exclusive content and services in a controlled environment — digital real estate you own and control.

Not all membership sites are created equal, though. Some work very well and generate six figures for their owners, others flop after just a few months.

What is the difference between them — and how can you reverse-enginerr this for your own project?

We took a deep dive, took a look at some of the most successful membership sites of the moment, and analyzed their success stories.

Keep reading to find out more.

Why Build a Membership Site?

There are many ways to generate revenue online — but membership sites pose unique advantages. The most essential ones include:

Efficient Use of Your Time and Money

A membership site allows you to monetize your content in the form of recurring revenue — with minimal effort. Once you’ve created a product or service and set up the members-only website, there’s very little that needs to be done on an ongoing basis.


Certain types of content are best kept exclusive, and membership sites are perfect for this. This also means that members have an incentive to stay long-term, since the content they’ve paid for is not available anywhere else.

Building a Community

Membership sites provide an opportunity to build deeper relationships with your users — something social media cannot do by itself. Creating exclusive groups, private forums, and communities allows you to have an active dialogue with your customers and build trust and loyalty.

Perceived Value

Although this may be hard to believe, most people associate value with something they pay for, rather than something they get for free. At the same time, free allow you to attract your target audience, nurture, and convert them into paid customers. For this reason, membership sites offer you the best of both worlds: the value of premium products and the ease of access related to freebies.


Nothing beats an active, engaged, and loyal community: they will not only be your promoters and evangelists, but also your best customer support. An active membership site provides you with the tools to build such a community through exclusive content and features and help create deeper relationships with your members.

Top 9 Membership Sites to Inspire You

There are a lot of amazing, successful membership sites out there. Some of the most notable ones include:

Magnetic Memory Method


Who doesn’t want a memory worthy of a TV series hero, where every single detail is stored neatly in their brain? Magnetic Memory Method provides an easy-to-follow method to become a master of memorization.

This membership site provides complimentary content, products, and an impressive blog upfront. However, the true success lies in his exclusive behind-the-scenes program, showcasing the effectiveness of a targeted niche and a robust sales funnel.

With a gentle approach, he establishes trust, leading individuals into his limited-time online program. Additionally, there’s a continuity program for those who wish to remain members, attracting a considerable number of participants.

Tilly and the Buttons


Tilly and the Buttons is a membership site focused on providing sewing workshops to its members. It also offers a lot of free information on the blog, as well as their newsletter.

This is remarkable niche membership site founded by Tilly Walnes. The site’s content resonates with its target audience, using terms like “lengthening the bodice,” “easy-to-thread overlocker,” and “making your own bias binding.” This tailored approach creates a sense of belonging, making visitors feel understood and appreciate



KetoConnect‘s membership site is an outstanding example of what this model can achieve. They go beyond the traditional approach of merely offering memberships and content access. Instead, KetoConnect has evolved into a thriving business hub, showcasing a diverse range of products, including books, eBooks, online courses, physical items, and more.

Lifestyle niches like keto present numerous opportunities to engage members and customers with additional offerings beyond content. While newcomers might initially seek recipe books or cooking courses, they soon discover a need for cookware, specialty ingredients, health supplements, and other related products. Furthermore, as individuals achieve their weight loss goals, they might require a new wardrobe. KetoConnect has adeptly tapped into these opportunities, creating a comprehensive and enriching experience for its audience.

The Point Magazine


Unlike the sites we’ve reviewed, The Point offers a distinctive membership experience. As a print and digital literary magazine, it provides its devoted subscribers with insightful essays covering literature, culture, politics, and the arts. The magazine’s primary mission is to promote profound and focused thinking in the digital age.

The Point is a prime example of adapting the traditional subscription model to the digital world. While newspapers and magazines have long relied on subscriptions, independent magazines like The Point now have the advantage of connecting with their readers through their preferred channels of consumption: either print or digital.

For its community of subscribers, The Point offers three distinct options for accessing their valuable content, making their content accessible to multiple types of members.



Pianu is a fascinating niche membership site that offers gamified, browser-based piano education. Created by entrepreneur Matt Curney, Pianu’s mission is to make piano learning interactive, fun, and accessible to all, akin to playing a video game like Guitar Hero. Even without a MIDI keyboard, users can begin tapping out tunes like Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star on their computer or laptop keyboards.

Pianu’s acquisition strategy is centered on “free-to-paid.” In other words, you can sign in quickly and get a free membership, but as you progress beyond the basics, you will be enticed to make an upgrade.

More than 50,000 members have signed up for Pianu, showing that the power of gamification, when combined with an irresistible offer and outstanding user experience, is hard to beat.

Why Are These Membership Sites So Successful?

There’s no universal secret to successful membership sites, that’s for sure. But looking at the examples above, you can see there are some characteristics they all have in common:

They Focus on a Niche

In all of the examples above, the sites focus on a particular niche that provides them with an edge. They specialize in topics and interests that are not widely covered, making it easier to attract their target audience.

They Offer Unique, Expertise-Driven Content

Whether you’re talking about content posted on blogs or exclusive members-only content, each of these sites offers unique content that can’t be found anywhere else. This ensures an enjoyable experience for members and drives them to renew their membership or upgrade it.

They (Mostly) Have a Free Access Level

Most of the membership sites mentioned above have a free access level, allowing users to explore the content before fully committing. This strategy allows them to test out the content and understand if it’s worth paying for.

They Provide a Comprehensive Member Experience

The membership sites highlighted here go beyond offering exclusive content — they create an entire experience that can keep people engaged for years on end. Whether it’s through the interactive content provided by Pianu, or through the variety of products offered by KetoConnect, these sites create an atmosphere that feels inviting and inspiring.

They Provide A Lot of Value

None of the membership websites mentioned above is basic, in any way. They all offer value to their members, providing them access to exclusive content and personalized experiences. The content on these sites is premium from every point of view and it makes people see the real value in paying for a membership.

They Have a Unique Brand and Tone of Voice

The sites mentioned above all have a well-defined brand and tone of voice. Through carefully crafted content, these sites display their personality and mission clearly to visitors. They make it easier for people to identify with the site’s values and goals and this helps them build long-lasting relationships with members.


All in all, membership websites are an effective way to engage and monetize your niche audience. From providing exclusive content to offering a comprehensive user experience, these sites have all the elements necessary for success. By understanding their strategies and following in their footsteps, you can create an engaging membership site that provides value for years to come.

Of course, creating a successful membership website requires attention to detail and dedication. It also requires a solid platform you can build your idea on (such as WordPress and Ultimate Membership Pro as the membership site plugin, for example.)

But most importantly, it requires passion. If you want to rank among the successful membership sites, pursue the things that make your heart beat faster. That’s where your niche is.

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