Subscription websites have gained popularity in recent years. This recurring revenue business model is a great way for creators to earn revenue from people who truly appreciate their content.
The great thing about subscription websites is that you can make one for anything you creates, as long as what you create provides enough value to encourage people to pay for a subscription to access it.
Once you discover how to produce unique content or products that people want, there are no limits to what you can do with your subscription site.
Let's learn more about subscription websites, see you how to create one, and check out some awesome examples to get inspired.
What Is a Subscription Website?
A subscription website, also known as a membership website, is a site that requires users to sign up before they can receive access to exclusive content and other offers.
Subscription sites can be used to create private forums or communities, offer special discounts, or offer special intangible services.
Here are a few subscription options that you may provide your users:
- Trial period subscriptions: A free subscription for a set period of time for users to see if they like what the site offers before they pay a recurring fee.
- Paid subscriptions: A charge is associated with the subscription. You can charge a one-time fee, a monthly fee, or a yearly membership fee.
- Free subscriptions: Users have access to great content and offers through your subscription site, and the only thing they provide is their name and contact information.
- Automatic renewal subscriptions: A user’s subscription renews automatically every year, and they are charged a subscription renewal fee (if it is a paid subscription).
- Manual renewal subscriptions: A user must renew their subscription if they wish to continue receiving your gated content or other offers.
No matter what subscription type you choose for your site, you can be sure to reap some pretty great benefits.
The Benefits of Building a Subscription Website
Your content and exclusive offers can be leveraged through a subscription site to help people who truly value what you offer. Here are some of the ways you can benefit when you build your own subscription site:
They Make It Easy to Manage Drip Campaigns.
A subscription website helps you to spread out your content so you can use it for different events and throughout time periods. This is great for companies that have a large library of content that can be used in a specific order.
Drip content features on your subscription website help you to keep your subscribers engaged. If they are able to download all of your content at once, then they may do that and unsubscribe from your site.
You can automate a drip campaign through marketing software, like the HubSpot Marketing Hub.
They Provide You With Content Protection.
Your content is an asset. And it is important to protect your assets. A subscription site provides a secure place for your most valuable content as you deliver content strategically.
This way, site visitors can’t easily copy, steal, or misuse your content.
They Help to Create a Community Platform.
Subscription websites help to gather a community of individuals who are interested in getting an inside look at your business, product, or industry.
Subscription sites make it easy to manage online communities by allowing you to control who can access online forums or Q&As.
You can facilitate open discussions about common interests, and people can learn more about what you do by asking more in-depth questions.
You Can Earn Recurring Revenue From Them.
If you choose to make a paid subscription site, then you can earn passive income from your content.
However, if your business revolves around subscription boxes as a product, then allowing your visitors to only see or purchase select products at a different rate encourages them to sign up for the subscription.
This can increase your conversion rate and positively impact your revenue.
They Help to Create New Marketing Opportunities.
Your subscribers are a ready made group of individuals that can receive information about your new content and product offerings. They will be more likely to purchase your products than your target audience who hasn’t yet subscribed to your site.
6 Steps to Create a Subscription Website
Creating a subscription site may be different on each host or CMS platform. Here are some basic steps for creating a subscription website:
1. Discover Your Niche.
Choosing a good niche is vital to having a successful subscription website. You must find what makes your offerings unique and different from your competitors. It is important to know why a user would want to sign up for a subscription with your company over another company.
To get started, select a niche that relates to your chosen industry that will be interesting to your target audience. You can test your niche until you get it right. Make sure to ask for feedback from your customers to make sure it's working, and tweak the membership options as needed.
2. Select Your Content Offers.
Next, you must decide on which content to offer. You may choose between ebooks, whitepapers, newsletters, courses, or other exclusive products or services.
You may also want to do a combination of various types of content to help you segment your drip campaigns to make your content marketing more personal.
3. Choose Your CMS Platform.
Your CMS site host is an important factor when you decide to make a subscription website. Not every CMS host makes it easy to have gated and un-gated content for your subscribers and visitors.
A good option for hosting is the HubSpot CMS. The HubSpot CMS makes it easy for you to create a membership-based website without the use of plugins.
4. Determine Your Subscription Plans and Pricing.
You can choose from a variety of subscription options for your site. The options you choose are entirely up to you.
It is best to choose options that work with your business offerings and audience. Check out your competitors to get an idea of what their subscription plans and pricing are to help you decide what works best in your industry.
You may decide to offer a free subscription in exchange for your prospects' contact details, or you may decide to charge a specific amount for exclusive content and product offers.
For instance, Fabletics, the athletic wear company, offers a subscription that provides VIPs with special discounts for about $49 per month. Subscribers can choose to skip the months they don't want to shop.
5. Restrict Access to Certain Pages.
Subscribers and non-subscribers should not have the same access to all parts of your site. There has to be something that entices your audience to sign up for a paid or free subscription.
If they can get all of the content they need without subscribing, they are less likely to see a reason to sign up for your subscription.
Restrict pages, but provide a preview of the gated content. This encourages regular site visitors to subscribe so they can gain access to see the rest of your exclusive content.
6. Set Up Membership Levels.
Everyone loves options, including your leads and customers. Your subscription site can have more than one subscription option. You can have different levels with different offers and specials for each level.
Examples of pricing levels include:
- A free subscription
- A free trial subscription
- A premium paid subscription
- An exclusive paid subscription
As you can see, the options are wide open for you to build a successful subscription site that aligns with your business. Fortunately, there are many awesome examples that you can learn from.
The 7 Best Subscription Website Examples
Studying awesome subscription website examples is important because it gets your creative juices flowing. Some of these might inform the direction you want to take.
These examples are a mixture of free subscription access, paid subscriptions, content only subscriptions, or exclusive content and product offers and other perks.
Youpreneur is an online community and training site for up and coming solopreneurs and other people who are starting their own business. The founder, Chris Ducker, has realigned his brand and now has a subscription site through YouPreneur Academy.
YouPreneur's main site has a different domain than his membership site to make it easier to offer gated and un-gated content.
The information on the sales page provides good social proof and sweetens the subscription offer with bonuses. The website is well-designed and has a well-developed community to entice users to sign up.
Subscriptions start at $39 per month.
The popular subscription-based site Fizzle is for online business owners who want to boost their chances of success. Their members gain access to premium content, group coaching, webinars, and a discussion forum where they can interact with other business owners.
Fizzle keeps simple, free content in their blog to help draw in subscribers. They also attract people by offering the first month for just $1!
The normal subscription price is $39 per month, with options to cancel at any time.
Blue Apron is a popular meal delivery service that sends easy-to-make meals right to their customers' front doors. Members that sign up with Blue Apron can choose between three subscription options based on their dietary needs.
They receive all the ingredients they need to make chef-inspired meals. The price breaks down to around $6 per serving with their current promotion – $20 off your first three boxes.
They also have a wine subscription service. You can even purchase wine, accessories, and gifts without a subscription.
Ipsy is a fun makeup sample subscription service that provides subscribers with five makeup items per month for $12.
The membership is customizable based on what the user likes and their skin tone. This site allows non-members to shop their curated products, but they don't receive the exclusive membership pricing.
For instance, they have a Skincare Faves kit that is $59.99 for members and $403.98 for non-members. Deep discounts are a great way to encourage shoppers to sign up for the membership.
Copyblogger is a premier blogging site that uses their awesome content to draw prospects in.
They have a large library of free resources on content marketing and copywriting that requires prospects to sign up for a free membership to receive the 100,000 words of content. They also give their audience the option to upgrade with a paid membership.
With a paid membership, people receive access to more marketing training and high-quality ebooks. They also offer a community forum for paid members where they can connect with people who have similar interests in content marketing to exchange thoughts and ideas.
Pencil Kings is a site that helps artists sharpen their skills. Professional artists create online courses for Pencil Kings and offer them to paying members.
The Pencil Kings community now has over 8,000 members that participate in collegiate-level classes that train them well enough to gear them toward art careers.
The memberships typically run around $29.95 per month or $299 per year. Each plan has a three day trial period so interested individuals can try out a class or two before they fully commit.
They also have courses they offer to the public for flat rates, but users get more for their money when they subscribe.
eHarmony is a popular dating site that is subscription based. The cool thing about subscription sites is that you can offer almost anything, even connections for singles like eHarmony does.
They let their users start for free to reel them in so they subscribe long term or until they find that special someone.
Their membership costs are tiered based on how long you intend to be on the site. The basic plan costs $59.95 per month for one month, $39.95 for the three month plan, and the 12 month plan is $19.95 a month.
They offer a level up that offers users a more in-depth analysis of the data provided in their profile to set them up with better matches, verified accounts, and safe phone calls.
Subscription websites are an exciting way to build a community that is loyal to your brand. Offering exclusive deals and content to your members can help to encourage long-term commitment to your brand.
Making your content truly unique for your subscription site is a great way to market your business. Find a CMS, like the HubSpot CMS Hub, and get started building your community, earning recurring revenue, and growing your business.