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Top 10 Membership Site Models

Updated: Mar 16

Memberships for sites are great if they are designed correctly. They allow many users the ability to get exclusive information within a closed community. We believe that these top 10 membership site models are perfect for ensuring your site’s success.

There are, however, many membership site models. Knowing which one to use can be difficult and confusing. We at Pelcro recommend testing each membership site model or researching the various models.

If you have any questions regarding what membership model to use, please comment below or contact us. We would love to help.

Top 10 Membership Site Models:

The Online Community:

This membership model is one of the more popular models. You charge users a set amount monthly, or at whatever rate, for access to private forums, content etc.

If users no longer pay or unsubscribe, they will lose access to the content until they sign up once more.

This membership model creates exclusivity. It also increases the value of your content as users will not be able to view it without signing up.

However, you must ensure that your content is of high quality to ensure that users stick around.

This is a definite must-use in our top 10 membership site models list.

Community based models are a great choice for exclusive content found only on your site.

Community-based models are a great choice for exclusive content found only on your site. Source.


This model is also another largely used one. It incorporates both free and paid content onto your site. Users can access your site for free and some content as well without a cost. However, “premium” content is found behind a paywall or subscription service.

This membership model can improve your sites traffic count as it allows users to get a taste of what your content offers before signing up. This can also improve your site’s credibility.

The Drip Service:

The drip service is quite common in its use and offers an exclusive community, enticing users to sign-up to view content. A site that uses this “drip service” membership model is Patreon.

Patreon enables fans of content creators to subscribe to their favourite creator in varying levels of subscription options. The creators then release content routinely for their fans that are exclusive to those subscribers.

Online Courses:

Many influencers and entrepreneurs offer this membership model. This model is focused purely on education and can be run in multiple ways.

The most important criticism of this membership model is that if you do not have a method to entice users to stay subscribed, such as routine bonuses, users may download content and unsubscribe.

Multiple methods can be used to combat this. These methods include online classes and tests to progress to the next content etc.

This membership model is one of the more unique models. However, if performed correctly, can be highly successful.

Out of our top 10 membership site models list, we highly recommend this model if you are focusing on monetising guides or lessons. If paired with a social media following, this model can grow your userbase passively.

Course-based models are perfect for conducting exclusive classes for users.

Course-based models are perfect for conducting exclusive classes for users. Source.

The Upfront Cost:

This model is quite straightforward in its use and has a long history of being implemented by sites. “The upfront cost” model is exactly what its name implies, an upfront cost that users must pay to access content.

The user is then able to access every page and content found on the site.

A criticism of this model is that users can download content once they have paid, and share it or sell it to others. This can result in loss of revenue.

The Content-Mill:

Although the name can result in a negative view, in theory, this model can be highly successful if done correctly.

The model focuses on producing content on a regular basis, typically daily. If you focus on content being of a high quality, your growth results may rise quicker than these other methods.

When choosing how to monetise this model, you can decide between a variety of choices. Typically, a freemium type model is chosen with advertisements for increased revenue.

The Product Model:

The product model can work in a couple of ways. Users can purchase a product, such as a tutorial, and be sent a download link via email or message to access. Users may also be able to purchase a product and access it via the site.

The product model works especially well if the content is found in video form on the website once purchased, as it will be on the site’s server and harder to steal.

Multiple products are usually on sale, however, and because of this, each product may have a cost or the site may have a one-time payment fee.

The Fixed Model:

This model is easy to implement and it enables users to know exactly what they will be getting out of the site when signing up.

The fixed model runs content for users for a select period, and once the period is over, the user’s subscription and membership is cancelled.

This model may work well if integrated with the online course approach. You can enable users to sign up for a course for a select period, and once completed, users lose their membership.

The Hybrid:

If you have tested a few of these membership models and haven’t decided which one to continue to use, try implementing parts of each together.

Many sites use various models together as it allows greater flexibility to adapt the model to your own idea and vision.

The hybrid is a perfect way to create a model that suits your site and its needs, alongside your user’s needs. Each membership model isn’t always suited for each site, but by using the hybrid model, you can create a model that is exactly what you need.

The Forum:

If you have many users of your site that love communicating with each other and sharing ideas on certain topics, this model is perfect for you.

The forum purely focuses on a forum based approach and is ultimately community-based.

This method would work best if alongside a large social media following and your site is to accompany your other platform accounts.

An example of this would be if you have a large YouTube following and you wish to bring your discussion over to a private forum. You can monetise your forum behind an upfront or monthly fee.

The forum purely focuses on a forum based approach and is ultimately community-based.

The forum purely focuses on a forum based approach and is ultimately community-based. Source.

Out of these top 10 membership site models, which model is your site using? Let us know down in the comments below!

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us!


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