The Truth About Membership Sites

I’ve read a lot of articles about membership sites at other blogs and websites. Many people who write in the online marketing space jump on the bandwagon and talk about the benefits of owning some kind of subscription based income stream. They point out the obvious, such as recursive income, the stability and significant money that can be made with only a few members.

Unfortunately, nearly every person I’ve seen write about running membership sites has never actually owned a profitable one. Despite how good the model is, most people never get off their butts and actually launch a membership site, or if they do, their site fails because there’s a fatal flaw in their execution or strategy. I find it hypocritical that people can “teach” how to make money with a membership site never having actually done so themselves.

I agree with what people say about membership sites, even if they make statements without having the experience of running one. They are not necessarily wrong, they are just repeating what others have said, so it’s hard to have faith in them as experts. Without proof, how can you really know about something?

I say the same things about membership sites that other people do; they are the best online business model I know of. The difference of course, is that I own two membership sites and have conducted many different types of membership site launches. There’s no greater insight gained about how to do something than actually doing it, so I’m in a position to pass on some real “insider” information about this subject.

Today I want to clarify something that has bothered me about other people’s commentary about the membership site model, especially from people who have never actually run such a site.

The Reality About Membership Sites

Some people have stated that my two sites, Blog Mastermind and Become A Blogger Premium are not “true” membership sites because they don’t have a subscription that goes forever. They are closer to online courses because they only run for six months and then members “graduate” without any more ongoing fees.

That’s a fair comment on the surface, but let me put this into context so you will understand the reality of running a membership site, which only a person who has experience in this area could tell you.

Most membership sites, including sites that have a permanent subscription (no predefined end date), do not keep members for very long. Although I don’t have specific industry data, based on conversations with people who have membership sites and other people who teach how to run membership sites with a proven track record, the typical lifetime of an average member is three months. This means that most members join a membership site and stay a member for only three months.

You’re probably thinking how can a membership site be such a stable income source if your members only stay members for three months? That’s a good question and in fact dealing with your attrition (people leaving your site) is one of the greatest challenges that membership site owners face.

Most people think that the key for success with a membership site is attracting members, but that’s not entirely true. Yes you do need to be good at marketing your site in order to fill it with members, but that’s only half the equation. It’s equally important to learn how to KEEP your members in your site.

Understand Your Members

When I first launched Blog Mastermind I had no idea how long the program would go for. I was modeling Andrew and Daryl Grant’s e-book membership site model, which had no specific end date, although I know that their members stay as long as 12 months, well above the industry average of three months. In my case, I decided to launch with no predefined end date, at $47/m and see what happens.

I conducted my launch and brought in a little over 400 members in a week, which was fantastic and proof that my launch strategy was effective (I’ve gone on to attract over 2,000 members across my two membership sites, so I know my launch strategy works). This was important to me because Andrew and Daryl didn’t use a launch strategy, so I was in a way combining their membership model with what I had learned from people like Jeff Walker, Rich Schefren, Mike Filsaime, Frank Kern and StomperNet about launching products online.

During the first month a few members left. Nothing too dramatic, but it was certainly a let down after the euphoria of launch week. Over the next few months it became clear that my attrition rate would be a problem and I was not happy with how many people left the program prematurely.

Andrew and Daryl suggest aiming for 1,000 members and charging around the $50 mark. That way, you are generating $50,000 a month, which for most people is an incredible amount of money. Even if you pay affiliates half, you’re still making between $25k and $50K a month. That’s a significant income stream and, if you decide to one day sell your membership site, you could potentially make as much as a million dollars. That’s a pretty darn quick path to becoming a millionaire.

I was hoping after making it to 400+ members in a week, it wouldn’t take too long to get to 1,000. Unfortunately I found myself going backwards rather than forwards after launch. I needed to do something about the attrition rate.

As I gained feedback from the people who left I started to realize why they were quitting. Although there were lots of different variables at play, many of which I addressed slowly over time (I cover these inside the Membership Site Mastermind course), there was one major issue. My members did not like that my program had no end date. I needed to make a change.

React To The Market

I decided that it would be smart to change my membership site to have an end date. This served me well as I had no desire to continue to produce new content forever, and my members then knew how long they would have to keep making payments before completing my training.

Andrew and Daryl suggest targeting 1,000 members at $50 a month and go for a 12 month retention rate as your big goal. That’s no easy target for most membership sites because they can’t keep their members in the program that long. Ask any membership site owner and I bet they will quote you an average member retention rate below six months.

I decided I would switch my program to six months, but double the price. I had already increased the cost to $77 and since I was adding more and more content I felt I was justified increasing it to $97 a month. This meant that 1,000 members in the program for six months was the same result that Andrew and Daryl were achieving with 12 months.

What I was hoping for was an improvement to my retention rate (less attrition) because the members were willing to keep paying to complete the entire course. There is some psychology behind this choice, since people are used to completing courses in six months (like university subjects) and feel a compulsion to complete things (we don’t like the feeling of open loops, that’s why it’s good to give people steps to complete a task).

My assumption proved correct and since then the majority of people who join Blog Mastermind go on to complete the entire program. This is of course good for me, but it’s also good for my members, since by completing the training and not quitting early, they gain the full picture of what it takes to build a profitable blog, the goal of Blog Mastermind.

Make Smart Changes

There are no hard rules regarding how to run a membership site, but you have to realize the reality of your situation and adjust things based on how your members react.

In my case I gained the insight that having my membership site set up as an online course would actually result in a much greater profit than having it run as a traditional membership site with no end date. For education products, this is likely a lesson that will hold true across the board, however if you sell a standardized service on a subscription, for example web hosting or an email autoresponder service like AWeber, then it makes sense to have no end date on payments.

If you are paying attention and really thinking this through, you might be questioning how a membership site can become an ongoing, near-passive and stable income stream if you always have members exiting your site?

That’s a great question, and I’m glad you are really taking on board what I’m saying here and not just looking at a membership site as some kind of magical cash cow. The truth is, members leave membership sites and just because you get 200 people into your site during launch week does not mean you are set for life with $10,000 a month forever.

Attrition is reality and if you want to really succeed with your membership site, you need to learn how to both market your site and deal with attrition – and here is the kicker – you then need to learn how to automate the processes. Once you have automation in place that bring in a steady stream of new members that is greater than your attrition rate, which you work to reduce to as low as you can, then you truly have a real passive and stable income stream.

Want To Learn How To Do This?

Membership Site MastermindI bet you didn’t see this coming! If you want more insider details on exactly how to set up your membership site to the specifications I’ve laid out in this article and set yourself up with a nice $100,000 a year or more income stream that keeps coming, then you’re going to want to take my course.

Membership Site Mastermind launches soon and you can register for your free copy of my Membership Site Masterplan report and get yourself first inline for the course by going here –

Yaro Starak
Membership Site Strategist

About Yaro

Yaro Starak is the author of the Blog Profits Blueprint, a report you can download instantly to learn how to make $10,000 a month, from only blogging 2 hours per day. You can find Yaro on Facebook, Twitter and .

Follow Yaro

View Yaro Starak's profile on LinkedIn
Follow us on Instagram


  • Yaro,

    You’re right, most of us have never owned a membership site and would be wise to listen to someone who has been there before (as is the case when attempting most business models). I’m sure, as with anything, you learn as you go, but it sounds like you plan to help people get on the right track with this course that you are offering. This article has really peaked my attention.


  • Maybe someday someone will audit the web somehow and expose all these “six-figure geniuses.” It’s my biggest peeve in web marketing. Great post.

  • I really don’t think this is in any limited to Membership sites… Take a look at twitter. I think every third person claims the title of “Social Media Guru”. Then you take a look at the number of people following them, and the kind of stuff they are posting and quickly realize they are full of…. you get the point. If you’re going to take advise from anyone in life, if you are paying for it or not, make sure they actually know what they are talking about.

  • In my country, Indonesia, there are many “fake” membership sites and tantalize “fast money”, “easy money”, or something like that…

  • I’ve considered creating a membership site but it seems like a high maintenance online business. I do think that if people want to start one up, they would definitely need a guide from someone who’s had experience with membership sites. Some of the sales pages who sell membership software make it seem like it will be an easy business to get into but I imagine it would be one of the hardest to manage.

  • Thanks Yaro. As I’m about to launch my own membership site (only two months – much closer to an online course) this is very timely. Thanks for the practical information.

  • This is such a timely post. I was wondering about doing a membership site and I was looking the data. Of everyone out there, this post has taught me the most. You said things here that is not disseminated anywhere else…all I have heard is the hype, which probably coming from those you mention that clamor about how good a business model it is yet have not done anything about it.

    Thanks again. I hope that we’ll see even more on this subject.


  • Gina

    The question of the day is — is what the membership site offering REALLY worthwhile? I think the business model is great, but I also think people need a rock-solid concept before getting one started.

  • Hahaha, i really didn’t think about what will come up at the end of post. A very great writing technique 😀

    anyway, the multiple factor ($50 X 1,000) of membership site is really nice amount to consider and execute 🙂

  • I have been thinking about a membership site and am thinking of what content to put inside it.
    Great tips on starting with a end date in mind. It gives me a clearer understanding.

  • I’m a member of a couple of special interest (horse breed specific) membership sites that charge an annual fee (one is $60 USD and the other is $40 USD.) I’m not sure about the latter one, but both retain subscribers for years. I’ve been on the first one for about six.

    The first one is more of a news and entertainment site, but it also allows anonymous posters who are capable of flame vendettas. Not pretty. But it also covers live events, either through audio and video streams along with a live chat during the horse shows.

    I’ve thought about a membership site, but I’m not sure I could offer material of a wide enough variety to keep people coming back.

  • Ha, nice set up Yaro. Talking all about membership sites then advertising yours like that, classic. As for the membership sites themselves I never really much cared for them b/c why pay for information when you can find it for free (usually) somewhere down the line.

    • Agree with you. Usually, I will try to find any information or software for free before looking for the paid one.

  • It would be nice if you could look at it from the point of view of the members and suggest how best their beefs can be addressed.

  • I love it when someone comes out and speaks the truth. The cybernet is so full of hype, of claims that someone knows the whole truth and will only speak the whole truth.
    I have followed your blogs for a while, and I find them all extremely open and honest.
    The information you give in this post is to the point for me, as I and my partner are contemplating opening a membership site. The information I gained here has been truly valuable to give me direction on how to do such a thing.
    The fact that there are certain obstacles in the way should never deter anyone from doing something. It simply means that we have to research those obstacles and finding our way around them. Your information has do just that for me.
    Thank you

  • Great post. I agree that there should be a way to expose all of the 6-figure frauds out there. It’s incredibly annoying not to mention a complete waste of other people’s time.

    • Agree with you Jenna. This scammers knows exactly how people’s mind works. With large number, they able to attract huge number of victims to read their convincing sales page.

  • Hello Yaro,
    again an informative post!
    I recommend to everyone who wnats to make money online to ask their members after a short time what they think about. So you can learn what the needs are and you can change things.

    Building trust with your prospects and a relationship makes it more personally to them and they will see you as a real person who teaches and comment on their propblems.

    Great job Yaro

    To your success

    Maik Jaeckle
    Internet Marketer

  • Hi Yaro

    Normally I don’t jump into every blog discussion I come across over subscription/membership sites, but can’t resist.

    I guess I’m the guy who did do it. We built a subscription site network (,,, we launched in 2000, tens of thousands of members. It’s an annual membership, and there are members who have been with the site since 2000 – nearly 10 years. We sold the business for several million $ in late 2006.

    I don’t agree with ‘they don’t know when their membership ends’. Just stick the expiry in the bottom of each email you send to them. Works fine. I think what you probably mean is it’s critical to define the parameters of the membership product – the offering, how it works, what it constitutes, how much it costs, how long it lasts.

    Member sites work because you consistently and reliably provide them with content they need and want. The hard part is doing it over time – a long time. Packaging together a program of content over a few months, with a short life span membership like yours of 6 months is a perfectly legitimate technique. But the road to profit is keeping members for a very long time. Otherwise you have to keep coming up with new offerings and campaigns.

    You are right that attrition is your enemy. We worked incredibly hard to maintain membership renewals, using a combination of promotions, competitions and other tools to ensure people renewed each year. The barrel of available customers is only so big, the more members you have, each next sale gets harder. So you want to hang on like grim death to the ones you have.

    I think what annoys me most about the majority of the internet marketing advice I see online is it’s so short term. The snake oil merchants promise you great wealth in days. Others over the space of a couple of months. Like one of the other commenters above, I’d love to see the real income statements for these people. In contrast, our exit gets written about in the media:

    We took the long road. And did it properly. We weren’t making $25k a month to start with. But we were, and more, by the end.

    And finally the shameless plug – we’re just about to release a book about our experience, pre-registrations are open now!


    • Hey David,

      Thanks for sharing another membership site success story – especially one of somebody selling out and making a killing.

      What I don’t like about the never-ending model, is the need to constantly provide content. If you set up marketing systems that run themselves, then there are always new members you can attract.

      I think the idea here is that attrition needs to be controlled, marketing needs to be automated, you need to assess what you are prepared to commit to in terms of managing your site and consider your target audience and what you are offering them.

      I have a steady stream of new members join my membership site and I don’t do anything anymore to promote besides of course continue to write this blog. I don’t agree with what you say about each new member you acquire making it harder to get the next. I find it’s the opposite. The more people who go through my program, the more fans I get who help spread the word. It’s become easier and easier over time.

      Another key point here worth mentioning to everyone who is considering running a membership site – David’s program has an annual fee, so it’s more likely that you can keep members for longer since they aren’t reminded that they are paying money very often. If you charge an annual fee you have to get thousands of members to make it work (unless that annual fee is in the thousands of dollars). If you run on a monthly model, you earn a lot more with fewer members, but it’s more likely your attrition will be higher given that they are reminded of the cost of the program on a more regular basis.

      You have to choose the right model for what you are offering and what your goals are.

  • Yaro

    Your points are well made. We were focussed to a particular niche, I suspect a site like yours appeals to a broader range. A small niche of course can be good and bad – good because it is easier to identify customers; bad because you can start to run out of customers. Although I may have overplayed the barrel analogy a little. We did find it an issue in Australia, but the UK and US sites not. More people to play with 🙂

    I’ve been looking closely at the range of ‘products’ and ‘systems’ on offer in the internet marketing world in recent weeks. I think I’m just depressed at the quantity of poor quality offerings hyped up by the scam merchants.

    In contrast I’ve been enjoying reading your blog and its articles. You offer a quality product, thoughtful insight, and a balanced, unhyped approach. That’s what gets the sale or membership over the line – and clearly does for you.


  • Yaro,

    Thanks for the timely post and the high quality discussion between you and David (above).

    I just launched a membership site last week (I finally got out of my own way and made it happen).

    The site is for online retailers looking to improve their online store’s profits and performance. Currently, membership is $47/month with no end date. The goal with the site is to provide on-going education as well as serve as the base of an ascension strategy to other products and services. Does that change the approach for you regarding having a finite end date?

    Keep up the great info!

    • I think the key to success with a membership site must be the name David, so you’re all good David 🙂

      Based on what your explaining your model sounds fine. You’ve obviously committed to delivering ongoing content forever. In time you will learn more about your customers and if the attrition is too high you will have to figure out why and make changes.

      There’s no one solution fits all in this business and the best source of answers for you are your customers.

  • Guys, thanks for the stories. They are very inspiring. I always wanted to create a membership site but haven’t known how make such site work.

    • Looks like you get the info for free from Yaro

  • That was a nasty plug at the end but the post was really informational 😛

  • Feel like reading a wiki site about membership sites here. Deep research done to get all this stretch out for us.

  • Ivy

    Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads etc… are social networks and not for solely promoting businesses. When did we become a society wanting to know what a perfect stranger is having for lunch? Business membership sites should offer ongoing education for real world situations and not a watered down one size fits all marketing strategy. I’m an author looking for viable marketing solutions to market my book. It would be nice to find a paid or free site that has real unique ideas. There are many people on the web looking for answers and I’m one of those people. So the question should not only be how to set up a membership site but how to retain clients by offering good information.

  • Great Write up….

    I’ve gone through your programs and I think the main reason I stayed for both was that as you stated, there was an end date….

    Love your stuff Yaro!

  • This article was full of useful information since I am thinking of setting up this kind of monetization method. I am just wondering if 100 visitors per day is enough for me to attract enought people into this kind of subscription site.

    If someone has advice on how many visitors you have to get to introduce this monetization method, please let me know:)

  • I was reading an article recently that talked about the benefits of having a membership site. It centered around the fact that they generated passive income – that is, income with hardly any work. Income that was regular and dependable. The reality is that like life, most membership sites are not this stuff of dreams. Most require that ‘w’ word – work. – Unless you’re blessed with the start-up capital to outsource the work needed to build and maintain a quality membership site

  • jason

    I am a “newbie” to the blogosphere and have alot to learn. I learned about blogging about 8-9 months ago. Your site is one of the best out there for new people that are interested in learning about how to get started online. I watched the becomeablogger videos and was very impressed with how well they were put together. I have been all over the net trying to see other site’s that claim to teach how it’s done but find myself coming back to your site to verify if what they claim is real. Instead of going all over the place to learn, I will start visiting your site more often because I find your site and message not only good but credible. Thanks.

  • Kunal K


    Your posts keep getting better and better!

    I find membership sites to be very interesting, and I thoroughly enjoy reading from someone who has actually completed a successful launch.

    It’s interesting, however, that from marketing, the largest expense is actually attracting a new client (the best ROI comes from return customers).

    The question becomes: If your clients are leaving, aren’t you missing out on the “easy” income in terms of selling to already existing customers?

    Or is that where “servicing” products come into play – I use the term “service” like when I buy a new car, and having to return to the dealership for maintainance of the product. In this situation, would you be selling products that are like regular maintainace to the foundation course work?


  • Yaro, your experience on attrition has a great lesson in it. I just launched a membership site which is the first of many. It’s targeting a small but dedicated audience and we have seen a very low level of attrition.

    Part of the reason why I think an end date is necessary is because your prospects know the same thing you know: that a membership site is a great way receive income on a continual basis. It just looks like a trick to get never-ending money from people. At some point the main benefit of the site has to be delivered and the member progresses beyond the need for the site. Nobody wants to jump down a bottomless hole. There has to be a light at the end of the tunnel (the main benefit).

    An advantage of an end date from a marketing perspective is that you can continually relaunch the site, each time with more testimonials, more proof, improvements which provide a greater value than last time, and, sometimes, higher fees. It also makes it easier to close membership and have a genuine scarcity factor to make your marketing more compelling.

    Michael Martine

  • Great article Yaro.

    Look forward to your report and what you can offer in your course.


  • Hey Yaro..great post. I’ve been thinking for a while now about having a membership site. Looking forward to the mastermind.

    By the way, you confirmation page : is a bit messed up from the layout point of view towards the bottom of the page. I checked it on both firefox and safari (on mac). Just thought I’d mention it.


  • Thanks for the info you shared here, Yaro. Way too many people in this business deliver only the hype and no facts about what their successes actually have added up to. This puts things in perspective, appreciate it.

  • Going into an online course with the end in sight makes perfect sense to me. As a blog masterminder of the first generation 😉 you made me NOT cancel my account after several payments and stuck with it till the end when you wrote me, that there are only 3 modules left and after it the payments will stop, but you will be part of the mastermind alumni. In other words, finish your coursework and be part of a lifelong community. Hope it makes sense 😉

  • I have had a subscription program for about 18 months. When we first launched, it filled up almost immediately and I was GASPING over the workload I’d let myself in for. We had to cap the first one and start a new one that was a bit less money and WAY less work for me. It has taken me a full 18 months to correct my original error, but now, it’s not completely passive income, but not bad. Our attrition rate hasn’t been too bad, and I have to say I was pleased at a recent live workshop when I heard someone telling another attendee how great the subscription service was. Yes!

    One trick I see people doing that I’ve thought about but haven’t done as of yet is INCLUDING the subscription program for FREE for the first two months when you buy another product. It’s a sneaky way to automate new signups.

    In my experience, subscription service is a good way to solidify income and free you from always depending on product sales which can be up and down. It also makes you available to those who need what you do more consistenly so if you’re doing it right, everyone wins!

    Thanks, Yaro, for covering a part of it you never hear about. I believe your original posts on subscription service helped us a LOT when we drummed up ours.

  • Yaro,

    Walk the talk is key 😉

    Just like everything in life, I learn that this question is probably the most important question to ask to someone trying to sell any products/services: “Have you tried it, yet? If so, how well are you doing with it and how is it actually doing to your life/business?”

  • Great advice. I like the idea of having a limited time membership site. If you tell them the training is 12 months long, they’ll most likely hang for the 12 months so long as you offering something new every month.

    • Hehe, I would also like a trial membership for 12 months.

  • Yaro,

    I agree with most of what you said. It is true that no subscription site can hold its subscribers forever with the same old boring stuff. But when you have a good number of subscriptions… Selling that site for a good profit is the option that I would take.

    Then you can restart a subscription site in some another niche.

    I have noticed that when you have a subscription site and you go to sell it, it is usually worth more.

    That is the only time I saw success in this type of business model though. If you keep the site eventually and surely you will go down and you will end up in a loss.

  • Yaro,

    Another thing that I liked about your model that you didn’t mention was that you were able to create your next membership site off of the folks that stuck around for the entire course for the first one. Your early adopters (who are arguably your best customers) had the option to continue giving you money even past the 6 months for new information on a new topic, which allowed you to get paid to create another 6 month course and to work out all the bugs with folks that know you and love what you give them and will be less critical of any hiccups.

    • Shoosh Blaine, don’t give away all the secrets 😉

  • David

    Hey Yaro, it looks like your cloaking your affiliate links ( sorry if I am wrong) perhaps you could go over this in a future post? Thanks

  • Hahahahahah! I definitely didn’t see that one coming, Yaro! In actual fact, I’ve pretty much been put off the concept of running a membership site. I will however always remember this post, and if the urge to do a membership site grabs me, I know where to go for the best advice!

  • Thanks Yaro. This is great starting point for me as I’m planning to start my own membership site.

  • The continuous need to produce more content for a membership can be a tough deal unless you are outsourcing everything.

    For me, I will prefer Yaro membership method which ends within a certain period of time and all I need is to provide new update to the course once in a while.

  • I guess a lot of people are just being skeptical all the time seeing to it that a lot of people online actually only favour theirselves while being dishonest with eithers; people all over the internet are thus thinking at being skeptical all the time – even while they aren’t aware of it.

  • Well said, Yaro.

    The numbers you laid out make solid sense from what I’ve heard too, and making your sites fixed-term membership sites are a win-win.

    I get it now that I’m a student in both your Membership Site Mastermind and Blog Mastermind courses. I can go at my own pace, yet knowing that there’s not only a defined end, but clear milestones too since the courses are broken into topic-based modules.

    Good stuff. (And no, there aren’t any affiliate links in here. 😉

  • The last few weeks these exact questions have been in my mind! I had read before about attrition rates and have always wondered how you keep adding content forever…Now I have some solid answers, it’s clear to me that I’m going to produce an ‘ecourse’ in my particular niche for all these reasons – and I realise that actually most people would far prefer to buy a ‘premium’ rather than pay every month, although of course a three part payment system would be in place for people who couldn’t afford the full price. I have to be very clear what I’m offering before implementing and I also realise my site has to be mature enough – I think one needs surely more blogging experience before launching a solid ecourse – you want that ‘tipping point’ in your business so you know you’re ready to maximise profits from your site+marketing and KNOW how your site ‘ticks’..although I do see you can make money off a small list then relaunch etc,…I believe a year of blogging as a minimum is needed before launching a ‘membership site’…but I’m working on it everyday right now though, so I’m ready to go when the time is right. Thanks Yaro – excellent post and one I needed to read again! Enjoying MSM – fascinating!!

  • I am thinking of starting a membership program that would allow members to receive free recipes and techniques each month and a business referral listing on our website for professional vendors along with private web site page access to tips, tricks, product updates, etc. It would also allow for members to receive a small discount on product and workshop purchases. I had thought to do an annual membership so that the member is making an up front committment entitling them to the discount during their membership year along with the other services as listed above. This would be more about a loyalty buying program and retention of customers for repeat purchases than about making money off the membership fees. Do you think this is something that would work for a niche market?

  • I couldn’t find anywhere else to write this so I will write it here!

    I have bought a lot of ebooks and online courses on building membership sites None of them come close to matching Yaro’s free book. I strongly recommend it to anyone thinking of building a membership, continuity or micro continuity site.

  • One thing I’m curious about with regard to membership sites is the advantage of having one over an ecommerce store model.

    We sell plr videos on our site with the store model, but we’ve been thinking about running it as a membership site.

    However, as things currently stand, the store model is truly passive income for us. We don’t do huge business, but we do make sales with the plr content, and other than the rare customer support email, the work required to run the site is virtually zero. We do update content, but only about once every 6 months.

    So, in other words, the work involved is purely the work up front building the site and posting the products with descriptions.

    Now, if we were to go the plr membership route, we can already imagine the need for a lot of steady work providing updated products a few times a week, not to mention the research and acquisition costs finding and buying products on a steady, continual basis.

    And that’s fine if a membership site equals more revenue for us and more satisfaction for the customer. Win/win, right? But that’s the question…Do customers appreciate membership sites more than they do stores where they can simply “buy and fly?” and get on with their lives?

    I’m simply not convinced yet that where a store model can apply a membership model should be chosen instead.

    • Simple answer Carmela – run a test.

      Launch a membership site, keep the e-commerce option there too, and you have two products.

      The only way to know these things for sure is to test.


  • I have more faith in an “expert” if they have walked the walk!

  • Hi Yaro,

    Thanks for the eye opener article, I am linking to this article in my next publication.

    Really good stuff on Membership sites.

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Rex

    I have an idea for a membership site that would be incredibly profitable. I have been looking for a way to get it started. It combines two things everyone wants at an incredible low cost and generates a steady income for every member. Not just those joining first. So far no one has believed the low cost. My primary issues are finding someone to help me set it up and the distribution of income since it is a significant distribution of funds. This model will make all current sites in two industries obsolete. I would appreciate your input.

  • Sarah


    I was wondering, did you sign up for Andrew and Daryl’s mentoring program? Or are you an affiliate with them?
    I’d like to know if their content will actually help me, or if it’s all fluff.

    Or maybe you could suggest a few books that would be of better assistance.

    • Oh that was a long time ago Sarah. I have no idea what the Grant’s materials look like today. I studied their training way back in 2006.

      If you are interested in starting a membership site try my free report first –


  • Yaro

    Thanks for such article. I want to add membership to my existing blog creation site. Thanks a lot for this information. It really helped me a lot. Please keep on helping.

    Have a nice day.

  • Hi Yaro, What a coincidence!! (By the way, you have changed a lot from that long hair style:)

    Guess, what I was doing this moement? I’m already developing my membership site and I needed to work on execution after having it ready..for that purpose I needed to recall a book which I read few years ago and I arrived at your this article for searching that book.

    Suggestion: Rename your ebook filename from that (masterplan) into (membership-site-masterplan).

    I had your masterplan (ebook) in 2009. I was finding it in my collection of books from folder but failed because I was looking for “membership” or “site” keyword. I tried to find on the Internet but failed. I ended up accidentally by reaching your website (and subscribed to download masterplan) and once I opened it, it was a shocking moment..because It was the book I was finding badly right now…

    the reason is simple: I had almost read your entire book from start to end in past and I knew what is inside that is very useful and you had shared summary based on your own experience after trial and errors.

    I recommend anyone who is willing to start membership site to download Yaro’s free ebook from: and it really worths.

    Freelance Web Developer / Consultant,

  • Tom


    My success in subscriptions came from offering software-as-a-service which has been running since 2008..and we still have members who joined way back then…!

    And yes, we have ‘churn’ – like all businesses.

    Some we keep, some we lose to competitors or go out of business or change their models or sell out (that happened to Zappos .. who sold to Amazon.. who then decided they could manage without us!)…and some come back!

    There are lots of ways to keep customers, members, subscribers – perhaps the title of a blog post and another conversation!

    My question, which I can’t see in the comments above:

    With an end date are you simply offering a payment plan?

    What happens next..?


    • SAAS is definitely a great model Tom, although software has its own challenges as I am sure you know about.

      I’ve sold online courses with payment plans, and I’ve sold community membership sites with ongoing membership fees. So yes strictly speaking one is a course with an end date and one is an ongoing membership. How you position each product and what it includes very much dictates with pricing model works best.

      For example in my first experience with a membership site it actually ended up being better (and more profitable) as a course, so I actually changed it. In hindsight that should have been obvious to me, but that was when I was very new to online products.


  • Paul

    Love the article! An important part of the process is selecting the right software to run the site. There are a ton of commercial options out there, but I personally love Zenbership ( It is free/open source software that has all the bells and whistles you’d expect from commercial alternatives. I swear by it!

  • Hello Yaro,

    Thanks for this post. I have an animation and cartoon business, but have been contemplating starting a subscription based site that offers digital media content for use online such as gifs, emotes, characters, comic strips, animated videos, etc. I’m having a hard time finding someone who has one of these sites and wondering if it’s because it’s a bad business model? Not sure. I know the comic book giants offer monthly subscriptions, but with that, you are emailed digital comic books every month. How can i use my skill set to break into the subscription based website business? How can I find a coach!? Thank you!

  • Jason Hill

    Wow,very interesting read. I’ve been creating niche type sites for a few years but have recently becomeinterested in doing more of a membership style site. I don’t know that it qualifies as a membership site per say, I’m looking at doing something similar to etsy but for a very specific population. I hope I can get the chance to talk with you about this a bit more at some point!

  • Mike

    Hey bro, great article man. Would you recommend creating a membership site and launching it with the power of Facebook ads or some sort of group?

  • I owned a membership site for almost 6 months and it was difficult to attract new paid members. i raised the price and add another 1 week plan and it become much better. i think testing and using others experience is a way to increase income. Thank you

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Follow Yaro: Email | RSS | Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn | Instagram | YouTube