How to Build Your Own Subscription Website (Step by Step)

Ever wanted to build your own subscription website and tap into the lucrative world of recurring revenue? A subscription-based business model is a great way to generate consistent income and cultivate a loyal customer base.

However, you’ll need to ensure your site is configured correctly to support subscriptions.

In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to create a unique subscription website for your business and customers.

From choosing a membership model and creating members-only content to selecting a platform and marketing strategies, we’ve got you covered.

What is a subscription website?

A subscription website is a digital platform offering users exclusive content, products, or services in exchange for a recurring fee.

These websites provide subscribers with continuous value, fostering a loyal customer base 

and allowing businesses to build a consistent revenue stream. Here are some examples of what a subscription site might offer:

Physical products: A selection of curated items delivered regularly, such as:

  • Beauty boxes: A monthly assortment of cosmetics and skincare.
  • Book clubs: New books each month with reading materials.
  • Food and drink: Specialty food items or beverages.
  • Clothing subscriptions: A personalized selection of clothing and accessories.

Digital products/services: Access to virtual products or services, like:

  • Streaming services: Movies, TV shows, music, or podcasts.
  • Software services: Tools for project management or graphic design.
  • Educational content: Online courses, tutorials, and resources.
  • Ebooks/audiobooks: Access to a wide variety of digital books.
  • Gaming: Exclusive content or online communities.

Exclusive Access: Subscribers get unique access to premium content or experiences, such as:

  • Exclusive community access: Private forums or discussion groups.
  • Early access/beta testing: A first look at new products or services.
  • Live events and webinars: Attend virtual events or workshops.
  • Personalized services: Tailored coaching or consulting services.

What are the benefits of setting up a subscription site?

Running a subscription website comes with numerous advantages for businesses and entrepreneurs alike, enhancing the overall customer experience while providing opportunities for revenue growth through an additional reliable, stable stream of income.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the key benefits of setting up a subscription site:

Predictable revenue streams

Subscription websites generate recurring revenue, which means you’ll have a predictable and stable income stream. 

This financial stability allows you and your business to better plan, budget, and allocate resources for growth and improvement.

Better customer retention

The subscription model encourages long-term customer relationships, leading to higher retention rates. 

Loyal subscribers are also more likely to continue using the service, provide valuable feedback, and recommend the platform to others.

Lower marketing costs

Retaining existing customers is often more cost-effective than acquiring new ones

Subscription websites can focus on nurturing their current subscribers, reducing marketing expenses, and increasing overall profitability.

Increased customer lifetime value (CLV)

Subscription-based businesses benefit from a higher CLV, as customers typically remain subscribed for an extended period. 

Long-term relationships increase the overall value of each customer and contribute to the business’s financial health.


Subscription models can be easily scaled up or down to meet customer demand. 

Businesses can adjust their offerings, pricing plans, or packages to accommodate changes in the market or user preferences.

Regular customer interaction

You’ll be able to engage with your customers on a regular basis via a subscription website, and better understand their needs and provide personalized experiences. 

This ongoing interaction fosters customer loyalty and satisfaction, too.


Your customers will have different payment preferences and budgets – and with a subscription model, you can cater to these needs by offering a variety of pricing tiers and packages. 

Having a flexible offering can also attract a wider audience and encourage users to upgrade or downgrade their subscriptions as needed.

Innovation encouragement

To retain customers and prevent churn, subscription businesses must continually offer new features, content, or benefits – and this continuous process drives innovation.

As a result, your platform will remain fresh and appealing to subscribers.

Stable user base

A subscription website’s stable user base enables improved forecasting and planning, enhancing the overall stability of business operations. 

With a consistent subscriber base, businesses can make informed decisions and allocate resources more effectively.

Data collection

Subscription websites can gather valuable data on customer behavior, preferences, and patterns. 

Armed with this information, you’ll be able to improve products and services, effectively target marketing efforts, and make more data-driven decisions to drive growth.

Why use an all-in-one membership plugin to create your subscription site?

An all-in-one subscription plugin is a comprehensive software tool designed to help you create, manage, and promote your subscription-based website.

It integrates all the functionalities you need to run a membership site, streamlining the process and ensuring a seamless user experience.

Key functionalities of an all-in-one subscription plugin

  1. Membership management: Easily create and manage member accounts, profiles, and access levels.
  2. Content restriction: Control access to exclusive content based on membership tiers or subscription status.
  3. Subscription billing: Automate the billing process, including recurring payments, invoices, and payment reminders.
  4. Payment gateway integration: Accept payments through popular payment gateways like PayPal, Stripe, or
  5. Email marketing integration: Connect your membership site with email marketing platforms to send targeted campaigns and automated messages.
  6. Community features: Offer discussion forums, social networking, and private messaging to foster member engagement.
  7. Reporting and analytics: Access detailed reports on membership statistics, revenue, and user behavior.
  8. Customer support: Provide support through integrated helpdesk systems or chatbots.
  9. Security features: Protect your website and user data with advanced security measures, such as SSL encryption and secure login.
  10. eCommerce integration: Sell digital or physical products alongside your membership offerings.

Benefits of using an all-in-one subscription plugin

  1. Ease of use: A comprehensive plugin simplifies the process of building and managing a subscription site, allowing you to focus on creating valuable content and experiences for your members.
  2. Scalability: An all-in-one tool can grow with your business, accommodating new features and integrations as needed.
  3. Time-saving: Streamlining your subscription website’s functionalities saves you time and effort managing multiple plugins or custom solutions.
  4. Cost-effectiveness: Investing in an all-in-one plugin is often more cost-effective than purchasing multiple plugins or services to achieve the same functionality.
  5. Seamless integration: A comprehensive plugin integrates smoothly with your website and other platforms you may be using, such as payment processors or email marketing services.
  6. Single point of contact: With an all-in-one solution, you have one point of contact for support and updates, ensuring a consistent and efficient experience.

How to choose the right subscription plugin 

Selecting the right subscription plugin for your website is crucial to the success of your membership platform. 

As a result, it’s just as important to take the time to evaluate your needs, budget, and goals before choosing a subscription tool that aligns with your requirements.

One highly recommended recurring subscription plugin for WordPress is AccessAlly

This handy all-in-one solution has all the tools you need to run a successful, scalable, and profitable subscription business.

AccessAlly offers robust features designed to cater to your membership website’s various needs.

AccessAlly landing page

AccessAlly’s key membership features

  1. Tag-based permission to manage access: Control access to your content and membership levels with a flexible and easy-to-use tag-based system.
  2. Create multiple membership tiers: Offer various membership options to cater to different customer preferences and budgets.
  3. Deliver content on any schedule: Set up content dripping or timed releases to keep your members engaged and coming back for more.
  4. Built-in CRM integration: Seamlessly integrate your membership site with popular CRM platforms to manage contacts, automate communication, and track user behavior.
  5. Order forms: Create customizable and mobile-friendly order forms to facilitate seamless transactions.
  6. Cross-selling member dashboards: Promote your other products, services, or membership levels to existing subscribers, increasing revenue and customer satisfaction.
  7. Integrations with PayPal and Stripe: Accept payments through popular payment gateways, ensuring a secure and convenient checkout experience for your members.
  8. Additional features: AccessAlly offers a wide range of other features to enhance your membership site, such as gamification, progress tracking, and community-building tools.

Schedule a free discovery call

Find out why AccessAlly is the WordPress course plugin that pays for itself.

AccessAlly logo with a looking glass

How to create a subscription website from scratch using AccessAlly

Ready to start building your own subscription website? We’ve put together an in-depth tutorial that tackles the process one step at a time.

1. Choosing the right membership model

First, you’ll need to select a suitable membership model. Whichever model you go for should align with your business objectives, defining your offerings and influencing revenue potential. 

Here’s a brief overview of available models:

  • Content-based model: Ideal for experts with unique knowledge to share, offering exclusive access to content like articles, courses, or videos.
  • Service-based model: Subscribers pay for consulting, coaching, or technical support services. Perfect for specialized service providers.
  • Product-based model: Delivers physical or digital products regularly. This model is great for merchants with items for recurring delivery.
  • Community-based model: Offers access to an exclusive network or resources. Well-suited to businesses fostering a sense of community.

While choosing, consider:

  • Target audience: Understand your prospective subscribers’ needs and preferences.
  • Unique offerings: Identify what sets you apart from competitors.
  • Business goals: Ensure the model supports your long-term objectives.

2. Identifying your target audience and unique offerings 

The success of your subscription-based business will rely on understanding your target audience and setting yourself apart with unique offerings.

  • Target audience: To resonate with your audience, understand their needs, preferences, and challenges.

    Identify your audience through market research, surveys, or competitor analysis.

    Deep dive into demographic data, purchasing habits, online behavior, and customer feedback.

  • Unique offerings: Differentiate yourself in the subscription marketplace with something truly unique, like personalized learning paths, live Q&A sessions with experts, and subscriber spotlights.

    Keep abreast of industry trends and customer feedback to constantly refine your offerings.

Feedback from surveys or customer interactions can help you tailor your offerings and identify common themes. 

For instance, you might want to create a video series if your audience repeatedly asks for more video content!

Adapting to these requests can attract new members and enhance your overall customer retention, too. 

Subscribers will know that their opinions are valued, and you’ll be able to stay relevant in a fast-paced market with tailored content.

3. Creating engaging members-only content 

The cornerstone of a successful subscription website is high-quality, exclusive content. 

Additionally, your content needs to strike the right balance between attracting new subscribers and retaining existing ones.

Here are some tips for leveling up your content:

  • Storytelling: Wrap your content in stories to make it more relatable and engaging. This approach can humanize your brand and create emotional connections with your audience.
  • Multimedia and interactivity: Use a mix of formats – text, images, audio, and video. Interactive elements like quizzes or polls keep your subscribers actively involved.
  • Gamification: Introduce game-like elements such as badges, leaderboards, or progress bars to motivate users and enhance the learning experience.

It’s worth branching out into online courses, videos, webinars, podcasts, and ebooks, too. 

These formats can cater to a variety of learning styles and subsequently broaden the appeal of your site.

Keep your content fresh and relevant by drip-feeding – releasing new content regularly over time – and consider creating cohorts for educational content to encourage community building and peer learning.

By keeping your content fresh and engaging, you’ll be able to maintain subscriber interest and satisfaction.

4. Setting up access rules and pricing

Establishing clear access rules and an effective pricing structure is critical to running a successful subscription website. Here’s how you can ace this:

  • Access rules: Define what content or services your members can access and when. This clarity promotes trust and prevents confusion.
  • Pricing structures: Consider different pricing models such as:
    • One-time payments: Ideal for lifetime access or one-off courses.
    • Recurring subscriptions: Provides continuous revenue, which is great for ongoing services or content.
    • Tiered pricing: Offers multiple plans with varying benefits. Suits businesses with diverse offerings.

Consider your target audience, unique offerings, and business goals to determine the right pricing strategy. You also want to ensure profitability using these simple calculations:

  • Income x Number of Members = Average Revenue
  • Revenue – Costs = Profit Margin and Take-Home Income

Finally, make sure your prices reflect the value you provide. If your offerings solve a significant problem or offer high value, don’t shy away from pricing accordingly!

5. Marketing your subscription website

Once you’ve built a fantastic subscription website, it’s time to shout about it. With the right marketing strategy, you can attract new customers and retain existing subscribers. 

Here’s how you can make a big splash:

  • Social media: Use platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn to reach your target audience. Engage subscribers with posts about your unique offerings, sneak peeks, and special promotions.
  • Email campaigns: Reach potential customers with personalized messages. Send out newsletters, exclusive discounts, and updates to keep your audience engaged.
  • Content marketing: Create valuable content that your target audience is seeking. This not only improves your search engine rankings but also establishes you as an authority in your field.
  • Influencer partnerships: Collaborate with influencers that your target audience trusts. Their endorsements can boost your visibility and credibility.

Remember, successful marketing isn’t set-and-forget. Regularly track your conversion rates and make data-driven decisions to refine your strategy. 

Use tools like Fathom Analytics or AccessAlly’s built-in analytics to gather insights.

6. Strategies for retaining subscribers

Attracting subscribers is hugely important, of course, but you’ll also need to retain them to keep your site successful.

Here’s how you can ensure your subscribers stick around:

  • Exclusive benefits: Offer perks like early access to new products or exclusive content. These incentives make your subscribers feel valued and special.
  • Personalization: Tailor your content to meet individual subscribers’ preferences, enhance engagement, and boost satisfaction levels.
  • Customer support: Excellent customer support can turn a negative experience into a positive one. Prompt, helpful responses build trust and loyalty.
  • Fostering community: Encourage interaction among members. AccessAlly’s CommunityAlly add-on allows you to create forums and groups, promoting a sense of belonging.

You can further refine these strategies by using data and analytics. 

Tracking subscriber behavior can reveal what content resonates with your audience and what needs work. It also helps identify patterns, like why subscribers may leave (churn), allowing you to address these issues proactively.

Subscription websites to inspire your own

To give you an idea of what you could create with AccessAlly and its suite of tools, and the success you can achieve, we’ll take a look at three different subscription websites powered by the all-in-one membership plugin.

The Congruent Mystic

The Congruent Mystic landing page.

The Congruent Mystic is a one-on-one coaching site that offers readings, meditation guides, workbooks, and videos to help improve people’s mental health.

Members can chat with their coach and access content at any time, and the main website redirects members to their AccessAlly membership portal, which has the same look and feel as their main site.

Here’s what the site owner had to say about AccessAlly:

“As soon as we started to immerse ourselves into AccessAlly, and also looked into the organization itself, and what the organization stood for, we knew we were with a good partner.”

Rachel Feldman

Rachel Feldman landing page.

Rachel Feldman‘s health and wellness coaching membership site initially had its courses set up on Wishlist Member. However, the platform wasn’t very scalable, leading to a significant impact on user experience.

To combat these issues, the business switched to AccessAlly – and now enjoys enhanced flexibility and improved scalability.

Rachel Feldman’s review of AccessAlly:

“AccessAlly is the best platform ever – nothing else is as flexible and complete as AccessAlly.”

Ornament Girls

Ornament Girls landing page.

Ornament Girls is a subscription box business that sends monthly craft kits to its members. The original subscription system they used to send subscription boxes and provide access to digital content didn’t sync, causing many logistical issues.

AccessAlly was capable of integrating seamlessly with the existing systems in use and enabled Ornament Girls to deliver a unique customer experience for each member through a tag-based system.

Ornament Girls’ site owner shared their review, too:

“AccessAlly is going to save me hours and hours of extra work a month. I am so excited about it!”

Get started with AccessAlly today

Creating a subscription website can be a rewarding endeavor, offering you the opportunity to generate consistent revenue while providing valuable content, products, or services to your members.

In order to achieve this success, however, it’s important to choose the right membership model and establish robust marketing and content strategies.

Luckily, AccessAlly can simplify the process of creating, managing, and promoting your subscription-based website. 

The all-in-one membership plugin, and its powerful features, allow businesses to cater to the needs of their audience, and offer seamless integration capabilities and a user-friendly interface.

If you’re ready to take the first step in creating your subscription website, now’s the perfect time! 

Explore AccessAlly’s features and benefits to discover how the plugin can help you create a successful, scalable, and profitable membership site.

Get started with AccessAlly today, unlock the true potential of your business with a subscription website, and enjoy the rewards of a thriving membership community.

Nathalie Lussier

I’m a writer, technologist, and regenerative farmer. I founded AccessAlly with my husband in one frantic weekend to solve my immediate course platform issues. Over a decade later the company has grown, and our product has evolved to serve millions of learners across the globe.

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