Answer to "How do I add a paid, members-only section to my website?"

So you need a "members only" section of your website

There are many ways to host membership content—including video, but we'll talk about that in a moment—on a website. You might want a membership section to put free content or paid content. Either way, having a membership section allows you to make part of your website less public. Maybe there are resources you use with every client, but don't want them showing up in Google. Or maybe, and more likely, you want to sell a subscription to specific services, video lessons or classes, or to paid downloads.

I'll outline your options and give you some recommendations at the end. If you have more specific questions, just email me.

Options include:

  • Wordpress (“free” with real-life costs of about $10–20/mo) with plugins (such as Memberpress or Memberful which both come with monthly fees of $25–$100).
  • Weebly for $25/mo all said and done (on the website end).
    • Note: this is the most integrated solution, requiring only 1 external service instead of 2.
  • Squarespace for $18–26/mo with either SentryLogin ($5/mo), GoPaywall ($10/mo), or Square Secure which doesn’t share its pricing—all 3 appear to be good options.

Options for including members-only video

Providing video in your membership area is going to cost a little extra. You can’t just host it on YouTube because then it’s public and defeats the purpose of having it behind a paywall on your website.

No matter what website you’re using or your hosting plan, you’re going to need to host your videos with a different service if you want them to be secure and valuable in your membership area.

I don’t have very much experience with video, but both Vimeo Plus ($5/mo) or Wistia ($25–50/mo unless you’re doing more than 50 videos, then more) look like they do a great job with this kind of video hosting. Wistia is more feature-rich and focused on conversion, which explains the extra price—but it is the better option for people who have time to devote a lot of time to video strategy. All things considered, I’d suggest the lower cost Vimeo plan to start.

Recommendations

My recommendation is different for a few different categories of people who do not have someone in their business or church who works part or full time on online strategy and maintenance.

For Someone Starting Today

If you don’t have a website yet or you’re planning a major redesign, I’d suggest the Weebly and starting with Vimeo Plus for video. It’s integrated into the website and allows you to start your membership-based business (or church) with the fewest hurdles and external services.

For Someone with A Website

There are great options for each of these platforms. Stick with the platform you’re on unless you’re interested in drastically changing your website. The options I linked to are the best I found, so check them out and see what looks like it’ll work for you. If you have more questions, email me.

For Someone with Great Video Equipment and a BIG Strategy

I stand by my recommendations above but would suggest you go with Wistia instead of Vimeo Plus.