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Building Your Membership Site’s Core Pages and Elements – Complete Guide


We want to thank you for purchasing our complete guide to Building Your Membership Site’s Core Pages – Complete Guide!

In this guide you will find all the information you need to know in order to setup the core pages of your membership site.

You can use the quick navigation below to get to the content you need quickly and easily.

The Core Membership Site’s Pages

There are several types of pages every membership site must have: The after registration, the members dashboard and the error pages.

In this section we go over each type of page, what they should include and some examples how to structure and design them.

1. The After Registration Page

The after registration page is the page members are redirected to after they complete the registration to your membership site. This page is also called the thank you page.

Information to Include

  • “Thank you for registering to our service” message
  • Email confirmation explanation
  • Quick access to the members’ area (Dashboard)
  • Contact support link
  • Affiliate program information (if exists)

Layout Example

This is an example of a thank you page we’ve created for one of our products that is protected in a closed members’ only area. Click on the thumbnail to enlarge the image:

Thank You Page Example

2. The Members Dashboard

It is recommended to set the dashboard as the after login page, so that every time your members login to the site, they will get an overview of the website and can easily navigate inside the membership.

The dashboard is the place where your members can always come back to and see a complete overview of all the important information it contains.

Information to Include

1. Welcoming video/ quick start video (recommended)

2. Member details (with ability to edit profile)

3. Links to the relevant information inside the membership

4. FAQ section

5. Contact support link

6. Special messages – promotions/ surveys/ announcements etc.

Suggested Dashboard Layouts

We have created 3 dashboard layout examples who are structured differently from one another.

These are, of course, only suggestions and you can adjust the content to your needs.

If you are looking for a plugin that can help you create a nice looking professional dashboard, we recommend Members’ Multiple Dashboard by Andrew Hunter (affiliate link).

Here are the layouts examples:

3. The Error Pages

An error page is the page users are redirected to when they don’t have access to the content they tried to access.

Your membership site should include setting up 3 different error pages:

  • Membership Cancelled
  • Wrong Membership Level
  • Non members

Though the definition of an error page sounds simple, it is actually a very important part of your membership site that can have a tremendous impact on your revenues.

There are 2 main types of users who may be redirected to your error pages:

1. Users who have access to your protected content, but are not logged-in to the site

2. Users who do not have permission to access your protected content

The main type of users you should focus on is the users who do not have permission to access your content, since they are the ones interested in it but can’t get it. These are the best users to sell to.

So in conclusion, you need to look at your error like sales letters, and by adding the right copy and elements to it, your revenues will surely increase.

Information to Include

  • Login form for members who are not logged in
  • Message of the user’s status (wrong level/ non-member/ cancelled member)
  • Information about the membership site – sales letter type preferred

Turning Your Error Page into a Sales Letter

The most important part of your site’s error page is the sales page, so we highly recommend that you use the exact same sales page you are using to sell your product or service, and not just give a short brief of it.

A great plugin you can use that allows you to add a simple shortcode to your error page and present the same sales page.

One of the great things about using this plugin is that any changes you make in the original sales page will automatically appear in the error page.

The plugin is free and is called Post Content Shortcodes and the shortcode looks like this: [ post-content id=X ]

Error Page Layout Example

Error Page Example

Your Membership Site’s Homepage

One of the most common dilemmas membership sites owners have is whether to set their homepage to be the sales letter or a blog feed style.

This question is very common in Magazine style membership sites in particular.

What is a Magazine Style Membership Model?

The Magazine style (also called Publisher style) looks like a blog with periodic content being added constantly.

You can see an example of how a Magazine membership site looks like in Membership Insiders which is one of the membership sites we run.

Everyone can see the excerpt (the content before the “read more” tag), but only registered members can access the rest of the content, since it is protected.

Non registered or non-logged in users are redirected to an error page.

So, what should you set as your homepage?

The Sales Letter vs. Magazine Style Debate

There isn’t one good answer to that question, since the key thing here is to split test and see what works better for your audience, just like with all other features and elements on the site.

Here are the main benefit of each option to help you decide which option to go with:

Sales Letter Benefit:

Quick Overview – Most visitors usually leave a site they land on within the first 10 seconds. Presenting an eye catching sales letter with a quick overview about your service can lead to better conversion rates.

Magazine/ Blog Style Benefit:

Display “Teaser Content” – Using the “read more” tag allows you to “tease” your visitors and give them peaces of content and attract them to register to your membership site. When your members try to access the protected content, they will be redirected to the error page, there it will be easier to sell them your membership since you already know they are interested.

The Sales Letter Structure

Split testing your membership site’s sales letter is always important.

The below combination of elements is the one we found to be most converting:

Elements to Include

Video – (Try different types: scribed/ explanatory/ personal/ quick overview etc.)

Benefits Bullets – What’s in it for the customer

Features Section – Short and straight to the point, for example:

Features Sections

Testimonials – If you don’t have any, we recommend mailing satisfied clients who are already using your service and ask for a testimonial.

Screenshots – If needed

Packages Table – Offering several packages has a huge psychological effect on the human’s mind. If you give several options, the mind focuses on choosing the suitable option rather than choosing between the “buy or “not to buy” options.

Money Back Guarantee – If offered.

Presell FAQs – Gather all the important questions previous clients have asked and create an FAQ section at the end of the sales letter. This will keep your sales letter from being too crowded with information, but still informative enough.

You can check out one of our product’s sales letter. This is a sales letter we have been split testing for ever since we established it, and this is the best structure that works for us:

General Links to Include

General links are important links you should include in your membership site (preferably in the footer) so every visitor will be able to access.

  • About
  • Contact
  • Terms of use
  • Privacy Policy
  • Disclaimer if needed
  • Members Login
  • Blog (if exists)
  • Affiliates login
  • Affiliates sign up

The Blog Structure

If you decided to give your membership site a blog look then you may want to include the below elements.

Some are available to Wishlist Member users, so if you are a Wishlist user, you will be able to purchase these plugins individually.

If you are not a Wishlist user, you can have a plugin custom developed for your platform.

 Elements to Include

Latest posts – If you are using Wishlist Member then you can use Wishlist Badge to display a badge that notifies if the content is protected or not. We wrote an overview we wrote on Wishlist Badge here.

Posts categories – For quick navigation

Latest protected posts – Display your visitors a teaser of your protected content in the sidebar. You can do this using a special plugin we developed called Wishlist Protection Display for Wishlist users.

Sidebar login form – So members can login quickly to view the protected content.

ID Card of each member – Display the member’s card in the sidebar including his Gravatar, name, membership level and links to edit profile and to log out. This can be done using Wishlist ID Card for Wishlist users.

General Links to Include

General links are important links you should include in your membership site (preferably in the footer) so every visitor will be able to access.

  • Link to sales page
  • Link to dashboard
  • About
  • Contact
  • Terms of use
  • Privacy Policy
  • Disclaimer if needed
  • Members Login
  • Blog (if exists)
  • Affiliates login
  • Affiliates sign up

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