This article is NOT a complete manual on how to open, manage and operate a membership website, it is meant to give you a little insight into the areas of operations that you will need to be aware of.

What exactly does it take to create a membership site?

Probably the first thing that comes to mind is a means to keep track of all your members. This can be easily managed through the use of a server based PHP or ASP script. When looking at scripts to manage your membership, a good rule of thumb is "You Get What You Pay For".

What do you want to do with your membership site?

There are several server based scripts that are excellent choices, it depends mainly on what you want to accomplish with your site. If you are looking to create a resale product website, you will need a payment processing system that will track not only your sales, but also any sales made by your members.

If you are going to process payments through your site, then you will need an account with a company like Paypal, 2Checkout,, Clickbank or one of many others. These will handle all the processing for credit card payments and even electronic checks if you desire. And you will not have to deal with the liability of the buyers financial information.

What type of format do you need?

In the case of, I have placed a Blog as my front end and the actual membership area is located 'inside' the site. For many basic operations, a Wordpress blog may be more than sufficient. You will just need to install a few additional 'Plugins' to manage things.

Is your membership site providing electronic or physical products, or both?

If you are just looking to provide electronic downloads, you will need a means to providing your members access to them and keeping others out of the download areas.

For physical products you will need an automated means of printing mailing labels and arranging for pickup of your products. Unless you enjoy trying to find a parking space and lugging a couple hundred boxes into your local post office or UPS\FedEx store!

So far, we have touched base on what type of software, how to process your payments and shipping. What else is involved in a membership site? There are methods and means of advertising, customer relations and support (this SHOULD be your number one priority if you plan on keeping your members!), and growth projections and goals.

We will look at some of the other areas of managing a membership site in the next installment. But these items should give you a little food for thought if you are looking to create your own membership online.

Author's Bio: 

Mark Hultgren currently owns and operates over 200 domains and websites and has created several affiliate and membership sites.
He currently runs which has an excellent membership program. He also created the Giveaway site located at that runs quarterly events offering products for free download provided by himself along with other website owners.