The Pros And Cons Of Membership Sites

Call it what you want – recurring revenue, membership sites, continuity – it’s something I love having in my business. It’s also something I feel is a necessary part of my overall income strategy. It gives me a little more comfort knowing that I do not start a zero each month.

As I’m preparing my PLR membership webinar notes (part of PLR Business Training Club), I can’t help but think about how there are both good and bad points about membership sites. Some people get caught up in the hype about having membership sites – that it’s easy, automated and passive income.

While there are great things about membership sites there are also some downfalls too.

Running a membership site is NOT easy! It’s typically NOT passive income (running on autopilot). It’s also not for the faint of heart…meaning you can’t take it personal when people cancel their membership. It’s going to happen!

Over the past 3 years, I have created 5 different types of membership sites. One of the most important steps in creating an membership site is to make sure you have chosen the right topic. I have found that member retention is directly based on what value you are providing to members. Do they need what you are offering? Do they want it? If you need or want something bad enough – you will get it. Period.

In one membership site model, I provided unique content each month for my members. It was very successful because those that signed up needed quality unique content on an on-going basis. They didn’t mind paying a lump sum each month because of the value they were getting!

So if you are thinking about setting up some type of recurring income in your business, which I think you should (it’s working smarter) then here are a few pros and cons. If you go in with eyes wide open you’ll have a better chance of success!


Ahh the pros! They get you all excited and make you feel all hopeful! :)They are usually the reason we do something, right?? Here are a few pros:

1.) Never start your month (or day) at zero again! I absolutely love this! What if something happens (because life DOES happen) and you are unable to work for a week or two (or longer)? Well if you have recurring income coming in then you’ll still be earning! That’s the power of membership sites!

For example, last August, I gave birth to our baby girl so that meant I was just a wee bit tied up lol. I was so happy I set up recurring income because I didn’t miss a beat as far as my income went!

2.) Providing something on a regular basis keeps you accountable! Sometimes we need routine or a deadline to keep ourselves motivated and/or pressured just enough to get things done. I know I do anyway!

3.) You have the ability to cross promote and make even more money. Your members are paying customers. If you treat them right you can recommend other products/services that will help them and earn more money on top of your member sales.

There are more pros, but you get the point!


On the other hand the cons of membership sites are not really talked about that much (hhmm I wonder why).  Again when you know the drawbacks then you can make an educated decision on whether or not creating a membership is for you!

1.) Continuous promoting of the site in order to keep your membership full. If your numbers are low is it even worth the time, effort, money of running a member site?

2.) Commitment! This really shouldn’t be a con but for some it is! You have to commit to tedious updating and maintaining content EVEN when you don’t feel like it!

3.) Technical issues. Sometimes plugins or scripts can go haywire and you have to fix or get someone else to fix the problem. This could result in customer complains and even members dropping out.

4.) Another con (as stated above) is that people are going to drop out. It’s something I hate seeing but at the same time it’s just apart of this business model. You take the good with the bad…and you have to get thick skin!

Of course there are ways to get around some of these cons. If you can isolate your personal cons and find fixes for them like I did then you can make the right decision for yourself. For me the pros far outweigh the cons!

What about you? What do you like or not like about membership sites? Do you want to run one? Do you run one now? Let me know below!

By Lisa

Hi, I'm Lisa and I help coaches and course creators grow their audiences and increase sales with Facebook ads.

17 replies on “The Pros And Cons Of Membership Sites”

I agree Lisa that choosing the niche and monthly content is hard. You are trying to keep everyone happy with usable content. I don’t find creating the content too difficult once you have decided what to cover that month.

In your experience do you make your monthly content narrow or broad?

Thanks for the list of pros and cons! I have been working on starting my first PLR membership site. It is taking some time getting used to how the plugins work, but it is going well.

The biggest thing I know I’ll need to do is work on promoting. The last thing I want to be doing is writing tons of PLR content for only 2 or 3 members!
Amanda Thomas recently posted..Fitness PLR Pack

Hey Sue! Yeah it’s a balancing act trying to keep everyone happy. In my experience I found that you need to be both narrow and broad LOL. How’s that for a trick answer! 🙂

What I mean is when I started Health PLR Club I wanted to cover all types of health topics, but really I covered a lot of weight loss and fitness related topics. Some people asked if I will cover other health topics as they had enough weight loss/fitness content. If I focus too much on one area of health then I’ll lose some people. So my thought was that I should have picked a more narrow topic with a lot of subtopics like weight loss/fitness.

Hey Amanda! That’s great to hear about your PLR membership site in the making! Ahh promoting…my least favorite thing LOL. But promoting your membership isn’t much different than promoting anything else online! I suggest working with affiliates…recruit and have them do the work! 🙂

Hey Lisa,

I find that I love starting membership sites, but after a while the commitment part starts to wear on me. I don’t really like having concrete deadlines, even when they’re self-imposed!

Peggy recently posted..5 Things I Do Well With Internet Marketing

LOL that’s funny because I need deadlines to keep myself moving! 🙂 That’s why it’s so great that we have many different biz models to choose from! Thanks for stopping by Peggy!

Hi Lisa,

I don’t think I would even begin to think of doing a membership site unless I had either a partner or a good virtual assistant. I love the idea of recurring income and I also work best with deadlines. But I don’t want the stress of having all the weight on my shoulders to deliver each month. However, if I could share the responsibility I’d definitely want to give it a go at some point.

– Sharyn
Sharyn Sheldon recently posted..LinkedIn PLR for Business

Hey Sharon! Yeah partnering up with someone is a great way to break into it. There are different types of memberships too. If you drip feed content then you could possibly set up up to run automatically for a fixed amount of time.

Ooh, I like that idea. I didn’t know about that option. Maybe in a few months when I have my current site more fully loaded I’ll take a look at doing one of those.

Sharyn Sheldon recently posted..LinkedIn PLR for Business

Cool Sharyn! Let me know if you have any questions when you get around to it! 🙂

Hey Lisa,

I’m a relatively new reader to your blog. I’m very interested in getting my own membership started as the idea of a recurring income is very appealing to me.

The main thing that has been putting me off is the commitment of having to provide a fixed amount of content each month. However, I’m probably going to give it a go this year. I’m sure when the deadline is real and in place, I’ll blast out the content with ease :).
Tom Parker recently posted..10 Bike Accessory Reviews – PLR Articles

Hey Tom,

Like anything there are some good and bad parts to running a membership site. Although I think the good far outweigh the bad! Let me tell you..whenever I put something out there like that and have people looking for something from me well it REALLY motivates you to get stuff done. So I have no doubt you’ll be able to blast out the content with ease lol! Thanks for stopping by!

I am thinking of setting up a membership site, but have so many questions, or rather changes of mind. I keep wondering whether or not to make it a membership site or just an ordinary, everyday one. I like all your reasons for having one though!
Susan O’Dea recently posted..Website Building For Organic Traffic

Hey Susan! Memberships are a great way to produce a more consistent income. You could do a fixed term membership to test the waters (3,6 months or whatever length). Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

I see you do web design related work – you could teach how to put up a website or teach SEO or whatever in a 12 week format where you send out emails on a weekly basis through an autoresponder. Something else to think about! 🙂

I was in the self storage business for years. Nothing better than a monthly recurring income. In addition to the points you mention in your post, automating your membership site saves the site owner a lot of hassle and helps your members manage their own accounts. I’ve made the mistake of using the wrong software in the past. That’s a big issue.

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