How to Start a Hobby Membership Site (In 5 Easy Steps)

People are spending increasingly more time dedicated to their hobbies. Furthermore, these activities are often shared with others. If you have a niche interest or passion, you may be wondering if you can profit from it.

A membership site can allow you to make passive income from your hobbies. Furthermore, you can use one to create an online community that keeps your niche interests alive.

In this guide, we'll explain why you should consider creating a hobby membership site. Then we'll explain how to set up your own members-only website in five simple steps. Let's get started!

Why You Should Consider Starting a Hobby Membership Site

A membership site has hidden content that is only available to paying subscribers or registered users (or both). With a members-only hobby site, you can offer specialty materials to other people who share your niche interests and passions.

For example, the Orchids Made Easy “Green Thumb Club” enables orchid enthusiasts to learn new techniques and join an online community:

An example of a membership site for hobbyists.

A membership site can enable you to generate passive income. After setting up your content, you can continue to make revenue from sign-up fees and ongoing subscriptions.

The value of the global hobby market should increase to approximately $545 billion by 2023, so there's an excellent opportunity for long-term earnings.

Furthermore, you can generate income via affiliate marketing. You can sell products to your subscribers via affiliate links and make commissions on any sales. This is another passive income stream that can keep your business afloat.

Finally, a membership site for hobbyists can help bring people together. If your interest is very niche, your site can serve as a community base and enable users to share their passion.

MemberPress Hobby Website Example

Through Cake Craft School, multi-talented crafter, “Bea”, teaches students her passion – the art of fondant (sculptable icing) modelling. The site has templates, over 70 tutorials, and 400 step-by-step videos. Cake Craft School manages its enrollment with MemberPress, offering monthly, quarterly, and biannual access to members.

How to Start a Membership Site for Hobbyists (In 5 Easy Steps)

You will need a WordPress website for this tutorial. We recommend the WordPress content management system (CMS) for its customization options and integration with various plugins. If you don't yet have a site, it's pretty straightforward to get started.

1. Create Your Members-Only Material

First, you might want to think about what content you can offer your subscribers. This will largely depend on your niche, but there are some common features of a membership website.

You might offer a members-only forum where users can discuss tips, techniques, and ideas. For example, the Knitalong Hub has exclusive discussions for subscribing members:

The Knitalong Hub discussion forum.

You could also upload videos or attach downloadable files related to specific techniques of your hobby. For example, you might share your crochet patterns or demonstrate how users can improve their skills. Remember that members will be signing up for your site, so you should try to add value as much as possible.

In addition, you might create multi-step lessons using the MemberPress Courses add-on. With it, you can create programs for users with different skill levels – from complete beginners to intermediate crafters.

Finally, you can link your ecommerce store to your site. If you've written ebooks or other publications in your field, you can advertise them to members. Alternatively, you can sell products related to your hobby and generate income through affiliate sales.

2. Install and Set Up the MemberPress Plugin

We'll be working with our MemberPress plugin in this tutorial. It integrates seamlessly with WordPress sites and enables you to control everything from your website's dashboard.

Start by choosing from one of our MemberPress paid plans. Once you've signed up, you'll be directed to your account dashboard. There, click to download the plugin files in a .zip format and copy your license key:

The MemberPress account dashboard.

Head across to your WordPress dashboard to install and activate the plugin. Navigate to Plugins > Add Plugins > Upload Plugin. Click on Choose File and select the .zip folder with the MemberPress files:

Adding a new plugin in WordPress.

Once you've installed the plugin, click on Activate to complete the process. Then, head to MemberPress > Settings > License to enter your license key and activate your subscription.

3. Set Up Your Hobbyist Membership Plans

Now it's time to set up your membership plans. Their content will depend upon the theme of your particular site. For this walkthrough, we're going to set up some knitting site plans.

Navigate to MemberPress > Memberships > Add New. You should then see a form where you can name your plan, write its description, and customize its settings:

An example of a membership plan for hobbyists.

For example, you will set the price of your plan, its billing type, and its access period. Everything here will be visible to potential customers, so you may want to put some time into writing compelling sales copy for the membership.

When you're happy with the plan, click Publish. If you want to offer various membership levels, you can set them up following the same process. For example, you might offer cheaper plans for casual members and more expensive ones for more involved users.

4. Establish Your Membership Restriction Rules

Now, you will establish rules for your content. These restrictions will determine who can view particular posts and pages, and who can't. These regulations are essential if you want to separate content between different membership levels.

Start by heading to MemberPress > Rules > Add New. Then you can create access conditions for your restricted content:

Creating access rules for membership content for hobbyists.

You can choose content according to posts, pages, categories, tags, or groups. Then you can establish access conditions for memberships, members, or roles.

For example, you may establish that only content with the category “beginner” is available to your cheapest membership plan.

Once you're happy with your access conditions, click on Save Rule. You can create as many restrictions as you need, and edit them later if your plans change.

5. Add Your Members-Only Site's Registration Link and Login Page

Your users need a way to sign up for your membership site. As such, you'll need to add a registration link to your website menu.

In your WordPress dashboard, head to Appearance > Menus > Manage with Live Preview. Scroll down and select Menus > All Pages > + Add Items. Click on the drop-down arrow next to Memberships, and select your plan to add it to your menu:

Adding a membership to your site's menu.

Finally, your existing members need a way to access their accounts. You can enable this by setting up a login page for your subscribers.

Go to MemberPress > Settings > Pages. Select the drop-down menu next to MemberPress Login Page and choose Auto Create New Page:

Creating a MemberPress login page.

If you want to adjust the login page, you can click on Edit, and you will be directed to the WordPress Editor. Once you're happy with it, select Update Options to save your changes.

That's it. Now you have a functional membership site for hobbyists!

Conclusion

Many people are dedicating more time to hobbies and niche interests. If you're passionate about a particular activity, you can monetize it and create an online community with a members-only site.

To recap, you can start a membership site for hobbyists by following these steps:

  1. Create your members-only material.
  2. Install and set up the MemberPress plugin.
  3. Set up your hobbyist membership plans.
  4. Establish your membership restriction rules.
  5. Add your members-only site's registration link and login page.

Do you have any questions about setting up a hobby-based membership site? Let us know in the comments section below!

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About John Hughes

John is a blogging addict, WordPress fanatic, staff writer for WordCandy.co, and a regular contributor to the MemberPress and Easy Affiliate blogs.

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