How to Start a Membership Site to Sell Art and Design

If you’re an artist, you probably put a lot of energy into your craft and have little time for business strategy. Setting up a membership site can be an effective way to sell your work. However, this task may seem too daunting.

Fortunately, the process doesn’t have to be complicated. By focusing on the most essential parts of a membership website, you can start reaching enthusiastic audiences and boosting your sales.

In this article, we’ll cover the reasons you might want to set up a membership site to sell art and design. Then we’ll take you through three easy steps to get the job done. Let’s go!

How a Membership Site Can Benefit Creators

When it comes to selling your art and design, you have a lot of options for where to promote it, including social media platforms. However, the competition can be stiff. For instance, nearly 17 million creators use social media to sell their work in the U.S. alone. That means you might want to look for a more specialized way to profit from your creations.

For example, take CH Creative – an online creator who provides design services ranging from single web pages to total custom CMS design.

CH Creative homepage

CH Creative uses MemberPress to power subscription plans, which include the Starter Landing Page, Pro Website, and Custom CMS Design Packages.

Fortunately, setting up a membership site like CH Creative's can be a straightforward process. With a little bit of time and the right tools, you can build a powerful page and start sharing your art with more consumers.

How to Start a Membership Site to Sell Art and Design (In 3 Steps)

Before we get started, make sure you have a WordPress site up and running. It doesn’t need to be fancy – as long as you have the basics, this walkthrough will help you do the rest.

You'll also want to choose a theme for your WordPress site. Fortunately, you've got lots of incredible options. Take a look at this article to get you started: 29 Best WordPress Themes for Artists.

Once your WordPress site is all ready to go, it's time to create your art store and community!

Step 1: Add MemberPress to Your WordPress Website

MemberPress is our powerful tool to help you sell membership access to your content. To help business owners, we’ve made sure our plugin is user-friendly and easy to set up. That means you can focus more on producing artwork and less on learning the technology you need to sell it.

The banner for MemberPress.

First, you’ll want to choose a pricing plan. If this is your first membership site, our Basic plan might be a perfect fit. However, you might want to consider the Plus plan if you’re more experienced and are looking for extended features.

Once you’ve made your choice, purchase your product and download the zip file. You’ll also want to make note of your license key for later.

Next, navigate to your WordPress dashboard. Select Plugins > Add New > Upload Plugin. Click Choose File from the dialogue box and select Install Now to upload the MemberPress zip file:

MemberPress Upload Screen.

After the upload has been completed, navigate to MemberPress > Settings > License. Enter the license key you saved earlier in the field below and click on Activate License Key:

The page to activate a license key.

That's it – the setup is complete. From here, you can start customizing MemberPress to fit your needs. Feel free to take a moment and explore the plugin before you move on.

Step 2: Create Membership Options for Your Fans

Now you can start making membership options available to your users. To get started, navigate to MemberPress > Memberships > Add New:

The page for adding a new MemberPress membership option.

You can begin by adding the title and entering a brief description:

A sample, filled-out membership title and description.

We recommend that you try to write powerful sales copy to increase your chances of conversion. Additionally, you might want to consider using the Add Media button to provide an example of the features or products this membership will unlock.

Afterward, move over to the Membership Terms module. First, set your price. If it will be a one-time payment, select that category from the Billing Type drop-down menu. You can then decide if it’s a lifetime membership, or if access will expire on a certain date:

The one-time option for a membership term.

You can also choose a recurring membership, which can help keep your fans engaged. To do this, select Recurring from the Billing Type menu. After that, you’ll be able to choose the membership charge interval. You can also opt to offer a trial period or limit payment cycles:

Membership options for a recurring payment.

Lastly, we'll look at Membership Options. This section enables you to customize the administrative needs of a membership. For example, you can personalize the registration button, design a unique thank you page, and limit who can sign up for memberships.

For now, we’ll focus on the Price Box. Fill in the fields to the left as applicable. This will also generate a preview on the right:

A sample price box for an art and design membership site.

A price box can be a powerful visual tool for presenting your memberships. So it might be worth spending some time to perfect it. Save your work by clicking the Publish button. You can repeat the above steps for as many membership plans as you need.

Step 3: Add Advanced Features

Once you have the basic memberships set up, you can add more features. This can enhance the experience for your users and help increase your conversions.

Let’s start with the Rules option. With this setting, you can obtain control over what users can view on which pages. Go to MemberPress > Rules > Add New, and scroll down to the Content & Access module.

For instance, you may want to enable only the person commissioning a piece of art to view a particular post. For our example, we'll select A Single Post and enter the post’s title next to it. Then we’ll add an access condition that only enables John Doe, a single person who already has a membership, to view it:

A sample rule for a design and art membership site.

With this granular control over posts, you can personalize the user experience for individual members. Additionally, this can be an effective way to boost your revenue beyond existing memberships.

If you're looking for another way to boost your passive income, you might want to consider using our Courses add-on:

The banner for MemberPress Courses

If you’re an artist with a specific style, this could be particularly lucrative. For example, you might create courses that teach your members the basics of your craft. You might also consider launching a course that guides users through a reproduction of a popular design.

Our Courses add-on integrates directly with the MemberPress plugin and is included with all plans – Basic, Pro, and Plus. So don’t have to learn a new interface. You can spend your time producing educational content instead.

To learn how MemberPress Courses works, check out our doc and video, Getting Started with MemberPress Courses.

Conclusion

Membership sites can be a profitable investment for your creative business. However, setting one up can seem tough. Fortunately, the process is simple with the help of powerful tools and strategic design.

In this article, we covered three steps to set up a membership site for selling designs and artwork:

  1. Add MemberPress to your WordPress website.
  2. Set up basic membership options.
  3. Explore more advanced features, like MemberPress Courses, to provide more value to your clients.

Do you have any questions about setting up a membership site to sell design and artwork? Let us know in the comments section below!

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About Syble Harrison

Syble is the Content Team Lead at MemberPress and a lover of all things interesting (that's why she loves her job!). When Syble's not busy writing, editing, and managing content or campaigns, you'll usually find her researching or reading about AI.

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