Membership Tips

27 June 2022

How to Improve Your Membership Website in 10 Easy Steps

Websites have become increasingly important in recent years. Most especially in 2020 when in-person contact was limited. Whether your membership site is built around a learning environment, community, professional association, or some combination of the above, it is important that it makes a good impression and offers value to its users and members.  

An effective membership website has to be carefully nurtured and improved over time, continually evolving based on engagement and user feedback.  

This article will discuss 10 simple ways you can improve and optimise your membership website for better results. 

  1. Introduce Richer and Fresher Content 

Every membership website should include a variety of content that aligns to its membership model. Some of the types of content can include: 

  • Perks for members like digital products or even physical merchandise. 
  • Exclusive downloads like worksheets, templates and more. 
  • A community section or forum where other members can interact. 
  • Live webinars. 
  • Written content like blogs or videos. 
  • Online courses. 
  • Your archive of content. 

We have become used to relying on YouTube for answers to everyday problems like how to fix a light bulb or do some DIY. This is because a video is often the best way of getting the answers we need. 

In order to improve engagement and encourage continuous learning and after aligning to its membership model, membership sites need to look beyond purely textual content and incorporate more video and audio. They need to make it as easy as turning to YouTube to solve common problems related to their niche. 

You can also consider introducing a different kind of content. It should be high value and open, offering useful facts, opinions or advice. New content appeals to users as it adds value to memberships and has positive effects in search.  

  1. Improve Mobile Experience 

Majority of people today are on the web, and despite this, many membership websites have still not been fully optimised for mobile devices 

From community activities such as browsing a forum or interacting with others to data entry like registering with a membership website or signing up for an event – carrying out these activities on a mobile can be extremely frustrating especially for older audiences or those with motor control or vision problems. We often access membership site functionality such as forums, on mobile devices. It is therefore essential that these sites are compatible with these devices. 

  1. Increase Content Findability 

One common complaint from members of membership websites is the difficulty they experience when trying to find information on the sites. If a newly registered member finds it difficult to locate the information they need every time, it is unlikely for that membership to be renewed and more likely for it to be cancelled.   

To rectify this problem, you need to implement a programme of usability testing and fixes to improve content findability.  

Installing plug-ins is a good first step to improving the quality of your membership site's search. Check customised search results for common terms to ensure the most relevant results are returned. In addition, add sorting and filtering functionality so users can control the scope of any searches they undertake. 

  1. Interact and Focus More On Members 

It is important that your membership website's content actually addresses the questions and concerns that brought people to the site in the first place, and does not spend too much time talking about the organisation behind the website.  

Ask your members what they think. Respond to their comments. Hold regular polls and carry out periodic surveys so your members know that you care what they think. 

You can also encourage members to interact with each other. Membership sites often build around a shared culture. There will be several cultural norms, standards of etiquette, and even inside jokes that develop over time. Embrace those qualities and treat your customers and members like friends. 

  1. Increase Website Speed 

The speed of a website is an important part of the search engine equation. Search engines would not direct users to slow-loading sites as that would reflect badly on them. This means that if your membership website is not optimised for speed, it will not rank high on search engines.  

A major issue associated with slow websites is the size of images. The larger the image, the longer it takes to load the page. So if you have very large images on key pages of your website, you should consider replacing them with optimised versions.  

  1. Create a Testimonials Page 

Testimonials help to inspire and encourage people to trust in a brand. They help to humanise products and services being offered and increase commitment and loyalty. They also drive more organic traffic to a page. 

For your membership website, you should consider introducing a testimonials page by itself as a part of the site. Unlike online courses, membership sites don’t just talk about the benefits a member can get in that moment, they have to defend how the membership can support them on a monthly or yearly basis, which requires a much stronger case to be made. 

If you have enough testimonials to compile a page, make one and show off your membership program’s benefits and real-life users. 

  1. Celebrate Your Members 

A truly great membership website is one that celebrates their members at every opportunity, from highlighting outstanding membership contributions to rewarding members for their involvements.  

You can do this by: 

  • Giving out awards or certifications for achievements. 
  • Featuring members in a newsletter or publication. 
  • Promoting some members to community leaders. 
  • Giving badges and higher status to regular contributors. 

These approaches not only make members feel valued but also encourage their continuous participation. 

  1. Help Members Overcome Their Challenges  

One of the roles of membership organisations is to help their members overcome the challenges they face, whether in meeting business goals or getting better at a chosen hobby. 

Although membership sites usually contain resources to achieve this, there is more they can actually do. From "how-to guides" to live "surgeries" that take place through the website or via Zoom or even simple acts like helping members navigate as your membership website grows. Providing simple, intuitive navigation they can understand. You can also introduce a Starter Manual or Guide for new members. 

  1. Giving Members More Control Over Their Membership.  

For example, making your privacy policy more transparent or allowing members personalise the content displayed when they log in or customise the emails they receive, etc. 

  1. Fixing Broken Links around Your Membership Website or Leading to External Websites. 

Broken links are web pages that point to non-existent resources i.e. they can’t be found or accessed by a user. They devalue your website SEO efforts – broken links restrict the flow of link equity throughout your site, which impacts rankings negatively. 

They also make for a bad user experience- when members click on links and reach dead-end 404 errors, they get frustrated and may never return.