If you run a WordPress site and you’re looking for a way to build a membership business from your traffic, you’ve probably done a search for WordPress plugins that will do the trick. Heck, even if you’ve never launched a website, you might be thinking about using WordPress + a plugin to build a membership site.
And one of the plugins you might have stumbled across is Memberful.
Although it has a set of good options for creating your membership business, it’s missing some key features like an app, and its interface is pretty basic. Plus, there’s the question of whether or not you should build your membership business with WordPress, or use a third-party service.
In this article, we’ll talk about what to consider when you’re looking for Memberful alternatives, plus give you 6 to choose from.
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In this article...
What is Memberful?
Memberful is a membership site platform that can be used to build an online business. One of its most common uses is through its WordPress plugin, which gives users the option to add a membership area to their existing WordPress site and sell courses, communities, and digital and physical goods.
But Memberful also has a standalone option for users without WordPress sites, which lets you build a space that they host. These spaces can be used to monetize additional products, like podcasts and newsletters.
What to look for in Memberful alternatives
WordPress vs. third party
As we said above, Memberful isn’t limited to WordPress. But since one of its most common integrations is as a WordPress plugin, it’s worth considering whether you’re looking for an alternative that lives on WordPress or not.
WordPress is a popular CMS, and can be a great place for creating content like a blog. But when it comes to adding plugins and functions, it’s tricky to get the usability you need in a way that looks great. A lot of WordPress users have felt the pain of installing multiple plugins to try to do what they want, only to find it doesn’t look right AND it slows down your site.
With the amount of third-party options for building membership sites that are clean, easy to use, and are incredibly simple to integrate with WordPress (e.g. through adding the link as a subdomain to your menubar), there’s no reason to limit yourself to plugins. Your users won’t know the difference.
We’ll include a mixture of WordPress plugins and non-WordPress options here.
All in one
Memberful has a pretty extensive list of features, meaning it has options to add your own branding, build products, create plans and bundles, and it gives you a set of analytics to figure out what’s working and what’s not.
While not every option on the list below is an all-in-one platform, we’ll mention a few. An all-in-one platform is great because it gives you a one stop shop to run your business and you don’t need to try to stitch together SAAS options or plugins.
Monetization and marketing
It’s important to choose a platform to run your membership business that gives you an actual set of business tools, not just a LMS or membership platform. This should include the option to create and sell your products, build bundles, charge in your home currency, and offer discounts. These features are pretty vital for a good monetization strategy.
The other thing to think about is the marketing side of your business, how the platform you choose gives you tools to actually acquire new members and sell your products.
Apps and access
Finally, it’s important to consider apps and access. Apps are always a struggle with WordPress plugins, many just straight up don’t do apps. Some of the third-party course and membership options come with an app built-in, which gives you more ways to reach and serve your members.
6 Memberful alternatives
1. Mighty Networks
Mighty Networks is an elegant and intuitive cultural software platform the lets you bring together community, courses, content, and commerce. With beautiful course design, easy membership packages, and lots of options to build a thriving community business, Mighty Networks is an all-in-one that provides all the tools you need for your business.
Mighty comes with flexible Spaces that let you build the type of membership YOU want. Mix and match from features like live streaming, cohort or pre-recorded courses, forums, messaging, and content.
In terms of monetization, you can sell membership to your community, membership to individual Spaces, or bundles that include any of these things. And you can sell 135 different currencies or even with token-gating.
Mighty also comes complete with an amazing mobile app that gives your members the community in their pocket. And it’s got a ton of community-building features like easy live events, livestreaming, polls, analytics, and more.
Teachable is an alternative to Memberful that gives you a place to build online courses under your brand. Teachable gives you the option to create a clean, engaging course using video or text, and adding in other things like quizzes or certificates. It also has a good affiliate program, which means you can enlist the help of others to help sell your course.
The downside to Teachable is that it really is just about building courses. It doesn’t give you the other options Memberful does, like adding a community or membership business. If you want these features, an all-in-one is a better way to go.
Podia also comes with a few marketing options built-in: things like a basic email program that lets you schedule and send emails, coupons for giving people discounts to your products, and affiliate marketing options. If you’re a coach who needs to schedule sessions with clients, Podia gives you options for that too, integrating with your calendar.
While it’s got some good features, Podia does have some limitations. Its course platform is very basic, almost to the point of being simplistic.
Ditto its community option, which is basically just a simple forum with a few organizing tabs. If you’re looking for something to wow your members, it’s probably not the option. Also, Podia doesn’t have a mobile app, which is a serious issue.
Kajabi is the online course giant that gives you a comprehensive set of course-building tools. You can build and customize your course, adding in different sections, audio and video (hosted on Wistia).
Where Kajabi really shines is in its complex marketing features. It gives you the ability to create customized landing pages and marketing funnels, complete with things like triggers and upsells. These features let you integrate your email and marketing options closely to your course sales. Kajabi also has great mobile apps.
While Kajabi is a great online course builder, if you’re looking for a more comprehensive membership site builder that can replace Memberful’s membership options, Kajabi probably isn’t it. It’s more of a course platform than a membership platform. It does have a community feature, but it’s pretty limited and a lot of creators who start with Kajabi turn to other platforms to host their course communities.
Kajabi is also really, really expensive, costing 2-3x as much as other platforms that do the same things.
BuddyBoss is a premium WordPress plugin that gives you the capability to add a membership area to your WordPress site. As one of the Memberful alternatives that does live on WordPress, it can also be integrated with other plugins such as Learndash – if you want to add a course LMS to your membership page.
BuddyBoss also has an app, which is a rare thing for a WordPress plugin, meaning your users can take your courses or community on the go with them.
6. Wild Apricot
One final Memberful alternative you might consider is Wild Apricot. Wild Apricot is a membership software that’s aimed specifically at the nonprofit world: so if you run a nonprofit, it might be for you. It lets you build a space for your members to log on and interact, and gives you the capability to custom-build websites for your organization.
With a slightly different flavor than the other options on this list, Wild Apricot also works for in-person event management, with options like registration and event emails. If you’re a national organization with local chapters, it also lets these chapters each build their own site and membership areas online or through the app.
Conclusion – Want to try Mighty Networks?
There are lots of Memberful alternatives out there, and it can be intimidating to choose. If you’re looking for an all-in-one that gives you everything you need to build a thriving membership business, why not try Mighty Networks for free? There’s no credit card required to sign up.
You can use it to build courses, sell memberships to a thriving community, launch events, and more. Your members will love it!