There isn't a shortage of ways to build membership / subscription based sites with WordPress, as you can clearly see from the list previously posted. The first thing you need for creating your membership site with WordPress is a good premium theme. They're a few different WordPress premium theme developers that provide very flexible and highly customizable themes.
Finding A Good WordPress Theme
A few of the good ones include WooThemes, StudioPress, ElegantThemes and of course SoloStream. I've used all those theme developers for many different projects I've done for clients, SoloStream specifically makes very plain looking themes that don't have much graphical aspects to them but allot of framework. This makes the themes highly customizable for users that are more web design inclined, this is why they're my favorite. If your not a web designer and don't have the time to learn then WooThemes, StudioPress, and ElegantThemes would be the better options. These guys are the best in Theme development so once you set up your theme you won't have to worry about it after that.
A WordPress Membership Plugin
So you've got your theme together, now lets get into the meat of what you need for your membership website, a membership plugin. I previously posted a list of the 10 best WordPress membership plugins for building and managing a membership website. Depending on what your looking for and what you want your subscription site to do, take a look at the list and decide which one is for you or you can just listen to me and just go with WishlistMember, problem solve.
WishlistMember is the most popular and most flexible plugin on the market and it's the one I use for my subscription based website (Mixtapes.tv). The main reason for it's popularity is due to it's API and third party extensions that make it easy to customize for any type of membership website you want to build. It's pointless to go through all the features of WishlistMember since everyone is looking to do something different.
The most important features that applies to everyone is that it's compatible with many different payment processors such as ClickBank, PayPal, 1ShoppingCart and more. You can create unlimited membership levels and you can protect every part of your WordPress site.
Other Tools That Will Improve Your Membership Site
IdevAffiliate: is the most popular affiliate management software available on the web, having an affiliate program for your website will greatly increase the success of your membership site. An affiliate program allows other people to promote your product or service in exchange for a commission, the greatest benefit to affiliate marketing is that you only pay when you get customers. For that one reason is why affiliate marketing is one of the best business models and the only one that thrived in a down economy. You should really consider adding an affiliate program to your membership/subscription website.
SimplePress: This is the best message board plugin for WordPress and one of the best message board software, period. It even puts the official WordPress to BBPress to shame. The most convenient thing about the plugin is that it can be fully integrated with the WishlistMember plugin. Using SimplePress will help your membership site by creating user retention and keep your members coming back after they've lost interest in the main content of the site.
This is just a starter guide to building a membership / subscription based WordPress powered website, to cover everything you need to know about building this type of website will take more than one post so be on the look for more upcoming post regarding building a membership website.
Until next time…