How to Create a Membership Website with WordPress – An Overview

WordPress is the most popular content management system (CMS) in the world. The incredibly flexible platform can be used to create anything from a basic blog to a full-blown membership website. This guide will give you a complete walkthrough on how to create a membership website using WordPress. It will cover everything from the basic steps to the more advanced features. Even if you’re new to WordPress, you should have no trouble following along for the ride.

Create A Custom Domain

One of the first things you will need to do is to register your domain. If you don’t have a domain name for your website, you can use the free domain name generator at to get yourself a custom domain. When you have your domain, you can start installing WordPress to launch your website. But before you do that, you need to point your domain to a hosting plan.

Install WordPress To Your Server

To start, you will need to visit the website and click the big green button to sign up for a hosting account. Once you’re on the hosting dashboard, you will need to click the WordPress button to install the platform. You will be required to input your domain information so that 1and1 can point your domain to the right place. Once you have completed the installation, click the WP-CLI button (also located on the dashboard) to launch the WordPress command line interface (CLI). The CLI will give you full control over your WordPress installation and allow you to take care of any issues that may arise (e.g., via the wp-cli.phar command line tool).

Activate Your Theme

Before you start building your website, you will want to choose a theme for the build. While WordPress comes with a number of pre-installed themes, changing the theme for your site can have a dramatic effect on its overall look. When selecting a theme, you should keep in mind that it will impact the way your site is displayed on different devices (e.g., mobile vs. desktop). Typically, the larger the screen, the greater the difference in layout. So if you have a large monitor at your disposal, you may want to go with the default ThemeForest theme as it is quite versatile.

Configure Your Database

A database is a collection of information that is stored in a structured way in order to make it easily accessible and searchable. There are several databases that you can choose from when creating a WordPress website. You will want to pick one that is easy to use and has all the functionalities that you need to build your site. For example, you may want to consider using the MySQL database since it is open source and has all the common features (e.g., authentication, flexible schema, etc.). To connect to the database, you will need to visit the website and click the gear button to open the advanced settings area. In the lower right corner, you will see a small menu with three options: Databases, Relational, and MongoDB. Click on the MySQL entry to connect to the database.

Create Your Blog

If you are launching a new blog, you will first need to create a blog post. To do this, visit the website and click the green button to create a new post. You will be presented with a simple form that you need to fill out in order to create the post. When you click the Preview Post button, you will see the post along with a few formatting options (e.g., the title, the description, etc.). Once you have completed filling out the form, click the Publish button to post the article.

The great thing about this method of publishing is that you don’t need to think about link building or SEO since all the heavy lifting is done for you. This makes it simpler to get your content noticed by the right audience.

Configure Email Notifications

You can enable email notifications so that you receive an email whenever someone comments on a post or submits a new article. The best part about this feature is that you can choose to receive notifications for either your blog posts or your articles (e.g., the ones you author). To activate this functionality, click the gear icon on the Blog dashboard and navigate to the General section. From there, you will need to check the box next to Enable email notifications and fill out the required information (e.g., your email address).

Choose A Hosting Provider

You will need to choose a hosting provider so that you can launch your website or blog. There are several hosting providers that you can choose from, and you will want to make sure that you are getting a reputable company that is based in the United States. A good starting point would be Once you are on their website, click the Get Started button to continue to their hosting plans. Once you are on their hosting plans, you will have the option to choose a dedicated IP that can be used to launch a website or blog (e.g., or

Dedicated IPs are a must if you are looking to create a reputable website or blog. The great thing about these IPs is that they are completely free and they keep the service active unless you tell them otherwise (e.g., via the email address).

Configure Widget Areas And Layouts

WordPress comes with several built-in widgets that you can use to populate the various areas of your website. For example, you may want to use the Recent Activity widget to display your blog activity (e.g., the posts you published, the comments, etc.). To use these widgets, navigate to the Appearance section of your WordPress dashboard. Next to Widgets, you will see a few different layouts for your site (e.g., the grid, the two columns, etc.). Click the button next to any of these layouts to switch to the corresponding view. You can now start adding widgets to the corresponding areas of your site (e.g., the sidebar for the grid view or the footer for the two columns view).

Edit Your Site’s Layout, Or Launch A Staggered Presentation

Now that you have your basic WordPress setup ready to go, you can start configuring the appearance of your site by editing the layout. To do this, click the gear icon on the Blog dashboard and navigate to the General section. Once you are on this page, you will see a few options that you can use to completely change the appearance of your site. First, you can change the banner image at the top of the page. Second, you can choose the color scheme for your site. Third, you can edit the header and footer (e.g., the text, the fonts, the colors, the images, etc.).

The great thing about this method of changing the appearance of your site is that it is very easy to do. You can easily go back and change your mind if you don’t like the way any of these options look (e.g., via the buttons located on the right side of the header and footer fields).

Get The Most From Your Site’s Analytics

WordPress comes with several analytics tools that you can use to track the traffic to your site. The great thing about these tools is that they are free and very easy to use. You will only need to input the relevant information into the settings area of your site (e.g., the URL, the code, etc.). Once you have registered your domain and activated your site, you can start using the analytics tools to track the traffic to your site.

These tools will give you a clear idea of the content that your audience is engaging with and will help you determine what is working and what needs to be changed (e.g., the layout, the types of posts, etc.).

Choose A Social Media Platform To Integrate With Your Site

You can integrate your site with several different social media platforms (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.). To do this, click the gear icon on the Blog dashboard and navigate to the General section. From there, you will see several options that you can use to connect with the social networks (e.g., Google+, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.).