How To Build a Kajabi Membership Site
I first heard about membership sites a decade ago. The world of online business was evolving into a mature market as people became more comfortable with the idea of spending money on the internet. The overwhelming amount of free, disorganized information available online was hurting more people than it was helping.
Membership sites aimed to solve this problem. They offered customers a premium experience through organized, exclusive content.
The strategy worked. Membership sites have since grown into a multi-billion dollar portion of the e-learning space. And with that, dozens of platforms have risen up in order to facilitate these sites and make the lives of those running them easier.
But not all membership platforms are created equal. If you’re reading this now, chances are you’ve tried another platform and found yourself using colorful language or pulling your hair out at some point.
I get it. That was me before I made the switch to Kajabi. If you are looking to build a subscription-based digital product, I recommend you give this free trial a try. Kajabi is the best tool for membership sites in my opinion.
This article will show you exactly why.
What is a Membership Site
Before we get into the technical details of building a membership site, let’s define what one actually consists of: content, community, and access.
Content is the valuable information people need your help in understanding and applying in their lives or business. This can be delivered in a multitude of ways such as live coaching, course videos, exclusive articles, downloadable guides, and more.
Community is what keeps people engaged not only with your content but with their transformation. Traditionally, membership site communities have been facilitated through tools like Facebook groups, forums, and live meetups.
Access is the piece that brings everything together. For a membership site to be successful, for both the owner and the user, it has to be specific, require paid entry, and provide fresh content regularly. Access means users are able to take part in something they would otherwise be unable to take part in if your site didn’t exist.
There are endless ways to creatively tie these 3 pieces together, just make sure you don’t leave any of them out of your product.
Pros & Cons of Membership Sites
Maintaining an active subscription product isn’t all passive income and pool parties. There’s work involved. It’s important to consider all of the variables before jumping into a project like this.
- Opportunity to connect in a deeper way with a committed portion of your audience.
- Consistent, reliable income stream.
- Chance to experiment with different types of content to see what members value most.
- Customers/Students gain the flexibility to consume content on their own time and build relationships with other members.
- Smaller upfront cost for customers when compared to one-off course purchase or private coaching.
- Susceptible to the content-treadmill (never-ending workload).
- Can become difficult to pivot or dedicate your time to other large projects because of the commitment it requires.
- Smaller, regular income stream vs. large payout (like you would get with a course launch).
- Requires active participation in community or else members may leave (i.e., churn rate).
Every membership site is different and a lot of these concerns can be remedied by making sure that what you build aligns with both the income you want to achieve and the lifestyle you want to lead. Remember, at the end of the day this is YOUR membership site – you get to set the rules and expectations that others follow.
How To Build a Kajabi Membership Site
Kajabi makes the initial steps a breeze when it comes to building out your first membership site. To start, log in to your account.
Once inside, click on Products on the left side of the screen, then either the + New Product button (if you’ve already created a product before) or directly select the Membership Template.
Next, you’ll see a pre-built template like the image below which contains sample Categories, Lessons, Appearance details, and more. Let’s go through each piece step by step.
By clicking on the Edit Details option you’ll gain the ability to edit or update items such as:
- The Title of your membership program.
- A short description of your site.
- A thumbnail image that your members will see in their Kajabi library every time they log in.
Moving over one button you’ll see the Preview option. This allows you to see the changes you make to your membership site in real-time. Just remember to hit refresh on the page whenever you make cosmetic or content changes so that the preview will display them correctly.
Our next option is the Customize button which allows you to take a number of different actions including:
- Customize the visual elements of the site (colors, images, layout, etc.).
- Edit the code for specific features.
- Export your site for backup purposes.
- Rename your membership site.
- Choose a Theme for your membership layout (Pro tip: Don’t forget to Activate new themes once chosen!).
The visual elements can be edited using the same sidebar block structure the rest of the Kajabi platform uses. So, if you can piece together an email in Kajabi, you’ll have no problem putting together an entire membership site.
The final option along our top portion is the More Actions drop-down menu. Here you can:
- Create an Announcement – which notifies every member of your site that there is an important message.
- Manage Comments – edit, delete, and reply to any comment left by your students.
- View Progress – see a simple graph that shows you every single student’s progress through your product (this is one of my favorite features!).
- Clone – make a full copy of your membership site (in case you want to build another one without starting from scratch).
- Delete – fully delete your site along with all of the content, comments, and downloads.
Below our top menu is the Product Outline which houses all of the content for your membership site. This template follows closely to the Online Course template provided by Kajabi. The main difference is how you decide to break it up.
In the premade model provided, they begin with 3 Categories: Core Training, Bonus Content, and Resources. This is a great way to approach your initial site setup.
Place the most important content towards the top, so that members will interact with it as soon as they log in. Then, organize the bonuses, downloads, and supplementary material into their own categories so that members can easily access them as needed.
Within each category, you have the option to Add Posts and Subcategories.
Posts are the individual lessons within your program.
Subcategories allow you to organize the lessons so that (1) the amount of content doesn’t overwhelm your student and (2) your customers feel as though they are progressing more quickly because the large categories are now divided into more manageable sections.
As with all Kajabi products, you have full control over your members' access to every part. By click on the green or gray checkmarks on the right side of the Product Outline you will be able to:
- Publish the Category or Post – making it visible to all members.
- Drip – which means setting a time delay, or a number of days, before your members can access the content.
- Lock – this option allows you to lock access by ensuring that members either complete a certain lesson or assessment first.
- Set to Draft – the Category or Post becomes invisible to your members so that you can make any desired changes.
The individual Posts or Lessons have similar options, except they have the additional option to Delete.
You can only Delete a Category or Subcategory that has 0 Posts inside of it. If you want to delete a category in your membership or course product, make sure you delete all of the Posts within that category first.
Number of Members
There are two final pieces to the membership backend. The first allows you to see the number of members currently enrolled in your site. This number is displayed to the right of the screen, underneath your membership title, and right above the Go to Product button.
The final piece is the offer(s) associated with your membership site. This is where you can set the price and payment plan that gives your customers access to what you’ve built. You can have as many offers associated with a single product as you wish.
If you want to learn more about linking products and offers together, I recommend you read this guide I wrote on the subject.
How To Create Lessons in Your Membership
Customizing individual lessons and posts in Kajabi is very similar to constructing blog posts. Here's what the backend of the lesson construction looks like.
The first option you'll see at the top is where you can upload videos or create assessments for your membership lesson. The video can be in a number of different formats, but it does have to be 4GB or smaller in size.
Assessments can be created and customized in the People tab in your account dashboard. For more information on assessment tools, I recommend this resource.
Below the media options are the bread and butter of the lesson's content. This is where you can create the title, assign a category for organization, and populate the body content with texts and images.
Below our body is the Automations functions. These allow Kajabi users to create automatic actions that occur once certain triggers are activated.
For example, an automation could send your student an email as soon as they complete a certain lesson or percentage of your membership content. You can also use these to grant offers, assign tags, initiate pipelines, and much more.
Moving to the right-hand side of the lesson backend, you'll see the option to Publish or Draft your lesson. You can also toggle between these options directly from the Product Outline as mentioned above.
You can assign a custom image for every lesson within your course or membership if you desire. Depending upon the number of individual posts you plan to create, this could be unnecessary. However, I've personally used this function in the past because I've found that it helped users with navigation.
This function allows you to upload supplementary materials such as PDFs, ebooks, product guides, and more.
Pro Tip: Don't forget to rename your upload so that it has a clear and readable name, instead of the technical gibberish many downloads tend to contain!
Finally, you can show, hide, or lock user comments on any post or lesson within your content. I have chosen to not allow comments on my content because I want all interactions to take place within our private community.
Which brings us to the next element of our membership site.
How To Build a Membership Community on Kajabi
Everything we’ve covered so far has focused on the Content piece of the membership process. Every Post or Lesson you create will contain the valuable content your customer needs such as videos, articles, live recordings, and more.
We also touched on the Access piece briefly when we covered offers in Kajabi. An offer allows you to set the price, time limit, drip rate, and more for your student’s experience. For more on pricing-psychology, I highly recommend the ebook by Nick Kolenda I mention in this article: How to Make Money with Kajabi.
That leaves us with one final piece of the puzzle: Community. Kajabi has created their own forum/feed type of community that can be fully hosted right on your own site. This way, your members can easily go back and forth between the content and community pieces of your membership site without ever having to change platforms or login to some other website.
I provide a full breakdown of how Kajabi Communities work here: How Does Kajabi Community Work? Take a few minutes to read that in-depth article because it provides my best advice on setting up your community correctly.
Kajabi Membership Site FAQs
Should your membership site be evergreen or launch-based?
My personal preference is to use the evergreen model, because it provides the best experience for the user (i.e., no waiting). However, I recommend reading this article by The Membership Guys where they do a deep dive into the pros and cons of each model.
How much should I charge for my membership site?
That’s a tough one because there are so many factors involved: the market you’re in, your years of experience, the cost of the problem your solving for your customers, etc. One resource I recommend to help you sort through this issue is the book Win Without Pitching - you can read a summary of the book here. The author provides one of the best pricing frameworks I’ve ever read.
How can I manually add members?
Kajabi makes it easy to manage the members on your site, their access, and everything else. Let me point you to this Help Center article which shows you how to add members in just a few clicks.
How to build different membership levels in Kajabi?
Every membership site that I have joined has utilized the multi-level method (usually 3 levels) so that different members can pay for the exact access they want. It’s a great strategy to not only diversify your income, but provide an opportunity for those high-end clients to pay you more. The short answer to this question is that you would make multiple offers all linking to the same product, but with small variations. Here is a full step by step guide.
2 More Recommended Resources
When you’re new to online business, there can be a lot of new terminology that you might not understand at first (I know there was for me!). Thankfully, Kajabi put together this Glossary of Terms that will help you navigate both their platform and your membership site creation.
Next, one of the first things your customers will interact with when they engage with your site is the Login page. It’s important to make sure that pays reflects your brand and is as easy to use as possible. You can find Kajabi’s login page guide here.
Recommended Next Steps
Even with this article being a few thousand words in length, it has barely scratched the surface of getting your membership site off the ground and growing it into a true force of nature.
The best way to learn, and the quickest path to success, is to develop a bias towards action. Take your first step today and sign up for Kajabi’s free trial. There, you’ll gain full access to their membership site template and be able to bring the ideas in your head to life today!