Subscription and membership websites are definitely not the same thing, however they do share many similar pitfalls and mistakes that can be avoided. Ensuring that you avoid these mistakes can go a long way in terms of establishing and sustaining your subscriptions or membership model. LightSpeed have vast experience in developing membership and subscription websites using WooCommerce. We’ve compiled this list of common pitfalls that we help our customers to avoid when we build their subscription or membership websites.

No real value in the subscription or membership

Users sign up for value. Give your subscribers a solid reason and value for their sign up. You are asking them for access to their inbox and wallets so in return you should be offering them something of value and not just more information or a weekly newsletter.
We help to figure out what your customers will benefit from the most and try to work this into your subscription offerings. Whether it’s a free product on sign up, product discounts or loyalty points, we can help you offer real value to your customers when signing up to your subscription site.

No personalized calls to action

When trying to get users to sign up dont settle for the generic “submit” or “subscribe” text on your CTA buttons. Instead personalize this by using first person pronouns and verbs to encourage the user to take action. For example, instead of saying “Get your free guide” you’d say “Get my free guide”. First person pronouns have higher conversion rates and help to create a more personal connection with potential subscribers.
We’ll tailor make and personalize your calls to action so that they speak specifically to the needs of your potential subscribers.

Too much communication

Nothing will chase your subscribers or members away faster than spamming them with an endless barrage of emails, updates and communications. Remember that your users sign up for value so make sure that your communications with them also contain value. Speak to specific needs or products that they may be interested in. Create separate users email lists so that this is easier to manage and so that your users receive information from you that is relevant to their reason for signing up with.
We can assist with managing mailing lists and email automation to ensure that your communications don’t end up in the spam folder or worse… your users hit the “unsubscribe” button.

Too little communication

Not communicating with your members or subscribers often enough gives them the impression that you don’t care, or that they’ve sign up for something that is not delivering as promised. Keep them on the hook with relevant emails and communications, upsell or cross sell and remind them that you are offering something of value.
LightSpeed can assist in creating and implementing an effective email strategy.

Poor my account page

The my accounts portal gives your members and subscribers access to their own ring fenced area with in your website. Make sure that this is easy to understand and navigate. A good my account page builds trust and clearly lays out the benefits, controls and functions that users have access to. This will ensure that your users can easily find what they are looking for, making it easy for them to buy again or even to buy more.

No recurring billing

Recurring billing is a must for all subscription and membership sites where renewal and repeat billing is required. We’d advise that you do some homework and familiarize yourself with how different payment gateways handle recurring billing as well as what they charge for each transaction. Poorly managed recurring payments will erode trust and damage your brand.
We can recommend a payment gateway and recurring billing structure that will best suit your subscription or membership model.

Complicated billing structure

Your members or subscribers need to clearly understand the value that you are offering. So if your billing plans don’t back this up and are complicated or difficult to understand, you could lose members or subscribers due to a perceived lack of transparency. Your invoices, statements and billing should always be clear and concise, detailing exactly what the users is being charged and what they are receiving.
You need time to effectively manage your membership or subscription site and having to deal with constant support and billing queries from customers will only frustrate your efforts. This could also cause users to jump ship for another provider.

Complicated membership or subscription plans

You want your users to choose the correct product right from the start. If your membership or subscription products are not clearly described you run the risk of users signing up for something they didn’t expect. This could negatively impact on your brands reputation as well as causing you to get bogged down with client support.
We recommend clearly laying this information out in comparative pricing tables, so that potential customers can easily compare your various offerings. A good visual design for pricing tables can also really help to effectively package and communicate this. If needed offer supporting documentation in a downloadable pdf that explains things in more detail.


Subscription and membership products come in many shapes and sizes and a number of different models support this variety. Whether you want to start a gift box subscription or a membership site for an online learning platform, your business will benefit from being methodical and thorough in your research. These are just a handful of the numerous pitfalls that need to be considered when looking to start an online subscription or membership website and we hope that this has helped to define some of the key areas.
Getting a professional to help you in the startup phase will go along way to making sure that you create a sustainable and profitable subscription or membership model. At LightSpeed we love creating membership and subscription websites and hope you’ll consider us when embarking on your next venture.