When redesigning or creating your association's website from scratch, there are many different aspects to take into consideration. One of the most important considerations is your choice of website platform or content management system (CMS). A website builder that is designed for associations will have the right tools to help you grow your web presence and engage with your membership base.
We've compiled a list of the top website builders for associations. Each association is unique, so keep in mind which specific features you need to make your decision about which website builder to use.
The top website builders featured here include:
Ready to find the membership website builder that is best for your association? Let's dive into our top choices!
At Morweb, we understand that not all associations have coding experts on their team, so we created a CMS that's easy for anyone to use. The sector-specificity of this website builder enables your association to build its online presence with ease.
We have built out our website platform to include all of the essential features an association needs to grow their member-base such as an events module, Intranet portal, online forms, member directories and maps, and API integrations for popular association management systems (AMS).
Morweb's user-friendly design and fully customizable templates make it easy for your association to make your website your own. With the drag-and-drop elements, you have the ability to create new pages, copy old pages, change the layout, add elements or graphics, and much more with a single click of the mouse (no coding or development experience required!)
What really sets Morweb apart is our agency background, resulting in a holistic approach to content strategy. Our team will hold an initial "discovery meeting" with each new client to help them effectively communicate their vision online. Our approach to content strategy includes an in-depth review of your website page structure and navigation to align with the needs of the different types of users that are visiting your website.
With open source CMS platforms, you need to update the system and plugins on a regular basis to prevent cybersecurity threats. Morweb takes care of security and maintenance for you so you just have to worry about creating great content! Plus, our support team is always willing and eager to help you along the way; through phone calls, emails and live-chat support at no additional cost.
Intranet portal. Associations have the flexibility to create password protected pages where members can share internal information, participate in forums, register for private events and even post RFPs or job openings.
Member directory. Through Morweb-designed sites, your association can add, edit, and categorize members into a member directory (and on an interactive map!) so that members can easily search for others to connect with.
Responsive design. All websites created with Morweb are automatically responsive. You can make all your changes from the live page and view your edits in real-time as they will appear on a desktop, laptop or mobile device.
API Integration with AMS's. Morweb has built-in single sign-on (SSO) and deeper integration that will seamlessly pass data between your website and your association management system (AMS). With flexible templating, Morweb can build out your member portal to best serve your members.
WordPress is one of the oldest and most popular blog platforms on the internet and is used by organizations of all shapes and sizes. While WordPress is not known as a website builder, it has thousands of plugins which make website building possible. It is mostly used by web designers to create everything from membership websites to hobby blogs to news sites.
Because this website builder is used as a resource for so many website creators around the world, there are countless resources online. If you're unsure how to do something in WordPress, you can type your question into a search engine to find an online forum.
The universal uses of WordPress make it an appealing platform for a wide variety of associations. WordPress offers various economical plans depending on the features you want on your association's site. There is a free version to get you started, a premium option that is advertised as best for bloggers, and a business option best for small businesses or associations.
Website themes. WordPress offers thousands of website themes to choose from. Each theme varies in style and functionality; you can check out this list of popular themes for membership-specific websites. Association specific themes are not the most popular but there are still a few decent out there. You'll most likely need a web designer to customize a standard business theme for your needs.
Tons of plugins. Not only do WordPress themes make it easy to create your website, but you also have access to thousands of plugins to continue improving your website’s SEO, visualization, and other elements. These plugins, many of which are free, include top downloadables such as Yoast SEO, Swoop, WooCommerce, and Polylang to further customize your association's website.
Integration with AMS's. Due to its popularity, quite a few AMS platforms have built plugins specifically for WordPress.
Code view. If you have a background in coding, WordPress makes it easy to flip to the code view and edit HTML elements.
ePly is a powerful, completely configurable event planning software that can help your organization plan and manage any type of event. While ePly is not primarily marketed as a website builder, this software platform comes fully equipped with the ability to custom make a webpage for your organization’s event.
ePly’s robust event planning tools, coupled with its ability to construct custom webpages and mobile applications, ensure that this software platform is useful for a variety of event hosts, with specific solutions for universities, business, and associations.
The web building tools provided by ePly take into account the complexities of hosting events and ensure that any organization that uses its event planning software is completely prepared to tackle the task at hand.
Their page-building tools ensure that all members of an organization have access to the same information and can make coordinated decisions. Meanwhile, their mobile app completely streamlines the entire event management process with its unique features.
Building an effective webpage for your organization is no easy feat. ePly, however, knows what organizations like yours rely on successful events and can help you expertly craft a webpage that directs your organization members to important information, such as:
But, ePly’s web design expertise doesn’t stop there. The mobile application feature from ePly is completely customizable and branded to your organization—ensuring the app looks like a seamless extension of your organization’s existing web presence. They will create the app to satisfy any of your event planning needs, with tools designed for:
ePly is aware of the obstacles your organization faces as you plan your event. Its webpage and mobile app building technology is designed to exceed your organization’s expectations and guarantee a more efficient event planning experience.
Blackbaud offers an expansive executive suite of products to nonprofit organizations. This is a great option for large associations who may be able to make use of the many suite options through Blackbaud. The Blackbaud product Luminate Online includes Luminate CMS, which is the specific website builder tool that integrates with the rest of the suite.
This membership website builder is perfect for integrating your marketing efforts, event planning, and any fundraising needs you may have into a single comprehensive system.
If your association is interested in converting other software to Blackbaud products, or if your association already uses them, Luminate CMS is a perfect platform on which to grow your site.
While it may be difficult for newcomers to get the hang of this software quickly, the integrations with other tools make the process worth it. Plus, expert consultants can help your association develop fully customized solutions and guide you through Luminate Online so you can maximize the use of the software suite.
Marketing tools. The Luminate Online suite includes powerful marketing tools enabling your association to send dynamic email campaigns, customize microsites, and personalized pages for members.
Software suite. Blackbaud's accompanying software can easily integrate with your association's website for added functionality. For instance, Luminate CRM enables your association's administrators to compile information into profiles for members.
Extensive support. Blackbaud has a team of expert consultants on-hand to help you make the most of the Luminate software suite.
GoDaddy’s membership website builder, GoCentral, focuses on speedy website development. They advertise that you can create your site in under an hour from their platform.
GoCentral is a straightforward site builder that is great for small organizations and associations. While the capabilities might be more limited than a more expansive platform, it makes it easy to create a hassle-free membership site.
GoCentral offers website templates specifically tailored for membership platforms. Many of these templates are targeted toward museums because museums gain the majority of their revenue through their members.
These templates offer features such as the ability to sell tickets, view event calendars, and add an online merchandise store. This lightweight management system as a part of your association website helps to keep members engaged.
Security backups. If you've ever spent a long time looking for lost or corrupted files, this backup can really save you a lot of time. GoDaddy offers a service to save your website files once a day to the cloud.
Website experts. GoCentral offers your organization the option to hire experts in web design, eCommerce, and logo design. With this platform, even if you aren't a designer, you can easily find one to help your association make a top-notch website.
Weebly is a website builder that focuses on making attractive websites for professionals, especially those who want eCommerce capabilities. If your association is looking to set up a prominent eCommerce store, Weebly could be the right CMS platform for you.
Weebly has one of the most intuitive interfaces for website editing. Using their drag-and-drop editor, you can customize your association's website content to suit your specific needs.
The mobile expertise of Weebly is really what sets it apart from other web platforms. Not only is your website mobile-responsive, but Weebly also makes it easy to work on your site while you’re on-the-go with their mobile app.
eCommerce capabilities. Not only can Weebly handle the payment processing associated with your membership website online store, but it can also help track your inventory and showcase your products. Slideshows and videos make it easy to show off the association swag you wish to sell to your members. Then, you can easily ship the product using their shipping tool.
SEO tools. Powerful SEO tools can help ensure your website is found by Google and other search engines. Instead of installing a bunch of plugins, the tools are available to you right there from the membership website builder. They even have a guide to show you how to follow these SEO guidelines and optimize your meta descriptions, meta titles, images, etc.
Mobile app. Weebly's mobile app offers site integration, meaning you can edit your website or check important stats like your site’s rankings directly from your phone!
WebStarts is a membership website builder that focuses on a one-stop-shop for all your website needs. The comprehensive system hosts your website in the cloud so you never need to worry about configuring web servers.
This CMS platform works on a what-you-see-is-what-you-get tool for designing your website. This solution is ideal if you are unsure how to best configure a template on a CMS platform. All you need to do is drag and drop different elements where you want them to appear on your site. There is no code to worry about or template customization restrictions.
WebStarts also has design features such as over 700 fonts to choose from, anchor links, image editing, and an icon library. All of these design options make it easy to personalize and adjust your website according to your design preferences.
This platform offers different pricing tables for different types of organizations. A free version is available to get you used to the platform, meanwhile Pro is perfect for individuals, Pro Plus for clubs, and Business for businesses or associations looking to grow.
Sitemap. WebStarts enables your organization to upload a sitemap for your site. With a sitemap available, search engines have a much easier time finding your web content. This aspect of SEO can help your site do better in its rankings through search engines like Google.
eCommerce capabilities. Your association can easily set up an online store and begin selling merchandise from your website immediately. It has the capability to accept credit card payments directly from your website.
Simbla’s website builder is developed specifically for businesses, offering responsive templates and photos to incorporate into your association membership website. It’s built on Bootstrap3, a collection of web application tools that includes coded templates for forms, buttons, navigation, and other useful website elements.
The Boostrap3 base for Simbla makes it easy to use their drag-and-drop building interface. You won’t need a web designer or coding proficiency because these pre-made elements are all available through the CMS.
Simbla’s services are described as a “holistic solution” for businesses. Your website is stored on their server farm. They use a third party audit for security testing so you can be sure that your site is secure for you and your members.
Online database builder. Simbla offers a database builder to help your organization to create and manage an online cloud-based database for all of your association’s actions.
Web application builder. You can create web applications that communicate directly with your database. This streamlines processes between the premade widgets on Simbla’s platform and your online database.
Domain purchasing. When you create a website through Simbla, you can purchase your domain right there through the site. This eliminates the headache of connecting to other outside domain purchasing sources.
TemplateToaster is a unique membership website builder because it is not a theme, plugin, or web app that you may be expecting. Instead, it’s a software designed for Windows that helps your association to build an attractive website offline through your favorite content management systems.
It has plenty of templates for your chosen CMS, (as suggested by the name TemplateToaster); but it also has so many more features to help your association create an attractive website.
TemplateToaster enables you to add all the design elements you want with no hassle. These elements include popular website features such as a menu builder, WYSIWYG editor (enabling customization of text and tables as well as image browsing), and slideshow capabilities.
Offline editing. Because this is a software that you download, it is not necessary that you have an immediate internet connection in order to work on your website design.
Mobile-responsive. TemplateToaster recognizes the need for mobile-responsive sites in today’s increasingly mobile world. Sites built through this software are all mobile responsive and Bootstrap compatible, meaning you can renew or improve your theme without hindering the responsiveness of the live site.
When it comes to membership website builders, Wild Apricot is at the top of its league. Their platform was built specifically for membership organizations and in fact isn’t solely a website builder, but an all-in-one platform that includes many additional features like registration forms, event calendars, a mobile app, and an online store.
Their editor is flexible for all kinds of users; the interface is extremely easy to use for beginners, but you can also tweak CSS settings or modify an existing site if you already have one. What's more, your website comes ready with a robust membership database and emailing system so you can analyze your members and communicate with them at ease. Plus, they have six plans to choose from that can fit your needs and budget — whether your group is just growing, or if you already have an established member count running into the thousands.
* Subscription-level Options: Wild Apricot allows users to create multiple membership levels with subscription fees, periods, and benefits customized to each level. That means you'll be able to restrict content and web pages to certain members while giving access to applicable members.
* Admin & Member Apps: Wild Apricot has released apps for both members and admins on all IOS and Android systems. These apps can be used to view member data, check attendees into events, and facilitate payments all on a portable device.
* Website Templates: Each free Wild Apricot trial comes with access to their professionally-designed membership website templates to get your site up as soon as possible. You can customize each template to your liking and have a professional website up in just a matter of hours.
You've perused your association's membership website builder choices with this guide, but it's not time to quit your research just yet! There are so many other functions and considerations to help you maximize the use of your website.
Check out the resources below for more information about these opportunities and more:
CMS Website Design: How to Choose the Right Site Builder. Trying to choose between the amazing site builders we've listed here? Check out this guide to learn about the features you should look for.
5 Association Management Database Features to Know. Your member database helps keep your association organized. These 5 Features will help you maintain this organization for years to come.
5 Ways to Grow Your Org with Innovative Association Software. Looking to grow the membership of your association? Access to the right software can help you do that! Check out this guide to see if you need some upgrades.