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10 Best Community-Building Platforms Creators and Startups need to check out

Creating engaged communities is one of the most talked about strategies for startups across the Twittersphere. We know the importance of community, but which tools are best for creating engagement and constant activity, alongside amazing automated marketing features. Enjoy this resource as I got into some of the top features of each platform.

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Memberstack

About: 
For those wanting to build membership sites, looking for advanced features to help create customised solutions, then check out Memberstack.

Top Features:

Save hours of dev time with Memberstack, with epic features including user authentication, user management, payments, a customised design (white label so no need for the platform branding), admin dashboard and so much more.
You can build real SaaS-focused businesses. Whether you want to run courses, design services, agency services or whatever, this platform can help speed it up the process. Devs love platforms like this where it saves a lot of time.
Customise your solution even more with many integrations, and many possibilities for further workflow processes with Zapier. Make sure to check out the showcase section of the site to see what's been built. Some impressive products and businesses.
no code
Integrations
Payments
Pricing: 
Pricing starts at $29 per month, billed monthly. In addition, this plan includes 4% transaction fees for any payments you collect. Upgrade for more features and less transaction fees, with the Professional plan at $49 per month. There's also an enterprise plan available.
Web/App
Paid
$-$$$
Favourite

Memberspace

About: 
A popular platform on the market for building memberships is Memberspace.

Top Features:

With Memberspace, you can create your own customised membership program and integrate with your site in a flash, whether you use Wix, Webflow, Wordpress, Squarespace or other CMS.
There are a plethora of features available, including payments integrations using Stripe, unlimited members that you can add, recieve instant payouts whenever someone pays for a subscription, easily create upsells, have VIP programs, and loads more.
Connect and integrate Zapier into your stack to unlock more possibilites for automations and workflows. There's also the ability to include an internal forum, so you can interact with your audience (and they can interact with other members).
great value
Easy setup
Customisation
Pricing: 
Pricing is only $29 per month. Seriously awesome value for the monthly price.
Web/App
Paid
$-$$$
Favourite

Discourse

About: 
Discourse has really spiked in popularity I've found over the past couple of years in particular, and I can certainly see why.

Top Features:

I'm part of a few Discourse communities, and having helped a startup before with setting up their community, the platform is really impressive. Everything you need within a platform to build a thriving community is here.
From conversation threads, setting up bots, real-time notifications based on activities, moderation, badges for gamification, two-factor auth, social logins and loads more.
Lots of integrations available to develop a more customised experience, including email automation, analytics, etc. A really good thing as well is that Discourse is optimised for indexing and SEO.
Managed hosting
Integrations
feature-rich
Pricing: 
Pricing plans kickoff at $100 per month, for up to 100k pageviews and 100k emails. For more of both and other features, the business plan is $300 per month, plus there's an enterprise plan which is custom pricing.
Web/App
Paid
$-$$$$
Favourite

Circle

About: 
An 'all-in-one' platform for entrepreneurs, brands and creators to build communtiy is Circle.

Top Features:

I came across this platform a couple of years ago, having become a member of a couple communities that use Circle, and I can see why many people use this tool.
The interface is slick for members, and easy to customise and build an optimised experience for community leaders. Incorporate your branding, create discussion threads, do live streaming, have group chat rooms, Q&A discussion threads which look great, member directories and loads more.
Setup paid memberships, free trials, gated access, host events, send digests of community activities and of course, view analytics of how your community is performing. Integrate with many of your favourite tools for more automation workflows.
All-in-one
Chat
great UI
Pricing: 
If you're just starting out, you can start with the basic plan which is $39 per month and includes great features. For more features such as live streaming, upgrade to the professional plan or enterprise plan.
Web/App
Paid
$-$$$$
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Mighty Networks

About: 
If you're looking to grow a large community, then you need to check out Mighty Networks.

Top Features:

Aside from the platform having a great looking UI, it's the UX and features that really stand out to me. It looks awesome on mobile.
With all the core community features you need, plus the ability to create courses, do live streams, run events, community chats/forums and more, you can build a thriving community.
It's also a great replacement for Facebook groups. You can pretty much build your own Facebook group experience, but you control the algorithm. Now that's cool.
Mobile app
great UX
Analytics
Pricing: 
Plans begin at $39 per month, billed monthly. For morer advanced features and integrations, you will need to upgrade to the business plan. A pro plan is also available (the highest tier).
Web/App
Paid
$-$$$
Favourite

Habitate

About: 
A community platform I only came across recently is Habitate, and it looks beautiful.

Top Features:

This tool enables you to build a customised, white label community forum which you can host on your own domain.
Create boards and tags for your members to filter through and find relevant content and discussions. Include events in your calendar, highlighting when you have key things happening. I personally really like this and find a lot of the other tools don't do this as well.
There's also a feature where you can host your own 'drive' of content. Kind of like Google Drive, but easily accesible by the community. This is also something different to some of the other tools.
custom domain
Custom branding
SEO
Pricing: 
The 'Berry' plan is cheapest plan, which is $9 per month, but has limited features for customisation. Experience more awesome features with the 'Banana' plan and above which starts at $99 per month. Save on annual pricing.
Web/App
Paid
$-$$$$
Favourite

Geneva

About: 
Geneva is a tool enabling entrepreneurs, creators and startups to build engaging communities through group chats. The tagline on the homepage says it all.

Top Features:

There are various types of rooms which you can create, from threaded discussions, audio rooms, video rooms, and rooms where you can post content posts, longer-form posts and announcements.
The UX is seamless and UI looks amazing. Very much like messenger chat app, but just with more that you can control and customise. You can manage members easily and do manual approvals.
Great features include accepting payments into the group, qualification queastions/quizzes, form-like experience, and more.
Chat rooms
audio/video
host events
Pricing: 
It's free to signup and start creating your community with the platform. There's no pricing from what I can see, that may change though from the time I've written this.
Web/App
Free
$
Favourite

Tribe

About: 
Looking to build your own community forum for your startup business? Then you should signup and try Tribe.

Top Features:

Save time with building your own customised forum with your branding using no code. Add your own colours, choose the best layout options, header options and your own custom domain.
Moderate discussions with ease, control member access, run private and public spaces and monitor engagement metrics. There's also search functionality for members to search discussions and topics.
Engage with your audience on both desktop and mobile. Bolster your experience with integrations such as GA and of course Zapier, which unlocks more possibilities.
great UI
feature-rich
Automation
Pricing: 
You will need to contact sales to get a demo.
Web/App
Demo
$-$$$$
Favourite

Hivebrite

About: 
Create a business community custom to your brand with Hivebrite.

Top Features:

All the robus features you need are included - SSO signup, members can create their own profiles, customise the portal that looks and feel like it's from your company, and more.
Content management is really easy with Hivebrite. See all content posted by members with notifications, delete or edit content if required for any content that is posted, and more. If you have members from around the world, you can send custom messages such as localised events or special offers, by selecting segments. Send mass updates, integrate calendars, ticketing, accept payments for events and more.
Other features which are really good that I haven't seen some of the platforms do include an email marketing tool which is easy to customise emails that send within the platform, automated weekly digest newsletters, mobile and desktop push notifications, as well as the option for your own job board. There's lots more to check out.
SSO
CRM
Mobile app
Pricing: 
To find out more about pricing, you will need to book a demo.
Web/App
Demo
$-$$$$
Favourite

Slack

About: 
There's no introduction needed for this tool. I think it's safe to say we've all used Slack for internal company use, as well as being part of communities.

Top Features:

Whilst Slack is amazing as an internal chat and communication tool, there are mixed reviews about experiences of using Slack for public and private communities.
One of the primary reasons I love the platform for communities is all the chat and channel features the tool has, such as mentions, tagging, DM's for private conversations and a lot more. Another reason is the mobile app and notifications are really good to keep on top of what's happening.
From a community managers perspective, it's the integrations, bots that you can setup, automated workflows and more which can really make it powerful. The only downside comes down to the ability to find links easily and shared docs by community members. It comes down to the owner of the community to find a solution for this.
Easy setup
messaging
Workflows
Pricing: 
You can run free Slack communities, but for more features, it can get expensive quickly.
Web/App
Freemium
$-$$$$
No results found.
Updated on:
April 4, 2022
Note: Pricing, plans, and homepage images change overtime. Pricing recorded as of 3rd April, 2022. If you see any changes required, please let me know. If you suggest any tools to add, get in touch. 😊

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⚡ Frequently Asked Questions ⚡

What are the best membership site platforms?
If you're looking to build a thriving community, there are a few options for platforms that can help you run free and paid communities. I've listed some of the best I've used and researched, but these 5 are my top favourites you absolutely need to look into; Memberstack, Memerspace, Discourse, Circle and Mighty Networks.
Are there are free community building tools?
Yes there are. You can use Facebook Groups or Slack. Both have their pros and cons. I've used both for building communities before and prefer Facebook Groups. However, you don't have as much control and flexibility with Facebook Groups, so I recommend one of the platforms I've listed (plus, you own the audience).
Which community or membership platform provides the best value for money?
Out of all the tools, I think both Memberstack and Circle provide the best value for the features and plans they offer. Memberstack provides a lot of value in terms of the features which you can customise freely to your needs, for very good monthly plans. Whereas, Circle has an amazing UX and features for those who aren't strong technically with design or development.
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