Turn your audience into a business

Use memberships and subscriptions to develop a direct relationship with your audience and generate predictable, recurring revenue to support your work.

Members diagram
The persistent question

How can anyone make a sustainable living as an independent publisher in 2019? "

Group 6

Advertising models no longer work

Google and Facebook have taken all the available ad dollars, leaving publishers to fight for the last remaining scraps of revenue by any means possible. Clickbait, fake news, content-farms and outrage are the desperate final attempts to hold onto past traffic levels.


Micropayments have never worked

Many predicted that the saviour of publishing would be micropayments. The old “if everyone paid just $0.02” argument sounds very appealing at first glance, but it never actually works out in reality. Micropayments are volatile and unsustainable.

By revenue, Google & Facebook are both larger than the entire US newspaper market, whose revenue has dropped by more than 70% to be consistenly below pre-1950 levels.

Anyone who has ever made money from ads knows that it just isn’t what it used to be anymore.

Source: Newspaper Association of America, Carpe Diem Blog, @stratechery, @baekdal →

Advertising Revenue Over Time

Adjusted for inflation, 1950 to 2014

Advertising Revenue Over Time Graph

So what does work?


Memberships + subscriptions

Sustainable, predictable revenue & incentives aligned with your audience

Step 1: Unique content
Step 1

Create unique content

If you’re making something interesting that people can’t find elsewhere, then you’re at a natural advantage to provide value.

Step 2: Graph members growing
Step 2

Attract a loyal audience

Rather than trying to reach as many people as possible, focus on a specific group of people who appreciate what you do most.

Step 3: Exlusive posts
Step 3

Offer premium membership

Ask your audience to become customers, paying a recurring subscription to receive premium membership benefits.

Step 4: Discussion thread
Step 4

Build relationships

Create a community to connect with your audience, discover what is important to them and foster engagement.


Niche business is no longer small

It used to be that to find success online you had to create something that would appeal to everyone. Nowadays, niche markets are larger than the entire internet was a few years ago. A niche membership site can become a surprisingly big business.

Group 9

Paid Emails

Andrew Sullivan at The Dish pulled in over $1million/year from his premium newsletter, while Ben Thompson’s Stratechery was making over $200,000 in 2015, and significantly more since!


Premium Publications

Modern news publishers like The Information and De Correspondent both earn $millions in revenue each year directly from their members, who pay for real news that they can’t get elsewhere.


New Media Creators

The new wave of online creators like Philip DeFranco’s daily news show and La Vagabonde’s sailing channel have tens of thousands of paying members who subscribe to support their work.

Get started

Start a membership business with Ghost

Until now, building a publication with memberships and subscriptions has been difficult and complicated — Ghost makes it easy

Member Creation

Transform anonymous views into registered members

An easy member signup system allows you to grow a real community of people rather than just anonymous clicks. Now you’ll understand what content is popular, and who in particular likes it!

Easily connect any existing mailing list, Patreon supporters, or user database to give an existing audience access to your brand new site.

Premium access UIStripe partnership logo
Subscription Commerce

Make sustainable revenue with recurring subscriptions

Turn your members into paying customers with straightforward subscriptions. The business model software companies (like us!) have used for years is now available to everyone. Just connect your Stripe account to start taking credit card and Apple Pay payments.

Best of all: Enjoy 0% transaction fees. Whatever revenue you make is entirely yours to keep.

Full control

Own & control your business, from customers to code

What makes Ghost truly special is that you own everything. We release all our code and intellectual property under an open source license. Not only do you own the customers, the content and the business — but you also own the platform and the code itself.

Unlike VC funded startups which pop up and shut down every few years, with Ghost you own the platform you depend on.

And more

Full-featured subscription commerce

Ghost has everything you need to run a successful subscription commerce business your users and customers will love


Member management

Simple administration makes tracking, managing, moderating and supporting your members a breeze.


Paid subscriptions

Create a stable publishing business collecting recurring revenue from your audience every week, month or year.


Fast, global payments

Connect your Stripe account and accept payments from all over the world, delivered directly to your bank in as little as 2 days.


No transaction fees

Ghost takes 0% of your sales. However much you make from your paid blog, newsletter or community: you keep it.


Secure authentication

Enjoy passwordless JWT email-link based logins for your members. Fast, simple, and completely fantastic for security.


Real content gating

Your premium content is properly protected and cannot be accessed in any way without an account. Even if JavaScript is disabled.


Personalised experiences

Build out custom experiences, flows, and functionality for your users based on whether they’re logged out, logged in, or paying customers. You’re in control.


Deep user analytics

Understand how to build a better site with product analytics and discover not only what actions happened on your site, but also who did each one of them.


Open source + adaptable

All of Ghost is MIT licensed and open source, so the whole thing can be customised, changed and extended to work however you need it to.

/ month
For people who want the maximum available
  • check-circle-1 Access all content
  • check-circle-1 Weekly newsletter
  • check-circle-1 Members-only comments
Subscribe Now
20% Annual Discount
/ year
For people who want the maximum available
  • check-circle-1 Access all content
  • check-circle-1 Weekly newsletter
  • check-circle-1 Members-only comments
  • check-circle-1 Support indie publishing
  • check-circle-1 Advertising-free!
Subscribe Now

How much could you earn?

Whether you prefer a large audience at a low price point or a small dedicated following at a premium fee, you control the economics.

See how much you could earn with a subscription commerce publication:

500 members
$10 / month
your annual recurring revenue

How to get started

Ghost has everything you need to run a successful subscription commerce business your users and customers will love


Members Guide

We've put together a detailed guide for how to get started with a members-based site using Ghost for the first time, from general concepts to creating a totally custom theme with payment flows.

Read the guide

Free Members Theme

Download our new members-based Ghost theme to easily set up a paid publication with straightforward account and checkout flows. All you need is a Ghost install and a Stripe account to connect to it.

Get the theme

Rediverge Demo

Want to see a real paid members publication in action? Check out Ghost founder John O'Nolan's new site, Rediverge, about world travel, remote work, and open source business models.

Visit Rediverge

Our weekly newsletter about the future of publishing, technology & business

December 1st, 2019

Issue #78 — What 1000 true fans means for today's journalism startups

Happy Sunday everyone - thanks for tuning in for this week’s issue. This week’s top read is 🔥make sure you check that one out. In addition to that we’ve shared stories about subscriber growth, retaining subscribers & a handy user research workflow template that you can use for free.

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What They Say

Hundreds of thousands of happy users

Since 2013 people have been telling us how Ghost has helped them get more done. Here are a few of the highlights:

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