A membership site is one where users have to register in order to access protected content.
As you can see from the above video you can set up a membership site in 10 minutes. All you have to do is set up a membership level (you can have multiple levels but I only chose to have one), let WishList Member set up all the default pages and settings for you, create a login box in the sidebar with the WishList Member widget and create links to the registration page. And that’s it done!
Why set up a membership site?
There are many reasons why you may want to consider starting a membership site:
- To protect your content – if it contains sensitive information on your business or clients
- To monetise your content – you can charge monthly or a pay per post basis
- To collect email addresses – your site’s members can be easily promoted to both through the site and through email
One of the biggest challenges on the internet is to turn a “visitor” into a “subscriber”. A membership site puts a “wall” around content so that people have to register to see. They create communities – it’s the ultimate form of website “stickiness”.
The traditional way of gathering email addresses and subscribers has been to offer an e-book as an incentive to sign up to an email list. However, the PDF e-book may well have seen its best days. When was the last time you read a PDF e-book from cover to cover on your laptop?
This is why I believe that providing incredibly useful content that can only be accessed by “subscribing” or “joining” is the way forward.
This is what I’m hoping to do with my new site BuildMyBrand.net – it is a collection of social media image editing tools that can only be accessed once you sign into the site. I still have a long way to go with this but I really think it’s a great way of collecting email addresses and … building a brand.
Why WishList Member plug-in?
I’m going to tell you right off the bat that I’m an affiliate for the WishList Member plug-in. It’s not the only WordPress membership plug-in out there and it’s not perfect. However, I’ve used it on four different sites and, I’ve got to say, it’s that definitely the easiest membership plug-in out there.
It doesn’t have every feature you’d want from a membership plug-in but it does have most. Here are some of the advantages of the WishList Member plug-in.
- Easy to set up (you can have your membership site up and running in 10 minutes, see above video)
- Perfect protection of content, passwords, lost passwords, logging in, logging out
- Integrates with email marketing platforms (such as Aweber, Mailchimp, Infusionsoft, iContact, etc.)
- Integrates with shopping cart systems – you can use PayPal or Clickbank or a host of other payment processors
- Has multiple membership levels if needed – so you can have gold, silver and bronze membership level, for example
But it’s not all wine and roses, here are the cons:
- Clunky registration process – solved with WishList Registration Widget
- Expensive ($97 for single license, $297 for a multi-site license, and there’s a $47/year charge if you want updates 🙁 )
Even with the disadvantages, WishList Member is a long-established premium WordPress plug-in with a decent development and support structure and therefore can be used without concern.
You can do it
Have you ever created any sort of membership site? Would you consider doing so in the future?