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How To Set Up A Membership Site [Ultimate Guide]


I’ve had several emails from readers of my blog and even a few customers of Niche Profit Course that wanted to know how I set everything up for my membership site. Niche Profit Course is not a monthly membership site; however, the software I’m using has that functionality built in so if you’re just looking for a great content distribution platform for either a membership site or a one time payment what I’m using works very well and best of all it’s based on WordPress.

Behind The Scenes Membership Site Walk-through:

Update: I use Optimize Press now for every membership site like this

As you just saw in the video I was going over my latest information product – Become A Pro Gamer. If you’re been reading my blog for any amount of time now, you’ll know I’m a huge gamer and even used Halo to kick start my business online and set me towards the path of a six figure income. This product is a training course designed to improve your skills in Halo, but since this blog post isn’t about teaching you how to pick a topic let’s move onto the software and why I’m using it.

Software Mentioned In The Video:

I love WordPress, there is a ton of support and a whole slew of 3rd party plugins and software to enhance the functionality of the content management system. Using WordPress as my free base instead of some costly monthly subscription platform *cough – Kajabi* I can control my customer information and content (instead of losing it forever if I ever stopped paying) and any problems that come up generally easy to solve with the help of others.

Squeeze Theme $97
I use the Squeeze Theme because it has a lot of pre built options to create sales pages with a good layout etc. You could probably get by with a free theme and customizing it heavily, but I’m a big fan of focusing on what I do best and paying for anything else so that’s why I went with the Squeeze Theme.

See more about Squeeze Theme here

Wishlist Member $97 for one site – $297 for unlimited sites
This software works with WordPress and handles the users that pay for your product or course. It works with WordPress to handle the protection of your content; however, this is only one way to protect content. If you want a second layer of protection you should consider S3 Flow Sheild

See more about Wishlist Member here

S3 Flow Shield $97 unlimited sites
This is the software that helps prevent people from easily downloading content hosted on Amazon S3. My products so far have all used video so I knew that I needed some way to make piracy a little more difficult. This plugin makes it impossible for an existing member to share the links to your videos for others to download.

See more about S3 Flow Shield here

Clickbank $49 vendor account activation fee ($29 for your next product)
You’ll need a way to accept payment, and although Wishlist member supports Paypal, 1ShoppingCart and some others I wanted something that helped to get more affiliates which is why I’d also recommend this other piece of software…

Set up a Vendor Account at Clickbank here

Easy Click Mate $67
This is a 3rd party affiliate tracking software for use with Clickbank. Basically you can set up an affiliate page like this one and then when the affiliates sign up they’re added to your affiliate email list. People always say the money is in the list and the same can be said about your list of affiliates. Without this software it’s basically impossible to communicate with affiliates.

See more about Easy Click Mate here

JW Player
Whenever you’re selling a product that uses a flash player you’re supposed to pay for a license and so I did that here. There are probably some other flash players that would work, but I liked the analytic options this one offered.

Why This Solution Is Awesome: One Time Cost

The entire software solution I use cost me a little over $500 for everything (including the $297 multi site license for Wishlist member) but it’s important to point out that this is a ONE TIME FEE for UNLIMITED USE and I’ll never need to buy another piece of software again. People underestimate just how important it is to own the data on your platform and the content your product uses outright (*cough Kajabi*). Niche Profit Course was the first product I created and Become A Pro Gamer was the second. My second product cost me only $29 because everything was already paid for. Call it “duct tape marketing”, but it works very well for me and it’s relatively inexpensive.

I plan to do more products in the future outside the internet marketing niche (I love the lack of competition) and if I continue to use Clickbank I’ll only have to pay $29 for each new vendor account I activate.

Questions about my setup? Ask below I’d be happy to help!

Note: If you want to do a similar solution like I have above but are on a tight budget, just look at the functionality I’ve posted above and perhaps you may not need it (i.e. S3 Flow Player isn’t really necessary unless you’re using video).

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25 comments… add one

  1. If you’re going for a CB solution, I *love* Adrian’s stuff (ie, Easy Click Mate). I’ve since moved my platform to RAP and also use their membership plugin as well.

    Soon I’ll add the premium component….

    1. Yah Adrian is amazing and he offers great support as well. It was hard for me to figure out how to combine all the software into one but once I got it – it’s awesome!

  2. Wow, incredible post! Thanks Chris

  3. Thanks Chris. I’m still far from having the premium content necessary to start a membership section, but it’s in the back of my mind for the future. This post is really a great tutorial on how to get it done.

  4. Hey Chris, awesome post. I’m definitely not at the point yet where I have a particular membership site in mind, but this guide is definitely going to be bookmarked for future reference. As a customer of Niche Profit Course, I can attest to the really smooth functionality and layout of the membership site itself.

    As a side note, where are your social bookmarking buttons man? I was about to Stumble this post, and couldn’t find the button for it. ;)

    1. Hah, well actually I found when I displayed more I got less overall interaction so that’s why I decided to just stick with Twitter since most of my readers fit that demographic the best (or so I thought – could be wrong)

  5. It’s a great post.
    Wishlist Member is a good membership site solution but if you’re looking for another membership site plugin option, Magic Members has a wide range of abilities and solutions to make your membership site work for you. Check out http://www.magicmembers.com/ for more details!

    1. Hey Jennifer, I don’t mind the shameless plug. Why is this one better than Wishlist?

  6. Chris, really great job with the video. It was interesting to watch how you had setup your gaming coaching site.

  7. Very informative video, you make it look so easy. Thanks.

    1. Well, if you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact me I’d be happy to help. :)

  8. Having covered the pro gaming scene I just think you need a better sales video on the progamer site, also are you a pro gamer? why would I take your course if you haven’t done it for yourself.

    I want to see on your video that you have at least interviewed some pro gamers, i want to see a glimpse of the lifestyle, the money the fans (can’t you shoot at an event) not just you at your desk, I want fast music and pumped action, I mean you are talking about gaming, where is the energy in your sales video?

    sorry just trying to help you sell more

    1. Hey Paul,

      Yah I plan to improve the sales video – a ton. It’s on my list of things to do.

      Yes I was a professional Halo player, then I coached professional teams and all along that time I taught Halo lessons as well – this is mentioned in the sales video in the first 30 seconds. Did I lose your interest that fast lol?


  9. Hey, thanks for the great resources Chris. I went ahead and bookmarked most of them. I plan on doing a lot of that in the future.

  10. How have sales been on this product?

    1. The become a pro gamer one I’m just getting started so it has not been very much.

  11. You use all this for your membership sites that you have as a one time payment?

    What would be different with all this if my membership site was set to a monthly payment?

    1. It would be exactly the same if you did a monthly paid membership instead. I just do this because most of my stuff is all one time payment so far.

  12. Great post, this is something I can use as a guide if I decide too. Thank chris

  13. Chris – this is a wonderfully useful article. I had been thinking of developing my own membership-based information product for some time, and was exploring various options. Your article made me realise I didn’t have to make it complicated. I’m mid-launch now (of an online coaching programme designed to help people find their own “vital vocation”) and this has proved to be an invaluable road map. Thanks!

    1. Thanks Brian glad it helped you out :D

  14. Hey Chris, I bought your niche profit course and i am really enjoying the content and learning a ton. I also want to say it is amazing how you interact with everybody in a timely manner. Most marketers don’t do this and you are creating huge future goodwill that will separate you from the “I am in it for money, do not ask me any questions marketer.”

    On a side note I take it you are not a fan of kajabi? I think anybody would be foolish to let their whole business ride with Andy J.

    1. I’m very much anti guru marketing products. No one should have to pay $2k for something. $500 is about the max I think someone should charge for something.

      Glad you like the content! :)

  15. Hey, Chris!

    I love your courses and teaching!

    These are all great tools for membership sites. But can you tell me how to set up the “Register” and “Login” pages for members? How does someone become a member (register), and then how do they login? How do you add those features to a site (like a top menu item with drop-down options)?

    This may be obvious once I have purchased the plugins, but I seem to have a mental block about how to do it.

    I also found this YouTube video on how to set up a membership site with free plugins – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SplYYT_euPE. (Don’t know how they might compare to the purchased ones.)

    1. They become a member through the integration of Wishlist member so when someone purchases that info is sent from Wishlist to Clickbank and then they’re redirected to an automatically created Wishlist page. I’d suggest just buying the single site license to try it out.

      IMO anytime you’re selling something using entirely free software to power your solution is risky because there isn’t a team standing behind you that can help with support and is constantly patching security holes.


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