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How to Create a Membership Site Using Wishlist Member in WordPress

You know how subscription box businesses are all the rage these days?

There are snack subscription boxes, beauty subscription boxes, and even Hygge subscription boxes that deliver “happiness and coziness”.

If you’re wondering why the subscription model is so popular, it’s because the model is engineered to bring entrepreneurs Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR).

In other words, get a customer to sign up ONCE, and you can charge them, say, $30 every single month for the foreseeable future.

But here’s the thing… there are plenty of other ways in which you can get MRR, other than setting up a subscription business.

For instance, you could set up a membership site (or even convert part of your existing site to members-only), and collect a membership fee each month.

The best part? You don’t need any coding or HTML skills to set up a membership site; just use a plugin such as WishList Member to do all the heavy lifting.

In this blog post, we’ll walk you through how WishList Member works, and share how you can connect the plugin to your Sendlane account.

Ready? Let’s get started!

What Is WishList Member?

Simply put, WishList Member is a plugin that lets you turn any WordPress site into a full-blown membership site, complete with:

  • Protected, members-only content
  • Integrated payments
  • Member management
  • And more...

Basically, with WishList Member, the goal is to get your readers to buy a membership on your site in order to unlock premium content.

Here’s how the process looks like:

WishList Member supports a wide range of payment providers, including PayPal, Stripe, Infusionsoft by Keap, Clickbank and more.

If you want to charge a one-time fee instead of a recurring fee, you can use WishList Member to do that as well.

How to Turn Your Website Into a Membership Site

Step 1: Install the WishList Member plugin

This is fairly straightforward… just unzip the file that you’ve downloaded from WishList Member, upload it to your plugins folder in WordPress, and activate it!

Step 2: Configure Your Membership Program

Here, you’ll come up with the different membership tiers that you want to offer, and determine how long membership lasts.

Traditionally speaking, most membership sites configure their program to renew per month, but you can automatically expire a membership after three days, seven days, or whatever time period you want.

Step 3: Create Content For Your Site

Alrighty, here’s the fun part -- creating exclusive content for your site.

Now, there are two methods of doing this. You can either:

  • Restrict an entire post from non-members, OR
  • Restrict part of your post from non-members

First, if you want to restrict an entire post from non-members, just craft your post as per normal, then click on the “Protect” button:

If you want to restrict part of your post, however, then use the “More” tag within the post. Everything that comes after the tag will be automatically protected for members.

Step 4: Promote Your Membership

That’s basically it! All that’s left to do is promote your membership on as many channels as possible (your site, your social media pages, your mailing list, etc), and wait for the sign ups to roll in.

Pro-tips to Help You Get The Most Out of WishList Member

Awesome, you’re now familiar with the basics of how to use WishList Member.

Still with us? Great. In this section, we’ll walk you through some advanced tips and tactics that you can use to get the most out of the plugin.

1. Create Different Membership Levels and Options

If you’re new to membership sites and you want to start out slow, you might simply create ONE level of membership that lets you distinguish between your Paid and Free users.

That’s perfectly fine, but once you get more acquainted with running a membership site, you’ll definitely want to add more membership levels, so you can boost your revenue.

Some membership sites call their different levels “Silver”, “Gold”, “Platinum”, and others call them “Lite”, “Pro”, “Luxe”, etc… but they all work the same.

Basically, at a lower tier, members get access to less content. When they upgrade, that’s when they can unlock higher-level, more rigorous content.

On top of adding more membership levels to your site, you can also offer extra options such as Free, Trial, and Paid. Offering a Trial membership is a great way to get your foot in the door, and upsell your website visitors (especially for pricey, higher-tiered memberships).

2. Customize Your Error Pages

Say you’ve just set up your membership site, and your website visitors are seeing it for the very first time.

Now, because nobody has signed up for a membership at this point, all your visitors will be stumbling across error pages (when they try to access content that they don’t have permission to view).

Instead of having this error page be a boring 404-type page, you can customize the content that you have on this page.

Feel free to play around with the look and feel of the page, but remember: the important thing is to add a Call To Action (CTA) that asks your visitors to register as a member.

3. Analyze Your Member Stats

WishList Member gives you a high-level overview of your membership stats; this lets you keep track of your total, cancelled, active, and expired members with a single glance.

Pretty cool, right?

Now, once you’ve got everything up and running, you can use these stats to optimize your funnel, and keep your MRR high.

If you see that there are way more non-members than members, then you’ll have to think of ways to promote your membership program more effectively.

If you see that there’s a high number of cancelled members, then you’ll have to work on offering your members more value (so you can retain them more effectively).

And if you see that there are plenty of expired members, think of how you can set up an automated email campaign to remind members to renew / update their credit card information, etc.

How To Integrate WishList Member With Sendlane

Once you integrate WishList Member with Sendlane, you’ll be able to sync your member information (including their email addresses) to your Sendlane account.

From there, you can subscribe your members to certain lists, unsubscribe them from others, or tag them so that you can segment them more effectively.

To learn how to connect your Sendlane account with WishList Member, check out this step-by-step walkthrough.

Start Generating Recurring Revenue With WishList Member

If you own a website, chances are, you’re already earning from AdSense or whatever ad network you’re on.

But let’s not kid ourselves… the amount that website owners make from banner ads is pretty dismal, across the board. This might pay for a few meals, but it definitely isn’t going to fund a holiday to Europe or Greece.

Now, if you want to monetize your website more effectively, we definitely recommend going down the membership site route with Wishlist Member.

It lets you earn a WAY higher margin, it’s easy to set up, and it gives you recurring revenue, every single month. What more can you ask for?

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