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How I Built My Authority Blogger Member Site

Because of all the interest in Teaching Sells and membership sites in general, people have been asking about my own membership site, Authority Blogger, so I thought I would tell you how I built it, and how you can easily create your own membership site using WordPress.

The main component of my membership site is WordPress. One of the free reports that Brian is giving away with his Teaching Sells launch is “How to Build and Launch a Quick and Easy Membership Site” and I was pleased to see he explains that you can build a membership site using the blog software. Back though when I started building Authority Blogger, almost everyone I knew scoffed at using WordPress to build a membership site – the “done thing” was to use Joomla, Drupal, specific offerings like Membergate, and various other online services.

When I logged into Brian’s Teaching Sells course I was nearly persuaded to go the Joomla route – it really is a very good system, but I knew I wanted to get something out quickly and easily, and being the geek I am, I would have spent time procrastinating learning a new system.

I had some experience with Drupal, enough to know I didn’t want to build another membership site around it. Joomla, as mentioned, was going to be a learning curve I did not want to face, and I knew WordPress inside out. There was really no other choice for me at the time.

Authority Blogger Construction

Authority Blogger Construction

I went with the following solutions:

  • WordPress as the content management system
  • Amember as the membership solution
  • VBulletin for the forum

My big mistake was with the forum – I set that up first only to find I could not retrospectively add Amember control without screwing up the existing user accounts. Amember along with the VB plugin can integrate, I just set it up wrong. Lesson learned. This means when someone joins I have to get them to sign up again, this time at the forum and manually give them permissions to the members-only forum area.

Now I know there are easier ways, but this approach worked for me all the same πŸ™‚

  1. When you first visit you see the public-facing WordPress installation. This contains some pages of information that drive you to either sign up, buy or go to the forum. Members can also see the login link here.
  2. When you buy or log in you go through an Amember installation. I actually outsourced setting this up – it’s not the simplest of software – but you can also get installation as part of the license purchase.
  3. Within the Amember-controlled membership directory I created another WordPress install. This is where the lessons are kept and all the mindmaps, process map flowcharts and ebook PDF downloads. Go to anything in that directory on the server and you are asked to login, including going to the lesson web pages.
  4. For video and audio I use Amazon S3 hosting – for speed and also because these multimedia files get BIG, so I do not want bandwidth charges!
  5. To make the course easy and fun to consume, lessons are structured as bite-sized blog posts, grouped together as series using the in-series plugin, which unfortunately is no longer supported by the developer. Grouping the lessons into series creates a bunch of “mini courses”, so there is for example one on blog seo, another on launching your blog, and one on product creation, etc etc. This also means I can keep adding and adding – there are now around 100 individual lessons and I do not see me ending soon, heh.

A nice touch about Amember is every customer can also be an affiliate so they get commissions for recommending the course to friends and colleagues. I think that is nice, a recommendation from an existing customer and user of a service is always more persuasive than someone who has not used a product.

I am currently working on a “version 2” refresh for the coming season, and because of the modular structure and organization being based on WordPress, that is much more efficient to do. It makes me glad I chose to go the way I did.

Now though there is another option for creating WordPress based membership sites called Wishlist Member. Check out the video here. So far I have been very impressed with it, much easier for us WordPress jockies. My next courses will be built around Wishlist rather than Amember.

I hope that answers your questions but do let me know in the comments if there is anything I haven’t explained or anything you would like me to expand on …

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Comments

  1. Great article – thanks for being open and sharing in a clear way.

    I agree with you on WP being a good way to go; especially since I know WP and Joomla hurts my little brain. I’ll check out Amember.

    I started a membership / class site using Digital Access Pass which is great so far – I picked it for the content dripping feature and the customer service has been great.

    • The content dripping is a feature of Wishlist that I like – I think dripping out content extends nicely the idea of giving people small pieces of content helps consumption so people really get the benefits of your course rather than feel overwhelmed

  2. Great article – thanks for being open and sharing in a clear way.

    I agree with you on WP being a good way to go; especially since I know WP and Joomla hurts my little brain. I’ll check out Amember.

    I started a membership / class site using Digital Access Pass which is great so far – I picked it for the content dripping feature and the customer service has been great.

    • The content dripping is a feature of Wishlist that I like – I think dripping out content extends nicely the idea of giving people small pieces of content helps consumption so people really get the benefits of your course rather than feel overwhelmed

  3. I agree, good to know how you do it. I would enjoy another post (or comment) explaining further why you have chosen Wishlist for your next project as I will soon choose one or the other.

    • I still need to play with wishlist so will comment now and follow up with a post when I am decided and dug deeper πŸ™‚

      The main reason is simplicity – Amemebr is very powerful, but I do not use most of what it can do. Also wishlist makes it easy to have timed delivery of content. I bought the multiple domain license so I will be using it not just for courses but things like password protected download areas, etc.

      One thing it does not have is forum integration or affiliate management, you need to add those in other ways.

  4. I agree, good to know how you do it. I would enjoy another post (or comment) explaining further why you have chosen Wishlist for your next project as I will soon choose one or the other.

    • I still need to play with wishlist so will comment now and follow up with a post when I am decided and dug deeper πŸ™‚

      The main reason is simplicity – Amemebr is very powerful, but I do not use most of what it can do. Also wishlist makes it easy to have timed delivery of content. I bought the multiple domain license so I will be using it not just for courses but things like password protected download areas, etc.

      One thing it does not have is forum integration or affiliate management, you need to add those in other ways.

  5. Thanks. Timed content delivery sounds good but not overly worried about affiliate things for my intended audience.

    Forums would be interesting but couldn’t you either a) use BBPress with it somehow or b) set up your WordPress install with a ‘forum’ category and subcategories and allow your members of a certain level to author posts within those categories?

    From a users perspective, the posts would be like the threads in forum. Other members can still comment as much as they like and start their own ‘threads’ if they want to. I’m sure you could sort out the category pages to look like a forum too, with ‘latest threads’, ‘most commented threads’ and the like.

  6. Thanks. Timed content delivery sounds good but not overly worried about affiliate things for my intended audience.

    Forums would be interesting but couldn’t you either a) use BBPress with it somehow or b) set up your WordPress install with a ‘forum’ category and subcategories and allow your members of a certain level to author posts within those categories?

    From a users perspective, the posts would be like the threads in forum. Other members can still comment as much as they like and start their own ‘threads’ if they want to. I’m sure you could sort out the category pages to look like a forum too, with ‘latest threads’, ‘most commented threads’ and the like.

  7. Chris, I know you are into WordPress and have a certain commitment to it, but have a look at ExpressionEngine. It is a great CMS that does everything you need and there is absolutely no requirement for integration as it is all one system. I absolutely love EE because the way it works is 180 degrees of any other CMS I have worked with. It is also extremely fast and typically performs nearly as fast as a static site for many of the pages using its caching technology.

    The reason it is 180 degrees is you do not build your site to integrate it into EE, you integrate EE CMS into your site. There is no public facing visual aspect of EE, everything is smart tags that add functionality to your existing design.

    They have forums and a few hundred plug-ins as well. I am in the middle of putting together a membership site and seriously considering EE’s route, I have another project I worked on with EE and loved the platform.

    A few things related to this that cause any hesitation on my part.

    Vbulletin is just untouchable as a forum, the built in forum module for EE is nice, but lacks the ability to use VB-SEO and keyword URL’s. It also doesn’t have the feature set of VB. This is my biggest concern.

    You will be responsible for more design work, using an out of the box theme isn’t as much of an option (although Woo Themes will be offering EE themes soon). But having end to end functionality under one system and true unified membership is very helpful.

    Although there are over 100 supported modules and few hundred more by third parties, WordPress has an almost unlimited amount of plug-ins for just about anything you can think of.

    In response to someones post about just using BB Press, I find BB Press is a huge turn off and will pretty much avoid any site that uses it. The main reason is for the lack of notification, I cannot spend time checking back to a site to see if there are any comments on my post. Email notification of updates is critical to my use of a forums.

  8. Chris, I know you are into WordPress and have a certain commitment to it, but have a look at ExpressionEngine. It is a great CMS that does everything you need and there is absolutely no requirement for integration as it is all one system. I absolutely love EE because the way it works is 180 degrees of any other CMS I have worked with. It is also extremely fast and typically performs nearly as fast as a static site for many of the pages using its caching technology.

    The reason it is 180 degrees is you do not build your site to integrate it into EE, you integrate EE CMS into your site. There is no public facing visual aspect of EE, everything is smart tags that add functionality to your existing design.

    They have forums and a few hundred plug-ins as well. I am in the middle of putting together a membership site and seriously considering EE’s route, I have another project I worked on with EE and loved the platform.

    A few things related to this that cause any hesitation on my part.

    Vbulletin is just untouchable as a forum, the built in forum module for EE is nice, but lacks the ability to use VB-SEO and keyword URL’s. It also doesn’t have the feature set of VB. This is my biggest concern.

    You will be responsible for more design work, using an out of the box theme isn’t as much of an option (although Woo Themes will be offering EE themes soon). But having end to end functionality under one system and true unified membership is very helpful.

    Although there are over 100 supported modules and few hundred more by third parties, WordPress has an almost unlimited amount of plug-ins for just about anything you can think of.

    In response to someones post about just using BB Press, I find BB Press is a huge turn off and will pretty much avoid any site that uses it. The main reason is for the lack of notification, I cannot spend time checking back to a site to see if there are any comments on my post. Email notification of updates is critical to my use of a forums.

  9. In my case – DreamCareer.info – the site is structured class for helping visual effects artists / filmmakers get a career going…so the content drip is pretty crucial. Throwing a ton of content at them all at once would be counterproductive.

    I’m about to read your ebooks…nice site, Chris!

  10. In my case – DreamCareer.info – the site is structured class for helping visual effects artists / filmmakers get a career going…so the content drip is pretty crucial. Throwing a ton of content at them all at once would be counterproductive.

    I’m about to read your ebooks…nice site, Chris!

  11. @Christopher – My problem is lack of time to learn something new πŸ™

    @Lee – overwhelm is a huge issue in any learning environment, I am constantly trying to make everything easy to consume, enjoy and benefit from πŸ™‚

  12. @Christopher – My problem is lack of time to learn something new πŸ™

    @Lee – overwhelm is a huge issue in any learning environment, I am constantly trying to make everything easy to consume, enjoy and benefit from πŸ™‚

  13. I yet to start all this. But one thing is clear that your article will make things easier. Thanks.

  14. I yet to start all this. But one thing is clear that your article will make things easier. Thanks.

  15. Great article. I am currently working on a community site using wordpress. I had thoughts I was crazy trying to build a large member site with a blogging platform. Thanks!

  16. Great article. I am currently working on a community site using wordpress. I had thoughts I was crazy trying to build a large member site with a blogging platform. Thanks!

  17. Chris, you can spend it now or later is my opinion. Although WordPress is great and has amazing list of plug-ins and support somethings (membership sites, forum integration) will cause problems down the road and I’d rather spend the time setting it up right first than have problems to deal with when I have people depending on it. Many of the products for WordPress have a lot of security issues tied to them as well and have to be updated individually which may cause problems when WordPress releases 2.9.5 to fix security issues but Amember doesn’t yet support that version. Or one of your 10-15 plug-ins break because of it.

    • Amember does not need to support WordPress – it is protecting the whole directory structure, I am not integrating Amember and WP at all πŸ™‚ Besides, I already bought WishList and also have another Amember+VB+WP member site in the works πŸ˜‰

  18. Chris, you can spend it now or later is my opinion. Although WordPress is great and has amazing list of plug-ins and support somethings (membership sites, forum integration) will cause problems down the road and I’d rather spend the time setting it up right first than have problems to deal with when I have people depending on it. Many of the products for WordPress have a lot of security issues tied to them as well and have to be updated individually which may cause problems when WordPress releases 2.9.5 to fix security issues but Amember doesn’t yet support that version. Or one of your 10-15 plug-ins break because of it.

    • Amember does not need to support WordPress – it is protecting the whole directory structure, I am not integrating Amember and WP at all πŸ™‚ Besides, I already bought WishList and also have another Amember+VB+WP member site in the works πŸ˜‰

  19. If Wishlist Member came with a forum integration option that would make it ultra appealing.

  20. If Wishlist Member came with a forum integration option that would make it ultra appealing.

  21. When I hear Amember, I think of the day when thousands of sites using Amember were hacked because of security issues. I’ve never used it, but did look over it at one point but the security issues worry me.

    Good luck with your sites, I’m sure your in good hands.

  22. When I hear Amember, I think of the day when thousands of sites using Amember were hacked because of security issues. I’ve never used it, but did look over it at one point but the security issues worry me.

    Good luck with your sites, I’m sure your in good hands.

  23. Thanks so much for the details. It makes life easier when considering all these options to see exactly how someone else has made it work!

    So Chris, can I ask about your Amazon A3 integration? I set up the account and then started digging into the logistics of getting Camtasia videos uploaded…ugh.

    Are you using the Amazon Manager for Cloudfront or Cloudberry? Any special video player?

    P.S. The Lexan guy would do better not to bash the other options .

    • @Chris – Yup, forum integration would be cool, but I think I will sort out a solution

      @Julie – I use S3 Firefox plugin – makes it almost as easy as using normal FTP file tranfers πŸ™‚

      https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/3247

      Right now I am still searching for a really good video player solution, I haven’t found one I am super happy with πŸ™ I just want a simple WordPress plugin – suggestions of your favorites welcome!

  24. Thanks so much for the details. It makes life easier when considering all these options to see exactly how someone else has made it work!

    So Chris, can I ask about your Amazon A3 integration? I set up the account and then started digging into the logistics of getting Camtasia videos uploaded…ugh.

    Are you using the Amazon Manager for Cloudfront or Cloudberry? Any special video player?

    P.S. The Lexan guy would do better not to bash the other options .

    • @Chris – Yup, forum integration would be cool, but I think I will sort out a solution

      @Julie – I use S3 Firefox plugin – makes it almost as easy as using normal FTP file tranfers πŸ™‚

      https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/3247

      Right now I am still searching for a really good video player solution, I haven’t found one I am super happy with πŸ™ I just want a simple WordPress plugin – suggestions of your favorites welcome!

  25. JW and Flow are the most popular video players I think with the big names, JW being the preferred. Although expensive, I heard a lot of good things about Bright Cove, but it isn’t cheap.

  26. JW and Flow are the most popular video players I think with the big names, JW being the preferred. Although expensive, I heard a lot of good things about Bright Cove, but it isn’t cheap.

  27. Chris,

    I’ve been looking for someone to write a post exactly like this. Thanks. The next good, simple post that I’d love to see is the integration of Amazon S3. I’d like to use it to store and serve up my video files, but haven’t found a great how-to post anywhere on that yet. (One that works for me, anyway.)

  28. Chris,

    I’ve been looking for someone to write a post exactly like this. Thanks. The next good, simple post that I’d love to see is the integration of Amazon S3. I’d like to use it to store and serve up my video files, but haven’t found a great how-to post anywhere on that yet. (One that works for me, anyway.)

  29. Out of curiosity, what were the deciding factors against Drupal? I’ve looked at it as well as XOOPS although I haven’t developed anything major with either one yet, just some testing.

  30. Out of curiosity, what were the deciding factors against Drupal? I’ve looked at it as well as XOOPS although I haven’t developed anything major with either one yet, just some testing.

  31. Hi Chris,

    Thanks so much for this great article and for sharing the details of how you built your course. I’m relieved to hear there is an alternative to Amember that is WordPress-friendly. I had a tough time with Amember on a client project a few years ago. And as you know, I’m a big fan and really getting a lot out of everything in the Authority Blogger course πŸ™‚

  32. Hi Chris,

    Thanks so much for this great article and for sharing the details of how you built your course. I’m relieved to hear there is an alternative to Amember that is WordPress-friendly. I had a tough time with Amember on a client project a few years ago. And as you know, I’m a big fan and really getting a lot out of everything in the Authority Blogger course πŸ™‚

  33. Hi there!

    Thanks for the informative post. I’ve moved on to the Wishlist site FAQ and am wondering about “content dripping” and “sequential”?

    It reads like autoresponders for blog content…whenever someone signs up, they start on Unit 1, with a new unit each week or month, regardless of what unit others are in. Am I reading that right?

    Thanks thanks…

  34. Hi there!

    Thanks for the informative post. I’ve moved on to the Wishlist site FAQ and am wondering about “content dripping” and “sequential”?

    It reads like autoresponders for blog content…whenever someone signs up, they start on Unit 1, with a new unit each week or month, regardless of what unit others are in. Am I reading that right?

    Thanks thanks…

  35. Chris,

    What’s the tool you use to create videos with voice overs? I’m finding it difficult to select one.

  36. Chris,

    What’s the tool you use to create videos with voice overs? I’m finding it difficult to select one.

  37. Hi Chris, great post and insight into your site. I’m suprised you didn’t consider TIms plugin “Your Member” http://www.newmedias.co.uk which I’ve used on a number of my sites. If you did consider it, what was your reasoning for going with Wishlist Member?

  38. Hi Chris, great post and insight into your site. I’m suprised you didn’t consider TIms plugin “Your Member” http://www.newmedias.co.uk which I’ve used on a number of my sites. If you did consider it, what was your reasoning for going with Wishlist Member?

  39. Hey Chris, great article mate – thanks. As you may remember, I’m soon to be releasing a membership site for my new guitar DVD course (nearly finished by the way) I hope you’re still up for testing it out? πŸ™‚

    Anyway, after checking out all my options, I decided to run with WordPress – Wishlist and Amazon S3 for my membership site, so I was really pleased to read you’re getting on well with it. I haven’t purchased my license yet, but it’s on the card within the next couple of weeks or so. Any tips you have so far would be very much appreciated – cheers.

    Regarding a decent video player, I use Anarchy Media Player (AMP) WP Plugin and it works just fine for me. It streams from my S3 server just fine, you can see it in action on my blog:
    http://www.phillmason.com

    I’ll be in touch soon re the new course. Speak soon Chris.
    All the Best
    Phill Mason

  40. Hey Chris, great article mate – thanks. As you may remember, I’m soon to be releasing a membership site for my new guitar DVD course (nearly finished by the way) I hope you’re still up for testing it out? πŸ™‚

    Anyway, after checking out all my options, I decided to run with WordPress – Wishlist and Amazon S3 for my membership site, so I was really pleased to read you’re getting on well with it. I haven’t purchased my license yet, but it’s on the card within the next couple of weeks or so. Any tips you have so far would be very much appreciated – cheers.

    Regarding a decent video player, I use Anarchy Media Player (AMP) WP Plugin and it works just fine for me. It streams from my S3 server just fine, you can see it in action on my blog:
    http://www.phillmason.com

    I’ll be in touch soon re the new course. Speak soon Chris.
    All the Best
    Phill Mason

  41. Hi again,

    I kept digging on their site and found an older video that explains it. Hope this helps anyone stuck on what “content dripping” is about: http://member.wpwishlist.com/13-delivering-sequential-content/

  42. Hi again,

    I kept digging on their site and found an older video that explains it. Hope this helps anyone stuck on what “content dripping” is about: http://member.wpwishlist.com/13-delivering-sequential-content/

  43. Curious – how well does this model support really technical courses?

    And have to tried WordTube? πŸ™‚

  44. Curious – how well does this model support really technical courses?

    And have to tried WordTube? πŸ™‚

  45. Simon Wheatley says:

    A couple if random points which may be of interest:

    bbPress will integrate with WP, and while it’s not as mature or quite as extensible/extended as WP I find it pretty good.

    If you have a lot of logged in users, and I may have misunderstood your membership mechanism here, you will need to look beyond standard WP caching strategies if the site gets super busy. The WP object cache will help here.

    S

  46. Simon Wheatley says:

    A couple if random points which may be of interest:

    bbPress will integrate with WP, and while it’s not as mature or quite as extensible/extended as WP I find it pretty good.

    If you have a lot of logged in users, and I may have misunderstood your membership mechanism here, you will need to look beyond standard WP caching strategies if the site gets super busy. The WP object cache will help here.

    S

  47. Great article. Especially the double subscription is indeed a problem I have been struggling with.
    But I found a way to have to avoid working with a forum, by simply having the comments acts as a question and answer area about a particular subject. Here is an example of this, an article comparing joomla with WP and when to use which system: http://www.miracletutorials.com/wordpress-vs-joomla-review/
    After I wrote that article, I got quite a few questions in the comments, so with that idea in mind, I’m working on a membership area that is an additional wordpress installation in a subfolder of the main site, which works with the members-only plugin. This plugin password protects all pages and posts in that installation. In this way, you have a simple, yet powerfull member site along with the regular blog.
    That said, your solution is excellent and for sites with higher requirements, this is great inoformation. Thank you!

  48. Great article. Especially the double subscription is indeed a problem I have been struggling with.
    But I found a way to have to avoid working with a forum, by simply having the comments acts as a question and answer area about a particular subject. Here is an example of this, an article comparing joomla with WP and when to use which system: http://www.miracletutorials.com/wordpress-vs-joomla-review/
    After I wrote that article, I got quite a few questions in the comments, so with that idea in mind, I’m working on a membership area that is an additional wordpress installation in a subfolder of the main site, which works with the members-only plugin. This plugin password protects all pages and posts in that installation. In this way, you have a simple, yet powerfull member site along with the regular blog.
    That said, your solution is excellent and for sites with higher requirements, this is great inoformation. Thank you!

  49. Chris, just an FYI:

    Your link at the end of the blog post doesn’t work:

    Wishlist Member. Check out the video here
    http://chrisg.co.uk/creating-micro-continuity-sites-with-wordpres

  50. Chris, just an FYI:

    Your link at the end of the blog post doesn’t work:

    Wishlist Member. Check out the video here
    http://chrisg.co.uk/creating-micro-continuity-sites-with-wordpres

  51. Simon, I’m glad you mentioned bbPress. I’ve been looking at it now that Version 1.0.2 is out:
    http://bbpress.org/

    Chris, I’d be interested in your reaction to Simple Press Forum, too:
    http://simplepressforum.com/

  52. Simon, I’m glad you mentioned bbPress. I’ve been looking at it now that Version 1.0.2 is out:
    http://bbpress.org/

    Chris, I’d be interested in your reaction to Simple Press Forum, too:
    http://simplepressforum.com/

  53. @Christopher – I tried JW a while back, might have another play with it

    @Brandon – I use the S3Fox Firefox plugin and upload with that (make sure you set the files to be readable by editing the ‘ACL’) then it is just like linking to a file on any hosting. Which bit would you like an article on in particular?

    @LoneWolf – I had just come out of a few big Drupal projects and keeping up with Drupal AND WordPress was just too much πŸ™‚

    @Mary Shaw – Amember is great but too much for a lot of the projects I have in mind πŸ™‚ Thanks for your kind words!

    @Crystal – Looks like in your message further down you caught it, but yeah those phrases are essentially about giving sequential pieces of content rather than everything all at once πŸ™‚

    @ROW – Right now ScreenFlow and iMovie, but I did try Camtasia (now on Mac) and Final Cut

    @Toby – I have a license for that but needed more features and easier integration with shopping carts. I might be wrong about it, I am sure it has grown since I first looked πŸ™‚

    @Phill – I am totally up for checking out your member site – my guitar work is still somewhere around “absolute beginner” (can’t even play ‘stairway’ yet!). Will let you know how I get on with Wishlist and will check out Anarchy Media Player.

    @Andrea_R – I think the approach suits any online course really – will check out WordTube πŸ™‚

    @Simon – Thanks, I have been looking at bbPress, I am sure it has matured since I last used it πŸ™‚

    @Rudolf – Comments work great for community replies if that is all you need but you either have to hack or work around the fact they have to be author-initiated. As I say, there are hacks that allow users to start threads, but not always ideal.

    @Griff – Strange, works here … will check out simplepressforum.com

  54. @Christopher – I tried JW a while back, might have another play with it

    @Brandon – I use the S3Fox Firefox plugin and upload with that (make sure you set the files to be readable by editing the ‘ACL’) then it is just like linking to a file on any hosting. Which bit would you like an article on in particular?

    @LoneWolf – I had just come out of a few big Drupal projects and keeping up with Drupal AND WordPress was just too much πŸ™‚

    @Mary Shaw – Amember is great but too much for a lot of the projects I have in mind πŸ™‚ Thanks for your kind words!

    @Crystal – Looks like in your message further down you caught it, but yeah those phrases are essentially about giving sequential pieces of content rather than everything all at once πŸ™‚

    @ROW – Right now ScreenFlow and iMovie, but I did try Camtasia (now on Mac) and Final Cut

    @Toby – I have a license for that but needed more features and easier integration with shopping carts. I might be wrong about it, I am sure it has grown since I first looked πŸ™‚

    @Phill – I am totally up for checking out your member site – my guitar work is still somewhere around “absolute beginner” (can’t even play ‘stairway’ yet!). Will let you know how I get on with Wishlist and will check out Anarchy Media Player.

    @Andrea_R – I think the approach suits any online course really – will check out WordTube πŸ™‚

    @Simon – Thanks, I have been looking at bbPress, I am sure it has matured since I last used it πŸ™‚

    @Rudolf – Comments work great for community replies if that is all you need but you either have to hack or work around the fact they have to be author-initiated. As I say, there are hacks that allow users to start threads, but not always ideal.

    @Griff – Strange, works here … will check out simplepressforum.com

  55. JW player is indeed a great option as a video player on WP but you will have learning curve using it to the fullest of its features. Therefore, Simple Flash video is a WP plugin that works with JW and it makes most of the features easier to deal with.

    Christopher: Brightcove does not have accounts for entrepreneurs anymore. They only work with the film industry and video on demand and they are hugely expensive.
    There are many streaming services, like Mydeo, bits-on-the-run, audioAcrobat, etc… but to be honest, if you have loads of heavy videos, Amazon S3 hosting is indeed an affordable solution as Chris already mentioned.

  56. JW player is indeed a great option as a video player on WP but you will have learning curve using it to the fullest of its features. Therefore, Simple Flash video is a WP plugin that works with JW and it makes most of the features easier to deal with.

    Christopher: Brightcove does not have accounts for entrepreneurs anymore. They only work with the film industry and video on demand and they are hugely expensive.
    There are many streaming services, like Mydeo, bits-on-the-run, audioAcrobat, etc… but to be honest, if you have loads of heavy videos, Amazon S3 hosting is indeed an affordable solution as Chris already mentioned.

  57. @Chris: I absolutely agree with you on the shortcomings of using comments as a forum but so far it worked for me.
    That said, I’m aware that I will have to do something about a forum once I get more traffic. Currently, I have about 5,000 unique visitors monthly.

  58. @Chris: I absolutely agree with you on the shortcomings of using comments as a forum but so far it worked for me.
    That said, I’m aware that I will have to do something about a forum once I get more traffic. Currently, I have about 5,000 unique visitors monthly.

  59. I tried those plugins out and I think I am going to stick to FLV Embed for now. Turns out thanks to Dave at webvideouniversity.com I can just use the FLV plugin for mp4 files, I just need to rename them to FLV πŸ™‚

  60. I tried those plugins out and I think I am going to stick to FLV Embed for now. Turns out thanks to Dave at webvideouniversity.com I can just use the FLV plugin for mp4 files, I just need to rename them to FLV πŸ™‚

  61. @Chris Sure, it depends what you want to achieve. FLV embed is very easy going, but if you want to brand your videos, have playlists and set your own poster image, either “Simple Flash video” or “Flash video player” are better suited.
    You can play mp4 movies without the need to rename them, including swf.

  62. @Chris Sure, it depends what you want to achieve. FLV embed is very easy going, but if you want to brand your videos, have playlists and set your own poster image, either “Simple Flash video” or “Flash video player” are better suited.
    You can play mp4 movies without the need to rename them, including swf.

  63. Great post Chris and very honest. I’ve got some great ideas for a membership site related to my blog but I have no idea where to start. Content and teaching isn’t the problem, setting the whole membership is. So WordPress in conjuction with wishlist.

    Thanks Chris

  64. Great post Chris and very honest. I’ve got some great ideas for a membership site related to my blog but I have no idea where to start. Content and teaching isn’t the problem, setting the whole membership is. So WordPress in conjuction with wishlist.

    Thanks Chris

  65. Chris,
    Great article. I have been looking for a straight forward way to set up a membership site and I like they way you have outlined it here. I look forward to looking more into wishlist. -Norene

  66. Chris,
    Great article. I have been looking for a straight forward way to set up a membership site and I like they way you have outlined it here. I look forward to looking more into wishlist. -Norene

  67. @Chris,

    I think a mini-tutorial on serving up files that are stored with the Amazon AWS system would be great. I do my backups with that service but I’ve never used it for file sharing. For example, as I build my WP membership site, I’m not sure how to actually locate the URL of my media files to link to them in pages and posts.

    Thanks.

  68. @Chris,

    I think a mini-tutorial on serving up files that are stored with the Amazon AWS system would be great. I do my backups with that service but I’ve never used it for file sharing. For example, as I build my WP membership site, I’m not sure how to actually locate the URL of my media files to link to them in pages and posts.

    Thanks.

  69. Hi Chris,
    very informative post!
    I’ve built several membership sites in the last few months all based on WordPress.
    Now my customer are managing and updating them on their own: this is the “plus” of WordPress!

    I used both Wp + Amember and WP + Your Member.
    For relatively simple memership sites I had good results even with free plugins and a paypal account.

    From my experience AMember is a “must have” only if you need to manage affiliates but for most membership is just too much.

    But, really, if one need just to require a payment for register a user to WP there are some pretty good free plugin avaiable. Sure you need to combine two or more to achieve the attended results but when you have done it once, the process is the same for all the memership sites you’ll create.

    Too bad that there isn’t a good affiliate manager plugin for WP…

    Stefano

  70. Hi Chris,
    very informative post!
    I’ve built several membership sites in the last few months all based on WordPress.
    Now my customer are managing and updating them on their own: this is the “plus” of WordPress!

    I used both Wp + Amember and WP + Your Member.
    For relatively simple memership sites I had good results even with free plugins and a paypal account.

    From my experience AMember is a “must have” only if you need to manage affiliates but for most membership is just too much.

    But, really, if one need just to require a payment for register a user to WP there are some pretty good free plugin avaiable. Sure you need to combine two or more to achieve the attended results but when you have done it once, the process is the same for all the memership sites you’ll create.

    Too bad that there isn’t a good affiliate manager plugin for WP…

    Stefano

  71. Hey Chris,

    Thanks for a great post and glad to hear you like WishList Member πŸ™‚

    I’m actually one of the co-creators and thought I’d jump in to answer a couple questions that came up regarding “Forum Integration” and adding an “Affiliate Program”.

    1) Forum Integration – Many of our other customers have shared that the BBPress.org plugin works well with WL Member as well as SimplePress (http://simplepressforum.com/) since they both the same user database as WL Member.

    As long as you had a link to the forum on your blog, non-members wouldn’t be able to see it or access it without logging in first (if you used the hide/show feature).

    We will be coming out with an add-on soon that will allow deeper forum integration (protecting parts of a forum) but for now this “all” or “no” access will work.

    2) Affiliate Integration – It’s important to note that WishList Member does currently integrate with other affiliate management tracking systems.

    Many of our customers are currently using Clickbank.com and 1ShoppingCart.com to successfully manage their affiliates so it is possible to setup a membership site using WL Member and have an affiliate program at the same time.

    Essentially, it would work just like any other product that you would setup with these programs. You would just give the URL of your membership site as the product URL and then any person that is sent to your site through an affiliate link will automatically be cookied. Therefore if they buy, the affiliate will be credited accordingly.

    With that said, we also just finished development on our Full Integration with iDev Affiliate Tracking.

    This is in the final beta testing and is scheduled to be released before the end of the month.

    So this would allow to you have Full Integration with iDev which manages affiliate programs for many payment processors.

    Hopefully that helps.

    If anyone has any other questions you can always reach us at our support desk here:

    http://www.wishlistproducts.com/support

    All the best.

    Stu McLaren

  72. Hey Chris,

    Thanks for a great post and glad to hear you like WishList Member πŸ™‚

    I’m actually one of the co-creators and thought I’d jump in to answer a couple questions that came up regarding “Forum Integration” and adding an “Affiliate Program”.

    1) Forum Integration – Many of our other customers have shared that the BBPress.org plugin works well with WL Member as well as SimplePress (http://simplepressforum.com/) since they both the same user database as WL Member.

    As long as you had a link to the forum on your blog, non-members wouldn’t be able to see it or access it without logging in first (if you used the hide/show feature).

    We will be coming out with an add-on soon that will allow deeper forum integration (protecting parts of a forum) but for now this “all” or “no” access will work.

    2) Affiliate Integration – It’s important to note that WishList Member does currently integrate with other affiliate management tracking systems.

    Many of our customers are currently using Clickbank.com and 1ShoppingCart.com to successfully manage their affiliates so it is possible to setup a membership site using WL Member and have an affiliate program at the same time.

    Essentially, it would work just like any other product that you would setup with these programs. You would just give the URL of your membership site as the product URL and then any person that is sent to your site through an affiliate link will automatically be cookied. Therefore if they buy, the affiliate will be credited accordingly.

    With that said, we also just finished development on our Full Integration with iDev Affiliate Tracking.

    This is in the final beta testing and is scheduled to be released before the end of the month.

    So this would allow to you have Full Integration with iDev which manages affiliate programs for many payment processors.

    Hopefully that helps.

    If anyone has any other questions you can always reach us at our support desk here:

    http://www.wishlistproducts.com/support

    All the best.

    Stu McLaren

  73. One thing I didn’t like about using Amazon is how easy it is for others to pass the links along to other people. It probably isn’t a huge problem, but it makes it very easy for people to share and steal content. It is a great delivery service though.

  74. One thing I didn’t like about using Amazon is how easy it is for others to pass the links along to other people. It probably isn’t a huge problem, but it makes it very easy for people to share and steal content. It is a great delivery service though.

  75. Great Post, I inspire to be like you on day.How many blogs do you have now? lol

  76. Great Post, I inspire to be like you on day.How many blogs do you have now? lol