009: WordPress Membership Sites Explained
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Membership sites can be recurring or single payment sites. We like to use WordPress and WishList Member to do that. WordPress powers about a quarter of all websites online, and it’s a really easy tool, mostly, for blogging. You can go and add a new post or journal entry in just 1 click without messing around with webpages, uploading FTP, databases, coding, any of that silly stuff. There are thousands and thousands of different themes or designs, and maybe hundreds of thousands of different plug-ins where you can change and expand on the functionality of your site. Add in opt-in forms, pop-ups, quizzes, countdown timers, and membership sites, which is what we’re going to talk about today. WordPress. You might have heard about this site called “wordpress.com,” which is, in a lot of ways, a replacement for an older site called “blogger.com” where for free, you can make a word… a blog, a journal entry type of site, which is, I guess, okay if you’re just having fun on the internet, but if you have a real business, you need to have a dot-com domain name. You need to have a real web host, and then on that web host, instead of living back in the dark ages of editing webpages, create a WordPress blog. Set up a self-installed WordPress blog is what it’s called, and the place to grab that is at wordpress.org. But just having WordPress on its own, which by the way is free, just having that on its own doesn’t get you very far, and that’s why our membershipcube.com course shows you everything, how to grab a domain name, set up web hosting, set up WordPress, set up this WishList Member plug-in, create a sales letter, and start taking payments tonight. Now, is the site going to be super pretty tonight? No, but you can start taking payments tonight, and then do the nice-to-haves, the extras, the goodies when you want to. WordPress. You set up your own web host, you get a WordPress… this WordPress software installed, and then that creates a WordPress blog for you. Then, from then on, you can just go to that WordPress blog and add in any new journal entries that you want to. For example, my WordPress blog is at robertplank.com. That’s the first thing you need to understand. It’s really important is create a website, have your own dot-com name, set up WordPress, and start posting journal entries. Then, here is where it gets a little tricky, so make sure you pay extra close attention. What we’ve been talking about are these things called “posts,” right? Journal entries, so maybe I can go to that site on June 1st and make a post, and then it says… There’s a title of whatever new journal entry I just made. It says it was made on June 1st, that is made by Robert Plank, and then I can put in whatever text, video, audio, links that I want in that post, right? I make that post on June 1st, and that appears, and that’s the 1 post I have on my site. Then, maybe I go back on June 2nd and make a new post. What does it do? It puts that newer content at the top, so over time, as you post these journal entries to your site, which are text, audio, or video, then it… They’re now arranged newest to oldest, right? Someone can come to your site a year later, and they can see your newest, shiniest entry, and they go further down the page, and then they see the entry before that. I’m explaining this for a very specific reason. That’s because posts, journal entries go top to bottom, and then to get a little fancier… Now, WordPress allows you to create pages. Now, what the heck is a page? Didn’t I just… There’s posts and there’s pages? What the heck? A post is a journal entry. It goes top to bottom. Pages are the navigation of your site. Usually, we place them in the top area of our website that they go left to right. Now, what the heck is the difference between a post and a page? A post, like we said, journal entry. You post it. It’s dated June 1st. It’s dated June 10th. It’s dated whatever day that you made it, but then you can make a page like you make an about us page or a contact us page that’s separate from the day-to-day stuff. What date is that contact us page? What date is the about us page? There is none, so a page is just some extra kind of navigation in your site, and the reason why I’m explaining the difference here is because when you make your membership site, your protected download area, I almost always create them in pages. When we’re making a blog, we just toss in content in there. It doesn’t really matter in what order someone goes through it, right, because maybe… I mean, if someone comes to my blog today, they’re going to see the latest entries, and if they decide to go back in time, then they can, but it’s not like if someone comes to my blog… It’s not like you go to see, and then you say, “Well, I can’t read today’s news on CNN. I have to go back to when the CNN website started. I have to go back to 1980, or 1950, or something and start reading there.” It doesn’t work like that, right? It also doesn’t really matter in what order you read things, and usually, you just want to read today’s or this week’s information anyway. In a membership site, it’s different where… especially in a course, in a fixed-term membership site. We want people to go from start to finish. In that case, posts don’t make sense. What makes more sense are pages, and so the scenario that I want to get in your head is that someone comes to your website, they see a button to click on to pay you money, they buy access, and they come to what we call a “dashboard page.” They come to a page where there are… They just see links to the different modules. We tell you to have 4 different modules to explain whatever goal you want people to get to, and you might, in the future, link to bonuses, or other resources, or things, but just to keep it simple, they log in. They see this list of 4 other pages to go, and click on, and get to. I know I spent a few minutes here explaining posts and pages, but I think that’s really, really important is that if you have a free blog with journal entries and things, that is a post. That’s a set of posts, but then if you have a protected membership site, we’re talking about having a bunch of pages. We’re talking about having what’s called a “dashboard page,” which links to a page called “Module 1,” a page called “Module 2,” a page called “Module 3,” a page called “Module 4.” All right, so that’s how you set up content in your WordPress blog. Now, I want to move on to this idea of this thing called “a theme.” A theme. That means that that’s the design or it’s the look and feel of your WordPress membership site. All right, so a lot of people do the things they need to do in their online business and their membership sites in general in definitely the wrong order, and they go and look for the theme first. They say, “Well, I want to have a beautiful-looking site.” No. You install WordPress, and it comes with a theme already. It looks pretty plain, pretty black and white, but you need to get something in place before you focus on the non-important stuff. The way that your website looks really isn’t that important. It’s not as important as you think. What’s more important are the words or the videos, the content within that site, but I do… It is important that you do understand what a theme is, but then people say, “I get my themes from these 10 different sites.” No, you don’t. You have 1 theme on your site, and they’ll say, “Well, go to Woo Themes. Go to Elegant Themes,” and all these different places to go, and they just… People focus on the wrong things, and they’re not doing research and buying 10 different themes or designs for their site, but then… because that’s fun, but then, they don’t actually create the site that they needed to create in the first place. With WordPress, don’t worry about the way it looks because there are literally so many themes out there that once you get the site up and running, once you have the site, first of all, installed. Next, with some content in there. Next, with a button where someone can pay you money and join the site. Then, when you have 20 minutes, 10 minutes free, then go, and hunt around, and find the theme, the design, but that’s something that could come later. In WordPress, you set it up, you create posts, you create pages, and then you go and change the design or the theme. Before we even get to that, let’s get to the most important part because you set up a WordPress blog, you can have content, but now you need to protect it. The plug-in we recommend for you to do this is called “WishList Member.” We’ll give you a free copy to this when you join us in our program at membershipcube.com. Next, a couple of just really simple ideas about WordPress membership sites, especially with WishList Member. Once you understand this, I think that it will make things a lot simpler for you because I know that when I first… I mean, years and years ago when I was first messing around with membership sites, I was so confused because I thought, “Well, I need to get a merchant account, and how am I going to do the billing, and how am I going to control access because… Am I going to just like wait, and check every day, and see if someone hasn’t paid in 30 days, cut off their access?” That’s all a lot simpler than you might think. The first thing is this plug-in called “WishList Member.” Now, what does WishList Member do? It doesn’t even handle your credit cards for you. Okay? That’s what a service like PayPal or Stripe is for, but WishList Member just controls access and says, “Well, is this person a member of your site or not?” Let’s say someone already paid you money. They can go and enter a username and password, and get in, and then see all your content, but if they didn’t log out or someone just wanders and stumbles across your website, just to keep it simple, they can’t see any of your content. With WishList Member, the whole point of this is that someone must be a member of your site in order to get in. Then, what makes WishList Member the best membership plug-in, what makes it really unique is this idea of levels. Okay, so a level is a group of pages or posts on your site. Just to make it really simple again is we like to make a… When we first make a membership site, without even thinking, we make a level called “full,” and then… That’s F-U-L-L, and then we give that full level access to the entire site, access to all pages and posts. That way, we can make the site, make the content, which is the pages and posts, make the level, which is called “full.” Full has access to all pages and posts, and then we can go and even manually create a member of our site, so we can create a member name, Lance Tamashiro, and we can give him access to full. He can’t like change the content, but when that member logs in, they can see all of our pages and posts. Now, if you want to get crazy later on in the future, you can, for example, make this full level only have access to some of your pages and posts, and make another level called “upsell,” or “silver,” or “gold,” and that’s an advanced thing to do later on in the future, but you have WordPress, you have pages and posts, you install WishList Member where you can make a level that then controls what page and posts that your new users who are going to pay you money have access to. Then, to move on a little bit, and then think about what comes next is, “Okay. Well, it’s great if I can manually add a user to my site. That’s one thing or even import some users, but then somebody pays me money. How does that work?” All right, so the way that works is someone pays you money, and we recommend you use PayPal. In our Membership Cube course, we show you how to do this with PayPal. They click the button, they pay you $10, $1,000, whatever, and then… So after they pay money through PayPal, PayPal then contacts our site. PayPal sends a signal over to our membership site saying, “Hey, look. This person just paid you money,” so then create a temporary user for them, it’s called. Then, they’re sent back to your site, and they see a form that says, “Thanks for paying us money. Now, you need to create an account for yourself. You need to figure out what user name you want, what your email address is, and what your first name and last name is, and then what password you want.” They fill on those 5 items, and then that temporary placeholder member then becomes their account that they can log into our site next week, next month, next year, in 10 years, whatever, so that’s great. That’s how the users create it. That’s how they can create their own user account. There’s even a way where you can have them click a button and make an account for free, but I highly recommend you, you charge money right out of the gate. You charge money, and then later on, if you want to take out a piece of your site, then give that little piece away for free. That makes a lot more sense, and then what do you do if someone then refunds to keep it simple? All right. They pay you $10, and then they decided it wasn’t for them, they refund. What happens then? PayPal sends another signal to your membership site saying, “Hey, over here. You know that person that bought before, they just refunded,” and then WishList Member says, “Okay. Well, we’re going to cancel them from that level,” so we’re not going to just blow away their whole entire user account because we want to still have that record that they were there, but then they now… For example, Lance Tamashiro was on what’s called the full level, paid us money, went back, cancelled. PayPal said, “Uh-oh, this person cancelled,” and then now, we can see that they used to be on the full level, but they’re crossed out. They are now cancelled from that full level. If you really think about this, this is like the simplest possible way to think of things that member accounts in your membership site are just on or off. Okay? WishList Member doesn’t even know what price you’re charging or how often you’re charging, just do they have access or not? Are they a member in good standing or not? Then, this comes into play with monthly sites because… Let’s say that instead of charging $10 one time, you’re charging $20 per month. Someone pays for month 1, pays for month 2. On month number 3, they choose to cancel, or their credit card balances, or something, but on month 3, then their recurring monthly payment fails, right? Basically, if someone pays you money once, takes the money back, that’s called a “refund.” If someone is paying you monthly over and over, and then they don’t take money back, but they stopped paying, that is called a “cancellation.” At least those are the PayPal terms. So then, it’s exactly the same logic. PayPal says, “This person stopped paying us month to month,” sends this thing to our membership site. Now, they are cancelled from that full level. So far, I know we’ve thrown a lot of terms in there, but I hope I made it as simple as possible. Set up WordPress, don’t… I mean, use posts for a regular blog. For a membership site, create pages, install WishList Member, have… Create a level that says they get access to these pages, and then when they pay you money, they go and do the checkout process. That allows us then to create 1 account on that full level where they have access to all your pages. If they refund or cancel, [a notice 00:15:57] will get sent, and then they are cancelled from that level. Maybe they bought other products from you. Technically, you can sell 10 or 100 products in 1 single membership site. You just have a hundred different levels. Somebody might buy 9 different products from you, buy product number 10, refund that one, and we don’t want to cut off all their access to the site, just to that collection of pages that they no longer have access to. All right. By the way, this all makes a lot more sense if you see it. I’m doing my best here by talking to you in a podcast. A couple quick extras. I know you’re curious about some of these goodies we could have in membership sites. I told you to create your content in a membership site as a set of pages. That way, it’s not just a list of journal entries in whatever order. You can control the order. But then, we can make our pages easier to get to, right, in using these things called “menus,” which are your links at the top and widgets, which are links on the sidebar. We can link and we can control in what order, and what things we link to, and what they say within our membership site. We can install a plug-in called “TablePress,” and create a table or a grid, and arrange the links in our other parts of our membership site any way that we want to. What about upsells? Upsells, maybe you’ve even figured this out so far, so how do I have an upsell? What if I want to sell not just 1 product, but 2 products in my membership site? I want to sell a beginners real estate course, and then an advanced real estate course. Simple. You make a level called “Beginner” in WishList Member. Then, you say, “All right. Maybe I have 4 different pages I want to have give access to. Maybe I have a dashboard page to all of them. Great.” But then, I want to say, “Well, they pay me $10 for that beginner course,” and then when they log in, I want to say, “Wait, stop. How would you like to upgrade to the even more advanced course for $100?” For that, so you’d have a level called “beginner,” and then give access to the 4 pages of that beginner course. Then, you can make a level called “advanced,” and then you would give access for the advanced level to your 4 advanced pages. All right. So far, so good. But then, how do you tell them to stop, and how do you give them what’s called an “upsell” or a “one-time offer” after they pay you money and they buy into your course? This is where there’s a thing called a “login page,” so you can basically control… After someone logs into your site, you can control where they are sent to, so you can say, “They log into my site. They’re on the beginner level. I want to send them to a special page thing.” “Wait, stop. Here’s the advanced course,” and have a payment button where they can click on that for $100, and then check out, and then they get sent back to your membership, and then they can log back in and apply that second purchase to their account. Now, they have access to the advanced course. That might be a little bit of an advanced thing for you to think about today, but it is possible to not only sell multiple products in the same membership site because of levels, but also, you can have upsells. You can have an unlimited number of upsells in your membership site. You just control which special page, which login page they’re sent to once they come to your site. Then, one final thing I want to mention. One final tool I want to tell you about when you join our membershipcube.com course is a plug-in called WP Drip. If you want to have the kind of membership site that drips out content on automatic pilot, whether you want to do this to reduce refunds or you want to do this to have a monthly site where you don’t have to always be updating it, you can use our plug-in called “WP Drip.” WP Drip is great because your content starts at the beginning, and you can space it out any way you want. You can give them a month upfront, you can give them 1 week at a time, but the point is that you might have years and years of content in your membership. Someone joins, and they get started at the beginning. So then, if you have pages and posts based out a day apart, 2 days apart, a week apart, 5 posts a day, whatever, they get that content dripped out to them at the same rate, at the same speed that you originally posted in that members area. Go and check out WP Drip in our Membership Cube course, and I hope that that gives you an idea about the little terms and concepts with WordPress. I know we threw a lot at you today, but these are all important things to know about, that you need to have WordPress hosted on your own site, that posts or journal entries and pages are navigation, that themes are the way your site look and feel, but that’s a problem for way in the future. Get your site making money first. How do you get your site to make money? Join us in Membership Cube. We’ll give you the WishList Member plug-in, which controls access. You create levels to decide which content is protected. Now, WishList member also keeps track of who’s the member in good standing and who is cancelled from particular levels. Then, you use PayPal to connect it altogether where someone can click a button, check out, then they’re sent to a registration form, and they create that account where they’re now a member of your site. If they ever cancel, PayPal notifies your site and cuts them off. Then, to add all the extras, the nice-to-haves, you can control the navigation, menus, TablePress. You can create upsells by creating other levels and doing these things called “login redirect pages,” and even drip content using our WP Drip plug-in. You can find out about that plug-in and a whole lot more at membershipcube.com, so go there right now. I’m Robert Plank from the Membership Site Podcast. Please rate and review us at membershipcube.com/blog/itunes, and I’ll see you for the very next episode of the Membership Site Podcast. Thanks and bye now.
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