Membership Sites Explained

Do you have a membership site setup yet? (it's okay if you don't)

When you sell products and services online, you can't avoid the steps that people need to take in order to buy from you:

  1. View your offer on your sales letter
  2. Pay you money using your payment processor
  3. Collect that offer on your download page

And you can literally take any payments without software of any kind. I did that for the better part of the 2000's. It was simple:

  1. Add HTML page called index.html to your website (presenting your offer)
  2. Add HTML page called download123xyz.html to your website (presenting your download)
  3. Login to PayPal, create a Buy Now button that charges $17.00 (and sends people to download123xyz.html after checkout)
  4. Right click and copy button from PayPal (and paste on the bottom of index.html)

Sounds like a great way to get started but why wouldn't you want to set things up this way?

  • Your buyers aren't added to an email list for updates (unless they signup themselves on your download page)
  • You can't easily provide lots of bonuses or drip content (refund reducers)
  • There's no community (customers can't talk to each other)
  • The download page can easily get passed around (you have to rename the page every week)
  • It's almost impossible to charge a monthly fee and keep track of who still gets access
  • You have to manually setup a new download page for EACH product you want to sell

Instead, you should use a membership site to handle your product downloads, here's all you have to do:

  1. Add HTML page at (presenting your offer)
  2. Install WordPress and Wishlist Member at (presenting your download)
  3. Create a membership level called "Full" so when someone buys, they get access to everything for now (you can add more levels later)
  4. Add your blog posts or pages (click "Add Post", type a title and type out the content or paste in the video)
  5. Login to PayPal, create a Buy Now button that charges $17.00 (and sends people to a special link provided by your membership software)

That's a "slightly" more involved, but you basically go through the same steps, and now:

  • Your buyers specify their own unique username and password that they can't share and can always recover (using "lost password" tool)
  • Your buyers can get added to your email list for updates (when you specify it in the membership settings)
  • You can add more levels and sell an unlimited number of products or packages from the same website
  • Any WordPress plugin (including popup software, drip plugins, forum add-ons, and tracking software) can run inside your membership site
  • You can easily drip or manually add bonuses for your buyers to reduce refunds
  • You can easily switch the payment button to charge in installments, or a monthly fee, for access
  • If someone refunds (takes the money back) or cancels (stops paying a recurring payment) they lose access

Do you have a membership site? If so, what's so special about it? If you don't have a membership site, what's stopping you and what are you planning?

Filed in: Membership Sites

Comments (22)

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  1. Terry Jett says:

    Great information Robert!

    I still have a couple of membership sites. Have made a 5 over the past 2 months and sold them using your Backup Creator plugin.

    If I had the time, could have a full time business building them and flipping.

    Thanks for sharing this solid information. People can learn a lot for you:)


  2. This was some great information on membership sites. You have shared alot of great knowledge.

  3. Argh Robert 🙂 Man I was about to set one up and I probably will — delivering via autoresponder — but whole heartedly see the benefits to a password protected login. What I will do is set up a site… what I wont do is procrastinate. If I picked up Membership cube would I have the knowledge to get it running in the first month and work on improving it with the future content the course delivers?

  4. Robert,

    I love the way you simply layout a seemingly complex problem. And make the solutions simple, too. Thanks for teaching me how to create membership sites. It has made my life online and for my clients so much easier!! You Rock!!

    Theresa 😎

  5. Robert…

    Yes, paying attention to what you’ve been saying lately, I am now very seriously planning to create a membership site.

    Not sure exactly when… I’m rockin’ busy… but I know I need to take the first steps and get rolling.

    Thanks for your great information!!

    ~ Louie

  6. Pink Diaz says:

    It looks like is very easy but I bought the Digital Access Pack to create my first membership site and it was very difficult. I think I will try the wish list that you are talking about.

  7. Ray says:

    I’ve never understood what type of membership site I could set up.

    So I stick with the affiliate/adsence model personally.

  8. Ray says:

    I’ve never understood what type of membership site I could set up.

    So I stick with the affiliate and adsense model personally.

    What types of membership sites could I set up? I have ideas but I don’t know how to implement them. I’m not an expert on some of the topics I would make a membership site for.

  9. Andrew says:

    Good clear insightful ino Robert.

    Too often memberhsip sites are seen as complex. This makes it so much easier.


  10. Ellen says:

    Really good summary!
    And it is really so simple as described above. The training you provide on shows you all these methods and techniques, broken down in simple steps and quite easy to follow.
    This way I was able to put up my first membership site within a few days and the next will be up and running within a few hours.

    Thanks again,

  11. Mike Massie says:

    Been using Wishlist Member for a long time, and despite its complexity, I love it. For integration it can’t be beat. Great post.

  12. Jeanne says:

    Robert has made the process of setting up membership sites easy to understand and implement.

    He recommends WishList as his membership plugin of choice. I bought his product Membership Cube and got a free license to use this system. It is simple and easy to use.

    Being a member of has shown me how to create multiple membership sites quickly and easily. When Robert finds new systems and ideas he quickly shares the information with his members.

    Worth every penny for the membership, saves me many hours of research trying to keep up with the changing internet market. Also whenever a plugin is developed by Robert most of them are immediately available for use on the membership site.

    Thanks Robert for moving me forward in my business.

    Jeanne Lovely

  13. B.A.Satchell says:

    yea gday Brad from australia

    Just bought the Digi Traffic Multiplier installed it and bingo its working ,nice and easy -well don to the creator

    Thaxs Brad

  14. You’re right. It makes more sense to set up your gear as a membership site rather than a one-off download. I personally prefer to set up my membership as an autoresponder sequence. That’s far simpler than messing around with software/scripts.

  15. Mitch Powell says:

    Chicken or egg? Product or list? I know this paradox all too well. Thanks, Robert, for clarifying things. Your membership cube is very reasonably priced. I’m considering it.

  16. Ray Rensop says:

    I have often thought about membership sites but have not had the time to set one up yet.

    One thing that is important to me is to maintain focus. It’s essential to focus on one thing at a time and get it right (or fail) before moving on to the next thing.

    By the same token, we all need more than one string to our bow and not rely on just one thing alone for our income

  17. Phil says:

    The article is a good read while delivering the main purpose and reasoning for a membership site. You make it sound like a wise move, however, I see tons of absolutely Free stuff online these days including from yourself and I wouldn’t pay for much in the way of membership software. Mr Rodrigues a few posts back hits the nail on the head.

  18. farid roman says:

    this a lot new marketing??

  19. Spanish SEO says:


    The main problem to me is that installation is not easy. I’m also concerned about maintenance and security.

    Regarding maintenance I’m looking for a self hosted solution to manage all my blogs, including updating core files and plug-ins.

  20. Bwendo says:

    I have always struggled with the whole email list selling idea.
    Living in a smallish town, with lots of local customers, it is very rude to even send out a single unsolicited email, they all want to unsubscribe immediately.

    Thanks for your tips.

  21. Anthony says:

    @Bwendo – It’s not unsolicited if they sign up to be on your list (mail or e-mail). Futhermore, that’s why you don’t hammer them to buy something every time you send an e-mail.

    An example: I used to subscribe to an online DVD store. Every e-mail was a “buy this”. After a while, it was annoying. I unsubscribed. However, what if they sent me movie reviews? That would have been cool AND actually enticed me to buy the DVD…plus I would have felt like they were giving me some value through the e-mails.

    Though I’m not marketing locally, I am in non “make money online” niches. I get about 1 out of a thousand subscribers that ask (usually politely) to be unsubscribed.

    Again, its about building a relationship and giving value. However, you’ve got to make the relationship and value an enticing one (enticing them to buy something). Like the DVD store reviews example I used above.

    All the best!

  22. A complete “How to Make Money Course” in one blog post. I’ve bought things that didn’t include this much Insight, Instruction, Guidance and A Blue Print of what you Must do to Make Money Selling on the Internet.

    It may be titled “Membership Sites Explained” so Print it out, Read it every Day until The Secrets Revealed make Logical Workable Sense.

    Even a “Free” membership site makes sense to handle product sales from any site!

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