How To Create A Membership Site With Premise

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How To Create A Membership Site With Premise

I have been setting up a membership site over at Bizzebee (called The Hive) with Premise and wanted to let you know how.  I’ve had a few people asking me how they can create a membership site themselves, so I thought it would be good to put this guide together to show you.

Why Create A Membership Site?

Well, apart from being a great way to monetize your site, membership sites are a great way to build a community around your website. Every site needs regular visitors, so people who have subscribed (whether for free or by paying a membership fee) are a lot more likely to keep coming back to your site on a regular basis.

Membership sites are a way of taking your site to the next level by offering premium content to your subscribers.  You may run a blog as your main site, but create a membership site within that and you could offer premium videos, eBooks, podcasts, audio, webinars, downloads, coupons, and much more!

Say you only charged $10 a month (or more likely $9.99) as a subscription fee, if you get only 20 subscribers, you earn $200 a month ($2400 a year). Get 50 subscribers and you earn $500 a month ($6000 a year).  You begin to see how you can scale it up the more subscribers you get… and that is discounting other monetizing methods that you can use on top of that (i.e. advertising, sell your own products, sponsorship, etc.)!

There are plenty of membership sites online that have thousands of subscribers, some of which charge a lot more than $10 a month!   The biggest of these sites will be earning hundreds of thousands of dollars every month (if not more), so hopefully you can see the potential of membership sites.

Now, before we get carried away with how much you can earn, you need to think about what content you will offer to your members.  People will only subscribe and pay a premium IF there is something worth subscribing too.  The big sites that are making so much money via memberships are doing so because they have great features and quality content to offer to their subscribers.

Why Create A Membership Site With Premise?

Premise is a fantastic WordPress plugin that enables you to create membership sites, as well as great looking landing pages, all of which you can do from your WordPress Dashboard.

Premise has a ton of great features, including;

  • Works with any WordPress site, WordPress theme or Design Framework,
  • Create membership areas,
  • Sell digital products (eBooks, software, music, downloads, etc.)
  • Accept one-time and/or recurring payments,
  • Drip content to your members over time,
  • Setup payment gateways with PayPal and/or Authorize.net, as well as; Clickbank, Stripe, 2Checkout, Braintree and more.
  • Setup private forums with vBulletin
  • Setup password protected content libraries,
  • Create custom landing pages,
  • Copywriting assistant to help you create better pages,
  • Landing page templates,
  • Audio seminar and PDF manuals to help you,
  • Split test your pages,
  • Graphics library,
  • …and much more!

Premise is more than just a simple plugin, it’s an incredible tool to use for your website.  Not only that, but you get access to tons of tutorials and helpful information within the Premise website when you purchase a copy.

As I say, this post is about how to create a membership site, so we will look at the relevant features of Premise that let you do that.  Other features, such as setting up a landing page, will be in a future post.

Use Premise To Create A Membership Site

Setup Premise

Premise is a WordPress plugin, so you install it in exactly the same way you would any other.  Simply download the plugin (after purchasing it), then upload it via WordPress Dashboard > Plugins > Add New > Upload

Once uploaded, you will see both the ‘Premise’ and ‘Landing Pages’ options in your sidebar.

Premise-Install

Before you can use the membership options, you will need to input your API Key into the plugin, which you will find in your Premise account.  Simply copy and paste your API key into the box provided (Premise > Main Settings > API Key).

Enable the ‘Membership’ module below and you will gain the ‘Member Access’ option.

Premise-API-Key

Setup Membership Pages

Now that we have the ‘Membership Access’ option, we can begin to setup the site.

Quick Note: I setup the Bizzebee membership site on a subdomain (hive.bizzebee.com) in order to keep the main blog separate from the member site, but you can just create a membership site within your main site if you want.

Go to Member Access > Settings > Main Settings and select a page for your ‘Checkout Page’, ‘Login Page’ and ‘Member Page’.  You will want to create pages for each of these as these are vital for the membership site.

Premise-Member-Access-Settings

To create a basic ‘Checkout Page’, create a new page (Pages > Add New) and add [checkout-form] to the HTML text section.

Premise-Checkout-Form

This will add a basic checkout form to your page.  (You’ll need to setup payment options in order for them to be visible – more on that below).

You can add other attributes by using other shortcodes that can be found on the Premise website.

Premise-Checkout

To create a basic ‘Login Page’, create a new page and add [login-form] to the HTML text section.

This will add a basic login form to your page, which again you can add to with other shortcodes found on Premise.

Premise-Login-Page

Finally, to create a basic ‘Member Page’, create a new page and add;

Welcome Back [member-first-name]{member-last-name]!

<h2>Your Purchases</h2>

[member_products]

<h2>Your Account Profile</h2>

[member_profile heading_text=’To change your account information, please fill out the form.’ show_email_address=’true’ show_username=’true’ label_separator=’-‘]

[logout-link text=’Logout’]

…to the HTML text section.   This will add a basic member form to the page, which will allow members to see what purchases they have made, enable them to edit their details and to logout.  Again you can add to it with other shortcodes found on Premise.

Premise-Member-Profile

Create A Product – Subscriptions

In the case of a membership site, your product will be a subscription.  This could be a basic flat subscription fee for everyone or you could setup different subscription levels for different areas of your site with different fees.  For example;

  • Bronze – forum access,
  • Silver – forum + audio/video access,
  • Gold – forum + audio/video + eBooks, Seminars, Live Hangouts, etc.

Alternately, maybe you want to setup different types of membership.  For example;

  • Free membership – basic access
  • Monthly membership – Small fee every month to gain access to everything.
  • Lifetime membership – One off payment to gain access to everything for life.

You could even offer one time product purchases to visitors, perhaps those who don’t want to become a member, but just want to learn about a certain subject (e.g. eBook download).  Whichever way you want to setup your products, you do it in the same way within Premise.

Go to Member Access > Products > Create New Product

Enter in all the basic information (title, description, price, etc.), choose a ‘Thank You Page’ where people will be redirected to after purchasing and setup the ‘Send an Email Receipt’ section.

Premise-Create-New-Product

Then, you just need to setup your ‘Access Levels’.   This is pretty straight forward as you would just add Bronze, Silver and Gold if you were offering Bronze, Silver and Gold membership.  These could be totally separate access levels or based on a level system.  For example;

  • Bronze Membership – Bronze access
  • Silver Membership – Bronze + Silver access
  • Gold Membership – Bronze + Silver + Gold access

Create Your Product Pages

You may have setup your products (in our case subscription levels), but you will need to add a page in order for people to click though.  This could be a single page with the different options listed, or perhaps separate landing pages that encourage people to purchase.

Simply add the product link (URL/checkout/?product_id=XX) that we have just created to your page, which will redirect people to the checkout page that we setup earlier.   It’s important that you add the right link, with the right ID number.

Premise-Product-Link

Sort Out Your Access Levels

We talked about Access Levels when creating your product (i.e. Bronze, Silver, Gold), but you still need to setup your access levels for each page on your site.

Premise will have added a small box to each of your ‘Posts’ and ‘Pages’ that will allow you to select which group of people can access the content.   Depending on how you set it up, this could be accessed by everyone, some or an individual group of subscribers.

Premise-Membership-Access

There is an added feature within Premise that allows you to set access levels WITHIN a post/page.  Let’s say you had a blog post that was accessible to everyone.  You could add a tutorial video, download link, additional text, etc. within that post that could only be seen by certain subscribers (i.e. Gold Members).

Premise-Access-Level-Content

This can let you create really great membership sites that offer different levels of content to different subscribers.

Setup Premise Payment Gateways

Now is a good time to setup what payment methods you will accept on your site.  By default, Premise allows you to setup gateways with PayPal and Authorize.net, of which you can use both to give more options to buyers.  You can also add gateways for Clickbank, 2Checkout, Stripe and Braintree with some additional plugins (info on the Premise website), and I’m sure other methods will be added in future updates.

Premise-Payment-Gateway

If we look at the ‘PayPal for Express Checkout’ section as an example, you will need to fill in your Username, Password and Signature in order for it to work.  For more details on this, visit the PayPal website.

You can then ‘Test Gateway’ to check that it is setup correctly before going live.

This Is Just The Start To Using Premise

The above steps will allow you to setup a membership site and start taking payments, but there is SO much more to this amazing plugin that I haven’t even covered.  Setup coupons for your subscribers and offer discounts to them, setup a members only forum with vBulletin, create protected download links that only your subscribers can access and much more!

Now I know this was a bit of a mammoth post, but there is simply so much to talk about with this great plugin.  If you want to create a membership site then Premise is the one to build it with.

Have you built a membership site with Premise?  What is your favourite feature that you’ve used?  Please get in touch by leaving a comment below!

About Matt Smith

Matt Smith is the founder and editor of OnlineIncomeTeacher. He is a Professional Blogger, SEO Consultant & Web Developer, running a number of sites from the UK. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

  • Andi the Minion

    Epic post and one you should convert to a PDF and give away or share on PDF sites. This is a fantastic review and tutorial. Premise is an excellent plugin and I have been looking at it myself behind the scenes of a membership site. I am seriously impressed and it creates fantastic looking landing pages and the functionality of it is great. Well worth the money especially when you compare if to those monthly membership set ups like Mambergate. Premise is by far the better option.

    • http://onlineincometeacher.com/ Matt Smith

      Hi Andi,

      That’s a good idea – converting it to a PDF would be good. May have to do that in the near future. Plan on writing one about landing pages next week, so I may package them together or something.

      Totally agree! Premise is by far the best option for creating both membership sites and landing pages. There are a few good alternatives (and plenty of bad ones), but I don’t think any manage to fit so many great features into one epic plugin.

  • Clair Trebes

    all I can really say to this is WOW …. and I would like to personally thank you for the work you’ve done in setting up our Hive :) Premise looks amazing, and this guide is a must read for anyone who wants to learn more about setting up members sites as it’s an affordable way of getting it online, aside from the obvious Membergate which has a monthly premium fee attached.

    Clair

    • http://onlineincometeacher.com/ Matt Smith

      Hi Clair,

      Haha, no need to thank me, we’re all doing our bit setting up the Bizzebee site. Am just looking forward to it all being launched.

      Have to say that the more I work with Premise, the more I like it. Only really just scratched the surface with what is possible, but there is so much potential to using it. Love the fact that you can include additional content for different membership access levels within a single post. Lots of possibilities with that.

  • http://WWW.EXTRA-CASH-ONLINE.COM/ Robert Connor

    wow,
    Thanks Matt we can not wait to get a membership on our site. We do have one question how many subscribers should we have first?

    • http://onlineincometeacher.com/ Matt Smith

      Hi Robert,

      That’s a tough question. You don’t necessarily need any subscribers to setup a membership site, though obviously the more you have the better. You can actually set it up that when people signup to become a member, they automatically become a subscriber on your email list.

      If you want to create a membership site, then I wouldn’t worry too much about the number of subscribers you have. Once setup, it will help encourage people to subscribe

      • http://WWW.EXTRA-CASH-ONLINE.COM/ Robert Connor

        Thanks Matt!

        • http://onlineincometeacher.com/ Matt Smith

          No problem Robert, always a pleasure :)