Blogging Podcast, Make Money Blogging

172 How To Build A Membership Site Around Your WordPress Blog

By Leslie Samuel

Ever thought of building a membership site around your blog?

How would you plan?

What technology would you use?

I tell it all inside this episode.

Listen to This Episode

Inside This Episode

A membership site is a site where individuals sign up as members in order to access protected information.

They can be either free or paid. If they are paid, it can be a one-time or recurring payment model.

How To Build A Membership Site Around Your WordPress Blog

Whichever model you choose, having a membership site can be great for the following reasons:

  • It's a great way to deliver more exclusive content
  • It's a great way to grow your list (especially a list of customers)
  • It's a great way to make money (especially if recurring)
  • It's a great way to build an affiliate program and have people send you traffic.

However, before you build a membership site you should answer the following questions:

  • Who are you targeting?
  • What problem are you solving?
  • How are you going to solve it?
  • Why should someone pay for it?
  • What will make your program unique?

Once you've answered those few questions, you can then tackle the technology and starting building out the site.

In this episode, I talk about how to build a free and a paid membership site on WordPress and explore the following tools.

If you're building a free membership site, here's what I recommend for you to have and use:

  • Squeeze Page – for getting people on your email list
  • Autoresponder service – for building your email list
  • Video Hosting – Youtube unlisted (free + good) or Vimeo Pro (paid + MUCH better)
  • Embed your videos on unlisted blog pages
  • Add miscellaneous details and resources
    • Description
    • Transcript
    • Audio (MP3)
    • Links
  • Use autoresponder to send links to pages

If you are building a paid membership site, use all of the above plus the following:

  • Amember membership software (if paid membership)
    • Protects pages based on membership level
    • Built-in affiliate program (if needed)
  • Payment Processors
    • Paypal – Accept cards easily but not directly on your site
    • Stripe – Accept cards directly on your site

The following are some more Advanced tools that add even more AWESOME to your membership site. This is the secret behind my Become A Blogger University.

  • BuddyPress – Build an internal social network
  • BBPress – Powerful forum software for WordPress
  • Sensei – Learning management software

Listener Question

Roger Koment

Roger Koment, a member of the Become A Blogger University and the creator of NSR Development, called in to ask a question that lead to the making of this podcast episode. He wanted to know what the steps are for providing a paid course, where people could also get free access to a limited-time replay. Thanks for calling in that question Roger. If you have a question you'd like answered, feel free to call the hotline at (888) 835 – 2414.


Some people prefer to read along with the podcast episode. Others actually prefer to read than listen. If you are one of those people, not to worry. I've got a transcript right here for you 🙂

Click here to download transcript.

About The Podcast

Learning With Leslie

Learning With Leslie is a podcast dedicated to helping you build a business around a blog. No, not one of those blogs that will fall by the wayside when Google has a mood swing, but one that will thrive no matter what gets thrown at it.

I share tips and strategies that I’ve learnt building blogs since 2008 and interview experts who are knowledgeable about various aspects of blogging so that we can learn from their experiences.

If you’re a blogger, thinking about becoming a blogger (pun intended) or are not even sure if blogging is right for you, go ahead and tune in to see what this blogging thing is all about.

How to Subscribe To The Show


How To Build A Membership Site Around Your WordPress Blog
  1. Hey Leslie — timing on this is awesome as I am just starting to look into doing memberships/ courses on my site. Question for you: in BAB2, you were recommending Digital Access Pass for membership sites and protected content. Has that fallen off your recommended list?

    1. Hi Nathalie,

      That’s a great question. Digital Access Pass is a good program yes. However, I think Amember is better. I find it a bit easier to manage and I prefer the way it integrates with WordPress. So, yes, you can still use Digital Access Pass, but I personally use Amember now and will continue using it. So any training I do in the future will be amember focused.

  2. Leslie – just listened to the podcast and I was both humbled that my request generated an entire session (!) and also blown away at the ton of useful information you’ve given us. Thank you so much! You must know that as soon as I joined BABU, I began to sniff around the members’ site to try and suss out the mechanics of how you’d built it.

    Certainly I don’t mean to make anyone feel bad, but I’m now going to switch over to the BABU members’ Forum to share some thoughts and continue this conversation. For those who couldn’t get in on the first round, take my testimonial that BAB University is a fantastic investment! As Leslie mentioned, we’ve been asking questions, sharing, and being totally transparent in our helping one another. And of course, we’ve got Leslie to guide it all.

    As soon as the doors of BABU open again, I can’t urge you enough to sign up and come join our discussions!

    1. Haha, well no need to sniff around anymore. It’s all out in the open 😉

      Glad to hear you’re enjoying the University so far. And to think it’ll only get better from here 😉

  3. Lots of great info, Leslie. And thanks for the transcript!
    I’m glad you ditched Livefyre. On my end, I didn’t like their sign-up process just to leave a comment. (And I wasn’t so sure the instant updates were a good thing for your end.)

  4. Thanks Leslie — another question for you: how responsive is the support for Amember? When you run into technical issues with the plugin, are they quick to respond to help requests or are you kind of on your own as far as figuring out how to tweak things? I see the purchase price includes installation help, but what’s the support like once you actually start using the product?

    1. It’s relatively responsive. When you submit a ticket you usually get a response within 24 hours. And yes – it does include installation help. I didn’t realize that until afterwards. They will install it for you, so it’s really not as complicated to set up 🙂

  5. No doubt, WordPress if fully capable and excellent CMS to create membership website with few plugins. The main downside is that WordPress is leaving a lot of footprints and membership websites based on WP can easily become victims of spam and tons of fake profiles.

    1. That’s not a problem the way I have my membership site setup. I use Amember. It’s not based on WordPress, but it does integrate with it – making that issue irrelevant.

  6. Hey Leslie, great episode!

    I’m gonna check out stripe as you mentioned. I’ve never heard of it before.

    Something I was wondering about while listening to your show is: for a free membership site would you suggest having a page for each video or one page for all videos?

    I figure it’s a matter of personal preference but based on your experience, what do you recommend?

    Thanks for another awesome show. Keep them coming!

    1. Stripe is so easy to use. I love it.

      To answer your question – I recommend a page for every video. That way, if people have comments about a specific video, it’s easier to keep track.

  7. Leslie, the SoundCloud audio player does not work on my Android. Could you add a audio file download link to the show notes?

    1. Hi Byron, there was a temporary glitch that stopped it from working, but it should work now. I just tested it on my android. Also, there’s a download link in the soundcloud player. Just click the down arrow.

  8. I’ve been into blogging for a long time and I have quite a few that I subscribe to and love. It seems like more and more people are making money just by blogging. If I could actually do that and support my family, I would do that in a heartbeat. These are some really helpful tips for people like me that are just starting out. I feel like driving traffic and converting to memberships is the biggest obstacle to overcome.

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