Creating membership sites, even if not to make money but simply keep the best content for your most loyal audience, has always been one of the “cool ways” to grow online. But majority of bloggers avoided it, simply because the technology behind it was either expensive or complicated to use.
Not anymore. Enter OptimizePress.
You probably heard about OptimizePress as one of the best themes for creating landing and opt-in pages. But that is the past. Now it is not only a theme, but also a plugin that lets you integrate all the pre-designed converting pages to your blog, no matter what theme you are using. And with the new version, they added one of the most popular options they could – a membership plugin.
I like to think I am pretty WordPress savvy, but I have to admit I was always “scared” to get into membership sites because of all the work it takes to set it up, lock the content, keep it protected and so on. Well, with OptimizePress membership plugin, I am finally well on my way of wrapping up a cool membership site. Because it was so easy!
So let’s get to the meat (read – the most important things about creating a membership site with OptimizePress)
When you install the plugin and enable it, there are a few things you will have to set up before you can start adding your super special content.
Number one is defining membership levels and packages. Simply put, if you have three levels of access on your premium site, you can name them Silver, Gold and Platinum and once you are creating content, you will set the level a user has to have to access the content.
Example a page with training video for your course allows video lesson for Silver level, but the transcript and audio can be downloaded only if you have Gold or higher level.
Membership Options/Redirect Page
This is the page people will land on when they try to access the element or page they don’t have the access to. This can be your sales page for example, so if someone shares a link to one of your courses and another person clicks on it, they won’t be able to see it, but will be redirected to a page you set as redirect page – landing on your sales page and maybe buying the course to see what was so amazing that their friend had to share it.
Membership Home Page
The name says it all, this will be your home page for the course. If your training consists of multiple modules you can list the modules here that will lead to further single lessons.
Don’t forget to enter your payment info. The plugin is very self-explanatory, explaining in details how to add payments, buttons and so on. And it supports most major payment gateways, like Paypal, Authorize.net, ClickBank, etc.
Create protected content
Once you have the plugin settings checked and set, time to create the content of your membership site.
Go to OptimizePress button on your Dashboard and select Page Builder (just like you would if you were creating any other page with OptimizePress).
Go through the setup of adding your page name, URL and selecting the template you want to use. You can start from scratch or you can use one of the membership templates. There are several templates you can use:
Click here to see OptimizePress Templates in action
Once you went through the page setup, you will be in Live Editor, where you can further customize your page. This is the place where you will also set up the membership access for the page.
On the left hand side of Live Editor, you have options for the page, choose Membership Settings:
A lightbox will pop up with the option to set up the membership access.
This is where you will set up which level of access is needed for a certain page. If different levels of your program require different courses, this is how you will limit the users with “lower level” from accessing the pages that cost more.
Styling the site and delivering the goodies
Now that you know how to set it up and protect your content, time to pack it all up into a nice site.
You will do this on page by page basis. If you have a course with a lot of content for example, the best thing to do is split it into modules and then split modules into lessons.
You will then create a main “home page” where you will list the modules, linking to each “module home page” listing each lesson.
This is easy to do with membership elements provided in the OptimizePress theme/plugin:
Pretty simple isn’t it?
The developers made sure to add as much information and how tos as possible so you should not be overwhelmed. However, I will tell you that this whole set up will take time. So be prepared to sit down for a few hours to set it all up and add content to your site. It gets easier as you go, though. You can save a page you created as a preset, and simply reuse it for similar pages so the more of them you create the easier and faster it will be.
I highly recommend Membership plugin by OptimizePress as your membership solution.