This is a follow up to my earlier post about Building A Membership Site with WordPress. Just a quick recap on my earlier post. I went through my own setup of running my own membership site using WordPress. It consisted of using a combination of WordPress, Amember and Memberwing. I also listed several WordPress membership plugins available.
I have since had the opportunity (three opportunities to be exact) to test drive the WishList Member plugin and have to say that I’m impressed. Using the plugin made it so much easier to set up a membership site. Just upload the plugin, activate the plugin, enter your Wishlist Member license and you’re ready to start a membership site.
I won’t go through the step by step of using Wishlist Member. They do have a great collection of video tutorials at their site if you need to know the nitty gritty. Instead, I’m going to write about what I feel is the pros and cons of using Wishlist Member as opposed to using my current membership setup.
When it comes to simplicity, Wishlist Member is without a doubt the winner here. Just upload, activate, create a membership level and you’re set to go. It does not get simpler than this. With the Amember setup, you have to first install Amember (and if you’re not much of a techie, this will be your first brick wall). Then you need to setup the WordPress plugin and make sure that Amember has no problems communicating with WordPress. Oh and of course, you need a different script to handle the actual protection of your content.
But with Wishlist Member, it’s all in one package.
As mentioned earlier, Amember does not do this. Amember merely adds a member to a membership group and removes them when they cancel or when their membership expires. To allow different access to your content, you will need another script. In my case, I used the free version of MemberWing or you can go for a free plugin such as Role Scoper.
Wishlist Member is waaaay in front when it comes to content protection. It provides you with numerous ways to protect your content.
- You can simply choose to protect all your content by default and only show specific pages to specific membership levels. The great thing about this is you can even protect plugin generated pages that would normally go unprotected.
- You can choose to hide all content after your “more” tags. You can insert the “more” tags manually or you can set Wishlist to add a “more” tag automatically after a set number of characters.
- You can also use [private] tags to just protect the content within those tags.
- You can set a default protection for your whole site but yet, still be able to adjust the protection on each individual Page or Post.
This is where Amember supercedes Wishlist Member. Amember provides integration with more than just a handful of scripts including popular CMS like Joomla, Drupal, WordPress; forums such as Vbulletin, SMF, phpBB; help desk scripts like Perl Desk and many more scripts than I can remember.
What does this mean?
It means, that I can set up Amember so that when a member signs up for my VIP membership, they can access VIP posts in WordPress, VIP forums in SMF and VIP support in Perl Desk using a single login and it all happens without me lifting a finger after the initial setup. Having said this though, you do have to pay for each integration plugin.
On the other hand, Wishlist Member only protects WordPress content. Although you can find forum plugins, for example, these are not as powerful as a full blown forum script. But nevertheless, may be enough.
Amember also comes with built-in integration with 80+ payment processors whilst Wishlist Member has built-in integration with 4 payment systems. It does, however, claim to be able to integrate with any system where you can set the thank you page.
Sequential or Incremental Content
This is probably one of my favourite Wishlist Member feature and allows you to release your content bit by bit. So, for example, you could initially give your member access to Week 1 lessons and after one week move them to the Week 2 lessons. You can set it up so that when they move to the next lesson, they can either just have access to Week 2 OR Week 1 and 2. Personally, I think this feature is a great way to keep your members focused and avoid them from feeling overwhelmed. This will also help reduce members from cancelling too soon.
Amember also provides this feature but … you guessed it, you need to buy a plugin. Two plugins, if you want the incremental content to be on WordPress. The first is called Incremental Content and the second called The Bridge.
So there you go. I guess you already know what my conclusion is. If you want to setup a pure WordPress membership website, i.e. WordPress is not just one part of a bigger system, Wishlist Member is as powerful as it gets. Amember, on the other hand, is a completely different beast. Powerful in its own way but best left to the pros.