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Creating a Membership Site with WordPress

This course is a step-by-step process for setting up a membership site using WordPress and some free plugins.
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Last updated 1/2014
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  • 1 hour on-demand video
  • 2 Articles
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What Will I Learn?
Create a Membership Site Framework
Setup PayPal as Payment Processor
Setup Amazon AWS
View Curriculum
  • Self-Hosted WordPress Site
  • Amazon AWS Account
  • PayPal Account

This course takes you through the process of setting up a membership site using open source software. We'll be using WordPress software and some free plugins available in the WordPress repository.

In this course, it is assumed that you have WordPress installed and operational with a hosting company and that you have some knowledge about using the admin screens.

We'll also be using Amazon AWS (S3 and CloudFront) and PayPal. Both of these offer free account setups.

Who is the target audience?
  • Individuals wanting to build a membership site
  • Individuals or businesses wanting to add value to their websites
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Curriculum For This Course
Expand All 21 Lectures Collapse All 21 Lectures 01:13:04
2 Lectures 04:11
Membership Site Build
18 Lectures 01:05:16

For the most part, the default settings in WordPress are sufficient to get started. There are a few settings, however, that should be changed before you start customizing the site.

One of the first settings you'll want to change is the Permalinks. Permalinks are permanent URLs to your post, pages, categories, and tags used for finding information on the site and is also used to link to the site. This makes user friendly and readable links and it helps in SEO.

You'll also want to set the date and time for the site to your local time. The default time is set to London England time but can easily be changed.

WordPress Settings

A theme is a separate set of files that works with the database and the core WordPress files to produce the layout and appearance of the site.

WordPress Themes

This video covers the installation of the S2Member Framework and the WP Show IDs plugin that we need for the creation of the membership site.

Membership Plugin Installation

PayPal developer account is needed for testing PayPal payment transactions before going live. These transactions are tests only and no money is actually transferred.

PayPal Developer Account

Now that we've created a PayPal developer account and we have a PayPal sandbox site we can configure the PayPal Account Details. We'll be using PayPal as a way for customers to pay for access to the membership site.

PayPal Account Detail

IPN or Instant Payment Notification is a feature from PayPal that sends messages about payments directly from the PayPal website.

PDT or Payment Data Transfer is needed to receive notifications of successful payments and Auto-Return brings customers back to the website after payment.

PayPal IPN Intergration and the PDT Token

Membership levels not only determine who gets access to site content they're also used for other elements of the site. They're used in the design for Membership Options page and they're used to customize the PayPal buttons.

Membership Level Settings

The PayPal buttons are generate by S2Member using the information supplied in the form fields on the button generator screen. These are the button we'll be placing in the membership options page.

Membership Options Page

The PayPal buttons are generate by S2member using the information supplied in the form fields on the button generator screen. These are the button we'll be placing in the membership options page.

PayPal Button Creation

The registration screen, the log-in screen and the lost password screen by default have the S2Member logo installed. These screens can be branded and customized to match the design of the site.

Registration Page

Amazon Web Services or AWS provides a web services interface that can be used to store and retrieve data, at any time, from anywhere on the web. This interface is simple enough that you can retrieve data using a URL, so it’s well-suited for basic web hosting tasks, like serving up media files.

Amazon S3 and CloudFront

Video content can be served to customers without using the Amazon AWS services. But for the best performance and reliability this configuration is efficient and videos can be streamed. And to make it easy this setup is configured automatically.

Amazon CloudFront Intergration

In this lesson we'll install the JW Player to be used with the AmazonS3 and CloudFront configuration. The Amazon S3 and CloudFront configurations and the JW Player and RTMP Protocol streaming allows videos to be played without the member being able to download the video itself. This is a nice protection for the videos. This configuration also has the ability to Stream/Seek media files.

JW Player Installation

Since we'll be allowing access to restricted files with Amazon S3 and CloudFront we'll need to set some Basic Download Restrictions. This is an important step since it enables the File Download functionality for S2member.

Basic Download Restrictions

This is the first page a member will see after logging in, so this is a nice place for information about using the site and some helpful links. A Welcome page full of too much detail and fine print can be a distraction but at the very least this page should contain a welcome message and brief instructions about using the site.

Welcome Page Design

Now that the parameters are set for the membership site the content can be protected.

The way you protect content will depend on your site focus.

Content Restriction

Protected files for the membership site are added to the Amazon S3 bucket we created in a previous video. We configured S2Member to look in this Amazon S3 bucket for any protected files like media files, for instance. Now we'll add videos to this bucket and then place those videos in pages so they can be viewed by members.

Adding Videos

We created a PayPal developer account and a PayPal sandbox site and we have the PayPal options configured, and the buttons are created using these test account settings. The site is ready to test. Now we need to create some buyer test accounts.

Creating Test Accounts
Additional Material
1 Lecture 03:14

One thing that can be overlooked easily is making a backup of your site. It's one of those things that you don't know you need it until it's too late.

Site Backup
About the Instructor
3.5 Average rating
2 Reviews
147 Students
2 Courses
Human Developmental Counselor

My education includes degrees in psychology and sociology from the University of Arkansas and a Master in Human Developmental Counseling from Vanderbilt University.

After graduating I spent years as a professional counselor.

I have also owned and operated businesses for years and now devote full time to online selling and teaching. My wife and I make our living selling online and have for years.

I have been using shopping carts and e-commerce since back-in-the-day starting with the open source software Webstore by Selena Sol. We have sold everything from corrugated boxes to books online.

I truly hope you enjoy the excitement of setting-up and operating a website as much as I do.

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