How to Create a Membership Site with WordPress and s2Member

A step-by-step course on setting up a membership site with WordPress and the s2Member plugin.
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  • Lectures 19
  • Contents Video: 1.5 hours
  • Skill Level All Levels
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
    30 day money back guarantee!
    Available on iOS and Android
    Certificate of Completion
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About This Course

Published 2/2015 English

Course Description

We all know the benefits of a membership website – primarily – the recurring income they can generate.

Membership websites are also a great way to build a top notch community.

Within this video series, I will show you how to …

  • Setup a membership website
  • Install s2Member
  • Connect to payment processors like PayPal
  • Protect your content
  • Develop different member levels and capabilities
  • Protecting your files and how to store them on Amazon S3
  • Setup private forums
  • Integrate autoresponders like Aweber and Mailchimp
  • Integrate with JVZoo so you can have your own affiliates
  • Drip content
  • Setup One-Time-Offers [OTO]

And various other aspects to make your membership site flow smoothly!

What are the requirements?

  • Be mildly decent at navigating the Internet
  • Need to be able to follow directions

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Setup a membership site
  • Protect content
  • Accept payments
  • Setup private forums
  • Amazon S3

What is the target audience?

  • Individuals wanting to build a membership site
  • Businesses looking to expand their services

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.

Curriculum

Section 1: Getting Started
02:10

We all know the benefits of a membership website – primarily – the recurring income they can generate.

Membership websites are also a great way to build a top notch community.

Within this video series, I will show you how to …

  • Setup a membership website
  • Install s2Member
  • Connect to payment processors like PayPal
  • Protect your content
  • Develop different member levels and capabilities
  • Protecting your files and how to store them on Amazon S3
  • Setup private forums
  • Integrate autoresponders like Aweber and Mailchimp
  • Integrate with JVZoo so you can have your own affiliates
  • Drip content
  • Setup One-Time-Offers [OTO]

And various other aspects to make your membership site flow smoothly!

03:04

s2Member is the plugin I use and highly recommend when it comes to building membership websites.

In fact – I will be using s2Member for the remainder of this video series.

  • Go to s2Member.com and use coupon code SAVE10-A:3382 – to save 10% on your order!

There are two versions of s2Member – a Free and a Pro.

I have never personally used the Free version – so, I cannot vouch for it’s options. I do know the Pro version does have everything you will need.

When it comes to the Pro version, there are two liscenses:

  1. Single-Site License ($69) – Can only use s2Member on one site
  2. Unlimited-Site License ($129) – Can use s2Member on an unlimited number of sites[recommended]
  • Go to s2Member.com and use coupon code SAVE10-A:3382 – to save 10% on your order!

s2Member has a ton of features:

  • PayPal Integration
  • Stripe Integration
  • Authorize.net Integration
  • Google Wallet Integration
  • ClickBank Integration
  • Membership Functionalities
  • Content Restriction Functionalities
  • File Download Restriction Functionalities
  • Mass Update & Import/Export Functionalities
  • Plugin & Widgets for s2Member
  • Mailing List Functionalities
  • Affiliate Management & Tracking Compatibilities
  • Social Networking & Forum Compatibilities
  • Developer-Friendly Features
  • Multisite Networking Functionalities

Again, this course will follow the Pro version of s2Member. The Free version "may" have everything you need, but if you hear me talk about a feature and don’t see it – you will need to upgrade to Pro – which is well worth the minimal investment.

  • Go to s2Member.com and use coupon code SAVE10-A:3382 – to save 10% on your order!
04:47

In order to install s2Member – the first thing you will need to do is have a WordPress website setup.

Then, to install s2Member:

  1. Login to the WordPress admin panel (yourdomain.com/wp-admin)
  2. Select Plugins and Add New
  3. Search for s2member
  4. Locate s2Member Framework (Member Roles, Capabilities, Membership, PayPal Members)
  5. Click Install Now
  6. Click Activate Plugin
  7. s2Member Free is now installed

To install s2Member Pro you will first need to have access to s2Member Pro:

  • Go to s2Member.com and use coupon code SAVE10-A:3382 – to save 10% on your order!
  1. Login to your s2Member account
  2. Locate the My Product File Downloads
  3. Download s2Member Pro (latest stable release vXXXXX) – it's a zip file
  4. At this point you will need to upload the zip file or the contents of the zip file – either through FTP or cPanel. More than likely your host has cPanel – especially if you've gone with StableHost.com (coupon code MarketingNate for 40% Off!) - which I highly recommend and use. If you do not have cPanel and are unfamiliar with FTP – you will need to use Google, or ask your webhost.
  5. Locate the File Manage within cPanel
  6. Navigate to where your WordPress installation is installed
  7. Navigate to /wp-content/plugins/
  8. Upload the Pro zip file
  9. Refresh your file manager
  10. You will see the s2member-pro.zip
  11. Select Extract from the top toolbar
  12. Ensure your directory is correct and select Extract Files
  13. s2Member Pro is now installed!
02:39
  • Go to s2Member.com and use coupon code SAVE10-A:3382 – to save 10% on your order!

The absolute first thing you want to do with any WordPress website is update your Permalinks structure.

  • Within WordPress admin Panel
  • Select Settings and click permalinks
  • Select anything besides Default
  • I personally setup a Custom Structure – /%category%/%postname%

The next task you need to complete – is setting up the Membership Options page.

  • Go to Pages and Add New
  • Name the page – I recommend calling it Membership Options – as that’s what it is
    • This page represents the "Go To" page if someone tries to access restricted content – they’ll be brought to this page
  • Publish the page – it’s just a placeholder for right now – we’ll update it in later videos
  • Next, you have to tell s2Member which page is your Membership Options page
  • Go to s2Member and navigate to General Options
  • Locate the Membership Options Page tab
  • And select the Membership Options page that you just made
  • Make sure you save all changes

If you don’t setup your Membership Options page – you’ll end up receiving an error – and it will tell you that you need to setup a Membership Options page. It’s best to just avoid that error and set one up from the start.

02:22
  • Go to s2Member.com and use coupon code SAVE10-A:3382 – to save 10% on your order!

s2Member comes pre-set with PayPal ready to go. This is great if you like PayPal, but I know a lot of people don’t.

That’s not an issue as s2Member integrates seemlessly with a large number of payment processors.

s2Member does a great job with providing you with the directions to setup your payment processor – just follow their guidance.

If you want to setup a payment processor besides PayPal:

  • Select Other Gateways within the s2Member plugin
  • Tick the box next to the payment processor you want to use
  • Refresh your screen
  • Your s2Member plugin will show the newly selected payment processors
Section 2: Planning
05:19
  • Go to s2Member.com and use coupon code SAVE10-A:3382 – to save 10% on your order!

YOU MUST PLAN YOUR MEMBERSHIP SITE!

Yes, that is bold, and all caps – it’s THAT important.

It is a huge pain to go back and change your membership website around (especially if you have paying subscribers) – it’s much easier to plan it out and set it up correctly from the start.

s2Member allows:

  • Levels (Tiered structure)
    • Level 0 = Free Users
    • Level 1 = Paying, has access to level 1 and 0 content
    • Level 2 = Paying, has access to level 2, 1, and 0 content
    • You can have as many levels as you want
  • Capabilities
    • Unique user abilities. For example: the ability to download a specific file or the ability to view a specific page
    • Capabilities are not dependent upon level. A level 0 person could buy the same capability that a level 99 person could buy
  • You can offer subscription services (weekly, monthly, yearly, etc) or the "Buy Now" option

And s2Member allows you to protect the following types of content:

  • Posts
  • Pages
  • Categories
  • URLs
  • Files
  • Individual areas – block content based on shortcodes

For the rest of this course – our membership website will offer:

  • A 10 video course
  • A PDF version of the course
  • Private Forums
  • A WordPress Theme
  • A WordPress Plugin

And the content will be laid out as such:

  • Level 0 (free) – Access to the first 2 videos
  • Level 1 (buy now) – Next 8 videos plus the PDF version
  • Level 2 (subscription) – Private forum access
  • One-Time Purchase (capability) – WordPress Theme
  • One-Time Purchase (capability) – WordPress Plugin
Section 3: Setup Restrictions
05:14
  • Go to s2Member.com and use coupon code SAVE10-A:3382 – to save 10% on your order!

As a reminder – Level 0 members are free members – and in this example course, we’re giving free members access to the first two videos of our series in the hopes that they’ll be sucked into buying the rest of our video series.

Note: In this course I made a bunch of pages to protect/restrict – but you can restrict members access to pages, posts, categories, urls, and more – so you are not limited.

How to allow open registration:

  • Go to the s2Member Plugin
  • Click General Options
  • Locate Open Registration
  • Set Allow Open Registration (Free Subscribers) to Yes (allow Open Regestration; Free Subscribers at Level #0)
  • This unlocks yourdomain.com/wp-login.php?action=register
  • Save all changes

To restrict pages:

  • Go to All Pages
  • Click Edit on the page you want to add a restriction to
  • In the top right corner, you’ll see an s2Member metabox
  • Click the drop down menu and select what level you want to restrict the page to
  • Click Update

Now – when someone tries to access the page and they don’t have permission – they’ll be auto directed to the Membership Options page.

02:17
  • Go to s2Member.com and use coupon code SAVE10-A:3382 – to save 10% on your order!

As a reminder – Level 1 members are paid members (one time payment – not subscribers) – and in this example course, we want Level 1 members to have access to all of our videos and the PDF version of our course.

Page restrictions are set the same way as for Level 0 – except, instead of restricting the page to Level 0, we restrict it to Level 1.

To restrict pages:

  • Go to All Pages
  • Click Edit on the page you want to add a restriction to
  • In the top right corner, you’ll see an s2Member metabox
  • Click the drop down menu and select what level you want to restrict the page to
  • Click Update

Now – when someone tries to access the page and they don’t have permission – they’ll be auto directed to the Membership Options page.

03:59
  • Go to s2Member.com and use coupon code SAVE10-A:3382 – to save 10% on your order!

Private forums are a great way to create a high quality community and also generate a nice recurring income. I have personally subscribed to private forums to the tune of $150/month – imagine having 1,000 users at $150/month – that's $150,000 per month – holy crap!

Note: that's not easy to do – but it's certainly possible!

I use bbPress for all of my membership forums. It's made by the same people that make WordPress so you know it will integrate nicely!

But, there is other forum software out there – and the restriction options will work the same way – so they are still compatible with s2Member.

To install bbPress:

  • Go to your WordPress Admin Panel
  • Select Plugins and Add New
  • Search for bbPress
  • Select Install Now
  • Make sure you Activate the plugin
  • Your forums are now installed!

The next thing you need to do is go to Settings and Forums.

You will notice there are a ton of options for your forums – set them to how you need your forums to function.

The main thing I want you to look for is your Forum Root. (default should be "forums")

The Forum Root is where your forums are located in relation to your WordPress site. For example: yourdomain.com/forums

If you have a need to change your forum root – or any roots for that matter – do so before you go any further!

You do not want to change roots once your forums are up and running.

02:08
  • Go to s2Member.com and use coupon code SAVE10-A:3382 – to save 10% on your order!

As a reminder – Level 2 members are paid members (subscribers for recurring income) – and in this example course, we want Level 2 members to have access to our private forums.

The forums are restricted in a different way than the videos and pdf document. We’re not restricting page access – we’ll be restricting URL access.

  • Go to the s2Member plugin
  • Select Restriction Options
  • Select URI Restriction (typical w/BuddyPress)
  • In the text area under "URIs That Require Level #2 Or Higher" enter /forums (or whatever your forum’s root is)
  • Save all changes

Now, any URL with /forums in it – will be restricted to those with Level 2 and up.

Section 4: Membership Options
08:29
  • Go to s2Member.com and use coupon code SAVE10-A:3382 – to save 10% on your order!

Finally! We’re going to update the Membership Options page!

As a reminder – the Membership Options page is the page users are automatically re-directed to if they do not have access to the content they’re trying to reach.

Access your Membership Options page:

  • Go to your WordPress Admin Panel
  • Select Pages and All Page
  • Locate the Membership Options page you created back in video 4
  • Select Edit

First things first – if you have a comment box on your Membership Options page – remove it!

This option is located in the Discussion metabox. If you do not see that metabox locate the Screen Options tab near the top admin bar. Drop the tab down and check the box next to Discussion.

Disclaimer: You need to make your membership options page work for your membership website. What I show you in this and the following video is for demonstration purposes only. I recommend separating different buy/upgrade/etc buttons based on location and by creating separate sales pages for each. However, I will show you all sorts of handy-dandy shortcodes and concepts that will help you in developing your pages.

Please watch the video in order to follow along. It will be a lot easier to follow as opposed to reading what I type.

11:37
  • Go to s2Member.com and use coupon code SAVE10-A:3382 – to save 10% on your order!

Disclaimer: You need to make your membership options page work for yourmembership website. What I show you in this and the previous video is for demonstration purposes only. I recommend separating different buy/upgrade/etc buttons based on location and by creating separate sales pages for each. However, I will show you all sorts of handy-dandy shortcodes and concepts that will help you in developing your pages.

Please watch the video in order to follow along. It will be a lot easier to follow as opposed to reading what I type.

Shortcodes used:
  • The s2Member plugin will tell you all of the shortcodes you need to know – you may just need to search around for them (Many are under the Quick-Start Guide).

The following shortcode will show content for current visitors who are not logged in:

  • [s2If !current_user_can(access_s2member_level0)]CONTENT[/s2If]

The following shortcode will show content for current users that are logged in as Level 0 and current visitors that are not logged in:

  • [s2If current_user_is(s2member_level0) OR !current_user_can(access_s2member_level0)]CONTENT[/s2If]

The following shortcode will show content for current users that are logged in as Level 1:

  • [s2If current_user_is(s2member_level1)]CONTENT[/s2If]
Section 5: Capabilities
09:47
  • Go to s2Member.com and use coupon code SAVE10-A:3382 – to save 10% on your order!

As a reminder – user capabilities are essentially the unique ability to view/download something. They're similar to levels in that you can restrict access to pages, posts, files, and via shortcodes; however, they do no build on each other.

For example; Level 2 members have access to Level 2 content, Level 1 content, and Level 0 content. With capabilities – you either have that capability, or you don't.

Capabilities are not Level dependent either. A Level 0 member can have the same capability as a Level 99 member – unless you want them to be Level dependent – then you can do that as well.

In this course, our capability examples include the ability to download a WordPress Plugin and the capability to download a WordPress Theme.

The general guidelines to setting up capabilities within s2Member:

  • Create a button under the "Capability (Buy Now) Buttons
  • It's just like creating buttons for the Levels
  • Add the capabilities into the "Custom Capabilities (comma-delimited)
    • Note: You cannot have capital letters or spaces in your capability names
  • Then just generate the button and paste the shortcode to your page

Protecting your page/post/content with a shortcode is easy – it's just like with levels:

  • Edit the page you want to restrict
  • In the top right corner, within the s2Member metabox you will see "Require Custom Capabilities?"
  • Within that textbox, place your capability
  • Update the page, and it is now restricted to only users with that capability

This is what the shortcode to capability restricted content looks like – very similar to the level codes:

  • [s2If current_user_can(access_s2member_ccap_capability_title)]CONTENT[/s2If]

Tip: I did not include this in the video, but you can't just sell a capability to a visitor – you have to sell capabilities to members. BUT, you can sell a Level 0 (free) membership with the capability attached – take a look at your button options within s2Member.

Section 6: Tidy
06:55
  • Go to s2Member.com and use coupon code SAVE10-A:3382 – to save 10% on your order!

This can be the last video you watch when it comes to creating you membership website!

Exciting, eh?

The main concept behind this video is to take some time – go back through your membership website – make test accounts – test all levels and capabilities – make sure your payments are working – make sure everything works like it should.

Depending on the complexity of your membership website, there can be a whole lot of scenarios to test – but, you want to make sure they work before you actually have paying members.

Here are the plugins I mentioned within this video:

  • Nav Menu Roles – Display menu items based on the user’s role and/or whether they’re logged in or not
  • BAW Login/Logout menu – This plugin allows you to generate a proper logout button. WordPress requires a certain code when users go to logout, and this plugin will add this piece of code for you
Section 7: Special Options
04:12
  • Go to s2Member.com and use coupon code SAVE10-A:3382 – to save 10% on your order!

One-Time-Offers or OTOs are what all the cool kids do!

A one-time-offer is when someone has ONE chance to buy something. After their one chance, that’s it – they’ll never see that opportunity again.

Of course, many Internet Marketers make OTOs more "permanent" but – by calling it a OTO it adds the sense of urgency to the buyers.

I do recommend making your OTOs relate to your membership website. For example: a discount to purchase a capability or to upgrade Levels.

Setting up one-time-offers within s2Member is very easy:

  • Go to the s2Member admin panel
  • Click General Options
  • Locate One-Time-Offers (Upon Login) and click it
  • Example code is below the text area
    • [Logins]:[Access Level]:[One-Time-Offer URL]
    • 1:http://example.com/your-first-login/ (displayed on 1st login, to all Users/Members)
    • 1:0:http://example.com/upgrade-to-level-1/ (displayed on 1st login, to Free Subscribers only)
03:41
  • Go to s2Member.com and use coupon code SAVE10-A:3382 – to save 10% on your order!

s2Member makes it very easy to connect your membership website to an autoresponder like Aweber or MailChimp.

To access the mailing list settings:

  • Go to your WordPress admin panel
  • Enter the s2Member plugin
  • Select API / List Servers
  • Follow the steps s2Member gives you (it’s really that simple!)

The "Registration / Double Opt-In Box" option refers to a checkbox on your user registration page. I recommend the option "No (disable – do NOT display or require the Checkbox)". The reason for this is – your mailing list probably already requires a double opt-in and including the check box makes your mailing list a triple opt-in.

Utlimately, it’s up to you – figure out what works best for your membership website.

One of the best mailing list features is that s2Member will notify your autoresponder service everytime a user upgrades, cancels, etc – making everything automatic – so, make sure you checkout those options.

05:00
  • Go to s2Member.com and use coupon code SAVE10-A:3382 – to save 10% on your order!

s2Member works very well with a wide variety of affiliate programs like JVZoo, Warrior Plus, ClickBank, and more. This video will show you how to connect to JVZoo – which is an awesome platform because it has a lot of features, a large affiliate database, encompasses a large number of niches, and is free!

The first step is that you must add a product to JVZoo.

Then…

  • On the product page, locate Advanced Features (on the right)
  • Click on External Program Integration
  • Scroll down to Method #4: s2Member Integration
  • Follow the directions JVZoo gives
    • Note: Make sure your s2Member Custom Field is right – it’s located in the "fine print" of the location JVZoo’s instructions take you s2Member

You will now be able to use JVZoo’s buttons, and accept affiliates, as opposed to buttons you may have generated with s2Member’s button generator.

04:54
  • Go to s2Member.com and use coupon code SAVE10-A:3382 – to save 10% on your order!

The ability to drip content is a very powerful tool because it automates the process of distributing content. And it’s a great way to make sure subscribers stay subscribed.

For all of the s2Member content dripping shortcodes go to:

  • Your WordPress Admin Panel
  • The s2Member Plugin
  • API / Scripting
  • s2Member Content Dripping

Sample Drip Shortcode:

[s2Drip access="level1" from_day="4"]
Some content for Members at Level 1 (or higher).

This content will show only after day 3 of their paid membership.
~ i.e. it starts showing on day 4.

It will continue to be shown every day thereafter.
[/s2Drip]

Mega Tip! Sync your content drip with your autoresponder for the double-whammy!

09:59
  • Go to s2Member.com and use coupon code SAVE10-A:3382 – to save 10% on your order!

I’m sorry – I hope this video makes sense. I was not feeling well during the recording of this video and ended up getting sick later on – so, if it’s intolerable, please let me know and I will re-record.

Amazon S3 is one of Amazon’s Web Services and it’s very cheap storage for large files like video, audio, zips, etc.

When you sign up for Amazon S3, you will be given two keys:

  • Amazon Access Key
  • Amazon Secret Key

These two keys are like your username and password – so you’ll want to keep them secret, but you will need them, so store them where you can find them.

I also recommend getting S3 Browser. This is a free program that creates a great interface for you to interact with Amazon S3.

After you have your Amazon Keys:

  • Go to your WordPress Admin Panel
  • Locate the s2Member plugin
  • Select Download Options
  • Locate and click the Amazon S3/CDN Storage Option
  • Enter you S3 bucket name (the folder your files are stored in) and your keys
  • Save settings

Now, all protected files will be automatically pulled from Amazon S3 as opposed to your WordPress Media Library.

Next you will have to modify your Basic Download Restrictions. Based on the purpose of your membership website, you can restrict the number of downloads available or you can make it unlimited.

The "Custom Capability & Member Level Files" section gives you the exact links you need to protect your files! Examples:

  • Sub-Directory: /s2member-files/access-s2member-ccap-music (capability of music)
  • Protected File: /s2member-files/access-s2member-ccap-music/file.mp3 (capability of music, file name is file.mp3)
  • Link: http://www.example.com/?s2member_file_download=access-s2member-ccap-music/file.mp3
  • Sub-Directory: /s2member-files/access-s2member-level0 (level 0 members)
  • Protected File: /s2member-files/access-s2member-level0/tiger.doc (level 0 and tiger.doc)
  • Link: http://www.example.com/?s2member_file_download=access-s2member-level0/tiger.doc

Note: The s2member_file_download portion of the link is what "tells" s2Member to pull the file from Amazon S3.

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Instructor Biography

Nathan Williams, Founder at Crazy Eye Marketing

I build sales funnels.

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