Wishlist Member is the most popular membership plugin for good reason. It has become a standard for many of the top internet marketers and membership sites on the internet.
Wishlist Member was started in late 2008 by Stu McLaren and Tracy Childers as a way to create a simple but effective membership platform based on WordPress. At that time there wasn’t any real good membership solutions in general (well cheap ones at least).
I have been a customer of theirs almost since the beginning, and have seen its evolution through the years; so I have a good perspective on its strengths and weaknesses. I am by no means a “tech” so hopefully I’ll be able to explain the capabilities and shortcomings of Wishlist member in a way that is easily understood.
Also, this is not meant to be an all encompassing look at all of Wishlist Member’s capabilities as that would take entirely too long! Feel free to ask any questions below and I’ll do my best to answer them. The bottom line is that you cannot go wrong with Wishlist Member – In fact it is what I use on a number of my sites.
Wishlist Member – Product Offerings
Wishlist member offers two different options:
- Single Site => Which you can use on any one of your sites.
- Multi-Site => Which can be used on unlimited site you own and comes with some great Bonuses!
The single site option works best if you plan to only have one membership site and don’t think you will use the bonus items. However if you plan to use Wishlist Member on more than one site you should definitely look at the multi-site option. The additional bonuses are worth the upgrade and can make setting up and running your membership site significantly easier. This is the option I chose and I couldn’t be happier with what I got.
You should also check out Wishlist Insider – this is a special offer that runs $20 per month and provides you access to advanced training and resources. There is so much information provided and constantly updated that I have remained a member for years.
Wishlist Member installs just like any other plugin, either through the built in installer (in WordPress) or via an FTP program or the file manager inside your hosting account. Once you have it installed, simply activate it by enterint your license key to get started.
You will see a warning message at the top of the screen asking you to create your first membership level. As you start the process, one of the coolest things about Wishlist Member pops up, the setup wizard.
It walks you through 4 simple steps that allow you to create the membership level, auto create the error pages (where you tell people that they need to be a member to view the content), choose protection levels (auto protect everything, leave everything open, and shades of grey), etc. It literally takes a couple of minutes to get a basic set up.
Wishlist Member Feature: Content Protection
You can lock things up on a post/page level, category level, files, specific folders, and even within a post by use of the “more” tag. In other words, you can have the first paragraph open to the public and the remainder of the post just for members.
You can also give people access to specific posts regardless of whether or not they are on the same membership level the post is associated with. For instance, John Smith is a member of the Silver level of your membership and there’s a post in the gold level you want to comp him access. This is not a part of core functionality but through and additional plugin available through their Insider club.
Wishlist Member Feature: Dripping Content
Wishlist Member (WLM) also gives you the ability to drip content over time. If you have a training course that delivers information monthly and you want to restrict access based on how long someone has been a member, WLM has a couple ways to handle it.
Now to be honest, this is one of things that annoys me a bit with WLM. You have to create a new membership level for each month of material that you want to have. If your course is 6 months long, then you have to create 6 levels and string them together. I addition to that, you need to set up a chron job to make sure that it happens. It works with the built in WordPress chron but I do a cpanel level chron with the host as I’ve found that more reliable.
WLM has a separate plugin that removes this hassle with their Insiders Club, there are 3rd party developed plugins as well, but it would be nice to have that component built in to the core capability. Having said all that, I have found little reason of late to drip out content in my business so it hasn’t been a big deal but it could be something to consider if your membership site requires smooth content dripping as a native feature.
Custom Post types
By default, Wishlist member protects custom post types such as those created by ecommerce plugins, link redirect plugins, etc. For example, I have used a plugin called Pretty Link to create redirects for affiliate links. That plugin creates a custom post type that I can choose to make available for members only.
There are times where I want to give a discount for other products that I don’t want the general public to know about if the link would be “mistakenly” passed around. I now can have WLM make that link available to any membership level I want so that If a non member clicks it, they’d be taken to an “Oops, you have to be a member to view this content” page.
One of the most important aspects of WLM is that it plays nice with a number of different systems for email autoresponders and merchant accounts. This allows you to create a seamless transaction for you buyer. They make a purchase and are immediately take to the secured registration form and ads the customer’s email address to your email list for that particular membership level.
Here’s a quick list of Autoresponders they work directly with Aweber, iContact, Mailchimp, Infusionsoft, AutoResponse Plus, Constant Contact, Get Response and Interspire. There is a “Generic” setting as well that allows you to paste in code from systems not included on this list. As far as shopping carts are concerns, Wishlist Member integrates directly with Paypal, 1 Shopping Cart, 2Checkout, Clickbank, Cydec, Infusionsoft, Quick Pay Pro, Premium Web Cart, Red Oak Cart and Ultracart. Just like with email autoresponders, there is a “generic” setting that allows you to use other system as well. With those systems, if someone cancels or refunds, they would automatically be removed as a member so you wouldn’t need to manually do that. With generic cart set ups, that would NOT be the case.
For the vast majority of situations, the base installation of WLM is more than enough. However if you needed something customized, it has an API that allows you to create just about anything you want and have it work hand in hand with it. I have personally never coded anything and have not used the API but just know that it is one of those things that sets WLM apart from just about every other membership plugin out there.
Hopefully this gives you a pretty good overview of the capabilities of Wishlist Member. It is by no means a complete dossier of everything that it can do, but hopefully this give you enough information to make a decision on whether or not Wishlist Member is right for your business. Additionally, they have the Insiders club that provides new plugins that greatly expand the functionality of WLM. There is a montly fee associated with the club but it is well worth it if you are a power user.
So if you are ready to get a copy for yourself, visit :
Also, be sure to leave any comments or questions below.