How to Build a Successful Membership or e-Commerce Site with WP Courseware
When Ben and I first decided to begin building the first WordPress learning management system plugin, WP Courseware, the idea stemmed from a problem we were trying to solve for our own online business.
We were working together to build a paid online training course using WordPress. While there were a number of plugins to choose from for creating a content-based membership site, structuring the content into an easily navigated course and adding things like individual course access levels and quizzes was something we were not able to find.
WP Courseware was developed to solve these issues for us and other WordPress users hoping to create instructional content.
One of the things we realized early on was that a number of the WordPress membership plugins on the market were already doing a great job of creating user access levels and integrating with payment processing solutions.
So we decided to focus our development efforts on creating the leading WordPress learning management plugin and leave member management and payment processing to those developers who were already making it easy…the membership and e-commerce plugin creators.
Since then, we have spent over two years creating a number of free add-on integrations which allow you to link WP Courseware with your favorite membership or e-commerce plugin to automate access to WP Courseware courses based on what your members purchase.
And it keeps things simple!
So How Do These Integrations Work?
If you’re not already using one, it’s a simple process…
1. Download and install WP Courseware
2. Create your WP Courseware courses
3. Download and install your favorite membership or e-commerce plugin and create membership levels or products
4. Download and install the free integration plugin which matches with WP Courseware and your membership or e-commerce plugin
5. Associate one or more WP Courseware courses with each of your membership levels or products
Note: Keep in mind that although the plugins which integrate WP Courseware with membership and e-commerce plugins are free, you’ll still need to have a valid WP Courseware license and a license for your membership or e-commerce plugin to make this work.
Why Are These Integrations Important?
Two words…passive income.
WP Courseware has been installed on thousands of WordPress websites around the world. While some of those customers are simply organizing or delivering free content, the majority of them are using WP Courseware along with a membership or e-commerce plugin to create an online product which delivers income once it’s set up.
Here are links to three case studies from WP Courseware users who are earning six figures a year by selling courses online and integrating our LMS plugin with a membership site:
What Integrations Does WP Courseware Have?
Here’s a list of the current membership and e-commerce plugins which can be easily integrated with WP Courseware, along with what we like about them, where you can find the free integration plugin, and a link to our documentation video for each.
Exchange is an e-commerce platform created by Cory Miller’s incredible team over at iThemes. While the initial release had limited functionality, they are very committed to the development of this product. Exchange is very simple to configure, so you’ll be selling products online in a matter of minutes.
What we like: Simple configuration, easy PayPal integration, great membership add-on
Pricing: Free framework, $197 extension bundle, variable add-on pricing
WooCommerce is another e-commerce solution developed by the WooThemes team. They have a terrific team of developers and have focused a great deal of their efforts on this platform, even going so far as to create a dedicated e-commerce theme to integrate with WooCommerce.
What we like: Extensive add-on library, solid support, long-term scalability
Pricing: Free framework, variable add-on pricing
EDD was developed by our friend Pippin Williamson and is best in breed for doing exactly what its name implies…delivering paid digital content such as courses, ebooks, software, or any other content to your customers. With a growing list of extensions, you can easily integrate with various payment processors or email marketing providers. And…it’s FREE.
What we like: huge library of extensions, simple setup and payment integration, free platform
Pricing: Free framework, variable add-on pricing
MemberPress has become a very popular membership plugin, and for good reason. It provides a powerful suite of features including dynamic pricing pages and well thought out details like allowing customers to cancel a subscription directly from your website, which you know is a pain if you’ve ever had to log into PayPal to cancel a recurring payment. They also integrate with their Affiliate Royal plugin, which we’ve used in the past and is a simple way to set up your own affiliate program.
What we like: Robust functionality, simple configuration, advanced access rules for things like categories and tags
Pricing: $99/year for 1-site (support, updates, and basic features), $199/yr for unlimited sites (support, updates, and advanced features)
WishList Member was the very first membership plugin we integrated with WP Courseware. Why? Because we built our own membership site on it. It’s quite possibly the best membership plugin in terms of robust functionality and ease of use. And with a large stable of payment processing integrations and the ability to create your own, there is no need for any other payment processing solution for your WordPress site.
What we like: many payment processing options, ease of setup, great support team
Pricing: $197/year for 1-site (support, updates, and basic features), $297/yr for unlimited sites (support, updates, and bonuses)
We’ve also worked closely with the development team at Paid Memberships Pro as we feel they’ve become a very popular membership solution with a great library of add-ons which solve a number of granular issues when creating a membership site. While some membership plugins have a bloated admin UI list to navigate, PMP provides a straightforward setup and navigation for admins.
What we like: creative and useful add-ons, free platform, native theme
Pricing: Free framework and documentation, $97/yr with community and developer support, $197/yr with add-ons and themes
S2 Member has been around for some time and with features like multisite support and advanced roles capabilities, this plugin is highly extendable without overwhelming you during your initial configuration. With continual development in progress and a free basic framework, it might be the right choice for you.
What we like: free framework, easy to use conditional shortcodes for your content, simple Clickbank integration
Pricing: Free framework, $89 for single-site lifetime updates + add-ons + 1 year of support, $189 for unlimited-site lifetime updates + add-ons + 1 year of support
MemberSonic is another integration we wrote early on as it was developed by our friend Andrew Hunter and once we saw how simple it was to use, it really caught our eye. The admin menu options for this membership plugin are very well though out and about as clean as it gets, so this is a great option for site owners who want to get up and running quickly without configuration headaches but still want the option to extend the plugin down the road.
What we like: clean admin configuration UI, lifetime support and updates, rapid support
Pricing: $97 for multisite license with lifetime support and updates
MemberMouse is another membership solution which has gained a lot of traction over the last year or so. It’s another plugin which is relatively simple to set up and has its own set of unique features including some great reporting to allow you to evaluate the value of your customers and with any recurring membership site, being able to look at retention time is the key to success.
What we like: simple configuration, profitability reporting, dynamic smarttags for upsell capabilities
Pricing: Variable based on members from 1,000 at $19.95/mo to 100,000 at $299/mo
MagicMembers is another membership plugin which we really like due to its simple admin user interface. Some membership plugins can be difficult to set up, but MagicMembers uses a clean admin UI to walk you through the steps for setup. At present, they also have direct integration with 17…yes, 17 payment processing solutions.
What we like: easy to navigate admin UI, flexibility with payment processing options
Pricing: $97 for single-site lifetime support + 1 year of updates, $197 for 3-site lifetime support + 1 year of updates, $207 for unlimited-site lifetime support + 1 year of updates
If you’re considering creating a business by delivering your training content through a membership or e-commerce site, we would encourage you to review each of the solutions above which integrate directly with WP Courseware to determine the one that fits your project requirements and budget.
And if you already have one of these plugins and WP Courseware, you can download any of the free integration plugins at any time, view the tutorial, and get started!