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Make Money With A Membership Site: A Wishlist Review

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Have you ever wanted to build a membership area on your WordPress site? Well today I’m going to share with you the best tool to do so: the Wishlist Member plugin for WordPress.

Wishlist member is the best and most flexible membership site plugin for WordPress. It’s very powerful, but also easy enough to use that you really don’t need to be a techie to build a great membership site with it. The Wishlist member plugin allows you to build a high quality membership site that also looks sleek and very easy to manage as an admin.

I use this plugin personally, and know a lot of top online marketers who use it. It’s so popular for two primary reasons:

  1. It’s really powerful – the features and options kick ass.
  2. It’s really easy to use.

If you’re thinking: “But I don’t need a membership site.” Think again. Membership sites help you make money like a pro, big time. The bottom of this post gives some clear reasons.

Here is some of what Wishlist member does, broken down…


Wishlist Member seamlessly integrates with…

  • Various shopping carts and payment processors, such as SamCart, PayPal, ClickBank, 1Shoppingcart, and more.
  • Affiliate systems such as SamCart, 1shoppingcart, clickbank, and iDev Affiliate.
  • Most common autoresponders, and has a general option to integrate with other autoresponders.
  • OptimizePress (actually, this is by far the easiest way to build a membership site: OptimizePress + Wishlist Member … it’s exactly how I have all of my clients do it)
  • More! It has an API for flexibility… if you want to get all techie.

Total Content Control:

You can control what you want people to see and not see. You can show a post preview, but require access for “Read More” allowing for automatic upselling through a blog format. You can even block out certain sentences or paragraphs of content on your site, making it only visible to members. You can choose to block or show only certain pages, posts, or categories based on membership level. You can keep it simple, or you can get crazy with it, the flexibility is there!
For example, here is Brian Moran’s membership site for Get 10,000 Fans with some content. This was built with OptimizePress and Wishlist Member. It’s very easy to create a page and layout like this.

Build An Elegant Welcome Area:

You can have an elegant welcome area with some content, even for free members. That way, you can sell them more stuff within the members area. This can be a great way to convert your leads into customers by giving them “access.”

Subscription Management:

You can control how long a member gets access. For example, you can set up a 7 day free trial, then if they don’t upgrade, their account can be automatically locked, leading them to a sales page when they try to access.

Membership Levels:

Wishlist Member allows for unlimited membership levels. You can create different content for different membership levels, or block certain levels from getting access to certain content. You can easily upgrade or downgrade members after they sign up. You can set up an automatic upsell page for members who don’t have access to some content.
If I click on an in Brian’s site that I haven’t purchased access to, I will get this page, prompting me to buy the next membership level to access more products…


You can easily import and export members. So if you already have a membership site somewhere, or you have a spreadsheet of people you want to add as members, you can do a quick upload based on the template they give you. You can also export all your membership into a .csv file for your own purposes.

Easy to use and manage:

Again, you don’t need to be a developer, or to hire a developer, to build a kick-ass membership site with Wishlist. Just install the plugin and follow the directions (you get great video tutorials inside). From experience, the easiest way to build your Wishlist membership site is with OptimizePress, but it will work fine with almost any WordPress theme. Once it’s built, it’s pretty damn easy to manage your members and content. Fortunately, if you do decide you want to hire a developer, this is a pretty popular plugin and it won’t be hard to find someone who already has experience with it.

What does Wishlist Member cost?

They have two options, a single and multi-license. If you ever plan to build a second membership site, you might as well get the multi-license now. Here’s a breakdown of what each option gets you:

There have been some sweet sites built with Wishlist Member

While you certainly don’t have to be a design pro to build a good membership site, you can definitely see the possibilities by checking out some of the membership sites others built:

How does Wishlist Member stand up against other membership plugins?

There are some other membership site plugins for WordPress. I’ve tried a few of them, and read enough reviews on the others not to bother wasting my time.

Here are two that are often talked about:

Digital Access Pass (DAP).

This one also works well with OptimizePress, and it’s pretty powerful in terms of options and flexibility. However, having used both Wishlist and DAP, I can tell you that Wishlist and easier to set up and manage and just generally more intuitive. It also costs less for a single site license, and the multi site costs the same.

S2 Member.

I haven’t played with the premium version of s2Member, but the free version really frustrated me. After the first 30 minutes of exploration, I’m sold on the fact that Wishlist is a much better investment of your time and money. If you absolutely NEED something free, this is an option, but if you’re going to pay for a great membership plugin, go with Wishlist.


There are others, such as WP eMember and aMember. WP eMember is by the same people as WP eShop, and I know from experience that eShop is a poor option in comparison to its competitors. WP eMember lacks important integration tools, you don’t want to get stuck with it long term.

aMember used to be popular, but now Wishlist wins out in my book, especially in terms of user friendliness.

The Bottom Line

Wishlist is the best membership plugin for WordPress sites. While there are other good options, such as DAP, Wishlist makes it easy. And I’m a huge fan of making WordPress easy so that you can focus your time on content that will provide value for your members and readers and ultimately make you money… rather than playing around with complicated plugins.

If you’re looking to build a membership site, get Wishlist member.

Make More Money with Membership

If you’re not thinking about building a membership site, think again…

A membership site is one of the best ways to distribute your premium information (info products), create a continuity program, and distribute your premium tools and plugins. It makes it easier for you to keep selling to the same customer base over and over, while making it much easier for them to access the stuff they paid for. It also dramatically ups the security of your content, so you don’t have to stress about people sharing your hard work for free.

Because you can use Wishlist to upsell stuff directly through your membership site, you can create more passive income for yourself by just making different membership levels. You can even put all of your recommendations within your site. Since everyone in there is a buyer, they’re now more likely to actually purchase stuff through your affiliate links, without you even having to mail them!

Virtually every online marketer with any products or premium content uses a membership site. Start yours today.


  1. Hello dear,

    Thanks for your great article and review.

    But what is the difference with optimize press ?


    • Dmitriy Kozlov says:

      Great question. OptimizePress has a bunch of content page templates already set up, as well as pre-built login pages, welcome pages, etc. It has all the page templates prebuilt for a membership site, specially with Wishlist and DAP. Also, since most people will build their squeeze pages and sales letters with Optimize for their products and membership sites, it only makes sense to stay within the same framework for the actual content portion. It’s a lot less work.

  2. Keller Coleman says:

    Great information, I needed to see that because I want a membership site on my web page soon. Thanks for sharing.

  3. This is very interesting. I have built over 20 membership sites using DAP and find that I can everything in place within 2 hours time frame. I’m sure Wishlist is the same way.

  4. Ashutosh says:

    isnt this a bit costly? are there any other such services that provide this kind of feature for non-wordpress sites?

    • Dmitriy Kozlov says:

      There are some services that provide membership sites for a non-WordPress site, but the ones I’ve seen aren’t cheaper. For example, Kajabi is great for this, and they start at $97 per month. I wouldn’t say $97 one-time is a bit costly for this plugin, even for a less than moderately successful membership site. I also love working within WordPress, so I don’t do too much research on web tools outside of it.

  5. Azul Terronez says:

    Wonderful post, clear and informative. I was wondering if you could discuss why you think that Optimize Press wouldn’t be a good membership solution on it’s own, with out adding Wishlist?


    • Dmitriy Kozlov says:

      Hey Azul,
      Thanks! OptimizePress is great for arranging the content, but Wishlist is what actually makes it a protected membership site. With OptimizePress alone, you can’t really have members sign up and access exclusive content, and you don’t have all of the other features described above.

  6. Speaking of Optimize Press, will someone please tell me what video software they used to make the sales video? Like, the beginning looks like a basic slideshow thing with text, while the rest is a screen capture of him making a sales page. Can someone please tell me how he made the beginning slideshow part?

  7. I have not thought about having my membership site yet, but after reading this I will consider this idea it sound a good idea and a simple one ,, thanks for the post really

  8. Steven says:

    Hi there,

    Great plugin, but what I’m looking for should be a plugin that operates similar to Facebook. Whereby members create a profile and updates it with info and pics.

    Do you know of any plugin that works like that?

    Thanks Steven.

  9. senseofmoney says:

    I think most people use OptimizePress to mainly create landing / squeeze pages for their marketing campaigns (unless I am mistaken). Membership sites are actually very good — after you grow to a certain extent, you can even start charging people for premium membership (but you have to offer something special).

  10. Amit Shaw says:

    Thanks Dmitriy for this superb article and review. Would love to try this.

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