How to Create a Membership Site to Deliver Online Course

Hai, Welcome here to deliver our secret value to our loyal readers and followers by membership subscription model website. We can offer many materials or a list of videos, or its like a daily learning course. It simply requires a WordPress-installed website with a membership plugin. 

We can create a beautiful subscription model to deliver our online Course to your reader or follower of those interested. We can also build a relationship with our readers and make a united community by WordPress membership sites.

What is a membership site?

Membership site is a protected area where we can offer our valuable information to our readers by a product or services. This process can be achieved by offering a subscription form in our blog to engage interested people to subscribe to our course material or learning program.

Once the subscription is done, the login details are sent to the subscriber. By using this, they can learn from this subscription model by login in to this membership area. We can have fixed type digital product creation like ebook inside the membership area. The eBook creation procedure is explained here

Why we need a subscription model to deliver online course?

It is only for the readers convenient to learn the process through our Online Course. Because every reader can have a different kind of knowledge and learning ability to assess them, we need a different teaching method and course material to deliver a course completely for a short period or long period. The time is not equal to all the people who want to learn a course thoroughly. For this purpose, we used subscription-type course delivery to the readers.

So we need membership sites for coaching a course. By giving these types of courses to the reader, we can unite our community with more knowledge about our learning course.

online course

online course

The purpose of the Course offering to teach them to clear with that topic based on their learning ability. It may depend on their understanding level of learning how to speed up the Course or do it as slow as possible.

So we need a different length of time for the same Course to be reached to our readers. The subscribers decide the length of the subscription. But the Course is the same.

For example, in some other cases, playing a musical instrument apart from the learning ability, we can vary the depth of the Course for all players who play the instrument. So here the course materials are different, so we need a different kind of subscription levels for the Course itself.

By considering these two cases, our course material will be prepared and protected to the corresponding area. It will be delivered to the corresponding readers who subscribed to the Course.

So we need a subscription-type membership model instead of a membership protected area for delivering online courses.

Online Course by Wishlist Member

Online course setup can be easily achieved by membership plugins using WordPress websites. 

How to create a subscription-type membership site in WordPress?

A subscription-type product needs the following to deliver an online course to the readers. Whether it is paid subscription or free, both having the same process expects the payment system integration.

  1. Choose membership plugin or software for online Course
  2. Protect course materials
  3. Create Subscription membership levels
  4. Deliver Course material to subscription
  5. Integrate an Autoresponder email system for follow up
  6. Integrate Payment system 
  7. Test the functionality by subscription
  8. Adding extra features to the Course

These nine steps are necessary for a subscription-based membership model in WordPress. Course creation can be achieved very easily by a plugin called the Wishlist Member plugin– a WordPress plugin for membership sites, online courses, and community sites.

Step 1: Choose a Membership plugin or software for online Courses

these can easily do online courses with a membership plugin with community interaction within the site. First, we need to define our course length and Course materials offering through course length.

For example, consider a case we have a full course of six months with every two-month subscription period. Also, we need to offer a first-month free trial from the second month onwards. It will continue the Course with paid members only.

 We need to create a subscription-based membership site model to deliver a full six-month course. The cost of the entire full Course $48.

Just get the Wishlist Member plugin, install it on our WordPress installed website, and use itt for our online membership site.


We need an Autoresponder and Payment system to set up the paid Course of $48 for the full six-month course. This 48$ Course could be divided into a one-month free trial and three subscriptions of two month period. Total six months(one month free trail+ Two two month subscription with the last subscription as one month total three paid subscription of 16$)

We can also set up some essence of this Course for completely free. And faster learning in four months at the same cost and advanced material can be added in the last month so totally of six months (1 month trail+3 paid subscription of every month +1 month advanced material bonus).

We can strict with the first scenario of a one-month free trial and three paid subscriptions of 16$ every two months (1+2+2+1= six months.)

Step 2: Protect Course materials in Wishlist Member

Once we installed the Wishlist Member plugin got to the WordPress admin Dashboard. We have an option Wishlist Member. Click on this tab. Now we have an option to create new membership levels for the protection of content.

Our six-month course materials are divided into 4 parts: the first part, the second part, the third part, and the fourth part.

1 st part one month free trial name it as the First level

2nd part 2month subscription as Second Level

3rd part 2 month subscription as the Third Level

4th part 1 month subscription as Fourth Level

First, we need to create Four levels in Wishlist Member to protect content as First Level, Second Level, Third Level, and Fourth Level.

Membership Content delivery

Add all the content images and files in the website in post pages, categories, and media files, etc. Protect all the files with corresponding membership levels.

Now all the six-month content has been protected in Four Membership Levels. 

Step 3: Create Subscription Membership Levels

Create four Subscription membership levels and its lifetime for subscriber management

For the First one-month subscription, we create as Free trial with a lifetime of six months for the full Course. These are people who are eligible to get all the course materials.

The second 2month paid subscription as Silver Member with a lift time of two months.

Third two month paid subscription as Gold Member with a lifetime of two months.

Fourth two-month subscription as Platinum Member with a lifetime of two months

Once all the three membership subscription levels are created, we need to add content to the WordPress website. We need to grant access to the corresponding membership levels based on subscription.

Step 4: Membership Course access and Content Delivery

The membership course material has to be delivered to the corresponding subscription once paid for the subscription.

In the six-month course, the content available after the subscription is made in the subscription form available on the website. So all the members once subscribed in the form are added to the First Level, which has one-month content access free the membership life time is set as six months.

The remaining five months’ contents are protected for Free level members.

Once a one-month subscription ends, an email is sent to the subscriber that the free trial period ends now. You need to upgrade the membership to Silver level to access the remaining content. They can pay a full six-month subscription or, every two months, the need to upgrade for the next set of course materials until the subscription ends.

Online Course Materials

Once they have paid for the Silver level, their membership upgraded to the gold level, they can have access to the first three-month access to the Silver level, including a one-month free trial. The remaining three months are protected.

In the same way, Gold level has five-month access and last one month content protected. For the Platinum level, all the access is provided to the protected contents. So the entire Course will be accessed and delivered in six months.

Here they use three techniques for content access incremental, sequential, and drip content delivery. We can use any one method for the delivery of content. Each has a certain limitation in membership access and its lifetime, but all have access to its current paid membership content.

It will notify expiry and upgrade to the current members’ current level during the last week of membership expiration using autoresponder emails at every membership level.

Step 5: Integrate the Autoresponder system for Subscription and Follow-up messages.

Email Autoresponder systems are very useful for subscription-based membership sites for its notification and follow-up messages.

Every member level and its expiry also the new membership upgrade are all informed to the subscribed members of the online Course provided if the autoresponder system integrated with the Wishlist Member plugin.

Wishlist Member uses restful API for the full integration of autoresponder system with WordPress. Here some autoresponder fully integrated with WordPress using Wishlist Member as follows

  • AWeber
  • Mailchimp
  • Get Response,
  • Autoresponder plus, 
  • Infusion soft
  • 1shopping cart,
  • Constant contact and 
  • Interspire 

For example, consider AWeber email autoresponder integration. It is fully integrated with Wishlist Member as per the guidelines in the plugin integration page. Once the integration is done, we need to create a new list in AWeber for every membership level created in Wishlist Member. 

Autoresponder Integration

It will automatically add a new subscriber who subscribed in the subscription form to the Free trial level. It will then be automatically followed to the next level when the subscription is upgraded.

All the follow-up messages are automatically sent to corresponding membership levels. We can customize the messages if we want.

 The only thing we need to do is we have to create a subscription form for the Free trial level in the webforms section of the AWeber settings. After the form creation, it will be added to lead pages we created for our blog’s membership site and sidebar for our readers to subscribe to our Course.

After the subscription confirmation message is sent to the subscribe with login details of a free membership site. During the last week of the free trial, the upgrade link for paid subscriptions sent to the subscriber. If they clicked the link, they would send the to the payment check-out page for silver membership.

Step 6: Payment system Integration for paid online Course

Wishlist Member also provides full integration with third-party payment gateway systems. The instructions are available for this in the integration tab available in the Wishlist Member plugin. It is fully integrated with the following payment systems with more than 20 payment gateways.

  • Paypal, 
  • 1 Shopping cart,
  • Clickbank, 
  • 2Check out, 
  • Infusion soft,
  • Clyde, 
  • Premium web cart 

Along with its accepts the payments with Authorize.Net, Stripe, CloudNet360, eWAY, JVZoo, PayBlue, PayKickStart, Plug&Paid, Recurly, RedOakCart, SamCart, SendOwl, ThriveCart, UltraCart, WooCommerce, etc.

Payment Gateway

Once Integration is done successfully, we need to customize three pages for the payment process here.

  1. Sales order page,
  2. Thank You page,
  3. Membership site Login Page

Sales Order Page

Sales order Page often linked with subscription form for free trial cum payment subscription type online courses and free courses. This page will be provided by the payment system only.

For only paid subscription courses, the sales order page will be linked in the membership site’s sales page, and this sales page will be linked with thank you page after the subscription confirmation email in autoresponder systems.  

Thank you Page

We can set it up. Thank you page in the payments system. It will be shown to the customer once payment is done. This page contains a membership login page and user name and password for access to the membership level.

In our scenario, free trial cum paid membership, once check-out has done, the free member will automatically add to the Silver membership level also in the autoresponder list. It is called full integration. Both will be updated automatically.

Membership Registration Page Setup and login page

The membership registration page or signup page of the membership site was the important indirect referral to our online courses. Wishlist Member now offers customization options for the registration form; we can design this form using any page builder.

We need to ask for certain customer details like email, user name, password, etc., for new registration as free member cum paid member for our online Course. 

For Payment without free trial type products, we can set up a registration page URL in the payment system. Once payment has been made via the payment system, it will show the registration page of the corresponding membership level.

We can use different templates for content delivery pages and sales page and Lead page templates for the entire course setup using Optimizepress – the best membership site theme for landing pages and product launch templates. We can set up a membership site login page for the customers who need to access a six-month course using the Optimizepress WordPress theme.

That’s all about the online Course set up for six months at $48, having a one-month free trial and 3 two months recurring subscriptions at a $16 price. Now it is time to test the functionality of our six-month online course with a recurring subscription, and that has a free trial period.

Step 7: Test the functionality of the online Course by subscription

The total functionality of a six-month online course should be tested using a new member subscription at the signup form in the blog sidebar and lead pages of the membership course promotion with a free trial period.

Once signup has been done, the confirmation mail is sent subscriber. After the confirmation message, It will send the Login information for the free trial of our online Course to the subscriber with a welcome message.

Testing Membership site

At the same time, A new member has been added to the Free Level of the membership site and AWeber email list. Once these are done, our site will be protected and given access to readers who are subscribed to the online Course.

 Step 8: Adding extra features to the Course

Wishlist Member provides and an extra feature called community participation our main motto of creating these type of courses is to build a better relationship with blog readers and followers. 

To build a strong community during six month period, Wishlist offers a community forum their the members of our Course can join in community participation on a monthly or weekly, or daily basis for expert advice and live consultation.

Another feature we can add analytics tracking of our course member’s transaction details membership upgrade expired members and discontinued members for follow-ups.

The benefit of building online courses like the recurring subscription model instead of protecting and giving access to the materials is that we can closely understand our members during six months to build the relationship.

We can improve our community relationship by providing support for six months by chat email and provide the confidence that we are helping them. 

By providing affiliate promotional information, we can get new members to our online Course.


Create a subscription-based online Course for six months is a good way to understand our readers and build a better-united community towards the end of the subscription period. Wishlist Member makes it easy with WordPress.

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{ 1 comment… add one }
  • Bob Tolbert July 2, 2012, 12:59 pm

    Hi Suresh,

    Loved your thorough review on Wishlist Member.

    My team and I developed a sidebar registration form for free membership level that requires only email and username and has real time validation. It registers the user to the free membership level right after he clicks the “register” button.

    This is the link to the plugin:

    Would love to hear your thoughts regarding the plugin.



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