Membership Site Plugins : And the Oscar Goes To….

A question that I see popping up quite a lot lately is how do I build such awesome Membership Sites and in particular what software do I use to lock them down and make them secure.

Well the first part of this question is pretty easy…. I use Optimize Press for all my Member Sites. I was a huge fan of the first OP and used it for several years but in the past few months I’ve upgraded to Optimize Press 2.0 and have been using that for nearly everything I do online – Sales Pages, Squeeze Pages, Membership Sites and even this Blog are running on OP 2.0

So no big secret there, I’m an Optimize Press Fan Boy and have no shame in admitting it!

But the second part of that question is arguably more important a little harder to answer. You see building a great looking Membership Site is only one half of the equation. You need a special piece of software to secure this Members Area for only your customers, otherwise anybody would be able to log in and download what content or products you have in there.

This is unfair on you but even more so for your genuine customers who have invested their hard earned cash in your program – the least you can do is make sure your Members Area is as secure as it can be.

For this to happen we use a special Membership Plugin that integrates with your WP Theme to secure your site. There are many of these on the market and I have used two in particular – Wishlist Member and Insta Member.

First let’s take a look at Wishlist and see what it has to offer….

 

Wishlist Member
I used this plugin on my very first product and I must say it worked very, very well. I had no issues with it at all and has been working pretty well since then.

Screen shot 2013-10-30 at 09.00.38

It doesn’t have the most friendliest user interface but everything is there and it’s a very robust and stable membership plugin. You can secure all your content and grant access based on which Membership Level a user has.

So someone who purchased the Basic Membership would not be able to access content that is assigned to Gold Members only. You can set-up internal upgrade pages so if a member tries to access content that they haven’t already paid for they are redirected to a Wrong Membership Level page where they are given the opportunity to upgrade their membership.

The only thing about Wishlist is that it can be kind of difficult to get used to, especially if you are a complete beginner. I was lucky that I had access to Step-by-Step Tutorial Videos by my mentor but if I had to rely on the ones Wishlist themselves provide I know it would have taken me a lot longer to get set-up.

It’s also quite expensive and costs $97 for a Single Domain License and a massive $297 for a Multi Site. Also worth noting that Unlimited Updates and Support and only offered for 1 year after purchase.

I guess for any serious marketer you are going to want more than one Membership Site so would really have to go with the Multi Site Option which is $297 and that is a lot of money to invest in a plugin (no matter how good it might be)

There really isn’t much more I can say about Wishlist, it’s a very good membership plugin and does a very good job. Now let’s take a look at the second membership plugin I use and that’s Insta Member…

 

Insta Member
Where to begin with this awesome little plugin? Well I guess a good place to start when comparing the two of these would be to ask how many sites have I used them on…

Wishlist – 1 Site in the past 12 months
Insta Member – 4 Sites in the 3 months

So it’s not hard to see which one of these plugins is my favorite. It’s actually a good way to compare the two because it explains why I like Insta Member so much. It’s just so much easier to use.

As I outlined about I really like Wishlist and used it for my first ever Membership Site but have used Insta Member on 4 sites (and counting….) in only 3 months!

Screen shot 2013-10-30 at 08.58.13

 

It’s a completely different plugin to Wishlist and offers a number of advantages that I feel gives it the edge over it’s more pricey competitor. The first one being it just looks so much better. The user interface is a lot easier to use and a lot more intuitive, so even without a lot of techie experience most users can navigate through the set-up process without any problems.

It’s all laid out in a beautiful looking design and gives you a lot of data and great information about how your site is performing. Just some of it’s features include :

  • Sales Reports and Summaries
  • Last Members to Log-in
  • Software Licensing
  • Ability to Create Coupons/Discounts
  • Run your own Affiliate Network
  • In built Support Desk
  • Auto-cancel membership if a Refund is issued
  • Drip-feed content

Plus a whole lot more….

But you know what the coolest thing about Insta Member is?
The little sales graph on the dashboard that shows you how much in sales you site has done in the past week. I must tell you the screenshot below may not look too impressive to some but when this site first went live many months ago it was a great thrill to log in and see 4 Figure Days on that Graph and a 5 Figure Week.

Screen shot 2013-10-30 at 08.58.40

So it’s good fun for the ego as well as giving a lot of great data.

All the Sales, Members, Affiliate Reports can all be exported and downloaded for your own records. And it’s super easy to find Members in the system by searching for Name, Email, Transaction IDs etc. etc.

But one of the main strengths of this plugin and something that in my opinion puts it far ahead of Wishlist is this…

The Auto-Registration and Log-in of New Members
With Wishlist if someone purchases your Front End Offer they then have to Register by filling out a form. Then if they buy an Upgrade they have to fill out another form so they can access that content in the Members Area.

This can be very frustrating and I know a lot of people get confused being asked to fill out all these details over and over again. That’s what makes Insta Member so great because it allows you to flick a switch so new Members are Auto-Registered.

So no matter what Level of Membership they have purchased they are auto-logged in to the site. No waiting around, no filling in forms, they get direct access no matter what membership level they’ve purchased. The plugin handles everything so they get one seamless transition from Initial Purchase to Upgrade to Accessing the Members Area.

Screen shot 2013-10-30 at 08.48.13

I could go on forever about all the great features that Insta Member has to offer but I know that this post is getting kinda long now so I’ll try finish up with this last one….

With Insta Member you can sell your product on multiple Affiliate Platforms at the same time. So you can launch on Clickbank, JVZoo, DealGuardian, DigiResults, WarriorPlus etc. etc.

All from one Sales Page, all from one website.

But how can you do this? Insta Member has what they call an “auto-switch” feature whereby they will display the correct buy button depending on where the incoming traffic is coming from. So if someone arrives at your page from a Clickbank hop they will see the Clickbank button and if they are referred from a JVZoo Affiliate they will see that corresponding button.

Which means that you have a larger pool of affiliates that you can attract and get far more sales of your product! :)

So in closing I’m obviously going to give the Membership Plugin Oscar to Insta Member. Besides everything that I’ve outlined above, and even though it’s extremely easy to use it also gets my vote on one last point – price.

Insta Member
$47 – Single Site License
$97 – Multi Site License

Wishlist
$97 – Single Site License
$297 – Multi Site License

Screen shot 2013-10-30 at 08.56.20

So there you have it, everything I have to offer about these two great membership plugins. I hope you found it useful and maybe it will help you decide which one is best for you.

I’m a big fan of Membership Sites and these plugins have helped me a lot over the past couple of years and I hope you get a lot of value from them also.

Thanks for reading,

Noel.

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6 Comments

  • richard

    Reply Reply October 30, 2013

    Noel

    thanks for the really honest and down to earth review, as you know I am really going big into membership sites, and just felt that to start off with 297 was a bit too much to shell out

    Insta member seems to be the one to go for, for sure

    thanks again for the helpful no nonsense review!
    richard recently posted…Follow the process – it may just work!My Profile

    • Noel

      Reply Reply October 30, 2013

      Hi Richard,

      Ya, for me $297 was a little too much. I’m very happy with Insta Member and for $200 less for a multi site license it gets the thumbs up from me :D

      Cheers,

      Noel.

  • Mike

    Reply Reply October 30, 2013

    Hi Noel, thanks for a great post – I will begetting the Insta Member script as I like keeping things simple and that plugin looks the business :)

    Cheers

    Mike
    Mike recently posted…Are all Resell Rights products the same in terms and conditions?My Profile

    • Noel

      Reply Reply October 30, 2013

      Good choice Mike,

      As I said both are great plugins but Insta Member is my favorite by far. They’ve great support too, I always get a reply to my queries within 24 hours so it’s good to know there’s help on hand should you need it.

      Thanks,

      Noel.

  • Sergio Felix

    Reply Reply January 13, 2014

    Hey Noel,

    I already own a WLM one-site license and OP1 and right now I’m facing the challenge of having to replicate my entire membership site to be able to put it on the JVZoo marketplace as well.

    Plus a lot more annoying things to deal with (replicating the same things I update, having to deal with two separate databases, installations, etc)

    Anyway, I just have a very simple question, are you using InstaMember with OP2 and if so, how well has it been for you?

    Any bugs we should know about?

    Thanks in advance man!

    Sergio

    • Noel

      Reply Reply January 15, 2014

      Hi Sergio,

      That’s exactly what I’m doing – running OP2 with Insta Member. It works perfectly and I haven’t had any issues.

      When I got OP2 I was already pretty comfortable with IM and didn’t want want to go through the hassle of trying
      to master a new membership script. With OP2 they have their own plugin (OptimizeMember) but I’ve continued with
      IM simply because it works and does everything I ask it to do.

      And InstaMember will allow you to sell on more than one platform at the same time so need to duplicate anything
      as their “auto-switch” feature can display the right buy button depending on where the traffic is coming from.

      So ya, I’m happy with IM and haven’t had any issues using it with OP2.0 whatsoever so it’s all good ;)

      Cheers,

      Noel.

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