Set Up A Membership Site In Less Than 1 Hour

The best and easiest way to create a stream of recurring income on the Internet is to start your own paid membership site.

What is a membership site? It is any site that contains material that can only be accessed by paying members.

I have created a video tutorial, which shows you everything you need to know to set up your own membership site. It's a complete, click-by-click set of instructions.

This tutorial will show you how to set up your own membership site, complete with an automated system that takes payments, issues passwords, checks to see if members are paid up, and manages all of your content. Your new site will do all of this automatically, without any help from you. You can even be asleep, and your membership site will be working for you in the background.

By watching this tutorial, you will be able to set your first site up in less than an hour, and you don't need any technical knowledge to do it. Let's get started.

What You Will Need

You will need the following things to be able to complete this project:

  • Your computer and an Internet connection
  • A credit card
  • At least one hour of uninterrupted time (it may take a little longer than an hour if this is your very first time doing something like this)

10-Step Membership Site Set-up Checklist

  1. Register your domain name and set up a hosting account at BlueHost. Don't use a domain name you already registered; register a new one through BlueHost (it's easier, quicker, and you get the domain name for free!)
  2. Install WordPress on your domain name. Log into your BlueHost Control Panel (“CPanel”), and use the button for WordPress under “Site Builders” section..
  3. Once you have WordPress setup, log into your WordPress account.
  4. Make your first post.
  5. If you don't have a PayPal account, sign up for one now. This is the quickest and easiest way to start taking payments (including credit cards) over the web.
  6. Purchase a license for WishList Member. This is the software that will run your membership site.
  7. Install the WishList plug-in on your WordPress site. Follow the WishList tutorials to set up the plug-in.
  8. Set up your first membership level using WishList.
  9. Join the WishList Insider membership community. This is the number one place on the Internet to get support as a membership site owner. It is also incredibly cheap.
  10. Customize your site, by choosing a premium WordPress theme like the ones from iThemes… and plug-ins that will give your site more functionality.

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Ray Edwards is a world-renowned copywriter and communications strategist, writing for some of the most powerful voices in leadership and business including New York Times bestselling authors Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen (Chicken Soup for the Soul) and Tony Robbins. Ray is a sought-after speaker and author, hosts a popular weekly podcast, and blogs at

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  • Wow Ray, I don’t know what you’re doing to syndicate this piece but it should kick some serious butt out there in the wild wild webz if only exposed to a broad audience consisting of the influencers who speak to those with a desire to learn about this specific topic.
    Only recently did we get serious about putting our content far and wide and we’ve noticed a major difference in the exposure we’re getting. We knew we were supposed to be doing all the stuff we’re doing now but never did it. And it kind of sucked because I know I put some outstanding content out there but if it doesn’t get spread, then the list of faithfuls who read and share doesn’t grow. We had to learn the hard way that while you may have a die-hard list of buyers and fans of the site, you limit yourself when you don’t do everything you can to make your free awesomeness visible to your perfect prospects. 
    And this was even more important to us because while we get offers to JV and requests for us to start an affiliate program for our notes, we’ve never taken on any partners so we’ve never gotten exposure from the angle of exposure to a list of highly qualified buyers and secondary buyers (people who never buy but sing your praise far and wide which serves to convince actual buyers to get off the fence).
    I hope this piece gets some traction Ray because it’s just plain awesome and deserves attention. 🙂 

    •  @Lewis LaLanne aka Nerd #2 Lewis, thanks so much for these comments. They are very encouraging. Yes, we are really on a campaign to be more intentional about things like syndication of our content. Thanks for noticing!
      On another note, I have actually paid money for some of your stuff and I can attest that it is top-notch! Thanks for all you do.

      •  @RayEdwards I noticed Ray 🙂 and I’m grateful to count you as a satisfied customer and I thank you very much for expressing here the degree to which you are pleased. If you have any wishes for notes you’d like to see come available or improvements you see we can make that would enhance your experience with our product, always feel free to let us know as we treasure the feedback of people like you who are in the game, taking action and making things happen.

  • RickButts

    RAY! You are NUTS to give this tutorial away for free, no squeeze, no nothing. I use some of the tools you mention in here and your strategy is hands on the best way to go. Yer, killin’ me Smalls. @RayEdwards 

    •  @RickButts Well, at least now I am reasonably sure it’s pretty good. LOL

    • SeanW

      Smells like hype to me. Why not tell the truth in a way that makes Ray look brilliant instead of “NUTS”?

      I see it this way. Ray has provided a service and get’s paid for that service but the cost is no greater than what the customer would pay if they had to figure that all out themselves.

      Oprah and other reality hosts have made billions using the same business model and a LOT of people love her for it. I’m not a big fan of her show but I’m a huge fan of her business model.

      What I’m saying is that you don’t have to pretend that Ray’s business model is other than what it is. I’m also saying that, from a sustainability point of view, the truth is more powerful over the long haul. Most, if not all, of the people who use Ray’s membership video will eventually discover that Ray has not posted this video without intending to directly profit from it.

      Why not celebrate it as a benefit instead of trying to hide it by implying that Ray is doing this all for free? If you do it right Ray will actually improve trust between him and his followers for his transparency.

      Ray you’re better than this. Judging from your non-committal reply you were not 100 percent comfortable with Rick’s approach. Maybe I’m wrong about that and if so I’d love to hear about it? But if I’m right then show me what a better response would look like.

  • Tony.Mar…

    Amazing lesson. I went to BlueHost to sign up, but they offer the package you mention as well as a WordPress Optimized package. Do you have any recommendations between the two?