WordPress membership sites take work – the myth of passive income

Chris Lema

wordpress membership sites - passive income

Passive income isn’t so passive

People will promise you all sorts of wonderful things – like helping you make money while you sleep. And while it’s true that you can earn money while you sleep, it’s not true that membership sites represent a general “set it and forget it” approach to passive income.

They take time to create new content.

They take time to manage conversion – constantly tweaking your sales copy, calls to action and more.

They take time to monitor and manage attrition.

They take time to… you get the point.

It’s not free. It’s not passive.

Last month I spoke at a conference talking about WordPress membership sites. While the first part is playful, the second half shares a series of plugins with the audience and helps them figure out which ones may be right for them. It may do the same for you.

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  1. Joan Boluda says:

    Great conference, Chris. You are a great speaker. I love this business tracks on WordCamps (despite not everybody does ;).

    The slides comparing the membership plugins are very useful. Can we get them online?

  2. Hi Chris,

    Many Thanks for the membership plugin roundup.

    I have been a long-standing WishlistMember user having implemented over a dozen sites of varying complexity. I found that while being pretty good in terms of functionality and support, WishlistMember is a bit cumbersome in handling drip feeding on content. I have also implemented aMember, S2Member, DAP and Premise sites but decided to stick with WishlistMember for most of my own and client sites. (with a single exception of the excellent iMember360 plugin which provides seamless integration with Infusionsoft)

    Until now, that is. WishlistMember is no longer a one-size-fits-all for me.

    I have a couple of sites to build for clients in the coming months; one is simple site with a dozen protected posts with a one time (PayPal) payment model; the other involves multiple membership levels with upsells and downsells and recurring income streams and a choice of payment methods. WLM is likely overkill for one solution and under-powered for the other.

    I will check out your recommendations of Paid Membership Pro, RestrictContentPro, MemberPress and MemberMouse in order to deliver a more cost effective and feature rich solution for my clients. I will let you know how I get on. If you have any pointers based on those requirements then please let me know. Thanks.



  3. David McAllister says:

    Hi Chris,

    Excellent presentation – thank you! I am really pleased that I found your site and that I signed up for your newsletter. I have learned so much in the short time that I have been following you. I am in an enviable position where the web in my country, Zimbabwe, is just beginning to blossom and the opportunities for membership sites is really good. Hopefully what I can learn from you will help me to avoid the pitfalls as I start the process of setting up niche membership sites.

    Thanks again!

  4. Great information and love your presentation style. I came across this video from a post on FB by my friend Kimberly Castleberry. I’m looking forward to checking out more of your stuff, the membership plugins you suggested and have seen you on WP Watercooler too.

  5. Chris, I love your passion on this video. I had to go back to speaker deck to review your awesome slides. ‘Looking forward to more!


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