In our GSddaily episode today, we’re going to talk about how to create subscription websites and membership courses. And we’re going to walk through a couple of different versions, a couple of different variations, or ways to set them up.

If you don’t know who I am. My name is Jason Drohn. I have been doing this for a very, very long time. My specialty is helping people create and sell their stuff online. Whether that is digital courses, or coaching programs, or consulting, or whatever. We’re pretty good at it.

This week what we’ve been doing is we’ve been talking about different ways to monetize your knowledge. To make money through information products, for the most part, this week. Next week, we’re going to talk about some different modalities. Things like software, or we’re going to talk about software, and we’re going to talk about events and some of the stuff like that.

Now, Monday we talked about digital products. We talked about eBooks. Tuesday and Wednesday we talked about video courses. And here’s the thing, video courses, and subscription websites, work tremendously well. You’re probably always going to be using a membership structure. Because you’re going to be locking, and protecting content.

What you’re going to end up doing is your videos, and your eBooks, most likely you’re going to be trapped, or locked behind some sort of a membership login. That people can’t just download them and freely distribute them to whoever they want. What ends up happening is, you’re going to end up putting them inside subscription websites anyway. You can use that as a way to generate monthly revenue.

If you have a certain number of videos that you want to protect. Or eBooks that you want to protect, you can use a plugin, or put that stuff inside of subscription websites, and then it protects it. And then you can also charge monthly for it. Do you know what I mean?

The presentation is How To Create subscription websites & Courses. And how to monetize and sell those subscription websites and courses so that you can generate some great recurring revenue.

subscription websites

Membership Courses

Membership courses are the easiest and the absolute most lucrative form of digital product long-term.

They don’t require a lot of handholding, typically. Especially like a low-ticket membership. It can be a $37 offer, $37 a month, $67 a month, $97 a month, $10 a month.

You can sell a lot of people in those programs. And then all you’re doing is you’re adding to the membership content, and people are getting value from it, and they continue paying. Every membership has a churn though. It might be three months, it might be four months, it might be seven months. A lot of it depends on what the pricing is, and then what kind of impact your content, your material is having on the person. Those are the two things that kind of influence that churn.

Different Forms of Training

  1. text in the video
  2. audio
  3. text, ebooks, manuals
  4. PDF
  5. video

Now training typically comes in the form of either text in the video. Sometimes it’s audio, all stuff you’ve already learned about. I mean, we talked about the text on Monday. Text and eBooks and training manuals and white papers, and all the different styles of content. The different things that people call PDFs. And then yesterday we talked, or Tuesday we talked about video.

Extracting audio from those video files. And that becomes your video and audio course. And then yesterday we talked about all of the different ways that you can capture your video and audio on your computer and create products. We’ve already covered all of that stuff.

The subscription websites are purely the mechanism that kind of locks it all in and distribute access. A membership course is related more to how the product is fulfilled. And the types of material are the videos, they’re audio texts, there’s group coaching. And you hit all three modalities for online learning.


People are hearing, they’re reading, they’re watching, they’re seeing. You’re able to impact everyone with a course. You can also charge a much higher total or monthly if you want. You can do an annual subscription. An annual subscription might be nine months of what a monthly would be. Or you can give a bigger discount on an annual subscription would be six months of the monthly.

Let’s say you were charging 10 bucks a month. You can sell an annual subscription for $90, and somebody saves 30. They end up saving a chunk of change and you locked them in for a year. Now if your churn is typically three months, then you just made six months more revenue by selling that annual license. It’s just something to think about when you’re going through this.

subscription websites

What is the best way to create a membership course?

Now the best way to create a membership course is to do all videos. We have talked about video many, many times in these GSD dailies before. But having video and doing the video once and then transcribing that video is where you need to be. I was just talking to a guy. And we were talking about bridging the gap between organic traffic and paid traffic. And transcribed live streams do a phenomenal job of bridging that gap.

You can boost the live streams to paid traffic, and then you can get them transcribed. And then you’re hitting that organic traffic piece. It works out pretty well that way. Your membership site should be created in the video, and then you have the course transcribed. And then you create your manuals from that. Or your books, or your downloads, or whatever. People can download them, print them out, highlight them, whatever.

That’s how the text-based membership content should be created. You can send those MP3s to a transcriptionist. Like, you can go to Upwork and just post a job for a transcriptionist and you’ll get a hundred applications. I very simply just go to Rev., and they transcribe great stuff. And it’s $1.25 a minute. And now you have all three types of content. You start with the video, you pull out the audio, and then you have the PDF, the book. And you have all three types of content for your subscription websites, which gives maximum value for your members.

Setting Up Membership Site

Now, in setting up subscription websites, it’s pretty formulaic. The easiest… Well, I shouldn’t say the easiest way. The easiest way is to use a piece of software like Teachable, or Kajabi to set up your membership site. That’s the easiest way. You’re also going to be paying for it every month. It’s up to you if you want it to be easy, you don’t mind paying a couple of bucks. That’s awesome.

1. Teachable

Incredibly simple to use. And has some of the front-end sales material and functionality.

2. Kajabi

It has the marketing and sales material functionality and then does the memberships and the logins and everything else, video hosting. All of those platforms take care of all the hard work of the kind of trying to stitch something together. But if you want to own the data, and you don’t want to pay monthly for it, then what you do is build a WordPress site.

3. WordPress

You build a site in WordPress. You find a template that you like. Might be something you find on Invado, or you can pick a free template, it doesn’t matter. And then there are lots of different membership plugins. We’re going to go through two of them.

WordPress Plugins

Wishlist Member

The one that we use most often is Wishlist Member. It’s 97 bucks, nothing crazy, one time. You watch the training videos, you get everything configured, and then you set up to integrate.


You integrate payment processing with Stripe. Stripe, super easy to get a merchant processing account. Everything is online. You don’t need to fill out any paperwork. You don’t need to mail anything. We don’t need to talk to anybody on the phone like you used to way back when. So Wishlist Member, really nice to get everything up and running quickly.

Email Autoresponder Software

I’m going to go through a little bit of the setup in today’s daily just because I’m doing it for a client. Might as well, right? Now you also with the membership plugins, you can integrate your email autoresponder software. So that when somebody purchases they’re automatically added into an email list. This is great because you can take them out of the prospect list. We love some marketing automation. And then you can add content and make sure membership privileges are set up accordingly.

Members Accessibility

Somebody has access to one product but not another, somebody else might have access to all products, they’re in your mastermind group. And they have access to all six of your product, your courses. Just don’t allow nonmembers too much access. Give them enough. Give them, if you can do like free stuff. If you can do a couple of free lessons, that’s awesome. I mean, you can do free lessons in Kajabi. You can do free lessons in Wishlist. You can do free lessons in Teachable. Teachable makes it super easy.

If you want to do that, that’s fine. You can even do like a couple of weeks ago we talked about a multi-video launch sequence. Those are probably easier to set up, rather than creating somebody a username with a login, and password, and all that stuff. And then they have to log in, watch the videos. It might be easier just to put together multiple videos in a sales sequence. And then have them opt-in for those videos. But it’s the same either way. I mean you’re still going to give access to a couple of videos, and then try to upsell them at the end. So, that’s how like you would invite non-members into your membership.

1. Drip Content

Now some thoughts. First of all, you want to drip content, usually. Meaning doesn’t deliver it all at once. If somebody signs up monthly, you want to drip content monthly. Or have a plan for weekly content. It goes out a week, after week. And most membership plugins will let you drip content. They might get a video a week. Or two videos a week. Or a video and a PDF a week. So you only ever have to be in front of your oldest member. If your oldest member signed up last month, you only need to be like in month two. The end of month two, or month three to… You’ve just got to be ahead of that person. You don’t need all of it at once. It’s one of the nice things about memberships.

2. Affiliate Offers

You also want to be sure to put affiliate offers inside your membership pages. I was just talking about this yesterday. When you’re creating a course, mention the software that you use. Or mention the people you learned from, or mention whatever. If there’s an affiliate offer, or I mean, like literally you could have an affiliate link to an iPad. You can have an affiliate link to a USB drive. Talking about USB drives. I mean I think this thing was a hundred bucks or whatever. So you can have affiliate links for everything and get paid affiliate-wise.

We used to do a lot of this where we would create like a low-ticket front-end course. And then we’d have some affiliate links in the backside. And the affiliate links were generally like half… We’d make half of what we did on the front side, we would make through the affiliate programs. And then that becomes a passive revenue stream for everybody going through the course. Make sure to use affiliate links where possible.

3. Give away Bonuses

Then you also want to give, it’s encouraged to give away bonuses. Giveaway a video, or an ebook, or something that people didn’t know they were going to get. Surprise them a little bit. And it might be, it’s good to surprise them right before they rebill. Like if the rebill is on the monthly rebill… This is one thing you’re going to have to figure out about churn is if the rebill is in 30 days, which for the most part they are, you’re going to want to send them something like the 27, day 28, to get them to be excited about re-upping. Because day 27, day 28, they’re thinking about canceling. Especially if they’re in like month three, month four, month five.

They might not be, but by and large, we’ve built and sold hundreds of subscription websites for clients. And a lot of times like day 27, day 28, you always get that. Rarely, anybody’s ever going to cancel into a new cycle. They might like immediately after, like a day after, because they were going to cancel but they got rebilled.

But, they always cancel at the end. If you can send them something special, send them a bonus right before their next rebill. You’re going to keep a lot more people with you for longer. A bonus is a great way of doing that. Hey surprise, day 27 of this current billing cycle, you get this PDF. And then day 27 of the next billing cycle, you’re going to get access to the special workshop, or the special quiz, or this little freebie app that we coded up. There are lots of ways to do it. And you also want to decide whether you want to do a monthly membership or onetime payment.

Monthly memberships are great because you can make recurring revenue. The onetime payment, however. Especially right now, people aren’t all that excited about monthly payments. People are canceling and charging them back. The annual is kind of where you want to be. We try to sell the annual, try to sell one time, and then if they maybe upgrade, you can work the monthly membership back into it. But what we found is that if you have a monthly membership, let’s say your monthly membership is $37.

Let’s say 10 just for the sake of math. Let’s say your monthly membership is $10, and then you offer an annual subscription. And say the annual subscription is $60 so they saved. It’s half off if they buy the annual subscription. Then about 60% of people are going to buy that annual subscription. So if they’re presented side by side, and especially if they’re presented.

It was called the decoy method, which a friend of mine coined I think way back in the day. It’s who I learned it from, at least. His name is Mike Hill. But so basically it’s three different pricing options. You have your low ticket, your mid ticket, and then your high ticket. So, generally what you want to do is you want to call attention to the mid ticket, which that upsells them into the high ticket. So it might be like $10 digital access, $25 digital, $25 magazine access. Or like $27 digital and magazine access.

Do you know what I mean? Something, so like you want to make that middle one just not a good deal at all. Just like apparent that they need to, they need to pick one of the other. And they usually go to the upper one because it’s a combination of the two lower. It’s an interesting strategy. Now locking content inside subscription websites discourages sharing on black-hat sites, and through friends and family, and forums. It still does happen though.

People are going to download the stuff. Now, since the video is so prevalent, I mean we talked yesterday about Vimeo and Wistia, so you can lock your content in Vimeo or Wistia. And again, somebody can download them. There are browser applications, that will let them download the video. But, by and large, they don’t. By and large, they leave it alone. It’s locked in there, and it’s good.

You can have a forum, you can have profiles, you can have… A lot of people just use Facebook groups for this. That’s how they foster community. And it’s a good idea to have a forum inside a membership site if you want to grow that membership site. There’s a great book called The Membership Economy. And basically, it talks about the community that memberships provide. And it’s not just a membership as in like you’re paying membership for something, but you’re a member of something.

How when you’re a member of something, then you tend to take ownership of it, and you tend to promote it more longterm. A great example, actually was, I think the Tribe course closed down last night. And they did huge numbers. They might be closing down today. I don’t know. I haven’t followed the launch, other than the four people now who have asked me what I thought of the program. Which, is a good program. I went through it a couple of years ago for a client.

But the Tribe has an incredible community around it. They are subscription websites about building subscription websites. And of course, the members in it are super passionate about the membership sites in the community. It’s like just members all the way around. But it had a huge launch, and people showed up. The community was engaged. The whole community was engaged. I mean, everybody. The internet has been buzzing about it for the last couple of days. If you’re in the internet marketing space, you know this. That’s part of the membership.

Also, you want to survey members to see what they want to do next. If you are finishing month one, and you have month two’s content in the bag, see what they want from month three. Send them a survey, send them an email saying, “Hey, what do you want to learn? What can I teach you next month?” And you will be surprised at how quickly they will respond, and also how much insight they’ll give you into what you need to create. And then of course, what you need to sell them. Because that’s the other side of it.

Membership Prices

Now memberships, if you expect somebody to pay monthly, we have done $37 memberships, $5 memberships, $97 memberships, $497 a month memberships. I would say that for in an introductory membership, $37 and $97 if you want like a… If it’s going to be a solid membership. If you want like lead gen? It’s like a buyer generator, then five to $10 that it’ll have like a year, two years, three years churn. People will be in that thing forever because it’s more complicated to cancel a $5 a month program than it is to not. They just won’t. You’ll have people in their membership forever.

So $37 to $67 is kind of where you want to be. You can go up if it’s like a mastermind or a very, very solid group. You can do $297, $197, $297. It just depends on where you want to go. I would always make sure to price an annual subscription in there too. If they sign up for the monthly, then you can upsell the yearly. Or you can, as I said, you can just show all three prices next to each other, and then they can make the choice themselves. And there’s a lot of people who will just naturally gravitate to that upper price. Because they don’t want the monthly, we all hate membership. We hate monthly’s, just in general. Human beings hate paying for something monthly.

But we do if it helps us substance subsidize the cost. But if you make it a no brainer, for them to jump into annual, then you get your money faster and they’re locked in for at least a year. It ends up being a win, win for you.

Now let’s go around the web and we’re going to check out some plugins. And then I’m going to kind of show you… I’m going to just go to walk through Wishlist Member, so you can see the dashboard, see how it all works. And then we’ll kind of close up shop. I’m going to switch browsers here. All right. Is that helpful? Do you guys have subscription websites’ thoughts? All right. I’m going to stop sharing my screen. Oh. I got a weird hair thing and my bald spot back there. That is fun. All right.

All right. Somebody gave me a thumbs up because of my bald spot joke. That’s funny. It was probably my wife. Was it my wife? No. It was not. That’s awesome.

All right. We have a Wishlist. Wishlist Products is the membership that we use. We also have lately been using LearnDash a little bit. I’m just going to go right to left here. So WordPress… LearnDash is a plugin that allows you to set up a WordPress site, and then you can… You set up a WordPress site, and then you install the plugin, and then what it does is it sets up the membership functionality for you. So it handles your members and handles your content.

It protects your content, it protects your images, it protects your downloads. It also does some pretty cool things. This particular one does. I mean, you can do checkout through it. So it will process payments for your membership course for you. There are, you can do like certifications, or like group buys. You can sell somebody like 50 licenses. And then their people can use those 50 licenses.

There’s some cool advanced stuff with LearnDash. It is probably one of my favorite of the fancy plugins. It is. It’s super nice. You can do drip feed content. There are engagement triggers. It has some gamification in there. You can do certificates, and points, and badges. All, really, really cool stuff.

Then there is Wishlist Member. So Wishlist Member is a very, kind of stripped-down version of… But it does great. I mean, it does what it does extremely, extremely well. Wishlist Member is the first membership plugin… Well, it’s the first easy membership plugin that I ever used. I used it years ago. There was a course that showed you how to go through and build subscription websites in aMember.

Remember, way before… You can kind of tell how old this is. I mean like look at this thing. Like, this is the interface right there. But an aMember was a membership software. It was flexible sure. It’s still very old. And we have a client that is running it. A member, right now all their stuff is built in an amber. and getting them out of it would just be, whatever.

Wishlist Member, super easy to use. This also does drip content. It handles your memberships and it will run your sales. It will do your marketing automation and protect your content. And we ended up buying a developer license years ago. Years and years ago, and it has worked out nicely for us.

What I’m going to do is I’m going to go into subscription websites that are running Wishlist Member. And then I am going to go from there. This website is running the Wishlist Member. You can see down here over on the left-hand side. I just installed it. Just installed this morning. I want to walk through some of the different settings.

Basically, when you install Wishlist Member, they have this little like onboard… They create all your default, generic pages. You can go through and set a page for non-members. And set a page for people who are on the wrong membership level, or cancel their membership or any of those things. After registration, they go here. And after the login, they go here. The main and most important thing is you have your members listings here. You can go through and add in all of your members.

And then we have levels. The levels are the different things that you’re going to charge money for. In this particular instance, we have one membership. And this one membership… We set up the level, and it gives us this little registration URL. So if we copy this and then go into… Not LearnDash. We’re going to just copy this. Maybe it won’t work, maybe it won’t copy like it’s supposed to. No. We’re going to need to do this. We’re just going to copy it the long way. Where we highlight and hit control-C. There we go. All right.

What’s going to happen, it’s going to send us to a membership registration page. I am a new user. We enter our first name. Jason Drohn. Blah blah blah. And then username. Now we’re going to submit the registration. And what I’m doing is I’m registering for that membership category. It doesn’t like that I used my same email address. So, J Drohn. All right.

I’m going to hit, submit the registration. And the username I chose already exists, because of whatever. Anyway, you get it. We ended up going in. We create subscription websites. It adds to me as a member. And now all of my levels, everything that I want access to get unlocked. We can have as many membership levels as we want. And how the drip functionality works is we have membership one, then…

It might be membership week one, and then membership week two. How you set it up, is membership week one has access to so many, to these four modules. And then membership week two has access to these additional four modules. And then you just drip them. You step a member through that process. They go week one, week two, week three, week four. And the modules get unlocked for them.

That’s how you would drip somebody through. There’s actually, in Wishlist Member is called a sequential upgrade. We’re going to move somebody from membership to, the next level is going to be like membership week two. After seven days. You see how that works. Or you can do it after 30 days. You can do month one, month two, month three. Everybody’s moving through it at the same time. You’re not dropping a bunch of content on them all at once. And they go that way.

Underneath integration, you can integrate with any… Well not any, but a lot of shopping carts, to one shopping cart. We generally use Stripe or SamCart. There’s UltraCart, PayPal, there are Autoresponder integrations here. We have ActiveCampaign, AWeber, Infusionsoft. There are webinar integrations too. Basically, payment comes in, membership gets unlocked, and then we add this person to the buyer’s list over in AWeber, or over in ActiveCampaign, wherever it ends up being. That is how you would set that up.

And then really the only thing, like after all this stuff is set up, you just need to start adding your content. In the content section, we go to pages or posts. Whatever content you’re trying to protect. And then we just check all of the ones that we want to protect. All these have the… Well, that one has a lock. But these don’t have locks. These are currently unlocked.

We’re just going to edit the protection status to protect it. I would hit apply. If I wanted to add levels, I would just hit, add levels. And then we’re going to go to… Let’s see, so I can remove it. Yeah. Add levels. And this is going to be membership. And then, apply. Then that would make sure that all of those pages are only available if somebody is logged in, and part of the membership. Does that make sense? Cool.

That’s about it for memberships. Oh. I did want to show you the other… This is if you want to manage your membership. You want to dig into WordPress and all of that. That’s cool. If not, then Kajabi is a brilliant platform for building subscription websites, delivering content. It’s a knowledge commerce platform so, fantastic software works well. You can set up marketing pages and sales funnels and all that stuff inside Kajabi.

There’s another piece of software that we like, which is Teachable. Teachable, we have a client who is running Teachable right now. You can set up quizzes, they also do video hosting. It’s very dragging and drops. It’s very nice. You can do some pretty intricate curriculums in here. And it’s not hard at all to set up. If you want kind of a software solution to just handle all the brunt of the individual settings and stuff that we just went through, you can look at Kajabi or teachable for those.

For Questions and Guide

If you guys have any questions at all, you can just go to Or if you want to set up an action plan called, where we talk through how to set up subscription websites for you? How to create the content. How to sell that content. And how to build a sales funnel. How to do the marketing automation that powers at all. Go to and I would be happy to jump on a call with you. And I will talk to you soon.

All right. Tomorrow is Friday. I don’t know what we’re going to talk about tomorrow. I’m not sure what our roadmap said. Let’s see, tomorrow we are going to cover… We went through eBooks, subscription websites, membership sites, video courses, audio programs we kind of covered.

Webinar programs and teleseminar series. Let’s do that. We’re going to go through and talk about doing… We’re going to talk about doing multi-day, multi webinar boot camps. That’s it. I think that’s a pretty solid one for today or tomorrow. Cool. I will see you tomorrow. Have fun. And if you need me, let me know. Go to and I’ll talk to you soon. All right? Thanks. Bye.

Get This Sales Funnel Custom Built >> Click Here!