Creating a video membership site with WordPress and Vimeo
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Have you ever wanted to sell courses online, but don't know how? You're in luck, because you're about to learn exactly that.
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- 1. You need an LMS (Learning Management System)
- 2. You need to accept payments on your own platform
- 3. You need to keep your content as private and unshareable as possible
- The process
- 1. Install WordPress
- 2. Setting up LearnPress
- 3. Uploading your course to Vimeo
- 4. Vimeo privacy settings
- 5. Creating your course and Lessons
- 6. Setting up WooCommerce
- 7. Putting it all together
If you want to start a video membership site so you can
help your audience learn and grow guru your way to riches, doing so nowadays is easier than ever. It can be done for almost free, and the whole setup is quite easy to do.
I’ll be showing you how to do this with WordPress (along with LearnPress and WooCommerce) and Vimeo, and there are a few reasons why that’s a good choice that you may or may not be aware of:
1. You need an LMS (Learning Management System)
A Learning Management System is basically the place where your course/videos are going to be accessible to members who bought your stuff. The more familiar “lesson” look, the better. This is where the LearnPress plugin comes in.
With LearnPress, you can have a membership area of your site, where each course’s content can only be accessed by members who paid for said course.
2. You need to accept payments on your own platform
Sure, you can always sell your course on Udemy. However, Udemy takes a cut, and simply isn’t the most convenient platform for instructors.
In order to have your own membership site, you need to accept payments. While there are plenty of e-commerce platforms out there, in my opinion, none of them come even close to WooCommerce, which can be customized to even build a SaaS. WooCommerce is also free, unlike Shopify, for example. This is also why we’re using WordPress for this, which makes it easy to have both our landing page, LMS and checkout/orders all in one place.
Now, you can accept PayPal payments with LearnPress without using WooCommerce, but you may want to sell other types of products on your site as well, and accept card payments using a processor like Stripe, in which case WooCommerce is more than suitable for the job.
3. You need to keep your content as private and unshareable as possible
This is where Vimeo comes in. For $7/month on the yearly plan (or $12 monthly), you get rid of the headache of having to host your own video content and dealing with complex privacy settings. For example, your content shouldn’t be shareable to anyone outside of your membership area. While screen recording is one thing you can never protect your content from, non-members shouldn’t be able to easily view, download or embed your content on any place other than your membership area.
Now that you hopefully grasp why using WordPress and Vimeo for your membership site is a great idea, let’s get started on how to actually do it.
1. Install WordPress
This is something that you hopefully know how to do, but if you don’t, get yourself some nice web hosting, read this guide, and head to the next step.
2. Setting up LearnPress
This part is as simple as installing a WordPress plugin, because, well, LearnPress is a WordPress plugin. Head over to Plugins > Add New > search for LearnPress, install and activate the plugin.
3. Uploading your course to Vimeo
We’ll get back to LearnPress shortly, right after we’ve uploaded our course, assuming you have reasonable upload speed and didn’t render your videos with some stupid software making them a gigabyte each or something.
Anyway, for this you’ll need Vimeo plus, which costs $7 per month if paid annually or $12 if paid monthly. You might as well go with the annual plan, since you’re probably already a millionaire if you’re selling a guru course.
Either way, once you have the subscription just click the Upload button in the top right corner. You should have your files named according to chapters and probably have numbers on there or something because you’ll need to know which is which later.
Choose your files, and select to have the videos hidden from Vimeo.com
This is important because you don’t want your videos actually available on Vimeo through the video URL. If you have that, once someone buys your course they’ll be able to share your videos with the link and you don’t want that.
4. Vimeo privacy settings
What you do want, is to have the videos embeddable only on your site, and unavailable on Vimeo.com. This way, as long as you have a members section that only paid customers can access (which we’re doing with LearnPress), your course videos can only be embedded on your site and will be unavailable on Vimeo itself if they went to inspect the code and try to access the video link itself.
This way, you’re only using Vimeo as a video hosting platform that also happens to keep your videos safe and only accessible from your site, which in this case, will be the members area. If you would instead prefer to host your own videos, keep them loading smooth, and keeping them safe from non-buyers accessing them… Good luck.
Anyway, back to what we’re doing. Once your videos are uploaded, you’ll need to edit the Privacy settings for each and every one of them. Pain in the neck, I know. But this isn’t kindergarten so save your crying.
For the Privacy settings, you’ll need this for each video
Where yourdomain.com is your domain. The one where you have WordPress with LearnPress installed.
5. Creating your course and Lessons
Once you’ve done the Vimeo stuff and have LearnPress installed and activated, head over toLessons > Add New
You’ll basically be embedding each video lesson/chapter on these pages. On Vimeo, go back to the first video of your course, click Embed (top right), and copy the code. Then, paste it in the Text editor of your LearnPress Lesson. Something like this:
You can now Publish your lesson. Once you’ve done this for all of your lessons, go to Courses > Add New, and add them one by one in the Curriculum area. Publish your course, and you’ll soon be ready to start selling it.
6. Setting up WooCommerce
Now, you can use PayPal with LearnPress and just have your customers pay there. However, this may be inconvenient in some cases:
- If you have other things that you’re selling on your WordPress site and want to allow users to pay for them together.
- If you want the flexibility WooCommerce offers, such as adding Coupons etc
- If you want to use other payment processors such as Stripe and not rely only on PayPal
In that case, you want to have this done with WooCommerce. Now, note that while it is easy to take payments with WooCommerce (you just need to install and setup the plugin, for which there’s plenty of info available online), if you want it connected with LearnPress, you will either:
- Need this plugin or
- Need to create orders in LearnPress manually after an order was created with WooCommerce, which you do by creating a customer account for whoever bought your course, by going toUsers > Add New from the main WordPress dashboard:
And then creating a LearnPress order for that customer by going to LearnPress > Orders > Add New:
7. Putting it all together
- You now have a members area of LearnPress that only users (customers) with active LearnPress orders can access.
- You have a course with lessons on there, each of which has a video chapter of your course embedded in it.
- The Vimeo privacy settings don’t allow your video to be accessed from elsewhere, or embedded anywhere other than on the domain(s) you allowed.
- You are accepting payments with either LearnPress (if you only want to do PayPal), or WooCommerce, connected to LearnPress via the plugin, or with you manually adding in orders in LearnPress after a successful payment. If you’re getting a lot of orders, you’ll need that plugin.
- The worst case scenario ongoing costs for this setup are $12 per month for the Vimeo subscription, along with the $39 for the Wooommerce/LearnPress plugin (if you do decide to get that).
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I sell rare words
This was a nice read.
I will make you the honorary first member of my guru career. I’ll even see about getting you a discounted price.
Smart and simple guide. Me and my girlfriend always wanted to start selling our NSFW videos online :) Thank you!
Quick update... I'm going through the steps on this. I'm fucking shocked at how robust LearnPress is! I'm going to BE a university! Thanks again Huevos!
Thanks. I just finished using this method to make a subscriber section for my celeb feet pic site.
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