February 10, 2021

Should you separate out your Sales and Membership Content?

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People often ask us, "Is it is best to keep everything (sales, blog, member content) on one site, or better to use a subdomain for the membership site?".

There's no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. It depends on a few things.

  • How busy is your site?
  • Are you on a shared hosting platform?
  • Are you running into site slowness issues?
  • How comfortable you are with WordPress?  Can you manage two different sites/domains or two different WordPress installs?

If you are just starting out and are new to WordPress, I won't recommend setting up two different WordPress sites. It'll be a distraction. Every new site will result in more maintenance work. 

Get comfortable with WordPress, focus on your content/community and launch your membership site first. 

You can always separate it out later using a plugin such as Duplicator.

However, if you already have a blog and now want to convert it into a membership site, it's better to separate it out for performance reasons. This way you can use all the features of a cache plugin such as WP Rocket on your sales/blog site, without having to whitelist all membership pages.

As far as separating out your membership content, you have two options:

Use the Same Domain

Use the same domain but just install WordPress in a subfolder. For e.g. blog and sales content on yoursite.com and membership on yoursite.com/members.

It'll be easier to manage it this way as everything will be on the same domain. And you can use all the features of a cache plugin in your main WordPress install where you have the sales site / blog.

Use a subdomain for Membership

Use your main domain for sales/blog and a subdomain for member site. This way, whatever you do on your membership site, won't impact your sales/blog site. You can also use all the features of a cache plugin on your sales / blog site.

Recently one of our users, who runs a very busy/active site, with a ton of content and active plugins, all on the same domain, reached out to us as he wanted to know if he should move his membership content to a subdomain.

While it makes sense to separate out membership into a separate domain in this case, you need to have a solid plan before you start migrating content to a different domain.

Here are the key steps:

1. Use a plugin like duplicator to copy your entire site over to a subdomain install. Some webhosts (such as siteground) come with an easy site migrator tool to help you move from one domain to another.

If you use DAP as your membership plugin and SPC as your shopping cart plugin, both duplicator and siteground site migrators will copy over DAP/SPC tables to the destination site.

2. After you move membership content to subdomain, remove everything you don't need from your subdomain install, such as plugins that you only need on the main domain. 

3. Test everything on the subdomain site - login, content access, payment buttons. etc.

4. Now replace one of the payment links on your sales page (on the main domain) with a payment / button link you get from SPC on the subdomain. Test and make sure it's working.

5. In the meantime, your main site will continue to work as you have not yet removed the membership plugin or cart plugin from the main domain.

6. After you have replaced all of your payment buttons and connected them to the new links from the subdomain install, and updated the members menu on the main domain to point to subdomain, you can delete DAP from your main domain.

You can also remove your membership content from the main domain.

Be sure to take a full backup of your main site before you do this because if something goes wrong, you can rollback to the previous / working version.

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The 3 main challenges that most people face when it comes to building and launching an online course: 

1. No list or small list.
2. Busy schedule.
3. Don't know how to put it all together, organize and deliver.

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