I'd like to give a big welcome to my good friend, Lynette Chandler who is going to answer an age-old question for us.
Amember or Wishlist: Which is the Better Program to Run YOUR Membership Site?
I'll pass the stage to Lynette…
Amember vs. Wishlist Member
Having worked behind the scenes of many membership sites since 2004 and also worked with both, I'd say I know a thing or two about them. If you are evaluating between aMember and Wishlist Member and asked my thoughts on them, this is more or less what I think.
Comparing Oranges And Lemons
Both systems allow you to set up gated content sites or sections, but aMember is actually more than that. aMember is designed to be a complete checkout-to-membership solution. It can generate order links that hook up to your payment processor like PayPal, and bring members back to log into the private member's area.
In contrast, Wishlist Member chose to leave the order processing part to shopping cart systems like 1ShoppingCart and focus on content protection. Sure if you're using PayPal only it can still work, just be prepared for some assembly to get it all up and running.
There's also this thing about one being a plugin and the other is a full standalone system.
Bottom line: If you don't already use a shopping cart system and you don't want to spend extra, you might be left with aMember.
Affiliates – The Bone of Contention
The lack of an affiliate program is one of the biggest reasons why people tell me they did not choose Wishlist Member. It is a good point yet, I also think one that is not entirely fair. Going back to what we discussed above, since Wishlist Member was designed to integrate with a shopping cart, I can only imagine it assumes the affiliate program would be better handled by the shopping cart itself.
Bottom line: If you are already using a shopping cart with a powerful affiliate system, it is best to handle affiliates internally and use Wishlist Member to do what is is best at. There are a lot of headaches trying to patch in an affiliate program where it wasn't designed to do so – spoken from experience.
Everybody wants to do everything under the sun inside WordPress and why not? It's a great system. Considering Wishlist Member is a plugin for WordPress, by default it wins as far as integration goes.
At the time of writing, aMember has two plugins for WordPress integration. The old one is very limited and the only thing it is meant to do is create user accounts inside WordPress when a payment is made and remove them when payment is reversed or subscription canceled. No content protection. The new still in beta plugin for WordPress lets you protect content and manage user accounts.
Bottom line: Both can integrate with WordPress. At this time, aMember is slightly disadvantaged as the new and better plugin is still in beta.
Drip, Drip, Drip
Drip content or the ability to slowly release content over time is among the hottest requests. Wishlist Member can do this in a somewhat clumsy fashion. You need to set up multiple levels and ‘graduate' members through each level.
As for aMember, this feature can be accomplished using the Incremental Content plugin which is an extra cost.
Bottom line: Setup for drip content is easier in Wishlist Member and if you choose aMember, remember to factor in the extra cost.
Mixing And Matching
Sometimes there are things you want handled outside of WordPress. A forum is one example. At this time, WordPress forum options aren't exactly stellar. They work OK, just not as well as a native forum. In this area of connecting to other systems, aMember shines. You can use regular HTML, add a forum, use Moodle, WordPress or use all of them together if you wanted to.
Bottom line: If you will be integrating different systems aMember is it.
After All's Said And Done
There's so much to say about each of these systems, it's not possible to cover all in one post. Ultimately, don't focus too much on the software. Make your decision on how you envision your membership site to be. Note all your smallest and grandest plans for it. Then use that as your measuring stick instead of building the membership around a software's capabilities.
Lynette Chandler is founder of TechBasedTraining.com and has developed several quick, easily digestible training programs on both aMember and Wishlist Member. If you ever get overwhelmed where to begin with the setup and structure of your membership site, check out Lynette's training.
Hey guys and gals – If this is a little overwhelming, I understand.
First, there is NO perfect system.
Second, there is NO perfect system. 😉
Third, every day you waste trying to make a decision is a day you can't profit from it.
I've used Amember and currently have 3 sites using it. It's not perfect, but it is powerful and there are people who can help you set it up right. Do I love it? Nah. Does it work? Yep! Especially now that I've gone through some of Lynette's training so I know what the heck I'm doing! 🙂
Speaking of which – Lynette has some training on each of the options above that I wanted you to know about in case you were considering either for your membership site.
Rapid Wishlist Membership Site Development: Profit from a Wishlist powered membership site before the week is over.
Amember Power Series: Quick Membership Site Setup Kit
-> See more Training from Lynette here: Full List of Courses
I hope you enjoyed this! Please share your experience with either solution or ask your questions below.