Premise: Membership Sites from Copyblogger Media

If you want your business to grow, make sure you can easily grant access to members only content for your customers and clients, in addition to your blog posts and other public content.

My review of Premise

Premise is a deceptively simple, but feature rich, tool.

If you use WordPress, Premise works with your existing theme. You can keep your web site design, and also quickly get set up to sell your products or services, password protect video or downloads, or set up membership sites and online classes, so only members can log in and see your password protected content.

Premise quickly took over the space from players like WishList Member and Digital Access Pass.

You can’t buy Premise now, (see below,) but if you already own it, pat yourself on the back for being so smart and go ahead and use it. If you decide to switch to Rainmaker later, you’ll be able to do do pretty smoothly

Build your business with Members Only Content

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Premise can add your buyers or subscribers to your AWeber or MailChimp email list — to a specific list of your choice.

Premise supports vBulletin 5, and you can also use bbPress forums.

Premise will work with PayPal (and others) to take payments, so you can sell your services and downloadable products. Premise serves as the storefront and shopping cart, assigns member access, tracks recurring payments, and even adds members to the AWeber or MailChimp email list for that course or product, and, optionally to your private vBulletin or bbPress forum.

You can easily add new products and new password protected pages, or downloads, that can only be seen by your members.

Premise also makes it easy to create good looking landing pages, useful for your email opt in page and much more.

I’ve upgraded to Premise 2.5.3, and so far I’m very happy with the new features. This is what I’ve used here at The Good Girls’ Guide and for clients since Premise first came out.

I’ve already updated several client sites to include the new AWeber integration that I think will be the most popular feature of this release.

Features in Premise include
  • Google Ecommerce tracking support
  • Product specific Thank You pages
  • Multiple currency support
  • Price column protection, for insiders-only pricing on sales pages


  • You select exactly what pages, products and downloads are available to your members or clients.
  • Automatically publish content to your members, on the schedule you select
  • Take recurring payments
  • Password protected, secure downloads for your digital content, from ebooks to software downloads.
  • Take PayPal and payments
  • Clickbank integration
  • Works well with Scribe from Copyblogger
  • Sales reports

Membership Access Settings, in Premise

Premise is a WordPress plugin, built to work with any WordPress theme, and easy enough to use that you can set it up yourself, even if you do need to look at the tutorials.

And in my experience as a customer, the Copyblogger Media folks take support seriously, so their help staff really are helpful.

Custom Landing Pages

Premise makes it easy to create the special page layouts that make good landing pages, for your email opt-in page, special offers, featured content, video, social sharing campaigns, sales pages and more.

Because, of course, landing pages convert better — they take out distracting elements, the usual headers, navigation and sidebars on your site. Without that distraction, your landing page visitors are focused on the content — on that one key thing you want them to do.

Landing Pages include plenty of options, all with easy to change fonts, styles and colors, plus custom arrows, buttons and other graphics. Premise makes it possible for ordinary humans to set up nice looking, optimized pages that do their job well. 5 Landing Page Mistakes that Crush Conversion Rates: #2, Using your regular site design

Build your business with Members Only Content

Join my email list to make sure you don't miss new content -- and you'll be invited to my next free webinar on using Premise and Rainmaker to build your business.

Members – Only Access to Your Products

Password Protected Pages. You can set up password protection on any or all pf your products, from digital downloads (pdfs, ebooks, classes, plugins, and more,) to your various membership options. You can easily see all your products and set up new ones, including price, when the buyer will have access to the product, settings for an email receipt, and for access levels. You can also see all the orders, everything purchased on your site, including reports of products sold, date, price and sales totals, for the time period you select.

Members Only Forum

You can use bbPress forums or, now, Premise will integrate with the very feature rich vBulletin to set up private forum threads for your members, for customers or clients. Buyers can be automatically added to a Registered Users group with access to your forum area for people taking your latest class, or product support, for instance. (vBulletin is a separate purchase.) Now since the Premise 2.03 update, it also adds members to vBulletin & to your discussion boards for free memberships also.

File Protection

Protected digital downloads, just for your members or clients. You can protect your digital files and also keep them available for download only by your customers or members. Premise protects the digital downloads you put in a specific folder on your web server. (You can set the name of your “secret” server folder in Premise Member Access Settings, under File Protection Settings.) Because this method doesn’t work to protect files downloaded from other locations, for instance, if you use Amazon S3 for file storage, you’ll need to go on using your existing setup to protect those downloads. Again, you can protect the content or link on a page, but to protect the actual download link, the files do have to be on your web server in your special folder. I have confirmed this with support — and you may want to put in a feature request asking them to add a way to protect downloads stored elsewhere. However, the same is true for WishList Member, protected content is whatever is in a folder on your web server, not including files in other locations like Amazon S3.

Take Money

You can accept payment from Paypal or That’s what you probably want for a membership site or coaching program, for instance, with monthly payments. You can also use Braintree, 2Checkout, Stripe or ClickBank.

Check out the step-by-step tutorial video. It shows exactly how to set up a membership manually, how to move existing members from WishList Member into Premise, and give them membership access.

Video Tutorial: How to Set Up a Free Membership in Premise

  • How to set up a free membership,
  • How to move existing members from WishList Member into Premise and
  • How to give access to your membership site and password-protected content.

Click play and watch this step-by-step tutorial now.


Yes, now you can set up Coupons, and the latest 2.5.3 update includes fixes for the coupon features.

You can set:

  • Type of discount (percentage or dollar amount,)
  • Make the coupon valid only for new or only for existing customers, or both,
  • Coupons for your Trial Payment or Subscription Payments,
  • Start and ending dates and times for your coupon,
  • Set up coupons for a single product, a few products, or all products
Seminars Included

Beyond how to use the tools, seminars include copywriting, conversion, and on-page suggestions for each kind of landing page – very helpful reminders of what to consider including in your own pages. The included educational materials? I think they’re worth the price of Premise all by themselves.

Split Testing and Other Geeky Stuff

Wondering if your landing pages really do convince visitors to click, buy or subscribe? Premise makes it easy to find out, with easy split-testing (from WordPress) and SEO tools, plus a series of seminars about conversion optimization. And, Premise now includes support for Google Ecommerce tracking.


Useful! Easy to use, strong support, with great education on how to get the most out of the tool. My conclusion? If your small business uses WordPress and you need to turn more of your visitors into subscribers and buyers, this is a tool that will support  you now and help your business grow. If you sell downloadable products, offer classes, want file protection or have customers or clients you’d like to have password protected access to your work,  I’d say if you already own Premise, use it.

Premise isn’t for sale now. If you don’t own it? Get on my email list and discover your options, including the new Rainmaker, from Copyblogger Media.

Premise is no longer for sale…What does that mean for you?

Can you still use Premise?
Yes. If you already own Premise, you can go right ahead and use it.

What happened to Premise?
Brian Clark wrote that Premise is retiring so that a “grander vision will come out to play. He also said that they will “continue to improve functionality and upgrade owners at no charge.”

And: “Just to be clear, taking Premise off the market won’t affect those who own it.”

Need help?
Sign up for my email list and you’ll be invited to my next webinar

New Rainmaker

The new Rainmaker, from Copyblogger Media is a very powerful option to help you connect with your audience.

The new grand vision is New Rainmaker, from Copyblogger Media.

For more on Rainmaker, membership sites, and Premise, read MembershipSites-101.

Build your business with Members Only Content

Join my email list to make sure you don't miss new content -- and you'll be invited to my next free webinar on using Premise and Rainmaker to build your business.

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About Kathleen Craig

Online business helper, writer, teacher, tech-junkie. Serving strategic online engagement. Seeking great coffee.