The videos and links on this page will give you a full picture on how to sell digital content such as online classes, music, scores, group lessons and more on your own website and taking payment directly.
This includes creating a membership site or classroom, taking recurring payments and more.
I believe it’s more important than ever to have a source of passive income these days, especially for musicians and artists (though the content here applies to any field) and hope that this presentation gives you an idea of some ways this could be possible for you.
Video Guide in 5 Parts
Here are the links for everything mentioned in the videos, as well as some recommended tools, organized by section.
These come from my personal experience or research, your feedback is welcome. Note that some of these are affiliate links.
No matter what route you choose, you will at the very least want your own domain name
The “domain name” is the .com, .net etc site that you choose. For example, EvanGregor.com
This is purchased separately from hosting, even though some companies allow you to buy both through them.
I recommend buying domain names from NameCheap no matter who you choose for hosting, if you host at all.
Hosting is the server where your website and all of the content are stored
it is what makes something show up when people visit evangregor.com.
“Shared Hosting” is fine for 90% of those of you starting out. If you need more speed, resources or storage as you build your site or grow in customers, you can upgrade. If you like to start with the best out of the gate, you can scroll down to the WPEngine Hosting.
Namecheap -Domains & HostingDomain / Shared Hosting / Security Certificate
- I personally use them and have had very good experience, especially with customer service.
- Easy to get everything you need from one place, and cheaper than many (far) worse providers out there.
Click Here for SiteGround – In a poll of Digital Access Pass users, siteground won as the favorite by a good margin for hosting.
High End Option
When you are ready to upgrade, or want to start with a high end hosting from the beginning, use WPEngine. This is top of the line wordpress hosting, security, speed, reliability. We use it on a site that has lots of courses and daily use.
It is significantly more expensive than shared hosting but very much worth it when you need it.
WordPress is 100% free. If you are planning on hosting your own site and using something like Digital Access Pass as in the videos, you will need to have it.
If you don’t already have a WordPress site and are doing this all yourself, you can install it through your host or manually.
You may want to have it installed for you. If that is the case, one suggestion I have used many times myself is to go the website “Fiverr” and hire someone to do it for $5-10. Search for “install wordpress” and look for users with good reviews. Fiverr could be a good source for just about any part of this process. Check out Fiverr for having installations done for you, with optimizations for speed, SSL and other options.
When it comes to the actual design of your site, here are a few of the options as I see them, with obvious pros and cons in terms of cost, potential quality of result, and amount of work on your end.
- Hiring a professional designer to do everything
- Hiring a designer to give a basic overall look, then working yourself inside of that
- Use a premium theme that has more advanced design features or templates you can work with or fill in, giving you some nice looking options even if you are not a designer (this is me)
- Straight up doing it all yourself. If you know how to do that, you’re probably not even reading this.
Hiring a Professional Designer
This is obviously the most expensive choice, but can give you the best possible look, the most options as they are able to custom design, and the least work on your end.
Brenda’s site which is shown in the video, and her course (coming soon) pages were designed by Janelle @ Ellanyze. This is a professional web design business and the cost will reflect that but so do the results. Click Here for Ellanyze
Using a Premium Theme and Templates
Divi ThemeLive WordPress Editing and Templates
- DIVI actually changes the entire way you can edit in wordpress, making it more like a ‘what you see is what you get’ direct editor.
- It has a lot of templates – everything you are looking at on this page, or in the video examples, is done on DIVI or paint-by-numbers with one of their templates. You can see me using it in the video below this.
- I would not call this “easy” if you have no experience at all with websites, but I would call it a lot more direct than regular wordpress.
- If you are like me who can get around but are not a designer, and don’t want to hire one everytime but still make something more professional looking, I am pleased with it.
EvanGregor.com (the home page, which looks a lot different and more stylized than what you are looking at here) was made with DIVI plus a child theme, and was very easy for me to do myself.
JOSEFIN Add-on to DiviLive WordPress Editing and Templates
- Josefin is a “child theme” which gives a pre-created format and style to DIVI
- I made the main site and homepage for EvanGregor.com easily with one of its pre-built templates and am very happy with it
You will want PayPal and Stripe for accepting payments. These are completely free, the only payment comes from the fee that is taken on transactions.
Click Here to Signup for Stripe
Vimeo PlusProtected Videos and More
- This will allow you to protect selected videos so that they can only be played if it is embedded on your website. There are a lot of different Vimeo paid plans. For most of you, the inexpensive “Plus” plan will do everything you need.
- If you start using vimeo videos on landing pages and for business / promotion, you may need to upgrade to the Pro plan, which is also pretty insignificant cost wise in the scheme of things.
Digital Access Pass is the main piece of the puzzle that can turn your website, or any parts of it, into a membership, classroom, allow you to sell digital content, build and mail a mailing list, and much more.
Be sure to watch the main videos above for the full picture, and part 4 focuses specifically on DAP as well as the shopping cart options.
The SmartPayCart shopping cart which integrates directly with DAP drastically upgrades the experience, professional look and functionality, but is not 100% required to get started creating and selling.
Another very important benefit to using DAP and SmartPay Cart that was not mentioned in the videos is compliance. Especially with new GDPR laws starting May 2018, there are a lot of legal rules about storing any information from people, email addresses, passwords, and that they must actively agree to these terms. These programs help to take care of this for you and keep you in compliance.
Pricing and Options
The combo package of Digital Access Pass plus Smart Pay Cart is the premium option which gives you a lot of extra tools, setup assistance, and no need to manage or deal with anything else as far as payments. This is likely the best choice especially if you are fairly new to this. I find the yearly choice to be the most sensible, but it’s up to you (other choices are monthly or lifetime)
Digital Access Pass Pro + Shopping CartThe Most Complete, Easiest to Manage Package
- With this you get the full version of digital access pass, to set up on as many sites as you own, with setup support, premium customer support, lots of bonus plugins and unlimited updates
- The SmartPayCart lets you easily sell everything with good looking order forms easily, handle various types of payments, handle taxes, accounting, tracking, compliance, different offers, upsells, coupons and a lot more that beyond pays for itself. I use it even for just selling skype lessons / consultations.
You can order a single site license for DAP separately, with a year of support and upgrades, for a one time fee. This is the cheapest option and will let you get things rolling at a lower cost, and still very comprehensive. You’ll have some less features, without the shopping cart meaning you’ll need to use the built in methods. Click Here for DAP Separately
Click Here for Digital Access Pass Alone (without SmartPayCart)
If you already have DAP, or want to buy the single site license and get SPC separately, you do save some money vs the combo option above, with less features. The savings is only worth it if you are pretty savvy and comfortable managing the extra steps, and don’t need any setup support and aren’t interested in some of the Pro plugins.
AccessAlly is what I consider the premium solution for membership sites or online classrooms. I have used it extensively with a project I work with. It involves a monthly fee and is not the most budget solution, but it is the simplest to work with and most powerful.
Hopefully this was helpful to you.
Please leave any questions, comments, updates or feedback below. Thanks!