This post is excellence if you want to transform your WordPress site into a fully functional membership site? Then you certainly need to obtain a membership plugin to install in your WordPress site. With a membership plugin, you can create a place where you can have a library of premium content and make it accessible only to your registered members.
But choosing the correct membership plugin for your situation is essential for your business as it is hard to back out if your decision turns out to be wrong.
Whether you are keen to generate recurring income, sell online courses, or want to build a list of loyal registered members, the following WordPress Wednesday post can help you choose a WordPress membership plugin that can meet your requirements.
Building a membership site with a membership plugin
Crafting a membership site will allow you to limit access to downloads, online content, forums, and support to your registered users only.
Here are some reasons for having a membership site
- Create a engaging email list: You can create a content library and make it accessible to only your registered users. You can also add your users to your email list too.
- Demonstrate your authority: Having a membership site and providing content behind a paywall can help you establish yourself as an authority and it enables you to raise a connection with your members.
- Earn recurring income: Influence users to pay for the subscription and generate recurring revenue.
Choosing a membership plugin for WordPress
Choosing the best WordPress membership plugin can be a hard task. So before you dive in, here are a few points you need to keep in mind when choosing a membership plugin.
Ease of use
You will need a plugin that is easy to use, as you might want to hire a developer to help and set up your membership site, there’s are some plugins that has a full set of features out of the box. This sound good at first, but the downside could be that the user interface will be bloated with options that you probably won’t need.
There’s are some lightweight plugins that won’t bloat your interface by only providing the essential features right out of the box and, if you want additional features, you can simply install additional add-ons.
It would be best if you made sure the plugin you’ve selected is compatible with your existing theme and plugins by testing it out on a staging environment, this is to make sure that everything goes smoothly, then you can install the plugin on your live site.
Design and features
WordPress Membership plugins usually come with various pricing page templates and extra features that make your site look different. So remember to take a note of the essential features you will need on your site and figure out if the plugin you are considering can meet your requirements.
s2Member is a free membership plugin, it has a remarkable variety of features that you can find with a free plugin but though they are limited.
With the standard plugin, you can restrict posts/pages, custom post types, and categories. It also adds a couple of neat restriction methods, though. You can restrict BuddyPress, specific URL fragments but also particular pieces of content in full posts and plus you can restrict streaming media and file downloads.
You will also get access to tools like email templates, custom login welcome pages, IP restrictions, and brute-force protection.
You will notice with the free version is that it’s limited to four paid membership levels and cannot create coupon codes or drip content, among other feature restrictions. So if you are serious about creating a membership site, you will almost need to go with one of the paid versions to get those restricted features.
Price: Free, pro versions start at $89.00
WP-Members is a WordPress membership plugin. Just like s2Member, you will notice that it you may need some of the paid add-ons to get the functionality you want.
WP-Members works opposite to the other plugins, instead of restricting certain content, this plugin restricts all of your content. Then, you mark the content you want to be available to all but you can reverse this setting.
This plugin also makes it easy to add custom registration and login forms specific to your membership site, and you can use these tools to create specific URLs for your registration page. WP-Members is highly customisable. It also includes a number of paid add-ons to add integrations, subscriptions and more.
Price: Free, all add-ons are available as part of a $59.00 per year membership.
MemberMouse is one feature-rich membership plugins, this plugin let’s you create levels and bundles. Membership levels are what you would expect from any membership plugin, but with bundles it allow you to sell individual or groups of posts/pages on a one-off basis.
Also MemberMouse lets you drip out your content and they include this feature that let’s you experience your course as a member.
Also it includes a widget that lets subscribers see what content they have access to and what is restricted content is still to come. As for that restricted content, MemberMouse lets you restrict by posts, pages, custom post types, and categories.
MemberMouse includes a set of tools built for optimisation, you can also offer different coupon codes and integrate with heaps of third-party email marketing services and payment gateways, and it even includes an API for you to sync in custom ways.
Price: Starting at $19.95 per month
Restrict Content Pro is one of the most prominent names when it comes to membership plugins. It’s from Pippin’s Plugins, the same team behind Easy Digital Downloads and AffiliateWP.
Restrict Content Pro let’s you create unlimited subscription levels and you can choose between free, trial and premium subscriptions which gives you a great deal of flexibility.
With pricing you can get creative as for paid memberships, you can choose to charge a fee for a set period or as an optional one-time fee.
If users want to move between plans, they can upgrade or downgrade and have the amount they paid pro-rated to their new plan. Restrict Content Pro lets you restrict content on a per-post basis or you can use shortcodes to only restrict specific content.
With this plugin you can create coupon codes, though its only for a flat rate or percentage but combined with restricting the codes to specific membership levels. You can integrate with external services, with the plugin and it works with WooCommerce, Easy Digital Downloads, and a wide range of email marketing services and payment gateways.
Price: Starting at $99.00 per year
MemberPress is a popular and well-supported plugin. It includes all the standard features you would expect. With this plugin, you can create unlimited membership levels with all kinds of trial periods and payment options. And you can even categorise different membership levels into “Membership Groups” to create predefined upgrade paths.
You can restrict content in many ways. You can go wide and restrict whole categories or sets of child pages, or you can go restrict only parts of a post or page, or you can restrict access to individual files to help you manage downloads.
MemberPress gives you all types of reports so you can see how well your membership site is performing and it also has a feature called MemberPress Reminders which lets you send out emails when specific events occur such as subscription renewal.
This plugin can integrate with some major email marketing services, but also with payment gateways like PayPal, Authorize.Net and Stripe, it can be integrated with LearnDash, that unlocks some powerful online course functionality.
Also it has unlimited coupons and a built-in affiliate program to round out the feature set of this plugin.
Price: Starting at $149.00