How to set up your Membership With WordPress
Below are two systems. The first system is how to set up a fully automated system using third party paid software. The second is using free plugins and is a semi automated system which is great for memberships under $30. This is a course we used to sell for mobile memberships and good to watch as you can use the tools and principles for a responsive site.
A great way of building recurrent revenue is having your own membership or subscription site.
What is a membership or subscription site?
In a nutshell, it is essentially a website where paid members pay you on a regular basis (weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly) for access to private paid content. A membership site may have benefits such as a private forum, audios and videos, or some type of specialized content.
Most people think that the key for success with a membership site is attracting members, but that’s not entirely true. Yes you do need to be good at marketing your site in order to fill it with members, but that’s only half the equation. It’s equally important to learn how to KEEP your members in your site.
A membership site requires work so adding new content is just as important as marketing and will also help reduce attrition. Other ways to keep and attract people is to run live webinars, Q & A sessions etc.
What To Charge?
This is probably the question I get asked the most. The answer is dependant on what you want to achieve. I run membership sites for free up to $97 a month and have friends that charge in the thousands.
The free ones are what I use to generate leads etc. The paid ones are for specific training on a certain topic and my friends membership are for mentoring, coaching or training and usually come with one to one interaction.
Here’s a breakdown of this 9 part video series in more detail.
Video #1: (Below) Introduction and Tools
You will be given a quick overview of each video in this video course and a brief introduction on how we will implement and set up your membership site. Next, we will discuss how to get into the right mindset, so that you can implement this at a faster and more successful rate. More importantly, we will discuss your specific needs first, so that you understand how to choose the right tools and strategies to apply to your own business. Watch this first one below.
Video #2:Your Products
It’s super easy to want to jump straight in and begin to set up your membership site. But that is the mistake that a lot of people make. What we need to do right now is to figure out what you are selling and who you are selling to, so that we can eventually map out how your membership site is going to flow.
Video #3: Price Points
Now that we have discussed what products you are selling and who you are selling to, it’s time to figure out how you will price your products and services. This is crucial because this tells us how and what we need to do in terms of your membership setup process.
Video #4: Map It Out
Now, I will show you how to properly map out a flow chart, which will allow you to see each step of how to set up your membership site. This is often the overlooked part of the process that people tend to skip. Unfortunately, by skipping this, you will fail. So fortunately for you, you have access to this and will be one step ahead of your competition.
Video #5: Platforms
In this video, we will be discussing different types of platforms that you can use. By knowing which platform you want to move forward with, you will figure out what script you will need to buy.
Video #6: Required Site Pages
At this point in time, you should have a very good idea about what you want to do next. But before we talk about membership scripts, we need to discuss what types of pages you will be adding to your site. In other words, what is your user experience going to be like? This is very crucial because you can either make it or break it.
Video #7: Recommended Scripts
Now that we have discussed the proper planning, we will discuss two different membership scripts that we have tested repeatedly over the years and have had success.
Video #8: Setting Up – Part 1
Now, we will discuss how to properly set up one membership script. Because one script is very complex, we will show you what you need to do to outsource this process for a super cheap price
Video #9: Setting Up – Part 2
In this video, I, will show you the more in-depth process of finalizing your membership site by utilizing the one script that we covered in part one.
Free & Paid Plugin Membership Sites
Before people came out with responsive Themes for all devices from phones to TV we used to build mobile websites separate from the main site. This has all changed so you can run a membership site and enter all the info and manage members all in the one place.
Now that we have covered what you need to start a membership site in WordPress, let’s take a look at our top WordPress membership plugins.
MemberPress is one of the most popular WordPress membership plugins. It is also the easiest to use and the most robust when it comes to features.
Pros of MemberPress WordPress Membership Plugin
Easy to Setup – MemberPress makes it simple to setup a membership website with WordPress. It can automatically setup pricing, login, account, and thank you pages for your users. Adding membership plans is also very straight forward.
Content Access Control – MemberPress comes with powerful access control, which allows you to restrict access to any content including posts, pages, categories, tags, files, etc.
Content Dripping – Content dripping allows you to show restricted content to members after a certain time. This is a very useful feature for selling online courses or learning materials.
Integrations – MemberPress integrates with AWeber, MailChimp, GetResponse, and MadMimi email services. It also integrates with Amazon Web Services and BluBrry for podcast hosting.
Payment Gateways – MemberPress comes with built-in support for PayPal and Stripe payment gateways. Developer plan also adds Authorize.net support.
Cons of Using MemberPress Pro
Limited Payment Options – MemberPress only supports the three most popular payment gateways. This would be a deal breaker for site owners who live in countries not supported by these payment gateways.
Limited Integrations – While the plugin has enough support for popular services to run a membership site efficiently, it still lacks integrations with some other popular services. The plugin is easily extensible, and you can pay someone to integrate a third-party service you would like to use.
Pricing: Business Edition $99/Year, Developer Edition $199/Year
We think MemberPress is the most easy to use WordPress membership plugin for beginners. It is quick to setup, the options are powerful yet to configure.
Restrict Content Pro is a powerful contender for the title of the best membership plugin for WordPress. It is created by same team that’s behind the popular Easy Digital Downloads and AffiliateWP plugins.
Pros of Using Restrict Content Pro
Easy to Use – Restrict Content Pro beautifully integrates with the WordPress User Interface. This makes it easy to use and figure out all features.
Built-in Integrations – Unlike other membership plugins, Restrict Content Pro comes built-in with integrations that other plugins ship as paid addons. It has Stripe, PayPal, MailChimp, MailPoet, email manager, CSV export, and many more features.
Payment Gateways – Stripe, PayPal, and Braintree come as free addons. Other supported payment gateways include 2Checkout, PayPal Website Payments Pro, PayPal Express, and Stripe Checkout.
Excellent Support – There is extensive free documentation available for all users. You also get professional support by email with very fast response times.
Cons of Using Restrict Content Pro
Lacks Content Dripping – Currently, Restrict Content Pro does not offer content dripping feature.
Pricing: $49 with 9 addons and single site license, $99 for 5 sites, and $199 for all addons and unlimited sites. There is also a $449 lifetime plan.
We found Restrict Content Pro to be one of the most easy to use membership plugin. If you don’t need content dripping feature, then Restrict Content Pro is the way to go.
Next contender in our lists of best WordPress memberships plugin is Paid Memberships Pro. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of choosing it as your membership plugin.
Pros of Using Paid Memberships Pro
Basic Free Version – Paid memberships pro has a basic free version available for download. It has very limited features, but it gives you an idea of the software and can help you make your choice.
More Payment Gateways – It supports many popular gateways like PayPal, Stripe, Authorize.net, Braintree, 2Checkout, and Cyber Source.
More Integrations – There are free and paid integration addons available for Paid Memberships Pro, which help you connect to popular services like MailChimp, Constant Contact, Infusionsoft, Slack, etc.
Extension Addons – A good range of extensions are available as addons for Paid Memberships Pro. These addons bring support for many advanced features that you may want to add to your membership website such as drip Content, link tracking, affiliate program, variable pricing, etc.
Cons of Using Paid Memberships Pro
Ease of Use – Paid Memberships Pro is a powerful plugin, but it is not very beginner friendly. Setting it up will take some time for most users.
Pro Plan with no Plus Addons – If you need to use any of the Plus addons, then you need to buy their PMPro Plus plan. The PMPro plan only gives you support and some extra features, but the PMPro Plus plan gives you access to 42+ other addons.
Pricing: PMPro $97. PMPro Plus $197.
We think Paid Memberships Pro is a great choice for a WordPress membership plugin. It has a large set of integration, addons, and feature which make it a complete solution for a premium membership website.
As the name suggests, WooCommerce Memberships is created by the folks behind the best WordPress eCommerce plugin, WooCommerce. This powerful plugin beautifully adds membership site features on top of the WooCommerce core.
Pros of Using WooCommerce Memberships
Ecommerce Integration with WooCommerce – If you are already using WooCommerce to sell something or plan to sell something else later, then WooCommerce memberships makes it easy to use the same core for your membership site.
Payment Gateways – All payment methods supported by WooCommerce are available which means a lot of popular and even not so popular payment gateways.
Integrations – Since it works on top of your WooCommerce store, a lot of integrations available for WooCommerce work flawlessly with your membership plugin as well.
Member and Group Discounts – Give membership discounts to the members. Create beautiful account pages listing all the users perks and access areas.
Cons of Using WooCommerce Memberships
Lack Subscription Features – For subscription features, you will need to purchase other plugins like WooCommerce Subscriptions and WooCommerce Subscription Downloads.
Recurring Payments and Content Dripping – These features will be available after purchasing WooCommerce Subscriptions plugin.
Pricing: $149 for a single site license, $199 for 5 sites, and $249 for 25 sites.
We believe that WooCommerce Memberships is an easy to use plugin but lacks important features which require buying another plugins. This makes things quite complicated for beginner users.
S2Member is a popular free WordPress membership plugin with pro version available as well. It has been around for quite a while and has a devoted userbase.
Pros of Using S2Member WordPress Membership Plugin
Free Base Plugin – The s2Member base plugin is free. Anyone can download and give it a try. It is limited in terms of features and support but gives you a good starting point.
Content Dripping – S2Member Pro comes with content dripping feature.
Payment Gateways – The free version supports PayPal. Pro version of the plugin supports Stripe and Authorize.net as well.
Integrations – Works with MailChimp, bbPress and BuddyPress.
Documentation & Support – S2Member has an extensive knowledgebase available to all. Pro users also get email based support.
Cons of Using S2Member WordPress Membership Plugin
Not very user-friendly – We found s2Member to be a little more difficult to use than other membership plugins.
Free Version Limitations – Free version only supports PayPal, limits to only 4 membership levels, and does not have content dripping.
Pricing: The base plugin is free, then Pro version for a single site license costs $89 USD. For unlimited sites pro version costs $189 USD.