WordPress by default comes with very limited functionalities. You can get simple features with the free plugins available in WordPress repository. However, the real power of WordPress website relies on the premium plugins you choose. The best example is the membership feature in WordPress. In this article, we will explore how to use membership feature in WordPress for various purposes.
Default Membership Option in WordPress
After enabling registration, you can see an option to register on the login page. Any user can go to the URL, “yoursite.com/register/” and create an account.
Assigning Roles for Registered Users
WordPress comes with few basic roles for users. When enabling registration, ensure to select the appropriate role for the new user. Generally, you should assign “Subscriber” role for new user so that they don’t access the post content in the admin panel.
Registered users can login using the standard URLs “yoursite.com/wp-admin/” or “yoursite.com/wp-login.php”. After login, they will see the dashboard with limited capabilities based on the role assignment.
Why You Need Membership Feature?
Now that you can easily add membership on your WordPress site by enabling registration. You can also view and collect the emails of the registered users from “Users” menu in the admin panel.
The big question is, what will you do with the registered users? The simplest possibility is to manually send emails to them. If you want to do any other stuff with the registration then you should have solid membership plugin based on your need. There are free and premium membership plugins that come with various features. Some plugins use the default registration feature with modifications and some plugins use custom registration feature independent of the default registration.
Here are some examples what you can do with membership plugins:
- Drip content feature that releases new content slowly to registered users.
- Hide content and restrict access to non-member readers.
- If you want to implement a paid membership system, you can choose plugins that support PayPal, credit cards and other payment gateways.
- If you have an online store, integrate membership with store to send special offers to your members. This will help to potentially convert members into your customers.
The possibilities are unlimited and you should choose a membership plugin depending on your need.
Consideration Before Going for Membership
Though it looks attractive, membership feature can create many problems for you if not prepared properly.
- Membership functionality can be resource intensive and if you have hundreds of active users, this situation will impact the site’s speed. So, when you plan to install a membership plugin, ensure to have a hosting service with good performance.
- If you are focusing on payment collection from members, ensure to select a plugin with payment processing features. Most membership plugins in this category will have integration with PayPal business account.
- Registration feature will allow spammers and hackers to attack your site. Ensure to have a solid security for your WordPress installation to avoid loosing your member details.
5 Membership Plugins for WordPress
Here are 4 membership plugins that you may choose for your WordPress website.
1. Restrict Content Pro
Restrict Content Pro is a good option when you have plenty of quality or special content on your site. You can have a subscription based readership to restrict the content to different subscriber levels.
- Make unlimited membership levels with multi-tiered structure.
- To entice potential members, you can also offer discount codes and trial memberships with this plugin.
- Restrict Content Pro supports automatic payment through PayPal, Braintree and Stripe.
- You can also integrate with WooCommerce to control the purchase of products by members.
- You can check the analytic reports to have an idea of how well your membership site is performing for any period of time.
Protecting content with Restrict Content Pro is very easy and you can configure it right from the WordPress editor before publishing the content. This plugin is available starting from $99 per for single site license. You can get the multisite version with add-ons for $149 or $249 per year. Alternatively, you can buy the Ultimate plan for $499 as one-time payment.
MemberPress is one of the popular membership plugin for WordPress. This is a preferable option for most of the beginners due its ease of use.
- With just a few clicks, you can restrict pages, posts and any custom post type.
- With MemberPress, you can restrict content access in bulk, by locking tags and entire categories.
- You can also restrict individual file in the media library. As an example, you can allow only members to download a PDF file or access an infographic.
- MemberPress supports automatic payment through Stripe and PayPal. With additional payment, you can get payment access through Authorize.net.
- It helps you to maximize conversions using various cool features. You can integrate MemberPress with Constant Contact, Aweber, MailChimp and various auto-responder services.
Basic membership for the plugin is $149 per year and the Plus and Pro variants will cost $249 and $349 per year respectively.
3. WooCommerce Memberships
WooCommerce Memberships is an extension to integrate WooCommerce products and content on your site. You should already have a WooCommerce store in order to use this extension.
- It allows you to drip the content till the time a customer continue to be a member. For example, you can delay 10 days time for a customer to view specific content.
- Create membership as a product and sell through your WooCommerce store.
- WooCommerce Memberships allows you to create products only for members. Even you can restrict the viewing of products only for member groups.
- You can combine this extension with WooCommerce Subscriptions to offer various subscriptions based features.
WooCommerce Memberships extension is available for $149 for one site, $199 for 5 sites and $249 for up to 25 sites.
MemberMouse is a scalable and highly powerful membership plugin. It offers a lot of advanced features with impressively user-friendly configuration.
- You can restrict access to posts, pages and custom post types.
- With drip feed content, you can configure time release of content.
- Monitor and use various metrics to increase conversions such as average customer lifetime and average duration of retention.
- You can control billing with various features, such as downsell and one-click up.
- With split test pricing, you can optimize your pricing strategy.
- MemberMouse supports various payment gateways, including PayPal and Stripe.
- It also integrates with various auto responder services, such as AWeber and MailChimp.
MemberMouse plugin has three plans starting with the Starter plan for $19.95 per month for 1000 users. You can also buy Advanced and Premium plans for $99 and $299 per month for 50K and 100K members respectively.
WP-Members is ideal for people who are on a tight budget. You can block access to non-registered users and convert your regular WordPress website, into a fully featured membership-based platform.
- The plugin is easy to configure with a simple settings page.
- You can restrict content or bulk restrict a group of posts or pages based on specific requirements.
- To entice people to subscribe, you can auto-generate excerpt for content that you have restricted.
- Like any membership plugin, your website will get a fully working registration and login system. You can add it as a widget and show it in the sidebar.
There’s a free version of WP-members, but you can’t charge for membership and create custom menus for members. The paid version is available as a Pro Bundle for $125 with one-year updates. It included various add-on modules, such as PayPal automatic payment, user tracking, advanced options tab and MailChimp integration.
WordPress has a basic user registration system with role management. However, this may not be sufficient for special needs like content restriction, subscription and integration with online store. Depending on your situation, you can choose a user-friendly or fully featured plugin. Figure out what features that you need for your website and choose a plugin that best matches your requirements.