Content locking is a way for site owners to limit the amount of content users may see or access. When content is locked, users won’t be able to access it until they do a specified activity. This activity could range from subscribing to an email newsletter to purchasing premium material. Not every website owner wants to give away all of their stuff for free. Locking material away is one of the many methods to make money from a website, and that is why some site owners require users to take a specific action to access certain pages, articles, or portions of the website. This post will specifically look at how to use content locking in WordPress using free plugins.
Purpose of Content Locking
Many WordPress site owners prefer to lock content because of the advantages it gives.
- You may increase social shares and email signups by adding a content locker to your website.
- Content locking can also significantly enhance social engagement, which will help your site attract more visitors and rank higher in search results.
- By restricting who has access to your content, only those genuinely interested in your products and services will go the extra mile of trying to unlock your content. That enables you to select what offers to send customers based on the content they choose to unlock and because you’ll be sending out more appropriate marketing messages.
Note: Even though you have complete control over the content you hide, keep in mind that it should have a high value so that visitors are eager to unlock it. Consider incorporating your most recent postings, especially your most instructive or amusing pieces, as well as outstanding photographs or high-definition videos.
Examples of Content Locking
Before we explain how to use content locking in WordPress, let us showcase some live examples that you can see on the web. Though these websites may not use WordPress, these examples can give you an idea of how to use content locking in your site.
- Quora is one of the most popular Q&A sites on the web that allows you to read the first view for free. For further exploring the site, and you need to register for an account.
- Second example is from The New York Times newspaper site. similar to Quora, you can read one article free and need a registration or subscription for further access.
- Last example is from Business Insider that locks the content when detecting an ad blocker in browser. You need to disable the ad blocker or subscribe to read the content.
As these are bigger sites, they use content blocking in advanced manner. However, you can use it in simple ways like subscription to collect emails and offer special content for logged in users.
Content Locker WordPress Plugins
WordPress content locker plugins can boost your social sharing, traffic, and conversion, all of which can help your mission to have a successful online presence. Content locker plugins enable you to lock blog posts, articles, reports, webinars, downloadable tools, and other types of material. We will look at two different WordPress content locker plugins, their capabilities, and whether or not they’re suitable for your website. These plugins include:
1. Locking Content with Subscribe to Unlock Opt-In Content Locker Lite Plugin
Opt-In Content locker lite is a free WordPress plugin that enables capturing subscribers from your WordPress site quickly and easily by simply restricting some specific content until users subscribe to your site. The plugin offers two ways to validate your subscribers you can either use link verification or unlock content using code verification. Go to your WordPress admin panel, install and activate the plugin under “Plugins > Add New” section. After that you can go ahead and configure settings to lock your content.
- Go to “Subscribe to Unlock Lite” menu and click on “General Settings”.
- The plugin will generate a shortcode that you need to copy and use below the content. However, you can copy this shortcode after finishing all other settings. Therefore, scroll down and continue with the configurations.
- Leave the “Lock Content” box as blank as you can show the form for subscriptions to unlock. It is also possible that you can paste the shortcode from any other plugin in this “Lock Content” box.
- Click on the “Lock Mode” dropdown and select one of the two available options – a soft lock and a hard lock.
- Then, if you wish to enable email verification of the subscription before unlocking the material content, check the verification checkbox.
- Complete the remaining fields. There are four types of messages: unlock link message, form success message, the form required error message, and form error message.
- On the “Form Settings”, add the name you wish to display on the heading, subheading, and whether or not the subscribers are obliged to show their name. Click the “Save” button to save your changes.
- Scroll down and set how the subscriber’s username and email will appear in the form settings for them to fill out.
- Select the “Terms and Agreements” tab, check the box, and type the text that will appear on the form.
- Create the button text you like. Similarly, go to the footer area, check it, and type the footer text you want.
- Navigate to the “Layout Options” tab and select your desired form layout template from the dropdown menu that appears.
- To save your changes, click the “Save” button.
- Finally, go to the “Email Settings” and customize your Email subject, From Email, From Name, and Email Message information, which will appear on the link or code you send to your subscribers after they subscribe to your material.
- After finishing the setup, click “Save” button to save your changes.
Now that you have finished the setup, return to the “General Settings” and copy the shortcode. Insert the copied shortcode in the post where you want to lock the content. You have to paste the shortcode just above the part of the content you want to hide. Publish the post and check how the content locking looks on the browser.
Before unlocking the content, users need to first fill out the form and click the “Subscribe” button.
Note that in the premium version of the plugin, you can lock the content directly from posts or pages. In this case, a lock icon on top of your pages/posts will enable you to do that.
2. Locking Content Using WP Private Content Plus Plugin
WP Private Content Plus is a WordPress plugin that makes it easy to keep your crucial WordPress site content safe from visitors, members, specified user roles, or a group of users. This plugin supports content limitations on posts, pages, custom post types, navigation menus, widgets, and post attachments. Similar to the previous plugin we have explained, you can use shortcode and conceal certain content of posts and pages. It also gives each site user their own private portal page and enables the administrator to add user-specific material to this client section. The material in this private portal will only be visible to the owner.
WP Private Content Plus also lets you show various menu items to different users depending on their login status and roles. Since many features are limited to premium version, we will explain here about few content locking features that free users can use. To use this plugin to lock your content.
Enabling Content Locking
- Go to your WordPress dashboard and install the plugin like any other plugin.
- After activating the plugin, scroll down and go to the “Private Content Settings” menu.
- Check the box against “Enable Private Content Module” and click “Save Changes” to apply changes.
This feature will enable content locking and allow you to use page specific and global settings. You can disable this feature to completely release all locked content on your site with single click.
Locking Content Globally for User Roles
In order to lock entire content on your site, go to “Private Content Settings > Global Restrictions” menu. You can “Enable Global Restrictions” option under “Post Settings” for posts.
Select the user role from the “Visibility” dropdown to allow that user role to view the content. All other user roles will be restricted from viewing your posts. For example, you can select the “Visibility” for “Selected User Roles” and choose “Editor” option.
Only editors in your site can view all the post content and all other users will see a small message saying, “You don’t have permission to view the content”.
Similarly, you can enable global restrictions for pages under “Page Settings” tab.
Locking Specific Post Content for User Roles
If you want to lock only specific post or page content, first disable any global restrictions that you have applied. Edit the post or page and scroll down to see the meta box that says, “WP Private Content Plus – Restriction Settings”. You can set the visibility and allowed user roles here which will be applied to that specific post.
The plugin will show a similar message like above when someone try to view the restricted post. In addition, you can setup a setup redirection so that restricted users will be redirected to another page. It is also possible to upload files that can be accessed only by the restricted user roles.
Note that the restricted posts will show the same “You don’t have permission to view the content” message in all archive pages like category, tags and author archives.
Creating Private Pages for Users
The next notable feature of the plugin is that it allows you to create a custom page for each user and personalized content. Note that you can only create a single custom page for user with the free version and need to buy the premium version to assign multiple posts to users. As a first step, you need to create a new page like any other pages on your site.
- Go to “Pages > Add New” and create a new page. You can call it whatever you like. For example, “Private page with content per user”.
- Insert the shortcode [wppcp-private-page] and publish the page.
- When you look at this page on the browser, it will show an empty page as it does not have any content.
- Next step is to find a user so that you can create a custom page for that user. Go to “Users” menu and find the required username. To demonstrate the functioning of the private page, we will use the usernames johndoe and precious in this article. They are our subscribers, as you can see in the image below.
- The last step is to go to “Private Content Settings > Private User Page” menu.
- Type the username you want to create a custom page and click the “Load User” button.
- The plugin will load an editor for you to add the user’s designated private content material.
- When done typing the private content for the user selected, scroll down and save.
- You will receive a notification stating that your private content has been successfully updated.
When the person you’ve chosen signs in, they’ll have access to the content you’ve designated for them. In our case, When John Doe logs in, he will see the content that has been locked for him. The image below illustrates that.
If the user “precious” visits this site’s page, there will be not content visible because we have assigned the content only for “John Doe”. Good part of this approach is that you can use single “Private User Page” section to create a page for multiple users without navigating to different places. However, you need pro version for assigning additional posts or pages to users.
To sum up, we can say that content lockers can come quite in handy in assisting your site in achieving its conversion goals. Choose a plugin that offers a solution and meets your site’s requirements. Make sure to lock content that your visitors will respond to and want to open. Most importantly, keep an eye on your analytics to evaluate how effective your content locker works for you.
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