Despite the idea growing somewhat in recent years, starting a membership site is still a good idea and you can still stand out if your site is strong enough. Along with the right niche, your site will also need the right membership plugin but the market is now flooded with options for WordPress which makes it hard to choose. Luckily for you, we have compiled a list of the very best so you don’t have to waste time testing.
Restrict Content Pro
With this plugin, the installation is simple and you will benefit from a membership management area so you can assess your growing list of members and what level they are on. As well as offering discount codes, Restrict Content Pro allows you to create different subscription packages for your site if you wanted to create different tiers for your platform. After setting these up, you can then activate them using PayPal, Braintree, Stripe, or any other popular payment system. At just $42 for one site, this is a fantastic choice if you’re short on cash or need to support the international payment systems.
Paid Memberships Pro
Again, you can create different membership levels at different cost points for your visitors. Over time, you will build up a number of different reports that allow you to assess your site’s performance and which members are generating you the most money. In addition to email notifications, you can also customize your advertising for extra revenue. In terms of the building itself, the process is kept fairly simple thanks to customization plugin pages. As it is free, this is the best option on the list if you’re trying to save money.
With WP eMember, you will have access to a wide selection of tools including cancellations, upgrade notifications, simple payments, and more for just under $60. With this tool, you are in complete control of your site so that certain pages can only be accessed by your paying visitors. With unlimited membership levels and an opportunity for ‘partial’ content, you can effectively tease non-paying members and increase the likelihood of making a sale.
If you’re looking to sell just memberships, this may not be the most efficient option but it will thrive if you are opening an online store too. Although this e-commerce plugin is focused mainly on the online store side of things, the membership platform is built-in and extremely easy to use. With Cart66, you can restrict content for those who haven’t got themselves a subscription and you can even set up a constant membership renewal to keep the money coming in steadily. If you are looking to take advantage of an online store at the same time, this could be the option for you.
Exchange from iThemes
When it comes to the guys and girls at iThemes, they have completely outdone themselves with Exchange because it offers an absolute dream for all those looking for an e-commerce solution. As well as digital downloads, the plugin also supports Stripe, Paypal, coupons, and a secure shopping cart system. Although the membership feature is an add-on and will cost more money, you will be allowed to create member levels to protect your content. Compared to some of the other options we have already been through, this plugin is a little pricey at just under $300 for the Pro Pack and the add-on. However, you will be provided with a fully-functioning membership system to last for years to come.
Because it is so easy to use, MemberPress has very quickly become one of the most popular options on the market. As well as the normal services offered by a plugin like this, you will also benefit from coupons to offer discounts to certain people. After setting up, your content will be restricted and can only be accessed by members using a front-end login screen that can be customized before being added. Additionally, MemberPress also boasts numerous report functions to see exactly how people are moving around your site and accessing your premium content. If the main feature you require is content dripping, this could be the answer because you will also receive a number of handy features relating to exactly this.
One of the biggest benefits with this program is the ability to scale; if your site is quickly growing, you can keep your content restricted to non-members and the many payment options also make it easier for your visitors. If you like to offer downloads to your viewing public, you can also place restrictions so that people cannot download particular files too many times. Furthermore, all templates for emails can be customized as can the login or welcome page to help brand your site. Although there is a free plan available, you will have to pay around $90 for the cheapest plan after that which is competitive considering the features you receive. Again, this is a great plugin if content dripping is a major priority because you will be given short-codes for your site.
Groups for WooCommerce
Out of all of these options so far, this is perhaps the one you would have heard of if you have already done a little research. If you want to transform your simple site into an e-commerce platform, WooCommerce will allow you to do this and a little bit more. Starting at $80, memberships can be paid as a one-off fee or as a subscription and a number of different user group can be created. Using the dashboard, you will have access to a whole host of actions and group capabilities which helps to keep making changes easy. If you wanted to create an e-commerce section to your site as well, the add-on plugin is completely free so will help you to save some money. Note that if you don’t need to sell the memberships, you can still get the free version of Groups, made by itthink.
If you’re looking for something easy and simple to set up, look no further than Member Mouse because this will get you where you need to go. Firstly, you can start using the plugin with a two week free trial. Once you have gotten used to the platform and decided that you want more, you will pay $20 per month. At first, this may seem like a lot and you’re right in that it isn’t the cheapest option that we have for you here today. However, you will have access to numerous features such as trial offers, smart tags, upsells, content dripping, coupons, piracy auto locking, and more. As your site progresses, you will need to find out how long each visitor is staying for and why they are clicking elsewhere and this can be achieved via the reports section. Overall, this is a superb option if you have the money to spend on it.
Starting at just under $100, Magic Members allows you to accommodate your customers by allowing Checkout, Authorize, Stripe, and perhaps the one that most people use, PayPal. After visiting your site, people can have the option to pay however you wish meaning that as well as monthly payments, you could charge weekly or even on a yearly basis. After setting up your many layers of membership, you have the option to offer downloadable content and unlimited coupons. For no extra charge, you will also benefit from S3 Amazon Support too which is something fairly unique to Magic Members.
Ultimately, it all depends on what your needs are as to whether you will choose one platform over another. Even though they are all solid options, they all have their areas of expertise so you first need to sit down and think about what you really need. If you need to save money, you will need to go for one of the cheaper options. If you like to provide your visitors with a number of payment options, Magic Members, S2Member, and Exchange all allow you to do this. Furthermore, MemberPress and S2Member are the best if you value content dripping above all else. As soon as you find your needs, you will start to narrow the list down.
Then, after setting up the plugin and ensuring that it has installed properly, don’t forget your customers. Although the plugin will make things easier for you, you should also look to make things easier for them too by customizing the login page and making everything look smart rather than being all over the place. As soon as you do this, you will see the benefit with more and more people signing up to your subscription. If all doesn’t go well or if sales drop off, you can look at the various reports to see why and then fix the problem!