Last updated on July, 21
🏆 Best WordPress Membership Plugins for August 2021
Get your website up and running more efficiently with WordPress Membership Plugins. This allows you to market and manage your content without the hassle of third-party apps.
What are WordPress membership plugins?
Are you tired of managing different WordPress member areas to hide premium content? Luckily, WordPress membership plugins efficiently restrict exclusive content, like training programs or expert forums, for users who paid for a membership account. With these, you can quickly charge members a membership fee without the hassle of third-party apps.
Why do you need WordPress membership plugins?
Gone are the days when you have to create and maintain separate user accounts for each of your members in your websites. Now, you can manage your website pages and give premium access to your members conveniently through password-protected WordPress membership plugins.
Centralize Your Web Activity
Usually, you are required to create a separate members’ area page on your site to divide the content for paying and non-paying members. Through WordPress membership plugins, you can easily manage and centralize your web activity and processes into one page alone. You no longer have to shuffle through different tabs and browsers just to do maintenance tasks.
Sell Your Services or Products Easily
In a consumer’s buying experience, staying on the same page instead of opening up a whole different tab for paying is essential. A WordPress membership plugin’s ability to integrate a virtual shopping cart does wonder in retaining your customer’s attention and willingness to buy. The process itself is quick, convenient, and proves legitimacy, which can significantly boost your sales.
Protect Your Content Easily
Managing your website itself is a tedious task. More so, especially if you have to remember extra steps to protect your premium content for your members. The best WordPress website membership plugins ensured that they are incredibly easy to use. With this, you can directly manage the content you want to protect for your members through WordPress’s main editor.
Gain an Efficient Marketing Tool
You can use WordPress membership plugins as a way to showcase some teaser content to encourage your non-paying viewers to get a membership. This allows you to minimize the cost of ads and sponsored posts on social media platforms. Web viewers funneled into your WordPress would be easier to convince with the help of these tools.
Use Drip Content to Keep Subscribers
Drip content is one of the leading marketing techniques you can get out of WordPress membership plugins. This technique focuses on gradually giving premium content and benefits to your paying members over time. This ensures that your members won’t get everything at once, encouraging them to subscribe further to access more of your content.
Meet Your Website Activity Needs
Just like WordPress itself, WordPress membership plugins can easily adjust to your brand and company needs. With the help of these tools, you can edit your registration forms, membership buttons, and discussion threads the way you want them to look and function. This makes the management of your website easier than ever.
Core features of WordPress membership plugins
Without WordPress membership plugins, it’ll be tiring to manage multiple registrations and varying membership levels consistently. Still, before investing in these tools, it’s essential to know what features to look for to meet your website’s needs. So, here’s a gathered list of the features that are crucial when availing of WordPress membership plugins.
Content Access Restriction Features
The best WordPress membership plugins for websites were primarily made to help you restrict access to your premium content. This is an essential feature because this means that you can easily control who gets to see your posts and forums. Having this feature is great if you want to show your website content to your paying members exclusively.
Efficient Admin Notification System
Your WP membership plugin should notify you whenever a new member fills out your site’s registration form, pays for their membership fee, and downloads any of your content. This way, you’ll be able to monitor every activity made on your website effortlessly.
Customizable Registration and Profile Fields
Your membership plugin should have a feature where you can modify the data fields, font settings, and form styles of your registration and profile forms. With this feature, you can effectively gather information from your visitors according to your brand needs.
Membership Level Options
Another feature that you need to watch out for in a WordPress membership plugin is its ability to make different membership levels. Your users should be able to quickly get free or paid membership plans by clicking your membership package buttons. You can customize your membership levels based on the paid plan they get, like a silver or gold membership.
Easy to Install and Configure
If you’re managing your WordPress website or paying someone to do it for you, it’s essential to ensure that your membership plugin is easy to install and configure to cut down costs, input time, and effort. They should have shortcodes for member area’s processes, like login, registration, and content restriction.
Wide API Functions Library
Application program interface (API) provides you with a set of routines, protocols, and tools to modify and improve your website or plugin. Having an extensive API functions library can offer you various options, allowing you to add your needed commands for your site extensively.
Payment Management Tools
If your goal is to monetize your website content, the WP membership plugins are vital for accepting one-time or subscription membership payments from your site’s members. Instead of having to handle and manage your member’s payments individually, plugins are great in collecting these payments through many valid gateways.
Social Media and CRM Integration
You should be able to freely integrate your social media accounts and customer relationship management (CRM) system through WordPress membership plugins. This is to make sure that members can share snippets of your content and contact your customer service team for concerns through nifty and simple buttons.
The top WP membership plugins usually have several security features to prevent concurrent logins, identical usernames, and security breaches. This provides your members with scheduled password change requests and strong password requirements. That way, your members will know that they can entrust their personal information to your site.
Member Statistics and Reports
Statistics and reports are great ways to monitor your members’ web activity. These tools can help you further understand what your members appreciate or hate about your website. That way, you can adjust your site to consumer trends. This feature is also an excellent option to make sure that your members are following community guidelines.
Trials, Discounts, and Coupons
Your membership plugin should be able to offer free and trial access to your premium content to potential future members. It should also be able to run any promos that you have by making clickable coupons or discounts.
Types of WordPress membership plugins
WordPress membership plugins can come in different forms, and they all serve specific purposes. With that said, it’s essential to know the different types of WordPress membership plugins, so you can narrow down your options when finding what’s best for you.
Lightweight WordPress Membership Plugin
Lightweight membership plugins for WordPress are usually built with simple and basic features. It houses features like content dripping or restricting, payment integrations, or membership level creation. Lightweight plugins often offer more complex commands as installable add-ons that you can add only if you want to gain access to more functions.
Pro #1: Easy to Use and Manage
This kind of plugin is more comfortable to integrate and navigate using the main WordPress editor. Plus, they usually require little to no modification to your existing WP theme. Also, your website will relatively load faster since it uses lightweight and simple plugins.
Pro #2: Cheaper
Since they don’t contain many features, these plugins are relatively cheaper compared with full-featured WP plugins. Plus, this is perfect if you’re looking for a plugin with specific functions only.
Con #1: Less Customization
It might be inflexible when it comes to adjusting it to your brand’s image or needs like registration forms or data fields. It might be harder to modify or alter your membership levels, like upgrading, canceling, renewing, or downgrading their membership.
Con #2: Fewer Integrations
It might also not offer a lot of integration options with third-party apps, as they usually provide integration options for popular apps only.
Con #3: Restricted Management Tools
They offer limited options for checkout management, like handling refunds, recurring payments, or discounts. It might not also offer any analytics or reports about user activity or content stats at all.
Full-Featured WordPress Membership Plugin
Full-featured membership plugins usually consist of numerous features for your website’s user interface. It offers a series of more complex features centered on personalizing specific commands or results.
Pro #1: More Efficient
Full-featured plugins are relatively more efficient when it comes to partial site restrictions. It offers smarter integration methods for your email apps and other social media platforms.
Pro #2: Detailed Analytics and Reports
It provides more detailed analytics or reports about your member’s activity and your conversion strategy’s effectiveness. It also provides more targeting options to capture your potential members further.
Pro #3: Flexible
It is relatively more flexible in customizing your member’s dashboard to manage or view their account details. Plus, they offer more creative promo methods for coupon codes, discounts, or gift certificates. They also have a more extensive shortcode or API library.
Con #1: Cluttered Website
Your website’s user-interface might appear to be overcrowded or just filled with a clutter of ‘unneeded’ features. It might bombard your members with too many confusing actions.
Con #2: Difficult to Configure
It might also be harder to configure or alter if you aren’t a WordPress developer or expert. Some adjustments might not translate well to your local WordPress install.
Con #3: Slow Loading Speed
Too many plugin actions or installed buggy plugins can lead to a slower loading site, which can lead to your potential members to leave before seeing your content.
Who needs WordPress membership plugins?
Association Website Owners
Associations or organizations consist of many members that are assigned to different committees or departments. WordPress membership plugins are great community tools to make sure that discussion threads happen and membership data are securely tucked away in their organization’s database.
Product or Service Subscription Website Owners
WordPress membership plugins are great for product or service subscription website owners because of their membership fee payment gateways and discount or coupon code methods. This makes the process of buying and paying ultimately effortless and more convenient. Moreover, you can easily automate payment processes, making customer queries lesser and customer trust higher.
Content-Related Subscription Website Owners
WordPress membership plugins are the best for content-related subscriptions like podcasting or streaming. This is a great way to use content dripping and restriction plugins to make sure that your website’s podcasting or streaming content is exclusive to private membership.
All-Access Site Owners
Typically, most websites were designed to be restricted based on different countries or viewers. Still, some sites are also inherently intended to become all-access, like blogs or podcast episodes. This means that anyone from anywhere can access all of your content. WordPress membership plugins allow you to restrict content based on your marketing and communications strategy easily.
WordPress membership plugins are great for blogging sites since it simplifies the process of creating and sharing your premium blogs to different membership levels. Instead of navigating through a complex dashboard, your members can simply log in using their member ID and gain access to your content.
As a consultant, WP membership plugins are easy ways to sell your consulting services like training programs and products like manuals to your paying members. There are easy-to-use WP e-commerce plugins that automate and simplify the whole paying and buying process.
Online Course Providers
There are also WordPress membership plugins that are best used for scholarship websites or business strategy tutorial websites. This is great for them because their offered online courses can be restricted to paying members or one-time purchases.
Online Community Website Owners
One of the most critical business strategies is making your online community or tribe for your product, service, or content. WordPress membership plugins are great to make sure that members can freely express themselves on your platform through hidden discussion threads. Their thoughts are comments, which they may want to keep private, will not appear on the internet at all unless part of your site’s membership levels.
Step-by-step guide in how to use WordPress membership plugins
Step 1: Run a WordPress membership site.
You first have to make your WordPress site. You can do this by finding the best and reasonably-priced WordPress hosting for you to get started. Then, choosing the best domain name for your website and the essential business plugins to maintain and scale your subscriptions.
Step 2: Check your WordPress website.
After scrolling through your preferred WP membership plugins directory and looking for one that best fits you, ensure that you’re installing your plugins on WordPress.org.
Step 3: Install your free WordPress membership plugin.
Go to the WordPress plugin directory. Find your preferred plugin by typing its name on the search bar. Click the “Install Now” button in the plugin. Once “Install Now” changes to an “Activate” button, click it.
Step 4: Install your paid WordPress membership plugin.
Download the plugin’s zip file from the source. Go to the WordPress admin area and click “Plugins,” then “Add New page.” Click the “Upload Plugin” button found at the top of the page, then click “Choose File” and select your preferred plugin. Click the “Install Now” button, then activate it after. Configure its setting and personalize it.
Step 5: Set up your WordPress membership plugin.
After installing your WP membership plugin, go to the Dashboard notification page and click the plugin’s “Options Page” to get it setup.
Step 6: Set up your payment methods.
Look for the “Payments” tab on the options page. After finding it, set up your preferred payment gateway for your membership site. You can also set up multiple payment gateways at the same time.
Step 7: Add membership levels.
If you want your visitors to purchase your services or products, you need to set up membership levels. Go to the “Memberships” button found on the admin’s dashboard menu, then click the “Add New” button.
Step 8: Configure your membership.
Enter your preferred membership level’s title and description. For instance, the title can be “Gold,” and the description can be, “All access to my training programs and community discussion threads.” Go to the “Membership Terms” section found on the right side of the panel, then set the price, billing type, and access time.
Step 9: Set up access rules.
First, define which content is reserved for each membership level. Determine which and who you want to restrict access to your premium content. Go to the “Rules” tab for your plugin, which is usually found in the admin’s area. Select “Add New” in the “Rules” tab, then create a new rule for your content restriction.
Step 10: Choose "drip" or "expiration" settings.
Go to the “Drip” or “Expiration” settings. If you choose to drip your content, then you gradually schedule out its appearances. If you select the “Expiration” option, then you can choose the period for your content’s availability. For example, you can give access to one of your blog posts for just one week.
Step 11: Create your members-only content.
The previous step is vital in ensuring that you restrict access to your premium content to paying members. After that, create a new post and add whatever kind of content you want. Select the “Advanced WordPress Guide” option and go to the “Unauthorized Access” section of the option. Set up what non-members and members can access.
Step 12: Publish your content.
After modifying all restrictions the way you want them, publish your content. You can go to the admin area’s “Post” option and choose “All Posts” to double-check access restrictions.
Step 13: Create a pricing page.
To let your visitors see different membership packages, you can create a pricing page for them. Choose the “Groups” option in WP’s admin area, then click the “Add New” button. Name the group to help your visitors know what it’s all about. Go to the “Group Options” section and add the membership level’s pricing pages.
Step 14: Add sign-up and login forms.
Add a widget using the admin area’s “Appearance” page. Go to your admin area’s “Appearance” panel and select “Menu.” From there, you can choose to create a new menu or choose an existing one. You can then select one of the “Groups” options, which is the “Pricing Plans” panel. Click the “Add to Menu” button, then check its arrangement on the “Menu Structure.” Rearrange it to fit your company’s branding.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Your WordPress website starts as a blank canvas. To customize it according to your website needs, you have to install plugins to make it more functional. WordPress plugins refer to codes or apps that add extra features and functionalities to your WordPress websites.
If you’re building your membership website all by yourself, then it’s helpful that you have a bit of coding knowledge. Some service providers offer guides and tutorials to help users who are building their sites all by themselves. Still, if you have little to no idea of how this works, you can always ask the help of a professional.
To start your WordPress membership website, you need to have a domain name, a hosting account, and a membership plugin. Some companies offer all of these features within their platform. For instance, some service providers offer a free domain name together with their hosting services.
Most service providers update their plugins automatically so that they can keep up with the latest WordPress improvements. However, note that this still depends on your chosen provider. Some may require you to do the updates manually, while others don’t even update them anymore. Before buying your plugin, check if the developers do constant updates.
Yes, there are free WordPress membership plugins available on the internet today. However, they mostly have limited features and may not be up-to-date with the latest WordPress system. Your website and its members’ security can also be at risk when using free plugins only.
Yes, some membership plugins automate tedious logistical and marketing processes like overdue payment notifications, internal company notifications, email purchase receipts, and many more.
Yes, but you have to check if this is part of the plugin’s package. They sometimes offer it in their basic or premium plans. If you have this feature, then you can easily integrate your list subscription as part of your registration form and make your marketing processes seamless.
Yes, you can name your membership levels any way you want. But you have to be strategic when it comes to naming your membership levels. Some prospect members dwell over this in the buying process.
Yes, the ability of membership plugins to collect critical analytics, like sales and retention rates, helps you track the effectiveness of your membership website as one of your income sources. With this, you can formulate different strategies to monetize your website’s content.
Yes, but this is usually part of most plugins’ premium packs. After purchasing that specific package, you can freely control which content is downloadable and to whom it is available for.
Yes, as a website admin, you can automatically revoke user access to people who canceled their membership or let it expire using a membership plugin. You can also change their user profiles if they upgraded or downgraded their subscription.
Yes, most WordPress membership plugins allow you to protect specific parts of websites, like your preferred sections or posts. Before buying your plugin, make sure that this feature is available for you to use.
Yes, you can look for WordPress plugins to exclusively do those things. Without a membership plugin, you cannot automate the management process to administer your members’ accounts and subscriptions.
Luckily, starting from 2018 up until now, WordPress membership plugins have focused on designing the best and most efficient multi-level functions. You just need to check if these plugins are flexible and compatible with your membership type, content dripping style, and payment gateway resources.
You have to find the best membership directory plugins by assessing their features. Just like how you offer your products and services, WP membership directory plugins should offer quality plugins through affordable means. A significant thing to do is to check if they have guides, manuals, and blogs to help you maximize their plugins before purchasing.
Membership sites are great when it comes to gaining a stable income stream through affordable means. Still, you have to consider its cons, such as the significant effort required and the number of content you have to put out.
As long as you can surpass these cons, then you can maximize its pros, like high community engagement and personal flexibility functions.
Shortcodes are shortcut codes to embedding files or designing objects with minimal effort and simple one-liner codes. They are also codes specific to WordPress alone. This minimizes the effort of coding to reach specific command goals for your website, like displaying sidebar content or displaying content through checkbox values.
There are two types of WP membership levels. The first one is the tiered type. This is where each membership level builds upon the next. For example, all the content available to bronze or silver members should be automatically accessible to gold members.
The second type is the distinct one, where each membership level is entirely different from another. This means that members with varying levels of membership cannot access the other one’s content.