Membership websites created using WordPress have the potential to provide you a steady stream of income. For example, craft compelling content and receive payment for it. In addition, use your loyal readers as test subjects for new products or services. And to top it off, do all of this while maintaining higher levels of control access.
Think about it. Books, DVDs, and even products are often passed around amongst family and friends to share after an initial purchase right?
Yet, the idea of a membership site increases the level of exclusivity with those who have signed up. For instance, let’s say your loyal readers pay monthly to gain access to exclusive content. Because of this, the chances of them sharing their login information for others to use for free is lower.
Here at WP Mayor we like to give our loyal readers plenty of information regarding membership plugins. For instance, we provide ways for choosing the best membership plugin for your needs. Additionally, we deliver a complete list of some of the best WordPress membership plugins to make choosing one even easier.
But what about after you have chosen ‘the best’ membership plugin?
Well, in an effort to answer that question I will show you how to build a WordPress membership site. And hopefully I turn the sometimes complex task of building a WordPress membership website into a simpler process.
For today’s purposes I am using the Paid Memberships Pro WordPress plugin. Reason is, it is flexible enough to cater to any type of membership website and is also free. This means it is budget friendly for anyone interested in building a membership site.
Choosing which WordPress membership plugin to use is one of the hardest decisions you make after deciding to monetize your blog. And, while I am focusing on Paid Memberships Pro today, according to Chris Lema there are many individualized factors playing into your plugin decision.
That being said, many membership sites have similar traits when it comes to functionality. Let’s take a look:
Of course, depending on which type of membership website you are creating, you may need additional functionality. Or a different plugin. And that’s okay. This is simply a general overview of what constitutes a quality membership website.
Let’s take a quick look at what Paid Memberships Pro offers website owners interested in creating a membership website:
As you can see, Paid Memberships Pro performs all of the basic functionality required to set up a working membership website.
Now that you know a little about what Paid Memberships Pro can do for you, let’s see it in action.
Navigate to Plugins > Add New in your WordPress dashboard and search for Paid Memberships Pro.
Select Install Now and click on Activate Plugin.
Notice in your WordPress dashboard the new menu item labeled Memberships. Also, find tabs connecting you to your membership functions.
Navigate to the Memberships > Membership Levels to add a new member or edit an existing membership.
Here, fill in the following information to add or edit a membership level:
Click on Save Level when you are done.
Here manage the WordPress pages that will be assigned to each Paid Memberships Pro page. Navigate to Memberships > Pages and configure the following pages:
Choose a redirect page for each category. For example, decide where a member redirects to if they cancel their membership. If unsure about this step, click on the link to generate pages automatically. From there, make any additional changes and select Save Settings.
To accept payments in exchange for membership access, configure the payment gateways. Navigate to Memberships > Payment Gateway & SSL to get started.
First choose the payment gateway you would like to have on your membership site. Paid Memberships Pro does a great job of having some of the most popular payment gateways available for use. This makes the plugin versatile for all website owners.
Afterwards, complete the fields of your preferred payment gateway. Each gateway will have its own individual setup steps.
If you need help with this step, Paid Memberships Pro provides a convenient link about Payment Gateway Settings.
Next configure the currency and sales tax for your membership purchases.
First, choose which currency to display on your membership website. Next, pick which credit cards you will accept from your members. Lastly, determine your sales tax and tax rate.
Check with your tax accountant to see if applying tax to memberships is required in your area.
Now add information regarding your SSL Certificate. This is used as a way of protecting your members’ personal information. If you are accepting payments directly on your membership website, an SSL Certificate is required.
If you are using an offsite payment gateway such as PayPal or Stripe, an SSL certificate is not required. However, it is still recommended you include one for added security.
An SSL certificate is typically purchased through your WordPress web hosting company, though there are plenty of third-party options available as well.
Send out regular emails to your members to showcase great customer service and keep your members informed no matter the stage of the membership process they are in.
Navigate to Memberships > Email and set up the following parameters:
Here take advantage of the advanced setting options the Paid Memberships Pro plugin provides. For example, direct a message towards logged-in and non-members. Or, utilize reCAPTCHA and set a Terms of Service Agreement.
If you prefer not to use Paid Memberships Pro to build your membership site, or are already using the popular WooCommerce plugin for your eCommerce shop, there is a really great WooCommerce plugin called WooCommerce Memberships that can you use instead.
Creating a close knit community of your most loyal customers, WooCommerce Memberships makes designing the membership section of your website a cinch. In fact, this plugin is so effective, it fully integrates with your existing content and products.
Here are some of the best features this plugin offers those with a WooCommerce shop already in place:
For help getting your membership website up and running using WooCommerce Memberships, check out the detailed documentation that is available for your use.
And there you have it. You now know how to set up a working membership website using one of the most popular, and budget friendly WordPress membership plugins. And, as an added bonus, you have an alternative plugin for those who love WooCommerce products.
Building a membership site is one of the best ways to monetize your website while providing loyal followers exclusive content in exchange for an email subscription or a paid membership. Plus, they solidify you as an authority, build relationships with your followers, and don’t require you trade excess time for money.
So, if you are interested in capitalizing on the potential to boost your supplemental income providing premium content to your site visitors, consider building a WordPress membership website today.
What about you? Have you built a WordPress membership website? Which tools and/or plugins did you utilize? I would love to hear all about it in the comments below!