Membership websites are on the rise as website-owners realise that you can make recurring revenue for your business by charging users to access your content.
When researching membership platforms for one of my clients, I have recently discovered the joy of using MemberPress.
It’s an out-of-the-box plugin that will allow you to turn your WordPress website into a Membership business within a matter of hours (if you already have the content).
This is ideal if you are looking to sell access to materials that you have created or have a place to store and view webinars or coaching calls that you want to sell access to using a Membership business model.
In this post, I will outline the benefits that I have found in using MemberPress to set up my client websites and how you can get started doing this for yourself.
With the basic license, you can add MemberPress to one site but within that have an unlimited number of users and Memberships.
A ‘Membership’ is the Product that you sell on your site.
It defines the price and the access level which means you can have more than one Membership option and give the users the option to pay monthly or weekly, and each bucket of users can get access to different types of content if required.
MemberPress will allow you to restrict access to pages, child pages, posts, custom post types, categories, tags and almost any other files existing in your WordPress installation.
This is why MemberPress is such a way to start a membership business – because you can add it to your existing website and get up and running really quickly by selling access to content that you already have.
Payments and Subscriptions
MemberPress will allow you to take payments via Stripe or PayPal. You’ll need an account with those payment providers already and then connect via the API in the settings.
It will then manage your subscriptions for you so that you can monitor who has paid for their recurring subscription.
It also gives the subscriber the control to upgrade or downgrade, if required and manage their accounts.
MemberPress also integrates with already existing plugins like Monster Insights, BuddyPress and third-party integrations like Mailchimp.
This means you don’t have to worry about re-platforming your email marketing, analytics or payment tools to fit with the plugin.
How to Add MemberPress to your WordPress Website
In order to add MemberPress to your website, you’ll need to buy it.
Head to their website and purchase it via the payments page. At the time of writing this, they have a countdown offer you can take advantage of.
Once purchased, you’ll be sent an email with access to a download link to access the plugin as a .zip file.
Once you have downloaded the plugin, head to the Plugins section of your website and click Add New and then the ‘Upload Plugin’ option:
How to Configure MemberPress
Once installed you’ll then see the MemberPress menu option in their own section over in the right hand side of The WordPress admin view:
This is where you create a Membership with its own customisable membership options. It’s very similar to creating a new page or post in WordPress.
You’ll need to set a title, some content and a price and payment terms first of all:
You then have the option to set how a user registers:
…what content the users who sign up to the Membership can access:
…how the Membership pricing option appears on the front-end of the site (as it will have it’s own URL and page):
…and how the user can access the Membership content once they have signed-up:
Groups are a unique feature of MemberPress.
Groups allow you to quickly and painlessly set up a nice features comparison page for users to get a quick snapshot of the various Memberships you offer. Setting up a Group in MemberPress also allows your users to upgrade or downgrade:
After you have created at least one Membership, you can then set up Rules to protect certain pieces of site content from non-subscribed members.
You can restrict different types of WordPress content by tag, category or by single pages or all pages. You cannot restrict specific pages without adding a category to them (which you can do using the Add Category to Pages plugin).
- All Content Categorized – Same as above, but protects all content based on a category applied.
- All Content Tagged – Same as above, but protects all content based on a tag applied.
- A Single Post – This allows you to protect one individual post.
- Posts Categorized – This allows you to protect any post(s) which has been assigned a certain category. Using categories in WordPress is a great way to keep your membership content organized.
- Posts Tagged – This allows you to protect any post(s) which has been tagged with a specific tag. This is similar to the Categories rule but gives you a bit more control over how you want to organize your membership content.
- All Posts – This allows you to protect all posts on your site at one time. Be sure to use this option with caution as it can conflict with other Rules you may have set already such as “A Single Post”, “Posts Categorized”, or “Posts Tagged”.
- A Single Page – This allows you to protect one individual page.
- Child Pages of – This allows you to protect all children of the selected page. A child page in WordPress is any page in which you set a “Parent” value when creating/editing the page.
- All Pages – This allows you to protect all pages at once. Be sure to use this option with caution as it ca
You can also set if the content should ‘Drip’ to the user i.e. a piece of content released once a week.
This is where you can set the coupons to provide users with a discount code when signing up for your membership.
This is where you can keep users updated as you drip feed them content, via email or remind them when their subscription is about to expire:
The Members page of MemberPress allows you to view all of your member’s data in one place, and it also gives you the ability to manually add members to your site.
A Member has the same behavior on your WordPress site that any user who has an account does. Usually this would be just the WordPress Admins and Editors for many, or the Admins and the Customers for those with an eCommerce store.
The Subscriptions page in MemberPress divides your members subscriptions into two types: the Recurring subscriptions, for all automatically recurring subscriptions and Non-Recurring, for all one-time type subscriptions.
You can also manually add subscriptions in here too in case you need to invoice your Members direct.
The Transactions page in MemberPress shows you all of your member’s transactions. You can also add offline transactions in here too in case you need to invoice your Members direct.
MemberPress has a range of reporting tools that allow you to understand your Membership data in an easy to read way with charts. You can also filter by year, month, or Membership too to make the data easier to read.
There’s more on that here:
This is where you can find access to the user manual plus manage the back-end details of your Membership, like your personal details, payment details and email management, amongst other things.
This is the place where you also connect your MemberPress account with your WordPress website, so that you ensure that the plugin remains up to date to the latest version.
When you install MemberPress for the first time, it will add some default pages to your Pages section that contain > You can edit them in the Settings section, which is useful if you want to create your own custom thank-you pages for example.
This is the place where you can also edit and customise the emails that your Members will automatically receive:
All add-ons can be found, installed, and automatically activated on the Add-ons page of MemberPress and will allow you to connect with Mailchimp and other email marketing tools.
It’s also here that you can set upload and control access to files for your memberships in MemberPress with the MemberPress Downloads option.
MemberPress has another integration with WP Mail SMTP which will allow you to send email via an email server rather than via the site – which may not be sustainable if you’re sending quite a lot of automated emails on a regular basis.
How to Create Member-only Content
MemberPress will supply you with default pages when you install the plugin:
A Thank You Page
An Account Page Configuring
A Login Page Configuring
…and when you create a Membership for the first time, it will automatically provide you with specific Membership Registration Pages.
You job, once you have created the Membership and defined how much a user should pay for it and how often, is to set the rules for how that user can see the content on the site.
A rule could look like this for example:
Once you have created your content you can then test how your users see these by viewing the content in the Posts section of the Admin (or Pages if you have categorised your pages):
You’ll then need to ensure that your Members can see that restricted content by placing links to it from a Members-only page.
Finish up with either creating a sales page in include the pricing options using shortcodes or just add the link to the menu. You can find the links to the right of the Membership option in the Membership view as these are generated for you when you create your Membership:
…or you can grab the shortcode from the bottom of the edit view of the Membership to use in your template builder (like Divi):
The shortcode option means you can customise your page to a look and feel that matches your site:
I hope you enjoyed this introduction to MemberPress.
I am looking to provide more information on how to grow a Membership site using WordPress over the coming weeks.
Be sure to sign up to my list below to get further updates.