Is it time for your website to make the next step? Affiliate marketing is nice, but you depend on the consumerism whims on your viewers. Memberships allow you to gain better control over your revenue and build specialized marketing campaigns to build more converts.
To add a membership to your WordPress website, you need a special plug-in. Here are some of the best WordPress membership plugins to help you accrue a loyal, paying fan-base.
Strapped for time? Here’s the plugin list.
What is the Best Membership Plugin for WordPress?
- Paid Member Subscriptions
- Restrict Content Pro
Benefits to Membership Plugins
Still not sold on why you need a membership plugin? Take a look at these reasons.
Easy to Use
Installing a plugin makes it easy to restrict your content to only paying customers. A plugin takes a few minutes to install and get started. You forgo the need to hire a special IT specialist to create membership access.
Many WordPress membership plugins are free, too, so you don’t have to worry about paying an additional fee to set up restricted access. Plugins are easy to use, so there’s not much else to worry about.
Create Email Lists
Email lists allow you to send promotions and coupons to certain customers. This entices them to sign up for your membership, because the customer will end up saving money in the long run. It’s a win-win for you and your loyal fanbase.
You can also market more products using an email list. This means you’ll get more views on new products that go live. You could also send new sample products to your members before they go live, allowing you to gauge customer interest and potentially scrap a product that doesn’t seem to have much enthusiasm behind it.
Charge Access to Premium Content
If a member likes your content enough, they’ll be willing to pay more for exclusive perks. Such perks could include getting access to content first, getting higher-quality content compared to what’s available on the free version, and getting offers on exclusive deals unavailable to non-members.
Charging for premium content is one way to boost revenue for your company. This is especially true for memberships charged yearly. You can make a substantial amount of money from just a few memberships, which allows you to grow and expand your business greater than Google Adsense Revenue or affiliate links could give you (depending on the type of website you run).
Grow Your Audience Through Free
No one wants to jump into a membership without knowing the product they’ll get. Having free content on your website acts as a sort of sampler for potential customers.
Customers who like the free version will want more, better content. Some of them will be willing to pay for memberships as a result. Focusing on growing your audience through the free services you provide winds up getting you paid members in the long run.
Sold on getting the best membership plugins for WordPress? Here are some of the best ones you can download today.
LearnDash allows you to create a membership experience for your website easily. You can sell courses, set up content restrictions, and install payment features with this powerful WordPress Plugin.
- Restrict content. Restricting content is one of the best ways to entice viewers to buy a membership, and LearnDash allows you to restrict content with ease. You go into the plugin and check which pages or posts you will only allow paying members to see. It’s that simple. If you run into any trouble, LearnDash has a great knowledge base as well as customer support technicians to help you on this journey.
- Sell courses. Are you a master of technical writing? Graphic design? Starting a business? And do you feel you can teach people what you’re an expert in? Do so with LearnDash.
Once you’ve created your course, LearnDash has the tools to parcel out your content through lessons. It also lets you keep track of the people who bought your course, allowing you to follow up with them on exclusive deals and other course packages.
- Community features. The more engaged your customers are with your brand, the more likely they are to spend time or money on lucrative ventures you have. LearnDash lets you set up forums, quizzes, user badges, certificates, and profiles on your WordPress website.
These features let your customers feel like they’re entering a safe space to continue to learn and connect with other members on your website, which not only builds brand loyalty but sets your site apart from other membership sites that don’t foster a sense of community.
- Restrict content. LearnDash lets you restrict content so that only paying members can see it. This allows you to focus more energy on creating high-quality paid-only content while growing your audience through free content.
- Create memberships for your online courses. Online courses are a lucrative, evergreen way to make money on the internet. LearnDash lets you set up a course and find paying customers who can benefit from it.
- Implement payment programs. LearnDash gives you the tools to accept payment options and handle returns if needed for your online memberships. No need to install another plugin to accept money from customers.
- Build community. LearnDash allows users to set up a user profile, participate in an online forum, get user badges, certificates, and more. This is a great way to build brand loyalty among your members and entice non-paying viewers to sign up for a membership.
- Very course-oriented. Those who don’t want to build courses will have a difficult time using LearnDash. For those who do want to build a course, LearnDash is one of the best WordPress membership plugins for you.
- Price. LearnDash costs over $100 to use per year. This could be too expensive a cost for webmasters just starting up their project.
MemberPress is one of WordPress’s most popular plugins for memberships. It also comes with a sizable amount of features, making it a formidable competitor among other membership plugins.
- Easy setup. All you have to do to establish MemberPress on your website is to create a login, account, pricing rates, and thank you pages for your users. You can then add membership plans through straightforward processes.
- Restrict access to content. You can limit which people see what depending on if they’re members or not. Non-paying viewers will see fewer posts, pages, categories, tags, and files compared to paying members.
You can toggle which content gets viewed and which doesn’t through the MemberPress settings.
- Content dripping. You can restrict access to certain posts before everyone sees them in a process called content dripping. MemberPress makes content dripping easy. Content dripping is especially useful for those who want to sell courses or learning materials on their website.
- Integrate key features. You can easily integrate MailChimp, AWeber, GetResponse, MadMimi, and other email services on your website using MemberPress. You can also add Amazon Web Services and BluBrry podcast hosting on your site too.
Thus, MemberPress allows you to add all the essential features you need to create a robust membership driven website at your fingertips.
- Add payments. You can add PayPal or Stripe to your website using MemberPress. You can also add Authorize.net support for higher-paying MemberPress plans. Adding Authorize.net adds more security to payment options, making it an ideal choice for those who want to protect their customers’ payments.
- Easy to set up. Establishing MemberPress on your site is a breeze. You can quickly restrict access or set up payment options. If you run into trouble, customer service technicians and other support help are waiting to assist you.
- Lots of features. From email integration services to payment options to content dripping. MemberPress offers an impressive array of features for a WordPress membership plugin.
- Limited payment options. You only get the top three payment options — PayPal, Stripe, and Authorize.net. There’s no wiggle room with that, which is unfortunate if you want to establish different payment methods.
- Price. While slightly cheaper than LearnDash, MemberPress has two payment tiers. The first is a little over $100 for the Basic MemberPress plan. The second is over $200 for the Premium MemberPress plan.
Paid Member Subscriptions
Paid Member Subscription allows you to set up ecommerce stores and restricted access on your WordPress and WooCommerce sites.
- Restrict content. You can limit the number of products or pages viewers can see using this plugin. Paid Members Subscriptions will also give you tools to direct users to join your membership programs to unlock all content.
- Set up a free trial for membership. Users can “try before they buy” your membership. You can also have users input their payment information before their free trial so that they’re charged once the trial ends.
- Sell like Amazon Prime. Those with an eCommerce store can offer special discounts on products that non-members wouldn’t get, similar to Amazon Prime.
Paid Member Subscriptions Pros
- Free version available. Anyone can try out this app before buying a paid plan. Then you get to the hobbyist and pro plans.
- Enhances online business strategies. You can not only sell like Amazon Prime but offer coupon codes and create email campaigns to entice more people to join your membership platform.
- Easy to use. Paid Member Subscriptions has a low learning curve, allowing users to quickly pick up the plugin.
Paid Member Subscriptions Cons
- Limited integration options. You’ll have all the basic features, but you can’t get other powerful tools like Zapier or Authorize.net using this plugin.
- No intermediary payment plan. The first paid plan, hobbyist, supports one site and costs $69. Then there’s the pro plan that’s $149 and supports unlimited websites. There’s no middle option for mid-size companies.
Teachable is the all-encompassing course builder for members. You can add not only courses but memberships, discussion forums, analytics, and email marketing using just this one app.
- Easy to use. Teachable is very user friendly. You don’t need any coding, development, or other technical skills to use it. You can create memberships quickly using the built-in tools. You can also upload videos, text, PDFs, and other content you’ve made previously.
Therefore, it shouldn’t take that much time to set up your course on WordPress.
- Drip content. Planning when you’re going to drip content is a breeze with Teachable. You can roll out content depending on your user’s subscription level or progress, making it easy to serialize lessons. Users like it because they’re not inundated with content, and you have more time to perfect future lessons before they go live.
- Engagement features. Create quizzes to test your user’s knowledge. Set up discussion forums so users can not only get to know each other but answer questions that wouldn’t be suitable for customer support.
You can also implement contact forms and certificates to help further boost user engagement using Teachable, creating brand loyalty and community among users.
- Ample features. Teachable has a lot of powerful features for sites wanting to add membership programs.
- High-quality user experience. Teachable is easy for both you and your users to use. You’ll have little difficulty dripping content, adding forums and quizzes, restricting access to content, and otherwise building a community out of your membership program.
Users will like how easy it is to engage with the online forum, taking quizzes, and engaging with the Teachable-based platform.
- Extra step when adding to WordPress. You must integrate Teachable by adding links or a subdomain to your WordPress site, which is more obstructed than what other plugins offer.
- More expensive. Teachable is a bit more expensive than other WordPress membership plugins. The basic plan starts at $39 a month. The professional plan is $99 a month, and the business plan is $499 a month.
Those monthly costs add up to be much more expensive than the yearly plans other plugins offer. However, you might deem the extra features Teachable offers to be worth it.
Restrict Content Pro
Restrict Content Pro does exactly what its name suggests. You can establish which viewers at different membership plans can see what content. You can also easily drip content so that you have a steady stream of content coming out to different payment plans.
Restrict Content Pro is from the same team that made the well-known plugins AffiliateWP and Easy Digital Downloads. Here’s what else Restrict Content Pro offers.
- Built-in integrations. You don’t have to pay to add on different features, unlike with other WordPress Membership plugins. You have PayPal, Stripe, MailChimp, MailPoet, CSV export, email manager, and lots of other features at your fingertips. No additional purchases required.
- Payment methods. You can add PayPal, Stripe, and Braintree as free addons when you subscribe to Restrict Content Pro. However, you’re not just limited to these three. You can add other payment gateways like PayPal Website Payment Pro, PayPal Express, Stripe Checkout, and 2Checkout too.
- Compatible with Easy Digital Downloads. Because these two plugins are made by the same team, they can be used together. You can sell digital products such as music, videos, or podcasts thanks to Easy Digital Downloads, but you can add membership subscription plans using Restrict Content Pro.
- Great support team. Restrict Content Pro gives you extensive free documentation available to all users. The plugin also gives you professional support by email. The email responses are fast and helpful, allowing you as the webmaster to answer questions quickly and get back to work on improving your website.
- Developer friendly. You can tinker Restrict Content Pro to your liking if you know how to do that. Or you can use the helpful plugin as-is without a problem.
Restrict Content Pro Pros
- Easy to use. Whether you’re a developer or a complete tech novice, you’ll find Restrict Content Pro simple to use. Developers can augment the plugin as they see fit, while those without computer background will have no trouble navigating the service.
- Lots of payment features. You have a smattering of ample payment options to choose from. There’s no shortage of which ones to implement depending on your tastes or the type of audience you’re trying to cultivate.
- Easy Digital Downloads compatibility. Those wanting to build a membership-based digital download website will find Restrict Content Pro’s compatibility with Easy Digital Downloads a huge benefit.
Restrict Content Pro Cons
- Fewer integrations. Restrict Content Pro offers fewer integrations than other membership plugins on this list offer while still maintaining a comparable price. Some users might find less bang for their buck using Restrict Content Pro.
- Price. Restrict Content Pro costs $99 a year with 12 addons and single site license, $149 a year for five sites, and $249 a year for all addons and unlimited sites. There is also a $499 lifetime plan.
S2Member is a free WordPress membership plugin. It has a paid pro version available too. It’s been around for quite some time, accruing a loyal and devoted user base.
- User profiles and welcome page. S2Member allows you to create a custom registration page as well as a profile field. You can also establish ways to sell products or services on WordPress using S2Member.
- Payment gateways. The free version of S2Member supports PayPal. The pro versions support Stripe and Authorize.net too, allowing you ample payment options depending on the services you hope to provide.
- App integrations. You can add MailChimp, BuddyPress, and bbPress to your site using S2Member.
- Free. S2Members comes with a free option. Anyone can download it to give it a try. If you like it, you can buy higher-level plans.
- Documentation and support. S2Member has a great knowledge base that’s available to users of all plans. There’s also prompt email support too.
- Free version restrictions. The free version, while nice, can feel restrictive.
- Not really user-friendly. The site looks a bit outdated. It’s also a little difficult to navigate.
- Expensive price for paid plans. The ro version of S2Member for a single site license costs $89 for a one-time payment. The S2Member unlimited sites version costs $189 for a one-time payment. That’s cheaper than other plans due to the non-recurring nature, but still might not be enough bang for your buck.
MemberMouse lets you find the right payment plan for your site depending on the number of members you want to build. Check out what the plugin offers.
- Create memberships and bundles. You can not only restrict access to members only, but you can augment your selling experience on ecommerce stores.
- Drip content. Control when content comes out, and who can view it.
- Integration. You can integrate payment gateways, email marketing tools, coupons, and other software to boost your website.
- User friendly. Most people don’t have an issue learning how to use MemberMouse.
- Has a 14-day free trial. You can try MemberMouse before splurging on a paid plan.
- Not developer-friendly. You can’t change MemberMouse to suit your tastes.
Selling memberships is yet another way you can make money on the internet — but actually setting up the membership is more difficult that it seems. While you’ll still have to create the content or courses for paid members, you can use one of the seven membership plugins on the list to make establishing a membership on your website much easier.
We recommend LearnDash for those who want to sell courses on their WordPress website. LearnDash makes it easy to restrict content to only paying members, set up courses, accept payment options, and build a community around your brand. It could be a bit expensive for solo web hosts at a little over $100 a month, but we think that cost is worth it.
If you don’t plan on selling courses, then we recommend MemberPress. MemberPress is the one-stop-shop for setting up a membership program on your WordPress site. It allows you to restrict content, drip content, add payment plans, and otherwise set up a powerful membership site.
These were some of the best membership plugins for WordPress. You can get started on establishing your member-based website today.