Membership sites offer their members and operators decisive advantages over pure online courses. Members regularly receive new content, can ask questions directly to the operators and often exchange information or support each other. In addition, memberships are usually a bit cheaper at the beginning.
What other advantages are there and which plugins for WordPress are particularly suitable for your own website?
The advantages of a membership site at a glance
Providers benefit from the fact that they can refine their content over time and plan better thanks to the subscription model. This makes membership sites particularly attractive.
Establishing a membership site as an authority
Whoever operates a membership site signals a greater competence as an operator of a pure online course website. After all, members expect a certain degree of interactivity and motivation from the operator. This is what makes the membership site particularly attractive in the eyes of the members.
Members are valuable e-mail subscribers
Small business owners are always looking for a way to extend their reach. Adding registered users to your membership site will not only make your email list larger, but also more active. This increases the likelihood of receiving more feedback on email campaigns.
What features should a good membership plugin offer?
A good membership plugin should ideally support the provider and his community in communicating with each other.
- Easy to use and set up: This may sound simple, but it is by no means a matter of course. Providers may be annoyed by a complicated interface. However, if users are already overwhelmed by the payment process, then it becomes difficult.
- Unlimited membership levels for maximum flexibility: Membership sites thrive on upselling ever higher levels and on more exclusivity. Example: In level 1, the member gets access to an e-book. In Level 2 there is an online course with video lessons and in Level 3 a weekly livestream with the operator. This is only one possible configuration. In principle infinite variations are possible and the plugin should not set any artificial limits here.
- Integration and support of email marketing tools, payment options, forum plugins, themes and other useful plugins: To build a good community you need some useful tools besides the membership plugin, which should definitely be supported. To attract more members, the website has to look inviting and clean and contain other things besides content, like a forum where questions can be asked and conversations can be held. To make your website as inviting as possible, the most popular plugins and themes for comfort and design options should be supported. Also, registration should be quick and easy and support for popular payment methods should be available.
- Manage members easily: To keep a good overview, a clear interface with various useful features such as manually increase or decrease a member’s level and completely remove or add members.
- General security features: To prevent unwanted attacks or exploits, there should be security features like preventing account sharing or brute force logins.
Here is the list of the best membership plugins that include all the above features and more.
PaidMembershipsPro is praised for its high customizability and large add-on gallery. If a new feature is requested, the chance is high that it is already available in one of the 19 free or 65 premium add-ons. This gives you the opportunity to regularly update your membership site with new and sophisticated features for your members.
What does PaidMembershipsPro offer for the money
PaidMembershipPro offers the choice between three different price plans. In the free version with the absolute basics, 14 free add-ons, a documentation and installation video. The free version does not contain any add-ons, but is already sufficient to operate a membership site via WooCommerce. With the Plus version, licenses for 5 websites and all premium plugins are included. Of course, as a customer you get unlimited support and in addition to the 19 free add-ons, you also get the 65 premium add-ons worth 3,200 USD, as well as support for 1-click installations and regular updates. The Unlimited License (597 USD / year) brings the same features and add-ons as Plus, but includes support and updates for an unlimited number of sites.
The design of WishList Member is well thought out and intelligently executed. This plugin makes it easy to build a membership site, thanks to its ease of use and detailed video tutorials. If you have any problems, customer support is very helpful and fast.
What does WishList offer members for the money?
The price for this plugin differs only in the number of site licenses. Prices are as follows: 1 site (147 USD / year), 3 sites (197 USD / year), 10 sites (297 USD / year), 50 sites (397 USD / year)
With the simple and quick setup, a membership site can be set up in minutes. Paid Member Subscriptions adapts to the existing site, so you don’t have to adapt your site.
What does Paid Member Subscriptions offer for the money
With the Hobbyist Plan (69 USD / year) all normal features, WooCommerce integration, 9 Basic Add-ons and a site license are included. The PRO package (149 USD / year) includes Basic Features and Basic Add-ons, 8 additional free Pro Add-ons and support for infinite sites.
For users of MemberPress, the excellent customer support and other features such as extremely simple setup, automated e-mails and an easy-to-understand self-service interface for members stand out. According to customer feedback MemberPress is suitable for almost all purposes.
What MemberPress offers for the money
MemberPress Basic costs 249 USD / year and has few limitations compared to the Plus (399 USD / year) and Pro plans (549 USD / year). The Basic plan only includes a site license and lacks integration of the Authorize.net payment option and a few add-ons like Buddy Press, Amazon Web Services, ConvertKit, etc. With the Plus Plan there are two site licenses and all the features that MemberPress has to offer. The upgrade from Plus to Pro includes three additional site licenses and a premium feature that allows you to offer your own affiliate program.
Restrict Content Pro
Restrict Content Pro is often praised for its easy and fast operation. The speed of the feature updates is said to be outstanding and gets better with every update.
What Restrict Content Pro offers for the money
Restrict Content Pro offers four different price categories. Personal (99 USD / year) and Plus (149 USD / year) both come with the 13 official free plugins and core features. Those who upgrade from Personal to Plus will receive four additional site licenses (five in total). Upgrading from Plus to Professional (249 USD / year) or Ultimate (499 USD / one time) includes any site licenses and 18 additional Pro add-ons. The difference between Professional and Ultimate is the payment system. Professional costs 249 USD / year and includes email support and plugin updates as long as the subscription lasts. Ultimate is a one-time purchase and comes with lifetime support and updates.
WooCommerce Memberships is not a stand-alone plugin, but an extension of the well-known WooCommerce plugin. WooCommerce Memberships is known for its good and fast support. All occurring problems are usually solved within 24 hours. WooCommerce Memberships receives regular updates with improvements, new features and integrations of other helpful plugins, services and themes.
What does WooCommerce Memberships offer for the money
WooCommerce Memberships has a plan that costs $199 per year and includes all the features that WooCommerce Memberships has to offer.
MemberMouse makes it easy to build a membership site completely in one day, thanks to its easy-to-understand interface and excellent customer support. Collaborating with a development team is easy with MemberMouse thanks to its extensive documentation. One feature was particularly surprising.
Finding the right price with Splittesting
This feature allows you to set different prices for the same level of membership, which will be randomly offered to different members. This shows you which prices sell best and where your membership site needs improvement. Every insight can be helpful to keep improving your site.
What does MemberMouse offer for the money?
Thanks to MemberMouse’s payment model, running a membership site is not a big investment at first. For only 20 USD / month, the plugin supports up to 1,000 members and when that number is reached, the plan can be easily upgraded. In the Starter Package you can choose between 1,000, 5,000 and 10,000 members and the basic features. For 99 USD per month you can lighten up a member capacity of 50.000 and some premium features. The premium level gives you the choice between an infinite capacity for 599 USD / month and 100,000 members ($299 / month). The features do not differ due to the membership limit.
WP-Members is easy to set up and thanks to the documentation it is also easy to use. WP-Members provides comprehensive advice on potential security issues that may arise in a membership site.
What does WP-Members offer for the money?
WP-Members offers three different versions. The Support Subscription (59 USD / year) provides access to a private member forum, tutorials and customization articles. The second option is a bundle available for 125 USD / year. It offers integrations for MailChimp, Salesforce, WooCommerce and smaller features like a text string editor or user tracking. The third option has the proud price of 1000 USD for lifetime support, access to the members-only forum and five site licenses for all WP-Members Premium Extensions.
Summary and recommendations
Each of the presented plugins has necessary core features, but there are many small differences between the providers.