How to Start a Paid Membership Website with WordPress

If you are looking to create a membership based website in WordPress that you can charge for then all you have to use is a free plugin called: Paid Memberships Pro. It allows your visitors to sign up to paid plans and access premium content that aren’t viewable by everyone. You can create different levels of membership. Based on the membership criteria, you can allow people to access content such as individual posts, entire categories, and others.

There are a whole lot of customization options that come with the plugin. After the basic installation steps, you need to create some essential pages. Those pages will allow users to sign up and login, view their membership area and invoices, make the payments and access the premium content. You can control every aspect of it. You can set different member levels that are paid ones or even free. You can enable coupon codes for signup and also select between different payment processors like PayPal or Authorise.net. There are settings to allow certain content for certain member of a certain level. You can also set messages that members receive. Furthermore, the possibilities of the plugin and the membership site can be extended with the help of add-ons.

Configuring It

Here are some important details for using the WordPress plugin Paid Memberships Pro by Jason Coleman:

After installation, a new admin menu with the title Memberships will be added to the dashboard.

Pro Memberships Pro Plugin

Pages: The first thing that you can do is setup the essential pages. Visit the Pages tab in the settings accessible through the new admin menu. Press the click here to let us generate them for you link. Seven new pages will be created. You can click the edit page link right next to each one of them to insert additional text or other content into them. Note that the pages use short codes which are necessary so leave them intact.

Membership Level: Next, you would want to setup different membership levels. Click on Add New Level in the Membership Levels tab. Input name and other important details including the cost of membership. If you’d want members of this level to be able to access a certain exclusive category then select it. Otherwise, you can set membership requirements while creating posts and pages, individually.

Payment Gateway & SSL: Setting up the payment details is crucial. This is how you’re going to process the payment. Choose your payment gateway between Pay by Check, Stripe, PayPal Express, PayPal Website Payments Pro, PayPal Payflow Pro/PayPal Pro, PayPal Standard, Authorize.net, Braintree Payments, 2Checkout and Cybersource. For these, you need an account. You also need to generate some additional verification information or API signature for them.

Email: From this tab you can configure the email address and name from which emails are sent to members.

Advanced: Some additional settings like display messages, ability to universally view excerpts, use reCAPTCHA and activate terms of service is available. For TOS you will have to specify a page which will then get embedded in the signup form.

Add-ons: These are used for adding some features. We highly recommended plugins like: PMPro Series, Theme My Login and PMPro Email templates to give some additional touches to your membership site. You will find other useful add-ons to fit your unique taste.

Discount Codes: Access the option from the Memberships > Discount Codes link in the admin dashboard. They can be set to give members discounts while signing up. Coupon codes should be set along with the start and expiration date. You can also limit it to a certain number of members who will be able to use it. Select the membership levels as well as how much discount they get. When they are active, members can enter them and get an instant price cut.

How to Add Premium Members Only Content?

To add content that only members under certain level can access, you can add them to the exclusive category that you set before. The category is set when a membership plan is created.

Otherwise, if you prefer to filter access on individual content-wise basis then you will see the options while creating a new post or page. In the right side of the compose box you will see a Require Membership widget. Choose the membership type or level that is required to get the content. You can choose multiple membership plans to make it accessible to different paying members.

How to make it Accessible for Paying Members to Get Premium Content

The content posted in the blog might get mixed with the rest of the content. If you have normal blog posts and premium content in a single website, then they can get mixed up. Paying members will not be happy if they have to search for their premium content.

What you can do it to make it easy for them is create a separate category for premium content. Then you can link the category from the menu of the website. Only paying members will be able to click on it and actually view the content posted under it.

How to Enable Members to Manage Their Profile?

Add a link to the Membership Account page that you’ve created when setting up the essential pages. The link will redirect to the signup page if they aren’t logged in. Otherwise, it will show the membership plans which can be chosen for signup.

Read On: Configure WordPress Login Page to the Use Current Theme

Additionally, a login page is also required. You can use the Theme My Login add-on for Pro Memberships Pro plugin to make sure the login/registration pages have your website’s theme. The login link should also be added to your main menu. After logging in, you can choose to redirect people to their content category or membership account directly.

Final Words

Pro Memberships Pro or PMP is a powerful WordPress plugin that sounds premium, has great features but is available for free. The configuration might look a bit complicated but once you know your way around, you will be able to create a membership based premium WordPress website. Add premium member only content and limit their access. Set different prices for different membership levels and give them separate content. These advanced possibilities can all be accessed with the help of PMP for WordPress plugin. What is amazing is that the features can be extended with add-ons. Overall, it is truly an amazing and a must have plugin for those looking to add pro-membership features in their website.