The membership is really an interesting concept for any websites. With it, you can create a members-only section to deliver some exclusive and high-quality contents. To gain the access into it, people generally are required to have some qualifications or to pay some types of fees, such as the one-time fee or the recurring monthly fee. In this case, many webmasters simply set up this kind of site to generate revenues.
If you are going to create a WordPress membership site for sharing your premium tutorials, applications, videos, discount codes and many more to exclusive members, you can check the following part to get the detailed steps.
Step 1 – Finish the Preparations
First of all, you need to make sure that you have chosen a highly reliable WordPress hosting to serve your membership site, especially if your site is not open for free. After all, if readers pay for reading your contents, they are intolerant to the website downtime. If you have no idea of which web host to choose, the following three options can narrow down your choices greatly.
Next, you need to choose a flexible and easy-to-use WordPress plugin that allows you to add the membership function to your site. Among all the available options, we recommend the Simple Membership plugin. Also, you can check more choices from this list of WordPress membership plugins.
Then, you simply need to start your WordPress site, install this membership plugin and activate it.
Step 2 – Create the Membership Levels
Now, you can find a new tab in your WordPress admin that is named as WP Membership. Here, you need to click it and choose the Membership Levels button in the drop-down to create the membership level. This simply allows you to control what contents your members can check. In this case, when people become a member of your site, they will be assigned to one of the membership levels you have added based on their selection, thus have different permissions to check your words.
After clicking the Add New button in this setting page, you need to decide the name of this membership, along with the WordPress role and access duration.
In our example, we simply create two levels that are named as Free and Paid. Also, you can add more hierarchies such as Free, Silver and Gold.
Step 3 – Configure the General Settings for This Plugin
Here, you need to click the Settings button in the drop-down menu of WP Membership to do some configurations.
Firstly, you need to decide whether to enable the free membership or not. If yes, enter the free membership ID. You can check the ID from Membership Levels. This option is useful if your site also has some common posts that are open for the public.
Next, you need to determine whether to enable the More Tag protection. If you enable it, then all the contents after the More Tag are protected, and the words before this tag are just the teaser content. To be frank, this is a great way to convert the common readers to your paid members. Check the final result when enabling this option.
Then, you should decide some minor settings for this plugin.
- Whether to showcase the special admin toolbar for each logged in members.
- Choose the default status for member accounts among Active, Inactive, Pending and Expired.
- Whether to allow members to delete their accounts.
- Whether to delete the pending member accounts automatically.
In fact, below the General Settings part, you can also find the Pages Settings section for the login page, registration page, join us page, edit profile page and password reset page. These special pages are generated automatically since the installation of this plugin. To make sure that your membership plugin can function properly, you’d better not to make any changes on their URLs and never delete them.
Step 4 – Configure the Payment Settings
If you do not charge your members for some premium contents, you can bypass this step. However, if you want to set up a paid membership site, you need to configure the payment settings. Here, you firstly should click the Payments button from the drop-down menu of this plugin, and hit the option of Create New Button.
In fact, these two button types give you two options for charging your members. The PayPal Buy Now button allows you to ask for the one-time fee to check your exclusive contents, and the PayPal Subscribe Now button is for the recurring fees on the weekly, monthly and yearly basis.
Here, we take the PayPal Subscription button as an example. After choosing it and clicking the Next button, you are required to enter the following configurations.
- Button Title – This title is required for the better management of payment buttons.
- Membership Level – You need to choose the membership level you have created in the step 2. In our example, we choose the Paid option.
- Payment Currency – This plugin allows all the popular currencies. Just pick one based on your real situations.
- PayPal Email – You need to enter your PayPal email without any errors. Otherwise, you may fail to receive the fees charged from your readers.
- Billing Information – For this, you should decide the billing cycle, cycle count and the exact billing for each cycle.
- Re-attempt on Failure – This option allows two more paying attempts if the first payment action fails.
It is possible that you offer the trial period for your paid members. If so, you also need to determine the trial billing details including the trial billing period and amount. Note that you can set the billing amount to zero if you want to set up a free trial.
Besides, you can also decide the return URL after the successful payment and the image of your preferred PayPal button.
As everything is configured properly, you can have your button created. After that, you need to check the Manage Payment Buttons section, from which you can find the shortcode generated for this newly-created button.
You simply should copy and paste it to the Join Us page. Check the final result in the following.
Step 5 – Decide the Email Settings
It is highly recommended to decide the content of emails that sent to your members when they finish their registration or have not finished yet, so that they can keep track of their registration process. Also, you should decide the email templates for password reset and account upgrade.
In this case, you need to go back to the Settings area again and click the Email Settings. Here, you can decide the 4 templates easily.
Step 6 – Set the Membership for Your Exclusive Contents
Now, you can prevent your exclusive contents from being checked by some people who are not your members.
To do this, you simply need to open the editing page of your Post or Page. Here, you can find a special box for Simple WP Membership Protection. Click the second box to turn on the protection function and choose the membership level that can check the content. In our example, we should choose the Paid Level.
Also, if you want to protect some of your categories, you can go to the Membership Levels section and click the Category Protection button. Here, you simply need to choose your preferred categories, pick the membership level and click the Update button.