Website owners monetize their web content to earn more revenue. One of the best ways to do just that is to create a membership site, where people have to pay to access premium content. But, aside from making money online, you’re also setting up a strong and committed online community that your product has helped to build.
The right WordPress plugin can help to build a website that stands out from the crowd. However, it takes a lot more than just installing a few plugins to develop a fully developed membership site. One of the most crucial parts is to make WordPress website private and accessible for paid members.
Before moving on to the tutorial, you’re going to need a web hosting plan, a domain name, and a membership plugin.
Do proper research before purchasing a web hosting plan. Some plans offer a free domain name, so you’re going to kill two birds with one stone.
Having a web hosting plan also allows you to use self-hosted WordPress, aka WordPress.org. This WordPress version gives you access to various tools and features, including membership plugins.
After you acquired those requirements, follow the steps below and create the site of your dreams!
Step 1: Choosing the Perfect Membership Plugin
Various free and premium WordPress membership plugins are available today. As such, to choose the perfect plugin, you need to know what type of membership website you want to make.
WPForms is a great choice for those who want to add a simple user registration option on their websites. This handy plugin will help you create customizable registration and login forms. What’s more, its Stripe add-on allows you to collect payments during registration.
However, if you are interested in selling premium content and subscriptions, then look for a robust membership plugin. For instance, MemberPress allows you to create premium community forums, build affiliate programs, set different levels of membership, and much more!
Another excellent membership plugin is LearnDash, which is used to sell online courses. All the necessary features are available: course and quiz builders, forums, custom certificates, and assignment management.
Step 2: Installing a WordPress Membership Plugin
We’re going to use MemberPress as our example because it has complete features to run a membership website.
After purchasing the plugin, login to its official website and download the .zip file.
Now, open your WordPress’ dashboard and head to Plugins > Add New. Click the Upload Plugin button and choose the file you’ve downloaded earlier.
At last, after the plugin is uploaded, click Install Plugin and activate it.
Your WordPress dashboard should now have a new menu called MemberPress. This is where all the configurations take place.
If you’re using a freemium plugin like WPForms, the installation process is much simpler. Go to Plugins > Add New, enter the name of the plugin into the search bar, then click Install and Activate.
Step 3: Adding Payment Methods
One of the most crucial steps in building a membership website is to add payment gateways. After all, these tools enable you to accept payments from your members.
For that reason, you need to go to the MemberPress menu and select Options. You’ll be greeted with several tabs for different configurations.
Go to the Payment tab and select a payment gateway. MemberPress currently supports PayPal, Authorize.net, and Stripe.
You can also click on the plus (+) button if you want to have more than one payment method.
Once you’re finished, hit the Update Option to save the settings.
Step 4: Creating Membership Levels
MemberPress makes it possible for you to have various pricing schemes with different perks and access. Having several membership levels enables your visitors to buy a membership plan at the right price.
Simply go to MemberPress > Memberships and click Add New. You’ll need to provide the membership plan’s name, price, description, and billing type.
Then, scroll down the page and configure the membership options and permissions. You can enable a custom thank-you page message, set who can purchase the plan, add custom login redirect URLs, and so on.
After you’re satisfied with the plan, click the Publish button, and your plans will go live!
Step 5: Setting Up Access Restrictions
The last thing we need to do is to choose the content that would be available to each membership level. And fortunately, this task can be easily done with the help of MemberPress’ Rules feature.
Go to MemberPress > Rules and click on the Add New option.
Content can be restricted based on several criteria like categories, tags, and groups. For instance, you can limit the content tagged “exclusive” to Platinum users only.
Creating a membership website is an excellent way to make money online, no matter what type of content you create. You’ll get a more reliable income, an active community, and an audience that will respond well to future products.
So what are you waiting for? Use WordPress to your advantage and start creating your own membership website!