Setting up a members-only area and charging for access is a popular way to monetize a website or blog. You can provide premium-quality content or videos to members and make money with recurring payments as long as your members choose to keep their access. Setting up a membership website is much easier now than it was just a few years ago, thanks to a number of WordPress plugins that handle all of the details.
Membership plugins provide a few basic functions that are important for membership sites:
- They allow visitors to register as new members
- They collect payment from people who sign up as new members
- They process on-going payments
- They manage all of the user logins and account details, protecting specific content so it can only be accessed by active members
- They cut off access for members when their account and recurring payment is cancelled
Each membership plugin will have its own unique features, but they will all also handle these basic functions for you. Here I’ll list some details about a few of the leading membership plugins. I’ve used all of these plugins, at least in a testing scenario, and hopefully this information will help you to choose the right one for your own needs. There are others available as well, but I don’t want to promote something that I haven’t used myself.
Wishlist Member is possibly the most popular membership plugin for WordPress, and it has been used by a lot of big name marketers over the past several years. It has a lot of nice features and can certainly get the job done, but it’s not my favorite option. From my experience I found the customer support to be less than stellar and I experienced a lot of minor bugs with the plugin. I think it is an option worth exploring, but from my own experience I don’t really recommend it.
Restrict Content Pro
Restrict Content Pro (RCP) is a really nice option if you’re looking for something that is easy to use and reliable. It doesn’t have every feature that some of the other membership plugins have, but it has all of the basics, and add-ons are available for a lot of other features. It’s remarkably user-friendly in the WordPress dashboard and the setup process is very easy. It’s also priced very well. I recommend RCP as being a great option, especially for smaller sites and blogs. It can certainly handle larger sites with huge numbers of members, and I know that there are some very large membership sites using RCP, but personally I think the next plugin listed has some additional features that make it a better fit for larger sites.
MemberMouse is a feature-rich membership plugin that is still user-friendly. The dashboard is intuitive and pretty easy to work with, despite the fact that it has so many features. The plugin seems to be very well-coded and reliable. The downside to MemberMouse is that it involves a monthly payment whereas RCP does not. With RCP you will pay a license fee that entitles you to 1 year of support and updates. MemberMouse has several different plans, with the monthly price being determined by how many members you have. While MemberMouse may wind up costing a little more, it also ensures that the company is financially stable and is there to support their product when you need help. The features of MemberMouse can easily justify any added cost for most membership websites.
Some of the unique features of MemberMouse include split testing of different prices, 1-click upsells, downsells when your members go to cancel, and more. The upsell functionality alone is capable of producing loads of revenue. I like MemberMouse as a great option for just about any membership website.