Ultimate Guide to Creating a WordPress Membership Site

Do you want to create a WordPress membership site? Due to its flexibility and ease of use, WordPress has become the top choice for building a membership website. In this step by step guide, we will show you how to create a WordPress membership site… Read More »

The post Ultimate Guide to Creating a WordPress Membership Site appeared first on WPBeginner.

Do you want to create a WordPress membership site? Due to its flexibility and ease of use, WordPress has become the top choice for building a membership website. In this step by step guide, we will show you how to create a WordPress membership site like a pro (without the coding knowledge).

Creating a WordPress membership website

What Do You Need to Start a WordPress Membership Website?

Unlike 10 years ago, it’s quite easy to make a website these days. Out of all the platforms and website builders, WordPress makes it the easiest for anyone to build their own membership website and start selling with little to no technical skills.

You’ll need the following three things to start:

  1. A domain name. This will be your website’s address (Example, wpbeginner.com).
  2. A web hosting account. This is where your website files are stored.
  3. A membership addon (It will convert your regular website into a membership platform).

You can setup a fully functional membership website with WordPress in less than 30 minutes, and we’ll walk you through every step of the process.

In this tutorial you will learn:

  • How to get a domain name for free
  • How to choose the best web hosting
  • How to get a free SSL certificate (required to accept payments)
  • How to Install WordPress
  • How to choose a WordPress membership plugin
  • Setting up your your membership website
  • Adding payment methods
  • Adding membership levels
  • Creating members only content
  • Creating pricing and sign up pages
  • Extending your membership website

Ready? Let’s get started.

Step 1. Starting Your WordPress Membership Site

First, you need to make sure that you are using the right WordPress platform. Yes there are two types of WordPress. We recommend using the self-hosted WordPress.org version because it gives you unrestricted access to all features and tools that you need (see the full comparison of WordPress.com vs WordPress.org).

For a self hosted WordPress site, you’ll need a WordPress hosting account, domain name, and a SSL certificate.

Typically, a domain name costs around $14.99 / year, web hosting around $7.99 / month, and SSL certificate costs around $69.99 / year.

If you are just starting out, then these startup costs can add up quickly.

Thankfully, we have a way to fix that.

Bluehost, an official WordPress recommended hosting provider, has agreed to offer our users a free domain name, free SSL certificate, and a discount on web hosting.

Basically, you can get all of the above for $2.75 per month.

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Note: At WPBeginner we believe in full transparency. If you sign up with Bluehost using our referral link, then we will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you (in fact, you will save money and get a free domain + SSL certificate). We would get this commission for recommending just about any WordPress hosting service, but we only recommend products that we use personally and believe will add value to our readers.

Once you have signed up for hosting, the next step is to install WordPress. Follow the instructions in our step by step guide on how to start a WordPress blog, and you’ll be up and running in no time.

Now that you have installed WordPress, you can move on to setting up your WordPress membership site.

Step 2. Choosing a WordPress Membership Plugin

The best part about WordPress is that there are plenty of good plugins available that you can use to build your WordPress membership website. However, each one of them has its own pros and cons. We have a full comparison of the best WordPress membership plugins.

To choose the right WordPress membership plugin, first you need to decide what kind of membership website do you want to build and what features will it need?

If you just want to allow user registration on your WordPress site, then you can use WPForms. It is a WordPress form builder plugin that allows you to easily create user login and registration forms. You can even allow users to submit articles without accessing the WordPress admin area.

On the other hand, if you want to sell subscriptions, paid content, or digital downloads, then you’ll need a more robust WordPress membership plugin, like MemberPress.

MemberPress comes with advanced membership features that allow you to accept payments, create membership levels, restrict access based on levels, and more.

Selling online courses can be another possible scenario. In this case, you’ll need LearnDash, a complete WordPress LMS plugin with all the learning management features.

You can also integrate LearnDash into MemberPress to create a powerful website with online courses as well as membership subscriptions.

That being said, let’s start setting up your WordPress membership website.

Step 3. Setting up Your WordPress Membership Website

We are choosing MemberPress as our go-to plugin because it has all the features we mentioned above, and it works perfectly with third-party plugins necessary for the growth of your business.

First thing you need to do is install and activate the MemberPress plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, you need to visit the MemberPress » Options page to configure the plugin settings.

MemberPress options page

Step 3. Add a Payment Method

The options page is divided into different tabs. The first thing you need to setup is a payment gateway because it allows you to accept payments on your membership site.

You can do this by switching to the ‘Payments’ tab and then selecting your payment gateway.

MemberPress payments

MemberPress supports PayPal (Standard, Express, and Pro), Stripe, and Authorize.net out of the box. You need to select the payment method you want to set up and provide the required credentials.

You can also add multiple payment methods by clicking on the add button to add another payment method. We typically use two options: Stripe for credit cards and PayPal as a secondary option because some users prefer PayPal over giving out credit card details.

Don’t forget to click on the ‘Update Options’ button at the bottom of the page to save your settings.

Step 4. Creating Membership Levels

The next step is to create membership levels that your users can purchase. Each membership level can have different pricing plans, perks, and access. You can even have a free membership plan.

To create a membership level, you need to go to MemberPress » Memberships page and click on the ‘Add New’ button at the top.

Add membership level

On the next page, enter a title for this particular membership plan and then provide the plan details in the post editor.

You will need to set the pricing and expiration for this plan under the membership terms section.

Membership plan

In the example above, we have created a yearly membership plan.

After that, you need to scroll down to the membership options meta box below the post editor. This is where you can customize permissions and membership options for this particular plan.

Membership options

Once you are satisfied with the membership plan, you can click on the publish button to make it available.

Go ahead and repeat this process to create as many membership plans that you need.

Step 5. Restrict Access for Membership Plans

The next step is to select which content would be available to different membership plans on your website. MemberPress makes it very easy to control access using ‘Rules’.

You can setup rules by visiting the MemberPress » Rules page and clicking on the Add New button at the top.

Add new rules

The rule edit page allows you to select different conditions and associate them to a membership plan.

For example, you can select all content that matches a particular tag or category to be available only to members with the silver subscription plan.

Add a rules set to MemberPress

You can also create more specific rules. For example, a single post or page, child pages, or a specific URL.

Below the rules editor, you’ll see the content drip and expiration options.

Drip content allows you to gradually release content to users instead of giving it all away at once. The expiration option makes the content unavailable after a defined period of time.

If you are not sure, then you should leave them unchecked.

Once you are satisfied, go ahead and click on the ‘Save Rule’ button to save your rule settings.

Repeat the process to create more rules as needed for your membership site.

Step 6. Adding Members Only Content

MemberPress makes it super easy to create members only content using Rules.

In the above example, we created a rule that restricted all content tagged as paid to be restricted. Now all we need to do is to create our paid content and add the paid tag to it.

Adding members only content

MemberPress also adds ‘MemberPress Unauthorized Access’ metabox below the post editor. This allows you to select what logged out users (non-members) will see when they reach this content.

Restricted content options

You can use the global default settings, or you can show excerpts, login form, or a custom message.

Once you have added members-only content, you can go ahead and publish it. As the page reloads, you will see a success message that this content is protected.

Protected content

Step 7. Create a Pricing Page

This is the page your users will see when they want to sign up for a membership plan. On this page, users will be able to select a membership plan and then move to the payment page.

Users who try to access the restricted or paid areas of your website will also be redirected to this page.

You can configure this by going to MemberPress » Groups page and clicking on the Add New button at the top.

Creating a group

First, enter a title for the group plan page. This will also be the title for the plans page that users will see.

Next, go down to ‘Group options’ metabox and add memberships that you want to display on the page.

Pricing group options

You can also select a theme for the pricing table. MemberPress comes with few ready-made templates for that.

Once satisfied, click on the ‘Publish’ button to make your plan publicly visible.

To preview your pricing page, click on the ‘View Group’ link after publishing it.

Pricing page

Step 8. Redirect Users to Pricing Page

Now that we have the pricing page ready, the next step is to redirect unauthorized users to the pricing page.

To do that, first you need to visit MemberPress » Groups page and copy the URL next to the group you created in the previous step.

Pricing page URL

After that, go to MemberPress » Options page and scroll down to the ‘Unauthorized Access’ section.

You need to check the box next to ‘Redirect unauthorized visitors to a specific URL’ option and then paste the group URL you copied earlier.

Redirect unauthorized users to pricing page

Click on the ‘Update Options’ button to save your settings.

Now unauthorized users will be redirected to the pricing plans page when they try to access a members only area.

Step 9. Add Sign up and User Login Forms

Now that you have everything setup, it is time to allow your users to easily find their way around your website.

First, you need to add a user login form so that members can sign in to their accounts.

Go to Appearance » Widgets and add ‘MemberPress login’ widget to a sidebar.

MemberPress login widget

Next, we will be adding the pricing page link to the navigation menu, so that new users can select a plan and register.

You can do this by visiting the Appearance » Menus page in your WordPress admin. From the left column, you need to click on the Groups tab to expand it. It will show the pricing plan group you created earlier.

Add pricing plans to the menu

Check the box next to your pricing page and then click on the ‘Add to menu’ button.

The pricing plan page will now appear in the right column. You can drag and drop to rearrange its position in the menu. You can also edit it and change the link text.

Edit menu item

Don’t forget to click on the save menu button to store your changes.

You can now logout of the WordPress admin area and visit your website to see everything in action.

Membership website preview

Taking Your Membership Website to The Next Level

MemberPress is a powerful WordPress membership plugin. It allows you to easily grow your membership website.

It works beautifully with LearnDash, which allows you to easily create courses and leave the selling part to MemberPress. You can also use it alongside BuddyPress and bbPress.

Here are some other useful resources to help you grow your WordPress membership site.

That’s all, we hope this article helped you setup your WordPress membership website. You may also want to see our step by step WordPress SEO guide for beginners.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

The post Ultimate Guide to Creating a WordPress Membership Site appeared first on WPBeginner.

How to Create a Pay-Per-View Site with WordPress

Do you want to create a pay-per-view site with WordPress? Building a pay-per-view site is a great way for content creators to make money online. In this article, we will show you how to create a pay-per-view site in WordPress and make money by selling… Read More »

The post How to Create a Pay-Per-View Site with WordPress appeared first on WPBeginner.

Do you want to create a pay-per-view site with WordPress? Building a pay-per-view site is a great way for content creators to make money online. In this article, we will show you how to create a pay-per-view site in WordPress and make money by selling content directly to your users.

Creating a pay-per-view site with WordPress

How Pay-Per-View Websites Work?

Pay per view model allows content publishers to directly sell content to users. Instead of relying on advertising revenue, affiliate links, or other ways to make money, they can just allow users to pay for the content.

There are many different ways to create a pay per view website. Depending on how you want users to access the content, you can choose a pricing and delivery model that works best for you. For example:

  • You can sell each item as individual digital product
  • You can create daily, weekly, or yearly passes for users to gain unrestricted access
  • You can create subscription plans that drip content slowly instead of giving it all at once

You will need to decide which option is best for your business.

After you have chosen the model, you need to follow our step by step guide on how to make a WordPress website. If you already have the website, then you can skip this step.

Once you have a WordPress website, let’s take a look at how you can turn it into a pay per view site where you can do all of the above and then some more.

Creating A Pay-Per-View Site in WordPress with MemberPress

For this tutorial, we will be using the MemberPress plugin. It is the best WordPress membership plugin in the market because it allows you to create robust membership websites with subscription plans and multiple ways to accept payments.

First, thing you need to do is install and activate the MemberPress plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, you need to visit the MemberPress » Options page to configure plugin settings.

MemberPress settings

The options page is divided into different tabs. For a pay-per-view site, the default options would work out of the box, but feel free to review and change them.

You will need to setup the payment gateway in order to accept payments on your site.

You can do this by clicking on the ‘Payments’ tab and selecting your payment gateway.

Setup payment gateway

MemberPress supports PayPal (Standard, Express, and Pro), Stripe, and Authorize.net out of the box. You need to select the payment method you want to set up and provide the required credentials.

You can also setup multiple payment methods. To do that, click on the add button again and add another payment method.

Don’t forget to click on the ‘Update Options’ button to save your settings.

Creating Membership Levels

The next step is to set up membership levels. This is where you will create different pricing plans that your users can purchase.

Head over to the MemberPress » Memberships page and then click on the ‘Add New’ button.

Add new membership

This will bring you to the edit membership page. First you need to provide a title for this particular membership plan and then provide the plan details in the post editor.

Next, you need to set the pricing and expiration for this plan under the membership terms section.

Editing a membership plan

In this example, we are creating a membership plan that expires in 24 hours. We have also checked the ‘Allow renewals’ option, so users can renew their membership and buy the day pass again if they want to.

Now, scroll down to the membership options meta box below the post editor. This is where you can setup different options for this particular membership plan.

Membership options

The default membership options will work for most sites. You need to click on the Price box tab and here you can provide the details you would want to show in the pricing box.

Price box settings

Once you are satisfied with the membership plan, click on the publish button to make it available.

Repeat the process to create other membership plans that you need such as weekly, monthly, or yearly plans.

Restricting Content to Membership Plans

MemberPress also makes it super easy to restrict content to paid members only by creating rules.

Visit MemberPress » Rules page and click on the ‘Add New’ button.

Add new rule

The rule edit page allows you to select conditions. If the content matches the condition, then you can select which membership plan gets access to it.

For example, you can select all content that matches a particular tag, category, a single post, a particular URL, and more.

Adding conditions to membership rules

You can create generic rules that apply to all content, or you can create very specific rules for individual items on your website.

Below the rules editor, you’ll see the content drip and expiration options.

Drip content allows you to gradually release content to users instead of giving it all away at once. If you are unsure about it at the moment, then you can leave it unchecked.

The expiration option makes the content unavailable after a defined period of time. Again, if you are not sure what to do, then you should leave it unchecked as well.

Don’t forget to click on the ‘Save Rule’ button to save your rule settings.

Repeat the process to create new rules as needed.

In the example above, we have made all content tagged ‘paid’ available to all membership plans. Now, we just need to add the paid tag to all the content that we want to put behind the paywall.

Creating a Pricing Page

MemberPress makes it super easy to display pricing and plans that users can purchase on your website. Let’s create a pricing plan page that shows users different membership plans that they can buy.

Head over to MemberPress » Groups page and click on the Add New button.

Create a new group

First, you need to provide a title for the group plan page. This will also be the title for the plans page that your users will see.

After that, scroll down to ‘Group options’ meta box. Here you can add the memberships that you want to display on the page.

Group options

You can also select a theme for your pricing table. MemberPress comes with few ready-made designs to choose from.

Once you are finished, click on the ‘Publish’ button to make your plan public. If you click on the ‘View Group’ link after publishing it, then you will be able to see your pricing and plan page.

Pricing and plans page

Redirecting Users to Pricing and Plans Page

Now we want unauthorized users to be redirected to the pricing page when they try to access our restricted content.

First, you need to visit the MemberPress » Groups page and copy the URL of the group you created in the previous step.

Group URL

Next, head over to MemberPress » Options page and scroll down to the ‘Unauthorized Access’ section. You need to check the box next to ‘Redirect unauthorized visitors to a specific URL’ option and then paste the group URL you copied earlier.

Redirect unauthorized users

Don’t forget to click on the ‘Update Options’ button to save your changes.

Now all users who try to access restricted content will be redirected to the pricing and plan page you created as a group.

Taking Your Pay-Per-View Website to the Next Level

MemberPress is a powerful plugin with tons of amazing features and lots of addons to further extend your pay per view site.

You can integrate it with LearnDash to sell courses online. Connect it to your email marketing service like AWeber or Constant Contact. You can even integrate it into an existing eCommerce store using the WooCommerce addon.

We hope this article helped you learn how to create a pay-per-view site with WordPress. You may also want to see our step by step WordPress SEO guide for beginners.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

The post How to Create a Pay-Per-View Site with WordPress appeared first on WPBeginner.