Earlier this week we released Membership 1.0, a plugin that allows you to transform your WordPress site into a fully functional membership site. In case you missed it, you can check out a full introduction to the plugin’s features, or download it at the WordPress repository and give it a test drive. We’re going to show you how you can use this plugin to build any kind of awesome membership site that you can envision.
Set Up Your Membership Site in Minutes!
Let’s start with a simple example of building a site that offers downloads for users who purchase a subscription. This process is the same, whether you’re using WordPress single user, Multisite or BuddyPress. This process is also very similar for creating a members-only support area for your clients or customers to access, or a members-only news site. When you’re using the Membership plugin to build a simple members site, everything you need for customizing it should be available through the drag and drop dashboard interface.
Step 1: Download and Install Membership Lite
Activate the plugin. When you go to the Membership menus you’ll notice that it is deactivated by default. You’ll want to leave it this way until you’ve configured your options.
Step 2: Create a Membership Level for Access to Content
Go to Membership >> Edit Levels and create a new one for your members-only content.
You may discover that you need to organize your content a little bit. If you have downloads located in posts only, make sure that they all share a set category, such as “downloads” or “members.” Another option is to put the content you want to restrict only on certain pages. You could also restrict an entire menu of downloads, so that a whole row of menu items are available for members who have access to downloads.
The most secure way to restrict downloadable content to members would be to drag and drop downloads into the positive rules and create restricted groups within your media library. First go to Membership >> Edit Options and scroll down to Downloads/Media Protection. Add as many groups names as you wish and click save. Now, each item in the media library will have a dropdown box containing the groups you’ve created. Assign the item to a “Protected content group” and they will not be available to normal users. Go back to your membership level and make sure all these groups are checked.
If you already have a lot of content, then organizing it may take the most time. If your content is already well-categorized, paged, grouped, etc, then assigning the positive rules should only take you a minute or two to complete.
Step 3: Activate the Membership Level You Created
This step is fairly easy to miss, but very necessary. Go to Edit Levels and activate the level you created, as shown below:
Step 4: Assign the Stranger Level in Membership >> Edit Options Panel
The stranger level refers to a visitor to your website who is either not logged in or does not have an active membership or subscription to your website. You’ll need to create a level for strangers or they will not have access to any content whatsoever.
Step 5: Create a New Subscription
Go to Edit Subscriptions and create a new one. Drag and drop your membership level into the subscription and then set the mode, period, and price. Click save!
Step 6: Add Subscriptions to Your Registration Page
You can do this by using the shortcode included with the plugin and assigning the page where you place it. That way, you’ll be able to get users assigned to the correct subscription at registration. In this case, the Membership plugin will handle your registration form.
Step 7: Make Sure to Enable the Membership Plugin in the Membership Dashboard
This turns everything on so that you can smoothly incorporate your membership options after all of your settings have been customized for your website.
Making the Most of the Membership Plugin:
1. Create a “No Access” page, which you can set for the users to see if they have not purchased a membership. Consider this page a powerful sales opportunity to present the option of membership.
2. Make sure to set up a strong Registration page. When you use the shortcode to add subscriptions to the registration page, you will have the opportunity to further sell your memberships on this page.
As you can see, it’s fairly easy to set up a simple membership site. You can probably do it in under ten minutes. What takes the most time is figuring out how you want to structure your content access, given the unlimited number of options available with this plugin!
For more information on the specifics of these steps, please refer to the Membership plugin installation guide. Professional support is available for this powerful plugin when you purchase the Pro version, as well as unlimited membership and subscription levels, and a large number of BuddyPress integration options.