Gone are the days when website owners only earned through affiliate revenue and advertising.
With a membership website, it’s possible to make money online by crafting premium content on your eCommerce website. You’re building a tight-knit community only for your subscribers.
Platforms like WordPress allow easy ways to maximize this scheme.
Some startups with a sizable budget outsource manpower for establishing their membership website. Everything from the conceptualization of the website design to the implementation of plans is covered.
But if you want to start humble by learning things on your own, you’re on the right page.
Find out how to create a membership website in WordPress in 2020 by reading on.
Here are the 11 steps in how to create a membership website in WordPress in 2020
- Get started
- Choose a WordPress membership plugin
- Establish your WordPress membership website
- Add a payment method
- Create membership levels
- Restrict access for your membership plans
- Add members-only content
- Create your pricing page
- Add forms for sign up and user login
- Customize your membership email templates
- View relevant statistics to help grow your membership website
In creating a membership site, you need to pick the right WordPress platform.
Use the self-hosted WordPress.org.
With this, you can have unrestricted access to all tools and features to have a successful membership website.
The 3 things you need for a self-hosted WordPress site include:
CHOOSE A WORDPRESS MEMBERSHIP PLUGIN
You can choose from free and paid WordPress membership plugins available. In choosing, consider two things:
- What kind of membership website you want to build
- What features you might need
For those who want to allow user registration, use WPForms. With this, you can:
- Allow user login
- Create registration forms
- Allow article submissions
For those who want to sell subscriptions, digital downloads, and paid content, use MemberPress. With this, you can:
- Accept payments
- Create membership levels
- Restrict access based on levels
For those who wish to sell online courses, you need two things:
Integrating MemberPress into LearnDash is also possible if you want to simultaneously:
- Sell online courses
- Offer membership subscriptions
ESTABLISH YOUR WORDPRESS MEMBERSHIP WEBSITE
Let’s have MemberPress as the go-to plugin for this tutorial.
It has all the necessary features mentioned earlier. This plugin also works well with third-party plugins relevant to growing your small business website design.
So here’s how to set up your membership website:
- First, install and activate the plugin.
- Upon activation, you can then configure its settings.
ADD A PAYMENT METHOD
Setting up the payment gateway is the first thing you need to configure. This will allow you to accept payments.
To do this, simply go to the “Payments tab” and select your payment gateway.
MemberPress supports the following:
- PayPal (Standard, Express, and Pro)
Remember, you can choose multiple payment methods. Some users might prefer paying over Paypal to avoid giving out any card details.
After configuring the settings, click the “Update Options” button to save everything.
CREATE MEMBERSHIP LEVELS
Setting up different membership levels lets your subscriber choose differently:
- Website access
If you feel like offering a free membership plan, you can set that up in this stage.
To create various membership levels:
- Go to MemberPress’s membership page.
- Then click the “Add New” button.
- On the new page, type the title for the membership plan
- Then provide the plan details
- Under the membership terms section, set the expiration and pricing for this plan
- Customize permissions and options for the plan
- When you’re done customizing, click “Publish” to make it available.
Repeat this process until you’ve made enough membership levels for your website design.
RESTRICT ACCESS FOR YOUR MEMBERSHIP PLANS
In this step, you will choose which content would be available according to different membership plans.
Do this by using the function called “Rules.”
Find it by visiting MemberPress then the Rules page. Then click the “Add New” button.
To select different conditions and associate membership plans, choose all content that coincides with a particular category or tag. Choose their availability to members according to their subscription plans.
When you scroll down, you can find the rules editor. Here you’ll see:
- Content drip: lets you gradually release your content to your users
- Expiration options: makes your content unavailable after the date you’ve set
- When you’re done here, click “Save Rule.”
Repeat this process until you’re satisfied.
ADD MEMBERS-ONLY CONTENT
To add members-only content:
- Go to Rules.
- Then create tags.
- Create a rule that all content tagged as paid will be restricted.
After this, you can make paid content and just add a “paid” tag to it.
You can also use the “MemberPress Unauthorized Access” meta box. It sits below the post editor.
This function lets you select what non-members will see when they reach the members-only content.
When you’re done customizing, you can hit save.
CREATE YOUR PRICING PAGE
When a member signs up for a plan, this page is what they would see.
All the non-members who will try to access paid content will be redirected to this page.
To do this:
- Go to MemberPress, then the Groups page.
- Click on the “Add New” button
- Then enter the title for the group plan page
- Go down to the “Group options” meta box
- Next, add memberships that you want to show on the page
- Select a theme for your pricing table (choose from the templates available).
- Publish it.
- To preview the page, click the “View Group” link.
Redirect Site Visitors to the Pricing Page
To do this:
- Visit MemberPress, then Group page.
- Copy the URL of the pricing plan you created earlier.
- Then Go to MemberPress, then the Options page.
- Scroll down and find the “Unauthorized” section.
- Check the box that says “‘Redirect unauthorized visitors to a specific URL.”
- Then paste the group URL.
When you’re done, click the “Update Options” button to save everything.
ADD FORMS FOR SIGN UP AND USER LOGIN
Help your website users find their way around it.
But first, you need to…
Add a user login form (lets them sign in to their respective accounts.
To do this:
- Go to Appearance, then widgets, and add the “MemberPress login” widget to a sidebar.
After this, you need to add the pricing page link to its navigation menu.
To do this:
- Go to appearance, then menus page.
- On the left column, click on the Groups tab to expand it.
- Then, check the box sitting next to your pricing page.
- Click the “Add to menu” button.
- You can now drag and drop the pricing plan page.
- You can also edit it and change its link text.
When you’re done customizing, hit the save menu to update your website.
CUSTOMIZE YOUR MEMBERSHIP EMAIL TEMPLATES
MemberPress lets you edit email notifications to your members.
To do this:
- Go to MemberPress, then Options page
- Click the “Email” tab
From here, you can manage what email notifications your subscribers will receive.
To customize notices, just click the edit button. When doing this, you have the freedom to:
- Use basic formatting options
- Use smart tags to insert items like username and membership level
Remember to click on the “Send Test” button. You’ll then receive various test notification and check what your subscribers will receive.
VIEW RELEVANT STATISTICS TO HELP GROW YOUR MEMBERSHIP WEBSITE
The preceding steps let you establish your website. This last step lets you make informed decisions with the data you get from the built-in reports.
The reports show how your website design is doing.
To check it:
- Go to the MemberPress, then the Reports page.
- Sort out reports by month, year, or all-time data.
This page will show you the numbers of the following:
- Active members
- Inactive members
- Free subscriptions
- Paid subscriptions
- Total members
- Average member lifetime value
Note that the most important tool in judging your website’s success is its user engagement.
Here’s where you’d need Google Analytics.
Google Analytics lets you:
- See where your users are from
- What they do when they visit your membership website
Some people make the mistake of believing that WordPress is only a blogging platform. But it’s not what it is for its versatility.
Aside from offering blog solutions, you can also use it for its other roles that fit best with limitless numbers of plugins.
When it comes to membership websites, you can pick from many plugins available. The example above using MemberPress is only for example.
You can pick other plugin options with a set of features that fit your preferences.
Most WordPress plugins install and activate the same way. All you need to do is know your way around it.
The steps above are there to help you cover all the basics for your site. We hope this guide on how to create a membership website in 2020 can help you in a way.
If you need further help on this topic, Web Digital can help you in many ways. Aside from offering web design services, we also provide web hosting and other plans. We’re a well-established web design specialist in (NZ) and we can help your website design needs with our assorted website design packages in NZ to choose from.