A New Executive Order: Go check out MemberPress

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executive-order-memberpress

I have a bit of Membership Plugin Experience

At Emphasys Software we’ve been using membership sites for the last five years. We’ve use them to provide value to our customers by giving them knowledge base articles, video tutorials and more. Until then, I liked membership plugins but didn’t become a real “student” of them. But over the last five years, I’m pretty sure I’ve tried every single membership plugin that came out. In fact, we’re running four different membership sites and we use four different plugins because of their own nuances and needs.

That’s part of what led me to write my post comparing membership plugins.

So when I heard about another membership plugin – this one called MemberPress – I groaned. Another one? Really? Aren’t we about done with this? Can’t we move on to sliders? (j/k)

My journey with MemberPress

So I’ll cut to the chase. I heard about MemberPress two nights ago. I tried to buy it right away but had some issues. I was able to create my account but wasn’t able to pay. The reason? They hadn’t turned their Stripe integration to production. They were still in test mode. Just seeing that message, and that they were using Stripe, shot my anticipation level up a notch. I sent them emails letting them know that it was still in test mode – and that’s when I found out they hadn’t launched yet.

But as I searched for their email, I discovered they were the same guys behind Pretty Link Pro. Could such a team deliver another great plugin, or would they be a one-hit wonder?

The response to my emails suggest their support will be awesome because I received a quick reply: they weren’t launched yet. But since I had already created my account, I was able to go in and pay for my developer license yesterday. One full day before they launched.

And so today I’ll take you for a walk thru my favorite highlights.

The MemberPress Tour – 8 Ways to Win Me Over

mp1.SettingUp

1. Getting started is fast and easy

When you start, you’re immediately shown links to the authorization (you need a key) and options screens. I love that because I hate looking to see where a plugin developer has put their configuration settings. Once on the options screen (see above), you’ll see that it looks simple (like Paid Memberships Pro, another favorite of mine). What makes it really easy is the auto-creation (like WooCommerce when you first set them up) of the pages you’ll need.

mp2.AccountSettings

2. You can really configure the user experience

When you step into the second tab, to configure “accounts,” you’ll see a ton of easy options that will likely become the de facto standard for all membership plugins. And that goes for so much more than just this screen. What MemberPress has done, by coming late to the party, is learn from everyone else. It’s a sneaky trick because most people count on the first mover advantage, but sometimes that advantage is costly – because you pay for all that learning. These guys have just skipped past a host of mistakes and made things easy, while delivering great value.

On this screen you can:

  • Tell the software to protect the backend from members
  • Not show them the WP toolbar at the top of the site
  • Add custom fields for users when they register
  • Even pro-rate the membership fees at mid-term renewals
  • and more…

mp3.payments

3. Did I mention Stripe?

Other people want to marry bacon. I want to marry Stripe. It’s easy. It’s safe. Most importantly, it plays nice with developers. In other words, it’s not Paypal. Mind you, every time I write about Stripe I have to mention that they only work in the US and Canada. But if more and more of you sign up, I’m sure they’ll have funds to step into other countries.

Anyway, this isn’t a post about Stripe. It’s a post about how smart Blair Williams was to integrate Stripe into the platform. And integrate they did – they built their Stripe interface from the ground up to make sure it used everything that was available. Can I get a “pure awesome” somebody?!?

4mp.Groups

4. Something New: Product Groups

I’m getting ready to launch several courses – the main one being for people who are trying to find a way to leverage their expertise and establish their brand – and so I’m partially done with the new site. On that site, I’m offering at least two different ways to experience the content. But figuring out how to set that up, with a membership solution, and still have a pretty pricing page, was taking some time.

Now, you don’t have to waste time doing what I was doing because these guys have created something called a Product Group. It’s a container that collects all the products that are similar. Like my “same content – different approaches, each at a different price” situation. It’s also useful for upgrades.

6mp.groupPage

5. The Pricing Page – Automatically Created

Now, if all the Product Group did was help you organize things, that would be great. But it does more. It automatically creates your pricing page for you. And if you mark “highlight” on the product version you want to stand out, it will change the shade and make the sign-up link larger. How’s that for automation?

You might be wondering where the “benefits/features” are coming from? The answer is on the product definition page, which also has some treats on it.

5mp.Products

6. The Intuitive Product Page

It truly doesn’t get easier than this. For each product you create, MemberPress gives you a meta box (top right) to price it, and another to configure the pricing box. You can easily add more rows of benefits without creating fancy tables, knowing CSS or anything else. And the box you’re creating appears in a preview on the side – which is exactly the way it should, since without it you’d be “designing things” blindly.

6mp.Rules7. I’m now in heaven

You know me, good people, you know me. You know how important content dripping is. I shared with you how to do it with premise –  but it’s even easier with MemberPress. It’s a part of their rule creation. And their rule creation rocks. It’s clean – which is much better than 90% of the membership plugins out there. But more importantly, it’s granular. So you can product a specific post, a group of posts, a category, a forum, etc. There’s a ton of power – which is nice. But more importantly, the power is easy to manage – which is difficult to say and even more challenging to deliver. But they do it – and do it well.

And the last feature worth knowing…

8mp.Reports

8. Can you say Report Dashboard?

I don’t know if they’ve spent time checking out all the goodness that is Restrict Content Pro but if they didn’t, they were at least on the same wavelength. RCP has an add-on for Stripe and an add-on for graphs. Well MemberPress has support for both as well – baked right in. And it’s a nice dashboard. Of course I don’t like all those zeros but I haven’t launched anything yet, so I’m ok with it for now.

In Conclusion

I still love Restrict Content Pro (which has tons of add ons) and Paid Memberships Pro (which is free) because I know them inside and out. But MemberPress has seriously stepped in the market to win. They’re not messing around and their features are stellar. I’m going to run it on a live site and see how it performs, but before I sign off, I wanted to mention one last thing.

The product is 50% off right now. Yes, that’s right. They’ve decided to create a launch special. So here’s my executive order for the day:

Go there now and pick it up right away if you have any plans for a membership site this year.

 

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41 comments

    • chrislema says:

      Well I already wrote the earlier comparison, so I’ll wait a bit for a head to head. Actually, if you want to write a comparison, that’s fine. I may work on an infographic on how to choose the right one.

  1. Sinnary Sam says:

    Oh, this is great. I have a member site using Joomla and I really want to move it over to WordPress. But, haven’t been happy with Buddypress at all. Thanks for doing the research for me!

  2. Great post Chris! I have a question about MemberPress:

    I’m currently working on a site using s2Member and it’s anything but intuitive. It’s quite powerful though.

    My need is not so much protecting pages as much as sites. That s2Member site is a multisite network where users who register (just one level) get access to a site/blog an admin will create for them after registration (no automated site creation) and that site access needs to be protected of course. Second thing is that it’s a blingual site (WPLM) which is another level of complexity in itself. I’m learning both WPML and s2Member at the same time… ;)

    My questions is, do you think MemberPress could handle this scenario from trying it out and maybe the documentation you’ve seen? Or is it made for simpler needs?

    Thanks!

    • Paul says:

      Hi Chris (and anyone else with similar questions),

      I just stumbled onto this post, which is a great find so quickly after our initial launch. I am a Junior Developer/Support Technician on the MemberPress project.

      MemberPress will support Mailchimp very soon. And yes you can set the products up to be purchased simultaneously if you want. So to clarify, it is possible for a member to own A, B, C, and D at the same time.

      For those of you who do not want your members to own multiple subscriptions at once, there’s an option for that as well. Hope this helps answer your questions.

      • Just wanted to state that I’ve emailed Paul several questions via their site and received VERY prompt and thorough answers for every one. Thank you!

        Paul, when you reference “products” do you mean an individual page each or could a product be any group of pages, for instance, that’s tagged with a certain word?

  3. How exciting. Thanks for staying on top of Member Plug-ins for us Chris!
    How does MemberPress do on these Member Plug-in criteria set based on my experience with Restrict Content Pro:

    From what RCP Has:
    Nice kind of dashboard that RCP already provides, including the extra columns in the WordPress users.
    The ease of use.
    The redirect page from completion of payment on the register_form so that we can have members fill out the member contact form.
    Ability to export Member data and Payment data including the subscription end date (we need this to send out payment reminders).
    Free Trial and Paid memberships
    Short Codes we appreciate in RCP:
    register_form
    login_form
    password_form
    subscription_details
    user_name

    From what RCP Doesn’t Have:
    Member able to pay before expiration. We want 2 short-codes. Renew and Upgrade.
    (plugins with backward compatibility to Paypal may not do this)
    Subscription duration settable by date as well as duration.
    RCP makes us choose between an email and a landing page on completion of member sign-up. Not essential but would be nice to allow both.
    Hidden Membership Subscription Type that can be added manually – or other solution to indicate paid by check (and manually added by admin). Should carry through in exported csv

  4. MaAnna says:

    Thanks for the post, Chris. Looks like they’ve developed a fine product. I really like how the products are listed and the default pages created for you. Seems way more intuitive that WishList. But, it’s still missing a couple of the features I would want to use, though. But, for folks starting out with a single product and no upgrades, looks like this would be a good choice.

    • caseproof says:

      @MaAnna … Actually, when you use the group feature you can define upgrade paths for products … and you can create an unlimited number of groups (and therefore upgrade paths).

      When users upgrade, MemberPress can handles everything automatically … it can even handle the proration part of an upgrade automatically (since it integrates fully with the gateways we support). Upgrades are solid in MemberPress.

      With that said though … you’re right … MemberPress is a new product and there’s always room to grow. But it’s a solid, well tested product and we’re really excited not only where it is today but what we’ve got planned for its future.

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  6. Lisa says:

    I’m a happy user of Paid Memberships Pro and have been quite please with their support, since I have hte free plugin.

    I’m wondering about whether the content in MemberPress is fully available to Search Engines even if restricted to members who have purchased? This is one of the features that I really like about Paid Memberships Pro

  7. GREAT THREAD! I recently purchased Memberpress but hit a small roadblock…a PayPal hiccup. Support recommends switching to Authorize.net…do you have any quick to digest info, pros/cons of making the move? I really love this plug in and don’t want a PayPal issue to stand in the way…

  8. Me again! When setting up our payment options for this plug-in we have options Stripe, PayPal and Artificial. We are ready to go with Authorize.net but not understanding what the choice “Artificial” means or is. Has anyone else seen this at set-up?

    • caseproof says:

      Hi @ballstonjournal,

      Yeah, the Artificial payment method is used when you want the user to be able to sign up for a product but without actually collecting a payment.

      Most of our customers use this payment method for testing purposes.

      But we do have some customers who use this payment method to accept manual payments … with this payment method you can optionally set it so new transactions are set to “pending” … then once manual payment is received, the transactions can be set to “complete” and the user will gain access.

      Hope that helps,

      Blair

  9. Hi Chris,

    (hope someone still reads on this old topic?)

    Thanks for _all_ your really helpful reviews. Your site is a great well of resource!

    I’m about to create a membersip site in German(y), so the [I18n] tab on that picture up there got my head up!

    As you say with MemberPress you can “Tell the software to protect the backend from members”. Great. But does that play nice with wpcourseware.com? (I got that on your behalf! Great purchase, thanks!)

    My personal wishlist:
    A membership site with
    – free content for visitors (non users)
    – more free content for signed-up users
    – different courses for sale
    – drip fed content (a classic demand, isn’t it?)
    – responsive design (would be really nice, at least for the front-door-pages)

    What I found so far:
    – ptinstant.com for the sales pages (I like that it’s _not_ a theme, like profitstheme.com from the makers)
    – wpcourseware.com for nice courses

    Exploring:
    – memberpress.com for the member site stuff wrapping around the courses (right?)
    – Paid Memberships Pro (as an alterative?)

    Unknown yet:
    – which mailinglist provider to use (and why). I signed up for SendReach.com but don’t know if it fully integrates. (Have mailchimp free account, would that work to? where are the limits when you need paid one?)

    So, if this is the new executive order, I’ll just follow?

    TIA

    .olaf

    • Linda Sherman Gordon says:

      Hi Olaf. I’m still reading. (I asked to be notified of follow-up comments). This is an important informational post on WordPress Membership plug-ins that will continue to generate new traffic.

      • Olaf Klein says:

        Hi Linda,

        yes, this can generate new traffic indeed, but since it is still the same topic I think it’s good to discuss it here. Esp. since Chris instructed to order! (and his advice is aways valuable!)

        greetings from Germany.

        love.
        .olaf

  10. Kevin says:

    Do you know if it’s possible to change the product page template to full width or landing page (I’m using genesis). I don’t want the sidebar and nav on my checkout page!!!!

  11. I’m looking for a membership plugin where users can purchase a set number of credits per month and use them for downloads or view. I don’t want to drip content because I was users to be able to choose what info is helpful to them but I obviously don’t want to open up my whole resources library for them to download in one month. So far only DAP has offered this feature but from the reviews, it’s not a great plug in. Any help would be really appreciated. I keep searching and all I find are others asking the same question. It’s clearly an option others want too!

  12. Its important to note that Memberpress, while it does drip, does not filter WP_Query results which means your users will SEE content that they can not yet ACCESS. Memberpress drips out ACCESS rather then actually hiding the content (like DAP does).

    When users see content they can’t access they cancel, fast.

    Hopefully Memberpress fixes this someday, their ecomm is great, but basically destroying the ability to use standard widgets and themes that do things like show you the posts in a category makes it a lot less useful.

    Hoping someone tells me I’m stupid and points out a simple option so I can solve my problems and go use memberpress :)

    And yes, I am aware of the shortcodes and of widgetlogic but those gate access to a specific item at detail view time and entire widgets. What I am referring to is that a page or widget for Category ABC will show ALL Category ABC items irregardless of it the viewing user has access to them or not.

      • Hi Sterling-

        MemberPress filtering is still evolving. We’ve found a few bugs in it (that they fixed pretty quickly which was great!) and I ended up writing a plugin called Memberpress Extender that handles this. It also sends daily emails to users when they are dripped new content (another REALLY important feature that Memberpress is missing). Drip notifications are critical for user engagement and something platforms like DAP do really well. My plugin makes MemberPress do it really well also :)

        MemberPress seemed to like my changes and they are working putting these features into a future release but haven’t committed to a date yet. Until then my plugin is the only way to get both drip notifications and true drip filtering.

        If you are interested in testing Memberpress Extender let me know, I haven’t released it quite yet, it needs some cleaning up still.

        John-

  13. Stephen says:

    How does this compare to Wishlist Member and it’s slew of plugins?

    I’m looking to move away from WLM and been trying most of them out there and finding big holes… 3 months now of testing about 10 so far thinking i got all the ones that looks like a fit and now 2 more pop on the radar (Memberful and MemberPress).

    The good news is that all of the “holes” are in different areas and they appear to be working on them. In another 6-12 months I expect most of these tools will have every feature I want.

    A hesitation to buying and trying MemberPress as they don’t offer a 30 day refund period… basically I’d have to prove to them it’s broken and find their bugs to get a refund if I don’t like my results.

    Otherwise the website feature list looks nice… but not way to tell how good it really is.

    Areas I need:
    performance for larger numbers eg, 50,000 free members entering the system each year, with 10% conversion to paying customers

    Have they tested their limits? (most of the membership systems have not tested their limits and don’t know)

    Drip for multiple products

    inquiring to their support and hope to get details of their position. any real world experience updates appreciated! :)

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