What's the right plugin for a simple membership site?
The other day I got an email that likely sounds familiar, if you've ever tried to create a simple membership site and realized there were a ton of plugins available to choose from.
“I'm trying to figure out which WordPress membership/subscription plugin is best for me…I'd like it to be simple to install, and ideally not break the bank (under $100/year would be great). All I want is for people to be able to create accounts on my website, become “subscribers” for a week, month, three months, etc with different prices, and have access to certain content while their subscriptions are running. I don't need tiers… every subscription gets the same content, but the price is different based on length (longer subscriptions will receive discounts). Is there a simple plugin you'd recommend for this?”
Even in this really short email, the person has told me a lot about what they want. And they're right, this is pretty simple. What they want is the same content protection, but paid in different intervals. Something like this…
It's all about the buyer's intention
In this kind of membership site, the content is the same per plan. What changes is the commitment of the buyer. If they only expect to use the site for a week, why pay more? And if they can get away with figuring out what they want to read in a month's time, why pay more. It really is a simple membership site.
And while they don't mention what payment gateways they need support for, it's likely Stripe or PayPal, and the good news is that you can support both. Again, this is important because buyers can sometimes have strong preferences of how they pay for their membership plans. I saw one site lose 30% of its transactions when it removed PayPal from the payment options.
Protecting Content is Easy with Restrict Content Pro
There are a lot of membership plugins out there when you're building something like this on WordPress. But when it comes to a simple membership site, few are as easy to use as Restrict Content Pro. Here's how you protect content, in one of two ways.
First, you can protect tons of content simply by doing it at the post category level. You find this screen by heading to Posts > Categories and clicking on one of them.
That's as easy as it gets. Notice I checked all the plans, since every plan gets access to this content. Additionally, I checked the “paid only” checkbox to make sure only paying subscribers get access.
The other way to protect content is on a post by post basis. It works when you write something and maybe it's a page, or it's outside of any of the categories you have. And you can do it by clicking on the radio button that is for “any paid membership,” which is what I would recommend in this case. Or click the next radio button that allows you to choose specific plans.
Either way, you've created a membership site that protects content in a few clicks by using Restrict Content Pro.
The Best Part is the Price
You'll recall that the first part of the request was to create a simple membership site with a membership plugin that wouldn't break the bank. And while there are a couple of free membership plugins that are pretty good. This one does exactly what the customer needs in the least amount of clicks. And does so under budget. Remember, they wanted to keep it under $100.
That Personal Plan is exactly what's needed, and it's $99 (March 2020).
Conclusion: RCP is Great for a Simple Membership Site
As you've seen here, the simplicity of the product goes a long way for solving this particular need. You may have a more complex membership site, but for simple ones, Restrict Content Pro is perfect. Among it's many available features at the $99 level, the 13 additional fee add-ons provide:
- Download Monitor Integration
- MailChimp Integration
- EasyDigital Downloads Integration
- User Imports (CSV)
- Strong Password Support
- Support for Authorize.net
People use Restrict Content Pro (RCP) every day to build a variety of kinds of membership sites – from blogs with protected content to association membership sites, to private online communities, to buying clubs. If you're building a simple membership site and you want to do it quickly, without a lot of stress, this product will work well for you!
And some free advice. The best place to host membership sites (and eCommerce sites) is Nexcess.