Are you counting?
I'm currently on day 9 of my 31 days reviewing membership plugins. I had a brief conversation today about the entire thing. My friend asked the big question. “Why?”
I thought long and hard about it and I came up with three reasons why I think this series is worth the hours I'm spending. Ready for them?
First, it gives me a chance to look past the normal 3-5 that I normally recommend. Sometimes you need to take a look around again and see what the current state of things is.
Second, it gives me a chance to talk about product development in a context that helps it make sense. Instead of writing a theoretical story about how to think about feature development, or why to include or not include something, this is practical. I know many membership plugin developer friends who are using the series to help them think about their roadmap.
Lastly, it means I don't have to think about what I'm writing about today. Or tomorrow. Or any other part of July. Of course I don't know that the elimination of the “what should I write about?” question is comparable to the “I have to set up an entire site just to take screenshots” consequence. But it's character building. Right?
So for day nine, I decided I would walk you thru a plugin you may never have heard of, and focus on just two interesting features.
If you've missed any of the previous 8 reviews, here they are:
- Membership 2 Pro
- WP eMember
- Restrict Content Pro
And today we're looking at WP Membership.
Reviewing WP Membership
WP Membership is a plugin you can find on Code Canyon for $24. It won't break the bank. And it does some of the most common membership site things you'd hope for.
- It lets you create membership levels.
- It lets you protect posts & pages.
- It lets you charge for them with subscriptions.
- It lets you define those subscriptions with a variety of different periods.
- It makes it easy for a customer to upgrade or choose to downgrade their level.*
- It supports Stripe & PayPal.
- You can even create a membership directory.
- It supports MailChimp.
- It sends out emails to customers before their subscription ends.
*It doesn't appear that it supports proration which makes this less interesting to me.
That said, what you'll notice is that it does a lot of what I tell you a membership plugin should do. But like I've told audiences when I talk to them about membership plugins – there are close to 20 plugins that do that entire list.
But anytime you look at a product, you ought to look for what stands out. What makes it different. And in this case there are two things that it does well. And that I like.
Content Protection with WP Membership
I really love how simple this particular grid is for letting a user determine what content to protect. It's the way many people think about it. Yet you almost never see it in a plugin. And the consequence is that it always feels harder than it should to protect the right content for the right membership level or subscription.
[Tweet “WP Membership does content protection the way most people tend to think about setting up content protection.”]
WP Membership does it right. A nice little grid (that may get bigger as time goes on).
That's a nice feature. I really like it mostly because it doesn't look like the normal screens you see inside of WordPress. And that's the key takeaway for me. Just because the screens in WordPress are common and people are accustomed to them doesn't mean you can't get creative and design a UI that more closely resembles the way a client will think about the solution space.
Making your site not look ugly with WP Membership
Let's face it, most people that know how to code things don't also know how to not make it look like what they really know is how to code things. Another way of saying that is, “We need designers.”
Well the good news is that with WP Membership, it presumes you may not be graphically gifted, and so it provides styles for you. Pre-set styles. To help you not look ugly.
That's a very nice feature they've created. Because we all know that left to our own devices, we might have easily created ugly screens (and an ugly site). So instead WP Membership took care of it for us.
Here are some of the options for the Profile Page.
And here are options for the Pricing Page.
The truth is simple. We don't always know how to make something look good. But WP Membership solves it for us.
Video Tour of WP Membership
Rather than taking a lot of screenshots tonight, I thought I would install it and give you a quick tour.
So is it right for you?
I think the answer comes down to whether you are the kind of person who wants the features listed above, while also wanting your site not to look ugly. And of course this presumes you can't hire a designer.
So in that case, yes. WP Membership might be for you!
Scoring WP Membership
So let's get to the scoring of WP Membership.
- Ease of Use – 3
- Payment Gateway Support – 3
- eCommerce Support – 1
- Drip Support – 1
- Concurrent Accounts – 3
- Pro-rating Charges – 1
- Upgrades / Downgrades – 3
- Speed of setting it up – 3
The WP Membership Score: 2.25