The project is wrapping up
While it's true that some of the best membership plugins are left to review (MemberPress, iThemes Exchange, WooThemes Memberships & Paid Memberships Pro), we're really getting down to the last group here.
If you've missed it, I've taken on the task of reviewing 30 membership plugins. I started back in July and you can see the list so far (with scores now):
- Membership 2 Pro – 3.0
- WP eMember – 3.3
- WP-Members – 2.3
- Restrict Content Pro – 3.3
- FastMember – 3.6
- Memberful – 2.9
- InstaMember – 3.6
- Members – 2.5
- WP Membership – 2.3
- Cart66 Cloud – 4.1
- Private Content – 1.9
- Zippy Courses – 3.6
- Ultimate Member – 1.7
- Easy Quick Member – 0.4
- WooCommerce Membership (Envato) – 2.0
- MemberWing-X – 3.0
- Simple Membership Plugin – 2.0
- Page Security and Membership – 2.0
- S2Member Pro – 2.3
- Digital Access Pass (DAP) – 3.3
- Magic Members – 2.9
- Wishlist Member – 2.4
We only have 7 left, and for #24 I decided that I'd look at Rainmaker – since even though it's a hosted platform, it runs on WordPress and therefore still counts.
Then we'll only have 6 left before I'm able to tell you which one I think is the overall best. Of course, your criteria may be different than mine. And that's ok.
Rainmaker's membership solution
So hopefully you already know this – you can create a great membership site on Rainmaker.
But you likely know that and want to know something more – like, how does it compare with the rest of these solutions.
Before I tell you that, I should let you know that I already created a walkthrough for creating a membership site on Rainmaker.
So if you haven't read about the 12 steps I took to create a site, you might want to check that out.
But let's get into Rainmaker's approach to membership sites.
Where Rainmaker beats the competition
One of the things I haven't spent nearly enough time talking about, as I've done these 24 reviews, is that the technical aspects of building a membership site pale in comparison to the work you have to do to keep growing your membership community.
That's not technical work. It's marketing work. And it's not easy.
But here's one place (not the only place) where Rainmaker steps out in front of all the other membership plugins.
Rainmaker helps your site look better – with sales pages and good looking theme options – from pricing pages to landing pages.
The other place where Rainmaker delivers more than other membership solutions is precisely why people choose Rainmaker.
It offers more.
It's really that simple. Want to sell eBooks? Do it. Want to run a podcast? Sure. What about an eLearning course? If it's basic, this is perfect.
There's a reason why Rainmaker is called a Platform, and not just a website builder.
Need more than a membership site? You need a Platform.
You know, for some of you, that I think you need a platform, not just a website? Right?
I wrote a series about it last year:
- Part One: You need more than just a website
- Part Two: You need to start with a plan
- Part Three: You need to pick the base of plugins you’ll use
- Part Four: Building an Author Site with iThemes Exchange
- Part Five: Building a Band or Musician’s Site with Easy Digital Downloads
- Part Six: Why most membership plugins won't work
- Part Seven: Is Rainmaker the right platform for me?
So if you're thinking about something bigger than just a membership site, you should seriously look into Rainmaker.
Other Rainmaker membership features you'll like
Let's knock these out quickly so I can score it officially. When I write them down, you'll likely go – hmm, isn't that everything?
- You can use Stripe.
- You can use Paypal.
- You can use Authorize.net
- You can connect it to MailChimp.
- You can even connect it to InfusionSoft.
- You can let people purchase more than one membership at the same time.
- There's a way to offer a downsell offer.
- You can drip content via shortcodes for delayed access.
- It supports digital downloads.
- It supports forum support / integration.
That's a great list, and when you add “it will look good” and “it's easy and fast to get going,” it almost feels like a no-brainer, right?
There's a lot going for it.
There are still some things it doesn't do
Is Rainmaker perfect? Nope. Not yet. But the folks behind it – you know, folks from Copyblogger – are pretty smart, so anything is possible.
Nevertheless, are there things I wish it had, from a membership solution? Yes.
Let's start with reporting.
The conversion reporting is good. Don't get me wrong. But it could be much, much better. After all, we're talking memberships and recurring revenue, right?
Where is my lifetime value calculation? Where is the predictive analytics for attrition (churn)?
These guys are smart enough to get it in there, so it's just a matter of time and focus.
Now let's talk redirections.
When people make a purchase of a membership level, you're given an option to pick the page they're redirected to. That's a great first step. But normally, that's a “thank you” page that won't do everything you want it to.
I'd love to have more redirections in play – like an option for a thank you page / receipt, and then an additional route to the “home page” for that membership.
A sub-category of redirections are the One-Time-Offers we've talked about in this series.
And in another sub-category of redirections, it would be great if every single member had their own personal page. Am I right?
Again, doesn't have to be done the way Private Content does it. But something.
For the Rainmaker folks reading, just remember we're hardest on the ones we love, right? 🙂
So let's see how it ranks with others based on my eight criteria:
- Ease of Use – 5
- Payment Gateway Support – 4
- eCommerce Support – 3
- Drip Support – 5
- Concurrent Accounts – 5
- Pro-rating Charges – 1
- Upgrades / Downgrades – 3
- Speed of setting it up – 5
The Rainmaker Score: 3.9