Top 8 Membership Plugins and Toolsets for WordPress
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Finding the right WordPress Membership Plugin could be the difference between the ultimate success or failure of your project. Most membership plugins give your site the ability to create membership plans and give members access to your web content, allowing you to completely control the access to the content on your website while creating a new revenue stream from the members.
Benefits of WordPress Membership Sites
Using the right membership platform can help you start your membership website off on the right foot so that you can better scale your site in the future. Changing platforms after you already have existing subscribers can be complicated and cause you to lose subscribers and the recurring revenue derived from them, so it’s best to choose the right platform initially. The best way to ensure you’re choosing the right WordPress plugin for your membership website is to discuss the options with your web developer.
Considerations for Choosing a WordPress Membership Plugin
Your membership site will depend on using the right plugins for your business. It’s always important to discuss your membership website and its needs with your developer before deciding on one. Here are a few things to consider before choosing a WordPress membership plugin.
It’s important to choose between a membership plugin that’s fast and basic versus one that’s full-feature so that you can have everything you need at your fingertips. Make sure your web developer understands all of the needs and necessary functionality for your website so that they can use the right plugin for you. While premium plugins come at a cost, you may find that they offer you all of the features you’ll need in both the short and long term.
Your web developer should always make sure your plugin is compatible by testing it in a staging environment before installing it on your live site. The developer should always verify that it is compatible with your theme and all other plugins before it gets officially installed to your site’s live version.
It is important to choose a developer that has the knowledge and experience to help guide you in the process of determining the right plugins and tools to use. Your web developer should install and configure the plugin based on your business model’s needs.
What’s the Best Membership Plugin for WordPress?
You’ll find tons of options out there for WordPress membership plugins. Make sure that you weigh their pros and cons before choosing one so that you can make sure it has all of the capabilities you want.
Best Social Community Building Plugin: BuddyPress
BuddyPress is a plugin that’s ideal for community-based websites. BuddyPress can be used to create social networks, as a communication tool for businesses, communities for products and services, and can be integrated with bbPress to enhance forums.
- Profile management
- Groups within communities
- Private messaging
- Community support
- Free but extension packs start at $99.
- Poor customer service
- Slow development
- Basic features
Best Forum Plugin: bbPress
Made by the WordPress community, bbPress is a forum software offering simplicity, flexibility, and integration with WordPress. bbPress allows you to create a forum website or add a forum to part of your existing WordPress site.
- Easy setup and moderation
- Fully integrated
- One-click installation
- Fast and lightweight coding
- Customizable templates
- Unlimited use
- Compatible with WordPress themes
- Has hundreds of extensions for customization
- Only allows basic features, so you’ll need to install additional extensions.
Best Social Community Visual Interface: BuddyBoss
BuddyBoss is a professional social networking plugin that allows users to organize themselves into public, private, or hidden social areas.
Cost: Starting at $228/year, dependent on the number of sites
- Create and update profiles
- Send private messages
- Form and join groups
- Follow activity streams
- Create blogs
- Participate in forums
- Simple stack
- Unified admin experience
- Fast customer support
- Compatible with BuddyPress
- Cost depends on the number of sites
- Learning curve
Best All-Around Membership Management Plugin: Paid Memberships Pro
Paid Memberships Pro is a plugin for membership websites. The plugin adds a revenue source to websites for membership-based businesses and is ideal for small and medium-sized businesses.
Cost: Free Plan Available
Plus Plan: $297/year
Unlimited Plan: $597/year
- Content restrictions
- Content dripping
- Personalized content
- Create directories and profiles
- Membership management
- Multi-tiered membership
- Member email communications
- Ecommerce, payment options, and invoicing
- Admin reports
- Admin tools
- Integration with top plugins
- Free version available
- Access to a selection of free add-ons
- Bulk update scripts
- Doesn’t support video hosting
- May require code knowledge
- Paid options are expensive for small businesses
Best Learning Community Visual Interface: Youzer
Youzer is a user profile plugin for businesses that encourages community building where users can interact with one another to organically grow your reach and generate revenue.
Cost: Free Version Available
Regular License starting at $49/year
- Social features include likes, followers, post shares, reviews, ratings, hashtags, mentions, and more
- Membership features include signup management, unlimited registration fields, and a registration form widget
- Directory features include members directory, groups directory, global newsfeed
- Profile features include private profiles, front-end profile, and front-end account settings
- Free version available
- Paid versions moderately priced
- Customization option
- Customer support
- Ease of use
- Integrations with bbPress, WooCommerce, Giphy, Mailchimp, and Mailster
- Based on the features you get for the price, there are no cons.
Best Membership E-Commerce Plugin for Learning Communities: WooCommerce
WooCommerce is a customizable eCommerce platform built on WordPress that preserves many standard core functions of WordPress while adding eCommerce capability, configuration, and customization.
- eCommerce capability
- Secure shopping cart
- WordPress website SEO
- Free core software
- Professional look
- Expensive extensions required for a robust experience
- Frequency of updates
- Difficult multi-currency implementation
Best Memberships Plugin for Learning Communities: WooCommerce Memberships
WooCommerce Memberships is a membership solution for businesses and learning communities that restrict content and products.
- Sell/Assign memberships
- Grant product/content access
- Provide discounts
- Content dripping
- Content access restrictions
- Members-only customized discounts
- Members area
- Import or export members
- Easy to install and configure
- Powerful content dripping features
- Flexible and easy membership management
- Customer support
- No free trial
- Basic and simple members management dashboard
Best Subscriptions Plugin for Learning Communities: WooCommerce Subscriptions
WooCommerce Subscriptions allows businesses and learning communities to create and manage products and services with recurring payments, including product of the month clubs, weekly service subscriptions, and yearly billing packages.
- Native integration with WordPress
- Support of coupons, free trials, and reduced-price trials
- Failed payment retries
- Multiple payment gateway support
- Good for simple and variable subscriptions
- Automatic and manual renewal support
- Supports a wide range of payment processors
- Analytics could be more detailed
- Reduced price trials difficult to implement
- Gift subscription-only supported through third party extension
There are tons of WordPress membership plugin options available. Always consider cost and the types of features you’ll need before deciding on a plugin and or toolset for your WordPress Membership site. Expect to pay more for more robust plugins, as these plugins typically offer features that will save you development expenses in the future. Always take advantage of free trials for testing when possible. Engaging with a trusted web developer can help you start your membership website off right.
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