WordPress is popular for its ease of use and flexibility. When users want to create a membership site, then WordPress always becomes the first option. In the guide below, we are to show you the steps of creating a WordPress membership website. Even if you have no coding knowledge, our step-by-step guide can help you create one easily and quickly.
Things for Creating a WordPress Website
WordPress has already stood out of the all other website builders and platforms and become the easiest platform for any user to create their membership website and sell, requiring zero technical skills. Before you start creating one, you need the following things:
- A domain name is a must to be your site’s address.
- Purchase a web hosting plan to store your website files.
- A membership add-on is needed to convert your regular site into a membership site.
Step-By-Step Guide to Creating a WordPress Membership Website
Our step-by-step guide will show you how to create a functional membership site with WordPress within 30 minutes. You just need to come with us and do as the following steps we mentioned. So, are you ready? Let’s start.
Step One: Start Your WordPress Site
At very beginning, you need to ensure the right WordPress platform you are using, because there are two WordPress platforms outside. WordPress.org is recommended for it is self-hosted, providing you with complete access to all tools as well as features you need
Of course, using WordPress.org as your website building platform, you also need a domain name, SSL certificate and a WordPress hosting plan. Bluehost is a good option to register a domain name and it offers cheap web hosting starting at $2.95/mo with 64% off discount, which is specially optimized for WordPress. Here you can see our guide to start a new blog to check the steps with WordPress. You could check out all Bluehost deals from here.
After that, you can start to convert the normal site into a membership site with WordPress.
Step Two: Choose a WordPress Membership Plugin
With WordPress, you will have plenty of useful plugins available, and they can be used to create your WordPress membership site as well. You may be overwhelmed by them, but we have made a full comparison of the best plugins for WordPress membership site.
As for you, you need to the type of WordPress membership you are to create and what functions and features the membership site need. Based on these needs, you can choose a right WordPress membership plugin quicker.
According to our comparison, if you need user registration on our site, then we recommend you WPForms which is a WordPress plugin for creating form, helping you create user registration forms and login. Even better, it enables you to allow users to submit their articles without access your WordPress admin field.
If you need to sell paid content, digital downloads, or subscriptions, we think MemberPress should be a right option more robust. In fact, MemberPress includes advanced membership tools, allowing users to receive payments, create levels for membership, restrict access with membership levels, and so on.
Or, if you want to sell things online, then we recommend LearnDash which is complete WordPress LMS software, coming with all the learning management tools and features.
Besides, you can use LearnDash and MemberPress to build up a powerful WordPress website with both membership subscriptions and online courses.
Step Three: Set up Your WordPress Membership Plugin
Once deciding your WordPress membership plugins, you can start to set up your WordPress membership site. Here we choose MemberPress as our instance because it comes with all the features mentioned before, and it can work well with other third party plugins used for your business growth.
To use MemberPress, you should install and activate it first. The steps of installing MemberPress on WordPress websites is very easy, you can just follow the installing instructions or use 1-click installer. For activation, you have to go to “MemberPress” on your WordPress dashboard, click on “Options” to configure its settings you need.
Step Four: Add Payment Method(s)
On “Options” page, there are different sections that you need to set up settings, and the first one is payments. After setting up payment gateway, your membership website can accept payments.
To set up payment, you need to click on “Options” tab, and then select a payment gateway.
In all, there are Stripe, Offline Payment, Authorize.net, PayPal Standard, PayPal Express Checkout, and PayPal Payments Pro options with MemberPress. Choose one you like from those and offer the required information.
If you want to set up multiple payments, you can click on “add” button and then you can add more payment methods. Normally, for credit cards we like to use Stripe, and PayPal is a secondary method, for people are sensitive to offer their credit card information.
After setting up payment methods, you need to save your configuration by clicking on “Update Options” are the bottom of the page.
Step Five: Create Membership Levels
Now, you need to create membership levels, so that your users can buy on your site easily. Each level should have different price plans, access as well as perks. To attract more users come to your site, you can even push out a fee plan.
Go to WordPress Dashboard and then find “MemberPress”; click on it and select “Memberships” to Memberships page where you can create membership levels. Click on “Add New” button.
Then you will be at another page, on which you need to type into a specific title for a certain membership plan, and here we named it as Silver Plan. After that, you will to set up the membership terms including prices, billing type and expiration under “Membership Terms” part.
Then, go down on the page, and you will see “Membership Options” section with different meta box. These meta boxes allow you to customize Silver Plan’s permissions as well as membership options.
After set up the details of the Silver Plan well, you can make the level or plan generally available by using its “Publish” button. If you have go through these steps, then the first membership level is created well. For more membership levels, you can create more membership levels as you like.
Step Six: Restrict Access for Different Membership Levels
After creating multiple membership levels (plans), you should move to decide which membership plans can access different content on your site. With MemberPress, you can use its “Rules” to make it quickly.
Visit the “Rules” page under “MemberPress”, and click on “Add New” button.
Then, you will be at the rule editing page where you can choose conditions from multiple options and associate these conditions to the membership levels or plans you set up before.
For instance, you can choose “All Content” matching a specific category or tag to be available to the users with Platinum Plan only.
Or, you can create other rules, such as a single page or post, a specific URL, and child pages.
Under Rules editor, there are expiration and content drip options available. Expiration option define the content is unavailable after the set period, and the content drip can help you release your content little by little, instead of offering all at one time. Note if you cannot ensure these options, you just leave them unchecked.
If you feel your settings are good, just go ahead and use “Save Rules”. This is a rule set up well, and you can repeat these steps to create more.
Step Seven: Add Members Only Content
After creating rules to restrict members’ access to different content, you can move to add the members only content via “Rules” as well, which makes the work super easy.
Taking the example we created above, we create the rule that all content tagged paid to restrict all content to be available for all paid membership plans. After creating the rule, you should create content for it and add “paid” tag to it.
On the post editing page of MemberPress, you will find that there is a meta box of “MmeberPress Unauthorized Access” under the post editor. It is to set up what non-members will see as they reach the content with paid tag.
There are several settings to set up. Of course, you can keep the default settings, or you can show a custom message, login form or excerpts, just as you need.
After setting up members only content well, you can move on and publish it. After reloading, you will get a message saying the content is successfully protected.
Step Eight: Create a Pricing Page
The pricing page will be displayed to your users when planning to sign up for a membership plan and it will allow users to select a plan and go ahead to your payment page.
As you have set rules to restrict access to membership plans and content, so, on this page, users will be restricted as well. To create you pricing page, you should so to” Groups” under “MemberPress”, and then click on “Add New” button to get started.
The first thing is to enter the title you created on membership plan page, and users will see it as group plan’s title.
Then, scroll down and you will see “Group Options”, where you can add the membership plans which will be displayed on the group plan page.
For better convenience and performance, you can also choose to use a pricing table theme because MemberPress includes some ready-made templates for pricing tables.
After that, you can use “Publish” button. Then, your pricing plans will be generally available.
You can check out “View Group” link to preview the pricing page.
Step Nine: Redirect Users to Your Pricing Page
After creating pricing page, you can redirect your unauthorized users to it. Find MemberPress on WordPress Dashboard, go to “Group” page, and then copy the URL beside the group you just created.
Next, Find “Options” page under “MemberPress” and scroll down the page to “Unauthorized Access” part. Then, select the box in front of “Redirect unauthorized visitors to a specific URL”; after that, pates the URL you copied before.
Finally, use “Update Options” to update your settings.
Now, you have set up the redirect link well, and your unauthorized users will be redirected to the pricing page as they attempt to access any members only section.
Step Ten: Add Signup Forms & User Login Forms
Once you set up everything well, you should start adding forms of signup and user login to let your users easily get their way leading to your sites.
User login forms will be the first one to be added because they allow members to sign in to their membership accounts on your membership website. To add the login forms, you need to find “Appearance” on WordPress Dashboard, then get to “Widgets” page to add a “MemberPress login” widget to the sidebar, and finally click on “Save” button to save your settings.
After that, you will go back to WordPress Dashboard. Again, visit “Appearance” and choose “Menus” to add your pricing page link to your navigation menu, which allows new users to select a membership plan and then register their accounts. When visiting “Menus”, you should go to the “Groups” tab to enrich it. The tab will display the pricing plan group that you made before.
Well, to add the pricing page link to navigation menu, you will need to select the box before the “Pricing Plans”, and then click on “Add to Menu” to fulfill the process.
After doing that, your pricing plan page will show in the right column. Also, you can drag and drop it to change its place in menu. Besides, you are allowed to edit “Pricing Plan” or even change the text of the link.
Finally, the most important thing is to click on “Save Menu” to save your changes. Now, you can logout and visit your membership site to check out if it is in action.
Now, all fundamental things of a WordPress membership website have been finished.
In our guide, we choose MemberPress as our membership plugin for WordPress, and it is powerful and useful to meet everything you will need to set up and grow a WordPress membership site easily. Also, MemberPress has higher compatibilities, so it can work well with LearnDash, another good WordPress membership plugin, therefore even if you need more, the integration of MemberPress and LearnDash can also offer you.
In all, we hope this step-by-step guide to teach you how to create a WordPress membership website can offer you a simple map to success, especially for those beginners. Or, if you have any other better tips or plugins you ever used or are using, please share it with us by leaving us comments.