Unfortunately, building a WordPress membership site usually involves using clunky WordPress plugins, ugly payment forms, and member management headaches. It doesn't have to be that way. WordPress is built for managing content, and it works really well for that purpose. Trying to squeeze membership management and payment forms into the WordPress interface just doesn't work very well.
Your membership software should work alongside your WordPress site. That's why we built Memberful. Let's outline how to get a WordPress membership site up and running in a few minutes with Memberful. First, you'll need to sign up for a free Memberful account. We have a starter plan with no up-front costs and no monthly fees. You only pay per successful transaction. Read more about it on our pricing page.
Step 1: Create a Plan
Choose a renewal period, set a price, and create the Plan. You can even include digital downloads (like an eBook) with your subscriptions.
Once you've created your plan, we'll provide you with a purchase link. You can insert the purchase link anywhere on your WordPress website. Customers will click the link to purchase the actual subscription. Memberful handles the payment form, automatic renewals, and everything related to the membership.
Step 2: Connect to WordPress and protect content
First, connect Memberful to WordPress. Once connected, we'll automatically sign new customers into your WordPress site and sync their Plans.
After connecting WordPress to Memberful you'll see a Memberful: Restrict Access box on every post and page below the editor. To protect the post or page, check the subscription you want to require.
To the right you'll see a text box for your marketing content. This content will be shown to anyone who isn't an active subscriber to the required plan.
Step 3: Connect to Stripe
Stripe is a credit card processor. They securely process your payments, take a fee, and then transfer the funds to your bank account. They're like PayPal, but with more modern security features and simpler pricing. We wrote an article comparing Stripe vs PayPal if you want to learn more about the differences.
You might be wondering: "What is Stripe and why do I need a payment processor to sell stuff?" Good question. Whenever you sell online, you need a payment processor to actually process the transaction. In the past, this involved signing up for a merchant account with a bank and finding a payment gateway to process payments. This was a hassle. Stripe and PayPal combine these functions and are therefore commonly referred to as "full stack" payment processors. If you're interested in learning even more about this whole process from both sides of the transaction, we'd recommend watching this Khan Academy video on institutional roles in issuing and processing credit cards.
Where does Memberful fit in? Memberful sits alongside your WordPress website and handles account management, renewals, card updates, content protection, mailing lists, and reporting. Think of Memberful as the hub that connects your WordPress membership site to your payment processor (in this case Stripe).
You're now protecting content and selling memberships on your WordPress site. Wasn't that easy? Remember, it's really important to offer ongoing value to your members. Without ongoing value, customers are unlikely to continue paying you. Take a look at these membership site ideas for some inspiration.