When it comes to blogging on WordPress creating a membership site has pretty much been catered for on all fronts. I could go into great detail on exacty how to do that, but in fact that would be a complete waste of time because the Plugin I found to perform this task is an excellent example of a project that provides not only most, if not all, the functionality you will need from a membership site but also a comprehensive set of clear easy to follow instructions for implementing it.
So instead of telling you how to create a membership site I am going to discuss some of the reasons why you might want to and about levels of membership. So here we go:
- Building a list
- Managing paid membership
- Secure posts, pages, URI’s and download directories
- Non member sales
Building A List
If you create a free membership level, i.e. there is no charge to become a member but visitors will need to subscribe to the site, i.e. register with their name and email address. You are immediately starting to create a list of people interested in what you are offering. You will need to offer an incentive for them to become a member. For example you will give them access to posts and or pages non-members cannot access. These pages could offer free products such as free e-books, free software, an archive of past news letters etc. You can use your imagination for this I am sure. But basically you are making it worth their while to become a member. With an email list you have a customer base, people you can offer products and services to when they are available, great products, services and special offers related to the topic they are interested in for example.
Managing Paid Membership
Paying members also contribute to your list, but even better you actually know they are prepared to pay for the services being offered. As a paid member they will have access to the free membership areas but in addition they may also have access to secure downloads, video courses or some other service they deemed worth paying for.
Secure Posts, Pages, URI’s and Download Directories
Using a membership site arrangement, you can manage multiple levels of access to control where visitors can go, see and use. Paypal can be used for payments to access the various entry levels and the program supports creation of the required Paypal buttons. You will need a business account with Paypal but setting up the interface to your blog is all detailed in the settings options and it can all be done from the WordPress control panel once set up. And actually the protection extends beyond those listed to include, tags, categories and even more.
Non – Member Sales
The plugin also supports non-member sales, which means you can sell specific post/page access using ‘Buy Now’ buttons and even bundle some posts and pages together as a package to be purchased.
All in all a pretty comprehensive product, so here it is the amazing and free S2 Membership Plugin, well I say free, yes it is but they accept contributions and there is an s2Member® Pro option which you can upgrade to for a price. Everyone needs to eat and by keeping some of the best bits for the Pro version, they can of course charge for those features. Either way, the free and paid versions are both excellent, you can visit the s2Member® (Videos) page to see a video detailing the differences.