One quick look for “subscription plugin for WordPress” reveals a slew of options — so many it’s easy to get anxious over which one to pick. Yet, the truth is that most of the subscription plugins out there will not offer you what you need — and even those who do can range quite wildly in terms of quality, offer, and pricing.
So, how do you choose a subscription plugin for WordPress you’ll use for years to come?
We took a closer look at the issue and came up with a few essential tips all membership and subscription site owners should keep in mind when hunting for the best plugin. Read on and find out more.
Advantages of Building Your Membership Site on WordPress
As social media becomes noisier and more crowded, many people turn to membership sites to find a sense of community and connection. They have become an ideal platform for entrepreneurs, organizations, and digital nomads who want to form deeper relationships with their audience.
WordPress is an ideal platform for building membership sites, and for several reasons:
It’s easy to set up
Setting up a WordPress website is relatively easy — and with the wide range of tutorials out there, and a community that’s very involved, you can easily find a way to do almost anything you want. WordPress lets you quickly create pages, add content and media, integrate payment gateways, manage memberships, and more.
Variety of themes
WordPress provides a wide range of themes to customize your website and give it the look and feel you want. Themes allow you to create a unique website tailored to your specific needs.
Drag & drop website builders
If you prefer to edit your website as you wish, at any time, there are a lot of website builders you can integrate with your WordPress — such as Elementor and Divi. These can make your life easier, as they allow you to drag & drop elements wherever you want on the page.
Inexpensive to start
Starting a WordPress membership website can be as cheap as $200 (or less.) All you need is a domain, a hosting service, a WordPress membership plugin, a theme, and, optionally, an account on Elementor, Divi, or similar drag-and-drop website builders. All of these tools amount to less than $200 (to which you can add the monthly or yearly cost of a website builder.)
WordPress integrates with…pretty much anything. Because it’s one of the most popular Content Management Systems out there, creating connections between different services and plugins is easy. You can easily connect your membership website to payment gateways, email marketing, analytics, and more.
High-level of customization
WordPress websites are highly customizable. With the right plugins and website builders, you can make your membership site unique. You can customize not only the design of your pages but add extra features and tailor the entire user experience.
Secure and reliable platform
WordPress has been around since 2003 — that’s two decades of updates and maintenance, making the platform much more secure than other CMSs. This means that your membership website is more likely to remain safe and secure, even if you are just starting out.
Subscription Plugin for WordPress: Criteria to Consider
Truth be told, there are a lot of subscription plugins for WordPress out there. So, before we jump into taking a look at some of the most popular ones, let’s take some time to understand the criteria you should consider when choosing the right plugin.
A good subscription plugin for WordPress will cover a wide range of features — enough to enable you with flexibility but not too many to be overwhelming. The features you should look for depend on the needs of your membership website:
- User manuals
- Security features (like Spam signup protection)
- Concurrent logins
- Banning/ blocking specific accounts
- Integrations with different tools and platforms (like WooCommerce)
- Social login
- Member badges
- … And so on
Level of Restriction
You want your WordPress membership plugin to have the right levels of restriction, so you can decide who gets access to what. Ideally, you would be able to set restrictions based on content type, user role, and other criteria.
When it comes to add-ons, the more, the merrier! An excellent subscription plugin for WordPress has a variety of add-ons to help you customize the user experience and add features.
Email marketing is a very important element of successful membership sites. The right subscription plugin for WordPress will allow you to integrate with popular email marketing services, so you can send personalized emails and newsletters to your members.
You want to offer your members as many payment options as possible. Ideally, your subscription plugin for WordPress will offer integrations with popular payment gateways, such as PayPal and Stripe.
Ultimately, you want your membership site to fully reflect all functionalities you want your members to have access to. Furthermore, you want your site to reflect your brand, messaging and narrative — and customization will enable you to achieve that. A great subscription plugin for WordPress will allow you to customize your site and pages with ease.
You want a WordPress membership plugin that is easy to use and understand. Ideally, it will have an intuitive interface and provide detailed setup instructions for those who are new to setting up membership sites.
The best subscription plugin for WordPress will enable you to create websites that are fully mobile-friendly — so your community and content can be accessed from any type of device.
You want to ensure that the plugin you choose offers dedicated customer support. That way, if something goes wrong or you are stuck with any aspect of your membership site, you will have the help you need to solve the issue.
Last, but not least, you want to be aware of the pricing plans that come with your WordPress membership plugin. Different plugins offer different features and prices, so it’s important to choose one based on the best price-to-features ratio.
The right WordPress membership plugin can make a huge difference in the success of your membership website. An effective plugin should provide security, customization options, email integrations, support, and more. When selecting a membership plugin, consider the features it offers, the level of restriction it provides, any add-ons you need, whether or not it integrates with popular payment gateways, how user-friendly and mobile-friendly it is, and what kind of pricing plans are offered.
Contrary to what many may say, you don’t have to pay a small fortune for a good plugin — so look for an affordable option that matches all the features you need and gives you access to add-ons you can use to make your membership site a truly great experience for your customers. Choosing a WordPress membership plugin can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. All you need to do is think about the criteria discussed above and choose the plugin that best suits your needs.
And if you’re looking for a list of the best WordPress membership plugins, make sure to check out our overview to see what each of them offers, how much they cost, and why they are among the best options on the market.