If you have surfed the web, then you must have seen at least one website that charges for premium content. Whether it is a high profile Sports Network (ESPN Insider) or one of the top blog network (Tuts+), you have seen premium content for paid members on numerous different sites. In this article, we will share a plugin called “Magic Members” that will allow you to create a Membership Site using WordPress and increase your blogging revenue.
Why Create a Membership Site?
Membership sites allow you to increase your blogging revenue, but more importantly it allows you to build another community of exclusive users on top of your main blogging community. In membership sites, you will have more interaction with your audience because it is a selective group of users. You can provide them instant support, reply to each comments, and much more.
People often wonder what is the point of a membership site. Well, when you are creating quality content, then you deserve to be compensated. Membership sites are a win-win for bloggers and users because it guarantees quality content to users, and bloggers are guaranteed a regular income which encourages them to keep blogging. There will always be users who are strictly against this idea of premium content, but when use in moderation, membership sites can be a very profitable venue. ESPN still provides quality content, but their insider articles are even better. If you are a design blog, you can provide a tutorial for free, and give source file downloads to premium members ONLY. This way you are still providing quality content and earning a steady income.
For example, if you charge $10 / month for a membership fee and have 200 members, you will be making a steady $2000 / month.
How to Create a Membership Site using WordPress
WordPress is a very powerful platform. When you combine it with Magic Members, it becomes a very versatile membership site platform as well.
Now most of you are probably wondering what is Magic Members?
Magic Members is a WordPress plugin that lets you create Membership sites. Just like almost all WordPress plugins, it is very easy to install. All you have to do is simply upload the files via FTP and activate the plugin (Step by Step Guide to Install a WordPress plugin). Unlike other WordPress plugins (which are mostly free), Magic Members cost $97 for a Single Site License and $297 for unlimited sites license. This might seem like a pretty expensive plugin, but if you hire a developer to create something at a similar level, you will end up paying thousands of dollars.
Overview of Magic Members
Once you activate the plugin, you will see a new menu option added to your wp-admin panel called Magic Members. Once you click on that button, you will see that Magic Members has it’s own version of configuration panel.
You can see that there are bunch of features starting from adding member types, to controlling your content, payment options and more. So many features can be very confusing for beginner level users, which is why there is a support video attached to each section. These videos are step by step tutorials on how to configure that specific section. If you are still having problems with something, then there is FREE unlimited support. You can see how the videos are attached in the screenshot below:
Multiple Membership Levels
You can offer different membership access to different areas (such as downloads, tutorials etc). You can charge separate for each area and increase your revenue stream.
Easy to integrate with Existing or New WordPress Blogs
It is a WordPress plugin that is compatible with all themes. All you have to do is follow few easy steps and let it work it’s magic.
Flexible Membership Options
Aside from multiple levels, you can set different membership billing options (weekly, yearly, trimester etc).
Payment Integration Modules
You can allow your members to pay with Paypal, Authorize.net, ClickBank, and WorldPay. You can pick one of them, or you can pick all of them, it is entirely up to you.
Control Subscription Length
You can control how long memberships are valid with membership expiration. Set different expiration for different user type. This feature works great for trial memberships.
Unlimited Coupon Creation
You can create a coupon to offer a fixed price or a percentage discount on current or new subscription payments.
If you have multiple membership levels, you might want to redirect them to different landing pages. This features comes in handy when you are trying to send different member updates, news, and/or welcome messages.
Sequential Course Delivery System
If you are a building a course system with your membership site, then this feature is extremely useful. You can control when the content becomes available for users to see. For example, you can have a new lesson / day for 30 days.
Controlled Content Access
You can control which content is visible to each membership level. For example, standard members can only see the basic tutorials whereas Gold members can download source files.
Partial Content Display
You can use the shortcode [ private ] [ /private ] to hide exclusive content within the post. For example a download link to the PSD source file or something else. This feature is particularly useful in providing “teaser” articles that give just enough information that will make non-members want to become members.
Pay Per Post Access
There are times when users don’t want to pay a monthly fee when they only want to see a few articles. This option allows you to charge per post access. User will pay for the access of a specific post.
Entire Blog Protection
You can completely prevent non-members from accessing any information. Anytime a user tries to access a page, they will be redirected to the login page.
Custom Error Pages
Maintain a consistent look and feel across your entire membership site by easily creating custom error pages.
Secure RSS Tokens
This feature allows you to send content via RSS feeds without worrying about non-members accessing it.
This feature allows you to protect downloads from being accessed by unauthorized members and guests. Only users with a specific permission level can access the file.
Simple Member Management
Magic Members allows you to see all of your members, their status, level and other information in one easy to read location. You can easily upgrade, pause, deactivate or delete a member with a single click.
Simple:Press Forum Integration
This allows you to turn your regular Simple:Press forum into a paid subscription forum.
After playing around with the backend of Magic Members, we found it to be feature rich and extremely easy to use. It is worth every single penny it costs. We do not have any plans to make Premium Content on WPBeginner at this time, but it is something that we will consider in the future. If you want to increase the revenue from your blog, then Magic Members is the plugin you need.