If you’re familiar with WordPress then you know how plugins either enhance your site — or lead to extreme frustration when you don’t get the results you want after the install. Our Paid Memberships Pro review takes a closer look at this popular plugin designed to make creating a membership site a breeze.
Membership, or subscription sites are an insanely popular digital marketing tool, but they take quite a bit of work to set up and create. Then, once you get them up and running, you have to keep the content updated.
The Paid Memberships Pro plugin was created to handle all these tasks — and more — to get your membership site off the ground. But the plugin isn’t cheap if you decide to upgrade from the free version. To access all of the benefits of this plugin you’ll have to invest several hundred dollars. Is it worth it?
Let’s find out.
What is Paid Memberships Pro?
Paid Memberships Pro is a plugin available to those with a WordPress website. At its core, it’s designed to give you all the tools you need to create a membership site.
A membership or subscription site is one where you charge members a fee for access to exclusive content. This could be an entire site of content, or it may be a handful of select articles. You set the parameters for what you want people to have access to, and how much you want to charge them for access.
The advantage of a membership site is you have another source of income. And it is somewhat passive — although this is a little misleading since you create most of the content ahead of time and then manage it once it’s live.
Running a membership site can get a little complicated. You need to constantly stay on top of fresh content and continuously provide quality information, otherwise your members will walk. Plus there’s the technical side of it. If your site is constantly down or you have bugs that need attention, then your members will get frustrated.
Enter Paid Memberships Pro.
Sure, paid sites are a little clunky if you don’t know what you’re doing. But Paid Memberships Pro takes the guesswork out of this for you with features tailored around creating a membership. All you have to do is activate the plugin and then you gain instant access to all the training tools for membership site set up.
Features of Paid Memberships Pro
What sets this plugin apart is by far the number of features it offers. There is a long list of capabilities with this plugin and different categories each feature falls under.
Creating membership levels and content
Unlimited membership levels: Set up unique content and pricing depending on each level you create. Members can have more than one membership level if you allow it.
Multi-tiered membership option: You can allow members of organizations to sign up under the parent organization account.
Total control: Paid Memberships Pro allows you the ability to restrict specific content, posts, categories, pages, forums, etc.
Create personalized content for each member level: Design custom pages and categories that are only viewable by the membership levels you choose.
Schedule content: Create a content dripping schedule which lets you plan and schedule when your created content is released to certain membership levels, or is based on when the member signed up.
Create directories: You can allow your members to search and view public or membership-level specific directories.
Training documents: The full set of training documents includes everything you need to know from how to create a membership level to setting up automated emails and adding discount codes.
Detailed email communication: Customize emails for members to send them important information, such as invoices, updates, expiration notices, etc.
Payment and billing
Multiple membership payment options: You can set up your membership purchase options as free or different pricing structures based on the level someone chooses. You can even set up when they are billed, including hourly, daily, monthly, weekly, one-time, or recurring.
You also have the option to select the payment methods, including credit cards, PayPal, pay-by-check, and others.
Offer trial periods: You have the option with Paid Memberships Pro to offer your customers a free or reduced-price trial period.
Code options: You can use discount codes, run timed sales, or invitation codes to give more incentives for membership sign ups.
6 payment gateways: This includes Stripe, PayPal, Braintree, Cybersource, and others. One feature to keep in mind is Paid Memberships Pro allows you to set up the payment gateways for all of your memberships in one place – so you don’t have to re-configure your settings for each different gateway.
Works with any theme: You can use any WordPress theme to access the full benefits of Paid Memberships Pro. If you like, you can download the free MemberLite theme, which is designed to work seamlessly with Paid Memberships Pro.
Affiliate program manager: If you run an affiliate program on your site, this plugin integrates with third-party affiliate management systems.
Site landing pages: If you want to create sales funnels for your membership site, use these landing pages that can take payment or generate leads for you.
There are three different levels of pricing available and you should pick the one based on the size of your business and how many of the features you think you need.
The free version allows you to download the plugin. You also receive:
- Access to all 6 payment gateways
- MemberLite theme: All plugin users can download the MemberLite theme, which is a theme for your website geared specifically towards setting up a membership site. From there, you add your fonts, logos, branding, and the theme comes with several other plugins for added simplicity.
- All training documents
- 19 free add-ons: You receive a number of free plugins, such as Mailchimp, when you download Paid Memberships Pro. Most of these are centered around running your membership site as smoothly as possible.
The middle-tier Plus option is a yearly fee of $297. This gives you access to everything offered with the free download, plus several additional features including:
- 65 add-ons: The bulk of these add-ons are used for making enhancements to your site and running your business. It’s a wide variety of access to products, ranging from integrations with popular software to creating an affiliate program. Some of the features of the plugin require you to have these add-ons, such as an auto-renewal checkbox for each member.
- Unlimited support tickets if you need customer support.
- PaidMembershipPro license for up to five sites.
- Code recipes: If you’re comfortable using code and customizing your site, Paid Memberships Pro provides several “recipes” for codes, so you can quickly customize.
- One-click add-on install: Since there are so many add-ons with this plugin, this feature allows you to install or update all at once with a single click of a button, instead of updating each individually.
The Unlimited membership is $597 a year. It includes all the features listed above, but as the name implies, you are able to use Paid Memberships Pro across an unlimited number of websites.
Pros and cons
Paid Memberships Pro offers an enormous amount of advantages, but there are few things to keep in mind as well.
- Virtually all membership site tasks can be completed through this plugin.
- Huge amount of customization.
- The MemberLite theme is user friendly.
- Large number of training resources available to walk you through step by step.
- The amount of options and choices may cause overwhelm.
- Basic coding knowledge is needed to take advantage of all the features.
Who should use Paid Memberships Pro?
If you’re an existing website owner and you’ve been searching for a way to streamline your membership site, then Paid Memberships Pro offers such a wide array of features to cover almost any scenario. It’s a great way to take your site to the next level as you’re trying to grow your income.
Or, if you have a website already but you have no clue how to get started taking on memberships, then you’ll appreciate how easy it is to get started. While you may not know, or even use, all the features offered, the plugin scales with you as you grow your business.
Final Thoughts on Paid Memberships Pro
There’s no doubt Paid Memberships Pro can handle almost any membership or subscription site need. If you’ve been dreaming of adding this type of service to your digital arsenal, then you will benefit from the long list of features this plugin has to offer.