Sometimes, finding the right WordPress membership plugin can cause issues even for experienced developers.
- “A really steep learning curve”
- “Could not figure out how to set access levels”
- “Paid for the premium and got half ass support”
- “After activating this plugin, the speed of my site dropped dramatically”
- “Not developer friendly”
These is all real feedback from people regarding various WordPress membership plugins. None of the above has anything to do with features or what the plugin can do. Instead, they emphasize:
- bad user experience
- really difficult to set up
- and lack of developer support
Paid Member Subscriptions – A free WordPress membership plugin
While developing our new plugin, we didn’t try to implement every single feature a WordPress membership plugin might need. Instead we tried to focus on:
- ease of use and good user experience
- using best practices when developing the plugin
- creating a core of features that we can support for all our users (particularly since this it’s a free plugin)
- took into consideration the possibility to extend the plugin through hooks and filters
- make sure it works well with other plugins
Keeping it simple
While developing our plugin, we tried to find a balance between a few core features that need to be found in the plugin and features that can be later added via addons or 3’rd party plugins. And this is what we came up width:
This is one of the most used features in a WordPress membership plugin. It’s hierarchical membership levels that allows users to upgrade from free to pro later on if they want to. It also make it easy for the administrator to organize the subscription plans.
As for working well with other plugins, each membership level allows you to create a new user role for your WordPress users, or select an existing user role if needed.
This user role also changes as your user moves up the membership levels and gets removed if he deletes his subscription. This way it’s a lot easier to work with 3’rd party plugins that use user roles as a differentiation between users.
A simple to use member interface. Nothing fancy here, but we’ve tried to make the information easily available. As an administrator you can also manually change the membership levels a user has.
Again, all the information needed for payments like the payment status or the transaction ID is available. You have access to detailed logs related to each payment, making it easy to troubleshoot failed payments.
Trimmed down settings page
We tried to keep settings at a minimum. For example, to get started all you need is your PayPal address. There are also defaults for the messages displayed when the content is restricted and templates for the emails sent to users or successful sign-up.
Straight forward content restriction
Content restriction is a must have feature of any reliable membership plugin, so we made it as smooth as possible.
We also want to make sure it integrates with WooCommerce, making it really simple to restrict product purchase for non-members and be able to offer special prices to members when purchasing a certain product.
We wanted the member of the site never to see the backend of WordPress so we created a few shortcodes to help with that:
- [pms-register] – simple user registration where the user chooses the membership level he’s interested in.
- [pms-account] – simple edit profile page
- [pms-login] – login widget
- [pms-recover-password] – password reset
- [pms-restrict subscription_plans=”9,10″] Content restriction based on user subscription [/pms-restrict]
Taking it forward with add-ons
We’re aware this won’t be sufficient for all membership sites so the plugin was thought through from the start to be easy to extend using add-ons or other plugins.
We’re also launching with a few add-ons like:
- Recurring Payments for PayPal Standard
- Discount Codes
- Global Content Restriction
- Multiple Subscriptions Per User
- Navigation Menu Filtering
Get started with Paid Member Subscriptions
UPDATE: The steps below have been completed, check out the complete list of add-ons.
This is just the start and we already have plans for a few more add-ons like Email Reminders, Invoices, Stripe and PayPal Express & Pro payment gateways as well as improving the payments interface and creating a few shortcodes and developer functions that will help integrating our plugin with other 3’rd party plugins.
So let us know what you think either in the comments or contacting us via our support!