Free WordPress Membership Plugin, perfect for your association!
Want to offer special features on your website that only your members have access to? From a member account page to offering online payment and renewals, a free WordPress membership plugin is a great way to get started.
What does a membership plugin do?
When researching the best membership plugins for WordPress, you will find that there are a lot of options to choose from. The type of site you are building, will help you determine the type of membership plugin that will work best for your project.
For instance, our own free WordPress membership plugin, the Member Manager plugin – available from WordPress.org for free (external link) – not only registers new members as users on your site, but creates an account page where they can login to review, pay and print their invoices. A very useful feature for membership associations.
With so many WP membership plugins available, it’s important to take a moment to learn the differences so you can evaluate which one has the functionality that meets your needs. Below we have highlighted some of the most important features to look for in a membership plugin to help you find the right plugin and build the best association or chamber of commerce website possible.
WP membership plugin features
Register new users
In order to build a membership site, you will need both, a way to register new WordPress users on your site and a member login. The free WordPress membership plugin, Member Manager does both.
Of course the beauty of WordPress is that the option to add additional users to your site is built right in. New WordPress users can be added to your site manually by the site admin or by adding a plugin so that they can register themselves. Once a member has been registered as a WordPress user, they will be able to:
- Login to your site.
- Reset their own password. (saving valuable staff time)
- View the content you have granted them access to.
Control access to your site’s content
One of the most important features of any membership plugin is the capability to control access to your site’s content. Before they login, site visitors can only see content that you have made publicly available on your site. After registering and logging in, members have access to restricted content based on their membership level. The best membership plugins give you options to restrict access to content on pages or posts, and restrict activities, like posting events, all based on the membership level of the user.
Online membership payments
Collecting online membership payments is a key function of the best WordPress membership plugins. Finding a free WP membership plugin that can help you manage payment-related tasks saves staff time and makes things simpler for members.
It’s important to find a membership plugin that connects to your online payment gateway of choice. The good news is that many free WordPress membership plugins connect to the Paypal payment gateway, which is a good place to get started.
When you are ready to upgrade to more advanced reporting tools to manage your membership association website, we recommend a WP membership plugin that supports Stripe payments. The Stripe payment gateway also offers automatic funds transfer from your Stripe account to your bank account…one less thing to worry about!
Multiple membership levels – pricing table
Creating multiple membership levels lets you bundle member benefits, reserving special content and features for your highest-paying members. This in turn lets you up-sell memberships by highlighting benefits included at this level.
Look for a WP membership plugin that displays membership levels in pricing table format. Detailing your benefits in paragraph format can be a useful sub-page, but the pricing table layout makes it much easier for potential members to review their options and quickly select the membership package that best meets their needs.
Connect to more WordPress features
Ultimately, the best membership plugins let you connect to additional WordPress features, from Business Directory plugins to event calendars to member submitted events and more. This in turn lets you build a much more robust site that will engage and retain your association members.
Building a membership site can be challenging. Our best advice?
- Create a list of features you want to offer.
- Select the plugins you plan to use.
- Install them on a fresh install of WordPress.
- and take them for a test run.
Look for membership plugins that either offer or connect to the membership features that are most important to the success of your association or chamber. Then test them out to make sure they work the way you planned. If you are using a free WordPress membership plugin, keep in mind that the best place to find free plugins is at wordpress.org/plugins/ (external link)
Managing a membership website can be time-consuming. Consider the options you want to offer your members, such as: invoice history, Business listing updates, member event submission. Don’t forget to make a list of the options you want for your staff: automatic account creation, password self-reset, automatic renewal reminders, newsletter signup during registration. The time you spend researching, planning and testing can save you big headaches in the future!