Question: We have a small membership that uses our website regularly. They currently pay us by sending in a check or credit card annually, and we process those payments as part of the membership. We have content that we’d like to make available to members only, and we see some possibilities for different levels of membership, but it seems like it could be a hassle and cost a lot of money. Is there a better way?
Membership websites have come a long way in the last few years. Our favorite platform for membership sites is WordPress. We have accommodated several different models for implementing membership and / or subscription websites from shopping cart interfaces to pay walls and limiting access to certain content.
We provide administrators with methods to control access to content based on membership level, control pricing per membership level, review who has paid and who hasn’t, communicate with the membership base, and so on.
Most often, the site is designed to automate payment via a secure credit card system (credit card details are stored with a third party processor). Members are able to edit their profiles, post blogs, adjust membership levels, communicate with one another and search for protected content. The beauty of using WordPress for these systems is that we can extend the functionality of an existing site easily and in a stable, highly configurable manner that can be extended with more functionality as time goes on.
We keep cost under control by using an established, working model (WordPress) and using our extensive experience with programming in PHP / MySQL platforms (including WordPress, which we love) to customize the membership website to our clients exact specifications. Sometimes client’s want different things to happen for their customers in different geographical regions, different membership groups, and so on.