How Do I Choose The Best WordPress Membership Plugin For My Business?

One of the decisions you have to make as you grow in your online business, not too far after you have made your initial sales online I might add (that first online sale is always a magic moment) and when you have created your own info-product (typically an eBook, video series, audio programme etc – digital downloads) is ‘How do I create a secure membership site to deliver my premium offerings and which is the best WordPress membership plugin for what I want to deliver?’

There are multiple products out there that you could you could use and they tend to largely be split into 3 different categories, which we will look at in more detail:

1. Light Plugin – I call them these because they are plugins that you add to your WordPress self-hosted website; you install via the ‘upload plugin’ function, like you would any other premium plugin. You buy the plugin for around $47 (WP File Lock for example). These are very simple to use and deliver the following benefits:

– Create a secure page/area or download file to prevent people from sharing or your ‘thank you’ page with their friends or hacking into it and accessing your premium content for free.

– It will ‘talk’ to your payment processor – like ClickBank or PayPal and integrate the sale made through them via the customer’s e-mail address with giving your new buyer a personalised user name and password to access their download.

– It’s cheap and simple to set up.

These light membership plugins are generally useful only if you have a single download page for something like an e-book or one MP3 audio file. If you are looking to set up a full-blown membership area, where new content is drip fed over time and there are many different files and levels of membership – e.g. bronze, silver and gold at differing prices, then you’re likely to want to consider either a self-hosted piece of membership software or a hosted one.

2. Self Hosted Membership Software – These are larger pieces of software that are still installed as premium plugins on your WordPress website but require a bit more technical work on the backend and have a lot more options with their functionality.

Self-hosted membership plugins, such as Digital Access Pass or Wishlist Member typically cost $200-$400 (depending on single or multiple site license and a few other options) and offer an array of great features, such as being able to drip-feed content to members at intervals. For example, on the first day of membership, a customer receives Video 1 of your content, 30 days later they receive Video 2, 30 days later Video 3 etc. You can e-mail members via the software, or it will integrate with your e-mail autoresponder service.

It can encrypt files, pages and is totally secure.

The downside is that as you grow your sales and have many hundreds or thousands of members, it can slow your site down, since it’s hosted on your own web server. If you know you’re going to make a lot of sales or if you already have a lot of customers and clients, probably the third option is going to be best for your business – hosted membership software.

3. Hosted Membership Software – Typically have similar level of functionality as he self-hosted plugins but they are hosted on the cloud and your will pay a monthly fee to use it, rather than a one off licence. This software is usually included with an overall business centralisation system – such as Nanacast, Premium Web Cart Office Autopilot or 1Shopping Cart, which gives it many other advantages, as well as being fast to load, even with thousands of members.

Some of those advantages are being able to chain products together. The membership software is usually part of your payment processor, so it’s easy to upsell members to your other products. You can add coupons, have dime sales, duplicate and ‘mirror’ memberships – so can set up the same membership model for new product lines.

Hosted systems are the ultimate way to create membership sites but you have to be able to fork out $97-$300 per month typically but bear in mind that the higher price should easily be offset and then some by the additional sales you’ll be making with the sophisticated marketing and sales functionality.

Optimize Your WordPress Blog – API Codes, Uploads and Plugins

Now that you have your WordPress blog up and running it is time to do some search engine optimization. To do this I want to start with some settings located in your WordPress admin area. After changing a few settings I will introduce you to a plugin and how to activate the plugin. After that I will talk about downloading a new plugin that will require uploading to your blog. The downloading and uploading discussion will touch on using two methods: an FTP client, or a website host. Finally, the article will also address getting an API CODE which is necessary for activating the spam plugin and stats plugin.

The first step is to modify what are called, Permalinks. A permanent link is a direct link to your post, that allows visitors to read the post after it falls off the home page. So to optimize your permalink:

  1. Login to your admin area.
  2. In the WordPress admin click Options. In the dark blue bar just below Options is a text link called, Permalinks. Click Permalinks and activate the option, “Custom specify below”. Now activated, the field below will become active and you can type the following– %postname%/% day%-%year%/ (make sure to remove the space between the third percent symbol and the word day).

The next optimization setting will be to make your blog public. To do this you will need to:

  1. Go to your WordPress Dashboard.
  2. In the WordPress admin dashboard, click Options, which will bring up a text menu located in the dark blue bar; you should see a link called, Privacy. Click the link and you will see a few options. Click the box next to “I would like my blog to be visible to everyone, including search engine (like Google, Sphere, Technorati) and archivers.

Now that the blog is public you will want to control any spam. For spam control you will activate something called a plugin; a plugin adds functionality to your blog. The spam plugin is already loaded but not yet activated. It can be found in the text menu you used in the previous step. Look for a tab called, Plugins. The Plugins tab is near the Options tab. When you find the plugins tab, click it.

  • When you click the plugin tab you will see a small list of plugins already installed. Locate the plugin called Akismet. On the far right of the Akismet Plugin there will be a text link that reads, Activate. Just click the activate link and the plugin will activate, but it is not yet set to operate.

Once the Akismet plugin is activated you will be asked for an API CODE. This is not hard so don’t be scared by the technical sounding name. How and where you installed your blog is the criteria for receiving your API Code. Basically, what we are looking for is a Welcome email from WordPress. Depending on your situation you may, or may not, have received this welcome email. If you have received a welcome email retrieve your API CODE and return to the plugin page for your WordPress blog. After you enter the API code, the plugin should now be active.

The other situation is you have a website and you installed WordPress from your hosting control panel. In this case you will have to sign up with WordPress to get the API Code and welcome email:

  • Go to WordPress.com and sign up for an account. When you do, you will have two options: sign up for only an account, or sign up for an account with a blog. You will only sign up for an account.

After you get your WordPress account (which is a different account than your blog) follow the account setup and you will be given an API CODE in a welcome email that will immediately be sent. With your code go back to your blog admin. If you do not receive a welcome email, check your spam box in your email. If it is not there, sometimes emails are blocked before they get passed to your email client on your computer, so you may have to check your web-mail spam box. If you don’t know what a web-mail account is, let me give you a brief definition: A web-mail account is usually offered by your website host, or internet service provider. You may have used your web-mail if you check your email from a browser. If you are still unsure how to check your web-mail account, call your internet service provider or website host for assistance.

Earlier I mentioned where to enter your code, but here is a little more explanation for anyone still looking. Once you get the welcome email and API Code, in your WordPress Blog’s admin you will see a red bar on top with a reminder that you still have to enter an API Code. Click the red reminder or go to the Plugin tab, your Akismet will be waiting for you to enter your code.

Next, if you want to get traffic information or stats on your blog’s visitors, in the Plugin area of your blog there is a link to get a plugin. This plugin is not loaded so click the link and you will be directed to the plugin download page. The link to the download can be found in the description of Akisment, it is called “WP Stats plugin”. Specifically, look in the description of Akismet and at the end of the description you will see … see also: WP Stats plugin. Click the link and you will be taken to some more information about the plugin. On the right side of the page is a Download Plugin button. Click the button and a file will be downloaded onto your computer; if you get a download warning click “ok” to download.

Where your plugin is downloaded will depend on your computer’s setting. So take note of the directory where you download your internet folders. When the plugin is downloaded it will show up as a “zipped” folder. Double click the “zipped” folder and a new folder will be added to your download destination, the folder will be called “stats”. Open the folder and read the “read me” file for installation instructions.

To get the plugin to work you will have to upload the folder to the server where your blog is located. To upload to a blog hosted by your website host, you have two options:

  1. Use your website hosting control panel. To use your hosing panel, there should be a link that reads, manage files (or something similar).
  2. Once you click that link you will see a list of files and folders for your website. You will need to select the destination folder to where your plugin will be uploaded. Using the installation instructions, the read me file in the Stats folder on your computer, go to the folder specified. Select the folder you want to upload to. Usually, you have to check a box or click the folder you want to upload your plugin to otherwise it will just upload to your root directory and the plugin will not work. So select the folder and then find the “browse” button or “upload” button. When you click the button you will be able to navigate on your computer. Find the directory where you downloaded your plugin.
  3. Upload the plugin and return to your WordPress Admin. Go to your Plugin tab and activate the WordPress Stats plugin. The API Code is the same code you used before. There will be a new link in your admin for checking your stats.
  4. The other option for uploading and downloading files is to use a ftp client like Fetch (mac) or winFtp (windows). There are also programs you can use to help build websites and these have ftp capabilities too. For example, Dreamweaver or Frontpage both have built in ftp clients. If you have an ftp client, or you use Dreamweaver or Frontpage, I want to point out that you have to set up the connection for the ftp program to work. While this is outside the scope of this article, the information you will need to get can be obtained by asking your website host the following question, “what are my ftp connection settings.”

I know uploading files can be scary, especially if it is your first time. Just go slow and you will be fine. Learning to upload is very important because there are dozens of useful plugins to help with optimization. This article just touched on blog optimization and learning to upload a plugin. In future articles I will be going further into optimization and what plugins I like to use.

WordPress Plugin About Blogging Tips – Helps You Become a Better Blogger

WordPress is a great software for bloggers and there are many added features you can add to that software by downloading plugins. There is a WordPress plugin that will give you some ideas about how to become more skilled at blogging.

One of the first plugins to be written for Word Press was a plugin called, “Hello, Dolly.” Similar to the Hello Dolly format, which puts a line of lyrics in the upper right hand space in the Word Press Administration screen, this blogging tips plugins displays random blogging tips and suggestions. The tips are just some ideas of what you can do to improve the popularity of your blog and improve the content. All of the tips are designed to inspire you to be a better blogger.

Many people who have just started their blog will write a few posts. They may even get to write 10 posts or more. However they get to the point that they run out of things to write about and basically stop posting. Don’t let that happen to your new WordPress blog. Add this plugin to your WordPress blog.

It is easy to install plugins to your blog. You just download the zipped file and then open the folder on your computer. You read the installation instructions and then just upload one file to your blog. You will put it in the folder called plugins which is under the folder called wp-content. Then you look for the file in your plugins directory within your Word Press back office and find the plugin called “Blogging Tips.” You click on activate. Be sure you deactivate the Hello Dolly plugin if you are currently using that.