How to Create a Membership Site Using WooCommerce
Are you an eCommerce merchant who is interested in turning your store into a membership site? Or perhaps you’re a blogger who wants to restrict content to customers that pay a monthly or annual fee.
Whatever your situation, you know you’re in need of a membership tool or plugin and you may feel overwhelmed by the options. But fortunately for you, WooCommerce offers a simple solution to your needs.
In this post, we’ll introduce the WooCommerce Memberships plugin. We’ll then show you how to create a membership site using WooCommerce. Let’s dive in!
An Introduction to WooCommerce
It’s one eCommerce platform among dozens, but its open-source availability and expansive selection of extensions makes it a popular choice among online merchants worldwide.
Why Use WooCommerce Memberships?
If you plan to sell memberships in your eCommerce store, you will find that there are many plugins and software tools that enable you to do so. But if you already have WooCommerce installed on your site, the WooCommerce Memberships plugin is your best bet.
Because it’s easy to set up, and it offers more configuration options than many of its competitors.
Using the WooCommerce Memberships plugin, you can:
- Restrict content based on membership type
- Restrict products based on membership type
- Provide discounts to members only based on membership type
- Drip content over time to your members
- Track member information
- Communicate with members via email
- Set up and send automatic membership alerts via email
The plugin can also be integrated with WooCommerce Subscriptions for an even more in-depth experience.
How to Set Up WooCommerce Memberships On Your WordPress Site (In 5 Steps)
Once the extension has been added and activated on your website, it’s time to set up the various aspects of a membership site. Here’s how.
Step 1: Configure Membership Settings
The first step you should take is to become acquainted with the WooCommerce Memberships plugin settings. To get started, go to WooCommerce > Settings > Memberships.
The first setting to consider is Content Restriction Mode or, in other words, how you want your membership content to be appear (or not) on your site.
There are three options to choose from the drop down menu. They are:
- Hide Completely. As the name of this option implies, Hide Completely will remove all traces of website content, including member materials, comments, blog posts, and more from anyone without a membership account. This is best reserved for private membership sites only.
- Hide Content Only. If you want to restrict only certain types of content from non-members, then Hide Content Only is your best choice. With this option, you can choose which content to hide and a restricted access message will show to anyone without a membership.
- Redirect to Page. This option is similar to Hide Content Only in that a restricted access message will appear to non-members. However, unlike the previous option it will do so on a redirected page.
On the Memberships setting tab, you can also personalize content restricted messages and even choose to show excerpts to non-members.
Step 2: Create a Membership Product
Once your Memberships plugin has been configured to your liking, it’s time to create your first membership product.
To do so, follow the usual steps for adding a product to your WooCommerce store: Products > Add New:
Now input the details of your membership product. Perhaps you’re selling a membership to your entire site in which case you could name your product ‘Site Membership’. Or maybe you’re selling a membership to your on-site Forum in which case you could name it ‘Forum Access’.
Now you can set the price as you intend it, and you can even add variations (e.g. membership tiers) like you would with a physical product:
The product will appear on the front end of your website with variations available:
However, it’s not a membership just yet. You’ll need to add a membership plan first.
Step 3: Add a Membership Plan
Navigate to WooCommerce > Memberships > Membership Plans and click on Add Membership Plan to get started:
Here you can personalize the general plan data, choose restricted content and products, and configure the members area.
And this is where you’ll also add your newly-created membership product (simply begin to type the product name into the Products section of the General tab) so as to change its classification.
On this tab, you can also set the membership length.
But what about content access?
On the Restrict Content tab, you can choose which content your memberships are given access to and, even more importantly, when.
This makes it possible to drip content to your members so as to avoid overwhelming them.
Step 4: Customize the Members Area
What will your members see when they log into their membership account? This is a question you can answer yourself by customizing the members area for each membership plan.
Under the Members Area tab, you can add sections to your members page such as My Content, My Products, and My Discounts. Your members can then easily gain access to their membership content, and you can even display purchasable products.
This is a simple section to configure, but it’s one area of your site that will make a significant impression on your members.
Step 5: Create Email Content
Unless you also have the WooCommerce Subscriptions plugin added to the back end of your website, then memberships will not be recurring. And while an integration between the Subscriptions and Memberships plugins can be extremely useful for membership sites, it’s not necessary for your success.
So, what can you do to ensure that your members continue to apply for your membership upon expiration? Create email content!
WooCommerce Memberships offers a unique feature, and that’s in-plugin email configuration.
You can create email content that alerts members when their membership is set to expire, and when expiration has occurred. But even better, the emails will be automatically sent out to your customers according to your configurations.
WooCommerce Memberships is an excellent choice for WooCommerce users who need a quick and easy way to add membership products and plans to their sites. But don’t let its ease of use fool you as the Memberships plugin is also incredibly in-depth and jam packed with configuration options to meet your needs.
Do you have questions about the WooCommerce Memberships plugin, or how to use it to create a membership site? Drop them down in the comments section below!