Sunday, March 31, 2019

WordPress Plugin: WP eMember

I bought WP eMember, then spent most of the day learning how to install and configure the eMember plugin.

The price is what attracted me: the single payment covers a lifetime license for an unlimited number of websites. Users reported that they were still using it years later and hadn't paid anything extra.

WP eMember Plugin

First, the software does not exist on the repository. It must be purchased directly from the developer (TipsAndTricks). The website has a 2-minute video that both explains, and demonstrates, how to upload and install the zip file. (Easy!)

The next video shows how to set up the first membership level, "Free." Again: Easy!

The third video shows how to set up a PayPal button to collect money if that is a requirement. Again: Easy!

The eMember plugin creates several pages and a widget. They were not added to the menu systems on my site. Only the "Join Us" page needs to be edited immediately.

eMember creates its own list of users that is separate from the native WordPress user list. eMember does offer the option to import some or all of the WordPress users.

Here are two basic concepts:

Membership Levels

A user can have only one level of membership. The Free level is created by the first video. I immediately added a Paid level, too.

Finally, I realized that some paid members may not renew. They don't need to be kicked all the way to the curb, but they should have some penalty for non-renewal. So I added a generic-sounding Lapsed. How this actually works will be determined later.

Protecting Pages

At the bottom of each page is a new block.

By default, all pages are unprotected.

RECAP: A new eMember installation is fairly safe.

  • The plugin adds pages, but they are invisible to the menu system. 
  • It adds a choice to the bottom of each page, but the most innocuous choice is selected as the default.
  • Existing WordPress members are not imported into the eMember member list; nor are new eMembers automatically added to the WordPress user. 
  • Nothing actually happens to your website until you start changing the options.

At the bottom of the new block is a list of all the membership levels you created. These apply only if the "Yes, Protect this content." button is checked.

More than one membership level can be selected. Remember, and use this to your advantage.

Putting it Together

This is how I envision this working:

A Paid member should be able to see all protected content.

If someone simply visits this page, they won't see anything except an invitation to join.

Even if they register to become a Free member, they still won't be able to see this page.

However, I may want to share this content if someone is willing to register with their email address. They should get something for giving up that information.

There may be content that is not worth money for a membership, but  I don't want the content visible to a casual visitor.

I can do this by adding a check-mark for the Free button.

(Remember, you may check more than one membership level.

Here is how I can apply this to my community website:
  • Anyone can see some pages. No registration required:
    • Home
    • For_Sale
    • Books
    • About
  • Only a registered visitor can visit these pages with a Free membership:
    • Life
    • HOA
  • Only Paid or Lapsed members can view the resident discussions blog.

I have already installed an configured the eMember on several sites:
  • ~ This my current "playground." I install software to test and learn. eMember now protects the entire site.
  • ~ this will allow me to protect some content
  • ~ this has the fewest plugins and is the closest to a pristine WordPress installation in my inventory.
This is a "broadsword" description of the features and functions of the WP eMember plugin. It has a lot of stiletto settings which will allow more granular content protection. Links:

No comments:

Post a Comment