There are a number of ways you can set up a membership site to give members access to exclusive content like products, product discounts, courses, etc. We’ve covered memberships extensively on this blog.

Today, we’ll take a look at one way you can create a membership site quickly without using any eCommerce plugins on WordPress.

Membership site with Memberful: Service overview

Memberful is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) membership platform that integrates with WordPress sites to enable memberships. The service itself runs separately from your site, and connects with WordPress via the Memberful WP plugin to affect the site.

You can get started with Memberful on a free plan (10% transaction fee). To enable payments, you will need to set up a Stripe account. Transactions, check out, and payments are managed through the Memberful platform so you don’t have to worry about fiddling with SSL certificates and integrating payment gateways on your WordPress site.

To get started, sign up for an account on Memberful. Once your account is created, you’ll start with the orientation and set up wizard.

membership site with memberful set up start

Memberful set up screen to connect with WordPress or other sites

Once you select WordPress, you will then receive your account WordPress registration key.

membership sites with memberful registration key

Get your Memberful WordPress registration key

You can use this key to to integrate the Memberful account with your WordPress site via the Memberful WP plugin.

Membership site with Memberful: WordPress integration

Search for and install the Memberful WP plugin on your site. Once activated, you can input the registration key to connect your site with the platform.

membership site with memberful connect wordpress

Connect your site with Memberful

You can find the plugin under Settings > Memberful where you can see current Subscription Plans being used for memberships, restrict content in bulk, manage user roles based on active or inactive memberships, RSS feeds, and cookies test.

membership site with memberful wordpress view

WordPress plugin view once activated

Memberful comes with a Sample Plan created by default to give an idea of where and how the membership Subscription Plans are displayed. Let’s take a look at how you can create a subscription plan.

Membership site with Memberful: Create membership

Within the Memberful platform dashboard (not the one on the WordPress site), select Subscription Plans in the top navigation. Here you can name the plan. You can also set:

  • Price of the membership subscription
  • Plan type – whether the price is charged on an ongoing basis indefinitely, charged for a set period of time and then stops, or whether it is a one-time payment
  • Renewal frequency – monthly, every 3 or 6 months, yearly, or custom
  • Renewal price – you can toggle whether or not the renewal price is the same as the initial price
  • Free trial – whether or not you want to provide a free trial, and if you do, whether credit card information is required or not
  • Trial period – if you provide a free trial, the length of the trial period
membership site with memberful create subscription

Set parameters of your subscription product

Once you’ve set up a subscription plan in Memberful, you can switch to your WordPress site to add a link to the plan. You can copy the link provided in Memberful, or navigate to the text editor of a page or post on your site, click Memberful > Buy Subscription Plan

membership site with memberful add to page

Add link to subscription on a page or post

Here, you can select which plan you want to set the link for if you have multiple plans, and what the link text should say. Once the link is added to your site, customers and users can click on the link to complete their purchase of the subscription.

membership site with memberful purchase checkout

Subscription purchase checkout

When you set up your Memberful account, the purchases are set in test mode, which can be switched to live mode by inputting your Stripe account information.

Membership site with Memberful: Restrict content access

Now that you’ve set up a membership plan, you will need to set restrictions on content that members get access to in order to create incentive for people to sign up. In the dashboard view of each page and post, a Memberful section allows you to restrict access to a certain plan(s).

membership site with memberful restrict access

Restrict content access for pages and posts

You can also set copy that is displayed in case a user does not have access to that page or post. This can be the pitch to the user for them to purchase a membership with your store.

Membership site with Memberful: Other features

When you’re activating Memberful, the orientation screens help walk you through a Sample Plan membership and how to list it on your WordPress site.

When people purchase memberships on your site, you can view the activity on the Memberful dashboard. This can help give you an overview of how your membership plans are doing.

membership site with Memberful dashboard

Dashboard on the Memberful platform provides an overview of activity

On the Memberful site, you can also see a list of all your WordPress members, a line-by-line list of activity, and settings. Within settings, you can assign staff members to the account, change template emails that are sent to members, add coupons, set other integrations, and more.

In the WordPress plugin area, you can set roles for active and inactive members to provide different levels of access.

membership sites with memberful role mapping

Assign user roles for members

You can also restrict content access in bulk from within WordPress.

Membership site with Memberful: Summary

Memberful is a quick and simple way to set up memberships on your WordPress site. The service integrates with WordPress through the Memberful WP plugin, and creates user accounts and assigns roles based on whether a customer purchases the membership – termed in Memberful as Subscription Plans.

You can create multiple subscription plans (or products) at different prices, and allow access to different areas of your site based on a customer’s subscription plan. The Memberful service also connects with other services like MailChimp.

What do you look for when setting up a membership site? Please share in the comments below.

Posted by Jai Sangha

Jai is a regular contributor to Sell with WP, and helps merchants improve their WordPress eCommerce businesses with plugin reviews, marketing or customer service tips, and tutorials.

One Comment

  1. I think It’s a great service for membership site.without any extra hardwork we can use this code on our membership site.but unfortunately,price is high for small business owner,they can use starter package with 10% transaction fee 🙁 I think It’s too much.thanks for your quick setup guide & honest review.

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