Last week I wrote an article which listed a 5 point guide to picking the best membership plugin on WordPress. Now that article lists out features you should be on the look out for, when picking a membership plugin. But you’ve still got 20 odd WordPress membership plugins from which to choose.
So then, how do you decide where to begin?
I’ll tell you what- there are a few plugins, you could blindly scratch off the list. We’ll talk about those later. But then there are some you simply can’t ignore. One such plugin is the Paid Membership Pro plugin.
The Paid Membership Pro plugin features on my best membership plugins to use list, and it’s the membership plugin I’ll be reviewing for you today.
Why do I choose to begin with Paid Membership Pro? Well, no reason in particular. We’ve worked with it quite a bit at WisdmLabs, and it’s one of my personal favorites.
Will I be reviewing other membership plugins? Yes. I plan to review several membership plugins which are the top of their game, to help you decide the membership plugin which suits your needs.
What will I be covering in this post? I’ll be listing out the plugin’s features, and weighing it against our evaluation criteria. As part of an objective evaluation, I’ll also be pointing out areas where the plugin needs to improve.
All okay so far? Let’s begin.
Paid Membership Pro- FREE Plugin and the easiest way to GET PAID
If you’ve read several best-membership-plugins-on-WordPress lists, you’ll notice Paid Membership Pro features on almost all the lists. And why wouldn’t it?! It has very many features all available for $0. You heard it right. Zilch. Zero. Nada. Absolutely 100% FREE! The basic plugin, along with 40+ add-ons are all available for free download.
You could choose to purchase the $97 PMPro membership package (recommended), which guarantees great support along with access to premium documentation, videos and members-only forums. But that’s completely up to you. No obligation.
Why do I like the plugin?
The plugin provides simple settings, with a one-click page setup option, which can get your membership site up and running within a few minutes.
With the Paid Membership Pro plugin, you can create multiple membership levels along with tiered memberships. You can use created membership levels to lock posts, pages, custom post types, as well as post categories.
But the primary reason I use, and recommend the Paid Membership Pro plugin, is the lightweight core. You might not think it’s important. But it’s perfect for those looking to create a simple, small to medium scale membership website. This, along with the add-on architecture, helps keep the plugin footprint minimal.
Paid Membership Pro provides add-ons for email marketing services like MailChimp, AWeber, Infusionsoft, an add-on for KISSmetrics- user tracking service, and integrations for affiliate marketing platforms as well. These add-ons can help you extend the capabilities of your membership website.
The plugin can also be a great option if you’re looking to create a membership network. The Paid Membership Pro provides a couple of add-ons- Network Membership and Network/Multisite Membership, which can be used for this very purpose. These add-ons help manage memberships at a network level, and allow the creation of a network site for a member respectively.
PMPro provides a kick-ass reports functionality as well. These reports help track member visits, views, logins, membership stats (sign-ups and cancellations), sales and revenue. There are options provided to filter details based on date and membership level as well.
How does it weigh against our membership plugin evaluation criteria?
Now, let’s get this straight- Paid Membership Pro would not have featured on my best membership plugins list, if it would not have met the WordPress membership plugin evaluation criteria!
I know I could be biased because I like the plugin, but it fares quite well on all the parameters.
#1 Ease of Use: 4/5
By far, Paid Membership Pro plugin is the simplest to set up membership plugin. It provides a settings interface similar to the default admin interface provided by WordPress. This makes it easy for a user to follow the menu and settings options provided.
However, to use the plugin to its maximum capability, you will need basic coding skills, which could be a problem for some. So, for ease of use, I’ll give the plugin a 4 on 5.
#2 e-Commerce Integration: 4/5
The plugin provides PayPal, Stripe, Authorize.NET, 2Checkout and Braintree payment gateways available by default. You may not find a payment gateway specific to your region. However, PMPro provides a WooCommerce integration add-on, which can allow you to use WooCommerce as a payment option and sell membership as products.
For e-commerce integration the plugin gets a 4 again.
#3 Membership Management: 3/5
PMPro provides the basic options to manage memberships. You cancel, upgrade or downgrade a membership. But what’s lacking here, is a ‘one-click’ membership upgrade or downgrade option, which a few other membership plugins provide. This option plays a vital role in upselling memberships.
The plugin however provides several other features, such as export/import of members using a CSV file, the option to add sign up fees, and an option to offer discounts.
But again, due to the absence of a one-click upgrade/downgrade option, the plugin gets a 3 on 5 for membership management.
#4 Content Availability Management: 4/5
The Paid Membership Pro plugin provides a Series add-on which adds the content drip functionality., This allows you to sequentially supply content to members. The plugin provides settings to add teaser excerpts for non-members, and a free trial option as well.
By default the plugin does not allow members to be part of more than one membership level. But with the Purchase Access add-on, members can purchase individual pages or posts for a flat fee.
For content availability management, the plugin gets a 4.
#5 Documentation and Support: 4/5
Once you download the basic plugin, you can get access to the plugin’s documents upon signing up on the plugin’s main site. But as mentioned, to get access to premium documentation, you need to purchase the membership pack on the site. But it’s well worth the price. For $97/year, you get access to several tips and hacks, and get great support.
The plugin authors do provide support on the WordPress.org plugin forum as well, but I’d say the response is not as enthusiastic as in the paid support forums. But hey! I can’t complain. As a free plugin, they offer a lot more than I can say for most paid plugins.
I’d give the plugin a 4/5 for documentation and support.
What are your thoughts on Paid Membership Pro?
If you’re a user of the Paid Membership Pro plugin, I’d like to hear your thoughts. What have been your experiences with the plugin? Do you agree with the points I’ve mentioned, or do your views differ completely?
And if your someone who’s looking for a membership plugin for your WordPress membership website, do you think PMPro suits your needs?
Do make sure to leave your opinions and thoughts in the comment section below.
Until another membership plugin review, adios!