Membership websites are one of the most profitable ways of making money online.
They can be used to sell content, digital products, online services and more. You can charge customers a one-off fee for their membership, however it is common to sell memberships on a subscription basis.
Membership websites are also a great way of preventing privacy as content and products can be restricted to members.
One of the best solutions for building a membership website with WordPress is MemberMouse. Retailing from $19.95 per month, MemberMouse gives you full control over what people can view on your website and provides an abundance of marketing tools to increase your monthly income.
In this article, I would like to show you how the WordPress plugin works.
What Can MemberMouse Do?
MemberMouse can be installed on any WordPress website.
There are standalone membership applications available online, but I believe WordPress is the perfect platform to build a membership website as you gain access to tens of thousands of themes and plugins.
Themes and plugins greatly extend the functionality of your website, simplifies the process of styling your website design and makes it easier to publish content.
One of the key features of MemberMouse is the ability to protect any post or page on your website. You can create multiple tiers of memberships and restrict access to your content to specific member groups.
Sign up rates can be improved by offering a free membership. This is a good marketing technique as you can grow your email list and encourage members to sign up to one of your plans using upsells, downsells and cross-sells. Split testing different price points will help you see what is the optimal setup for maximum profits and you can promote your service using trials and coupons.
If you are selling memberships on a monthly basis, you may want to consider drip-feeding content to customers over time. This prevents members from consuming all your content in a short space of time and reduces the number of cancellations.
MemberMouse also stops the sharing of accounts. Accounts can be automatically locked if the software detects that multiple people are accessing content for one account.
The beauty of MemberMouse is that most administrative tasks are automated.
Members can log into their account and update their credit card, upgrade to a higher-tiered plan or cancel their subscription. This saves you from processing with these queries manually via email.
Everything is tracked too. The dashboard allows you to view sales, average customer value, engagement and more.
Four popular email marketing services are supported by MemberMouse: MailChimp, GetResponse AWeber and iContact. There is also support for eight payment services: PayPal, Stripe, Braintree, LimeLight CRM, Authrize.net, Auth.net, ClickBank and CoinBase.
Developers will love how flexible MemberMouse is too. You can sync databases and call custom scripts using API. Core functionality can be modified using hooks and filters and the layouts are customisable too. MemberMouse’s shortcodes can also be inserted into your posts or pages or directly into templates using PHP code.
It can be difficult to categorise a product such as MemberMouse as it can be used in many different ways.
For example, Chris Palmer of Angle of Attack offers flight simulator training videos to people who want to learn how to fly.
I encourage you all to look at websites that have been built using MemberMouse as it can give you inspiration on how you can use the software yourself.
It will also help you see how others are marketing their membership websites.
For example, PaleoPlan sells Paleo meal plans on a subscription basis. They offer a 14-day trial to allow potential customers to test their service and their premium plans have a 100% money-back guarantee.
After their trial has finished, customers can select to sign up as a member by paying $9.99 per month, $49 every six months or $89 every year.
You should be under no illusions that building a membership website requires a lot of hard-work, however MemberMouse gives you all the tools you need to create a profitable membership website online.
Let’s take a closer look at how you can use MemberMouse to build a membership website.
The MemberMouse Customer Dashboard
Once you have purchased MemberMouse, you can access the MemberMouse.com dashboard.
A short two-minute getting started video is displayed in the heart of the page. Underneath you will find links to register your website and download the MemberMouse WordPress plugin.
Registering the website URL you will use MemberMouse on is not optional. If you fail to enter the URL of your WordPress website in your account page, you will see a fatal error when you attempt to activate the MemberMouse WordPress plugin.
The support area has an extensive knowledgebase and a community forum.
MemberMouse customers can also open support tickets here.
All in all, I liked the customer area for MemberMouse. It’s easy to navigate and there is a lot of good tutorials to refer to when learning how the plugin works.
Setting Up the MemberMouse Membership WordPress Plugin
Once you have verified your WordPress website URL and activated the MemberMouse WordPress plugin, you will see two new menus in your admin area.
One is called MemberMouse. The other is called Reporting Suite.
If you do not want these menus so high up in your WordPress admin menu, you can move them elsewhere using Admin Menu Editor.
The MemberMouse area is where you set up all aspects of your membership website. Once your membership website is live and you are generating sales, you can track everything in the reporting suite.
Like any feature-rich WordPress plugin, MemberMouse can be a little daunting when you begin as there are a lot of settings to adjust in order to create your membership website.
There is no step-by-step wizard to help you get set up, however the main MemberMouse dashboard is a good starting point as it displays several video tutorials and has links to MemberMouse’s support area.
At the top of the page are links to manage your members, browse transactions, access the reporting suite and modify product settings.
Underneath is a summary of memberships and products. When you’re first getting started, you will have no data here, but once you’re established you’ll find this to be a good summary of how your membership website is performing.
At the top of the MemberMouse menu is links to manage members and browse transactions. When you are just getting started, there will be nothing here to reference, however when your membership website has been launched you will be checking these pages more frequently than configuration pages.
The manage members page allows you to create members manually and assign them to different membership plans you have created. You can also search for profiles of specific customers using the advanced search box and members can be exported and imported in CSV format.
In the transactions pages, you can browse the payments that customers have made for memberships. This is useful for verifying memberships and checking that everything is correct.
You can view the payment amount, order number, transaction time and date, whether a payment came through an affiliate link and other important information such as whether a payment was refunded.
The product settings area is where you manage your memberships.
At the top of the page is a list of the different sections: Products, Membership Levels, Bundles, Coupons and Drip Content Schedule.
The “How to Master Products, Bundles & Membership Levels” video in the main dashboard will help you understand how it all works.
Membership levels refer to what what access level a member has. For each membership level, you can assign a user to a particular WordPress user role and define which post categories they can access.
Products are what are sold to customers. A product is assigned to either one membership level or one bundle. This means that multiple products can be associated with one membership level.
Consider a membership level that allows users to view your tutorials on repairing computers. One product could be created at $29.99 per month that allowed members to view that content. You could then offer the same content to others at a discounted rate of $19.99 per month by creating a second product associated with that membership level.
With membership levels, you are only allowed one membership level per user account. Bundles allow you to add multiple membership levels to an individual user.
Don’t worry if all of this is confusing as it will make sense when you set things up for your own membership website. It’s all just a way of defining access levels and stating what members can and cannot view.
Access to your content can be restricted on a post level and a page level. You can restrict content on a post or page by membership level or by bundle.
If you are drip-feeding content to members, you can open up access to content once a user has been a member for a particular number of days.
You can view the drip-feeding schedule for any membership or bundle at any time from the product settings area.
Coupons are an essential marketing tool for those that operate membership websites.
MemberMouse allows you to create coupons that offers a percentage discount or a flat-fee discount. This discount can be applied to the first payment or to all payments.
You can even offer a free membership using a coupon.
In the checkout settings area, you can create custom fields, select which countries customers are permitted to make purchases from and add the shipping methods that you use. Other settings in this area include the default currency, default membership level and whether members are allowed pro-rata membership upgrades and downgrades.
Payment providers can be configured in the payment settings area, with on-site and off-site options being available.
The test data page helps you prepopulate checkout forms and you can select whether a cancellation request from a member hard cancels their membership or simply pauses it.
Other settings in the main MemberMouse admin menu include setting up email marketing integration, the forgot password email template and defining the affiliate commission profile for customers.
In the developer tools section you can create push notifications when a particular event occurs. For example, when a product is purchased or a rebill payment failed. You can be notified via an email, zapier notification or call a custom script.
This area also has information about API credentials and WordPress hooks and filters.
MemberMouse allows you to modify your login forms for your website and select which fields are included in forms.
There is also an activity log that helps you see all changes that have been processed over time.
Many other useful settings can be found in the general settings area.
Employees can be created to help you manage your membership website. This is a feature that will be particularly important as your website grows.
In additional to a safe mode and installation repair options, you will find dozens of miscellaneous settings here. This includes homepage settings, login settings, content protection settings and CSS settings.
When MemberMouse is activated on your website, 13 new pages are created. These pages help build your membership area.
You can modify these pages and add additional pages for members. The sample page is a great starting point for this.
One feature I loved about MemberMouse is the preview bar.
It allows you to see important areas of your website through the eyes of a member. This helps you check member pages and restricted content and see what members will see.
You can preview pages according to a specific membership level and according to the days a user has have been a member. Therefore, if you are checking a membership level for day 10, you should not be able to see content that will not be drip-fed until day 14.
It’s a great tool for ensuring that everything is set up correctly.
Two MemberMouse widgets are available: Protected content and SmartWidget.
SmartTags allow you to dynamically change what is displayed on a page depending on who is reading it. Using shortcodes you can restrict content to specific membership levels, change what links are displayed and even display customised upsell and downsell offers.
You could integrate this into your website in a number of ways. For example, you could display special offers in your blog posts to existing members that non-members will not see.
Like any membership plugin, you need to spend time with MemberMouse in order to set everything up exactly how you want it. This will ensure that payments go through correctly and members cannot view content they are not eligible to see.
I do not believe any aspect of this is difficult, but I would encourage you to watch the video tutorials in the main dashboard as they give a great overview of each configuration area.
Analysing Data in the Reporting Suite
For the purpose of this review, the developers of MemberMouse kindly sent me a copy of MemberMouse. This enabled me to extensively test the WordPress plugin on my test WordPress website and helped me understand how it all works.
Unfortunately, as I have not yet used MemberMouse on a live website, I was not able to generate any meaningful data in the MemberMouse reporting suite. Thankfully, the MemberMouse knowledgebase helped fill in some of the blanks.
The reporting suite displays membership information, sales information, customer value and more. The main dashboard displays a great overview of where your business is just now and helps you see how engaged members are.
In the member count page, there is a table that shows how many people have signed up to your memberships. You can view these values by day, week, month or year. The start date and end date can also be selected.
These figures are broken down further in the membership sales page. It’s a great way of analysing where your income is being generated.
Other reports include product sales, customer value, quick average, compare membership levels, payment services and channel sales.
All of these reports help you see the bigger picture and see what members are buying, when they are buying, how they are paying and more.
A navigation menu is available throughout the reporting suite area. The same links from your WordPress admin menu are displayed here with the addition of an option to clear the cache of reports.
I was really impressed by the reporting suite. It gives you a great analysis on your membership website and helps you see what plans are performing well. As your membership website grows, analytics will become more important to your future development and marketing enendeavours, so this an essential part of MemberMouse.
I was, however, surprised to see that there is no option to export reports. This is something that will hopefully be added in the future.
The Cost of MemberMouse
MemberMouse is a premium WordPress plugin.
Three different plans are available to those that want to purchase MemberMouse: Growth, Advanced and Professional.
Except for the top professional plan, all plans have a limitation on how many members you can have in your account.
The starter plan costs $19.95 per month for 1,000 members, $39.95 per month for 5,000 members and $59.95 per month for 10,000 members. Most plugin features are included in this plan such as content protection, drip content, checkout pages, upsells and downsells and basic reporting.
The advanced plan at $99 per month adds the advanced reporting suite, lifetime value reporting, churn and retention reporting, social media login and UserVoice integration. Many WordPress users will upgrade to this plan when their membership website has been established as it supports up to 50,000 members.
The professional plan costs $299 per month for up to 100,000 members and $599 per month for an unlimited number of members. This plan adds integration support for LimeLight CRM and gives customers telephone support.
A 14-day free trial is available for MemberMouse to help you test the WordPress plugin and see if it is right for you. I recommend taking advantage of this before signing up to any plan.
In order to use the free trial, you need to authorise a payment with PayPal or a credit card. Be sure to cancel this recurring payment if you do not want to use MemberMouse on your website beyond the trial, since you will be charged for the $19.95 per month starter plan if you do not.
Enjoyed your trial?
If you are launching a new membership website and have decided to purchase MemberMouse after the trial, I recommend sticking with the starter plan for a few weeks at least. This will let you see whether you need the functionality offered in the advanced or professional plans such as the reporting suite.
Those of you who have an established membership website will probably need to select one of the higher-priced plans in order to accomodate your existing members. Check out the “Import Members with the Import Wizard” tutorial to get an understanding of how you can transfer your data from another WordPress membership plugin.
There are a lot of great membership plugins available for WordPress and MemberMouse rightfully deserves to be regarded as one of the best.
Once you get your head around how to set up membership levels and products correctly, you can start to add content to your website and promote memberships to potential customers.
Like any WordPress plugin, there are a few areas the plugin could be improved. I would love to see the developers simplify the process of getting set up initially by adding a step-by-step installation wizard to compliment the video tutorials they have.
As far as new features go, I would like to see the ability to export reports. I would also like better support for digital content such as eBooks, PDF documents and videos. All of this content can be restricted using MemberMouse, but it would be great to see this functionality extended so that users do not have to reply on third-party plugins.
Used/using MemberMouse? Or any other membership plugins? Thoughts?