Friday, March 29, 2019

WordPress Plugin: Paid Memberships Pro

I was researching WP eMember because it had been recommended. Evidently the $50 price for eMember pays for a forever license for unlimited sites.

Google led me to this review: The 8 Best WordPress Membership Plugins For Your Site (Venture Harbour ~ March, 2018). 

The 8 reviews are:
  1. Paid Membership Pro (Starting Price: Free)
  2. Restrict Content Pro (Starting Price: $99)
  3. MemberPress (Starting Price: $99/year)
  4. WP eMember (Starting Price: $50)
  5. MemberMouse (Starting Price: $20/month)
  6. WishList Member (Starting Price: $97)
  7. WPMU Dev WordPress Membership (Starting Price: $20/month)
  8. CoinTent (Starting Price: Free)
First, though, the unnamed guest writer was really high on Paid Membership Pro!

He said, "Paid Memberships Pro is a basic, newbie-friendly plugin that combines an intuitive and easy-to-navigate UI with loads of function. Best of all? It’s free. As in, the price tag reads $0. Zilch. Nada."

I like that idea. I really like that price.

I have learned that many companies will offer a free plugin, but then monetize it by charging for the useful add-ons.

PMPro uses this approach. Quoting VentureHarbour, "Since it’s free, the developers don’t provide any support, although you do get an installation video and thorough documentation. For customer service from the developers or from other PMPro users (via the forum), the cost is $97/year."

I can live with only documentation and without customer service.

I opened my dashboard and found the plugin at the WordPress.org plugin repository. Installation was easy. I deactivated all other member plugins before activating PMPro.

Paid Membership Pro added a new section, and the tabs are available on either the PMPro dashboard or vertically on the WordPress admin dashboard. Consistent with the Venture Harbor review, the PMPRo dashboard looks for a license key:

This is really encouraging!

Following the link to "View Pricing" tells a story different from $97.00 per year. The pricing page includes a $300 price tag, and it doesn't explain whether that's a one-time cost or an annual fee.

There are 75+ add-on options, but only 14 are free and 64 have a price tag. The premium add-ons appear to be the features and functions I would want to use! Listed below are the ones that interest me just by reading their descriptions. 
  • Add Member From Admin ~ Allow admins to add members in the WP dashboard.
  • Add Name to Checkout Add On ~ Adds first and last name fields to the user account section at checkout for Paid Memberships Pro.
  • Add PayPal Express Add On ~ Add PayPal Express as a Second Option at Checkout
  • Advanced Levels Page Shortcode Add On ~ An enhanced shortcode for customizing the display of your Membership Levels Page for Paid Memberships Pro
  • Approvals Add On ~ Grants administrators the ability to approve/deny memberships after signup.
  • Auto-Renewal Checkbox ~ Make auto-renewal optional at checkout with a checkbox.
  • Better Logins Report Add On ~ Adds login, view, and visit stats for "This Week" and "This Year".
  • Developer's Toolkit ~ Various tools to test and debug Paid Memberships Pro enabled websites.
  • Donations ~ Allow customers to set an additional donation amount at checkout.
  • Download Monitor Integration Add On ~ Require membership for downloads when using the Download Monitor plugin.
  • Email Confirmation Add On ~ Require email confirmation before certain levels are enabled for members.
  • Email Templates Add On ~ Define your own members email templates including HTML for Paid Memberships Pro.
  • Extra Expiration Warning Emails Add On ~ Send out more than one "membership expiration warning" email to users with PMPro.
  • Import Users from CSV Add On ~ Add-on for the Import Users From CSV plugin to import PMPro and membership-related fields.
  • Member Directory Add On ~ Adds a customizable Member Directory and Member Profiles to your membership site.
  • Member History Add On ~ Display a history of a user's Membership on the User Profile for admins only.
  • Member Homepages Add On ~ Redirect members to a unique homepage/landing page based on their level.
  • Membership Card Add On ~ Display a printable Membership Card for Paid Memberships Pro members or WP users.
  • Membership Manager Role Add On ~ Adds a Membership Manager role to WordPress with access to PMPro settings and reports.
  • Nav Menus Add On ~ Creates member navigation menus and swaps your theme's navigation based on a user's Membership Level
  • Pay by Check Add On ~ A collection of customizations useful when allowing users to pay by check for Paid Memberships Pro levels.
  • Proration Add On ~ Custom Prorating Code for Paid Memberships Pro
  • Recurring Emails Add On ~ Send email message(s) X days before a recurring payment is scheduled, to warn/remind members.
  • Register Helper Add On ~ Capture additional member information with custom fields at Membership Checkout with Paid Memberships Pro.
  • Reports Dashboard Add On ~ Responsive Membership Reports Dashboard for Administrator and Membership Manager Role.
  • Set Expiration Dates Add On ~ Set a specific expiration date (e.g. 2013-12-31) for a PMPro membership level or discount code.
  • Signup Shortcode ~ Shortcode for a simplified Membership Signup Form with options for email only signup and more.
  • Sponsored Members Add On ~ Generate discount code for a main account holder to distribute to sponsored members.
  • State Dropdowns Add On ~ Creates an autopopulated field for countries and states/provinces for billing fields.
  • User Pages Add On ~ When a user signs up, create a page for them that only they (and admins) have access to.
  • Reason For Cancelling ~ Adds a field to specify a reason for cancelling to the cancel page.
  • Strong Passwords ~ Force users to submit strong passwords.
Because these are premium add-ons, I assume the features are not available in what I have installed on my site.

Bottom Line

I'm not interested in pursuing this further because of the add-on price tags. I deactivated and removed Paid Membership Pro from my WordPress site.

I'm off to explore WP eMember.

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