New to MemberPress? Tips for Getting Started and Being Successful

Welcome to MemberPress! Now that you’re part of our tribe, we want to make sure you have all the tools you need to use the plugin successfully—and not just that. We want to help you be successful in your business. We’re here to help you build your business—whether that means turning it into a Fortune-500 company or running it as a side or passion project. We love what we do, and we want to make sure you can continue to do what you love too.

You’ve chosen MemberPress (thank you!) because, at its core, MemberPress is a plugin that allows WordPress site owners to protect their content and charge members fees to access it. Whether your content is a course on a certain subject, valuable articles and reports, or any other sort of useful information—no matter what you’re guarding, you’ve got MemberPress backing you. And now that you have the plugin, you’re ready to start running that membership site. 

We asked our customer-support manager, Paul, what types of questions new members frequently ask. In response, he shared some great tips for getting started using the plugin. So if you’re looking for a one-stop shop to get your newbie questions answered, you’ve come to the right place!

What can a new MemberPress client expect once the plugin is built?

The first thing you’ll want to do is visit the Options page and click Save. The default options are a great starting point and work well for most people. You’ll adjust these options later as the need arises.

Saving the options will create three required pages MemberPress needs to function: the Login page, the Account page, and the Thank You page.

The next thing you should do is watch our quick, five-minute Introduction to MemberPress video, which usually clears up a lot of the basic questions we get at the support department. Once you’ve watched the video, you’re ready to create your first membership and content-protection rules.

What are some of the questions new clients frequently ask?

  • How can I turn my existing content into a course? Easy. This short video tells you how. 
  • How do I send members’ names and emails to my email marketing service when they register? We’ve got a lot of information about this for nearly every email marketing platform. Check out our how-to video for the email client you use. 
  • How can I connect with a payment gateway, such as PayPal, Stripe, or Authorize.net? We’ve got more videos to help you configure and troubleshoot with your payment servicer. 

How can a new client best use the plugin for their site?

Keep it simple! 

Most often, those who are successful with their membership sites keep their offerings pretty basic, such as having a monthly/yearly or one-time payment system. They don’t offer twenty-plus different kinds of membership levels with one hundred different kinds of protected content. And they do the most they can with the minimum number of plugins and themes necessary to meet their goals.

Keep your content rules as simple as possible.

Let’s say you have 500 posts on the site and 300 of them are available to everyone. Here is the content-rule idea: of the gated 200, 100 should be visible to members who purchase the basic or advanced membership levels, and 100 should be available to members of only the advanced membership level.

Instead of creating 200 content rules to protect all posts, it’s better to tag 100 of those posts as “advanced-membership” and the other 100 as “basic-membership.”

You can then create two rules in MemberPress:

1) Posts Tagged: basic-membership (gives access to basic and advanced members)

2) Posts Tagged: advanced-membership (gives access only to advanced members)

That’s just one example of how to maximize the effectiveness of content protection.

Troubleshooting tips

The most common issue we see is with recurring payments not tracking. If the payment gateway is not configured properly, members expire too early (usually within a day or two of signing up), their recurring payments are not tracked, emails are not sent out, and they might not be synced with the proper MailChimp or other marketing lists. Ninety-nine percent of the time, the issue can be tracked back to the instructions not being fully followed when setting up the payment gateway.

Stripe: The most commonly missed step is setting up the webhook URL for test and live modes. We’ve got a list of tips and directions to help you troubleshoot.

PayPal: The most commonly missed steps are the IPN (instant payment notification) URL and the website preferences, so don’t neglect to watch our video on how to configure and troubleshoot with PayPal. 

Are there questions new clients should be asking but don’t know to ask?

Following are some of the important questions you should be asking as you’re setting up your site and getting started with the plugin. Find the answers to these questions (and more) in our detailed user manual. 

  • What type of membership(s) do I want to offer initially?
  • What might I offer three to six months from now?
  • What might I offer a year or two from now?
  • If I want to add more memberships later, how can I best design the site now to allow for that flexibility? 
    • Such as, if I want to segment my email lists, what’s the best way to set up the tags now so that I don’t have a lot of extra work later when I add additional membership types? 
    • For example, if a user signs up for a “bronze” membership, MemberPress can tag them in your email marketing account (like MailChimp) as being active on the bronze membership. The same is true for any other membership levels (such as a silver, gold, platinum, etc.). This way, the site owner can “segment” their email lists and target only the users they want with email campaigns. If they only want to email silver-level members, they can do so by creating a segment in their list for subscribers who have an active “silver” tag. 
  • How should I organize my content now to best accommodate any changes I may make in the future?
  • Will my pricing or billing terms change on my existing memberships?

These are just a few of the questions you may have as you begin to use our plugin. If you need more in-depth help, don’t forget the user manual on our website, and make sure you read the information in our “Getting Started” section. We’ve also got a whole slew of FAQs for you. And if those don’t answer your questions, you can always submit a customer-support ticket. For you seasoned users, what other questions did you have as you began using MemberPress? Are there additional tips and tricks you can share? Let us know in the comments below. 

Categories: Advice How To Tools
About Lindsay Flanagan

Lindsay Flanagan is a senior editor and project and social media manager at Eschler Editing. She earned her Master of Arts in English and Creative Writing and spent over a decade working in higher education before joining the Eschler team. She and her husband are the proud parents of two brilliant daughters and make their home in Heber, Utah.

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