The CoinTent service, and its plugin for WordPress, gives site owners the option of charging visitors a fee for access to published content. Access to content is sold on a per post basis, so readers can just pay to access the content they want to read. CoinTent acts as a digital wallet, and has the ability of collecting fees from visitors and then distributing them to publishers.
While a membership plugin allows you to put content or whole areas of your website behind a paywall, with the ability to setup user accounts and recurring payments, CoinTent aims to simplify things by allowing you to charge for access to individual pieces of content on a one off basis.
Once a visitor has signed up for a CoinTent account and added funds, they can then pay for access to content on any site using this service. CoinTent collects the fees and then pays site owners once their balance has reached a certain threshold.
CoinTent offers another way to monetize your website and its content, and in this post we will be reviewing the service and seeing how easy is to implement this approach to website monetization on a WordPress site.
Features and Usage
With CoinTent you can set the fee for access to your posts and pages to any amount you like. However, the default amount is set low indicating that this service is targeted to those wishing to request a micropayment from their readers in exchange for access to a post or page on their site.
Examples for use could include putting your best tutorials, recipes, and guides, behind a paywall. You could even charge a fee for access to fiction, on a pay per chapter basis. This would allow readers to pay as they read along, rather than buying your book outright for the full price, before knowing whether they’d like it or not.
The possibilities are endless and by dividing your content up into small chunks, and then charging a micropayment for access, you can find many ways to earn money from your work. When you take into consideration that almost any type of content can be added to a WordPress post or page, there are no limits to what you can charge for access to.
Digital Wallet Service
As mentioned earlier, CoinTent acts as a digital wallet service. This means your readers can create an account and add funds, before making payments on participating sites.
This approach has a few advantages. One is that users will probably be more likely to pay for access to content if they’ve already loaded their account with funds, as opposed to having to get their card out each time they want to make a transaction.
Another benefit of CoinTent overseeing the payments is the trust factor. A user is likely to have less reservations about paying through an established company, as opposed to a giving their payment details to your perhaps unfamiliar website.
The main downside of using a third party to facilitate payments is that they will be taking a percentage of the sales. The CoinTent pricing structure is broken down as 80% for you the publisher, 15% for credit card fees, and 5% for CoinTent for providing the service.
However, this seems pretty reasonable when you take into account that the CoinTent service is targeting those charging micropayments for access to their content. With low payments, going it alone won’t be any more profitable when PayPal or other payment gateways’ flat fees are taken into account.
CoinTent Publisher Experience
There are two types of CoinTent user: publishers looking to charge for access to their content, and consumers who pay for access to that content.
As a publisher, the first step is to install the free WordPress plugin on your site and then sign up for a free account with CoinTent.
Once you’ve signed up and added your publisher ID to your website, you can begin setting which content will become locked behind a paywall. The easiest way to do this is simply by selecting which categories to include, or which to exclude.
You can also lock individual posts on your site, simply by adding a shortcode to that post and putting the protected content inside the two shortcodes. Using shortcodes is a great way to put a downloadable file inside a protected area, a video, or restricting access to the final paragraph of a captivating article.
The shortcodes will override the category settings which makes it a good option for protecting a piece of content inside an unlocked category.
By default, when using the category option to lock content, the plugin will show an excerpt from the post, before displaying the button which readers can use to purchase access to the content. This gives you the opportunity of writing an enticing introduction that will help encourage readers to make a payment in order to read the rest of the post.
When using the category approach to lock content, the plugin does remove the formatting from the introduction which remains publically visible. This is worth taking into consideration when writing your post introductions.
As CoinTent has been created for providing access to content in exchange for small amount of money, or micropayments, the default price for unlocking your content a reader will have to pay is $0.25. However, this amount can be set at an individual post and page level, allowing you to charge as much, or as little as you want.
The pricing is set through the control panel on the CoinTent website rather than on your WordPress site. Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be a way to change the default price, or change the price of more than one piece of content at a time. However the team are looking into the possibility of including this feature in the future, and using the interface to make this change on an individual basis is very straightforward.
Tracking and Analytics
Through their account area, publishers can view tracking and analytics for their content. This includes total revenue and top content, over set periods of time.
For larger sites, CoinTent are able to offer A/B testing of prices, allowing you to show one price to 50% of your visitors and another to the other half. This is a great feature for those with enough visitors to determine what the best price for their content is.
Once you’ve setup the plugin and started putting categories and their posts behind the paywall, or using the shortcode to restrict access to individual posts, you can hopefully start earning money from your content. Payments are then made to publishers on a monthly basis, if their account balance is $10 or more.
CoinTent Consumer Experience
It’s important to know how consumers, or the visitors to your site, can access your premium content before deciding to use this service.
Fortunately CoinTent makes it very easy for your readers to sign up with their service and then pay for access to your content.
The entire process takes place on your site, by using an overlay window which allows the reader to create an account with CoinTent.
Readers only need to enter their email address and a password to get access to the service, after which they can fund their account. This balance can then be used to make payments on any site using the CoinTent service, and not just yours.
Once the funds have been added to the account, the fee can be paid and access is granted. The consumer can then access that content again at any time should they return to your site and are logged into their CoinTent account.
Whether using the CoinTent as a consumer or publisher, the process is very simple and easy to get to grips with.
The CoinTent service is free to join as either a publisher or a consumer, although publishers do incur fees from payments that are made for access to their site. This amount is set to 20%, with publishers keeping the reaming 80%. This is very reasonable and compares well to the fees charged by other gateways such as PayPal.
Support and Documentation
Once you’ve understood the concept behind the service, CoinTent is very easy to setup on a WordPress site. This micropayment plugin is very easy to use and the online documentation is well written and covers most of the features of the service.
The support team are very responsive and when I emailed them to ask a few questions I got a helpful reply very soon after.
Final Conclusion and Recommendations
CoinTent works really well and is very easy to implement on a website, especially for WordPress users. The ability to apply the pay per view access to all content in certain categories works really well. The option to use shortcodes to protect individual posts, and individual portions of a post is also a really useful feature that gives you a few more options for how you can use this service.
It would be nice if you could set a global default price for all the content on your site, or a set price for all content in a particular category, rather than having to do it on a post by post basis through the CoinTent control panel. However, after contacting the CEO and Founder of the service, this is something that they are investigating adding for the future.
Perhaps to help entice users to sign up and also help them to find other content they could use their funds to access, it would be nice if there was a directory of sites using this service on the CoinTent website.
However, minor quibbles aside, if you are a publisher of great content who wants to sell access to that content for small amounts (or large), then using CoinTent is a great way to do so. Their service helps you avoid transaction fees from traditional payment gateways, and allows your readers to make a purchase in one simple click.
Considering it is free and easy to add CoinTent to your site, if you’ve got a great piece of content you’d like to monetize, why not give them a try.
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