If you’ve ever wanted to explore the idea of making extra income from your content, you may have considered starting your own membership site.
Historically, starting an online membership site was a challenging task, especially if you were technically challenged.
But thankfully, these days, WordPress developers are making the process much simpler.
Still, how do you wade through all the possible options? Where do you find the right mix of features with something that’s still easy to use and easy to set up?
One option is Ultimate Membership Pro. Ultimate Membership Pro is membership software with an impressive list of features. It’s made by a company named Indeed Development that produces premium plugins for WordPress.
Ultimate Membership Pro’s Main Features
• Restrict or show content based on user levels: protect pages, posts, products, categories, any URL, content sections, menus, images, videos, and more
• Drip content at regular intervals for posts and pages based on subscription time or level
• Block content based on keywords that in appear in URLs
• Redirect or replace content
• Create custom redirect links
• Hide menu items based on a user levels
• Content locker protection
• Restrict any element or product (or dedicated page) from WooCommerce, as well as forms or topics from bbPress
Levels and Subscriptions
• Unlimited levels (subscriptions) based on paid and free membership levels
• Subscriptions plan page and options
• Multiple options for level access (Lifetime, Limited, Date Range, Regular Period, After Expire Level)
• Multiple billing options (One Time, Ongoing, Limited, Trial Period)
• Integrated payment gateways: PayPal, Stripe, Authorize.net, 2CheckOut, Bank Transfer
• Accept single or recurring payments (daily, weekly, monthly, etc.)
• Accept offline payments with bank transfers
• Ability to set free or paid trial periods
• Custom currencies
• Coupon codes/discounts (percentage or fixed price) for subscription prices, including a dedicated bulk coupons builder
• Unlimited or limited date range for coupon availability, along with usage amount before coupon expires, and level availability of coupons
Forms, Templates, and Shortcodes
• Many templates for registration, login, subscription plans, account pages, member lists, content locker, email notifications (with custom CSS options)
• Unlimited and custom fields for register and profile forms (e.g., Profile Image, Date Picker, Upload Files, DropDown, MultiSelect, Checkboxes, Radio Box)
• Conditional logic for custom register fields
• Restrict fields based on levels
• Integrated with nine email marketing platforms to manage registration and email campaigns: MailChimp, MailPoet, AWeber, Campaign Monitor, Constant Contact, MyMail, iContact, GetResponse, Mad Mimi
• Double opt-in verification for emails
• Customizable email notification templates
• Social login or registration with seven social networks: Facebook, Twitter, Google, LinkedIn, Instagram, VKontakte, Tumblr
• Five social button layouts with CSS3 effects
• Special fields for avatars, upload files, and more
• Verify code/question fields
• Numerous shortcodes
• Professional account pages, including tabs for Overview, Profile, Subscription, and Transactions
• Overview section for account pages can be set as custom content for each user
• Members list showcases with slider and pagination
• Custom dashboard access
• Quick access to stats for users, levels, and transactions within the dashboard
• WordPress users synchronization (synchronize membership users with all WordPress users)
Users from other platforms or scripts (e.g., WooCommerce, bbPress, BuddyPress), can be restricted to content based on their subscription level
• Integrated with WordPress page builder, Visual Composer (manage membership forms, membership pages, content lockers, etc.)
• Works with Indeed Development’s Ultimate Affiliate Pro system
• Translation ready
Setting Up & Using Ultimate Membership Pro
Ultimate Membership Pro offers a large feature set, and initially, getting up and running with the program might seem somewhat intimidating.
But after using the program for a short while, I found its user interface nicely laid out and simple to understand.
The first thing you’ll notice when you enter the plugin is its dashboard, which gives a general overall view of statistics and information about your users, membership levels, and payment transactions.
To the right of the dashboard window are two slideout icons. The top icon links to shortcodes that you can use to build your membership site, including main shortcodes for:
Visitor Inside User Page
You’ll also see a list of user shortcodes for form fields and pages, as well as links to the different levels that you create.
The second slideout icon is a link to contact support and documentation for Ultimate Membership Pro. It allows you to submit a ticket for help and includes documentation for plugin installation, item support, and a knowledge base.
At the top of the Ultimate Membership Pro dashboard, are tab icons that take you to the various options for setting up and running your membership site.
From left to right, they are:
Here, you can see and edit a list of the users of your site, including the level they’re subscribed to, their WP User Role (Editor, Author, Contributor, Subscriber, Pending), their email status, and the date they joined your membership.
You can also add new users manually, sort your user list with different filters, and export your list to a CSV file.
The Levels tab is where you create and manage the different levels (subscriptions) for your membership site.
To manage levels, you can see the level type, the billing type of the level, the price, and the shortcode for the subscription link. You can also reorder levels by dragging and dropping—this affects the order in which they’re shown on your subscription page.
Under Payment Services, you’re given the option to activate any or all of the integrated payment gateways and options that come with Ultimate Membership Pro. This includes:
Bank Transfer (for off-line payment)
These payment gateways support recurring payments and multi-payment options. You can also set up a “Sandbox” mode to test that your setup is working correctly before you go live with your site.
Here’s where you create the “lockers” that lock content within a post or page.
For example, you might tease a reader with a few lines of premium content, and then require that they be a member to be able to access the rest of your content.
Within this tab, you can add new lockers and manage any lockers you’ve already created.
The Showcases tab is where you set up your front-end displays for your:
Within these forms and pages, Ultimate Membership Pro offers templates, custom fields and messages, custom styles, and more to make it easy to get the features and look you want.
With the Social Login tab, you can let the users of your site login with their social media accounts.
Ultimate Membership Pro supports:
The Coupons tab lets you offer discounts on your subscription prices.
Ultimate Membership Pro allows you to create your discounts one at a time or in bulk.
The URL Blocks tab lets you restrict certain users from seeing content by blocking URLs.
You can do this by either adding a specific URL, or targeting content with certain keywords within the URL.
For example, you might block all content from a specific category by specifying the keyword for that category.
The Transactions tab is a list of any payments made to your membership site.
The Notifications tab allows you to create automated email messages that go out to your users.
For instance, if a user’s subscription is about to expire, you can set up a message to let them know they need to renew.
The Notifications tab allows you to send out messages for:
In the Op-In Settings tab, you can connect different email marketing platforms to Ultimate Membership Pro’s registration process.
Ultimate Membership Pro supports:
The General Options tab allows for a variety of settings, including:
• Choosing default pages for:
Terms of Service
Visitor Inside User Page
• Choosing default redirect pages (including after logout, after registration, after login)
• Setting up a CAPTCHA
• Custom messages and email notifications
• Menu customization
• Currency and default payment gateway settings
• Custom redirect links
• Double email verification
• WP user roles
• Grace periods for payment
• Payment data debugging
• Acceptable file formats for upload (with maximum file sizes)
• Maximum file size for avatars
Steps for Setting Up Ultimate Membership Pro
Here’s the basic steps for getting started with Ultimate Membership Pro.
1. Create Default Pages
There’s a number of required (and optional) pages you need to create for Ultimate Membership Pro. They are:
Default Redirect Page
Default Login Page
Default Register Page
Default Lost Password Page
Default Logout Page
Default Account User Page
Default Terms of Service Page
Default Subscription Plan Page
Default Visitor Inside User Page
Members List Page
A. In WordPress, go to Pages… Add New.
If you just started with Ultimate Membership Pro, you’ll see a notice on the right side of the WordPress editor of the pages you need to create.
Under the blue header that says Membership Pro-Page Type, you’ll see a list of the pages you need to create.
B. Enter the page title (e.g. Register), and then add any content you want to add to the page.
C. Click the blue MP ShortCodes button just above the WordPress editor, and select the appropriate shortcode. In this example, you’ll want to click on Register Form.
This will add the following shortcode: [ihc-register]
D. To set the page as a registration page, go back to Membership Pro-Page Type and under Set the Page as…select Register Page from the drop-down menu.
E. Click the Publish button.
Your register page is now finished. You can’t currently view the register page because you’re logged into your WordPress site. To see it, logout or enter the URL into a separate browser that you are not logged into.
Repeat these steps for each page you need to create. You can watch the video on this page for a closer look at this process.
2. Create Your Levels (Subscriptions)
After creating the required pages, you’ll need to set up the different levels for your membership site.
For example, you could choose to set up your levels as:
Although Ultimate Membership Pro offers you the ability to set up unlimited levels, my advice is to keep it simple and not go too crazy with the number of levels you create.
OK, here’s the basic steps for creating your levels:
A. In WordPress, click the Membership Pro Ultimate WP link in the left sidebar, and choose the Levels tab at the top of the page.
If you just started using Ultimate Membership Pro, you’ll see a message that says:
“No Levels available! Please create your first Level.”
B. Click the red Add New button to add your first level.
C. Enter the Level Slug in lowercase characters (e.g., free) and then enter a Level Label (e.g., Free)
D. Enter the Access Type for the level (LifeTime, Limited, Date Range, Regular Period).
For example, you might choose LifeTime as the Access Type for a Free level, and just give away your most basic content for that level.
If you wanted to create a subscription level that required recurring payments from a user, you would need to select Regular Period as the Access Type.
Unless you have a reason to do so, I would keep the default settings under Additional Access Settings.
E. Under Billing Options, choose a payment type (Free, Payment).
For our example, we’re going to choose Free.
F. Under the page details for the “Subscription Plan”, enter any message or content you wish (e.g., Free Plan).
G. Enter your Price Text.
For our example of a Free level, you would enter: $00.00
H. Click the Save button.
To see what your subscription page looks like so far, click the Subscription Plan Showcase link at the top of the page.
To see examples of how to set up other levels, view the video on this page.
3. Restrict Content
With Ultimate Membership Pro, you can restrict content based on a user’s subscription level and/or their user status (registered versus unregistered).
There’s basically three ways to restrict content for your membership site.
Method 1: Ultimate Membership Pro-Locker
First, create your premium content in a page or post. In this example, we’ll create a page.
A. In WordPress, go to Pages… Add New.
B. Give your page a title and add any content you wish to create.
C. To the right of the WordPress editor, click the red bar that says Ultimate Membership Pro-Locker.
D. Choose the access levels and other options for the page.
You could also choose to drip the content by selecting the Membership Pro-Drip Content option below it.
Method 2: Inside Lockers
With this method, you can tease your readers with part of your content, and then require the user to subscribe (or login) to access the rest of the content.
A. Click the Inside Lockers tab at the top of the Ultimate Membership Pro dashboard.
B. After clicking Add New Locker, give your locker a name and choose a locker template for its design.
Choose any additional display options you want.
C. Create the text for your Locker Message. You can leave the default text (This content is locked) if you’d like.
D. Go to Pages… Add New, and create the content for the page you want to restrict access to.
E. Select the part of the page content you wish to restrict access to, and then click the red MP Locker button above the editor.
F. From the pop up window, choose your display options as well as the locker you created earlier in the steps.
G. Publish the page.
Method 3: URL Blocks
With this method, you can restrict any content based on its URL.
A. Click the URL Blocks tab at the top of the Ultimate Membership Pro dashboard.
B. Choose to block your content based on either the Entire URL or Based on Keywords (within the URL).
C. Enter the URL or keyword, and choose the user level(s) you’d like to block from seeing the content.
D. Finish by clicking the Add New button.
4. Set Payment Gateways
When membership levels require payment for access to content, you need to set up at least one payment gateway to allow users to pay for that content.
Ultimate Membership Pro comes with these payment options:
Bank Transfer (for off-line payments)
Of course, whichever payment gateway you choose, you’ll also need to set up or have an account with them as well.
Each of the payment gateways with Ultimate Membership Pro can accept recurring payments.
Here’s how to set up a payment gateway in Ultimate Membership Pro:
A. Click the the Payment Services tab at the top of the Ultimate Membership Pro dashboard.
B. Choose one of the five payment options that your membership site users will use to pay for access to your content.
C. Complete the settings for the payment gateway, and then activate the On button.
D. Click the Payment Settings link at the top of the page to set your currency and default payment gateway.
5. Manage Your Front-End Showcases
This is the last basic step for creating a membership site with Ultimate Membership Pro.
This is where you can make decisions about how certain forms and pages of your membership site appear to your users.
Ultimate Membership Pro lets you pick templates, make display options, build custom fields and messages, and more for your:
Video Tutorial: Ultimate Membership Pro
Support & Documentation
Ultimate Membership Pro comes with good documentation and what appears to be fast and responsive support from the developers. I like how the plugin’s authors integrated support elements directly within the user interface.
For instance, you can access documentation and submit a support ticket by clicking on a slideout icon on the right side of the plugin’s dashboard.
The plugin also gives easy access to shortcodes for the various forms and fields needed for your membership in the same area.
At the time of this writing, Ultimate Membership Pro has a very respectable rating of 4.3/5 from CodeCanyon for the plugin. The plugin’s author, Indeed Development, is listed as an “Elite Author” and has an impressive author rating from the site.
Ultimate Membership Pro Pricing
Ultimate Membership Pro is $30/year for a regular license.
This allows use by you, or one client, in a single end product which end users are not charged for.
The price includes any future updates and six months support from the developer. For an extra $9 at purchase, support can be extended to 12 months.
Ultimate Membership Pro Conclusions & Recommendations
Ultimate Membership Pro is a very worthy option among WordPress membership plugins.
It comes with an impressive feature set at an extremely reasonable price. For $30, you really can’t beat the cost for the value.
Its offerings cover most of what you’d need for a robust WordPress membership site, including unlimited levels (subscriptions), multiple ways to restrict content (including drip feeding), integration of top payment gateways and email marketing applications, well-designed templates to make setup easier, and many more options to help you customize your membership site to your liking.
In my opinion, the plugin manages to accomplish all of this with a fairly straightforward, clean interface, even with all of its features.
I found that with the templates, shortcodes, and other pushbutton features and customization options, setup was much easier than many other WordPress membership plugins on the market.
If you’ve ever thought about building a WordPress membership site in order to earn some recurring income around your content, you’re going to want to take a good look at Ultimate Membership Pro. If you’d like, you can find out more and even check out a trial version here.