Selling memberships has become a popular way to monetize online audiences. Whether it’s software programming or anime, there are communities online where people are willing to pay a fee every month to learn new skills and interact with kindred spirits. For those looking to build membership websites on WordPress, things have never been easier. There are plenty of membership-focused themes and plugins to help you build your website.
When it comes to picking a membership theme for your website, there are a few things to keep in mind. The steps to implement the theme, compatibility with existing framework, the content creation process, and available payment methods are a few factors to take into account.
In addition to those things you will, understandably, have to take pricing into consideration. It is highly recommended that you buy a premium WordPress membership theme or plugin when you can. This is because the free options rarely offer the kind of features you need to build a full-fledged membership website.
Since there are so many options on the market, we decided to make things a little easier for you. Here’s our list of the best WordPress membership themes and plugins. We tell you what’s to like about each of these products and other key information.
Best WordPress Membership Themes 2020
1. Divi – Best Drag & Drop WordPress Theme For Memberships
Divi is one of the most renowned WordPress page builders out there. It’s a tool that has come to be known for how easy and powerful its visual website builder is. But a lesser known fact is that Divi also gives you the ability to use its theme for your WordPress membership website.
The Divi WordPress theme allows you to easily add in a login page on your website. So once you give your members their login credentials, it becomes simple for them to access your content. Just like everything else in Divi, the login page can be modified to suit your design ideals.
Another feature that Divi offers that will come in handy while building a membership website is its modular builder. There are different modules you can use to add a slider, gallery, form, call to action etc. This makes it extremely simple to add elements to your membership website at the click of a button.
Divi is made by Elegant Themes and sells its license bundled with its other products. Yearly access to Divi and other Elegant Themes products is priced at $89. If you prefer getting lifetime access, you’ll have to pay $249. For that price you get lifetime updates and premium support.
2. Academy Pro – Genesis Framework Membership Theme
Academy Pro is a WordPress membership site theme built by StudioPress for online course creators. A large number of membership sites are built for online courses and educational initiatives. Academy Pro serves the needs of educators who need a way to easily create their membership website.
The best thing about AcademyPro is that it comes bundled with the Genesis Frameworks Package. The framework itself makes it simple to build fully-featured WordPress websites. The Academy Pro theme package gives you the ability to turn those websites into membership sites.
Academy Pro comes with several theme options that you can use as the foundation for your website. The theme customizer lets you make edits to the themes. You can change the color combinations, fonts and images among other things.
This WordPress membership theme comes equipped with e-commerce features right out of the box. It can be integrated easily with WooCommerce to quickly list products and accept payments for them.
Academy Pro along with the Genesis framework costs $129.95. This is a one-time fee that gives you instant access and unlimited updates. The Pro Plus Membership, which costs $499.95, gives you access to all existing StudioPress themes and all themes they release in the future. That’s currently $1700 worth of product at less than a third of that price.
3. Astra – Best LearnDash WordPress Theme
Astra is a WordPress theme that gives you complete control over how your WordPress website looks. The theme comes with a vast library of starter templates. Each of these websites uses pixel-perfect design and can be customized without code. The themes are all designed for speed and are extremely lightweight.
What makes Astra a great theme for online educators who want to create a membership website is its LearnDash integration. That means that you can build your course on the LearnDash LMS and then design the website for it on Astra.
The integration allows you to build more powerful sales pages for your LearnDash courses. These conversion-friendly sales pages will help you position your product the right way and enroll more students as a result.
There are distraction-free features built into Astra. You can remove content that crowds viewers’ field of vision and instead have them view only course contents. Given that most online courses have poor completion rates, features like this one help you keep your students more engaged.
The LearnDash integration is also handy because it lets you build conversion-friendly checkout pages. Here too, you can remove unnecessary elements on the page and direct users’ focus to the checkout process itself. If you run a membership website, reducing cart abandonment is always one of your top priorities. That’s exactly what Astra helps you achieve with its conversion-ready checkout page designs.
The advantage of building a membership website with Astra is that it comes with its own library of pre-built websites integrated with other page builders. So if you use Elementor or Beaver Builder, you can find a website that’s been built using those page builders in combination with the Astra theme.
The Astra theme itself is free. Astra Pro comes with a number of additional features and integrations. That includes design elements like mega menus and spacing control; features such as the WooCommerce designer and white labeling; and integrations with LearnDash and LifterLMS.
Astra Pro starts at $41 annually. The Mini Agency bundle comes with more than 55 agency starter templates and a page builder add-on for either Elementor or Beaver Builder. Astra Pro Mini Agency is priced $169 per year. The top-of-the-line Agency bundle will run you $249 annually.
4. OceanWP – Free Reliable WordPress Membership Theme
There’s a lot to like about OceanWP for those looking to build a WordPress membership website. The theme comes with a popup login extension using which you can have members register and login to your site. The popup can be styled to your preferences with a custom background image and copy.
This WordPress membership theme also comes with built-in WooCommerce integration so you can turn your website into an e-commerce store selling memberships. OceanWP has built-in features that let you set up your WooCommerce store and tweak it as you go. Thanks to the integration, you don’t have to worry about installing a range of plugins to get the job done..
OceanWP also works in conjunction with some of the best page builders in the game. Beaver Builder, Thrive Architect, Elementor, and Visual Composer for WordPress are just some of the page builders you can use along with the OceanWP theme. By using these page builders, you access the best of what they have to offer along with OceanWP.
OceanWP comes with its own set of pre-designed free and pro website demos. You can pick any one of these demos and start building your WordPress membership site. All of the pre-designed pages are mobile responsive and are SEO compliant.
All of OceanWP’s pricing plans come with eight free extensions, 13 premium extensions, and 60 pro demos. The difference between them is the number of websites on which you can use OceanWP’s themes. For $31, $63, and $103, you can use the themes one, three, and 25 websites respectively.
5. KickCube – Best Restrict Content Pro WordPress Theme
KickCube is a WordPress theme built with a whole range of features specific to membership websites. The theme is compatible with the Restrict Content Pro plugin, which means that you can protect content on your website meant only for members. The plugin also allows you to do things like create discount codes, manage members, and get performance reports on the website.
The member management feature is an important one because it helps you keep track of how engaged your community is. You can view members based on whether their status is active, expired, pending and so on. You can then take the necessary steps to engage these different groups of members.
The KickCube WordPress membership theme gives you a few different options when it comes to collecting payments. Payment gateways like Stripe, PayPal and Braintree are all supported. So you can easily go from setting up your membership website to having paying customers.
The Gravity Forms integration allows you to collect all the information you need from your visitors. You’ll need forms right from the registration phase to when you collect feedback from your members. All of this can be done using Gravity Forms on your KickCube website.
The KickCube membership theme is priced $39, making it one of the more affordable options on this list. It isn’t as feature-heavy as some alternatives but does a great job at its price point.
Best WordPress Membership Plugins 2020
1. MemberPress – Best WordPress Membership Plugin
When it comes to WordPress plugins for membership websites, MemberPress is among the foremost names in the industry. There are few products out there in the WordPress universe that lay as much of a focus on helping people build online communities and monetize them seamlessly.
MemberPress is extremely easy to set up. It is compatible with any WordPress theme, so you can install it on your website without making any major changes to it. Once installed, you have to enter your payment gateway information so the plugin knows where to send your money. There on in, you’re ready to add some products or subscriptions and get your membership site underway.
Since it focuses on membership websites, MemberPress has a whole lot of access control rules. Website owners can restrict access to pages, posts, categories, tags and so on. This granular level of control is exactly what you need if you run a paid membership website.
One of the ways to market your membership website is using coupon codes. MemberPress has built-in features to generate coupon codes. You can decide how many times these codes can be used, when they expire, and customize the codes themselves.
Another way to grow your community is by creating an affiliate program for it. Since the makers of MemberPress are also the ones behind Affiliate Royale, the two plugins work very well together. You can use Affiliate Royale to create and manage your affiliate program. The plugin comes bundled with the Pro version of MemberPress.
MemberPress comes with its own library of pricing pages. You can easily create a pricing page by picking an existing template and editing it to reflect your product portfolio. If you have the necessary chops, you can write custom HTML and CSS to edit how these pricing pages look.
Setting up subscription pricing with MemberPress is extremely simple. Members can easily register, renew, and track their subscription from your website. The plugin will automatically alter their access to different parts of the site based on the status of their subscription. On the backend, you can set up your payment gateway quickly just by entering the correct gateway API key and setting the notification requirements of the gateway.
When you sell memberships, it’s important to track how your site is performing. That’s where the memberore reports dashboard comes in handy. The dashboard visualizes key metrics like your total revenue, revenue by product, and so on.
MemberPress has a wide array of integrations and extensions. The third-party tools that it works with covers a wide range of applications, including email marketing, podcasting, payment gateways, affiliate marketing, and more.
The MemberPress Basic package is priced $149 and can be used on a single website. It comes with ten add-ons and integrations. MemberPress plus offers you the ability to sell corporate memberships. This tier costs $249. The Pro version is price $349 and includes the Affiliate Royale plugin.
2. LearnDash – Best LMS Plugin with Memberships
LearnDash is a learning management system, which means that it’s built specifically for those who create and administrate online courses. So if you sell memberships to courses, then you can’t do a lot better than the LearnDash plugin for WordPress.
Creating courses with LearnDash is as simple as putting together any other content on a WordPress website. You have a menu that shows you your courses, lessons, topics, etc. You can click on any one of those to create a new entry. LearnDash links new lessons and topics for your courses as you create them.
Since this is a learning management system, you get a whole lot of features that have to do with keeping students engaged. You can create quizzes between lessons to assess students. There are built in tools to create and award certificates to students based on specific criteria. LearnDash also lets you create study groups within the community and assign group leaders. All of these are great ways to keep your learning community engaged.
Now let’s talk about the features that it offers website owners. LearnDash makes it possible to drip feed content to your community easily. There are various pricing models that are built in, from one-time payments to subscriptions to bundles. Administrators can easily set up renewals reminders to be sent out to members.
LearnDash starts at $159 for the Basic package. With it you can create an unlimited number of courses and quizzes on one website. Basic also comes with advanced quizzes, badges and certificates, and the ability to drip-feed lessons.
For $189 you get LearnDash’s Plus package. This lets you use the plugin on ten different websites. The ProPanel is included in this package. This is a feature that gives you access to the LearnDash dashboard and its live activity reporting features. For $329 you get LearnDash Pro, which can be installed on 25 websites.
3. Restrict Content Pro – Best Plugin To Restrict Content on WordPress
How do you give away your best stuff only to valued members? By restricting access to that content of course! And how do you restrict access to certain content on your WordPress website? Using the Restrict Content Pro plugin.
This plugin is a membership management system built on the premise of locking away certain content only for paying users. Site administrators can put certain pages and tags behind a paywall only for their subscribers. And just like that you have yourself a membership website.
The Restrict Content Pro plugin isn’t limited to just restricting certain content. It now has several features that cater to the needs of membership websites. For example, you can create subscription packages and manage members based on where they are in their payment cycle.
This WordPress membership plugin integrates with Stripe, PayPal, Authorize.net and other payment gateways. You can offer any one of these on their own or multiple payment options at once.
Restrict Content Pro is priced between $99 and $499. The packages vary based on how many sites you can install the plugin on. All packages come with 13 add-ons including MailChimp, bbPress, Campaign Monitor, and WP Job Manager.