Most of my online income comes from recurring payments in the form of membership websites. I first saw this model with Bill Myers website www.bmyers.com and I could see that this was the future for me.
Membership sites are the perfect continuity model where you can build once but sell many times over. To achieve this you either need a custom membership solution created by programmers which will set you back by thousands of dollars, buy something off the shelf such as Membergate or use a WordPress plugin such as Digital Access Pass, S2 members or Magic Members.I felt a bit stuck when I first started out. I ended up paying for Membergate but since then have created other sites with both Magic Members and DAP. I built both www.breakintoIT.com and www.howtocontract.net with Magic Members. I think I may have built one or two others but have since moved onto DAP.
Magic Members is a WordPress plugin which enables you to protect some or all of your content with a special script. The most important features you need from your membership plug in is:
- Easy to use
- Great support
- Helpful instruction videos
- Drip content to members
- Work with autoresponders such as Aweber
- Various subscription options (premium/basic etc)
- Coupon creation
- Integrates with common payment gateways
- Show part of page/post and protect the rest
MM does all of this although the earlier versions I used didn’t do it all. My installation and setup experience was pretty frustrating. The support videos lacked many of the steps I was looking for. When I tried to set up a custom login screen for new joiners I found that part pretty tricky also.
Another thing I found strange was that they had a USA address for the company but the writing from the support team smelled of India to me. Not sure if they actually work out of the USA or that is a front address.
Worst of all was the fact that the support team would disappear for days on end. I had to keep pinging them via their ticket system to try to get help. The support page has only 8 videos as compared to, well, lots on DAP as well as their forum and images of ‘how to.’
Magic members comes in at $97 for one site license or $297 for unlimited sites. It’s reasonable value for money but if you are going to spend that and if you want a robust solution with great support then I personally recommend DAP. If you want to build a smaller site without anything out of the ordinary then MM will do the job well enough.