If you ever visited a paid website such as Lynda.com or SitePoint.com, you already know the idea of content restriction. “Content restriction” is a term that apparently starts with the idea of distributing the content to a particular set of users.
In the case of SitePoint.com, their blog posts can be accessed by anyone, even visitors that have not registered a free account can read their articles. SitePoint premium is a different service for developers that aim to provide developer or learners with new skills for technology. They restrict content according to subscription and keep content restricted from a different set of users. The method enables them to monetize their content and make sure that everyone gets what they pay.
WordPress ecosystem is one of the finest example of practical work by the community. The plugins, latest themes, developers, open source contributors, etc. contribute to the success of the ecosystem.
Today, we will go through a tutorial on “How to restrict content to registered users in WordPress?“. In this tutorial will use a premium plugin named Restrict Content Pro. The Pro version of the plugin does come at a cost. We will come to the pricing aspect later on.
If you are not interested in the pro version or want to try out the plugin before buying, you can check out the free plugin version.
Restrict Content To Only Registered Users
Restrict Content Pro is a great plugin. Not only it is full of features, but it is also easy to install, manage and is super clean with its code. The development team took appropriate steps to ensure that each line of code is optimized, refactored and commented.
It has tons of features to play with. Let’s list few of the feature below.
- Discount codes for better marketing and conversion.
- Easier integration with different payment gateways such as PayPal, Braintree, 2Checkout, etc.
- Generate Analytics Reports for better understanding of visitors involvement.
- Import data for external analysis or distribution in CSV format.
- Great documentation and community.
- No restriction on subscription package creation. Create as much as you can.
- Setup is super easy and intuitive.
- Send emails to the site members with just one click. Support payment receipt and works great for reminding the customer to pay before expiry or upgrade account.
The above features speak volume about the capability of the plugin. It is succinct, powerful and capable of converting your WordPress website into a membership enabled content center with proper restriction.
Now, let’s move to the tutorial where we take a look at how to configure the plugin properly.
Starting Out With the Restrict Content Pro
To get started, you need to download the plugin and install it. Installation can be done by uploading the plugin to the WordPress dashboard and proceeding with the automated installation process. Once done, a label of Restrict Content Pro will be integrated into the dashboard menu.
Click on it to get started with more controls and settings.
To properly utilize the plugin, you need to create three pages for the website. The three pages are registered, sign in and manage subscription pages. Page creation is simple. All you need to do is going to Pages -> Add New and then use proper shortcode available within the plugin.
- Use [login_form] shortcode in the login page.
- Use [register_from] shortcode on the register page.
- Use [subscription_details] shortcode in the subscription page.
The register page is a redirect from the subscription page. Whenever the user selects a subscription page, it will be redirected to the registration page.
With the core requirements done, we now move to the next section of the tutorial, i.e., working with the Restrict Content Pro.
Configuring The Plugin
The first step is to go the settings page. The settings page contains different fields that can be used to make the plugin work according to your requirement. If you have purchased the plugin, input the license key to the area provided on the settings page. The rest section requires you to enter the different page settings.
With license and pages setup complete, you can move on to the payments gateway configuration. To pick the right payment gateways, you need to add currency type and add payment gateways that you want to use on your website. There is a low sandbox mode that enables you to check out quickly gateway payment workings. It is always a good idea to run sandbox until you release your website, giving yourself enough time to test out the system.
For each payment setup, you need to use different ways. Refer to the gateway payment documentation to understand how it can be done.
The last step is to configure the misc settings. It contains settings that you need to take a look for. You can configure reCaptcha and other settings.
With the basic setup done, it is now time to set up the subscription level for your content. It is important to understand that there is no single way of getting more subscription. A/B testing can make you understand on best subscription plans for better profits.
I hope you have a rough idea of where to start and what plans to use. You can create new subscription plans by going to add a new level to the subscriptions. The settings options will look like the following.
Insert all the necessary fields such as Name, Description, Access level, duration, price, sign up fee and status. For example, you can create a “starter” subscription package or an individual package for your friends and family. Whatever may be the requirement, you can fill the form to add it to the database and the form.
You can also add “free” level of subscription.
Real Deal: Restricting Content
With everything setup, you can now restrict each article according to subscription levels. During post/page creation, you will be greeted with a new set of options from Restrict Content Pro. Check the image below to understand more.
As you can clearly see the picture, you can choose access level and subscription level for the content. Furthermore, you can use a smarter approach if you don’t want to use the settings and only want to hide a particular section of your blog post/page.
All you need to do is use the [restrict] shortcode, and the content will be locked for the respective subscriptions the shortcode has been configured for.
Membership Management And Discount Coupons
With the plugin, you can also manage the users who are registered on your website. You can change subscription levels, assign more content to a particular user and do complete audit from the backend. Payments can also be managed from the backend by going to Restrict -> Payment.
If you are interested in reviewing the data to someone else or want to input the data to an analytical software, you can easily export the data from your website using the simple export/import option. The format of the data is CSV, which is universal in nature.
Discount Coupons can help you increase your subscription rate and further enable visitors to take advantage of your content. People love the discount, and that’s where you can make the most out of the plugin feature as it also enables you to take care of the user needs! Adding discounts is simple and can be done by just filling up a form.
Other Alternatives To Restrict Content?
If you are not impressed with Restrict Content Pro, you can check out some alternatives listed below.
Restricting content according to subscription is a great strategy for distributing your content. Any website with excellent content should always monetize their content according to the subscription level. Sites like NewScientist.com have fully restricted content. They share tons of excellent science news and research.
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