MemberPress vs. WooCommerce Memberships: Which Is Better For Member Sites?

One of the core features of any membership association website is a member portal. Through this password-protected portal, members can access content that isn’t available anywhere else, and having a membership portal is a major member benefit. 

Fortunately, adding a membership portal with plugins and extensions from companies like MemberPress and WooCommerce Memberships isn't difficult. Both offer a lot of great features, including the ability to drip content, offer special discounts, protect content, and limit what non-members can see on the website. They are also both easy to install. However, WooCommerce Memberships are best suited for online stores, while MemberPress can be used for almost any other type of membership association website. 

At Inclind, we help businesses, nonprofits, and associations build websites that work for their purposes - such as having a membership portal. We stay on top of the latest technology to offer our clients insight into how they can grow their organization and optimize their website. Our services include everything from initial website design and development to custom integrations to accessibility audits to website migrations. If you want to create a robust membership portal for your membership organization website, reach out today to schedule a consultation with a member of our award-winning website design and development team. 

Why Use a Membership Portal? 

If you run a membership organization, a key challenge is ensuring that your members receive value for their money. One way of doing this is by offering fresh and unique content that is only available to members. 

In the past, members may have received newsletters, magazines, or other communications from an association. Today, the most common - and cost-efficient - way of sharing information is through a membership portal. A dynamic membership portal allows users to log in and access information based on their membership level. 

Membership portals are attractive for many reasons. They give members access to exclusive content, such as a way to communicate and network with other members, special discounts, job boards, and research. With this type of system, it is easy to control who can view and download information. Organizations can also tout it as a benefit of membership, which can help to increase both memberships and revenue. 

Adding a membership portal to your website can be as simple as installing a plug-in to your existing WordPress or Drupal site. Two popular options for member portals are MemberPress and WooCommerce Memberships. If you need something more tailored, a custom integration can help you get precisely the functionality that you need for your membership association website. 

MemberPress: Pros and Cons 

MemberPress bills itself as the “all-in-one” membership plugin for WordPress. It offers a number of great features to improve the functionality of a membership website, including: 

  • Content protection, which allows associations to protect valuable content from unauthorized access by using secure RSS feeds, integration with popular video hosting platforms, and automatic watermarks. These features will safeguard against a competitor stealing your content or other events that could cause you to lose members and/or money. 
  • Complete membership management, including subscriptions, membership activity, and renewal options. 
  • Easy integrations between MemberPress and payment gateways, email marketing services, learning management systems, and other third-party tools. This capability makes it simple to maximize the capabilities of your membership website. 
  • Flexible access rules that allow your organization to control access to content based on membership levels, “drip” content, or create customized access rules. 

Other features of MemberPress include a coaching platform and course creator, digital downloads, and a fully customizable checkout. You can also allow for special memberships, such as corporate ones. 

MemberPress is relatively easy to install. It requires downloading the plugin, installing it, and then activating it. Once it has been activated, you can configure settings, customize membership levels, and create content. Its user-friendly interface guides you through the set-up process, which makes getting started - and making your membership portal look fantastic - reasonably easy. 

MemberPress has three pricing plans: Basic, Plus, and Pro. Each plan comes with a 1-year license, along with unlimited members, content, and customer support. These plans cost $149/year, $249/year, or $349/year. 

The main advantages of MemberPress are its wide range of features and its ability to be customized. With MemberPress, you can tailor your website to align with your brand identity, restrict access to parts of your website, and create a personalized experience for your members. It also easily integrates with other tools. 

WooCommerce Memberships: Pros and Cons 

WooCommerce Memberships is part of the e-commerce company WooCommerce. Its membership portal plugin has a full suite of features that are geared towards online stores, including: 

  • Seamless integration with WooCommerce stores to allow you to manage both products and memberships from a single platform 
  • Content dripping, or releasing new content to members over time to keep them engaged 
  • Membership reporting so that you can use data and analytics to make more informed decisions about your membership strategy. 
  • Members-only discounts can reward loyal customers, encourage repeat customers, and increase member satisfaction. 

Other popular features of WooCommerce Memberships include the ability to sell membership as a stand-alone product or as part of a product purchase, restrict products to members only, give shipping discounts to members, and show members their exclusive perks. You can also easily communicate with members by sharing notes with them through email. 

If you already have WooCommerce installed on your storefront, then adding Memberships is easy. You just have to purchase and download the extension and upload it to your WordPress site. After activating it, you can use the same WooCommerce dashboard to manage both memberships and your products. 

The WooCommerce Memberships plugin is sold for a single website or as a license for up to five sites. It costs $199/year for a single site and $249/year for up to 5 websites. Both plans include updates and support. 

WooCommerce Memberships doesn’t have quite the same range of features as MemberPress, but it has its own unique benefits. In particular, it is great for online stores. If you already use WooCommerce, it is a no-brainer to add WooCommerce Memberships if you want to sell them. It is also incredibly customizable, and just like WooCommerce, it can be integrated with a range of other software solutions. 

The Bottom Line 

When it comes to membership portal plugins, both WooCommerce Memberships and MemberPress have a lot to offer. They are priced similarly, come with tons of features, and are easily customizable and integrated with other products. 

The main difference between the two products is that WooCommerce Memberships is truly geared more toward e-commerce platforms. If you already have a store - or want to have a store for your membership organization - then using WooCommerce Memberships makes the most sense. Its customization options are geared more toward online stores, such as the ability to allow visitors to view all products but not buy them unless they are members (or only view certain products if they are members). 

If you don’t have an online storefront and don’t want to sell products as a priority, MemberPress is probably the better option. It is great for any organization that creates content and offers a comprehensive solution for membership organizations. It allows organizations to set up membership levels and access rules, drip content, and protect their content through options like watermarks and secure RSS feeds. 

Both MemberPress and WooCommerce are great products sold at a fair price. They offer robust features and can easily be adapted, customized, and integrated with other products. If you are deciding between the two products, the choice will likely come down to your primary purpose - WooCommerce for stores with memberships and MemberPress for other types of membership sites. 

For a truly customized membership website, Inclind can help. We can help you build a streamlined, effective membership website complete with custom integrations to minimize your investment in software. 

Take Your Membership Association Website Further with Inclind 

The best way to communicate and share content with members in 2024 is through a membership website. Ideally, that website will have a portal so that members can access exclusive content, discounts, and more. Plug-ins like MemberPress and WooCommerce can easily be added to your website to increase functionality. 

Inclind works with membership associations, nonprofits, healthcare practices, and other organizations to help them build well-designed, effective websites. Our design and development team offers a full range of website design and development services, including website support and maintenance, website redesign, website design and development, and custom integrations. We work on all CMS platforms, including WordPress and Drupal, and can also perform custom website design and development. We have deep experience with membership associations, giving us the knowledge necessary to help your website shine. 

We are always here to chat with you if you'd like to learn more about our web design, development, and support services. Fill out our online contact form to talk to one of our team members about your membership association website.

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