Online Community Building

4 of the Best WordPress Membership Plugins for Follower Interaction and Community Building

Once your website is up and running and your SEO and social media efforts are bringing new traffic to the site, the natural next step is to provide an area for these followers to hang out and reward their loyal following with better means to interact with you and fellow followers and fans.

This will improve their experience when they visit your site and will increase the amount of followers who return on a regular basis; hopefully converting mere followers into hard-core paying fans!

Reward them by offering a service to enhance communication and give your fans a place on mingle and talk about you and your group as much as they damn well please!

As we work exclusively with WordPress here at Cruzine, we’re going to give you our best examples of only WordPress community plugins. Other popular plugins that can be used outside of WordPress are also listed at the bottom of the post to aid those of you who don’t have a website yet and would like to build your website around a content management system that specialises in community as opposed to using WordPress.

WordPress’ large catalogue of plugins gives users the opportunity to transform their blog or website into a thriving metropolis of activity. The fact that WordPress is open source means that users have access to seemingly endless amounts of widgets and plugins available to produce an all-round online experience that, in our opinion, cannot be matched by any other content management system; which is why we choose to build all our clients websites in WordPress.

These WordPress plugins offer enterprise level interaction with fans and although not all of these plugins are free for download, they are still a premium package that are definitely worth taking a look at.

Below we have hand-picked the best of a great bunch and offer you insights into the features that each one benefits from, a few quotes about what they claim the plugin does and a bit on information based on our experience with each plugin. So sit back and relax and get ready to be socialised:

BuddyPress

Everything you need to start your own self-hosted and WordPress-powered social network!

Top Features

  • A Home Activity and News Stream
  • Public or Private User Groups
  • Users Can Start Their Own Blog
  • User Interaction With Fellow Users
  • Extended User Profile Settings
  • Built-in Forums for Conversation
  • Private Messaging for Direct Communication
  • User Settings to Control Notifications etc.

BuddyPress has only been going since 2008; however the growth at which this social network plugin has grown is tremendous. When using WordPress, it is the most popular membership plugin available and it shows with its great functionality.

BuddyPress, like WordPress, is an open source platform meaning that the upgrades and improvements are infinite as better functionality and newer technology updates the plugin on a regular basis. This gives artists and musicians a catalogue of seemingly unlimited extensions from which to choose from in order to create the ultimate social package to build a buzzing community of fans within their website and is why it appears at the top of our list of WordPress membership plugins.

Magic Members

A premium WordPress Plugin that turns your blog into a fully automated membership site!

Top Features

  • Member Management Panels
  • Flexible Membership Options
  • Custom Widgets & Short Codes
  • Control Subscription Length
  • Support in Various Languages
  • Custom Post Type Support
  • Integration with New or Existing Blogs
  • Ability to Pay Per Post

The Magic Members WordPress plugin offers enterprise level functionality at a medium cost to the consumer. It gives us mere musical mortals the ability to create a custom social network within our WordPress websites and offers our fans premium functionality.

With a 30 day money back guarantee, the admin team at Magic Members really are confident in their product and we don’t blame them because this is one of the very best membership plugin packages available on the download market. They offer free support for one year and updates at no extra cost. The simple and easy to use interface ensures that users need no prior HTML knowledge in order to set-up, personalise and expose their profile within the community of your website. For the price, Magic Members really is one of the best in the business.

WishList

Unzip, upload, and within minutes you’ll have your own membership site!

Top Features

  • Integrates With WordPress Sites
  • Unlimited Membership Levely
  • Control Viewed Content
  • Flexible Membership Options
  • Multi-Level Access
  • Easy Member Management
  • Shopping Cart Integration
  • Sequential Content Delivery

Another medium priced plugin when compared to other options is WishList. But again, for the price you pay, this plugin really is at the forefront of all of its competitors. On an even keel with Magic Members in our opinion, WishList offers artists and musicians the chance to transform their blog or website into a social community based platform built around their loyal fans.

WishList offer a 30 day money back guarantee and with good reason. We found this platform to be amongst one of the cleanest interfaces and best in terms of functionality available. Unlimited membership levels, multi-level access and shopping cart integration to sell merchandise are just some of the features included in this bundle. WishList really is a unique membership plugin and should definitely be one to check out if you’re serious about interaction with fans.

MemberWing

Powerful, Secure and SEO Optimized Professional Membership Portals!

Top Features

  • No Branding or Sponsored Backlinks
  • Easy integrated into WordPress
  • Multidimensional SEO Powers
  • Unlimited Members and Levels
  • Sell Access in Multiple Ways
  • Integration With PayPal
  • Simplicity and Quick Setup
  • Time-Sensitive Content Support

As WordPress plugins come, this is one of the very best which is why it has made the shortlist. MemberWing is arguably the most secure of the lot. They have put real emphasis in the security and protection of information and have even included content theft protection measures to warn of people plagiarising others’ work and using it as their own.

This is very important in the world of music as copyright and protection is a serious matter. Alongside this, MemberWing offers premium functionality to rival the best and has features that include SEO, multiple user levels, unlimited membership and PayPal integration. This plugin is as good a community platform as the very best and should be considered before finding the right home to place your beloved fans and followers when creating a community on your website or blog.

You don’t use WordPress?

We understand that not everyone is as keen about WordPress as we are, so for those of you without websites and looking to build your site around a content management system that specialises in communities and membership then these three picks should be as far as you need to look. These are the best of the rest in terms of user interface, interaction with fans, site analytics and pricing. Check them out:

Update!

After publishing this post, a membership plugin that I hadn’t mentioned was brought to my attention. I really like the look and feel of it and would love to promote it as it holds a hidden secret weapon that the others don’t have; so in order to give it the extra exposure it deserves, I thought it would be only fair to make ‘the best 4′ WordPress membership plugin post into ‘the best 5’!

Paid Memberships Pro

PMPro is the only fully open sourced membership plugin out there!

Top Features

  • 100% General Public License
  • Unlimited Membership Levels
  • Payment Gateway Integration
  • Flexible Pricing and Free Trials
  • Search Engine Optimised
  • Support Community for Users
  • Custom Member Notifications
  • Override Front-end Pages

As I say, Paid Memberships Pro was a new one to me however I took the time to check it out and I’m glad I did! It really does look like a great piece of kit. Unfortunately I haven’t had the chance to give it a full demo yet but this is one that we will certainly be working with in the future.

PMPro have made the coding of the plugin unprotected. Meaning that this is a great plugin for the more tech-savvy developers and gives them the freedom to completely personalise the plugin to suit their individual needs. The plugin can be altered, duplicated and run on as many websites as you see fit! There are basic GPLv2 guidelines to adhere to however, but they are very lenient ones and should definitely the community solution for front-end web developers. Great job guys and thanks for bringing this to my attention!

So, in conclusion…

Reward your loyal following with a place to hang out, share experiences of your events and keep them hooked into your website. The longer you can keep these followers interacting with your website, the more inclined they are going to be to turn from casual follower to avid fan.

And it goes without saying; the music industry would be nowhere if it wasn’t for fans!

Until next time…

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