If you run a membership site with premium content, one of the best things you can do is show a portion of that content as “teaser text” that’s available for everyone with a link to login & subscribe to view the whole article.

Paid Memberships Pro and WordPress make this easy with the “excerpt”. The except is the portion of the content that anyone can read while the rest of the article is restricted to your members.

Banner Image About Excerpts and Using the “Read More” Tag for Posts and Pages

The Decision to Show or Hide Excerpts

Under the Memberships > Advanced Settings admin page, there is a setting labeled “Show Excerpts to Non-Members”.

Paid Memberships Pro setting: Show Excepts to Non-Members
Show Excepts to Non-Members setting under Advanced Settings

When set to “Yes”, all of your members-only posts and pages will show the “excerpt” to a non-member, whether that’s a logged out “visitor” to your site or a logged in user or member that doesn’t meet membership requirements.

What is the ‘excerpt’?

For a WordPress post or page, the excerpt can be one of the following:

  • For posts (only) this is the specific content you have placed in the “Excerpt” meta box on the Edit Post screen.
  • For pages and posts, this is the portion of content up to the defined “excerpt length”. By default, excerpt length is 55 words. You can filter excerpt_length using this method from the WordPress Codex.
  • For pages and posts, this is the portion of content up to the defined “Read More” block.

So, your options for defining the excerpt are:

  • Do nothing and let the excerpt_length filter set the excerpt (Default: 55 words).
  • Write specific content for the post excerpt in the “Excerpt” meta box (posts only).
  • Use the “Read More” block (our recommended method for posts and pages).

Note that your theme may handle the post excerpt in its own unique way so if the methods outlined in this article do not work in your current theme, contact your theme author or open a topic in our members forum for support.

What is the “Read More” block and how do I insert it?

Think of the “Read More” block as a way to cut your content – defining what portion is shown in archives and searches vs. the full content’s “single” view.

For a members-only post, you can think of the content before the “Read More” tag as the teaser text, defining which piece is “public” and which is “private”.

In the modern Gutenberg editor you can add the Read More block by clicking the add a block icon, searching to “More” and clicking on the block.

Read More Block in WordPress

In the classic WordPress editor you can add the read more tag by typing: <!--more-->.

When you view a post in excerpt form (on the page for posts or in archive or search form), only the content before this block will appear, followed by a default, “Continue Reading” link.

On the single view, the full content (including the content above the read more block) will show. If your post requires membership and you have “Show Excerpts to Non-Members” set to “Yes”, only the excerpt will appear on the single view, followed by the appropriate “Message for Logged-in Non-members:” or “Message for Logged-out Users:”.

If your post requires membership and you have “Show Excerpts to Non-Members” set to “No”, no excerpt will appear on the single view. The single view will only display the title followed by the appropriate “Message for Logged-in Non-members:” or “Message for Logged-out Users:”. Posts that require membership will still appear in the page for posts, archives, and searches, they will simply contain the post title and message defined under Memberships > Advanced Settings.

Next Level Excerpts: Using the Membership Shortcode or Block

Now that you’ve mastered the art of defining post and page excerpts, how can you do even more to appropriately “tease” members-only content, without taking away from the experience for your paid members?

Welcome to the big leagues: the Require Membership shortcode or block.

You can use the Require Membership shortcode or block to show a unique excerpt to your members and non-members. Here’s an example:

In this example, I’m using the shortcode to show a different excerpt to my member and non-member. Read more information on using the require membership shortcode in this documentation page.

You Did It! Time to Kiss Your Brain

By enticing users with teaser text you can grow your membership site.

Paid Memberships Pro and WordPress make this easy. With PMPro you need to change a single setting and use the Read More block built into WordPress.

If you want to take things one step further use the Require Membership Shortcode / Block to show selective parts of the page to users based on their membership status.