Dev Chat February 1, 2018 at 1pm EST: Get Invited to Our Slack Channel

We will be holding a Dev Chat on Thursday, February 1, 2018 at 1pm EST in our Slack Channel.


Dev Chat Topics Include:

  • EU GDPR (European Union General Data Protection Regulation)
  • Multiple Memberships Per User Updates and Add On Compatability Roadmap
  • Becoming a Partner, New Agreement Contract and Plans
  • Stripe Customer Records (Decision on using an existing customer record if one exists for the user’s email)

All are welcome to join the discussion. Please reply to this blog post and we will add you to the Slack channel before the chat starts.

Create a Robust Directory and Individual Profiles for Your WordPress Membership Site

An important feature for many membership sites is the ability to display a dynamic directory of members and profile pages. Here is some information on how to add and customize these features using the Member Directory and Profile Pages Add On for Paid Memberships Pro.


Before you get started, consider this.

While a directory may be a desirable feature of membership, it is important to make it clear to your members what information will be made public or displayed privately. You can communicate what information will be shown, and what other members are allowed to do with that information via a Terms of Service agreement or elsewhere on your site.

Some points to include in this message would be:

  1. Can members directly contact another member via email?
  2. Can members copy the list of all members and send them mass email?
  3. Can a member opt to exclude themselves from the directory or just hide specific information?
  4. What are the consequences for abusing your policy?

Creating the Directory and Profiles

The Add On page covers primary documentation for the Member Directory and Profile Pages plugin. This includes the basic steps of generating the pages under Memberships > Page Settings and customizing the shortcode to display your unique fields.

Below are a few recipes, tips and tricks to make your directory even more robust.

  1. Capturing Additional Member Fields

    Our Register Helper Add On allows you to add new profile fields at membership checkout. This is a key plugin used by most membership sites that have unique fields based on the topic of their membership site. Some examples may include a file upload, such as a restaurant menu or resume, or business categories, such as “Small Business” or “Non-Profit”.

  2. Hide or Show Fields on Member Profiles based on Membership Level

    For many membership sites, a feature of higher-tier membership is the additional of more profile fields on the member directory, perhaps three videos or audio embeds, additional logos or photographs of a business location, or expanded contact information (website, phone, email). This can be achieved via the code recipe outlined in the link above.

  3. Allow Members to Upload an Avatar or “Logo”

    If you are planning to include images in your directory, this post outlines some recommended plugins for user avatar management on your WordPress site.

  4. Capturing Default WordPress Profiles Fields for your Directory

    The WordPress User profile already includes some key fields you may want to leverage for your membership site, such as “Site URL”, and “Description” (or biographical info). This post covers how to capture those fields for display on user profiles.

  5. Frontend Profile Field Management

    While we may eventually role this into the Add On, we recommend using the “Themes Profiles” module of the Theme My Login plugin to allow members to edit their profile fields in the frontend theme of your WordPress membership site. View the plugin in the WordPress.org repository »


Who can see the member directory and profiles?

There are a few methods to control the directory and profile visibility. It may take a little creative thinking to wrap your brain around the examples below, so please open a topic on the members forum and we will be happy to help you achieve your goals.

  1. Using the Page’s “Require Membership” Settings

    Set Membership Restrictions for a Page If your directory is visible to members only, you can control the content access to the page you place the directory shortcode on just like you do any other piece of member content. Simply edit the directory or profile page and check the appropriate level(s) in the “Require Membership” meta box.

  2. Using the [membership] Shortcode

    You can duplicate the directory or profile page shortcode and wrap it within the [membership] shortcode to show a unique member directory by level, this can take many shapes, such as Level 1 Members only being able to see other Level 1 Members, or Level 2 Members not being able to see full member email addresses, while Level 1 members cannot view this information.

    Here is an example of this method:

    [membership level="1"]
    [pmpro_member_directory levels="1"]
    [/membership]
     
    [membership level="2"]
    [pmpro_member_directory levels="2"]
    [/membership]

Want a better search, category filters or sorting?

We’re always working to example the features of this and all of our Add Ons. So if the unique directory options you need aren’t covered by the tips above, please post a comment below or open a topic on the member’s forum.

Thinking of starting or growing a WordPress-based Business in 2018?

My experience in the WordPress products world has taught me a thing of two about the full stack of issues facing an entrepreneur. This post aims to share my thoughts on starting up in the WordPress economy as well as experience-based actions you can take to improve your chances of success.


Is there space for my next big idea?

As a serial entrepreneur, I can’t stop myself from considering every hobby from a business standpoint. It’s something I may need therapy for, but has done me a great service throughout my life. I see this same energy in our plugin users—largely new businesses entering the online marketplace to get paid for a broad range use cases, from premium content to communities, premium services and many verticals in between.

Today, our support customers lean toward the non-developer, roughly a 60/40 split. I understand that these are just the plugin users we interact with, certainly not the full 60k active sites using our plugin. This trend leads me to believe that there are more DIYers going it alone to create their online membership or subscription site presence. We strive to build a core plugin that can be configured without developer support because I believe:

  1. Projects don’t have a “one size fits all” budget.
  2. Developers of all levels should be able to charge a fair price for their services.
  3. An open web means that site owners should have access to the key tools they need at a price that’s comfortable.

Where my entrepreneurs at?

As it relates to the solopreneur or DIYer, there are some notable shifts to be aware of in today’s changing WordPress economy:

  1. There’s been an increase in managed web hosting, specifically services to monitor your site, perform updates and provide security.
  2. Page builders and the new Gutenberg Editor (which will be soon be part of core) are available to help you improve content layout and design.
  3. Coming changes to WordPress.com’s hosted platform now allow users to pay for premium services and unlock added features.
  4. A rise in retainer-like WordPress management services allow businesses with smaller budgets to leverage skilled developer support at scale.
  5. Let’s not forget changes outside the WordPress bubble, specifically the rising popularity of all-in-one website tools such as Squarespace and Wix.

Take a moment to reflect on how these factors will affect you. How will they impact the competitive landscape of the market you are hoping to enter? How will these shifts affect the ease at which you can launch and grow?


Let’s not forget the developers!

As it relates to a developer, you may be facing some interesting choices for how to stay competitive and profitable in today’s WordPress economy. Just like most businesses, be it a plugin product like Paid Memberships Pro or yourself as a freelancer, there are only four ways to get paid more:

  1. Work more.
  2. Raise prices.
  3. Acquire market share from your competitors.
  4. Grow the market by obtaining new entrants.

Each factor above has an appropriate time and place. At Paid Memberships Pro, we leverage all of these methods to grow. But, the most interesting piece I want to touch on relates to item 4: growing your market by obtaining new entrants.

I believe that leveraging new trends and technologies are the secret to helping you grow your market and obtain new entrants. In fact, this approach is how Paid Memberships Pro has grown into the solution it is today. When we started out, our plugin didn’t offer every payment gateway, email marketing integration, or a majority of the other third-party integrations now available to our users. By keeping an eye on new plugins and services that are growing in popularity, we are able to extend Paid Memberships Pro the right way: the way that the market is already responding to.

This same type of thinking applies to many other aspects of the WordPress economy, such as social marketing, SEO, security, e-learning and more. What are the trends in these markets and how can you become a go-to resource on these new technologies?


Is it too late to enter the WordPress economy?

Let’s go back in time and talk plugin products.

Circa 2008 the plugins repository was far less dense. Innovative plugins as well as “me too” plugins with stiff competition in the closed source market could launch as open source projects in the WordPress plugin repository and steadily grow their user base. Paid Memberships Pro launched around this time, and we chose to put our full plugin in the repository because we (1) believe in open source software and (2) saw it as an excellent path to create and grow our user base. We were the only membership plugin that included the Stripe and Authorize.net gateways for free, right out of the box, and available in the repository.

So today, just like in years past, there are many ways to attract and grow your user base, deal with competition, and have an advantage. And, if you’re entering an existing market, you must consider established competitors and develop a marketing/product development/pricing strategy that wins. So what are some techniques you can employ to get paid?

  1. Be the ONLY product that does something
    Great – you’re innovative. But ask yourself, “Do I do something that people even want?” Usually you don’t want to enter a market with NO competitors. While it can mean you are truly new, it could also mean there is no demand for what you’re building.
  2. Be the CHEAPEST product among your competition
    Great – you’re a discount. But is that your true value? Using price as a differentiator can be a component of a launch strategy, but I don’t recommend competing solely on price. Just take this as a warning that competing on price and price alone makes it difficult to raise prices down the road. But if you must, it’s best to qualify a lower price as a “launch discount” or sale, not the implied value of what you’re offering.
  3. Do the same things as your competition BETTER
    Now we’re talking! It is perfectly acceptable to launch a product in a (somewhat) crowded marketplace if you are doing things “better”. Maybe your code leverages newer technologies and trends in development. Maybe your user interface is more intuitive and friendly for non-techies. Maybe you’re just friendly, nicer, and people like you. Maybe you offer more friendly integrations via third-party tools and open APIs. These are all differentiators that would allow a not-so-innovative idea to gain traction.
  4. Position yourself for ACQUISITION
    While this is generally a long road, products (and maybe more specifically the teams that develop them) are actively being bought up by larger players. If this is a path you’d consider, it may be useful to think about as a “back of mind” motivator.
  5. Slow and steady can WIN the race
    Scott Bollinger recently wrote about the differences in today’s WordPress products market. In his post, he writes about bringing products to market, stating, “It’s going to be a lot harder than it used to be, and it’s going to take longer.” I believe this was always the case to some degree — unless you laid a golden egg: being the ONLY product doing something with the funding to push hard and fast in terms of marketing and dev.

    Paid Memberships Pro was built over many, many years of client services work. We sold just $2,300 worth of support memberships our first year. Now we sell that much every day. We transitioned from general WordPress site development, to WordPress Membership site development, to a WordPress Memberships Product company over the span of 8 years. Not a quick-win or “golden egg” by any stretch of the imagination.

In short: building a [website, product business, client-services team] may not be as easy as it once was. But that shouldn’t stop you from trying.


What broader or alternate economies must your consider?

A conversation about launching new businesses in the WordPress economy would be incomplete without noting that your [website, product business, client-services team] is part of many additional economies.

For example, we consider a few distinct markets as our own. We compete not only with other OSS membership plugins, but also with closed source and hosted membership SaaS companies. Separate from the membership software market, we also consider the market of our customers (membership-based websites), asking:

  • What kinds of membership businesses are people launching online?
  • What new or existing tools do membership site owners want to integrate with?
  • How much of the “problem” should our plugin solve – just be a tool or offer a complete platform?
  • What is the skill-level of most people starting up a business with Paid Memberships Pro?
  • What services other than technology do these new membership-based businesses need support for? Who can provide that support?

Try to create a similar list of “questions” for your business. What broader economies are you part of? What changes are happening in your target customer’s economies? These questions are great talking points to launch a conversation on the bigger picture of your business’ market.


So should we all just quit now?

Depending on how your business does WordPress, you may be feeling more or less pain in this changing WordPress economy. There is more competition within every channel—be it more developers ready to discount their work or your former clients bringing web development in-house.

Then consider the WordPress plugins market: so saturated with offerings and increased difficulty getting noticed without a big name attached to your product.

And, while I can’t cover every flavor of web presence, I doubt the solopreneurs / DIY site owners reading this will have difficulty identifying some basic factors facing your unique web-based market.

In summary, I think the most important takeaways from this rambling post are:

  • Stay on top of trends and leverage them as a differentiator
  • Position yourself/your business as a specialist rather than a jack of all trades
  • Launch your minimum viable product, then grow with control
  • Cash out along the life of your business

Even in a competitive market, there’s a place for your business. Discard the nostalgia of how it once was and embrace the new landscape before you.

Let’s keep the conversation going in the comments below.

Form Builder for Paid Memberships Pro: New Premium Plugin by Figarts

Our Register Helper Add On allows you to collect additional fields at membership checkout, on the user’s profile, or for administrative view-only. For people who aren’t familiar with coding, this plugin can be a bit daunting to use. Figarts recently launched a third-party extension to simplify form building with Register Helper: Paid Memberships Pro – Form Builder.

Form Builder for Paid Memberships Pro


About the Premium Plugin

FigartsPaid Memberships Pro – Form Builder allows you to create fields via a drag and drop builder. The plugin includes the option to add “checkout boxes” just like Register Helper allows you to do, all without custom code.

View the Premium Plugin

 


This extension requires the Register Helper Add On for Paid Memberships Pro, which you can download via the WordPress Repository.

Gift Ideas for People in WordPress

Aside from all the fab items in the WordPress Swag Store, what are some great gifts for your favorite WordPress pros? Browse our list of unexpected gift ideas for Biz Owners, Designers, Developers, Marketers, and (the group that probably needs the most love) Customer-facing Support people.



Select an item below or jump to the list.


Office Signage

Managing the work-life balance can be a major struggle when you work from home. Design your own reversible “Open/Closed” sign, or send your team these classic signs with a custom message space. While it may not be a cure-all for the workaholic, the signs do provide a visual reminder of the importance to step away from the MacBook (at least to use the restroom and grab a Mountain Dew).


Float Tank Sessions

Who wouldn’t love the opportunity to float in a dark pod of highly salinated, skin temperature water? Float tank spas are springing up everywhere, and our founder Jason Coleman is a major fan. The experience, usually referred to as “sensory deprivation,” allows the floater to turn off every external stimulus and rest the entire body. I’m sure there are a few people on your list that could use some downtime. So if a week on the beach in Mexico isn’t possible, treat your stressed-out team lead to an hour of escape.  


Survival Garden Seeds

These days, the passing thought that “we’re all gonna die!!!” has become more common. Give the doomsday-ers on your team some peace of mind with these seed kits for the apocalypse. No prepper’s stash is complete without a collection of preserved, non-GMO, self-pollinating, heirloom seeds. I mean, how could we survive without Dragon Kale and Kohlrabi? Check out Open Seed Vault or the Legacy Premium Basic Garden. Hopefully they’ll never have to use the gift.


Smart Speakers

Assistive devices like the Amazon Echo and Google Home offer a variety of features, from streaming your music, helping you build to-do lists, making quick purchases online, or setting an alarm hands-free. We’d like to take the features a step further and give you, the gift giver, something in return. After gifting everyone on your team your preferred device, host a hackathon among the team to code a new app for the device. When doing this, try to get their device access keys. Now you can “measure their productivity” (i.e. spy on them) and they’ll never suspect a thing!


Movie Theater Tickets

All joking aside, building community and rapport in a distributed team can be a major challenge. Why not sync up and go see the same movie in your area (at roughly the same time) then hop on a Hangout to share your thoughts (I laughed, I cried, I fell asleep).

Send each team member a gift card or give them a bump in pay that week so the event is covered. This could become a quarterly or bi-annual event, or just timed when that hot new film hits theaters (Star Wars, anyone?).


Next-level Notepads

These quirky sticky notes and note pads from Knock Knock will get you ROFL. Check out the Today’s Plan of Attack notes for the overachiever on your gift list. Or, for the customer-facing person that needs to get their frustration out, see the Paper Tantrum notes. Need to brighten someone’s day? Grab yourself a Notes for Grumps Fill in the Love® book and get ready to share little pick-me-ups throughout the year.


Wine

What do you do when you’ve lost your faith in humanity? When you’re unable to unplug, stop, and let go? Some people meditate or do Yoga, but in a pinch a great glass of wine is all that’s needed to put one right again.

Gift a bottle (or four) of your friend’s favorite wine in a nifty gift bag—like this Harry Potter “Accio Wine” bag on Etsy. Or, for the gift that keeps on giving, check out a wine club such as Rewined by Traveling Vineyard or the Winc Wine Club. There’s also a new-ish subscription service called Vinebox that sends wine by the glass in an elegant tasting collection every month. Go this route if you’d like to extend the enjoyment of wine with a bit of wine education. It’s a win-win.


Groovebook Photo Prints

Groovebook is a subscription service that sends photo books generated from your mobile device’s library. This is a super cool gift for almost everyone, but particularly for the people on your list that work with visual art. The monthly photo book (hopefully) reminds us that, hey, we aren’t just working all the time, right? I did actually go outside one day this month. Go me.


Meditation Tools

If you’re gifting to an avid meditator, or someone that should start, gifts to support meditation are a great idea for any client- or customer-facing person on your team. While you don’t need any physical items to participate in mindful meditation, there are a few cool gifts that support finding your zen. Check out this Zafu Meditation Cushion by Gaiam, available in a variety of colors and doubling as the perfect pet bed. Or, help them to focus and become more monk-like with a set of Mala beads for meditation—Etsy has loads of options.


Prints on Metal, Wood, or Canvas

We mostly work on digital products, so how can we turn these virtual work products into reality? Print them! First you’ll need to find a beautiful wireframe, mockup, website, ad, campaign, or other design that the recipient was particularly proud of. Then, find your favorite printing company such as these Shutterfly Metal Prints, WoodSnap Prints on Wood, or Canvas Prints by Canvas Champ.

Note: this works with code too. Why not print a beautiful block of code—that 100% meets the WordPress Coding Requirements—out for your developers, too? It’s an interesting piece of wall art that your developer can place on the wall in their office (or bedroom, basement, or garage depending on the individual).


Felt Letter Boards

Everyone who is anyone is getting in on this retro letter board trend. These throwback boards allow your recipient to set the tone for their workspace with a pertinent message just for them. Search your favorite online shopping marketplace for “Felt Letter Boards” to see loads and loads of options. I like this simple “The Poet” option from Letterfolk. Ship the gift directly to your recipient, or deliver it to yourself so you can customize with the first message just for them. Some classics: “It’s five o’clock somewhere.”, “Do. Or do not. There is no try.”, or “Coffee: Because crack is bad for you”.


Pixel Pictures Coloring Books

If you know someone whose motto is: “A place for everything and everything in its place,” then a pixel coloring book is for them. Think graph paper + map legend + awesome. Each pixel block maps to a specific color, and the image reveals itself as you complete the coloring page. I’m a fan of the Pixel Pictures collections available on Mudpuppy and possibly a limited selection at your local Target. This gift is also recommended to treat PTSD when dealing with a problem client, customer, boss, or maybe even the day’s political news.


Coffee for Fancy Adults

Ditch the tired K-Cups and perform a system upgrade for the coffee lover on your list. Check out the Chemex line of pour-over coffee accessories or transport them to Italy with a classic Bialetti Stovetop Moka. No coffee gift is complete without…coffee. Round out this gift with a subscription to Bean Box, gift card to Starbucks, or a few bags of your personal favorite roast.


Beard Support

Let’s face it—beards are here to stay. I’ve spoken to our resident beard guy, Andrew Lima, and got the lowdown on his favorite grooming products. Check out the Honest Amish line of Beard Balm and Beard Oil. If you’re looking for an easy gift for your bearded bud, check out the subscriptions from The Beard Club and Badass Beard Club.  


Bozo Bop Bag

It’s generally frowned upon to punch another person in the face. So, why not punch a bop bag? Frustration in the workplace is a real thing, and I believe in finding a safe way to destress. For some, stress is reduced through mediation, for others it’s something more physical. Check out the classic Bozo Bop Bag, available in a full size 46” height or more respectable table-top version at Retro Planet. You can also opt for a more staid version of a punching bag (just search your favorite shop for options) and design your own custom theme.


Rush Hour (puzzle game)

This is the gift for any person that loves a big picture challenge—and the sheer joy that comes with positive outcomes. Rush Hour® by ThinkFun presents “traffic jam” scenarios where the goal is to get your car through the puzzle by only moving other cars forward or back. Feed your endorphins with a “quick win” when other work stress may not be so easily resolved. Similar mini-games like this include Kanoodle®, Cat Stax and Flexi Puzzle™. Or, go classic with a Tangram set. I like this twist on the classic Egg Tangram set from UncommonGoods.


Boogie Board Tablets

When you’re a visual person, note taking on a traditional mobile device or laptop can be a bit lacking. Check out all the products from Boogie Board—from the Sync eWriter to the new Blackboard featuring Liquid Crystal Paper. Gone are the loads of scrap paper notes and notebooks (Jason, I’m talking about you). Plus, the boards double as both a functional work tool and an on-the-go board for family games of tic tac toe or pictionary. Parenting small children FTW.


WordPress Swag

Joking aside, the WordPress Swag Store does include some pretty neat stuff. Check out the Accessories tab for some alternatives to the classic WordPress t-shirts. You’ll find a WordPress beach towel, cell phone cover, scarf, pennant, and even a stuffed Wapuu.

Helping Rabbi Patrick Simplify and Manage Complex Online Learning Programs

Learn how to simplify a complex structure of over 150 levels into a manageable 3-level membership site.

Jason spends some time talking with Rabbi Patrick, Director of Programs and Strategy for Darshan Yeshiva. The interview also includes takeaways on managing members and tutors across the US for an Online Learning program focused on Conversion to Judaism and Ongoing Judaism Education.


Helping Rabbi Patrick Simplify and Manage Complex Online Learning Programs

We apologize for the audio quality in this video! We promise to improve as we record more!


Just want the audio?

[download .mp3]


About Rabbi Patrick A. Beaulier

Rabbi Patrick A. Beaulier’s focus at Darshan Yeshiva is developing new programs and Jewish leaders. He is best known as co-founder of PunkTorah (the parent organization of Darshan Yeshiva). Rabbi Patrick has a BA from City University of Seattle, rabbinical ordination from RSI and holds several certificates in different areas of pastoral care. Rabbi Patrick also serves as spiritual advisor for Bonay Kodesh, an independent Jewish community in Chesterfield, VA.

Rabbi Patrick A. Beaulier is the Founder PunkTorah, a non-profit whose mission is to empower independent Jewish spirituality. Their core offering is Darshan Yeshiva, which delivers Jewish learning for for beginners to advanced students and includes a Conversion to Judaism program.

Rabbi Patrick is also an American writer, blogger, podcaster, non-denominational rabbi and spiritual leader, educator, and retired punk musician.

Check out more about Rabbi Patrick via his websites https://darshanyeshiva.org, http://punktorah.org, and http://rabbipatrick.com.

5 Principles for Improving Relationships to Grow and Retain More Members

Jason and I recently met up with an old friend and former client, Ed Wallace, to discuss member organizations, associations, and membership sites. Watch the full interview below or listen via the audio-only link to discover how these 5 key principles can improve your membership or association’s offering.


Applying the Principles of The Relationship Engine to Your Membership Site


Just want the audio?


[download .mp3]


About Ed Wallace

Ed Wallace is President and Chief Relationship Officer of The Relational Capital Group. He consults with and speaks for corporations and associations across the globe with a client list that is a Who’s Who of Fortune 500 companies.

He is the author of The Relationship Engine, which provides a systematic approach for becoming an intentional, masterful relationship-builder. Ed has become critically acclaimed as the foremost authority on business relationships and their impact on performance.

In addition, Ed is currently on the Executive Education faculty of Drexel’s LeBow College of Business and Villanova University’s Human Resources Master’s program.

2017 Black Friday & Cyber Monday Membership Site Deals

We’re not the only membership site running a BFCM deal. Here are a some sites that use Paid Memberships Pro and are offering a promotion on membership this weekend.



Be Your Own CFO

25% off Be Your Own CFO – the small business owners’ simple guide to bookkeeping and taxes. Use the code 25OFF at checkout.


Caribbean Green Living

Black Friday Sale starts at 6 PM on Thanksgiving day! Save 25% on total purchase no code necessary.


D2 – Learn How to Market Like A Pro

Free private consult valued at $500 and surprise welcome kit valued at $79 when you join D2.


FantasyTeamAdvice

Receive half off your initial subscription with FTA+! We provide updated projections and stats for players in the NFL, NBA and MLB each and every day of the year. Use code BlackFriday at checkout.


Herenya Capital Advisors

50% off our trading ideas and member chat room! We have multiple contributors that are real participants in various markets that give ideas across a wide range of instruments. Elite stockbroking.


Just Platonic

50% off all membership plans at Just Platonic – November 24-27!


Laykanics

Purchase a year subscription and get a hardware kit for free, shipping included.


Levels For Guitar

Get 50% off any membership when you use the code BLACKFRIDAY at checkout. Our memberships provide access to exceptional online guitar lessons that get results. We offer a 60-day money back guarantee.


Mom Knows College

A $1 trial for 14 days in the Mom Knows College Membership Community, where members receive expert college planning coaching for their teenagers to get them on exactly the right track for college.


Revion

80% off one time on all Oracle Apex Hosting Plans


She Collective

THANKSGIVING SPECIAL on {Life Infusion} Costa Rica Retreat + Experience: SAVE $500! Valid Nov 23-Nov 27, 2017.


Single and Sober

Black Friday Promotion: Enter the Promo Code – HOPEFUL for 50% OFF any membership level on our Sober Dating Website. Sign up and create a profile now and meet your sober love today!


The Green Room at Your Irish Heritage

Irish genealogy site for people with Irish Ancestry – all over the world. Join 1,800 happy members for a special annual rate of 97$ using the code NOV2017 at checkout.


The Trade Risk

We’re offering up to $100 off for Thanksgiving on all trade alert services. If you’re an active investor looking to manage risk and grow capital over time, use promo code THANKS2017 at checkout.


TwigyPosts

Get $2,500 OFF my ENTIRE Styled Stock Photo Library – NOW through the END of NOVEMBER. Members get instant access to 120 stock photo bundles to use for your Website, Blog, Instagram, and Pinterest!


We Manage Your Site

Get 50% off your first month with We Manage Your Site! Get WordPress support and access to an array of other Design and Development services for your WordPress site. Use discount code: PMPROCKS


The Writer’s Roadmap Workshop

Do you dream of being a writer? Join my private online hub where you’ll build writing skills, find your writing community and learn to be paid for your words. Make 2018 your best writing year ever!



20Dishes – Easy Make Ahead Meal Planning

3 Month Membership to 20 Dishes Easy Prep Ahead Meal Planning for $20 off and get $37 in free bonuses!


Awesome Ladies

If you sign up for Awesome Ladies Annual VIP Membership by 11/30/2017, we will extend your membership through to 12/31/2018 automatically! It’s just like getting an extra month for free!


BestDealPLR

Get Instant Access To Never Ending Supply Of First Class Private Label Rights, Master Resell Rights Products for only $1!


Breakthrough Coach

50% off on 12 month Breakthrough Coach subscription. Normal price $108, Promotion price $54. Your very own personal, business and leadership coach packed into one breakthrough membership.


Charter Financial

Save 50% on our complete home study note Brokering program. Use coupon code: Friday


Every Black Entrepreneur

Use the discount code of “TRUTH” and receive a 10% discount on the membership. Every.Black provides basic technology services, resources and support promote our members.


Federal Access

Get 50% off your first month of Federal Access. Federal Access is designed for Government Contractors. Our members have won over $1.8 Billion in contracts.


Financial Freedom Foundation

The Financial Freedom Foundation (F3) is running a limited time Cyber Monday discount of 40% off on their Gold Level F3 Mastermind Group Membership. This promotion is good for only 48 hours.


Fix Notes

Free consultations for real estate investors looking to diversify into mortgage note investing. Complementary beer/coffee in person (Philadelphia) or over the phone.


Genie Traveler

Want to travel like your friends but for up to 70% off? Genie Traveler members get access to incredible wholesale insider rates. Use code BLACK35 for 35% off and a no risk 30 day money back guarantee.


Good Life Acoustic

Good Life Acoustic, home to Solo Acoustic Performers who love the Artists & Songs of the 70’s & 80’s. Song Set 1 Course – Learn 12 Songs in 12 Weeks. Lessons, Play-Alongs, Private FB, & more ONLY $97.


How to Screen Print

Use coupon code crazysale and get our lifetime access online screen printing course for only $10 instead of the regular price of $87. From setup to getting your first customer everything included.


Humaneering Technology Initiative

Enjoy a 50% discount to join our community, developing an applied human science to guide the design and management of 21st century human work (i.e., versus engineering)


Infinite Guitar – Online Video Guitar Lessons

Learn guitar from professional guitar teachers all over the world. Thousands of lessons. All syles. All levels. Get 50% off your membership!! Use code “BLACKFRI” at checkout.


Jamorama

50% off Jamorama PRO membership. Jamorama is a guitar lessons site where students learn guitar from the ground up using step-by-step video lessons. Normally 99.95, today just $49.95. Ends Monday.


MagShuffle

10% off an annual subscription to MagShuffle. Choose 12 magazines over 12 months for just £7.50 a month. Enter ‘blackfriday’ when selecting an annual subscription. Available to UK customers only.


Mungra Library

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How to Set up a Data Backup Process for your WordPress Membership Site

The last thing any website owner wants to deal with is lost website data. This is particularly important for a membership site, where revenue is directly generated online. Keeping up to date backups of your website’s data is not as difficult as you may think. This post covers that often overlooked but highly important topic: data backups, but more specifically:


Your WordPress database contains every post, every comment and every link you have on your blog. If your database gets erased or corrupted, you stand to lose everything you have written. There are many reasons why this could happen and not all are things you can control. With a proper backup of your WordPress database and files, you can quickly restore things back to normal.
via WordPress.org

First, ask yourself “What is my current backup process?”

If the answer to this question is “I have no idea”, you really need this post. Most people aren’t aware of their backup process (or lack of one) until they experience a devastating loss of data. You don’t want to be in that position – so put a solid process in place now.

If you have some process in place, great job! You’re probably 90% ahead of most websites we work with. But be sure to also test recovering from a backup every once in a while to make sure that your backup is actually working.

I’m interested to learn any unique insights you have about your backup process in the comments below.


What to Back Up

Your WordPress website is powered by two key components: your site’s MySQL database and the files in your site’s web folder. Both components should be backed up and both offer unique backup options.

If you store protected files or video outside of your “web root folder” or on a third party service like Amazon S3, make sure that those files are also being backed up.

Depending on the size of your website and number of plugins installed, the database and files may be over 1GB of data. If this is the case, take a look at your data and see what information could be excluded from the regular backup process. Also, make sure that you are not including your backup archives in an automated backup (this would happen if you are storing a copy of your backup in the web root folder, and the backup process includes the entire web root folder).


Where to Back Up

We advise backing up in three or more distinct places. You can store a backup on your membership site’s web server, on a totally separate web server or cloud environment, emailed to a “backups” email account, as well as local copies saved to your computer, a local server, and physically saved to external media (DVD, external hard drive, flash drive).

wp-backup-infographic


When to Back Up

Depending on how frequently you update your site, it may be important to perform a data backup on a weekly or even daily process.

Since you are running a membership site, you are managing all of the key data that synchronizes the member subscriptions from the payment gateway. Losing this data would cause a huge headache and may require you to piece together weeks or months of data manually. No thank you!

We recommend setting up a more frequent automatic backup process (daily) as well as a weekly or monthly manual backup. Pick a day, put it on your calendar, and do it. Once the process is in place it will be a quick step in your workflow providing invaluable piece of mind.


  1. Option 1: Host Backups

    Your host is (or should be) mirroring your site across a few data centers. This is one small level of data assurance but not a replacement for a true backup plan. This only insulates you from your host losing your website data, not from data corruption, a virus or malware injection, or the administrator that accidentally deletes all or some of your site data (true story).

    Depending on your web hosting company, there may be a simple way to create a data backup, either via a web tool installed in your WordPress admin, or directly within your hosting account dashboard. These one-click backups can often be downloaded or emailed to you for the local/physical backup copy I discussed above.

    It’s important to make sure that this one-click backup is including BOTH your site files and the MySQL database for your WordPress site. I suggest exploring your host’s support library or contacting them directly to better understand your backup options.

    Here are some backup processes for commonly used WordPress hosts:
    WP Engine | SiteGround | Bluehost | Pagely


  2. Option 2: Direct File Transfer + Manual Database Backup

    This requires a bit more developer experience, but the basic concept is that you are manually downloading the web server files and creating a direct backup of the MySQL database via phpMyAdmin.

    Files Backup

    Connect to your web server and simply download the entire folder via FTP. Or, if you have SSH access, you can use the command line to create a .zip backup of the entire website files on the server. We create this .zip file and name it according to the date the backup was taken. A copy of that .zip file remains on the server in a “backups” folder, and a copy of the .zip file is downloaded locally to our computer and saved to external media.

    If your web root folder is called public_html, you could use these commands to make a backup. Note that we backup * (all files) and also list .htaccess separately. Because this is a hidden file, the zip command will ignore it unless you specify it like this. If you have any special caching or rewrite rules in your .htaccess file, you will need these to restore your site 100%.

    To download the .zip file, just navigate to the folder and file name in your web browser. (i.e. http://www.YOURDOMAIN.com/backup.zip)

    Be sure to delete the backup.zip file or move it out of the web root after you download to keep others from stumbling upon it.


    Database Backup

    Access your website’s control panel or web hosting admin. From here, you should be able to access your site’s MySQL database via phpMyAdmin. (You can alternately use the Adminer plugin by Inpsyde to access your MySQL database directly through your WordPress admin.

    Click the “Export” tab. We recommend the following settings:

    phpmyadmin_export_settings

    If you database isn’t too large, you can also use the plugin WP DB Backup for an on-demand backup of your WordPress database. The backup file created by this plugin is saved in your site’s /wp-content/ folder or you can download the backup file for a local copy (we recommend doing both). Backups of large databases can be slow no matter what method you are using, but because of the way WP DB Backup works, we’ve found it to be especially slow for very large databases. You can usually just leaving it running for a while in a background tab of your browser if you find this is the case.

    Database Backup From the Command Line

    You can use the mysqldump command to create a backup of your database from the linux command line. If you grab the database name, username, and password from your wp-config.php file, you can then use the following commands.

    I have this saved as a shell script outside of my web root folder and run the script before any update or risky change to the site.


  3. Option 3: WordPress Site Backup Services

    These third-party backup services offer many features related to file backups (themes, plugins, uploads), database backup, site cloning/migration, as well as optional spam security, automated restore points, and support should you find yourself in a data-loss pickle.

    The features vary by company and price, so I’d encourage you to explore the options below when making your decision. These are some of the most widely used options available:


  4. Bonus #4: Restoring From a Backup and Testing Recovery

    If you run a website for any number of years, the chances are you are going to have to restore from a backup at some point. Stuff happens.

    But, even if your site is running flawlessly and you never have experienced a data loss, you should still test restoring from a backup to make sure that your backup is actually working.

    To restore your site, you will need both the backup of the files and the database. Exactly how to restore your site by creating a “dev” or “staging” site will depend on your specific DNS and hosting setup, but here are the rough steps.

    1. Ideally, create a subdomain for your test site, like test.mysite.com or staging.mysite.com. If you can’t create a new subdomain, you can create a subfolder on your existing site like mysite.com/test/.
    2. Create a new database for the test site. Import your database backup.
    3. Upload the zip file of your files backup to the server and then unzip them.
    4. Edit the wp-config.php file in your test site to change the database name, username, and password and any other settings that might need to be updated.
    5. Edit your .htaccess if needed.
    6. If doing a test (vs an actual restore on the same domain) use a script like searchreplacedb2 to change instances of your domain in the database to the domain of the test site.

    Special Notes on Staging Sites with Paid Memberships Pro

    Please note that staging sites are still real websites that might interact with your customers directly or indirectly. Emails initiated on your test site will get sent to real email addresses. If you cancel a PMPro membership on the staging site, your members will get an email, and PMPro will try to cancel the subscription at the gateway and/or the user’s subscription to your mailing list at Mailchimp/etc.

    Additionally, plugins like Paid Memberships Pro perform certain actions like expirations and subscription synching every night as a “WP Cron” process. If you make an exact copy of your live site to a staging site, your staging site will also run these scripts at night. It is important to disable these services using something like our PMPro Toolkit addon or disable your staging site after testing (by deleting it or maybe adding break; to the top of your .htaccess file) to keep these scripts from running. The PMPro Toolkit addon specifically stops PMPro related scripts, but other plugins may still be running scripts of their own.

    Staging sites can also be an attack vector for malware and viruses if they are left online and not updated regularly like your main site. So be sure to either delete your staging site when you are finished with it, set up a plugin like Coming Soon Page & Maintenance Mode by SeedProd, or keep it up to date like any other WordPress site.


Now go make a backup! Then, design and initiate your backup process.

The easiest first step is to choose one of the methods above and create your first backup. Once you have done that you will get a feel for how the selected method works for you, your skill set, and your workflow. There is no one “right” answer here, just the very wrong answer of doing nothing at all.

I hope that the backup process you select on easily fits within your week-to-week (or day-to-day) business. Post a comment below if you have more to add or a questions about any of the methods outlined above.