MailChimp Add On v2.1 Update Notes

We have just pushed out v2.1 of the MailChimp Integration Add On. This update fixes a lot of bugs, but one of those in particular would have stopped users from being subscribed to MailChimp lists after checkout or registration.

Please upgrade by visiting the Dashboard -> Updates area of your WordPress site or downloading the latest ZIP file directly here.


Reconciling Missing Subscribers

If you suspect that you’ve missed some list signups due to this bug, you can use the export CSV feature of the plugin to generate files to import your members into MailChimp.

When you import the CSVs, it will not duplicate users already on your lists and will not subscribe anyone who has since unsubscribed through MailChimp.
We have a guide for exporting subscriber lists by membership level and importing them into MailChimp.

View the Export/Import Guide for MailChimp

Support for Localication and Multiple Memberships Per User

In addition to fixing this subscription bug and a few others, we’ve added localization support to the plugin. This means that the community can now contribute a MailChimp Integration translation via the GlotPress.

We’ve also updated the add on to ensure compatibility with the PMPro Multiple Memberships Per User Add On, which we’ll be sharing more info about soon.


The full list of updates is below.

  • BUG: Fixed a variety of bugs related to the MailChimp API, including a bug introduced in v2.0.3 that sometimes kept the plugin from subscribing users to lists.
  • BUG/ENHANCEMENT: Doing a better job of limiting the number of API requests made to avoid API limits.
  • ENHANCEMENT: Supports the pmpro-multiple-memberships-per-user Add On.
  • ENHANCEMENT: Added localization support. (Now should be able to create language files via GlotPress)

Turn your WooCommerce Store into a Catalog for Non Members 

Prevent non-members from viewing product prices or purchasing products from your WooCommerce store with this Code Recipe

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Approvals Add On Now Available

The Approvals Add On allows you to set up a unique approval or application process for your membership site. After a member signs up, the admin will have the ability to approve their membership or deny the application.

View the Add On


The diagram below explains how approval fits into the standard membership checkout process.

How it Works

Using the add on, you can set your membership levels to require approval with a few options. Not only can you set a level to require approval, you can also set a level to require an approved membership from another level in order to complete checkout.

This allows you to offer a two-step membership application and full membership registration model. You can place an application fee on the application level, and then charge your full recurring membership fee on the primary membership for approved members. Extend your site further by using fields add via the Register Helper Add On to gather member information that will help you decide whether to approve or deny the membership.

View the Add On

 

Enhance Your Membership Levels Page with Member Badges

We’ve just added hooks to the Advanced Levels Page Shortcode Add On, allowing you to add unique content before and after the level information.

This recipe integrates the Member Badges Add On and displays the badge associated with each level in the output.


Member Badges on a Three Column Layout

The Code Recipe

This code recipe requires a PMPro Core Account or higher.

View Membership Options


Member Badges on a Table Layout

The Code Recipe

This code recipe requires a PMPro Core Account or higher.

View Membership Options


Available Hooks in the Advanced Levels Page Shortcode v.2.4+

Hooks for the “div” and “column” layouts:

do_action( 'pmproal_before_level', int $level_id, int string $layout );
do_action( 'pmproal_after_level', int $level_id, int string $layout );

Hooks for the “table” layout:

do_action( 'pmproal_extra_cols_before_header' );
do_action( 'pmproal_extra_cols_after_header' );
do_action( 'pmproal_extra_cols_before_body' );
do_action( 'pmproal_extra_cols_after_body' );

Note: hooks have not yet been added for the compare_table layout

Set a Member Author’s Posts to Draft When Membership is Cancelled

If you allow guest authors on your membership site as a feature of membership, this recipe will demonstrate how to automatically change their posts’ statuses to “draft” when membership is cancelled.

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How to Name Your Membership Levels or Subscription Options

How you name your membership levels is one of the most important components for conversions on your membership on site.

Let’s spend some time thinking about membership level names. We’ll cover the classic membership site structures and provide examples for naming the membership levels or subscription options for each case. (And there’s even a nifty “level name” playground that tests your name within various plugin-generated phrases.)


Take a step back and evaluate your membership level names.

I work with thousands of membership sites and have seen a lack of clarity (and creativity) in this key area. The membership level name identifies what the member is receiving in exchange for their membership fee. In some cases, the name is a badge of pride for your members, turning them from the anonymous “visitor” to a member of the “in-crowd”.

Putting all of this touchy-feely stuff aside, the level name is also used in various default “phrases” within your membership site system. You need to make sure your level name “reads well” within these phrases. I’ve created a simple tool at the end of this article that provides a litmus test for your level names within the key system phrases in Paid Memberships Pro.


Membership Site Structures Covered include:


Tiered/Hierarchical Levels

This flavor of membership site offers more (or fewer) features based on membership level. This is the structure of our own site here at Paid Memberships Pro. We offer a Free, Core and Plus level. I think the level names are OK, and they do imply a tier (Plus being the highest membership option available).

Here are some level name ideas based on the “tier”

Tier 1
  • Basic
  • Beginner
  • Starter
  • Primary
  • Bronze
  • Baby Bear

Tier 2
  • Intermediate
  • Enhanced
  • Standard
  • Secondary
  • Gold
  • Papa Bear

Tier 3
  • Advanced
  • Ultimate
  • Extreme
  • Professional
  • Platinum
  • Mama Bear (just right!)


Price/Payment Term Structured Levels

Use this level naming structure when all membership levels offer the same package of features, but vary based on price or term. First, try to think of something clever based on your specific name, brand or site topic.

If your membership site was a sports team, what would you call your fans?

You can give membership an overall brand, such as “Trekkies”, “Bronies”, or “Cheeseheads”. Then use your level names to clarify the price or payment term.

You may still have an idea of “tier” in this structure, such as a Foodie Box site that offers 3 Month, 6 Month, and Annual subscriptions, with the option to “add on” a dessert box. For this case, I’d suggest reading through my post on price-adjusting Register Helper fields to have a selection at checkout modify the level price. Easy as pie.

Here are some level name ideas based on the price/term

  • Daily *
  • Weekly
  • Monthly
  • Quarterly
  • Yearly

  • Annual
  • Per Annum
  • Bi-Weekly
  • Bi-Monthly
  • Semi-Annual

  • Half-Yearly
  • Perennial
  • Lifetime
  • Forever
  • Eternal

* Note that not all integrated gateways offer “daily” subscriptions.


Content Vertical/Category-specific Levels

In this type of membership site, the membership levels differ not by features, but by type of content or “vertical”. This is common in a stock or investing site, nationwide membership chapters site, or an online dating site where identifying the member’s “interest” is handled via the membership level selected.

Here are some level name ideas based on the content vertical

  • Stock/Investing Sites: Technology Sector, Gas and Oil, Retail, Pharmaceuticals
  • Member Chapter Sites: Country Name, State Name, County Name
  • Online Dating Sites: Man Seeking Woman, Woman Seeking Man, Man Seeking Man, Woman Seeking Woman, etc.

User or Member-type Levels

This is a category of membership site where the member receives a different level/price/package based on the type of member they are. Check out our Sponsored/Group Members Add On if you have a membership level that offers parent/child account relationships.

Here are some level name ideas based on the user/member-type

  • Individual
  • Student
  • Parent
  • Family

  • Senior
  • Corporation
  • Volunteer

  • Teacher
  • Non-Profit
  • Military: Active Duty and Veterans


Content Delivery/Subscription Type Levels

For this type of membership site, the levels differ by how the content is received. It will make more sense after reading the level names below, but basically this case is used when the content is offered in various formats (online, print, email), and the selected level determines the members’ preferred method(s) of content delivery.

For this case, you could use the same membership branding concepts covered in the Price/Payment Term Structured Levels section above, then use the level names to clarify content delivery.

Here are some level name ideas based on the type of content delivery

  • Online Only
  • Print Only
  • Online and Print
  • Email Newsletter

Sponsorship Level/Benefactor Tiers

If you’re a non-profit organization, you most likely think about membership a bit differently than most other site types. In your case, membership level is actually sponsorship level, and you have a chance to get really creative in how you name your tiers.

A great approach to level naming is to pull ideas from the goals of your organization, your location, the group or cause you represent.

Instead of coming up with my own examples, I’ve compiled a few non-profits and their benefactor/membership tier names below:

The Franklin Institute’s Benefactor Society

  • Pendulum Partners
  • Baldwin Circle
  • Celestial Circle
  • Ambassador Circle
  • Kite and Key Circle
  • Franklin Fellows
  • Inventors Circle

Colonial Williamsburg’s Donor Societies

  • Duke of Gloucester Society
  • Capitol Society
  • Colonial Williamsburg Assembly
  • Colonial Williamsburg Burgesses
  • Colonial Williamsburg Associates
  • Raleigh Tavern Society

The Kimmel Center’s Founders Circle

  • Partner
  • Benefactor
  • Artists Circle
  • Leadership Circle
  • Presidents Circle
  • Chairmans Circle


Go Forth and Name Ye Levels!

I hope this post has given you some direction as you brainstorm level names for your new or existing membership site. If you have a type of membership site that wasn’t covered, post a comment below so we can discuss some level naming conventions for your site.

If you run an existing membership site, you can still rename your membership levels. With Paid Memberships Pro you can simply update the level names under Memberships > Edit Level in the admin. Every member that currently has that membership level will automatically have their membership level name updated.


Time to Play

The Membership Level Names Playground below allows you to enter a desired membership level name and see how it will “read” within various plugin-generated phrases. These are the most common phrases your members will see, both on your site and in membership-related emails.

Test your level name against key phrases in Paid Memberships Pro.

Enter a level name to test:


You have selected the My Level Name membership level.
Shown on the membership checkout page.


Membership Level: My Level Name
Shown in most member communication emails and invoices.


Your My Level Name membership is now active.
Shown on the membership confirmation page.

If you have a level name that doesn’t pass the litmus test, don’t fret. Every phrase in Paid Memberships Pro can be “translated”, and I’m not just talking about languages.

Our blog has several posts on renaming key terms within the plugin, such as this post about replacing the word “Membership” with “Subscription”.

Depending on your membership site, you may need to use these methods or another approach. Just open a topic in our members forum (provided to PMPro Core and Plus members), and we will help you work out any hiccups between your desired membership level name and the built in phrases of Paid Memberships Pro.

PMPro Update 1.9.1

Version 1.9.1 of Paid Memberships Pro is out with a handful of bug fixes and some tweaks to our license nag. This fix in particular will help on sites that had multiple plugins using the Stripe API library.


Concerning Our License Prompts

The tweaks to our “license nag” (as we’ve named it) deserve a bit of explanation. Almost two years ago we launched our PMPro Plus membership here on the site, which includes access to our paid support forums but also allows you to use the WordPress dashboard to automatically update the plugins that we host on our own servers.

Since then, we’ve been selling PMPro Plus licenses on the site here, but we weren’t actually requiring a valid license to update the Plus addons.

There were relatively few people taking advantage of the lack of checks on our update server, so we didn’t bother to turn on the check. Now however, there are quite a few sites running PMPro with Plus licenses that try to update against our servers without valid licenses. We enabled the license check in v1.9 to encourage those sites to purchase a license (or alternatively download zip files from GitHub to update their addons).

We also added a “license nag” that pops up once a week in the WP dashboard if you don’t have a PMPro license key set. Our intention for this nag is to kindly suggest that sites using PMPro on a production site purchase a support license. These support licenses pay us to support our customers, but they also support the PMPro platform in general by giving us cashflow to pay our developers/etc. I know that as a user of open source software myself, often times the decision of which projects I support and which I don’t comes down to simply whether or not I was asked for support.

We are still committed to PMPro as an open source project first and foremost.

All of our code is GPLv2 and available for free on WordPress.org or GitHub.com. At the same time, we want to encourage users who are willing to pay to purchase licenses to help support themselves and the platform.

It’s hard to strike a balance between asking nicely and being annoying. We’re not there yet. The v1.9 update was both unclear and aggressive in how the license notification worked. We’ll continue to monitor things and consider other changes (maybe making it less than once per week for sites without a license), but in v1.9.1 we have made a couple of changes to the license nag:

  1. On new installs, we will wait 1 week before showing the nag at all. This gives new users time to discover our website on their own or to try out the plugin and deactivate it if they aren’t using it. We didn’t mean for the license notification to be so “in your face” when the plugin was activated.
  2. The “Invalid Key” message is no longer showing if you haven’t even tried to enter a key. The error message is also yellow vs. red to note it as a warning vs. an error.

We’re also working on updates to our pricing page and documentation on the site here to make it more clear who should purchase which license.


Links

Please update Paid Memberships Pro from the plugins page of your WordPress dashboard. You can also get the latest version of PMPro here or version 1.9.1 specifically here.


Change Log

The full list of updates is below.

  • BUG FIX: Fixed the code checking if the Stripe library is already loaded to compatability issues with other plugins bundling the Stripe API library.
  • BUG FIX: Cancel code now properly uses preg_replace when sanitizing the list of level ids to cancel.
  • FIX/ENHANCEMENT: Removed test/doc code from Stripe and Braintree libraries.
  • ENHANCEMENT: Now pausing the license nag for the first week of use and removed the “invalid” error if no key is being used.

Create a Plugin for Customizations to Your Membership Site

Many of our articles and code recipes include instructions to customize and add this code to your “active theme’s functions.php file” or “a custom plugin”. In addition, our support team may provide you with customizations to add to your site via the support forums.

This tutorial explains how to create and edit the custom plugin for all of your tweaks to Paid Memberships Pro and any Add Ons you are using.


First, figure out how to FTP into your Website

While many of our add ons can be installed directly via your WordPress Dashboard, the customizations plugin is one instance where knowing how to use FTP to “put” or “edit” files on your web server is very important.

Your web host should have provided you with FTP or SFTP credentials. To properly log in to your web server you will need the:

  • FTP (or SFTP) address
  • Username
  • Password
  • (possibly) a port number and root directory

If you don’t know how to use FTP, this guide on the WordPress Codex provides some background on FTP and options for FTP clients, you can also refer to your web host’s FAQs and guides.


Creating Your Customizations Plugin

While you could place code customizations in the functions.php file of your active theme (or child theme), we strongly recommend using the customization plugin method. The primary reason for using a plugin is so that your development team knows exactly WHERE the custom code is located as it relates to your Paid Memberships Pro setup. It also helps keep customizations separate of theme updates or changes (which can be lost when a theme update is performed).

So, here’s how to create the customizations plugin:

  1. Create a folder called pmpro-customizations in the wp-content/plugins folder of your site.
  2. Create a file called pmpro-customizations.php in the folder you just created.
  3. Edit the pmpro-customizations.php file and paste this block of code into the file:

    <?php
    /*
    Plugin Name: PMPro Customizations
    Plugin URI: https://www.paidmembershipspro.com/wp/pmpro-customizations/
    Description: Customizations for Paid Memberships Pro
    Version: .1
    Author: Stranger Studios
    Author URI: http://www.strangerstudios.com
    */
     
    //Now start placing your customization code below this line
  4. Add the code for the recipe you are doing at the bottom of pmpro-customizations.php.
  5. Save the File and upload the folder and file to your website via FTP.
  6. Navigate to ‘Plugins’ in your WordPress Dashboard and activate the PMPro Customizations plugin.

This Makes Me Nervous.

We understand that you may not be completely comfortable working “in the code”. Our support team can put minor code tweaks in place for you if you share FTP information in a private thread.

If you are updating the customizations on your own and an update to the customizations plugin completely breaks your site, don’t fret.

These steps should repair your site:

  1. Connect to your website via FTP and navigate to the wp-content/plugins folder.
  2. Rename the folder pmpro-customizations to anything else (I generally rename it to pmpro-customizations-off.
  3. Now, visit your site. WordPress will automatically deactivate the plugin and, in doing do, your site should be restored.
  4. You can then repair any broken code in the file and rename the folder to the original pmpro-customizations.
  5. Upload the updated file and reactivate the plugin via the ‘Plugins’ dashboard page.

Need to customize the appearance (CSS/stylesheet) of Paid Memberships Pro?

We have a separate guide that covers setting up CSS stylesheet for customizations to your Paid Memberships Pro-powered membership site.

View the PMPro Customizations Stylesheet Tutorial
 

Allow Authors to View Their Posts Regardless of Membership Level

If you have multiple authors on your membership site, this recipe will override the post’s membership requirements and always let the author view their content (ignoring their current or past membership level).

Remember you can set new members to the “author” role at membership checkout via the methods in this previous article.

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Offer Multiple Payment Methods to Increase Conversions

Appeal to the highest number of potential customers by offering credit card, PayPal and check/other payment methods at checkout.

This post covers our add ons that extend the checkout payment options and allow you to offer up to three unique payment methods.


But first, why should you offer multiple payment methods?

Ask 5 random friends how comfortable they are making purchases online and I promise you will receive a variety of responses:

  • the 100% “no fear” online shopper,
  • those that are “slightly concerned” buying things online, and finally…
  • the “highly reluctant to enter my credit card number anywhere” customer.

We know that this variety of comfort levels exist, so what can you do as an online merchant to appeal to the largest array of buyers?

You can offer multiple payment methods.


Offering PayPal as a Payment Method at Checkout

PayPal offers peace of mind to buyers that have concerns paying you directly.

PayPal gives consumers a layer of protection when making purchases online. They are a well known merchant with industry-leading security features beyond anything you can put in place for your own website. In addition, PayPal offers simple tools to allow consumers to manage who they have paid, communicate with issues about their purchases, cancel subscription payments linked to their account, and report fraudulent or unauthorized activity.

Our Add PayPal Express Add On adds PayPal as a payment method in addition to the primary payment gateway.

Offer PayPal as payment method at checkout

Note: to add the credit card and PayPal logos, follow the steps in this tutorial.

View the Add On Documentation

Add Check/Other Direct Payment Method at Checkout

When a majority of your target members fall into the “highly uncomfortable making purchases online” group, offering an offline payment method, such as mailing a check, can greatly improve conversions.

The “Pay by check” option is particularly important for “offline” membership groups or associations that are just getting started with an online system. In this case, some percentage of your members are already comfortable making payment by mail and wish to continue doing so. Moving to an online-only system can alienate the members who prefer the status quo (unless the overhead to do so is prohibitively expensive or labor-intensive).

Our Pay by Check Add On adds a “Pay by Check” method in addition to your primary gateway — and it doesn’t have to be a traditional “check” payment. Some sites use this add on to provide bank transfer instructions or to directly invoice members after checkout via other invoicing systems.

View the Add On Documentation

Want to offer Credit Card, PayPal and Check?

These add ons are all compatible, so you can activate and configure both the Add PayPal Express Add On and the Pay by Check Add On to offer three payment methods at checkout.

Note that if you are already using PayPal Website Payments Pro as the primary gateway, you will only need to install and activate the Pay by Check Add on to offer all three payment methods.


Now go give it a try!

These add ons are both simple to set up and will hopefully lead to a higher conversion rate (more $$$) for your membership program. Here are the links to the add on documentation pages for reference:

As always, if you are experiencing any issues with your payment methods or checkout page behavior, please post a topic on our members support forum.