Membership Plugin Review: Private Content

Reviewing Membership Plugins

If you got here without knowing it, I've been reviewing membership plugins all month.

  1. Membership 2 Pro
  2. WP eMember
  3. WP-Members
  4. Restrict Content Pro
  5. FastMember
  6. Memberful
  7. InstaMember
  8. Members
  9. WP Membership
  10. Cart66 Cloud

Did you even know there were ten? Or more than ten? Well, there are. In fact, I have a list of over 30. So pretty much every day this month, I'll be looking at one of them. I might miss a day. But I'm writing, even now, while on vacation at a beach house for a whole week.

Let's just say I have a goal – to review all of these and I'm not letting something like vacation get in my way.

Today we're looking at a plugin that does most things just ok. It's not incredible or amazing. It focuses on content protection. And I'll write about that in a sec.

But it does one thing, just one thing, that every client I've ever helped or consulted with, for membership sites, has asked for.

It does this one thing – and no one else does it, or does it this simply.

[Tweet “Private Content does member-specific pages better than anyone else. Steal this idea! Now!”]

So for that alone, you should check it out. Because Private Content does member-specific pages better than anyone else. Steal this idea! Now!

Scoring Private Content

If you head to Code Canyon, you can buy Private Content for $18. That's not an expensive plugin to buy.

I'll tell you this: if you're a plugin developer that works on membership plugins, consider the $18 a great and inexpensive way to look at a single feature that everyone always asks me about.

More on that in a second. Let's get into the other stuff quickly.

Private Content protects content. It's really that simple.

  • It doesn't collect money.
  • It doesn't create upgrade or downgrade paths between memberships.
  • It doesn't pro-rate charges because it doesn't handle money.
  • It doesn't drip content out over time.
  • It doesn't support any kind of eCommerce.

So let's quickly score it so we can get to the good stuff.

  • Ease of Use – 3
  • Payment Gateway Support – 1
  • eCommerce Support – 1
  • Drip Support – 1
  • Concurrent Accounts – 3
  • Pro-rating Charges – 1
  • Upgrades / Downgrades – 1
  • Speed of setting it up – 4

The Private Content Score: 1.88

Why are you reviewing this plugin?

With a score that low, you'll likely wondering why I even put it on the list.

Great question.

First let me explain why it wouldn't normally make my list.

This plugin isn't built like Members. It's not a simple solution that can be baked into other sites with additional plugins. It also doesn't have any way to collect money for the membership, which is frustrating after working with Cart66's 85+ payment gateways.

All it does is content protection and honestly, if I just wanted that, I'd use Members.

Content Protection Rant

Let me rant for a second…

People tend to think membership sites are all about content protection. Yes, it's an important feature of some sites. But it's not the only thing that matters. I hate to be the one to tell you, but gating your content doesn't suddenly make it more valuable. The content is what drives value. Not the gating.

[Tweet “I hate to be the one to tell you, but gating your content doesn't suddenly make it more valuable. “]

Setting up a site with content protection is only part of the game. It's like buying a car and making sure it has wheels. Great. Love it. But that's not likely how you pick a car or use a car. You need more, right?

People email me and say, “I need to protect content, charge for it, and have them renew their memberships monthly. I'd like to use PayPal.”

Guess what? Almost all 31 plugins I'll be reviewing do that. This one doesn't charge. But you could still make it work with PayPal buttons.

But you need more than that.

What if a person logs in, downloads everything and then logs out and asks for a refund? Or sells their login to someone else? Or sets up their own site and sells your content?

What if a person purchases two different memberships, one a week after another, and they end up being charged for both, because the upgrade path isn't clear?

What if the person shares their login with their office and everyone logs in?

You need more than just content protection.

You should be thinking about concurrency, upgrades/downgrades, security, and more.

[Tweet “You need more than just content protection.”]

Ok, let's get back to why I'm showing you this plugin.

The Cool Thing They Do Right: Member Pages

So the reason I'm showing you Private Content is because they do member pages right.

First, you create a page for your members. This is the shell of the page they'll see.

CreatingMemberPrivatePageAfter that, we'll head to their settings for the plugin. You'll see where they ask you right away for the member's private page.

PrivateContentThat first drop down is the member page. This is a page that will be unique to each member which you can use for all sorts of things. But it uses this single page as the container. You'll see what I mean in a second.

Then we have to redirect members there after they've registered.

RedirectionNow let's go create a new member.

AddMemberManuallyOnce this member has been created, and we put him into a membership program (which they call User Category – on the bottom right), we can then manipulate their specific private page.

It starts by going to the Users List.

MembersNow, if you look in the first column, you see a page with a pencil icon. When you click that, you are looking at the personalized content page for that specific user.

PrivateContentMessageAnd when a private member logs in, they're redirected to this page. Which is just for them. And you can keep editing it over time, adding more to it.

It's brilliant. And I'm not joking. Every single coach, trainer, fitness instructor, consultant and online course builder I know has asked for this very feature, in this clean way.

[Tweet “Every single coach, trainer, fitness instructor, consultant and online course builder I know has asked for this very feature.”]

When they login, it's a thing of beauty – the redirection and the private page.

PrivatePageThis feature alone is why I included Private Content. And why you might want to check it out.