A recent report on ad blockers published by Adobe and Pagefair, estimates that the ad blockers are going to cost web publishers $22B in revenue this year. According to report, there was a 41% increase in usage of ad blocking software during last year and this trend is expected to continue in 2015-16.

AdBlock Explorer 2015

This is why most site owners use a variety of revenue generating tools on their website. Affiliate marketing is another popular way to make some money from the content you publish. But this requires a lot of effort to write content that actually convinces your users to buy products on third party websites. Its a tough job but many content publishers and bloggers are doing it successfully.

But what if you don’t have any well paying affiliates in your niche? What if the affiliate revenue is simply not enough to continue your website?

The Answer is Paid Subscriptions

Asking your users to pay for content on your website is a good way to generate additional revenue. Here are some reasons why it is proving to be a better strategy.

It allows you to remain partial and not tailor your content to match the advertisements or affiliates. This gives you the editorial freedom to only cater the needs of your users. You can create better, more opinionated, and creative content on your site.

If you could successfully rely completely on subscriptions then your site’s users will not have to worry about spying cookies installed by third party advertisers.

A subscription based model helps you build a loyal readership that cares enough to pay for the content you offer. You can build a strong community and a positive brand image for your site.

Using paid content does not mean the end of free content or advertising on your website. You can still offer ad supported free content on your website for non-paying users. However, instead of selling third party products you can set your conversion goals to increase your own subscription base.

How To Add Paid Content in a WordPress Site

There are several WordPress membership plugins that allow you to create different subscription models to your existing WordPress site. In this article we will be showing you how to do add paid content in your WordPress site using Restrict Content Pro.

There is a free version of Restrict Content Pro which is simply called Restrict Content and can be downloaded from official WordPress directory. However, the free version lacks some basic features that you will be need to run a successful paid subscriptions site.

Setting up Restrict Content Pro

The single site license for Restrict Content Pro costs only $42 with one year of support and updates.

After installing and activating the Restrict Content Pro plugin on your website, you will see a new menu item called ‘Restrict’ in your WordPress admin menu. First you need to setup the plugin settings, and to do that you need to visit Restrict > Settings page.

General settings Restrict content pro

You will need to enter the license key for the plugin. This will enable the automatic updates for the plugin and will hide the license key notification. On the settings page, you will notice that the plugin has already created two pages on your WordPress site for registration and welcome. You can change that and choose some other pages if you want.

Restrict Content Pro can be setup to allow automatic renewal of subscriptions. Enabling this option will allow users to choose automatic or manual renewal of their subscriptions. Lastly, there are two text boxes where you can enter the messages that will be shown on free and premium content. After filling everything out click on the save options button.

Setting up Payments in Restrict Content Pro

Restrict Content Pro allows you to accept payments through PayPal Standard, PayPal Pro, PayPal Express, and Stripe payment gateways. Simply click on the Payments tab under the plugin settings to setup your payment method.

Restrict Content Pro Payment Settings

Select your payment method and then scroll down to provide your payment account details. You can obtain these details from your account on your payment service provider’s website. After entering this information, click on the save options button to store your settings.

Creating Subscription Levels in Restrict Content Pro

Restrict Content Pro allows you to add multiple subscription levels with different prices. Click on the Restrict > Subscription Levels to create your first subscription plan.

Restrict content pro subscription levels

Provide a name and description for the subscription level. Then you need to choose a subscription level. This could be from 1 to 10 but you can leave it to none if you are unsure about it.

Next you need to choose the subscription duration in days and set a price for it. You can add an additional signup fee if you want. Lastly make sure that subscription status is active before you click on the add membership level button. Repeat the process to add more subscription levels if you need.

Implementing Content Restrictions With Restrict Content Pro

Restrict Content Pro provides robust tools to implement content restrictions anywhere on your site. We will show you some of the options, for more advanced options we recommend you to take a look at the plugin’s documentation.

Restricting Entire Posts or Pages

Open a post or page that you want to be only viewable by paid users. You will notice the Restrict Content options under the post editor.

Restricting content

You can check the Paid only box to restrict the entire post or page. You can choose which subscription levels will have access to the content. You can also hide the content from your site’s RSS feed.

Restricting Portions of Content Using Shortcode

If you would like to hide certain parts of content inside your posts or pages, then you can use the shortcode. Using the shortcode allows you the ability to show a teaser for non-paying users and full content for your paid subscribers. You can also hide small bits like a video embed in a post for paid customers only.

The shortcode comes with a handful of options. You can refer to the plugin’s documentation for the shortcode reference. Here are some basic usage example.

Copy to Clipboard

Restricting Specific Categories

You can also set content restriction on selected categories. All posts filed under those categories will be only visible to paying users with the required subscription level. Simply go to Posts > Categories and click on the Edit link under the category you want to restrict.

Restricting categories for Paid subscribers only

Check the paid only option and then choose to subscription level required to view content in that category.

Front End Login for Users

Each user on your subscription based site has an account on your site which gives them access to certain parts of your WordPress admin area. This is perfectly safe but a bit confusing for users.

There are multiple WordPress plugins that allow users on your site to login from the front-end of your site without ever accessing the admin area.

Theme My Login – This awesome free plugin allows you to create front end login, registration, profile, and forget password pages. You will need to make sure that you do not use it for your registration pages because you will be already using Restrict Content Pro’s registration page on your site.

Conclusion

There are many strategies to monetize content you create on your website. Every successful content publisher will tell you that you should not put all your eggs in one basket. This means you should not rely on just one source of revenue for your website.

There are already plenty of websites and blogs successfully offering both paid and free content on their sites along with ad-free and ad-supported pages. For WordPress based sites, Restrict Content Pro makes it even easier to create paid content on your site.

We would love to hear your thoughts about adding paid content subscriptions to your WordPress site or questions on Using Avada with WordPress. Leave a comment below!