To build membership sites using ultimate member plugin is not as daunting as it may sound.
However, in order to set and customise your own membership website, you need to consider a few variables first.
- Which platform to use wordpress, Joomla or other content management systems. I favour wordpress.
- What kind of service or value will the membership website be delivering?
- Will the site be more of an online community than a content delivery membership website?
These variables need to be considered before deciding which plugin or theme to go for.
Ultimate Member Vs Buddypress
There are quite a few great membership plugins on wordpress with buddypress and ultimate member being the main ones.
Buddypress has some advantages over ultimate member and vice versa, however, if you are aiming for a user-friendly experience for your community, the ultimate member plugin is the way to go.
I have to be honest. Buddypress has got some significant advantages over ultimate member. It has free features in its plugin like groups and private messaging that are paid extensions on the ultimate member plugin.
Just like Buddypress, Ultimate member has all the main features like user registration, user login, user profiles, member directories to name a few.
Ultimate member however gains its competitive edge by having features like custom fields and conditional login built in its plugin whereas with buddypress you need to add those individual plugin separately.
You need to weigh the pros and cons and decide which is best for your project. The great thing about the ultimate member plugin is that you can build a fairly decent membership site without purchasing any premium extensions
THEMES AND HOSTING
Which wordpress theme should you go for? There are a lot of wordpress themes that work well with ultimate member? According to ultimate member, “Ultimate Member has been designed to work with all properly coded themes.
However, theme quality varies greatly which unfortunately means some themes may not work with Ultimate Member “. If you are looking to purchase a theme, it is advisable to look at the features a theme affords you, read the reviews and ask pre-sales questions if you are not sure.
There are plenty of themes available on Envato market
Which hosting should you go for? If you are starting out you don’t need to spend a whole lot of money on dedicated hosting plan as you are just starting out.
You can get an affordable plan on bluehost with a free domain name
HOW TO SET UP ULTIMATE MEMBER PLUGIN
It is a pretty straightforward process to build membership sites using ultimate member plugin
1 INSTALL AND ACTIVATE THE PLUGIN
- On your wordpress dashboard, go the plugins, add new and in the search box, type in ultimate member.
- Click install and when its installed, click activate.
Upon installation and activation, the ultimate member plugin will automatically install seven pages which are: login, register, account, user, log out, password reset and members pages.
If the pages are not automatically created, there will be a notification to create pages as shown below on the dashboard
When you click create pages, it will create the required pages to ensure proper functionality of ultimate member
These pages must not be deleted to ensure proper functionality of the plugin.
If you have accidentally deleted any of the pages, you will need reassign pages to the ultimate member core elements by following the remedy below. If this does not apply to you skip to step 2.
- Create new pages to replace ones deleted
- Add page name
- Add the corresponding ultimate member shortcodes to the pages
- Publish the page
- Go to ultimate member dashboard
- Assign pages by choosing from the drop down options of pages.
- Save changes
Or you could download the plugin, upload and install from this link
2 ASSIGN USER ROLES.
In order to build a functional website using the ultimate member plugin, user roles need to be assigned. Depending on the type of membership site you are building, user roles must be given and this ascribes or restricts privileges to members of the site.
Administrative access and general member access are generally the most important ones to be considered.
For example, you may want to grant admin access to a user who is responsible for publishing posts or you may want to restrict certain roles from viewing user profile pages or page contents.
You can either add new roles or edit existing ones. To add or edit new roles,
On the dashboard > Click on ultimate member > User Roles > Edit existing roles as shown below
To add new roles, in this case, Models and Photographers.
On the dashboard > On ultimate member > Click User Roles > Add New > Add the title (Model/Photographer) > Tick or untick options under General Permissions, Profile Access, Homepage options, registration options, Login options and Logout.
Do not give admin privileges to general users
To add New Admin roles, using the same process, tick or untick permissions under every especially administrative permissions.
The permissions or privileges are explained further explained below
These roles are only for the administrative members of the site.
- Can access wp-admin? – Tick if you want a user to have access to the admin dashboard> Advisable to give this privilege to fellow admins only.
- Can edit all member profiles? – Tick this to allow admin be able to edit or change user profiles. Usually best for this privilege to be given to the main admins of the site
- Can edit only specific roles profiles?– Tick this to restrict admin powers ie admin will only be able to edit certain profiles or users
- Can delete all member accounts?– This gives the power to be able to delete any profile on the site. Only main admins should have this privilege
- Can delete only specific roles accounts?– Tick this to give the power to delete only specific roles or users on the site.
This permission or privilege is given to members or general registered members of the site
- Can edit their profile? – Tick to give users the ability to edit their own profiles
- Can delete their account?– Tick to give users the ability to delete their own profiles
With profile access you get to choose if users can view other users’ profiles or make their own profiles private.
Tick if you want certain users to be able to view your home page.
Decide if new registrations are auto approved or retire verification by email. You can also decide where users are redirected after registration.
Login options, Logout options, Delete options are self explanatory.
3 CUSTOMISE YOUR USER PROFILES.
Create your profile form
In order for members of a membership site to have their own profile specific to them, forms need to be built and assigned to users.
For the demo site, two different forms will be built and assigned to models and photographer.
To create a new profile form, on the Ultimate member dashboard > Go to Forms > Add New > Give a name to the form (in this case models/photograhers) and Click Create.
Add fields to your form
Add fields to your forms is very easy. You can add preset fields to your forms by Clicking on ultimate member > Forms (choose the form to edit)
Click on the plus sign to add fields to your form. You can add preset forms as shown below.
Assign the form to a specific user or member
Once you have finished building the form assign it to the right user or member. Choose the form, Click on Customize this form> Choose Yes. It will then show further options.
Now choose the user type or member you want to assign the role to (In this case, models) then click update.
Add shortcode to user page
Copy the shortcode on the form > paste it on your user page > Update the page.
USING CONDITIONAL LOGIC TO ADD FORM FIELDS
- The ultimate member plugin has this advantage over buddypress as its conditional logic feature is in-built. Conditional logic helps show or hide a field based on the field chosen by the user.
- For example from a list of countries, you can set the conditional logic to show a list of the nations that make up Britain if the country chosen is the United Kingdom
- To use condition logic, click Ultimate member > Forms > Add new or edit existing forms > Click on the field you want to add conditional logic to > Click on Manage conditional fields support > Add rules for conditional logic
- Click on the last item (add conditional fields support). Depending on your device, it could be out of view. Try scrolling up
Choose to show or hide a particular field if a trigger field is chosen. I have elected to show a list of British nations if the United Kingdom is chosen.
The conditional logic could be used to provide further options on user profiles on any subjects or topics.
4. SETTING UP YOUR MEMBERSHIP DIRECTORY
A member directory is included on the member’s page when ultimate member is installed. However, if you don’t want a directory of members on your site, you can turn it off.
To do so, go to the ultimate member dashbord > Settings > User tab > Disabe Member’s directory
HOW TO CREATE A NEW MEMBER DIRECTORY
If you would like a member directory, leave it ticked. It is best to have a page where you can search for members of your site by keyword, location or any filters you have set.
By default, the members page lists all members of your site. you can edit the existing default member directory. However, if you need more than one members directory, you can create a new one
To add a new directory, on the dashboard, click Ultimate member > Members directories > Add new > Customise your directory > Create
Using the example of models and photographers.
User roles to display gives you the choice of the user roles you want to display in your directory. Click to dropdown and select which user roles are displayed in the directory.
If no selection is made, all members of the site will appear in the directory. ie Both models and photographers will appear in the model directory.
Only show members who have uploaded a profile photo – Tick this option to only display members who have uploaded a photo
Only show members who have uploaded a cover photo– Tick this option to only display members who have uploaded a cover photo
Sort user by– You can decide how you want users to be displayed ie by new users first, old users first, display name, first name etc
HOW TO ADD A SEARCH FORM
The search form uses the information from form fields to give search results. The search form can also be accompanied by search filters to enable specific user searches.
For example, a search for photographers located in Scotland, United Kingdom.
To do so, Click on member directories > Click on the directory you want to enable > Click on enable search features > Choose the fields you want to enable in search.
The fields you have enabled become search filters to enable specific searches by users
ULTIMATE MEMBER PLUGIN PREMIUM EXTENSIONS
When you have decided to build a membership site using ultimate member plugin, the features that you get for free is enough to build a dynamic website.
However you can take your website even further by adding premium extensions. Here are a list of ultimate member plugins that are premium
Private content: You can provide certain logged in users to access to private content. Great monetising tool
Friends: Add a friendship system to your membership site to increase user interaction
Instagram : You can integrate user instagram account on their profiles
Verified Users: Adds a verification system to your membership site to instil confidence in your users of your site.
Social Activity : Similar to a facebook wall where users can post messages, images, videos etc
There are many more including, Woocommerce, Followers, Real time notification, User reviews, Notices, Bbpress, MyCred, Mailchimp, Social login.
The great thing about the ultimate member plugin is that you don’t need a premium plugin for a fully functioning membership site.
I hope this tutorial really does help if you are currently building your membership site or about to build one. I think this plugin is easily the most user friendly and feature rich plugin out there.
If you have any question about how to use any of the features or if you feel i missed anything, please leave a comment below.
You may also join the ultimate member group forum i created to pose questions or solve problems for other users. Join the ultimate member group here
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