Patreon WordPress Membership

Make an Easy Membership Site with WordPress and Patreon

This week I wrote about how I’m doubling down on Patreon to deliver more quality content to my backers. Well, things have just gotten a lot easier for me, because their timing is impeccable.

Patreon has recently release a WordPress plugin that allows you to take posts on your blog and make them viewable to Patrons only. This allows us to make membership sites quickly and easily, without having to worry about processing payments or subscriptions. In this video tutorial, I show you exactly how to make a Patreon WordPress Membership Site.

Patreon WordPress Plugin

I go into detail in the video (transcript below if you prefer), but with the Patreon WordPress plugin, you can connect your Patreon project, then lock down posts so that only people who pledge a certain amount can access them. This is a great way to quickly and easily build a membership site that has private content, without you having to worry about collecting payments, managing subscriptions, and more.

Steps Overview

  1. Setup Your own Patreon account if you haven’t done so
  2. Install the Patreon WordPress plugin (in your WordPress Dashboard, go to Plugins -> Add New)
  3. Activate It
  4. Go to Patreon Settings and click the OAuth link
  5. Create a new application
  6. Copy the keys back into your WordPress Dashboard
  7. Create a New Post
  8. Find the Patreon box on the right and set a price
  9. Publish!

Transcript

Today, I’m going to tell you how to set up a simple membership site on WordPress using Patreon’s new WordPress Plugin. If you don’t know what Patreon is, it is a website where people can go to directly support content greeters. For example, if you like somebody like Peter Hollens on YouTube, then you can go over to his Patreon and pledge anywhere from $1 to a couple of hundred dollars in order to continue supporting his work directly. Patreon is a place where people can empower and support creators.

What is Patreon?

On the screen we see my Patreon page. This is for my podcast and my YouTube channel. Just to get a lay of the land of what we’re looking at here, you see that we see the number of patrons that I have, some goals I’ve set out for myself, some content about why I started this Patreon but on the right you will see the rewards. This is the important integration that we’re getting with the Patreon WordPress Plugin. You see, I have a $1 or more per month reward, $5 all the way up to $100.

Adding the Plugin

What the Patreon WordPress Plugin allows us to do is create posts on our WordPress blog and make them visible only to patrons who have pledged a certain amount. Let’s go over to my WordPress site and if we go to plugins, add new and then search for “Patreon.” You’ll see that there are a few plugins that come up. We’re looking for the plugin that is made by Patreon so we’re going to look for Patreon WordPress by Patreon, then we’re going to click install and we’re going to click activate.

Creating our App

All right, so now you see the Patreon Plugin has been installed and we have a new area on the left called Patreon Settings. If we click that you’ll see that we’re brought to a settings page. Here we’re going to need to create an application client that has some API keys for authentication. To do that, we will click on the link in the API settings box. When we get to this page we’re going to have to create a client and you’ll see that we have a form that we need to fill out so we’ll go ahead and fill that out.

All right, and you’ll see that we have an app named description, we have the author which we need to provide, the domain. We need to include an icon. This icon is going to show up when users are asked to authenticate their account against our WordPress website. Then, finally we have a redirect URI. You can get the redirect URI right from the WordPress Plugin by seeing the value here. It’s probably going to be your URL/patreon-authorization.

Plugin Settings

Once we have this information, we will see a new area where our client is created. In this box we have all of the information that we need in order to fill out the plugin information. I’m going to go ahead and do that and then we can fast forward, kind of jump past this part…all right, and once we have that information filled in we’ll click update settings. There are a few default settings that we can use on this page as well. We’re going to keep everything at the recommended setting which is to enable login with Patreon and allow admin’s editors to login with Patreon button. These things are turned on by default and so now our website is ready to have Patreon specific content.

Setting a Post for Patrons Only

If we go to Posts, add new we’ll see a new box on the right hand side for the Patreon Level. Now, what I want to do instead is use a post that I have already created so that we don’t have to fill in everything. I’m going to choose a post I wrote a while ago called Check Out my Podcast Gear. We have our content and everything like that and then we have the Patreon level. I’m going to make this $1, which means that anybody who pledges at least $1 will be able to access this blog post. I will click Update.

Since I’m administrator I’ll be able to see this post. But if we open this up in an incognito window we’ll see a message that this content is for patrons who pledge $1 and over or $1 or more. We can click unlock with Patreon and then we can choose to log in, we already have a Patreon account. Once we’re logged in if we are not pledged we can go ahead and pledge here. If we are logged in we will see this authorization box that is asking the user to essentially allow our site to access their Patreon information. Once we complete the authorization process we can now view the post. That’s it for this quick tutorial on how to create an easy membership site using Patreon.

Advice

Now, I do have a couple of pieces of advice from going through this process. I would categorize the posts that you intend for patrons so that you have an easy landing page to send users to. If you have the Patreon or patrons or members category that’s an easy place where all of the members only posts will show up.

The other piece of advice is that depending on the hosting you’re using you might run into issues where the login process for Patreon can’t be complete. This is possibly due to cashing issues. What will happen is Patreon will create a simple file that WordPress and the Patreon WordPress Plugin can access. If for some reason those two don’t match, the process is aborted. Again, that could be due to cashing issues. If the file is inaccessible on the WordPress side for some reason, Patreon will think that there’s a security issue.

To fix that you’re going to have to work with your specific hosting company. I noticed it with my site with Varnish Cash on Liquid Web. I noticed that people using WP engine have also run into that problem. Again, that is a hosting level problem. It’s probably something that Patreon can fix in a future update. For now if you run into that issue it’s probably a cashing issue.

In Closing

I will link to the forum post I found kind of detailing the issues in the description for this video. That’s it for this video. If you liked it go ahead and click the thumbs up button below. Subscribe to this channel for more great tutorials. Hey, if you like what I’m doing head over to Patreon and pledge. It’s as little as $1 a month, that’s $12 a year, that’s like three Starbucks coffees, for behind the scenes stuff, Q&A stuff, and a lot more, access to me and some of the stuff I’m doing behind the scenes as well as early access to my plugin and videos like that. Thanks again for watching and have a great day.

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2 thoughts on “Make an Easy Membership Site with WordPress and Patreon”

  1. Joe Casabona

    Thanks Almin. While there are lots of great membership plugins out there (my personal favorites are Paid Memberships Pro and RCP), I was really trying to demonstrate a way to offer private/members-only posts while offloading all of the hard work to a system that completely specializes in that. I feel that’s incredibly valuable to a lot of people.

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