The Membership Guys

How difficult is it to change your membership platform once your site is up and running?

Finding the right membership plugin can be a major pain in the backside.

There are dozens of top-tier membership plugins out there – all with their own strengths and weaknesses.

For the most part, the majority of membership plugins work exactly the same in terms of their core functionality – but it’s in the details and little idiosyncrasies where the decision making gets tough.

  • Does it support my email marketing platform?
  • Can I drip-feed content?
  • Can members buy multiple courses?

Once you start asking these sort of questions the field opens right up in terms of figuring out which option is right for you.

As difficult as this process can be, however, it is crucial to make the right choice for a membership plugin that will serve you well not just for your current requirements, but long term too.

Changing your mind and switching to a different platform after you’ve already launched can be an absolute nightmare.

The biggest factor that determines whether this is just a minor challenge or a major pain is whether you’re taking recurring payments.

A number of membership plugins will have options for porting member accounts and details, but recurring billing is an entirely different kettle of fish.

If you do have people on recurring billing and then switch membership platform, then typically your only options will be to:

  • Have two membership systems running side by side – something which, in most cases, will cause major headaches
  • Ask your members to rejoin your website once you’ve switched systems – and risk people making the choice not to stick around
  • Grant lifetime access to existing members – then hoping that they keep paying their subscription
  • Hire a developer to try to figure out a way of “re-assigning” payment profiles and subscriptions from one system to another – which could be costly, if it’s even possible

So it’s fair to say that if you’re accepting recurring payments, switching membership plugins post-launch is pretty much one of the worst things you could do.

If you’re only taking one-off payments then things are certainly easier – however that doesn’t mean it’s a cake-walk.

Any time you change a major element of your website infrastructure there are going to be headaches and hassles; and at the very least you’ll need to take your site offline for a day or two while you get everything in place.

This only emphasises just how important it is to really research and think about your choice in membership plugin before you launch your website.

Have you had to change the membership plugin on your site? Are you currently thinking about doing it? Let us know in the comments section below…