3 Paywall Examples and How to Use Them

If you spend a significant amount of time and effort creating high-quality content for your WordPress.com site, you may be interested in monetizing your work by setting up a paywall. If you have a WordPress.com Business plan, you have access to plugins that would allow you to set up this feature.

To help you make the right decision for your site, here is some background information about how paywalls work, paywall examples, and a few best practices for each type.

What is a paywall?

A paywall is a website feature that prevents a user’s access to content until they pay for the appropriate credentials. You may have come across paywalls when reading articles from news publications. Generally, a paywall pops up as a form that asks you to sign up or subscribe to continue reading.

There are multiple paywall models you can use to monetize your content.

Types of paywalls

Here are the three primary types of paywalls, the best cases for each, and paywall examples:

1. Hard paywalls

A hard paywall requires users to subscribe before they can view any content. To succeed with this model, you’ll need to provide highly valuable content a reader may not be able to find anywhere else.

Generally, this works best for websites that cater to a niche audience or are already leaders in that space. For example, the New York Times earned over 2.2 million paying subscribers through its paywall, according to data shared by Recode, because it’s one of the most well-known newspapers in the world.

Subscriptions, which prompt users to pay for unlimited access for the full length of their subscription, are a good example of the hard paywall model.

2. Soft paywalls

A soft paywall allows users to see some content but usually prevents access after they’ve reached a certain limit. This model is helpful because it gives you an opportunity to prove that your content is engaging, entertaining, or useful before asking users to pay — which can be useful if your site is not yet well-known.

An example of a soft paywall model would be metered or “free for a time” content, which allows users to view a certain number of pages or browse for a certain amount of time before asking for payment.

3. Combination paywalls

A combination paywall allows users to see some content for free all of the time while restricting more premium content to only paid users. This model can be useful for sites who want to be compensated for material that requires more resources, such as in-depth investigative pieces, research-rich reports, or informational e-course videos.

Pay-per-view sites, which allow users to pay to access only the premium pieces they want, are a good example of the combination paywall method.

Before you get started, it’s critical that you’re already earning a large volume of traffic and consistently publishing highly valuable content. Once you’ve met these criteria, setting up a paywall for your WordPress.com site can help you earn money for the content you create.

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Carrie Dagenhard

Carrie is an old school, gumshoe journalist trapped in a modern content marketer's body. She specializes in writing for the marketing, technology and healthcare industries, and loves helping bloggers and small business owners grow their presence online. Carrie resides in the "Silicon Hills" of Austin, TX with her husband and two adorable cats.

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