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Building membership sites to share content with your fans can feel like a chore, especially if you need to manage member subscriptions and separate members-only content. If you’re an artist or a creator, you’ve probably already heard of Patreon, but did you know that you can make your website into a hub for your Patreon supporters?
Patreon is a platform that allows creators to provide a subscription-content service to their followers. It also opens doors for artists to build relationships and share exclusives with their subscribers, or “patrons.” Think of this as a Kickstarter campaign, but for ongoing content and recurring subscriptions to access that content.
To get started with Patreon, you must first set up your creator page. There are various other things that you need to configure for your page, but the two most important items are your Goals and Rewards.
Your Goals will be either Earnings-based or Community-based.
Rewards are specific things that you will give your patrons that the general public won’t have access to. Generally, you would reserve your most special content for your patrons, as they are the ones who are, in effect, paying for it.
You can post content directly to your Patreon page, but this means that if you ever decide to close your Patreon account or move away from it, your content stored with Patreon may be difficult to migrate to another platform. A much better way to own and manage your content is posting it to your WordPress.com site, and then sharing that content to your Patreon page. This is where WordPress.com’s Pro plan and the ability to install plugins comes into play.
The first plugin you’ll want to consider is the Patreon WordPress plugin, which is maintained by the folks at Patreon. It allows you to connect your WordPress.com Business site to your Patreon page. Once installed and connected, the plugin lets you specify a minimum pledge amount to see a particular post (or all posts). Fans of your WordPress.com Business website can then unlock this patron-only content by seamlessly pledging to you on Patreon, and then returning to your site.
Another free plugin to consider is the Patreon Button and Widgets Plugin by Codebard. This free plugin allows you to add a Patreon button to your WordPress.com Business site so that your fans can easily become your patrons. It also provides two customizable widgets for you to use in your sidebar.
If you’re looking for a more feature-rich option, you can purchase Patron Plugin Pro, also from Codebard. Both Codebard plugins are developed in conjunction with Patreon, so you can rest assured that they will add features that are supported by Patreon. Patreon Plugin Pro provides a host of additional features, such as easy-to-use “Be a Patron” widgets, different post locking types, and custom “Be a Patron” banners for your website. Its website also offers a full demo of these plugin features, so you can see all that it offers before committing to it.
If you’re trying to get started with membership sites, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better combination than a WordPress.com Pro site and Patreon. Once your Goals and Rewards are set up and your plugins are in place, all you have to do is focus on creating content that your audience will be happy to support.