Paid Member WordPress Site with Forum and Directory

Online Community ~ Shopping Cart Integration ~ Member Directory ~ Forum ~ eCourses

About Career Directors

In 2012, the Career Directors WordPress Site was launched. The site includes many add-on features such as a searchable member directory, forum, member-only library of e-courses, articles, videos and other tools. The site integrates with an external shopping cart and email marketing service. The look-and-feel of the site was developed by another firm.

Since 2012, many changes have been made by us to the site. We are currently working on converting to another theme which more mobile and are working on upgrading the forum.

Video Tour

Since many of the site’s features can only be access by paying members, a video tour of the site can be found below.

GOAL #1: Member Only Access to Paid Content

Active Members Only

Only active members can access paid content, the forum and are listed in the directory.

The site is integrated with an external shopping cart.

Multiple Tiers & eCourses

Members only have access to the products they purchased.

Members can purchase subscription upgrades and eCourses.

Email Marketing Integration

Separate email lists exists for prospects and members allow targeted campaigns.

The members are automatically added when they purchase a products.

GOAL #2: Searchable Directory and Profiles

Member Profiles

Each member can setup a public profile. The profile contains several fields which are only editable by an administrator.

Searchable Directory

The public directory can be searched by various fields.

There is no interactive map because these are virtual businesses.

Active Members Only

The profiles and directory are integrated with the membership plug-in to display active members only.

Goal #3: Migrate Data from existing External Website

The original website was a custom coded system with a Microsoft Access database. The web pages were HTML and the custom code controlled who could see the pages. Like the WordPress site, the site had a searchable directory and members could log in to access member-only content and change their profile.

Instead of re-creating every page and re-entering all the member data, custom-coded scripts were used. This saved the client money and reduced the time it took to launch as well as reducing typographical errors that might occur if it was done manually.

Import Members

Data for over 400 members was extracted from the Access database and converted into a format that could be imported by the WordPress plugin that runs the directory.

Migrate Page Content

Content for over 1,000 pages was extracted, processed and then imported into WordPress.

The original formatting was kept intact.

Redirect Existing URLs

To reduce the SEO impact of migrating the website, redirections were created so the old urls would redirect to the correct content.

Just2Technical not only developed the website, but also setup the Facebook promotions including developing the images highlighting each artist.

Behind the Scenes

Branding

The colors, logo and layout were intially developed by another web developer.

Just2Technical has provided support throughout the years and is currently re-developing it to be faster and more mobile friendly.

Plugin Selection

A significant amount of time was spent researching plugins for member access control, the forum and the directory.

These plugins are still being used today.

Custom Coding

While Just2Technical uses a “low code/no code” methodology. A custom plug-in and PHP code was used in order for the directory to display active members only.

A custom post type is used for the member library.

Continued Support

Complex Page Development

Most of the public marketing pages were developed by Just2Technical using an Advanced Page Editor.

See what the home page and this product page to see what the plug-in can do.

Maintenance

This site’s updates is handled manually because of the website’s complexity. Backups, staging areas and test cases to ensure any updates to do not interrupt member activity.

The site is also monitored for uptime, malware and mobility issues.

Other Support

Just2Technical provides member support with complex issues and when the client is on vacation.

Just2Technical is also a sounding board for new page copy and marketing strategies.

Plug-Ins Used

The current WordPress site is a custom Genesis Theme built in 2012. A new theme is currently being developued using Astra Pro (paid version).

Some of the plugins used to help build this site include:

  • Wishlist Member – member access control, new member registration, email list subscriptions. Integration with Mailchimp, ActiveCampaign and PremiumWebCart.
  • Formidable Forms – Member Profiles and Searchable Directory. Custom code was developed to integrate it with the member plug-in.
  • Simple:Forums – a forum plugin with email notifications and more.
  • Beaver Builder and Ultimate Add-Ons for Beaver Builder for developing complex pages such as the home page and this product page.
  • Ultimate Add-ons for Gutenberg (free) – An add-on to the WordPress built-in editor which is used for posts and member library articles.
  • Central Color Palette (free) – Allows editors to quickly access the branding colors without searching to the hexcode.

NOTE: It is important to remember this site was developed in 2012. Different plug-ins and external services would probably have been chosen if it was developed today.

Need Help with your Website?

Ricki Steigerwald of Just2Technical can help you develop or update your website. Ricki  has over ten years of experience in WordPress.  She offers a free 1/2 hour consultation.

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