How To Create a Paywall For Your Content in WordPress - MailOptin

How To Create a Paywall For Your Content in WordPress

Creating a content paywall is the easiest way to monetize your blog.

Ads are annoying and degrade the user experience. And getting accepted in a good ad network requires that your blog gets hundreds of thousands of visitors. Creating a product or a course can take months or even years, and after all that effort it can still fail.

A content paywall is a simple but effective way to monetize your blog. If your audience likes your content, they will have no problem paying $5 a month (or more) to read your best content. If you can get 1000 people to subscribe to your paid content, that’s a full-time monthly income right there!

In this article, I will first tell you the pros and cons of creating a paywall. Then, I will show you the types of content paywalls you can create, and then I will show you how to easily create two different types of content paywalls in WordPress.

Pros and Cons of Paywalls

Before you create a paywall on your blog, here are some advantages and disadvantages you need to consider. You may find that paywalls are the perfect way to monetize your blog or you may find that they may not be appropriate for your industry.

Pros

One of The Easiest Ways To Monetize Your Blog

There are dozens of ways to make money with your blog. Creating a content paywall is one of the easiest. If done right, you can create a reliable passive income stream from your blog.

Unlike other methods of monetization that take months of work to create, test, and launch a product, creating a content paywall takes virtually no time. It also doesn’t require hiring a web developer to set it up for your website. You can do it yourself with a WordPress plugin in under an hour.

Your Fans Fund Your Content

Having a subscription-based paywall means you no longer need to rely on Ad revenue or affiliate partnerships. Your fans fund the content you create. Isn’t that the dream of every blogger? Creating content for your fans full-time.

The amount of money you make depends on the number of paid subscribers you have. Unlike other monetization methods, a content paywall can become a significant source of income or even replace your full-time job when you reach 1,000 subscribers or more.

Cons

Paid Subscribers Expect High-Quality Content

Whatever content you put behind a paywall needs to be your best work. If your fans don’t get enough value out of paying you, you will get bad reviews. A business that sells content is only successful if it gets repeat buyers.

This is especially true if you create a monthly subscription. Your subscribers will expect to see new subscriber-only content added every month. You will need to consistently deliver new high-quality content to keep your subscribers interested.

SEO

When you implement a paywall, only paid subscribers can see your content. And because Google isn’t one of them, they won’t be able to see and index your content.

This problem can be avoided if you create a metered paywall that lets people view a couple of articles for free. This is what news sites like Telegram do to let Google read and index all their content.

Types of Paywalls

There are 3 types of content paywalls that you can create for your blog. Each comes with its pros and cons.

Metered Paywall

This is what big publications like Telegram do. They let you read 3-4 articles for free. If you want to read more, you can get a paid subscription for unlimited access. This type of paywall works great with almost all types of content sites. How much you can charge depends on how much content you have on your site and how much your audience values it.

Subscriptions

Selling subscriptions to your content is an easy way to generate a passive income from your blog. Blogs that do this usually offer a couple of their best blog posts for free and lock the rest of their best content behind a paywall.

If you want to be successful with subscriptions, you need your subscribers to keep paying you every month. This means you will need to publish new high-quality content every month. Most blogs increase the value of their subscription by creating a community around their blog that is only accessible to paid members.

Farnam Street is a productivity and self-improvement blog that does subscriptions successfully:

For $20 per month, you can get access to exclusive subscriber-only content and the Farnam Street community where you can connect with other like-minded people.

The membership might look expensive at a first glance, but to the people who are fans of this blog, it’s a steal. The membership gives them access to not only subscriber-only content but also courses on improving your productivity and monthly AMA sessions with the blog’s author:

If you choose to create a monthly or annual membership, you will need enough subscriber-only content on your blog to make it worth the price.

Email Opt-in Paywall

Rather than asking for money, you ask your audience to subscribe to your email list. This is one of the oldest and most effective content marketing strategies. Once someone gets on your email list, you get to pitch them your products again and again for free.

Backlinko Email Optin

The easiest way to do this is with a WordPress plugin such as MailOptin. It lets you set up an email opt-in paywall in less than a couple of minutes. In the next section, I will show you how easy it is:

How to set up an email opt-in paywall with Mailoptin

Mailoptin is a powerful WordPress plugin that helps you grow your email list. It’s an all-in-one tool for email marketing. One of its best features is that it lets you lock your content behind an email opt-in paywall. This way your readers will only be able to access the locked content if they subscribe to your email list.

Mailoptin makes locking your content really easy. Once you install it on your WordPress blog, all you have to do is create a new opt-in campaign and configure it to lock specific blog posts on your blog.

Let me show how easy it is. First, navigate to MailOptin -> Optin Campaigns in your WordPress dashboard sidebar:

Now, click the Add New button at the top:

Now, enter a title for your new campaign and select In-Post as opt-in type:

You will now see some professionally-designed opt-in templates. Click the select theme button on the one that you like the most. I like the first one so I’ll select that:

Once you select a theme for your first opt-in campaign, you will see this screen:

This is where you can customize all aspects of your opt-in campaign to make it suit your website’s branding.

Let’s first set it up for content locking and then you can take your time to customize the looks of it. To do so, click the configuration menu in the sidebar:

Now you will see the available options for content locking:

First, you will want to check the Lock Content Below Optin checkbox:

Now, you will be asked to select a content locking style. If you select obfuscation, the content will be loaded but it will be blurred and hidden behind the opt-in form.

But if you select Removal then the content will only be loaded on the page once the user subscribes to your email list. Obfuscation is fine for most blogs.

Finally, change Optin Form Position from After Content to Before Content because this opt-in form will only lock content that is below it:

Now click the back button next to the Configuration heading to return to the main menu.

You will now need to choose where the leads/subscriber information collected from this form goes. You can do so from the Integrations menu:

Here you can choose to send your leads to an already connected service such as Mailchimp or ConvertKit. If you don’t have any integrations connected with MailOptin, you can connect your favorite email marketing tools to MailOptin from the MailOptin Integrations page.

For now, you can just select MailOptin Leads Only:

This will store all the leads collected by this form in the database.

The only thing that remains now is configuring this opt-in form to show up on the pages and posts you would like it to show up on. To select the pages you want to lock on your website, go to the Display Rules menu:

Now, select Page Targeting.

You can now select the pages and posts that you want to lock behind an email opt-in paywall:

First, you will need to disable the Globally show opt-in checkbox or all the pages and posts on your website will get locked.

Now, you can search for posts and pages that you want to lock behind this opt-in form:

You can lock as many posts and pages as you want behind this opt-in paywall by searching and selecting them from this search box.

Now, take a minute or two to customize the opt-in form to your liking. Feel free to play around with the options. There are a lot of cool things MailOptin can do for your blog.

Once you are ready to publish this form, click the big checkbox you see on top to activate it and then click the Save Changes button to save it:

To test if it’s working, visit the page that you choose to lock and you will see your opt-in form locking the content:

Content Locking Is Working

Try entering your name and email in the form. When you click the subscribe button, you will see that the content gets unlocked:

Content Is Unlocked

How to create a payment-based paywall with Leaky Paywall

Leaky Paywall lets you create a paid metered paywall where your readers get to read the first couple of articles for free. It’s like a free trial for your content. This is what major publications do. You might have seen this in action if you have ever read something on Medium.com:

Note: To take payments with Leaky Paywall, you will need a stripe payments account. But don’t worry! It only takes a couple of minutes to sign up and your account gets activated the next day.

Leaky Paywall is a free plugin and you can install it by searching for it on the Add New plugin page of your WordPress dashboard:

Search for it and then click the Install Now button. It will take a couple of seconds to install. Once it’s installed click the Activate button.

Now, you will need to create 5 new pages for Leaky Paywall to work correctly. To see the list of pages needed visit the Leaky Paywall settings page from your sidebar:

You will see five dropdown menus that all say “Select”. You will need to create a new page and place the required shortcode on that page and then select it from the dropdown.

Let’s do it for the login page first. Create a new Page called “Log In” and put the [leaky_paywall_login] shortcode in the content:

Whatever you write before and after the shortcode will be displayed on the Log In page for Leaky Paywall.

Now select this newly created page from the drop-down for Login Page:

Now you will need to create 4 other pages for Leaky Paywall:

The Subscribe Cards, Register Form, and Profile pages all have a specific shortcode in their description that you need to place on their respective page’s content. You don’t need to place a shortcode for the last page.

Once you are done creating the required pages, go to the Restrictions & Levels tab on the Leaky Paywall settings page:

Here you can select what post taxonomies (categories, tags, and other custom taxonomies) are to be metered with the paywall.

The best way to restrict content with this plugin is to create a specific tag or category for your posts and select it here. This way every time you want to put a new post behind the metered paywall, all you will need to do is add the restriction tag or category to it.

You can also put all your posts behind the metered paywall by choosing the All option from the taxonomy dropdown. Click the Add Restricted Content button to select what to restrict:

If you put 4 under Number Allowed, then your visitors will be allowed to view 4 posts for free before they need to subscribe. If you put 0, then they will need to subscribe before they can view any of the content.

If you scroll down this settings page, you will see a section called Subscription Levels:

This is where you can create and customize your subscriptions. In the free version of Leaky Paywall, only one subscription level is allowed. If you want to create multiple levels, you will need to get their addon.

To take payments from your subscribers, you will need to enter your Stripe account details in the Payments tab of this plugin:

You can read Leaky Paywall’s documentation if you need help setting up the Payments part.

Conclusion

If you still haven’t decided what type of paywall to create, I recommend creating an email paywall. It takes only a couple of minutes and will help you grow your email list. The bigger your email list, the more money you will make in the long run. So, start today!