One of the most important pieces to the retention puzzle for a membership site is the return experience – which has a lot to do with what your members see and how they are directed to the various premium benefits when they return to your site.
With Restrict Content Pro, there’s no built in “member home” or “dashboard” page (at the time of this writing) that subscribers are directed to when they come back. They do have a built in customer dashboard that displays subscription info and upgrade/cancellation options, but that’s not what we’re after here.
What we want is a unique page that reminds your customers that they’ve unlocked special privileges by becoming a member. Without a proper landing page that does this, they are left trotting through the same experience that any other first-time visitor would get – a generic home page and a lot of sales messaging.
Some common problems that occur from not providing a member’s only return experience are:
Paying members are subjected to the same marketing materials (home page, sales page, lead magnets, etc.) that first time visitors are. Obviously you don’t want to continue pitching to people that have already bought, since that just gets in the way of what matters to them and experiencing the value that your product offers.
It’s difficult for members to quickly pick back up where they left off, diluting the effectiveness or enjoyment of your content.
Members may miss out on content that would otherwise validate their purchasing decision with you because there’s not an easy way to find what’s most interesting or relevant to them.
Frustrating or lackluster experiences eventually lead to longer hiatuses between logins followed by the inevitable cancellation.
So a good way to avoid that is to create a unique member dashboard that your members are redirected to once they log back in
We’re firm believers that as much as you can DIY in the early days of building your site, the better, so here is a brief tutorial on how to set up a simple dashboard for your members. It will be a good start and will save you thousands of dollars in custom development costs that you may not need to take on quite yet.
The add-ons that you’ll need for this tutorial
Some of these are paid. None of these are referral links.
- Restrict Content Pro – You will need to be either on the Professional or Ultimate plan to get access the pro add-ons
- Custom Redirects Add-On – this creates a simple way to automatically direct logged in members to the dashboard page when they log in or return to the site
Create the dashboard page
Once you install the RCP plugin, it will automatically create several core pages for you on your site.
For the dashboard, you could either use the already created ‘Your Membership’ page, which displays the subscription, invoice and payment details or create an entirely new page.
For this tutorial, I am going to create a new page, since hitting people with payment details every time they log back in is a little bit like being the person who constantly reminds their partner how much the trip has cost while on vacation together. That person can be a major bummer.
- Create a new page called Member Dashboard (or whatever you want if you’re feelin’ creative)
- Set the access settings to members of any subscription level
- Go ahead and hit publish
Add some basic content and personalization
Once you get a feel for how to use RCP’s shortcodes, you may be able to run with this for your own site. The main goals to keep in mind for the dashboard page are that it feels personalized (relevant content, copy is unique to them, etc.) and points them to the best next steps for them to be successful using your site.
So let’s start with something simple towards that end. First, let’s create a custom menu that will let members navigate between the member-related pages or just use BB to drag a tab form to your site.
Disclaimer: A great way to do this is to create a custom page template in your theme, and hook the menu right before the post content. HOWEVER, if you’re not already familiar with how to do that, I don’t want you getting hung up on learning how. So instead we’re going to use a shortcode as a serviceable solution to get something shipped quickly.
Add some featured content
Now that the menu is in place, we need to add some actual content. What you feature on this page is going to depend a lot on what kind of content you offer and what makes the most sense to show your members when they return to your site.
A good basic rule of thumb for dashboard pages is to make it feel inviting and personal and to at least give them a rundown of the different benefits that they have access to with their membership.
So we’ll start by adding a simple welcome message at the top using RCP’s restrict content pro shortcodes to display their name.
Easy enough, right?
Now, the content. There are plenty of options for what you could add here and how you could add it, but to keep this as basic as possible, let’s just create a simple table using HTML and CSS to feature the 3 most important “members-only” features of the site.
Last step: Redirection
Now we have to make sure that when members return to the site and log back in, they are taken straight to this new dashboard page. For that we’ll use the Custom Redirects Add-on for RCP.
This is a Pro Add-On, which requires that you be on the Professional or Ultimate plan with RCP. Simply download and install the add-on, and then follow the directions mentioned here to specify the “Login Redirect URL” (which in our example will be http://yoursite.com/dashboard).
And there we go – a simple member dashboard page that you can build upon to make the return experience feel a little bit more unique and personalized than your marketing-laden home page. Please share your own dashboard page in the comments below.
Need help with your platform using Restrict Content Pro?
We’ve created a page just for that purpose. Take a look and get in touch if you feel we can help.