Are Hosted Membership Site Management Solutions Better than Membership Plugins?
One of the first question a website owner must answer before selecting their membership site platform is whether they want a hosted membership site solution or a membership plugin that will be used on their WordPress website. This can be a difficult comparison to make, especially with so many different solutions available for each option. To simplify the comparison, let’s take a look at a hosted solution (Kajabi / Member Mouse) and a membership plugin (Magic Members / Wishlist Member) that operate under a different pricing model. This will eliminate one of the more difficult points to compare. Both Kajabi and Member Mouse rely on a monthly pricing model. Membership plugins are generally one-time purchase.
Benefits of Hosted Solutions like Kajabi / Member Mouse
Nothing to Install and Learn
The first benefit of a hosted solution like Kajabi is that there is nothing to install and learn because everything is handled through Kajabi. This means a membership site developer can simply sign up and the basic framework will already be in place. When using a plugin, the plugin would need to be installed on the website developers own website and integrated into their existing WordPress framework. Plus, a hosted solution allows website owners to rely on the solutions IT network rather than managing it himself.
Only One Solution to Manage
A related benefit to hosted solutions is there is only one platform to manage. With Kajabi the sales funnel and membership area are all managed within the Kajabi platform. This is different than a membership plugin because the plugin is often used in combination with other plugins on the WordPress platform. This can simplify the initial integration and streamline the development process.
No Concern Regarding Security and Scalability
The final benefit of a hosted solution is minimal concerns regarding security and scalability. Since a solution like Kajabi is supporting thousands of other membership sites as well, they can spend more time ensuring maximum security for each member’s area while supporting their own large server network. This means unexpected traffic spikes will not affect website uptime.
Benefits of WordPress Membership Plugins like Magic Members
Flexibility via Other Plugins
The first benefit of using a WordPress plugin like Magic Members / Wishlist Member is maximum flexibility. If additional features are needed, another plugin can simply be installed to provide them. With a hosted solution the simply is an option because the only features available are the ones natively built into the membership site solution. This is a key benefit that cannot be overstated. The ability to add additional features and functionality as time goes on allows WordPress membership site owners to quickly change and meet the demands of their members rather than relying on a third party to do it for them.
Lower Switching Costs
Another benefit of using a WordPress membership plugin is minimal switching costs. If a user is unhappy with Kajabi they would need to find an entirely new solution and would not be able to export a majority of their website design, sales funnel, or membership information. On the other hand, if they are unhappy with their WordPress membership plugin they can simply uninstall it and install a new one without losing all of their key data, overall website design, and content already placed on the website. This provides greater long-term flexibility in terms of strategic management and member satisfaction.
The greatest benefit of using a WordPress membership plugin like Magic Members rather than a hosted solution is overall control. By using a WordPress plugin, the website owner can control every aspect of their website. This is simply not an option with hosted solutions like Kajabi. Considering that member satisfaction and long-term strategic management is the key to continually increasing sales and revenue the ability to control every aspect of a website, both within the members area and will outside of it, should be valued above all else.