WordPress has grown from a mere b2/cafelog fork to an API framework, and still, the future is bright. Now, it powers over 75 million websites. That is an excellent 34% of the market share and it’s growing.
With WordPress there are all sorts of plugins to keep the core light while offering you the chance to add extra functionality. So?to run a membership or community website, you need a great WordPress community plugin. You need a plugin that makes it easy for users to register and become members on your site. You need a plugin that makes it easy to manage your community website. If you’re looking for one such plugin, we are happy to introduce Member Chimp.
Today, we cover all the features that make Member Chimp a brilliant user profile and community plugin. We install the plugin and go over each element, so you can hit the ground running, instead of wondering how to configure the whole thing.
If that sounds exciting, get your mug ready and walk with me.
What is Member Chimp?
Before we get lost in all the features, it would be great to know what we are working with. So, ladies and gents, what exactly is Member Chimp?
Well, Member Chimp is a free WordPress plugin that helps you to create beautiful and highly customizable user profiles.
Thanks to a slew of excellent features, the plugin makes it super duper easy to create an online community on WordPress. In other words, it helps you to convert a mere WordPress installation into a great community website.
Member Chimp is not an add-on. It is a complete solution to create community or membership websites without breaking a sweat. This means you won’t need another plugin, say BuddyPress, to create a fantastic community website.
When we tested Member Chimp, it proved extremely easy to install and configure. Once you set it up, users won’t know you use WordPress (or even the plugin) to run your community website thanks to powerful front-end functionality.
Creating and managing your online community site is also extremely easy since Member Chimp comes with amazing back-end functionality.
If you are a developer or power user, you’ll fall head-over-heels in love with the plugin. For starters, it is open-source, meaning you can fork or customize it extensively without worrying about licensing. Secondly, it’s extensible what with hundreds of action and filter hooks at your disposal. Additionally, Member Chimp is scalable meaning it’s perfect for the most diverse of needs.
Further, you can contribute to the plugin on GitHub, allowing you to add or suggest great features that can help many other users.
The core plugin is free, but you can always activate premium add-ons by purchasing a PRO subscription. The PRO subscription renews annually and offers you premium support and access to future PRO features.
Speaking of features…
The free version of Member Chimp comes with the following:
- Front-end and SEO-friendly user profiles
- Seamless user registration
- Easy user login
- Beautiful account dashboard
- Password recovery
- Customizable email notifications
- Custom user roles
- File uploads
- Member directories
- Conditional navigation menus
- Social login
- Followers (users can follow each other on your site)
- Online user (display the online status of users and show online users)
- Content dripping
- And so on
With that out of the way, let’s install the plugin and configure the options, so you can have a better picture of what to expect.
How to Install Member Chimp
Installing the Member Chimp WordPress plugin is the stuff of fourth-graders. It’s so easy you should be done in less than 5 minutes. Configuring the plugin is equally easy, and building a fantastic community website is even easier once you get things up and running.
Since Member Chimp is a free plugin available at WordPress.org, you?can install it directly from your admin dashboard. Navigate to Plugins > Add New. Next, enter “Member Chimp” in the search box, and once you find the plugin, hit the Install Now button as we detail in the screenshot below.
After that, click the Activate button to get the ball rolling. This should redirect you to the quick setup wizard shown below.
Hit the?Let’s go! button. At the same time, you can skip the setup wizard by clicking the Not right now link at the bottom of the page as seen in the above image. You can rerun the setup wizard later on by navigating to?Member Chimp > Settings and clicking the?Setup Wizard button at?the bottom of the page.
That being said, let’s go back to the setup wizard. Clicking Let’s go! takes you to a second screen, which helps you to activate four free add-ons as we highlight in the following image.
Activate the features you need (I activated all), and click the?Finish Setup button.
On the last screen shown below, click Visit Dashboard to exit the setup wizard and return to your WordPress admin dashboard.
How to Configure Member Chimp
Before you do anything else, you need to activate WordPress registrations on your site.
Navigate to?Settings > General and tick the?Anyone can register checkbox. Next, set?Member as the?New User Default Role as we illustrate in the image below.
After that, scroll to the bottom of the page and click the Save Changes button:
Now, your WordPress installation can accept new user registrations. Let us configure Member Chimp.
Member Chimp Forms
Navigate to?Member Chimp > Forms on your WordPress admin menu as shown below.
Member Chimp offers you a couple of pre-made templates as shown below.
- Lost Password
- Account – Main
Each comes with a shortcode that you can copy-paste into any page/post of your WordPress website. Let’s begin with the registration form.
Click on the?Registration link as we highlight below.
Clicking the link leads you to the beautiful form builder screen as shown below.
You can do a lot on the above screen. You can add a new form, customize an existing form, turn on social login, view the form shortcode and redirect users to specific pages after registration among other things.
During testing, I didn’t change much of the original settings. I didn’t need to. The registration form looked awesome on the test website!
What did I do?
I simply copy-pasted the [memberchimp_register] shortcode into a new page and hit the Publish?button. Super easy.
Here is what that got me:
Not bad for 2 minutes of work, right? I was using the Total theme, which has a full-screen page template.
- The above registration page/form is fully functional and redirects the user to their profile page as soon as they register.
- Best is to use a full-width page template without any sidebars for the registration page
- The plugin works with any WordPress theme
- On registration, the plugin sends your user a beautiful email notification
So, I tried out the registration form. After registering, I was redirected to my profile as shown below.
Obviously, I need to add a photo and change a few details, but so far so good, it’s splendid. Gives off that Twitter vibe and stuff, so yeah.
Oh, by the way, you don’t have to create a new registration page; I was only demonstrating how you can use the shortcodes.
Member Chimp creates a couple of page for you upon installation. They are Register, Profile, Account, Lost Password, Members and Login.
Working with the other pages is equally easy. Besides, you can customize your pages extensively because WordPress makes customizing anything incredibly easy.
Forms and pages aside, let us see other features the Member Chimp plugin offers.
Custom fields allow you to capture and display all sorts of information inside the user’s profile. On installation, Member Chimp comes with a couple of custom fields including Display Name, Username, Profile Privacy, Password, Registration Date, Website URL and so on.
The best part is you can create custom fields to capture the information you need.
Navigate to?Member Chimp > Custom Fields.?Next, click the?Add custom field button as shown in the image below.
On the next screen, enter the details of your custom field. For instance, I added a custom field for gender selection as shown below.
After entering the required details, click the?Publish button as seen in the image above.
Member Chimp offers you the chance to create additional user roles to use as you will. By default, the plugin comes with the member user role. It can adapt other the user roles on your website, but if need be, you can add custom user roles.
Simply navigate to?Member Chimp > User Roles. Next, hit the?Add user role button as shown in the screenshot below.
Next, add capabilities and details for the new user role. After that, click the?Publish button as shown in the image below.
A member list allows you to display a list of your members. The Member Chimp plugin allows you to create multiple lists depending on user roles among other factors.
Then, with a member list shortcode e.g. [memberchimp_memberlist id=538], you can display the list on any page/post (switching out the ID for each list).
To view or edit existing member lists, simply navigate to?Member Chimp > Member Lists as shown below.
To create a new member list, simply click the?Add Member List button as detailed in the above image.
Member Chimp Settings
Now that we have covered most of the features that make Member Chimp a brilliant community plugin, let’s cover the general settings. To access Member Chimp settings, navigate to?Member Chimp > Settings as shown below.
As you can clearly see, the settings page offers you a lot of options. There are seven tabs namely:?General, Addons, Customize, Style, Emails, Advanced?and?System as shown in the image above.
The general tab shown in the image above offers you plenty of options to configure Member Chimp. At the very top, you have licensing, which allows you to upgrade from the free to PRO version in a matter of clicks.
Just below that, you can set your registration options including the new user default role, email confirmation, admin approval, profile privacy, username changes and so on.
The add-ons tab allows you to activate free and premium add-ons. Further, you can configure social login, and the other add-ons such as online users, followers and content dripping.
The customize tab shown above allows you to customize the information displayed on the user’s profiles. You can automatically convert links into clickable URLs, and display the user’s posts and comments on their profile.
The style tab allows you to control how your community website looks. You can change the base color, primary text color, and alert color. You can add other styles via custom CSS in your theme.
The emails tab allows you to control the email notifications that are sent out to your users. By default, you can customize and send out emails to users on new account creation, email confirmation, email change, password change, account pending and so on.
The advanced tab we show above allows you to set the default pages on the front-end. You can choose the default login, registration, lost password, profile, and member’s directory page with a click.
In addition, you can set the default account page and all the endpoints that allow users to view and edit various account tabs.
Then you have the security options on the advanced tab. The screen allows you to block the default WordPress registration, login, and password reset screens. The function redirects all users to Member Chimp front-end pages, which allows you to provide a consistent brand image. Also, users won’t know you’re using WordPress to run your community site.
In the advanced tab, you have REST API options. Thanks to the REST API feature, you can connect external services to your community website.
And finally, you have the system tab. Nothing much to see here; there is only one option. On the above screen, you can allow/disallow usage of Member Chimp to be tracked.
Member Chimp is a fantastic community WordPress plugin. It’s incredibly easy to install and use; you should have a functional community website in a matter of minutes. You can customize your community website extensively. Member Chimp will comfortably handle the functionality, so you can concentrate on building your community website. Hopefully this guide has given you a look into all the features you’re curious about – but you can head over to the Member Chimp User Profile & Community plugin main site to learn more.
Which is your favorite community WordPress plugin? Do you think Member Chimp will ever rule your world? Have questions or suggestions? Please share in the comment section below.