August 3, 2014

Author's Pick #2 - Weebly now supports Membership Area! How good was it?

Posted by Domingo Tambasacan at 8/03/2014

Weebly Membership Area

Few months ago, Weebly  announced that they will be adding the "log-in element" or "Membership Area" on their templates. Everybody was excited of course, but suddenly disappointed with the next incoming months cause they never heard that "Membership Area" again. Finally, at the tip of July, they launched the beta period for such feature. Well, let's see if it is what we expected.





Membership area is so important that WordPress beats Blogger on that particular aspect. If Weebly supports one, then it's a huge step that will eventually compete with WordPress and other web builders. Though it is still on beta, this feature looks promising for our site's progress and development.

I read the Weebly Blog (and comments of course) and now, let me share what is GOOD and what is BAD.

THE "GOOD" CURRENTLY:

- Create and invite individual members
- Create and manage member groups
- Control page visibility permissions for both individual members and groups
- Customize invitation emails and direct invite links
- Bulk add members via CSV
- Search members and groups
- Password reset for individual member accounts
- Invite up to 20 members with a Pro account and unlimited members with a Business account.

THE "BETTER" ON THE FUTURE:

- Allow visitors to sign up and register to your site
- Place a login/register button on your site
- Provide membership as a paid option
- Turn store customers into members and remember their order history

You could say "Wow"!! But wait, let us check the downside:

- This membership area works only for PRO and BUSINESS accounts, and nothing on FREE.
- PRO accounts can only add 20 members. Am I joking? No.
- You need to get BUSINESS account for unlimited members.

Now you sigh. Surprisingly, Weebly has "no comment" with these downsides.

How odd.

While reading the comments, I would like to share these interesting lines from my co Weebly users.



timothy link
07/31/2014 12:33am
20 members is not very many!! I do like your idea if the implement a system for paid membership then force to the business plan. I have one site already with business plan and I would switch my subscription site if they had a feature the integrated subscription charging and automatically allowing people to register. Take a look at Sentry Login to see the features I am talking about. But, Sentry Login is very buggy and doesn't work with 10% of my customers.


That is why I was hoping Weebly would come through with the whole package, not just private pages for members.


Charles
07/31/2014 10:52am
Timothy, yes the paid feature would work fine on business plan if you could create new members on subscription basis and have various levels of membership. That would be an easy function as it has be around for years on other platforms. I think websites are becoming easier and the new seo will be your content. Content will be king in the coming years because if everyone has access to member sites it sure divides up the market. Many will not pay, so the barrier of entry is still there.

The free option would be great for bands that want to offer a vip section to view secure content and as the bands grow, they may offer a paid vip section. If you restrict to 20 members, you do not have a system that can grow with the business or site. This encourages users to have a plan to eventually upgrade to the higher plan. You still need a pro account at $8 bucks a month to get in the game for unlimited free members, by my idea. The 20 members option sounds more like something that should go on the FREE plan or starter. If I am paying $96 per year I would hope the pro plan would include unlimited member options without losing features in the member plan. I dislike when companies provide new features and do a great job of innovating, but chop up the new innovations to only work with one segment that is the higher cost segments. What I am saying is provide all the features you need to run the membership on all levels, but limit it to 20 members for starter, unlimited free for pro, and unlimited paid for business. That would be fair and provide the highest yield to Weebly.

Weebly is really innovating and coming out with new features faster, so I give them a lot of credit. But, at the same time, prices have gone up drastically from 10 websites in a pro account to just 1 for the same price in just couple years. Plus, they introduced new plans and I am curious how the business plan is working at that high price point. It is interesting that Wix, Squarespace and Weebly have the same price for eCommerce plans!

If they can master this member feature and put their eyes back on improving their templates, they would give Wordpress a run for the money. Wordpress is becoming much easier and features are much more extensive via Wordpress. The down side is you have to have separate hosting and Wordpress can be a bit buggy at times with lots of updates and maintenance. That said, if you have the look and much the same basic features, I would go with Weebly over Wordpress. It is getting closer, but still scratching my head as to what the developers and executives were thinking offering 20 member plan and a beta that does not seem to work.

My final thoughts are for Weebly to master this member feature and listen to their paid users. Also, stop making templates that are light on layouts. Make some templates that have text headers, sidebars global, sidebar non-global, drag and drop header, mutli content sections with diff backgrounds for each section, double footer...ect. Make more and possibly some premium one time pay themes that are amazing vs just pretty cool. I love the new background editor, two thumbs up on that one!



I agree with Charles, and you can only say these words if you've been using Weebly for long. Loyal Weeblers can see (or feel) changes and will always react on it. Yeah, I remember that years ago, when I upgrade my account to PRO all my sites on the list will become PRO but now, it only hatches an egg.

All the upcoming features, developments and updates are good. The only thing is, Weebly should never push the price too far because not everyone can afford it. If they set all the key features to paid plans then what would happen to the FREE account? What would happen to the reason why we love Weebly (cause its simple, easy and most of all FREE).

Atleast, they specify that it is still on BETA, so it's the best time to throw your suggestions on their FB Page or Official Blog or even here. I love Weebly, that's why I created this site so that at least we can add extra features on our own without waiting for months or years. I never intended to compete with them, this site simply tells users that even a FREE account can make an outstanding site.

I guess its time to care about their plans and we should always be a part of their decision making. Our comments and feedbacks are the most important things for now to improve the beta.

How about you? How do you feel with these updates? I need to know, please drop a comment below.

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About Author:

Hi I am Domz. I love inserting new widgets and effects on Weebly Template. I like helping people and I like them more being my subscriber. Follow me @ Twitter | Facebook



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