Combining Free & Paid Users With Manual Designations

A customer came to us with a relatively unique requirement involving a combination of free users, paid users and manual designation of user levels.

The requirements were as follows:

  • All users would initially register as free users.
  • Free users are automatically designated as “non-accredited” users in their user profiles
  • Free users can be upgraded to “accredited” on their profile only with the permission of the admin.
  • Free users should not be asked for credit card or billing details when they register.

While the idea is conceptually simple, executing it on the Easy Membership Sites platform definitely falls into the “Advanced” category.

Registering Free Users

There are two ways to register free users. One is to create a membership level with zero cost. The down side is that the user will still be prompted for payment/credit card information.

The second option is to use the FREE MEMBERSHIP portion of our site. This portion is a separate functional section that is designed specifically for use-cases where there will only be free memberships.

To execute this requirement, we’re going to try to combine this “FREE MEMBERSHIP” function with the PAID MEMBERSHIP functions.

Getting free users registered is actually very easy. There is a menu option already setup in the default template that allows for this type of FREE REGISTRATION. You can find it under the YOUR MEMBERSHIP menu.

This menu option can be moved to a more prominent place on the menu – such as a top-level menu – using the options under APPEARANCE -> MENUS.

Additionally, you might want to modify the SIGN UP link to point to this page instead of the default pricing page.

It is important to be aware that users who sign up with this option will not be assigned a traditional membership level. Thus, any content that is restricted by a membership level will not be accessible by these users.

Designating The Accreditation Level

There are two accreditation levels:

  • Accredited
  • Non-accredited

All free users start of as “non-accredited”.

The Accreditation status will show up in their user profile as shown in the image below:

To set this up, we have to create a custom field for the user profile. And we have to make sure that this field is not editable by users.

Creating The Accreditation Custom Field: Admin Actions

The first thing we have to do is create a field that the admin can use to change the accreditation level of a user. To do this:

  • Click the ADD NEW button
  • Fill out the form as shown in the images below:

Click the UPDATE button in the upper right of the screen to save the field.

You will notice that with these settings, only the admin can change the field and it only shows up in the user profile (the admin user profile in the admin area /back-end, not the end user profile).

Creating The Accreditation Custom Field: End User View

To create the custom field that the user will see in their user profile on the front-end:

  • Go To the MEMBER MANAGER -> FORMS option
  • Click on the DEFAULT PROFILE row – this will bring up a new screen to edit the form
  • Click on the PROFILE FORM button
  • Click on the PLUS sign at the bottom of the first block of fields – below the LAST LOGIN field. This should popup a form:
  • Click on the DROPDOWN option in the first row. This will pop up a second window

Fill out this form as shown below and then click the ADD button.

Notice that the CAN USER EDIT THIS FIELD option at the bottom of the form is not checked.

Finally, we need to make sure that his field show up at the top of the user profile. To do this go to the USER META box on the right hand side of the form screen and select that field (see image below:)

Work Flow

When a new user registers using the FREE REGISTRATION link, they will automatically be set to “Non Accredited” status.

Once the user has passed the checks required to be upgraded to “Accredited”, the admin will be able to switch the status as follows:

  • Navigate to the admin user profile screen by going to the USERS menu option in the admin bar
  • Scroll down to the MEMBERSHIPS section
  • Locate the ACCREDITATION STATUS field
  • Change it as needed and then click the UPDATE USER button

Adding Downloadable Files

With the two different user types, there is a requirement that they each be able to download a different set of files. To accomplish this, the files should first be uploaded to the MEDIA library.

There are a number of ways to allow the users to see which files they can download. In this case we’re just going to show them on a new page.

  • Create a new page under the PAGES -> ADD NEW menu option.
  • In that page, use the STANDARD EDITOR. Here is how that could look:

The important thing to note here is that the “Accredited Files” section is wrapped in a pair of tags that checks the membership level (red arrows in the above image). If the user does not have this membership level, the content will not show up when they view the page.

After the page has been created it can be added to any menu under the APPEARANCE -> MENUS option.

Wrap Up

As you can see, you can do a lot to separate free users and paid users if you do not want your free users to go through the standard billing process.

Questions? Use any of our standard contact methods to reach out to us – we’d be happy to help!

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