One of the biggest ways that businesses can create stable income is through the sales of recurring products like newsletters, private masterminds, and product of the month offers. But those kind of offers can also be a big headache from the standpoint of time required to maintain them unless you employ a bit of automation to serve customers their products. So one of the more popular ways to do that is through a membership site using a membership plugin.
There are quite a number of membership plugins available currently, from very expensive plugins like Wishlist, to free, but mostly unsupported plugins with a bare number of features. So in today’s product review, I’m going to walk you through a new membership plugin from OJ James called Swift Member.
Swift Member, though newly launched at first glance looks like a fairly nice plugin, and since I have a number of my own membership sites already serving customers, I wanted to take it for a spin and see how it stacked up to what I am already using. So this morning, I picked up a copy, and installed it to see what it was all about.
Swift Member Installation:
My product keys and login were delivered by email, which is fairly standard these days, and I did not have to wait long before they landed in my inbox. I logged in to the members area (which is obviously built with the plugin– which tells me the product creators like their own system enough to use it 🙂
The one glitch in the installation that I experienced is that the plugin bundle is a fairly large file and would not upload and install from inside WordPress’s Plugins Dashboard. I had to actually log into my server’s CPanel and use the file manager to upload and unpack the plugin to the wp-content/plugins directory before I could activate it.
This however, is not a deal breaker, and is just what happens when a file is bigger than the php file size limit configured on the server. Other big plugins I’ve had to do this with include S3 Flowshield, Thrive Builder, and Optimize Press 1 & 2.
My activation key was also emailed to me right after my membership logins, and the software activated without any trouble when I added my license key.
Swift Member Features:
Swift Member has several really strong groups of features, which most people selling digital goods like training courses, digital downloads like PDFs or videos, or Software will appreciate.
Here are some of the features I really liked and you’ll probably find most useful when you grab your copy.
Creating Membership Sites:
- Multiple memberships per WordPress site – I discovered that unlike the plugin I currently use, it’s possible to create multiple memberships, each with their own login page url and multiple products.
- Control memberships across multiple domains with a single dashboard – Hashkeys mean you can access the Swift Member installs on other domains and control them all from one place.
- Per membership site themes – Each membership site can be configured with separate colors, logos, and even different navigation links.
Products in Swift Member:
- Supports multiple products per membership site & product bundling – You can sell multiple products in one membership, and even pack them in bundles for a single price.
- Easy product duplication – Clone products inside the dashboard to create many similar products quickly.
- Sell digital downloads like PDFs, or Software – Point product access at a page, a specific link, and even licensed software with emailed license keys.
Swift Member Payment Options:
- Large Number of Payment Options – The payment options in Swift Member are extensive, and include both direct payment processors like credit cards (2Checkout, Authorize.net Paypal Standard, Payza) and third party processors like JvZoo, Clickbank, Zaxxa, WSO Pro (To name just a few– there really were MANY options)
- Recurring Payments, Trials, and One Time Payments – Product Recurring options are impressively flexible in Swift Member and allow you to configure recurring and trials for just a few days, weeks or months, or do a simple one time payment.
Swift Member Sales Reporting:
- Daily Sales Reporting Dashboard – When you first open the Swift Member dashboard, you’ll see a tally of exactly how you are doing for the day, last 7 days, and all time. This makes it easy to see at a glance whether you are making your earnings targets or not.
- Payment/Order Statuses – Easily see which orders have refunded, or are incomplete, and which user bought what and when.
Site Management, Help & Security Utilities
- IP Logging & Blocking – Can’t get rid of that one serial refunder or fraudster? Swift Member lets you track the web requests hitting your sales pages, see the IP addresses, and lets you block those who are behaving poorly or causing trouble. (Yeah, occasionally you need to fire a customer if they aren’t a good fit or are just trying to buy and refund their way to free stuff repeatedly.)
- Database Optimization Tool – Over time, Databases get slower, and occasionally will need to be optimized to keep the site performing properly. Swift Member includes a database optimization tool, so you don’t need to install an additional plugin to do this task.
- Database Backup and Re-Import Tool – Easily backup your site database with the on-board backup tool and then re-import a backup.
- On board video tutorials – All of the software features training is embedded in the pages of your WordPress dashboard for easy access.
What’s Missing from Swift Member…
Overall, I think you’ll agree there are an awful lot of features included in Swift Member for a fresh to market membership plugin but as always, there are a few things missing that I’d like to see fixed, changed or added.
- No drip fed content options – While the plugin has almost every other product delivery base covered, you can’t currently drip feed pieces of a product out.
- Membership Themes are a little bit ugly by default, though this is not a huge deal since they are also customizable enough to be made pretty.
- The on-board videos have no full-screen controls, so you have to click on the YouTube icon in the bottom right corner of the video if you want to watch it at a more visible size so you can see what’s going on.
- No automated recurring backups or backup to cloud – Backups are one of those things you simply forget to do regularly with everything else going on in your business, but the backup feature has to be triggered manually. Ideally, I’d like to see them add options for automated backup to your cloud provider that Dropbox, or S3.
- Limited auto-responder choices – There are only about 5-6 auto-responders supported in the application, and no way to insert a custom form if you aren’t using one of those.
- This isn’t really their fault but…. the plugin package is pretty big and I had to install by uploading inside CPanel – it was too big for a in-WordPress install on my machine. Some mention of how to install manually for the technically challenged would be nice.
My Overall Impression of Swift Member:
- The coding seemed fairly solid, and I didn’t notice any real glitches in the user interface.
- Default templates could be a bit prettier– hire a designer to add some “pop” guys!
- Excellent feature set and very flexible in most of things marketers might want to do with it.
- Easy to set up and configure.
- Limited Auto-responder choices
- Extensive Payment Options to suit just about anyone.