In my last part of the series, I discussed all the great things about LearnDash and how it’s helped our business, but I also discussed some of the limitations that LearnedDash has regarding membership features. I mentioned how in order to protect some of the custom post type contents that we had on our site, content we needed members of specific courses to view, we had to install a full-blown membership plugin to achieve a proper LearnDash membership site. Opting to use a full-blown membership plugin and integrating it with LearnDash, resulted in the entire site feeling more like some Frankenstein creature versus the sleek, high-performance WordPress site we had before installing the membership plugin.
Old Solutions for LearnDash Memberships Were Messy
The full-blown membership plugin that we used wasn’t very good. I won’t mention the name because I actually really like the plug-in by itself, and think it has a lot of merits. However, with its full feature version, we didn’t need all of its features. For instance, we weren’t setting up some sort of multi-level drip site with complex access rules. We didn’t need all the fancy integrations with other systems and software that it connected to, nor did we need complex registration forms or advanced subscription reports.
All we needed was a simple and effective way to protect non-course content on our site, all at once (ie., bulk configuration), so that members of one LearnDash course would be able to have access to pages, blog posts, and knowledge base articles that we created for them.
Even though the membership plugin we chose did have an integration plugin available to connect to LearnDash, it still meant having to use the membership plugin’s registration and user management systems, instead of being able to use LearnDash built-in course grid menu and check-out system, which we preferred.
In theory, providing access to these additional posts and pages for our course members should have been easy, but in reality, it was not the case.
Using Learndash and Another Membership Plugin Became a Problem
My staff and I spent hours the first week dealing with messy and complex access rules and configuration just to get everything sort of working. As I plunged deeper and deeper into the particulars of this large membership plugin, I immediately missed the simplicity and elegance of LearnDash’s ultra-simple user management. I’m sure those of you who are developers in the WordPress space, know that feeling when you’ve gone too far down the rabbit hole to turn back a project. I felt that I had opened up a Pandora’s box of complexity both for initial setup and configuration as well as long-term maintenance by installing the membership plugin, just to get a few extra pages protected for my LearnDash course members.
And of course, trying to train a staff, a virtual assistant, on how to use and navigate not one, but two access protecting plugins (LearnDash plus the membership plugin), each with completely different navigations and user interfaces. Of note, two of my virtual assistants who I was training on how to use both systems, simply asked point-blank why we needed two systems to protect content for our users? Even after the explanation, it was hard to get them to understand about different custom post types (content types) in WordPress, and how one plug-in would only protect some, but not all content types.
Not only that, but each plugin would generate its own different reporting about member usage, enrollment, notification logs, etc.
All in all, the site became a bear to manage, and we ended up spending more time and resources dealing with finicky issues that arose by combining two very different and very powerful plugins to achieve a lot of overlap with protecting content from users.
Supposed to say I got fed up with it all, and as developer myself, decided to do something about it to make my life and my staff’s life easier.
Hence, Dashing Memberships was born: the first and only membership plugin for WordPress, that fits perfectly into the LearnDash’s system, adding only what features are necessary to provide you with a powerful and robust e-learning membership website.
In part 3 of the series, I’ll go over what Dashing Memberships is all about and how it can make your life easier. In the meantime, feel free to check out my previous article in the series as well, if you haven’t had a chance to read it.