Apart from ads, memberships are a good source of revenue for sustaining a website.
To show how much flexibility you have we’ve gone overboard and decided to build a website with 6 different user roles, 2 free and 4 of them will be paid. Each of them will have different permissions in line with their subscription plan. We’ve chosen the permissions for each user role so that:
- visitors are encouraged to register,
- registered members are encouraged to subscribe to a paid membership and
- paying members are encouraged to upgrade to a better plan.
Here are the roles we decided to use:
- Visitors (Public)
- are not allowed to access any website content or the video chat
- Free Subscribers (s2Member Level 0 – non paying members)
- is allowed to access free content (Level 0 content: pages & posts, categories, tags)
- Bronze (s2Member Level 1 – paying members)
- they will be able to access some some of the premium content (Level 1 content), but not the video chat
- Silver (s2Member Level 2 – paying members) will be able to access Level 0, Level 1 premium content, Level 2 premium content and chat, but:
- can’t publish audio & video stream
- can’t create rooms
- can’t send private messages
- can’t join more than 1 room
- They can also watch other people streams
- Gold (s2Member Level 3 – paying members) will have access to Level 0-3 premium content and to the video chat. They can also
- create their own private rooms and send private messages in AVChat
- publish their mic and webcam in the rooms but they can’t make their stream private
- create rooms but not moderate them
- join max 4 rooms
- send private messages
- Platinum (s2Member Level 4) will have access to all content and the video chat. They can also:
- publish their mic and webcam in the rooms and make it private
- join an unlimited number of rooms
- create rooms and moderate them
- send files to the chat room
- can send files to other members in the chat
To have access to premium content and video chat a user must subscribe to a membership plan and pay a recurring monthly fee using PayPal. A Platinum member will have to pay $20/mo, for Gold $15/mo, for Silver $10/mo and Bronze $5/mo. Visitors will be required to register to view any content or access the video chat.
Each content piece on your website (blog posts with text and video, pages, entire categories & tags) can be linked to a level (0-4). Each user role has access to content made for it’s level and content made for lower levels. THis is why members of Platinum user role (level 4) will have access to all content.
This tutorial will show you how to build the above website.
Step 1: What you need
- AVChat 3
- AVChat Video Chat Plugin PRO for WordPress
- s2Member Framework
- PayPal Business Account
s2Member Framework is a membership plugin for WordPress. s2Member Framework supports up to four paid membership (levels 1-4) and free subscribers (Level 0) and integrates with PayPal. It can also be extended with a paid addon (s2Member® Pro) that handles the integration with other payment gateways like Google Checkout or Authorize.net.
AVChat 3 is a powerful and secure video chat software that includes lots of options like video and audio broadcasting, admin features like kicking, banning or user options like reporting, private messages, sending files, create rooms and other great features. It also has a mobile version that runs automatically when you access it from a mobile device.
The AVChat 3 Video Chat Plugin PRO is a WordPress plugin that handles the integration between AVChat and WordPress. The username/display name, avatar, BuddyPress avatar, WP User Avatar and other data from your WordPress database will be automatically used by AVChat. At the same time your WordPress administrators – and any other user role you choose – will have access to the AVChat admin area from where they can kick, ban and silence members. The plugin also allows you to enable different features for different user roles. This will help a lot in generating more subscription revenues by giving certain permissions only to Gold and Platinum users.
Step 2: Installing Everything
First you have to install WordPress 3.x, you can find instruction here.
After you finish the WordPress installation you must install s2Member Framework and then the AVChat 3 Video Chat Plugin PRO for WordPress (together with AVChat 3).
Here are direct links to the install instructions:
- s2Member Framework installation instructions
- AVChat 3 Video Chat Plugin PRO for WordPress (with AVChat 3)
If you have problems installing the AVChat 3 Video Chat Plugin Pro for WordPress 3.x and/or AVChat itself you can sign in to your nusofthq.com account and open a support ticket.
Step 3: Obtaining your PayPal API Credentials
The s2Member® Framework plugin (free) integrates seamlessly with PayPal® Standard for businesses (also free). You do not need a PayPal Pro account, you just need to upgrade your personal account to a business one. In PayPal you can do this by going to the Profile button under My account tab, selecting the My settings button, and then clicking the Upgrade my Account button.
Once you have your PayPal Business account, you will need your PayPal API Credentials:
- Log in your PayPal account, go to Profile and write down your Merchant account ID
- On left side click My selling tools
- Under Selling online section, click Update on API access
- On the following page, click View API Signature
- Write down your: API Username, API Password and Signature
Now you are ready to configure the s2Member Framework for integration with PayPal.
Step 4: Registration overview in s2Member Framework
First let’s understand the subscription signup/registration process using s2Member Framework. Here’s how it works (taken from “s2Member Framework Quick-Start Guide”):
- Your website visitors will go to your Membership Options Page that will show all the available plans and permissions for each plans. Here is an example:
- An Internet User will click on a PayPal Subscription Button from your Membership Options Page. They will be transferred over to PayPal in order to agree to your Membership terms and pricing. You can customize the Checkout Page Style, Pricing, Payment Periods, and more – whenever you generate your PayPal Buttons through s2Member.
- Once a User has completed the Subscription Signup Process at PayPal, they’ll be returned to your site, where they’ll be activated by s2Member instantly, and given the opportunity to register a Username & Password for their Membership. s2Member will also send the user an email with instructions on how to register their username & password, just in case they missed the instructions after checkout. That email will be sent to their PayPal email address. Much of this is handled through the PayPal IPN service behind-the-scene, where PayPal and s2Member communicate with each other.
- Once a User has completed checkout and registered a username & password, they’ll be able to log in. The first page they’ll see after logging in, will be your Login Welcome Page (which you’ll need to configure on the s2Member General Options panel). Your Login Welcome Page can contain whatever you like. You’ll need to design this Page in WordPress.
You can find the complete guide in your WordPress Admin Area -> s2Member -> Quick-Start Guide. I recommend that you allocate 10 minutes of your time to read this guide.
Step 5 : Configure s2Member:
- First we must create 2 pages. Go to your WordPress admin area and create 2 pages with these names (they can have any names but we’ll use these to easily identify them):
- Login Welcome Page (this is the page where your users will be redirected after they log in)
- Membership Options Page (this is the page on your website with all the plans on it and [Subscribe] buttons)
- In your Login Welcome Page write the short code [s2Member-Profile /], this will display a form that will give your users the ability to change their account information such as: name, email etc.
- In your Membership Options Page you will show the PayPal buttons for your subscriptions plans and describe your services. You can design this page as you wish. Also this is the page that s2Member will redirect the users who doesn’t have access on some content: so if you set a page that needs level 2 access and the user that tries to access it has level 1 or less he will be redirected to your Membership Options Page. You can consider this the most important page from your website, this is the page from where the revenue will come, so take your time and design a cool looking page.
- Now, that we’ve created the pages we must tell s2Member about them:
- go to s2Member -> General Options
- Click on Login Welcome Page. Select your Login Welcome Page that you have created under the “Login Welcome Page” select option.
- Click on Membership Options Page. Select your Membership Options Page under “Membership Options Page” select
- Now let’s label our membership levels, click on Membership Levels/Labels and label the levels as: Free Subscriber (Level 0), Bronze Member (Level 1), Silver Member (Level 2), Gold Member (Level 3) and Platinum Member (Level 4). Keep in mind that you can name this level as you wish and is not required to use all 4 levels.
- Setting up your Paypal Options, to do this go to s2Member -> PayPal Options -> PayPal Account Details and fill up these 5 fields with your PayPal API Credentials.
- Now it’s time to create the PayPal Buttons for our subscription plans:
- In WordPress admin area go to s2Member -> PayPal Buttons
- Click on PayPal Buttons For Level #1 Access and complete the form. Feel free to configure the button as you wish, I will offer the first month at $5 and then I will charge $5 monthly.
- After you completed the form as you wish press Generate Button Code button
- A PayPal Button will show in the left side of the form and under it you will find a WordPress Shortcode, please copy that code and paste it in your Membership Options Page.
- Repeat the process for the next 3 levels. I will charge $5 for Level 1 (Bronze), $10 for Level 2 (Silver), $15 for Level 3 (Gold) and $20 for Level 4 (Platinum).
- After we created the PayPal buttons we are ready to set up content restriction for each membership plan/level. To restrict access to a page or a post, go and edit the page/post that you wish. In the right up corner of the page you will find an s2Member box from where you will select the level required to access that page/post. Click Update to save the changes. You can do this process for each content you wish.
Step 5: Configure Video Chat AVChat 3
AVChat Video Chat Plugin PRO for WordPress allows us to set video chat permissions per user role, we will use the new user roles (s2Member Level 1 – Bronze, s2Member Level 2 – Silver, s2Member Level 3 – Gold, s2Member Level 4 – Platinum) created by s2Member to create different permissions for video chat. To configure Video Chat AVChat 3 follow the next steps:
- In your WordPress admin area, go to Settings -> AVChat 3 Video Chat PRO
- On the AVChat 3 Settings & Permissions you will find a list of permissions and settings that can be configured and toggled for each membership plan/level. In the next screenshot you will see how I configured each of these permissions for each membership/level. Feel free to experiment and try what you think works best for you.
- Hit Update Options at the bottom to save.
These are the necessary steps to build a paid video chat membership website with AVChat, PayPal, s2Member and WordPress. In this tutorial we’ve presented a fast and easy way to increase users engagement and your membership revenue. There are many features that can be customized so that Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum users can benefit, attracting new members. Advertising these features by showing the advantages of being a paid member will improve the subscription rate.