A contact form is helpful for handling initial inquiries and a live chat can take care of certain sales questions and support requests. However, that’s likely not enough for your client if they intend to offer ongoing customer service and support to their registered users.
For that, a secure WordPress client portal is helpful. In a nutshell, this is a place on a website where users can log in and unlock access to otherwise privileged and protected information and resources.
In this post, we’ll explain what a WordPress client portal is and the benefits of building one. Then we’ll provide a list of 14 plugins you can use to create your own for your WordPress development client sites. Let’s get started!
In This Article 🤓
What Is a WordPress Client Portal? 🤔
A client portal is a special space on a website where users can log in to access privileged or private information shared between the business and them. This is a feature brands use to enable clients to control their profiles, review transaction histories, send secure messages, upload files, and so on.
You could use this solution for managing your own WordPress design or development clients. Plus, depending on the types of sites you typically build, you may find that your clients themselves would like to implement this functionality for their sites’ end-users.
To give you a clearer idea of how WordPress client portals work, let’s take a look at a few real-life examples.
Examples of Client Portals in WordPress
First up, Bloomberg LEI issues Legal Entity Identifiers (LEIs) and, therefore, needs a secure portal for their registered users:
Through its client portal, users can manage registration for their corporations’ LEIs and submit questions and requests to Bloomberg as they arise.
Another example of a support-based client portal can be seen on Laughing Squid. This is a managed hosting company that provides support through a number of means, including a live chat box, self-service knowledge base, and help desk:
Users have a choice of submitting a ticket (which requires them to enter all their information every time they encounter an issue) or to sign in to their help desk accounts. In addition to filing support requests, clients can also manage comments left on their content on the Laughing Squid blog.
Similarly, Rackspace provides hosting and colocation services to enterprises. On its website, users will find a Login link in the top right corner. When you click on it, you see a number of options for logging into a Rackspace account:
At WP Buffs, we also offer our clients multiple support channels. They can either submit a ticket or select the Sign Up or Login options to access our client portal as a Teamwork user:
Once you’re logged in, you can manage your profile, submit a new support request, and review both open and closed tickets.
When Should You Build a Secure Client Portal in WordPress? 🛠
There are actually quite a lot of use cases for client portals in WordPress. For instance, a blog or news site could incorporate one to accept content from contributors. This would give writers and commenters an easy way to upload files and communicate with you regarding questions or issues they might have.
Building a client portal also makes sense when you’re working on an e-commerce site. This feature lets customers manage their billing and shipping profiles, process returns, track deliveries, and more.
Membership sites would do well to include client portals, too. This will enable users to manage their profiles, review and change membership plans, subscribe to new services on their own, and so on.
Put simply, the primary use case for a client portal is for businesses that provide services to clients or registered users. With these, the client portal would be most beneficial in terms of providing support, which could include self-service solutions as well as ticketed support.
Why Build a Secure Client Portal? ⚙️
Certain industries in particular can benefit from building a WordPress client portal, such as finance, legal, and other service-based businesses. Even hospitality and retail could find some use for them.
However, regardless of industry, there are many reasons to consider building a client portal in WordPress. Some of the most important ones include:
- It enables you to manage clients and details regarding services, products, or projects in one centralized location.
- With a client portal, it’s easy for your users to manage all their details and services in the same place.
- You and clients can use it for finance management (e.g., sending and paying invoices, updating billing information, etc.).
- Any files that need to be sent between you and clients (logos, style guides, freelance contracts, etc.) can be uploaded and transmitted through the portal.
- You can use it for general project management needs, depending on how much information you want to store there.
However, you could always use an external third-party platform or project management system to accomplish those tasks. Let’s take a moment to focus on the benefits of building a client portal directly in WordPress, including:
- Your business will look more legitimate with an on-site portal available to clients.
- Self-service options enable you to provide customers with answers to common issues and questions without contacting an agent.
- Portals increase convenience and brand visibility.
- Client portals with financial management features reduce the likelihood that a client won’t pay on time or in full, or that invoices will be sent to the wrong location.
- Customer service, in general, can be handled more effectively and efficiently.
- You can save time and effort from lost support requests in your email inbox or spam folders.
- You can handle much more of your business right from within WordPress, giving you fewer tools to worry about.
If you want to empower clients or customers to manage their profiles, preferences, account settings, communications and more, a client portal is a fantastic solution. Ultimately, you want it to make your life and the lives of your clients easier. By building it inside of WordPress, you’re off to a solid start.
14 of the Best Plugins for Building a Secure WordPress Client Portal 🔌
Now that you have a better understanding of the benefits of using client portals for WordPress sites, it’s time to learn how to build one. Let’s take a look at 14 helpful plugins for creating a secure WordPress client portal:
MemberMouse is a simple membership and subscription solution for WordPress. With it, you can configure your site to generate recurring revenue through these types of ongoing services. You can also effectively manage your customers while giving them a dedicated portal to work from.
Some of the things that make MemberMouse’s client portal configuration special include:
- In the member’s only area of your site, you can serve custom homepages based on the client’s level of membership.
- Customers can manage their own profiles and accounts. On the off-chance they attempt to cancel, MemberMouse automatically helps you try to downsell them.
- It also includes upsell and cross-sell features so customers can upgrade their services as they see fit.
- Customers can manage their own payment information from the portal. MemberMouse will notify them when a card declines or is about to expire.
- This plugin is Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliant.
- MemberMouse has some robust integrations that let you create a seamless experience for your clients.
The team behind MemberMouse is a dynamic duo. They’re fully dedicated to bringing their customers the most user-friendly and powerful WordPress membership plugin that they can build.
Users of MemberMouse seem to really enjoy it based on their overwhelmingly positive testimonials. Not only does it seem extremely stable, but many have chosen it after considering other login portals for their clients.
This plugin can help you capture more revenue from your memberships, even as you put more control of them into your customers’ hands.
2. Paid Memberships Pro
Paid Memberships Pro is a plugin that makes setting up a membership site a breeze. In addition to including the key features you need to accept paid memberships, it also comes with an impressive set of template pages that cover every engagement you may have with users on the front end of your site, including:
- Membership checkout and confirmation
- Account details management
- Upgrade or change level
- Membership invoicing
- Enabling recurring payments
- Membership cancellation
Considering this plugin covers all the necessary bases, you could realistically use it to create any membership site and corresponding WordPress client portal for everything from services and product-based subscriptions to news, e-learning, listings, and more.
3. Client Portal
With the Client Portal plugin, you can do the following:
- Create a dedicated project hub for each client through your website
- Share details of your availability as well as how clients can reach you with questions
- Manage sensitive communications with clients related to proposals, contracts, invoices, and more
- Set up checklists and intake forms to account for every step of the onboarding process and project workflow
- Provide a high-level overview of project statuses, upcoming milestones, and due dates
The WordPress Client Portal plugin is ideal if you’re tired of communicating with clients through multiple productivity apps and task management systems. They might all be trusted and secure platforms. However, it’s a nuisance and inefficient to not have everything in one place.
LearnDash is a highly niche plugin for anyone looking to educate users through their website. This would work well for:
- Educators who want to create a learning hub for logged-in students
- Trainers who want to hide their content behind a portal and only grant access to those who are logged in (and perhaps who have paid)
- WordPress developers who want to provide additional learning opportunities for clients and merge them with other management features
- Enterprises that have employee training they want to include in a centralized and secure place
We know LearnDash is a quality solution for launching an e-learning platform because we used it to build WPMRR:
We only promote plugins we know are well built, well supported, and driven to continue innovating. LearnDash has our trust in all three areas.
If you have a lot of educational material on your site, it usually makes sense for it to be self-guided. This frees you (or the educator) from much of the hand-holding involved since there’s a portal through which users can access it all on their own.
Each registered user will have their own LearnDash profile that they can personalize once they’re logged in:
You can even create groups of students to maximize their experience. Also, with the number of LearnDash add-ons available, you’ll be able to connect it with just about any other software you have running to keep the User Experience (UX) seamless.
The team behind LearnDash is second to none when it comes to their passion for e-learning. Justin and Kloe have built the plugin into a heavy hitter in the Learning Management System (LMS) space in a ridiculously short amount of time.
5. Awesome Support
Awesome Support is a stellar tool if your needs are simple and you want to test the waters of offering a client portal for customer support. With this plugin, you can:
- Add a support portal to your WordPress site
- Create different portals based on selected departments or products
- Manage tickets in WordPress or other help desk solutions
- Allow for file uploads
- Assign tickets to different team members
- Keep communications secure by only allowing active agents to see ticket details
- Track time spent handling tickets
- Integrate with WooCommerce
As your business grows and you develop a need for more robust support, you can use this premium plugin to manage unlimited tickets and agents, and to gain deeper control over your private communications.
The open-source team behind the plugin has worked on it for a while now. They respectfully list all of the contributors to the project, which means it’s a collaborative effort.
They’ve earned some terrific testimonials as well. When somebody tells you this is an A++ plugin and client login platform, it’s probably worth checking out! In addition to the premium option, there is also a free version if you don’t need all the bells and whistles.
MemberPress is a quality, popular WordPress membership and client management plugin. With it, you can quickly set your website up with a number of subscription packages that grant users special access to content, profile management, subscription management, and more.
Some of the features you’ll have access to if you use it to build your WordPress client portal include:
- Superior security. MemberPress developers have taken extra care with security, following WordPress’ guidelines for coding best practices as well as prioritizing PHP security.
- Full user control over subscriptions. Your portal allows members to take full control over their packages, including creating new ones, updating or upgrading current ones, and cancelling them altogether.
- Password-protected forums. You can also add a password-protected forum to the list of your offerings if you like the idea of your community engaging with and supporting each other.
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CRMJetty’s WordPress client portal works seamlessly with the Suite, Sugar, Microsoft Dynamics, and Salesforce Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms. The portals you can create with this plugin serve as an extension of your website, which helps your customers stay connected with you no matter what.
From an organizational point of view, you can save countless support hours by deploying CRMJetty’s self-service WordPress customer portal with minimal investment. One of the noteworthy points about its portals is that they securely access data from your CRM and provide it to end-users. However, you will have total control over customers’ access to your data.
There are many other features which make CRMJetty a top choice as a WordPress client portal, including:
- A secure and single sign in option for all of your portal users, be they customers, vendors, suppliers, affiliates, or partners
- Easy configuration and integration with your daily workflow
- Intuitive dashboard with quick access to necessary information for your end-users
- Self-serve knowledge base covering all basic customer queries
- Role-based accessibility for customers, vendors, and employees so you don’t have to manage multiple interactions in different places
- Easy-to-manage activity calendar
- Quick service with the live chat feature inside the WordPress portal
- Option to customize the portal to your requirements
CRMJetty is proficient at providing maintenance and support whenever you require. This WordPress client portal plugin is robust enough to help you scale with your customer base.
8. Ultimate Member
Ultimate Member is a freemium WordPress plugin you can use to build memberships for your website. For the purposes of implementing a simple client portal on your WordPress site, the free version should suffice. With it, you can give members the ability to update their profiles while gaining access to special content.
The premium version, of course, will unlock many more integrations and features you need for an enhanced membership experience. For example, you will be able to:
- Create online communities
- Connect to social media channels
- Reward members with various levels and credits
Ultimate Member premium also comes with more options for building out client portals and what you are able to accomplish through them. You also have the option of purchasing the Extensions Pass or the Extensions and Theme Pass.
Technically, SuiteDash isn’t a WordPress client portal plugin. Rather, it’s a combination of all the business tools and solutions you’re likely already using to run your business. More specifically, within this plugin’s single dashboard, you get:
- A WordPress client portal (via the SuiteDash login plugin)
- Project management software
- Invoice management software
- Time tracking software
- CRM features
- Email marketing
- Live chat
Additionally, SuiteDash offers a white label solution, so you can brand it with your (or your client’s) logo and colors. With this tactic, users aren’t distracted by the name of another company as they work within your secure client portal area.
This option is ideal for businesses of any size. Pricing is affordable, and the comprehensive set of tools will encourage you to be productive while inspiring you to grow your brand.
10. Freelance Manager
Specifically built for freelancers, Freelance Manager is a useful tool for any creative professional trying to gain a better handle on client projects, communications, and billing. With this WordPress client portal plugin, you can create a beautiful user dashboard that provides more control to you and grants your clients better insight into how you’re meeting their needs.
Some of the key features of this plugin include:
- Client profile management (for you and end-users)
- To-do lists to document and track every step of your workflow
- A workflow approval system that ensures you never move on to the next phase without client permission
- Smart calendars for scheduling projects, assigning tasks, and following up on late deliverables/approvals
- Contact forms to provide clients with quotes
- File uploading for you and your clients
- Support ticketing system
- Invoice management with internal time-tracking
- Private messaging system between you and your team
- Report generation
- Secure payment gateway integration (e.g. Authorize.net, PayPal, Skrill)
- Database backup-and-restore
- Special permissions configuration for staff to keep data extra secure
If you want to ensure that all project-related communications and payments remain secure, Freelance Manager is a solid choice. Thanks to its built-in security and backup features, you can rest assured that this plugin can help you build a safe WordPress client portal.
11. Help Scout Desk
The Help Scout Desk plugin lets you create as many support pages and contact forms on your website as you need. You can base them on the departments or products you want to support.
Additional features of Help Scout Desk include:
- Customization options for styling your help desk appearance
- Fast performance with Ajax to speed the transmission of data
- Customer records that let you and your clients monitor support tickets
- The ability to automatically pull in customer order information to streamline assistance related to recently purchased items
- File uploads
- Option for customers to close their own support threads when satisfied with your assistance
What’s especially nice about this plugin is its integration with top e-commerce plugins such as WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads. It would serve you well to use this WordPress client portal plugin if you want to provide support to customers (although it’s just as viable an option for other use cases, too).
12. WP-Members Membership Plugin
For those of you wanting to create a simple WordPress client portal solution for readers of your blog or news site, WP-Members Membership Plugin is worth considering. With it, you can add a user registration process to the front end of your site, enabling them to access upgraded content.
The user profile page will then enable them to update personal details as well as change their passwords. This is also a worthy option if you’re looking for a free WordPress plugin to build your client portal.
Although this plugin is free to download and use, there are also a variety of premium add-ons you can use to extend its features and functionality.
13. WP Customer Area
WP Customer Area is a basic yet effective WordPress client portal plugin that offers an all-in-one solution for managing private content on your website. This free plugin is worth checking out if you want a hassle-free, no frills method of sharing files and pages on your site with multiple users.
Some of the available features and functionalities that come with WP Customer Area include:
- Private pages and files that you can assign users to and access from the customer area
- Options for customizing the plugin appearance using custom themes and templates
- Premium extensions and themes
This plugin is a strong option if you’re looking for an inexpensive yet secure WordPress client portal plugin. It can handle most basic needs while also offering premium extensions if necessary.
14. Zendesk Client Portal
If you visit the Laughing Squid example we mentioned earlier, you’ll notice the URL points to a Zendesk subdomain. That’s just one way you can use the Zendesk Client Portal plugin software with WordPress.
Of course, if you’re already familiar with Zendesk’s help desk software, then you know what an excellent tool it is for businesses in general. However, integrating it with WordPress makes it even better. With this platform, you can simplify communications with end-users significantly by:
- Building a branded help desk portal for clients and readers
- Configuring the help desk to allow anyone to use it or for only logged-in users to submit support requests
- Including a searchable knowledge base, so users have the option of self-support
- Creating a community forum where users can help each other out
- Enabling logged-in blog readers and clients to use the same credentials for support
- Providing yourself with a quicker means of turning support-related blog comments into support tickets
Zendesk’s WordPress Client Portal integration works well for a number of industries and use cases. There’s the obvious business-to-client service-related support. However, you could also use this plugin for giving customers the ability to manage profiles, reservations, billing and shipping preferences, and more.
Frequently Asked Questions❓
If you want to build a customer area or client portal for your users to access, you have a few options. Although one of those options is to go through a third-party tool or software, we recommend using a WordPress plugin.
Doing so will enable you to integrate everything you need to manage your client accounts in a single dashboard, which can increase your workflow efficiency.
The best WordPress plugin for you to use to build a client portal will depend on your specific business, budget, and needs. However, as we’ve covered in this list, there are a variety of powerful options to choose from. If you’re looking for a premium plugin, we highly recommend LearnDash, MemberPress,or MemberMouse, among others.
Wrapping Up ☑️
Client portals in WordPress can help improve the security and UX of your website. They are an effective way to offer self-service customer support, protect restricted files and resources, and so much more.
As we discussed in this post, you can quickly build and configure WordPress client portals for yourself or your development clients with the assistance of a plugin. Plus, you have plenty of solutions to choose from based on your specific needs.
However, it’s important to keep security top-of-mind. If you haven’t yet taken measures to fortify your WordPress site from every angle, you’re going to need to do so before asking clients to submit sensitive information to it. If you’re unsure of how to prepare your site’s security for your new client portal, WP Buffs can help. Check out our Care Plans today!
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