In this review, we introduce you to a new feature of the popular TheGem WordPress…
ProfileGrid is described by its creators as a user profile plugin for WordPress. However, this plugin can do a lot more than that.
Some examples of its features include the ability to restrict access to content, enable private messaging, and create user groups. Other uses for this plugin are collecting payments from users, accepting blog post submissions through frontend forms, and allowing users to become “friends” with each other.
In fact, ProfileGrid has a very long list of features that makes this plugin difficult to summarize. However, we’ll attempt to explain exactly what this tool can do, and why you might want to use it, in our hands-on ProfileGrid review.
So if you want to enhance user profiles on your WordPress website and increase the core functionality for handling multiple users on your site, plus a lot more, ProfileGrid could be the tool you’re looking for.
What is the ProfileGrid WordPress Plugin?
As mentioned in the introduction to our ProfileGrid review, this is a WordPress plugin with a very varied feature list. However, if you have more than one user registered at your WordPress website, then this plugin should be of interest. But even if it’s just you working on your website, you could still find ProfileGrid a useful addition to your site.
Once ProfileGrid is activated on your WordPress website, the first thing you’ll notice is that the user profiles on your site have been enhanced. If you’ve ever wanted to display more information in the user profile section, under a published post on your WordPress website, ProfileGrid can help.
ProfileGrid also enables you to create groups to organize your users. You can use this plugin to start accepting blog post submission from visitors to your website, too. Restricting access to your published content is part of the functionality of this plugin as well.
To give you a quick overview, before we explore the main features in more detail, here are some of the things you can do with ProfileGrid:
- Enhance WordPress user profiles with custom fields.
- Display enhanced WordPress user profiles on your posts and pages.
- Create user groups with optional group leaders.
- Restrict access to content with an optional paywall feature.
- Accept blog posts via frontend submission forms.
- Plus much more.
As you can see, this plugin and its many extensions can do a lot. Due to this, there’s a good chance that it can be used to successfully enhance your WordPress website, regardless of what type of project you’re working on.
Sounds interesting? Then read on…
ProfileGrid WordPress Plugin Features
For more information, this section of our ProfileGrid review explores some of the best features of this plugin.
Create Custom WordPress User Profiles
The key feature — or main use — for this plugin is probably the custom WordPress user profiles functionality. Although as mentioned, the ProfileGrid plugin can do much more than just this. Through the functionality of the plugin, you and your users can add more information to profiles than would be possible with the default WordPress capabilities.
Depending on how you configure the plugin, the user profiles could include a profile header image, a user photo, information about the groups they are in, and a list of blog posts they’ve published. As the frontend profile screen uses tabs as part of its interface, everything is nicely organized and easy to access.
Display Enhanced User Profiles
Described as a core part of ProfileGrid, if you need to publish custom user profiles on your WordPress website, this feature will be of interest. As just covered in our ProfileGrid review, you can quickly create custom user profiles with this plugin. However, you can also publish those profiles on the frontend of your WordPress website.
As this is a highly flexible user profiles WordPress plugin you get a lot of control over how those profiles are displayed on the frontend of your website. This means that visitors to your site, and your other users, can browse the profiles of the registered users. The information they can see, depending on your choices, includes a cover image, a user gravatar, and a messaging area. You can also display an about section for the user as well as links to their blog posts.
Create Custom User Groups
The Groups feature of ProfileGrid lets you create different profile types. Each group or type of profile can then have its own properties. These properties include which profile fields to display as well as assigning a group manager or moderator. Groups can also have their own registration workflow to ensure you get all the information you need for each user.
Due to the way ProfileGrid works, you can allow your visitors to sign up to one of your groups. Instead, you could require them to send a request to ask for permission to join a particular group. The group manager or site admin can then approve or reject their request. Setting a limit on the number of users allowed in a group is an option too, as is mapping groups to specific WordPress user roles.
If you want to display your users on a directory page, you can filter the list by group type. Each group can be set as open or closed, depending on whether you want them to be public or private. Users can also join multiple groups on your website if necessary.
When creating a directory of users, each group can have its own directory page. While setting up the directory page, you can easily choose which fields and information about each user are displayed. This includes showing the group name and badge, name of the group leader, and other custom fields of your choice.
Restrict Access to Content
If you want to create a membership site, or just restrict access to some content on your site to certain users, ProfileGrid has the necessary features. You can also combine this feature with groups. This allows you to configure the plugin to control access to content, according to which group a user is in.
An options box is added to the WordPress posts and page editor screen as part of the functionality of ProfileGrid. From this easy-to-access box, you can choose who can access the piece of content you’re working on. As the options for access are quite varied, you get a good level of control when protecting content with ProfileGrid.
Monetize Your Content
As part of the content restriction features of ProfileGrid, you can charge users a fee to access parts of your site. One way to monetize your site in this way is to charge users a fee for access to your groups. For example, you could create a private members group that contains some of your best content or most knowledgeable users. Then charge a membership fee to join that group.
Because ProfileGrid has a payment processing feature built in, you can collect payments without having to use any other plugins. Although ProfileGrid is compatible with some other useful plugins if you need to use them as well.
Frontend Submission Forms
Instead of using the default WordPress registration and login forms, ProfileGrid provides you with a set of frontend forms. Thanks to this, your visitors will enjoy a consistent user experience when signing up and logging in to your website.
As you might be expecting from this plugin by now, you get full control over these frontend forms. Not only can you choose which fields are displayed but you also have the option of creating multipage forms. Due to this, you can split the fields over multiple pages. The benefit of this is that it can help reduce the risk of overwhelming your visitors with lots of input fields on a single page.
This feature can be combined with the groups feature to create custom forms for individual groups, with their own fields.
The forms can also be used for accepting content at your website. The frontend blog post submission forms would work well for accepting guest posts. They could also be used to simplify the process of receiving content from authors, by bypassing the WordPress Dashboard and post editor.
Library of Shortcodes
ProfileGrid uses shortcodes to allow you to insert frontend submission forms and other content into your WordPress posts and pages. When you activate the plugin on your website, ProfileGrid automatically creates a number of pages. These pages cover the registration, login, and other pages that display data from the plugin.
You can easily edit any of these pages in the WordPress editor. Doing so reveals the shortcode that’s used to insert the form into the page. You’re free to copy these shortcodes and use them on other posts and pages of your website.
Instant Messaging System
To make your website more interactive, you can enable the instant messaging feature of ProfileGrid. Thanks to its use of the WordPress Heartbeat API, ProfileGrid has a messaging system that works in real time.
The functionality of the messaging system includes the ability to see the status of the person you’re chatting with, the option of using emoji, and live notifications for new messages.
To help your users create relationships, whether professional or social, ProfileGrid includes a friends system. When enabled, this feature lets users send friend requests, quickly view their list of friends, and other options. When configuring the plugin, you get a lot of control over how this feature works to ensure it’s appropriate for your site.
Automated Email Notifications
ProfileGrid has the ability to send out automated emails based on custom triggers. Once you’ve created your email templates, you can set ProfileGrid to send out a welcome email to new users, or other emails based on other events.
Thanks to the use of merge fields, it’s easy to personalize these emails with ProfileGrid. Merge fields are used to insert custom data into the emails, such as the user’s name or other information.
If you want to keep your users up to date, without increasing your workload, this feature of ProfileGrid can help.
Privacy and Access Restriction Tools
Admin users and individual users can control what’s publicly available on the site and their profiles with this plugin. As well as the content restriction features mentioned earlier in this ProfileGrid review, you can control access to user profiles.
Other features, such as the user group walls are private by default. This means that group members can safely post items to the wall, without worrying about who can view it. So as well as restricting access to user-submitted blog posts, you can control what’s visible on a user’s profile.
That about wraps up our guide to the ProfileGrid plugin. However, that’s not the end of the feature list. Be sure to check out the plugin website to find out more.
ProfileGrid Plugin Pricing Options
The core ProfileGrid plugin is free to use and can be downloaded from the WordPress.org plugin directory.
However, you can upgrade the plugin to unlock the premium features, including some of those covered in this ProfileGrid review. Although you can purchase the extensions individually, you can also purchase them all in one package.
The options for upgrading and accessing the ProfileGrid extensions and features are as follows:
- Individual Extensions: from $19.95.
- Premium Package: all extensions license for use on 1 site and 1 year of updates and support: $79.
- Premium Package +: all extensions license for use on unlimited sites with lifetime updates and support: $139.
As you can see, if you’ll be using this plugin for more than a year or two, Premium + is the better value option.
ProfileGrid Review Final Thoughts
This has actually been a difficult plugin to review! As it has so many features that can enhance WordPress websites in many different ways, it’s tricky to describe everything this tool can do.
However, if you want to make your website more interactive, handle multiple users more effectively, or you’d like more control over how your content is displayed, ProfileGrid is worth checking out.
Considering there’s a powerful free version available, there’s no reason not to try ProfileGrid for yourself.