Posting Members-Only Content to the Blog

The WordPress for Toastmasters software allows you to publish some content as “members only” content that can only be viewed by someone who is logged into WordPress as a member (a user with an account on the site).

This is not an ultra-high-security solution, but it is a convenient way of separating the marketing content you want everyone to see from the meeting minutes that are only of interest to members, as well as content not approved for wide distribution. For example, my home club, Club Awesome, regularly video records speeches for their educational value to the speakers. We only share those speech videos publicly (as part of our marketing) if the member gives permission — usually, after they’ve had a chance to see the video for themselves. Members only posts allow us to archive those videos on the blog, without unintentionally making anyone famous.

To designate a post as Members Only content, click the Members Only category in the WordPress editor.

Marking a post Members Only
Marking a post Members Only

If you don’t see the Members Only category, you may have to create it — using exactly those two words, with a space in-between. For sites on toastmost.org or wp4toastmasters.com, this category should already be set up.

Posts marked Members Only will not show up in the main blog listing if the viewer is not logged into the website as a member. I provide a couple of widgets, Club News Posts and Member Posts that you can use in place of the Recent Posts widget to display your public and private posts separately.

Here is what that looks like at clubawesome.org:

Sidebar headlines for Club News, versus Members Only
Sidebar headlines for Club News, versus Members Only

Here is what the setup of that Members Only widget looks like in the administrator’s dashboard.

Configuring the Members Only widget.
Configuring the Members Only widget.

In addition, it’s possible to include the headlines from these categories in the body of a page using the shortcodes [club_news] and [members_only]. A WordPress shortcode is a placeholder for an interactive component, such as a headline listing that will be retrieved from the database each time a page is loaded.

Here is what the output of the [club_newsshortcode looks like on clubawesome.org:

club_news_shortcode_public

Here is what you would see in the WordPress editor:

club_news_shortcode_editor

By default, the heading included before the headlines “Club News” or “Members Only” for the two shortcodes, respectively. You can change that by adding the parameter title=”My Title” or title=”” for no title. Other optional parameters are

  • show_excerpt=”1″
  • show_date=”1″
  • show_thumbnail=”1″ (show a small version of the image from a post)
  • posts_per_page=”10″ (10 is the default, but you can change this to any integer)

For example, [club_news title=”District News” show_excerpt=”1″ show_date=”1″ show_thumbnail=”1″ posts_per_page=”15″ ]

You should be aware that if you ever deactivated the Toastmasters customizations to your website, the members-only posts would be displayed publicly. Top secret security, suitable for storing the nuclear codes? Definitely not. Convenient for everyday use? Yep.

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