AccessAlly Review : All in One Membership Solution and LMS

Share This Post

(Attention: This review is about the latest AccessAlly version 3.8.0 that came out in February 2022. All the reviews we have found are from older versions so make sure you check out current reviews!)

AccessAlly is a comprehensive course plugin built on WordPress,
the #1 open source platform on the web, which gives you the power
and flexibility that you need to scale a successful online business.

This WordPress membership plugin has been around since 2014 and we’re part of the small very first proud users and partners of this solution.

So if you’re looking for a membership solution for your online course or membership program (or both) you definitely need to check out AccessAlly before you make a decision.

Why should you listen to us?

 
  • We have built over 300 AccessAlly membership sites in the last 5 years.
  • Most AccessAlly reviews out there are outdated! So make sure that you are getting your info from updated reviews

Our clients make anywhere from US2K  to $50K+/month with the membership sites we built for them and we have mastered the tool to maximize its potential.

While this is not the only membership plugin that we work with, this is definitely the most comprehensive and the one that fits what our ideal clients want (and need).

In this review I am not only going to share with you the benefits and features of AccessAlly, I am going to show you how we have implemented them for our clients as well so you can see some real results.

This is a very comprehensive review of AccessAlly so you can use the table of contents below to navigate to a specific topic.

Table of Contents

Is AccessAlly right for you?

AccessAlly is not for everybody.

In fact I can save you time by telling you exactly who it is for:

  • You want to create a unique experience for your students and members
  • you want full control of the site and you want to own your platform
  • You want the platform to be fully integrated with your other tools so that’s it’s scalable
  • You’re not interested and/or have outgrown the Kajabi, teachable, Thinkific and other platforms that are too limiting and that you rent space on.

Still with me? Awesome let’s get to it then!

In this review we are going to give you a close up look at AccessAlly, one of the best WordPress learning management system on the market.

AccessAlly does a great job at creating unique experiences, combining the latest engagement tactics and sophisticated marketing tools to help you turn your membership site into a true online portal that is both educational, and also serves as a marketing tool.

Complete AccessAlly Review and Pricing

 

There are currently 3 options  to signup with AccessAlly.

  1. AccessAlly Essentials – This is a limited version that doesn’t include the LMS and progress tracking/gamification features. It’s great when you’re getting started and don’t need an actual LMS to deliver your content. Cost: $99/month
  2. AccessAlly Pro – This is the real deal. it includes everything on the Essentials plan + al the LMS features and gamification. Cost: $129/month
  3. AccessAlly In-house Training – This package keeps changing! right now it includes everything in Pro + in house training. Cost : $250/month

Option #1 is only an option IMO if you plan to move to Option #2 and are trying to save a few bucks before you jump in. It’s lacking the very thing that makes AA amazing .

Option #2 AccessAlly Pro is the one that makes the mosts sense and the most popular one.

Option#3? I am not clear on the in-House training but last time I asked them, the course provided inside was not based on the latest release, so if you’re looking for in-house training I would reach out to them directly to find out more.

 

AccessAlly Review of Features 

 

AccessAlly is a very feature-rich product that allows for lot of flexibility. With that comes a learning curve, but not as high as its competitors thanks to an extensive knowledge base and great support system.

So let’s dive into AccessAlly features!

Instant & Dripped courses without duplication of content

AccessAlly  is using a tagging mechanism to give access to content, whether all or partial access. See it this way: people have tags and pages have tags. So if someone has a tag they have access to all pages that are protected by that tag. That pretty much sums up how it is working. From there you have quite a few ways to deliver a course:
  • You can do an all access at once
  • You can drip based on a certain date
  • You can drip based on time (every day, week, month,…)
  • You can drip based on completion (complete lesson 1 before getting access to lesson 2, that’s my fave!)
The best part? the exact same course can be delivered in these different ways at the exact same time, without any duplication of content (I moved people away from Thinkific just for that feature!)
No more duplication of courses or content every time you run a new cohort.

Video View tracking & Bookmarks

With AccessAlly you can create bookmarks in your videos to help your students jump to the content directly by clicking on the objectives links.

This feature allows student to be able to easily come back to a video and find exactly where to go in the video. 

(Image left is the setup, image right is the display.)

Setup Teams / Umbrella Accounts

The Concept of Team in AccessAlly is very powerful. This is a feature that most other WordPress Membership Plugins don’t have. 

It allows you to sell bulk licenses to  schools, corporate clients and any organization that would need to give access to some content to their employees or team members.

We have implemented this features on a number of clients sites such as:

  •  IVMastery.com (training for Nurses)
  • Busypeopledopiano.com : teaching pianos for kids and allowing parents to purchase 2 licenses and monitor their kids progress
Imagine being able to sell a course or membership to both individuals and corporate clients at the same time without duplicating content.
 

Automations & Integration with CRMS

AccessAlly currently integrates with 5 CRMs: Infusionsoft/Keap, Ontraport, Active Campaign, Convertkit and Drip.

One of the core features of AccessAlly is its deep 2-way deep integration with CRMs. And that’s why there are only 5, because the CRM needs to be able to support the communication with AccessAlly.

AccessAlly is the only plugin on the market doing it at that level that I know of (and I have worked with quite a few in the last 15 years!)

It allows for some really great implementations such as triggering automations and email sequences on certain events such as completing a lesson or module, a failed payment, a request to cancel or when a student passes a certification.

You can even trigger events such as “student has not logged in in 7 days, or create an abandon cart follow up sequence when a visitor starts the process of signing up but do not complete it. 

I have heard % as high as 20% increase in sales from handling abandon car follow ups!

Engagement & Sales Metrics

Metrics in AccessAlly have been here for a while, but with the january 2022 version 3.8.0 you can now create multiple dashboards to organize your metrics.

 

With AccessAlly Metrics Dashboard you now can visualize user progress on a page / course by tracking Page views, Time to Completion, Quiz responses and more.

3 ways to setup Progress Tracking

Setting progress tracking with AccessAlly is SO easy and I love that you have 3 ways to track progress without having to add any additional plugin.

1) You can track progress through and objectives list that students have to check off
2) You can have a mark as done button it when clicked will tag the student “lesson completed” and mark the lesson as completed
3) you can track progress based on video view, so if your content is video based you can have the lesson automatically marked as complete when the video is watched until the end

That makes it very flexible to design the experience you want for your members. I personally love to use the objectives list and to drip content on completion (more on that later).

Building Certifications Programs

If yo’ure looking to create courses or certification programs, you are going to love this feature!
AccessAlly allows you to upload a PDF of your certificate and add custom field that are filled out on the fly.

Privates Notes and how we use them

Private notes is one of the features that really stands out from other membership plugins. It can be used in many ways like:

online journaling: giving a space for your members to take notes, just for them

– for clients to send you homework or private 1 on 1 conversations with a client

Secure File Hosting & content protection

AccessAlly is designed to show or hide your posts and pages based on whether a user is logged in or not and what permission tags they have.

The Protected Content is very powerful and allows you to configure these same tag-based permissions for files that you upload to your site (PDFs, images, etc.) or that are stored in Amazon S3.

Quizzes & Self assessments

AccessAlly quizzes can also be used as self assessments and are one of my favorite featured.

It allows not only the student to evaluate where they are, but it also allows the membership site owner to segment students so that they can better guide them based on where they are.

There are 3 types of quizzes:


The Graded Quiz: This is the most commonly used quiz, and it’s quite powerful. A multiple choice quiz with pass/fail threshold.

 

The Personality Test: This type of AccessAlly quiz can be use to segment students like Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, Rockstar for example

 

The Scoring Test: This type of AccessAlly quiz can be use to segment students by putting weights on answers and assigning points to answers.

The Offerings Wizard

The AccessAlly Offerings wizard is a powerful tool that provides an easy-to-follow, step-by-step process to create an offer : from structure, to content, to order forms.

AccessAlly also allows you to create a dashboard page from that offerings section but I personally have never used it with any clients, it’s too limiting and does not represent the dashboard that my clients typically want to see.

It’s a nice feature for people that do though.

AccessAlly Coupons & Promotional Tools

AccessAlly has always had a powerful payment processor with a lot of flexibility in terms of coupons and trials (free and paid), delayed payments, one time coupons,…

Here are some examples of popular ways coupons are used:
  • A sales coupon that reduces the price for all products with a limited timeframe.
  • A launch promo discount that doesn’t require a coupon code. It is only valid during a specified time
  • A user-specific coupon that can only be used once, which could be offered in an abandoned cart follow up sequence for example

Conditional Display & how we use it

Because AccessAlly is tag-based, it is possible to do conditional display based on tags. For example our favorite way of using conditional display is on the onboarding section, where we hide the onboarding section once a member has been onboarded.

It’s a great way to create a custom experience for each person that logs in.

AccessAlly Add-ons to take AccessAlly to the next level

We love AccessAlly so much that we have created additional Add-ons for it such as:
    • Ability for user to choose their password on signup
    • Ability to create a search on video content and audio content
    • Ability to favorite videos and mark them as watch later
    • Ability to play videos where the student left off
And more!

Credit Point System to reward engagement

AccessAlly has a powerful credit point system that you can use  help members and students engaged and rewarded them.
But what is most powerful is what AccessAlly allows members to do with these points!

We have successfully used this feature to :
– Reward a member that have completed a module, a lesson or a whole course
– Reward a member each month for staying a member (they get a number of points each month as they stay
– Reward a member for filling out a survey, quiz or questionnaire
– Reward a member for getting their certification
– Reward a member for showing up in the community and supporting other members

And here are some examples of what they can do with points:
– Redeem content (they can choose what content they want to unlock, each content is linked to a # of points)
– Redeem a 1 on 1 call with you or someone on your team
– Receive a physical package in the mail
– Get access to a coupon to purchase another program or service
And there is more!

Searchable Member Directories

Members directories are a great way to help members connect with each other. The features are really rich with the ability to create filters around information stored in the CRM as well.

Affiliate Program & Tracking

AccessAlly offers really simple to use Affiliate solution where you can easily ahve anyone that has an account on your site become an affiliate at the click of a button.

We have been able to build great looking affiliate centers for our members but one are that I wished they’d improve is the ability for an affiliate to be able to generate an affiliate link for any page they want.

I would also love to see better reporting on what I can expect to make each month. They do have start date/end date but I have to do the calculation myself if I want to see how much an affiliate program will bring next month.

Abandon Cart Follow up

This is one if my favorite feature!

One of the common problems with order forms is that people might click through and start the order process, but give up and not follow through.

With AccessAlly, the simple “3 step” process for completing an order allows you to capture a potential buyer’s name and email, so that you can follow up through an automation if they don’t purchase within 24h for example.

This is a brilliant feature. I heard from the AccessAlly team itself that some people have been able to recover up to 20% in sales which is huge.

Recurring Payments with Stripe and/or Paypal

AccessAlly has a built in payment system that integrates with both Paypal and Stripe for credit card payments.  There is a design interface to customize your order forms, add custom fields and options if you need to gather extra information at signup.

Calculation of Taxes and integration with Quaderno

AccessAlly has recently added an integration with the tax system Quaderno which is a real time saver for us europeans!

You can charge tax on AccessAlly order forms. This tax can be figured based on the total amount purchased, a per-product basis, and/or a geo-location, such as a country, state, or province.

AccessAlly Review of Benefits 

 

I have been talking a lot about features but I wanted to touch on the some of the benefits that I have found as a user and as someone who builds AccessAlly sites for entrepreneurs.

Manage Homework submissions

You can easily manage homework and video submissions thanks to the private notes who have evolved a lot since AccessAlly started.

Setup advanced custom Progress Tracking

The progress tracking offered in AcccessAlly PRO allows us to get really creative with displaying progress tracking (pie chart, % completion, progress bars..) and really help members stay motivated and committed.

Offer great purchase experience - Snappy Login Links (TM)

The Snappy login link (I prefer to call it “send me a 1 time login link because people don’t get what it is 🙂 ) is a great way for poeple who don’t want to enter/store/remember a username password. 

Conversion Focused Order Forms

The flexibility in layout or the order forms and the ability to be able to customize the page as a regular WordPress page to add testimonials, up-sells, one time offers, is really helping create order forms that convert much better.

Cross-Selling Dashboards

I love how AccessAlly allows the platform to be a teaching platform and a marketing platform at the same time.
Each member can have a different experience based on what they have purchased, what they have completed already, the result they had on a quiz.

Support & tools available to help with migrations

The AccessAlly teeam is very supportive in helping you switch to AccessAlly. They have built a series of tools and scripts to help faciliate the process and are never shy to give a hand!

AccessAlly versus other WordPress Membership Plugins

 
When comparing membership plugins, it’s important that you compare apples and apples. There are many membership plugins out there and the reason AccessAlly shows up more experience is because it has a lot of features built in already such as gamification, progress tracking, quizzes, Affiliate system, shopping cart with deep integration with your CRM.

So when choosing a membership plugin make sure that you compare feature for feature.

AccessAlly versus other Hosted Platforms

 
This could be a post in itself!

While I am not against hosted platform as they all have their audience, if you’re still reading chances are you are looking to create a unique experience for your members and are not looking for just a place to host your content. The advantages of using a WordPress plugin versus a hosted platform is that you own the platform, it’s your. If you change membership plugn tomorrow you still have all your pages, your site your content. With hosted platform you are basically rendting space on their server to host your business.

AccessAlly review: Customer Service & support

 
 
AccessAlly support is one of it’s biggest strength. They have a private facebook group that is super active.

They also host at least 3 Q&A calls per week where you can come live on a zoom call and get your questions answered. I have yet to see another membership plugin do that!

The AccessAlly team has been exapanding and the fact that they hired 2 ex-users of AccessAlly says a lot of about the culture and support that they have been providing to members.

AccessAlly review: Final Thoughts

 

AccessAlly is an amazing tool. It took me lots of resources to craft this review because I wanted it to stand out and really be from the point of a user and advocate for this product.


I have worked with over 300 entrepreneurs 1 on 1 and built their membership sites.


The only people that I saw unhappy with AccessAlly were the people that were focusing on the wrong tasks and had the wrong expectations. This is a WordPress plugin, that means that you need to be familiar with WordPress and you can’t expect to build things like my team and I do, because we’ve been doing it for years and that’s all that we do.

AccessAlly is definitely a plugin to look into if you’re looking for a solution that will provide an amazing experience for your students and members.

The support and development team is amazing and always there if you have a question. I can’t recommend AccessAlly enough if you want to  amplify your success and take your business to a whole new level.

Would you like to find out if AccessAlly is right for you and see some real life examples? I have tons of examples to share with you 🙂

More To Explore

Are You Looking for Help to Setup Your membership Site?

Our AccessAlly WordPress Framework has been used on over 230 AccessAlly sites. We can help!