Having a blog online and make it private? Does that sound crazy to you?
Not really. There could be various reasons as to why someone would want their blog to be private.
And when I say private blog – there are two options:
- You can either make the entire blog private.
- Or have certain blog posts private.
Nevertheless, I would like to make a point here – if you publish something online and want to make it private, you should understand that it is not 100% safe to do so.
If you are planning to save/share sensitive or private information it is better to not put it online in the first place.
But for other reasons, you can always decide to have a private blog.
Why would you want to have a private blog?
May be you want to have a private writing blog – where you keep your daily writings (not so personal). You could use that blog for daily wiring practice.
Or use it as online diary.
Or keep a draft of all your blog posts as you write them in advance to be published on your public blog.
May be you and your team can have a private blog to share certain work-related stuff.
May be you are building your website, and you don’t want it to go public until it is completed.
May be you want to protect some of your content from general public and want only your friends or family to access it.
May be you want to have only registered users to view your blog posts!
Or may be you want to have only subscribers access certain pages on your website.
Whatever the reason may be, there are a handful of ways to achieve these. Let’s see how.
Use the Search Engine Visibility setting
Before showing how, let me tell you that this option is to just discourage search engines from crawling and indexing your site.
That means, this won’t prevent someone from directly accessing pages on your site if they happen to know the url.
To enable this setting, login to your WordPress Dashboard and head over to Settings > Reading.
At the bottom you will see an option to “Discourage search engines from indexing this site”. Check that (and don’t forget to read what’s written below that).
Click Save Changes and you are done.
Password protect a post or page
This option is helpful if you want to keep certain pages and posts on your website private.
You can do this by visiting the post/page editor page in WordPress. Open the post/page in editing mode and on the right you will see “Edit” link next to Visibility.
Click on that.
You will see the options to either password protect the post/page. This is useful if you want to restrict access to only certain posts/pages.
Users or members of family or friends can access those protected pages when you share the password with them. Others won’t be able to access the content on those pages.
Another option is to make it Private. With this option no one else except you (logged in to WordPress) will be able to see that page/post.
Select the appropriate option!
Using shortcodes to protect certain parts of content
Of course then there are shortcodes. You can use shortcodes to protect partial content.
There are plugins for this purpose.
One such plugin is Content Protector that allows you to protect sections of a post (even multiple protected sections in a single post).
Users will need to enter a password to access that protected section of the post.
WP Content Protection is another plugin that does this job.
Apart from shortcode protection this plugin has other options like making protected content only available to logged in users and by user roles (more on that below).
Protect content by user level
Of course you can allow certain level of users to access the content and protect it from the others.
Apart from WP Content Protection plugin, you can also use the Private Content plugin show content only to Editors or Authors and hide from the others.
This is great for working with your editorial team on a private space.
Another plugin called More Privacy Options also serves the same purpose.
This plugin adds additional options in the Settings > Readings page of WordPress so you can make the entire site visible to only site members or even only admins.
My Private Site is yet another plugin with this option. But at the time of wiring this post, the plugin has not been updated for quite some time now.
One more very simple plugin that I would like to point out here is the f(x) Private Site. The plugin is super simple to use and also protects your RSS feeds.
Simple Members Only is yet another simple option to go for!
Using a maintenance mode notification
Of course, this option is helpful only if you want to have your blog private for some time – while it is in construction (say undergoing design, or other changes).
You might want to launch your blog quite soon after the temporary private requirement is no longer needed.
You can use the WP Maintenance Mode plugin for this.
While your blog is private in maintenance mode, using this plugin you can still receive emails from readers via a contact form, have people subscribe to your newsletter, have social media icons and much more.
You can also customise the look of the notification page, and also have a timer that shows when your site will go live.
Running membership sites
Of course, you would want to run a membership site to add additional income stream to your business.
Launching online courses or having member only content where your readers pay to access the content is what a membership site is about.
You may want to have one-off payments or recurring payments.
In any case you might want to restrict access only to members who paid or who continue paying. And you do not want others to access the member-only content. Even (more importantly) the search engines.
Running a membership site is not a “simple” option. There are “various features” that need to be integrated apart from merely making part or whole of the site private.
Those “various features” include:
- Integration of payment processors
- Creation of various member levels (ex. Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum)
- Creation of various kinds of products
- Ability to drip feed content (ex. Online courses)
- Autoresponder integrations (so your customers are added to a list automatically for course related notifications and upsells)
- Dedicated member area
- Check out pages
I can go on… But you get the idea.
So apart from just making the content private, there are a lot of things involved here. You therefore need a dedicated plugin or a theme that serves the purpose.
Why do you want to make your WordPress blog private?
That’s the question here. Answering that question will help you to choose the right tool/plugin to get the job done.
And I’ve listed a few different options that serve different purposes for making a private WordPress blog.
Find out your purpose and find out the tool that suits you!