The budget is slim so plugins with an existing theme is what I'm hoping for but still need to customize to make it my "own".
Membership site is a great idea.. I hear about it a lot at the Mixergy Interview. So many signle founders who are bootstarpped started with Membership.,.. I have listened to atleast a dozen of them..
Now the fun part --
Most of them who started with wordpress were not happy. It is a good way to test the idea..But the moment you gain traction you will have to get on to a membership SaaS or tweak wordpess a lot to make it one..
Even if you decide to go with wordpress version check if you have the following features. Wishlist is a wordpress plugin I am aware of..http://member.wishlistproducts.com/ (disclaimer - i have never done but heard a dozen founder speak)
Membership Levels - Create “Silver”, “Gold”, “Platinum etc
Integrates With Your WordPress Site or blog
Flexible Membership - Trial , Paid etc
Member Management - like registration, activate, upgrade
Payment gateway integration
There are non wordpress too ... One of them is http://www.subhub.com/features/ ..
If you already have a email list, influencers, would-be moderators etc, I would say start with a niche tool rather than tweaking wordpress.
Hey if are looking for any idea storming related to growth, content stratgey, marketing ..feel free to chat.. Don't worry about the phone fee.. I can send you a free call pass ..happy to talk 30 mins.
Also, do take a look what other membership sites for recipes are doing , the pain points etc..
I believe WordPress can be great for a membership site.
I've seen a few recipe plugins for WordPress, and there are a ton of membership plugins. Most will allow you to restrict content based on membership levels. So you can create a custom post type for recipes (most recipe plugins would do this), and configure the membership plugin to restrict access based on your business rules.
Chris Lema has awesome reviews of membership plugins (https://chrislema.com/memberships-plugins/). Chris is also on Clarity and he knows his stuff. So feel free to dig through his reviews and connect with him.
One suggestion: Don't get bogged down / excited by features of membership plugins. Focus on your customers, their needs and pain points.
"Oh.. this plugin can do this.. So let me add that feature to my business" - is wrong line of thinking!
I'll be starting dev on an existing blog that will be moving to a membership based model. LEAN BUDGET, I will be giving this one a try. It may be worth a look, not a lot of reviews, but still 4.5 out of 5 stars rating.
Custom User Registration Form Builder
Hi there, I also use WordPress and have a good membership plugin, but you said that you wanted to do it with existing plugins.
One way to do it without new plugins is to use one of the existing user roles like "Contributor" and set your WordPress to default to that role and then check off "Anyone can register" in your WordPress general settings.
I can always help you with this ;)