Ditch Patreon: The Best WordPress Payment Options to Keep More of Your Money

A small sprout grows out of a glass filled with coins.

Surcharges, convenience fees, and processing rates can be a real headache, but folks who are selling things online absolutely need secure platforms. Many people have been turning to Patreon, but here’s a hot take: I think you should ditch Patreon. 🫢 

Reasons to ditch Patreon 🙅

Patreon is a popular option because it’s easy to get started with the platform, and a lot of people are familiar with it already, which helps when trying to get people to make a purchase. However, there are some drawbacks that we think business owners should consider, and I actually think that a lot of folks would be better off ditching Patreon altogether!

Death by a thousand fees

Using Patreon comes with the typical payment processing fees, currency conversion, payout fees, and applicable taxes, but the platform also takes anywhere from 8–12% of your earnings! That might not sound like a scary percentage, but out of $100, that’s $11! 💸 In comparison to the $3 that would cover just the basic payment processing, that’s huge. Over time, you’ll really start feeling that in your bank account.

Don’t lead your audience away

We always tell folks that they should do everything they can to keep visitors on their website once they land there. If they leave, there’s no guarantee they’ll ever be back. Taking people to Patreon to collect payment might not seem like a big deal, but Patreon isn’t loyal to you; on the platform, people may become distracted and be taken down a rabbit hole of other creators and offers. In fact, Patreon benefits if they do, likely resulting in more business for them. 🤑

Out of your control 

When you’re using another platform, you’re trusting that they will give your customers the kind of experience you want, but that isn’t always the case. You don’t have any control over your customers’ experience with Patreon, but your customers likely won’t make the distinction and will blame you for any bad experiences or problems. The issue gets worse because you don’t have any power to actually do something about it! 😭

Go with a long-term solution

It’s true that Patreon makes it easy for folks to get started, so it may be that you want to start there and transition to another solution later. This can work in some cases, but it can also be difficult to get existing clients to switch to a new platform when the time comes. 😬 The convenience factor in the presence might not be worth the headache in the long run.

What we suggest instead of Patreon 🤩

You know we love WordPress, and there are some really excellent options that can seamlessly integrate with the platform. Leveraging these tools to collect payments and information right on your site makes them a much better option, in my opinion.

SureCart

A new player, SureCart is a powerful plugin that allows you to sell directly from your site. You can offer digital products, subscriptions, and memberships, and it’s possible to create customized checkout pages that are seamlessly integrated with WordPress. SureCart supports various payment methods and their pricing is transparent, with no hidden fees. That means that more of your money ends up in your account.

In the past, WooCommerce has been a popular option for WordPress websites, but it’s grown increasingly complicated in recent years, and we no longer recommend it to our clients. A complicated platform adds “weight” to your site, making load times lag and creating a more frustrating user experience for your customers. 😤 It’s also often necessary to buy a number of paid add-ons to make it work for your business, which eliminates the “free” nature of WooCommerce. SureCart saw these arising issues and created a superior option that meets a lot of the same needs without the complication.

Stripe 

Known for reliability and flexibility, Stripe is a popular payment processor for business owners. Stripe Payment Links allow you to generate payment links for your products and services. These links can then be shared via your website or even email and social media. 

If you’re just starting out or have limited offerings, Stripe might be the best option for your business. Stripe offers very straightforward pricing, so you pay for what you use without any extra fees. The links themselves are free and Stripe only charges its typical 2.9% processing fee, something you’ll be paying anyway. We love this solution for coaches and consultants, as well as folks who have limited offerings or are just selling one single product.

Gravity Forms

If you’ve ever worked with me, you’re probably aware that I love Gravity Forms. But not everyone realizes that you can use this plugin to collect payments as well as information. By integrating Gravity Forms with a payment processor like Stripe or PayPal, you can create forms that are built just for your business. 

In fact, Valerian uses Gravity Forms to sell our prepaid support blocks to our current clients. Some of our non-profit clients use Gravity Forms to collect donations and get information about the donors at the same time. We also have some clients who sell services that require a bit more options and add-ons; with Gravity Forms, there’s a lot of complexity available, so they can create the form they need quite easily.

ThriveCart

Although we are generally more inclined to recommend SureCart, ThriveCart has worked well for a number of our clients. With the ability to integrate with Stripe, PayPal, and numerous others, it’s a great option that doesn’t require building a complex payment processing system. It’s easy to embed and integrate so you can accept payments from your website.

ThriveCart also offers a one-time payment option with no monthly or transaction fees, so it can be pretty cost-effective, and it has options for built-in upsells and affiliate programs. Its ease of use is also a big selling point for our clients who don’t want to mess with the back end. 

If you’re looking to sell digital products, memberships, paid newsletters, and courses, ThriveCart can be a great option to leverage WordPress for those experiences. 

Shopify

If you’re not familiar with Shopify, you’ve probably used it, even if you weren’t aware. Most online shops are using Shopify to power their e-commerce, and it’s no wonder because the platform can do a lot: selling products, services, and subscriptions, customizing your storefront, managing inventory, and tracking sales. 😮 For folks with more of an online store with multiple products or options, Shopify is the go-to platform. 

A lot of our clients come to us already using the platform and are resigned to having to choose between WordPress and Shopify, but we have great news: you don’t have to choose! We can either link to a subdomain store on Shopify or use the Shopify WP plugin to integrate with your WordPress website. With the plugin, the entire user experience happens on your website and the backend is all handled by Shopify. You maintain the experience you are used to, but your customers won’t have to leave your site to complete a purchase.

🌿

In the end, the decision about which platform to use has to take into account a number of factors, but we hate to see Patreon being treated as the default by so many. The amount of money you lose to the platform is just too steep! Take some time to consider your options, and then get in touch if you’d like to ditch Patreon. 

For current clients, we’re ready to help you make the switch. Submit a support request to get started, or schedule a consultation if you’re still weighing your options. If you’re not a client yet, but are looking into our website packages, we can leverage one of these platforms when we build your website.

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