WordPress MailChimp Integration without buggy membership plugins

After years of working with various membership plugins for WordPress, one particular pattern has emerged: such plugins’ seeming inability to keep MailChimp functionality running. The jury’s still out on my tests with Paid Memberships Pro as to the functionality of its MailChimp add-on (*fingers crossed*), but so far I’m liking it a lot –very lightweight membership plugin, and the add-ons it offers like the one for MailChimp are optional, making it nice and easy to use one’s own solution instead for any of the add-ons, again keeping the whole membership system lightweight and flexible.

So… after many many rounds of trying to work with various membership plugins’ support teams who touted MailChimp integration, I found that most of them simply do not –for whatever reason– cannot provide ongoing, up to date MailChimp functionality –for such simple things as adding a user’s email address to a MailChimp subscription list.

This means that on more than one occasion I’ve had quite disappointed clients who had done their research and thought they were choosing good plugins, sometimes having chosen such membership plugins based on their allegedly having MailChimp integration. I felt their pain!

I’m not saying there aren’t some great simple plugins that focus on Mailchimp, and do so well, but the larger suite membership plugins seem to do Mailchimp integration poorly. I’ll have to update on my latest membership plugin experiences as far as MailChimp goes, but for now…

I finally determined a better approach is to keep whatever membership system as simple as possible (if you don’t need to process payment skip member plugins altogether), and for Mailchimp integration, add it to the WordPress theme of the given site, using Mailchimp API code. Keeping things simple tends to really pay off down the road.

Using Mailchimp API + PHP in a site’s WordPress theme (or plugin), you can *directly* connect to Mailchimp and check is a user’s email address is already a MC list member, you can add/remove/update a user to a given MailChimp subscription list, along with many other functions. For starters, you might want to check out Mailchimp’s own API Docs or contact me about Mailchimp integration for your site.

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