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How to Enable WordPress Users to Subscribe to Categories?

How to Enable WordPress Users to Subscribe to Categories?

How to Enable WordPress Users to Subscribe to Categories?

WordPress provides a flexible framework for organizing content and communicating with your audience.


Allowing your users to subscribe to certain categories is an excellent approach to keep them updated about issues of interest to them. In this blog article, we will look at various options for allowing WordPress users to subscribe to categories, so improving their experience and strengthening their relationship with your website.



Method 1: Using Plugins

The functionality of your WordPress site may be conveniently increased using plugins. In order to allow category subscriptions, you may use the following two well-liked plugins:

1. Category Specific RSS Menu

A user-friendly plugin called Category Specific RSS Menu enables you to make subscription menus for various categories. Once the plugin has been installed and activated, go to the “Appearance” menu and choose “Widgets.” Drag & drag the “Category Specific RSS” widget to the sidebar or footer, depending on where you want it to appear. Set the categories for which you wish to offer subscriptions in the widget’s settings. The subscription choices for each category will then be shown to users on your website.


2. Subscribe2

Another strong plugin with complex subscription options is Subscribe2. After installing and turning on the plugin, go to “Settings” > “Subscribe2” to edit its settings. The categories to show, the notification format for subscribers, and the subscription form may all be customized. When new material is released within the subscribed categories, Subscribe2 also offers the ability to automatically send email alerts.


Method 2: Custom Code Implementation

Adding customized code to your WordPress theme will allow you to establish category subscriptions without the use of plugins. As follows:

1. Create a Subscription Form

Create a subscription form first, allowing people to choose the categories they wish to subscribe to. The form may be created using PHP and HTML. Utilize WordPress methods like get_categories() to get the list of categories. Create checkboxes or other suitable input fields so consumers may choose the categories they want.


2. Process the Subscription

Process the subscription request using PHP when consumers submit the form. To save the chosen categories in the user’s metadata or a custom database table, get them from the form data. The subscription data may be stored using WordPress methods like update_user_meta().


3. Send Notifications

You must put in place a system to deliver email alerts to subscribers informing them when new material in the subscribed categories is available. When a new post is published, WordPress hooks like publish_post can send out email alerts. In order to send each user a personalized notification email with the appropriate content data, you must first retrieve their subscribed categories.



Method 3: Third-Party Services

As an alternative, you may incorporate services from other parties that are dedicated to managing email subscriptions and notifications. These services frequently provide intuitive user interfaces and in-depth functionality for managing subscriptions. AWeber, ConvertKit, and MailChimp are a few well-liked alternatives. You may enable category subscriptions and automate the notification process by using their APIs or WordPress plugins.



To assist you in implementing category subscriptions without needing plugins, below is an enhanced version of Method 2 with code samples:


1. Create a Subscription Form

First, in your WordPress theme, add a subscribe form. The following code can be added to your theme’s template file (such as sidebar.php or footer.php):

<form method="post" action="<?php echo esc_url( admin_url('admin-post.php') ); ?>">
  <input type="hidden" name="action" value="subscribe_categories">
  <h4>Select Categories to Subscribe:</h4>
  $categories = get_categories();
  foreach ($categories as $category) {
    echo '<input type="checkbox" name="subscribed_categories[]" value="' . $category->cat_ID . '"> ' . $category->name . '<br>';
  <input type="submit" value="Subscribe">


2. Process the Subscription

Process the subscription request next in the functions.php section of your WordPress theme. Add the next bit of code:

// Add the subscribe_categories action hook
add_action('admin_post_nopriv_subscribe_categories', 'process_category_subscription');
add_action('admin_post_subscribe_categories', 'process_category_subscription');

function process_category_subscription() {
  if (isset($_POST['subscribed_categories'])) {
    $user_id = get_current_user_id();
    // Store the subscribed categories in user metadata
    update_user_meta($user_id, 'subscribed_categories', $_POST['subscribed_categories']);
    // Redirect the user to a confirmation page

3. Send Notifications

Add the following code to your functions.php file to notify readers through email whenever a new article is published in the categories to which they have subscribed:

// Send email notifications on post publication
function send_category_notifications($post_ID, $post) {
  $subscribed_users = get_users();
  foreach ($subscribed_users as $user) {
    $subscribed_categories = get_user_meta($user->ID, 'subscribed_categories', true);
    // Check if the user is subscribed to any category
    if (is_array($subscribed_categories) && !empty($subscribed_categories)) {
      $post_categories = wp_get_post_categories($post_ID);
      // Check if the post belongs to any subscribed category
      foreach ($post_categories as $category) {
        if (in_array($category, $subscribed_categories)) {
          $subject = 'New post in a subscribed category: ' . get_the_title($post_ID);
          $message = 'A new post has been published in one of your subscribed categories. Check it out: ' . get_permalink($post_ID);
          wp_mail($user->user_email, $subject, $message);

add_action('publish_post', 'send_category_notifications', 10, 2);





Enabling WordPress users to subscribe to categories is a valuable strategy to enhance user engagement and deliver targeted content. Whether you choose to use plugins, custom code implementation, or third-party services, providing category subscriptions helps you establish stronger connections with your audience and keep them informed about the topics they are most interested in. Consider implementing one of these methods and enjoy the benefits of an actively engaged user base on your WordPress site. If you want to create WordPress Website / WordPress Services / Support you can check our services.




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