So far, you’ve used WordPress’s user registration features to open up your site to new
contributors. Ironically, those same features are also an effective way to close the
door to strangers. For example, you can prevent unregistered guests from reading
certain posts, or even stop them from seeing any content at all.
Before you build a private site, however, make sure you have enough interested
members. Transforming an ordinary site into a members-only hideout is a sure way
to scare off 99.9 percent of your visitors. However, a private site makes sense if you
already have a locked-in group of members. Your site might be the online home
for a group of related people in the real world—for example, a team of researchers
planning a new product, or a local self-help group for cancer survivors. But if you
hope that people will stumble across your site and ask to sign up, you’re in for some
long and lonely nights.
NOTE The goals of a private site are very different from the goals of the average public site. A public site
aims to attract new faces, gain buzz, and grow ever more popular. A private site is less ambitious—it allows certain
types of discussions or collaboration in a quiet space.