What is Squarespace Membership?
As one of the most popular website builders and award winning tools, Squarespace is widely used by online business owners.
And some of them, as they are expanding their offerings, wonder whether it’s possible to create a membership site and sell online courses through Squarespace too.
And the short answer is that there are some solutions the platform offers natively to achieve this!
That includes, creating pages only visible for paying members, taking payment and creating a member’s area.
But of course, there are also a few things to be aware of in terms of its limitations to understand whether or not that would be a good choice for you.
What Can You Do With Squarespace Membership?
First of all, in order to use Squarespace Membership, you’ll need to use a template that includes the “Member Area” already loaded.
This is worth noting if you already have a website designed on Squarespace and just want to add the membership feature.
If that’s the case you might need to change a few things around…
That being said you have the choice among a plethora of beautifully designed templates to choose from that you can then customize to your liking.
Building your membership
This is when you actually get to make your membership site or online course your own.
Understand here that this is all designed and created in the front-end.
Meaning that there is no content manager or curriculum builder in Squarespace membership like you might find in a specialized platform (more on that later).
You’ll have to build each of your module pages one by one (although of course you can duplicate a template you’ve created and replace the content).
This does make for a less than optimal process and can be a deal breaker if your online course has a lot of lessons.
That being said, you benefit from using the amazing page builder Squarespace offer and can make everything look exactly how you want it.
You’ll have to link everything together, then customize your member’s account and login page.
In terms of the type of content you can add to your membership, this can be audio, video and text, using Squarespace hosting.
Note, you’ll probably need to upgrade to the highest pricing tier of Squarespace to get enough video storage.
There is no native tool to build quizzes or assessments for your students.
Payments & Checkout
This is rather straightforward and once again handled fully natively by Squarespace.
As part of the membership template, you’ll be able to create digital products and sell them through a checkout.
You’ll have to connect one of two payment gateways available: Stripe and PayPal.
As a student purchases they will be prompted to create an account and be able to access their membership right away.
Note that you can only sell subscriptions on the highest plan at $35/mo called COMMERCE.
Here are some other notes about other limitations to be aware of when using Squarespace membership:
- The platform doesn’t have an email marketing tool, but you can capture emails and send them to a 3rd party platform with several native integration to popular tools.
- You cannot build a Community in Squarespace for your members to meet and post.
All and all, Squarespace membership is fairly basic.
This might not be a big deal if you’re only planning on delivering very simple content for your members.
But for anything more advanced you might want to consider a specialized platform
How Does Squarespace Compare To Online Course Platforms?
If you’re starting to look at how to sell membership or online products online, chances are you’ve stumbled upon some specialized platforms in the industry.
Kajabi, Teachable, Thinkific, Podia,...
These are platforms that are built specifically for course creators to deliver a world-class learning experience.
So how does Squarespace compare?
As we mentioned, Squarespace is at its core a website builder, and the membership feature is just an add-on tool.
One of the main things that will be better when using a dedicated online course platform will be to manage your course content.
These platforms have a curriculum builder included and help hosting content, often without storage limits.
This also means that it’s a lot quicker to put together your membership than Squarespace.
You’ll also have more learning tools and features: student progress, automation, certificate of completion, quizzes,etc.
All-in-one platforms like Kajabi also include email marketing and automation tools as well as a funnel builder.
The bottom line is that of course, a specialized online course platform is going to do a better job than Squarespace.
A lot of people use both platforms, keeping Squarespace as their main website and using the online course platform for the course delivering part of things.
Some others, that have decided that digital products are going to be the core of their business, decide to migrate everything over to an all-in-one.
Squarespace Membership FAQ
Can you build a membership site with Squarespace?
Yes you can!
As described in this review, Squarespace has a native membership feature for you to build your membership or course pages.
How much does Squarespace membership costs?
To really get what you need to build this membership area, you’ll probably need to be on the Commerce plan which goes for ~$40/month.
You might already use this so it may come at no extra cost but if you aren’t then you’ll need to upgrade to unlock the full features.
This will give you up to 50 hours of video hosting.
Can you take payments for your membership with Squarespace?
Squarespace has a native checkout system where you can easily setup a membership and give students access after payment.
You’ll be able to integrate Stripe and Paypal.
When should I use an online course platform over Squarespace?
There are quite a few things to consider when using Squarespace memberships is a good idea, and when a specialized platform is a better option.
The bottom line is that if your membership or online course is very simple and you don’t mind having all the extra bells and whistles, you’ll be fine using Squarespace.
But if you really want to deliver a special learning experience, then looking at online course platforms is a good idea.