Woman doing yoga on a mat

Build a Membership Site with Squarespace Member Areas

By Elliot Olson

By Elliot Olson

Lead Web Designer + Digital Strategist

I’ve worked with small business owners for years — and if there’s one thing that they all have in common, it’s that they are BUSY.

I mean, seriously busy.

I’m talking…

Got-up-at-six-to-get-the-kids-ready-for-school-and-now-have-work busy.

Need-three-coffees-to-get-through-these-morning-meetings busy.

Onboarding-a-new-employee-while-also-keeping-up-with-holiday-orders busy.

They don’t have time to waste.

In fact, they could use a couple extra hours in each day thankyouverymuch.

With every business owner strapped for time, I absolutely love setting up web systems that are…

A) Straightforward

and

B) Effective

Squarespace is my #1 favorite platform for small business websites because it’s just so – dang – seamless to build a website that is…

  • Beautiful
  • Powerful
  • Easy to manage

But sometimes, Squarespace falls short.

Selling classes through Squarespace? That’s not so easy.

Until now.

I’m thrilled to share an exciting new feature…drumroll please

? Squarespace Member Areas ?

Member Areas are a new way to offer protected content on your site. No longer will you have to use a third-party site like Teachable or Udemy.

Now, you can produce and sell content directly on your own Squarespace website.

What are Squarespace Member Areas?

Member Areas is a new feature to offer content for your website members. You can now use your Squarespace website to protect and share your exclusive content, whether you’re a…

  • Yoga instructor teaching online classes
  • Running club sharing private routes
  • Baker selling tutorials and recipes
  • Marketer sending an exclusive newsletter
  • Or many others!

Members can sign up and manage their accounts, including their own membership information such as payments and profile details.

What kind of content can I add to Squarespace Member Areas?

The sky is really the limit. Whatever paid content you want to offer members, you can now add to Member Areas.

  • Lessons
  • Checklists
  • Written tutorials
  • Embedded videos (hosted through Vimeo or YouTube)
  • Protected PDFs

What are the benefits of using Squarespace Member Areas?

Simplicity. Instead of connecting your Squarespace site to an external third-party website, Member Areas keeps everything in one place for you and your clients.

Styling. Member Areas draws on the style of your existing Squarespace website. You can now create cohesive, consistent branding across your public website and Member Areas content.

Secure. Instead of sending users to another website, all payment information is handled directly in Squarespace’s secure system.

Fast setup. You can set up a Member Area pronto through your Squarespace dashboard. There’s no need to learn and set up a third-party integration.

How do I create a Squarespace Member Area?

You can access Squarespace Member Areas in Settings > Member Areas.

Once you’ve activated Member Areas, go to the page where you want to feature a sign-up block.

Your visitor will be prompted to either create an account (if they’re new) or login (if they’re returning).

In Squarespace 7.1, you can replace your top navigation with a new menu featuring links relevant to the logged-in visitor.

In Squarespace 7.0, you can add navigation based on your template settings.

Can I manage people in Squarespace Member Areas?

You sure can! Once you activate Squarespace Member Areas, you can manage profiles in four categories:

  • Customers. People who buy products from your site.
  • Subscribers. People who join your mailing lists.
  • Members. People who join your member areas.
  • Donors. People who donate to your site.

How does Squarespace Member Areas integrate with email?

You can use Squarespace to email your members without having to visit another platform.

Good news. Member Areas syncs seamlessly with Squarespace email campaigns.

Great news. You won’t need to sync member lists if a member joins or leaves. Instead, Squarespace will keep your member list in sync.

Aaand not-so-great news. There’s no Mailchimp integration (as of now). Instead, you can only send Squarespace email campaigns.

What kinds of memberships can I offer through Squarespace Member Areas?

You can set membership costs that are either a one-time fee, recurring membership payment, or free of charge.

You’ll be able to charge people by the week, month, year, or all at once. You can also offer a membership that is 100% free.

This free option is especially interesting to me. It basically allows you to offer visitors a taste of your paid membership, without having access to everything.

One note — Squarespace does not offer an end date for Member Area subscriptions at this time. So if you want to offer a limited time membership, you’ll need to cancel the membership when it ends.

Are Squarespace Member Areas free?

Nope. Member Areas is available as an add-on product to any Squarespace website subscription.

Plans start at $9 a month.

Screenshot of pricing plans for squarespace member areas

Note that the Starter plan comes with a whopping 7% transaction fee — which is quite high. It may be more economical to sign up for the Core or Pro plan instead to save on lower transaction fees.

All plans include payment processing with PayPal or credit cards, plus integrated analytics.

Are Squarespace Member Areas for everyone?

Again, nope. Squarespace Member Areas have a few drawbacks that make them a bad fit for some people:

No automatic membership end date. As noted earlier, there’s no way to set a membership expiration date. If your memberships are meant to automatically renew, you’ll be good to go. But if you offer memberships that expire, you’ll have to manually cancel the membership yourself — which may be fine if you only have a few members, but will quickly become unsustainable as your site grows.

No video hosting. Squarespace still doesn’t offer video hosting. If you offer video lessons, you’ll need to upload videos to Vimeo and then embed them in your website. (You could upload videos to YouTube, but Vimeo has better video privacy and embedding options to keep your videos actually member-only.)

No lesson progress information for members. There’s no way for Squarespace Member Areas to show progress through a series of modules or lessons. If your members take a break from lessons and forget where they left off, they won’t be able to find an easy progress reminder of where to begin again. There are workarounds — such as offering a checklist — but it’s an inconvenient system.

No lesson progress information for you. It’s not just your members who may need to see lesson progress. If you plan to provide a certificate or other verification of completion, you won’t be able to tell who has actually completed which course components.

There you have it, an overview to the brand-spankin’ new Squarespace Membership Areas. I hope this has been helpful — please get in touch if you have any questions!

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