How to Build a Membership Site on Squarespace

Though Squarespace is our favorite platform for building beautiful, functional and easy-to-use websites, there is one functionality the platform doesn’t currently offer: membership-protected content.

Now, to clarify, you can password-protect pages on a Squarespace website. But the extent of this functionality is one password for anyone who needs access to the page—which, of course, does not work well for paid products, as the one password could be easily distributed by anyone who knows it.

Squarespace does not currently offer the ability to provide unique membership-based access to protected pages, such as would be needed for online courses, subscription services, etc.

Introducing Memberspace

MemberSpace is a third party tool that can protect Squarespace pages and content, making the protected content accessible only to members who’ve been granted access through a sign-up process.

This is useful for setting up and managing payment from:

  • Online courses

  • Resource libraries

  • Membership groups

  • Ebooks or other downloadable materials

MemberSpace allows you to offer free products, one-time payments and recurring subscriptions. So, it’s both a great option for paid products, as well as a convenient way to provide opt-in freebies to grow your email list and audience (which is especially good for new businesses!).

The MemberSpace back-end offers an extensive amount of customization, from payment options, to styling, to the wording of client emails. And they have a wonderful support team to assist with any questions along the way.

MemberSpace offers a free 14-day trial so you can set up your membership program completely free. For some businesses, the tool even pays for itself before its first billing cycle!

We’ve used MemberSpace to set up different types of membership-protected sites, both free and paid, on Squarespace.

Here’s an example membership program set up using MemberSpace:

Four Wellness Co. • Wellness Library

The free Wellness Library resources (both web-based and downloadable materials) are protected by MemberSpace.

During the sign-up process, members are invited to opt in to the Four Wellness Co. newsletter.

New members are automatically added to a Wellness Library list in MailChimp, for future updates and communication.


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Memberspace set-up guide

Here’s a step-by-step guide to set up membership-protected content in Squarespace, using MemberSpace:

1. Create a {free!} MemberSpace account

Of course, the first step in setting up your membership-protected Squarespace site is to sign up for your MemberSpace account.

MemberSpace offers a free 14-day trial, so you can set up your membership-protected program completely free.

2. Connect Stripe

If you’ll be offering paid products on your membership site, connect your Stripe account to MemberSpace to accept payments. (You’ll be prompted to do this during the sign-up process.)

Note: We recommend selecting “zip code required” in both your Stripe account and MemberSpace. Though this isn’t required to process credit card transactions, it’s an added level of security that may reduce the decline rate—meaning, there will be fewer instances of potential customers having their credit declined as they try to pay for your product.

3. Connect Memberspace & Squarespace

Next you’ll need to “install” MemberSpace on your Squarespace site. MemberSpace has a very helpful step-by-step tutorial on this—and they even offer a video tutorial in the back-end.

Note: Be sure that your website URL is live as you’re completing this step of the process. For example, you don’t want to install MemberSpace on mysite.squarespace.com when it ultimately will need to point to mysite.com.

4. Create your member plans

Next you’ll create your member plan(s). This includes naming your plan(s), setting the cost and terms to access them, and the specific pages and/or content they’ll protect.

Some of the features you’ll customize for your member plans are:

  • Name: Members will see this name when signing up (as well as later, in their account), so choose a name that makes sense—and, if you offer multiple plans, choose names that clearly distinguish each plan from the others.

  • Cost: Will your plan be free, have a one-time payment, multiple payments, or a recurring (subscription) payment? You’ll set the payment amount, currency, interval and billing date (if applicable). You can optionally choose to offer a free trial period, charge a sign-up fee, or charge tax.

  • Member pages: You’ll select which website pages members on this plan have access to. (If you haven’t set up your member pages yet, no worries, you can come back to this.)

  • Sign-up link: Set the link where members will be directed after they sign up for your plan (this could, for example, be a welcome page to your membership-protected content).

  • Log-in link: Set the link where members will be directed after they log in to their membership account (for example, the members’ “home” page for your membership-protected course).

  • Plan publicity: You can toggle each plan to be enabled and public—useful features if you’re setting up a plan you don’t want to go live yet, or if you don’t want certain plans visible to all potential members signing up.

5. Set your member pages & content

Now you’re ready to work on your membership-protected content! Through MemberSpace you can protect:

  • Member pages: specific pages on your Squarespace website

  • Content links: downloadable content (for example, ebooks, videos, PDF guides, etc.), accessible via a link on your website

You’ll need to create your member pages in Squarespace and your downloadable content in whichever software you use to create that particular content.

Your exact membership-protected content (webpage or otherwise) doesn’t need to be finalized at this step. However, at this point in the set-up process it can be useful to build out the architecture of your membership-protected pages in Squarespace so that you can add them to the back-end of MemberSpace.

Keep in mind that each page needs to be added individually, and the URL needs to match exactly (so, if you change the URL of a page while building it, you’ll also need to update this in MemberSpace).

There are a few ways to customize your member pages:

  • Page availability: You can schedule or drip specific content to new members, or provide immediate access.

  • Member plans: You’ll denote which member plans have access to each page.

  • Page blackout: Set how you’d like the membership-protected pages to appear on your site—should they flicker briefly to tease the protected content, or should membership-protected URLs be blacked out to completely hide content (and boost security)?

Adding membership-protected content is easy—you’ll simply upload files under the “Content Links” tab in the back-end of MemberSpace. Later, this content can be accessed via the unique link associated with each piece of content.

6. Customize your sign-up process

Under the “Customize” tab in the back-end of MemberSpace, you’ll find numerous options to customize your members’ sign-up experience, including wording and display options, additional sign-up fields (if you’d like to collect additional information prior to sign-up), cancellation policy details, and the ability to manually approve members.

You may want to connect your MailChimp account (Customize > Integrations) to be able to offer specific email list sign-ups to your members or automatically add them to a specific MailChimp list. (If you don’t use MailChimp for email marketing, you can use MemberSpace’s Zapier integration to automate connection with other email platforms.)

7. Add your branding

Set up your MemberSpace integration to seamlessly work with your Squarespace website by customizing design elements like colors and button styles under Customize > Look & Feel.

8. Customize your email notifications

Customize the wording and appearance of your client email notifications in the back-end of MemberSpace under Customize > Member Emails.

9. Test your member experience

Finally, before releasing your membership-protected content, it’s a good idea to test out the member experience by signing up for your membership plan(s) yourself.

Tip: The easiest way to test the sign-up process without paying the fee is to create a 100% off coupon (Member Plans > Coupon). This allows you to walk through the sign-up process and test the membership for free.

10. Add your sign-up link to your website

Now you’re ready to link your membership-protected process to your website!

Access your member plan sign-up link(s) in the back-end of MemberSpace (Member Plans > Sign Up Link) and use as needed on buttons, etc. on your Squarespace website. Yay! 😄

 

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How to build a membership site on Squarespace // A step-by-step guide to create membership-protected content (free or paid) on your Squarespace website.
How to build a membership site on Squarespace // A step-by-step guide to create membership-protected content (free or paid) on your Squarespace website.