Squarespace is great for creating a front-end website for freelancers, agencies, and physical businesses, and used by tens of thousands of people around the world. People interested in or already using the squarespace platform might be inclined to start their membership site using squarespace, since its a simple to use webite builder.
However, if your goal is to create a membership website, wait a minute! Squarespace may be great for building a good looking website, but it was not designed for creating a back-end membership site. If you decide to create your membership website using Squarespace you are going to end up spending a lot of extra time tediously organizing your site than if you were to use a better subscription-based membership platform from the start
Here’s a couple reasons why you might want to reconsider creating a membership website with Squarespace:
Squarespace doesn’t have a membership platform built in – You’ll have to use a 3rd party plugin as a workaround.
There’s no actual ‘members only’ section or ‘lock pages’ ability naturally in Squarespace. You’ll need to install an addon plugin to your site to add this onto your site.
You would most likely end up using the MemberSpace plugin, or something similar. This plugin allows you to lock any page on your site, which gets the job done.
However, using these external plugins is going to cost you off the bat. If you are starting a brand new site, the minimum you’ll have to spend to get up and running is $25/month on Memberspace – this isn’t including any other expenses you might need to make to actually get your business off the ground.
If you are just starting your membership site, you want to minimize your expenses and focus your efforts on aspects of your subscription site that you can expand – so we recommend taking a look at a different platform that you can build a membership site on for free.
Creating membership site with Squarespace is tedious
Adding one of the Squarespace plugins to your site will allow you to lock pages, but this doesn’t exactly make it easy to build a membership site. You’ll still need to design and create every page from scratch as there are no prebuilt templates or themes.
This means no Learning Management Software (LMS) for your members – no organized course modules, no quizzes, no community area – You’ll lose out on the ability to make a professionally designed online learning course by using Squarespace for your membership site.
Also you can’t upload videos or files to your Squarespace site that are more than 25MB. This means for every course video you make, you’ll have to upload it to another platform and integrate that into your Squarespace site.
You’ll also need to manually lock every page for members only by inputting the URL into the memberspace plugin. And hopefully you won’t have any sensitive content – 99% of people won’t be able to see your locked content with memberspace – but there is a workaround to easily see all of your locked content as a nonmember, if you know what you’re doing. This is because of how Memberspace + Squarespace ‘locks’ your pages, with just a simple script to remove the information if the user is not a paying member.
The Squarespace Member User Experience is poor
Users would have to first create an account before being able to successfully purchase a membership from you. This means an extra unnecessary step for them, which will cause drop-off and lost sales from your sales page. Instead, you optimally want a simple, streamlined, one click purchase button on your sales page.
And again, since there are no prebuilt themes are templates for membership sites, the overall user experience around your site is going to be poor, and won’t be very professional.
Instead, we recommend these membership site platforms if you’re looking to build a reliable long term revenue stream from your memberships.
WordPress is the most popular website-building platform in existence, with hundreds of thousands of website using WordPress worldwide.
WordPress is better than Squarespace for membership sites, because Squarespace is made moreso for building front-end design websites for freelancers or brick and mortar businessses. WordPress and more backend development functionality, and has hundreds of plugins and addons to help you build the exact website you are envisioning.
Kajabi is an all-in-one platform for building online courses and memberships. This is the quickest and easiest way to get your website going in the least amount of time. If you don’t want to fuss around with setting up your own website in WordPress, Kajabi has an easy drag & drop builder. Choose a theme, upload your content, and you can have your entire membership site set up within a couple hours.
This added ease will cost you as well though – $119/month to get started for this membership platform. So this is really only feasible if you have some room for expenses and are ready to get started seriously with your membership site to quickly cover the $119/month expenses.
Memberful is another great option for building membership sites – they don’t have an actual website builder like WordPress or Kajabi, but instead they help connect many platforms together. Maybe you already have a website, or maybe you are using a community platform like Discord or Slack for your memberships already. With Memberful you can easily integrate these different services together to provide a seamless member experience for your customers.