Add a layer of passive income to your website with Member Areas

Published by Rob Hope in Squarespace Resources on 7 Apr 2022

Squarespace Logo

Getting paid for hours of hard work is a satisfying feeling.

However passive income is the sweetest of all, where earnings happen while you sleep.

This layer of income could be generated by selling access to an exclusive area of your website that includes content like ebooks, digital products, or premium online courses.

Luckily for us Squarespace, the all-in-one platform for building and marketing a website, has made it real easy to set up Member Areas for your community. The email sign up, credit card payment, and access-granting is fully automated. Wonderful!

In this tutorial I share why I think Member Areas is a good solution to grow your business, and I also answer Member Area FAQs at the end. Let’s dive right in.

Add a layer of passive income to your website with Member Areas

 

Article Overview:

  1. Why choose Squarespace Member Areas over other platforms?
  2. Five ideas to help add passive income to your business using Member Areas
  3. How to set up Squarespace Member Areas
  4. FAQ: How much does Squarespace Member Areas cost?
  5. FAQ: Is there an additional cost for charging subscriptions as well as one-off membership pricing for a second Member Area?
  6. FAQ: What Member Area account options do my customers have?
  7. FAQ: Can I upload video directly into Member Areas?
  8. FAQ: Is there still a monthly charge if the Member Area is free to join?
  9. FAQ: Can I protect everything on my website?
  10. FAQ: Can I send emails to the Member Areas community?
  11. FAQ: What are the benefits of using Squarespace?

One Page Love Exclusive Coupon

OPL10

Yay! Squarespace has been kind enough to give One Page Love readers the exclusive coupon OPL10 for 10% Off* your first website or domain purchase. (There is a free 14-day trial with no credit card needed, so you can try risk free.)


Why choose Squarespace Member Areas over other platforms?

There are dozens of complex membership solutions out there. Here are a few reasons why I would recommended using Squarespace Member Areas to grow your community:

  1. All-in-one platform – Your website, content, video library, membership, analytics, and emails are all in Squarespace. Having experience with several CMS’s (Content Management Systems) in the past, it would take dozens of plugins – some even requiring an annual subscription – just to achieve what comes out-the-box with Member Areas at $9/month. Learn more about Member Area pricing.
  2. Better first impression – Having reviewed over 1,000 website templates on One Page Love, Squarespace templates are without question the highest caliber design I’ve seen. Each template offers a stronger starting point than other platforms, while also being fully customizable to fit your brand.
  3. Pre-built ‘Videos’ Pages – Use a Videos Page to create a browsable library of videos on your site. In a videos page, you can embed externally hosted videos from Vimeo or YouTube, or upload your own video files to your site directly.
  1. Ease of use – You can create multiple types of membership (free, one-off payment, recurring fee), and managing members is a breeze. No coding knowledge needed.
  2. Streamline member communication – Use Squarespace Profiles to segment your audience and send tailored email promotions, newsletters, and more.
  3. Premium member experience – Keep your community on your website without third-party platforms or plugins needed to handle payment or experience your exclusive content.

💡 Five ideas to add passive income to your business using Member Areas

There are many opportunities to grow with Member Areas, but here are 5 common approaches that work for creators:

  1. Online Courses – With more people working from home, online courses are a brilliant way to provide further value to your community while also increasing your business revenue. Learn how to sell an online course with Squarespace.
  1. Premium Tutorials – A more comprehensive video upsold from a free version is a proven business model that works! Learn more about setting up premium tutorials with a Squarespace Member Areas paywall.

Here is an example of free design tutorials:

Upselling premium design tutorials below. Unlock all for $9/month using Squarespace Member Areas:

  1. Pre-Recorded Video Classes – A catalog of mindfulness, yoga, or exercise videos could all be upselling options for an existing business that teaches these classes in person. If you are looking to bring your workout offerings online, see my tutorial how to set up remote classes using Squarespace Scheduling.
  1. Premium Community – A private space with exclusive information for a group of professionals. This space could provide information on private events (meetups or online chats) for professional networking.
  2. Paid-for Newsletter – Another example of a freemium model like above is offering a free and premium newsletter. The free one would offer general information, while the premium one would a more in-depth report for professionals willing to pay. Here is a demo on how easy premium newsletter subscription is with Member Areas.

Great user experience right! Ok, let’s dive into how to set up Member Areas with a new Squarespace account:


How to set up Squarespace Member Areas

1. Pick a website template as a starting point

To start you’ll need to pick a Squarespace website template to sync with your Member Area. It’s worth noting this is just a starting point and whichever template you choose, you can have any desired results through the extensive customization options. The goal here is to find a template with an aesthetic closest to your needs, saving you some time.

2. Sign up for Squarespace

Sign up at Squarespace (using the coupon OPL10 for 10% off) with any plan starting at only $12/month if paid annually. Squarespace handles multiple areas of your marketing website from uptime, security, and unlimited blogging for content marketing.

3. Set up a Squarespace Member Area

In your Squarespace dashboard, head to Settings > Member Areas to activate the add-on. It’s worth noting at this point, you are only charged for Member Areas once you start inviting your audience to sign up for your offering. It’s free to set up and tweak the design as long as you need. :)

Quick jump: see Member Areas pricing

There are 3 membership types you can set up for your community to access private content:

  1. One-Time – One payment for lifetime access.
  2. Recurring – Subscription payments, where access is revoked if payment stops.
  3. Free – No charge but users must sign up for access using an email.

Head to Pages in your Squarespace dashboard. You’ll notice a new Member Areas panel to the left area. Hit the + icon and proceed to name and describe your offering:

Then head over to the Fee tab and select a membership type, adding the price tag below:

4. Add content to your Member Area

Firstly we need to create our Member Area page structure.

In the sidebar under your newly created Member Area, click the + Add Page link, proceed to create pages that align with your offerings:

Now to edit the page content, select the relevant page on the left, then click the Edit button circled here:

Above shows a simple Welcome page I created in under a minute using the user-friendly interface.

If you need extra help in this step, check out my comprehensive Member Areas video tutorial detailing exactly how to create and style private online content, including embedding videos:

 

 

5. Create a Member Area landing page

The possibilities are endless when creating landing pages with Squarespace.

Here is another detailed tutorial I published on how to create a long-scrolling landing page with Squarespace, but below is a quick demo about inserting a simple button (without the additional details) that links directly to your Member Area sign up page:

 

After I added all my content, I then refined the websites styles, and now I’m really happy with how this landing page (for a fictitious online course) turned out:

6. Announce your new premium offering

Once you are happy with your content and landing page, you can transfer your custom domain to your Squarespace website.

If you don’t have a domain you can register a new domain through Squarespace. You may even be eligible for a free domain for one year if you choose an annual billing plan for a new Squarespace website.

You are now ready to share your offering with your community and start earning another layer of page income – congrats!


Squarespace Member Area FAQs


FAQ: How much does Squarespace Member Areas cost?

It’s great to know there is zero limit to the amount of paying or free members your Member Area has. While we are on topic, let’s break down the pricing, showcasing how all 3 tiers have unlimited members.

Pricing starts at only $9/month for Member Areas, available exclusively in-addition to your Squarespace website. So if you have a standard Squarespace website ($12/month) with a Member Area added on, the total cost would be:

  • $21 per month, if paying annually (see table below)
  • $26 per month, if paying monthly

There are 3 Member Areas pricing tiers (Starter, Core, Pro) but let’s break them down visually to help understand the website add-on in the total cost:

Member Areas package: Starter Core Pro
Number of member areas 1 3 10
Transaction fee 7% 4% 1%
Additional Video Storage 5hrs 10hrs 50hrs
Unlimited members ✓ ✓ ✓
Member Areas costPer month, if paid annually $9 $18 $35
Squarespace website costPer month, if paid annually $12 $12 $12
Total cost per month Member Areas + website, if paid annually $21 $30 $47

No matter which option you choose, you have peace-of-mind with no additional costs when growing members within your Member Area.


FAQ: Is there an additional cost for charging subscriptions as well as one-off membership pricing for a second Member Area?

No. You also do not need any higher tier Squarespace website than the standard $12/month package to allow Member Areas subscriptions. To create a second Member Area, you would need a Core Member Areas package (allowing 3 member areas), costing $18/month if paid annually.


FAQ: Is there still a monthly charge if the Member Area is free to join?

Yes, you have to pay $9/month for a free Member Area, but you only start paying once you invite your first members to sign up. There is no limit to members in a single Member Area.


FAQ: Can I upload video directly into Member Areas?

Yes, you can embed externally hosted videos from Vimeo or YouTube, or upload your own video files to your site directly. Please note the tier limits when uploading directly to the platform:

Member Areas package: Starter Core Pro
Additional Video Storage 5hrs 10hrs 50hrs

FAQ: What Member Area account options do my customers have?

When arriving at the site, they simply log in using the main navigation. The main navigation will then feature the Members Only navigation for premium content as well as a new Account item (shown below). Clicking it opens up a bunch of useful options, including adding new payment methods and even canceling their subscription if they need. To log out, they simply click Sign Out below their name.


FAQ: Can I protect everything on my website?

Yes, you can protect any page on your site. However, you cannot protect specific files (like images) from being accessed by someone who has been given a link pointing directly to one of those files.


FAQ: Can I send emails to the Member Areas community?

Squarespace Member Areas integrates seamlessly with Squarespace Email Campaigns and only costs an additional $5/month to send up to 500 members.

A huge benefit of the Squarespace Email Campaigns platform is being able to send emails that look just as good as your Squarespace website. The same design aesthetic is integrated throughout Squarespace Email Campaigns.

In your Squarespace dashboard, head over to Marketing in the main navigation, then kick off Email Campaigns. To send your first campaign, hit the big Create button on the left, and kick off a Blast campaign type:

Now choose an email template similar to your needs. There really are so many wonderful email template designs in Squarespace.

Here is a quick video of how easy the email content inline editing is:

If you’d like a more comprehensive tutorial, I published this video walkthrough on How to use Squarespace Email Campaigns.


FAQ: What are the benefits of using Squarespace?

Squarespace is a leading online website builder. What sets them apart is their superior level of design and customer support. They have an award-winning support team available 24/7.

Other main benefits are:

  • No Website Hosting Needed - their platform is fast and secure.
  • Online Content Management - all edits are done within your browser, no software needed.
  • Easily Drag and Drop Images - unlimited galleries with unlimited bandwidth.
  • Free Domain Name - when registering for your first website, if you pay annually (renews at standard rate).
  • Beautifully Responsive - all templates work for all devices, so you only have to design your website once. Test and preview how your website will appear on a range of screen sizes.
  • Blog Sections - can easily be added for content marketing and to share your journey.
  • Commerce Solutions - are an upgrade away if you want to start selling products.
  • Email Marketing - gather email addresses, send marketing emails and analyze the reader email activity.
  • Member Areas - create private website sections only accessible to signed-up or paying members.
  • Scheduling - add an online scheduler to your site to diversify your revenue with professional services or classes.

That’s a wrap! Don’t forget your 10% Off coupon*: OPL10

That’s a wrap! Don’t forget your 10% Off coupon: OPL10

OPL10

I hope you enjoyed this breakdown on how to add a layer of income to your business using Member Areas! Props to Squarespace for creating a platform where we can sell memberships, with ease. In case you missed it, I recently published a tutorial on How to sell your first online course using Squarespace.

* The OPL10 coupon offer only applies to first payment of subscription on Squarespace, does not apply to future recurring payments or monthly plans, and may not be combined with any other offer codes or discounts.

Much love,
Rob

Twitter: @robhope
Email: [email protected]