host your e-Course on your own Squarespace website!
With so many options out there knowing where to host your e-course can quickly become a confusing and rather costly exercise. When I created Squarespace 101 I did a lot of research and if you haven't read it yet I highly recommend checking out my blog post here. I came to the conclusion that I really loved the idea of hosting my course on my own Squarespace website, here's why:
- NO FEES for 3rd party hosting services or membership functionality.
- YOUR STUDENTS WILL LOVE IT. It’s a stylish and well organized classroom.
- BRAND CONSISTENCY. Because you are using your own fonts, colors and design.
- CONVENIENT. Your students only need to know one place: your website.
- SECURE. Your course content is protected by the built-in password system.
- BEAUTIFUL. Take full advantage of all of Squarespace’s gorgeous styling options.
- EASY. No need to learn a new system, you already know how to use Squarespace & your website!
- SEAMLESS. Selling through Squarespace is easy on Business and higher plans.
- PAYMENT OPTIONS. Your customers can pay by credit card or PayPal.
- GREAT SUPPORT. You can contact customer support 24/7 and they are wonderful!
About this course
Because Squarespace does not have a membership functionality I am using custom CSS, code injection and Zapier to set up an online classroom and to provide an automated and seamless sign-up process. I show you how to do all of this using easy to follow step-by-step written instructions and video tutorials.
Because my method uses code injection you will need to be on the Squarespace Business Plan. I also recommend that you are familar with Squarespace and know how to build and design pages and blog posts.
What kind of course can I host on Squarespace?
My method is suitable for those who have evergreen or date-driven drip-feed courses. Dynamic drip-feeding, i.e. where course lessons are released based on the customer's sign-up date, is not possible.
Will this work on any template?
My proposed solution uses a unique blog sidebar so Anya, Bedford, Bryant, or Hayden. Templates without a sidebar (e.g. Brine) also work, here we use a fake sidebar or you can use the Sidebar Plugin. These templates are NOT recommended with my method: Avenue, Bureau, Forte, Foundry, Galapagos, Ishimoto, Julia, Montauk, Om, Skye, Tudor, Wexley, Wells.
How much does it cost?
Additional costs to consider: You will need to be on a Squarespace business plan or higher to be able to use my method. Zapier is free for 2-step zaps (mine is a 2-step) and up to 5 zaps at a time and 100 transactions per month, if you exceed any of these you will need to upgrade to a paid plan. Mailchimp is free for up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month.
How long will it take?
A little effort and patience is required but if you follow all the steps and use the checklist, then you can have your course structure and automated sign-up process all ready to go within 2-3 hours. The lessons are easy to follow step-by-step instructions and videos, and I am always happy to answer questions in our private Facebook group should you feel stuck on anything.
Is using the same password for everyone safe?
Yes, it is. Students can in theory share the password with others, however, the same is true if you have a membership system. If someone wants to cheat they will, regardless of the barriers you put in place. I always question the motive of sharing a password: why would someone who has paid for the course just give free access to it to someone who hasn’t? Generally I go on the assumption that most people are honest and interested in learning, not cheating. And using a password login is easy, my course participants love it! I also change the password every quarter and using this method has honestly never been an issue.
What does the sign-up process look like?
Squarespace is currently unable to email product specific purchase confirmations or to add a customer email address to a product specific mailing list. With my set-up your customer instantly receives two emails after purchasing your course: one from Squarespace with the purchase confirmation as well as a welcome email with the login information to your course. Your customer's email address is also added to a product specific mailing list in Mailchimp (or any mail service supported by Zapier). All of this is fully automated and once implemented you don’t have to touch it again and can focus on adding your content.
This is a self-paced course to which you have life-time access.
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"I finished your course - you have no idea how much you helped me. I've wasted so much time in recent months making the round of "learning management systems", to find none that were exactly what I wanted and even the one that came close meant I had to recreate another home online. As I was just starting to launch my online presence, it was a waste of effort. I feel so much more focused and clear since I set up my course on Squarespace. I feel it's much more intuitive than learning someone else's platform. Best of all, it costs me nothing extra. I absolutely love the fact that you can drip content. I shocked a couple of folks who were looking down their noses at my "DIY" solution. They were like, well you really need the drip feature. I was very happy to say "I got it!" They were genuinely surprised. So good for you for figuring out something so useful. Thanks! I never really spent time dabbling on Squarespace after I set up my initial site. I couldn't visualize all the possibilities, by playing with the content boxes. I love the sidebar. That was a revelation. I agree it is the cat's meow. I am looking forward to the design phase now and to adding my content. Thank you!"
– Elizabeth Renee
"Kerstin, after spending a couple of years of intermittent trials and errors of all sorts of platforms, I finally found what I was looking for to host my online program and eCourses, your course was so amazing & empowering!! I've just successfully run my first round of my 8-week online program on Squarespace and everyone loved it - thanks to you and your course!! Big gratitude!"
– Sand Mew
"A massive thank you to you, Kerstin, for putting together such a wonderful and helpful course. My favorite part is how much FUN it is to put your lessons together in Squarespace! I've used Teachable for my courses before, and it's nowhere near as fun or intuitive!"
– Krista Dickson