Squarespace Classroom FAQ
Because my method uses code injection and the Squarespace commerce function you will need to be on the Squarespace Business Plan or higher. Furthermore I recommend that you are familar with Squarespace and know how to build and design pages and blog posts.
How do I keep my content safe?
My method uses a password protected blog so everyone uses the same password to log in. The password is a built-in Squarespace functionality that keeps your content save. Read this post which explains my research into this and why I decided to use a password protected blog.
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.
Can I have membership with Squarespace?
Squarespace does not have a membership feature but there are 3rd party providers that offer this function. If you don’t want to use the same password for everyone then I can recommend Memberspace.com (affiliate link), a solution that is designed specifically for Squarespace.
I have a course that teaches how to host an eCourse on Squarespace with Memberspace, click here to learn more.
What kind of course can I host on Squarespace?
Evergreen courses that participants can access at any time and take at their own pace.
Date-driven drip-feed courses, i.e. where content is released on scheduled dates.
Dynamic drip-feeding, i.e. where course lessons are released based on the customer's sign-up date, is not possible.
Is this method compatible with Squarespace version 7.1?
Squarespace are currently developing a new version and customers are randomly offered either version 7.0 templates or 7.1. This is a so-called early release of 7.1 while they gather feedback and iron out bugs.
All the videos in this course show version 7.0.
My method uses a Squarespace blog and a sidebar for the course navigation. Some 7.0 templates do not have a sidebar in which case we use the Sidebar Plugin (affiliate link). Squarespace version 7.1 does not have a sidebar and the Sidebar Plugin does not yet work with 7.1.
Therefore I do not yet recommend 7.1 for hosting eCourses on Squarespace.
Will this work on any 7.0 template?
Anya, Bedford, Bryant, or Hayden work best because my proposed solution uses a unique sidebar.
Templates without a sidebar (e.g. any template in the Brine family) also work, here we use the Sidebar Plugin (affiliate link). I show how to do both in this course. Not sure what family your template belongs to? → Click here to find out.
The Five template has a global sidebar which can be turned on/off per page. If you are using the sidebar elsewhere on your website you would turn it OFF for your course and use a fake sidebar or the sidebar plugin, both of which are explained in the course.
These templates have a global sidebar that cannot be turned off per page and are thus NOT recommended with my method: Avenue, Bureau, Forte, Foundry, Galapagos, Ishimoto, Julia, Montauk, Om, Skye, Tudor, Wexley, Wells.
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 get stuck.
Can I use videos and audio?
Yes, you can! You can link to or upload audio files via the audio block. It is not possible to upload videos to Squarespace so you'd host them elsewhere and then embed them into your website. I always recommend Vimeo because they have great privacy and embedding features, but YouTube works, too, of course.
Are there additional costs?
You will need to be on a Squarespace Business Plan or higher to be able to use my method. On the Business Plan Squarespace leverages a 3% transaction fee per sale while there are no transaction fees on the Commerce Plans.
Zapier is free for 2-step zaps (mine is a 2-step) and up to 5 zaps and 100 transactions per month, if you exceed any of these you will need to upgrade to a paid plan which starts at $20 per month.
Mailchimp is free for up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month, after that pricing plans start at $10 per month.
Vimeo. You cannot upload videos to Squarespace so you will need to host them somewhere else, most people use Vimeo or YouTube. I love Vimeo because of their amazing privacy and embedding options. Vimeo pricing plans start at $7 a month.
What does the sign-up process look like?
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 from Mailchimp 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 that is supported by Zapier) so that you can contact your course participants any time. All of this is fully automated and once implemented you don’t have to touch it again and can focus on adding your content.
Does this only work with Mailchimp?
My method works with any email marketing provider (ConvertKit, ConstantContact etc.) as long as they interface with Zapier. In my tutorials I use Mailchimp.
Can I use Squarespace Campaigns?
Yes you can! With Campaigns you would not need Zapier/Mailchimp. You can set up a product specific automation with Campaigns that sends a welcome email with the login info to the customer. This will accrue an additional cost, you would need the Core Plan which includes automations and costs $14 a month or $100 annually. I don’t use Campaigns for this right now because there is no way to also add the customer email address to a product specific email list. I like to have an email list of all my course participants so that I can contact them with course specific information. That’s why I still prefer to use Zapier/Mailchimp for this.
Can I host multiple ecourses?
Yes, you can! I am using a password protected blog for each course where each blog post is a lesson. You can have unlimited blogs on Squarespace so you can host multiple courses and each course has its own password. Hosting more than one course requires a bit of additional coding which I also show how to do in this class.
Can I see a demo?
Here are some screenshots. Please bear in mind that a course will look different on your website as it will have your branding, but the basic structure will be similar to mine. Click on an image for larger view.