Squarespace Member Areas: Is it Right for You?
✍️ Emily Gertenbach
🗓 October 25, 2021
There are plenty of reasons to add a members-only area to your website, from building a client portal to launching a profitable membership business with multiple revenue streams.
If you’re a Squarespace user, you may have seen messages about an add-on subscription called Member Areas. If you’ve been curious about what Squarespace Member Areas offers, you’re in the right spot. We’ve reviewed the pros and cons of Squarespace Member Areas so you can choose the best membership platform for your needs!
What is Squarespace Member Areas?
Squarespace Member Areas is the website platform’s solution to creating a password-protected, members-only section on your site.
Member Areas isn’t the only way to paywall content on a Squarespace site, but it is convenient. You can manage both your public web pages and members-only content all from the same dashboard.
However, this convenience comes with a few limitations. Squarespace Member Areas isn’t quite as flexible and customizable as third-party options like MemberSpace.
What are the benefits of Squarespace Member Areas?
The main benefit of Squarespace Member Areas is that it’s directly integrated with your website and any extensions. If you utilize Squarespace’s other add-on services, like email marketing and scheduling, Member Areas will probably fit well with your workflow.
While Squarespace Member Areas gets charged separately from website costs, you’re still paying one company to use both tools. This simplifies billing. And, because Member Areas is a Squarespace product, you know it will work with your site as soon as you launch it.
What are the features of Squarespace Member Areas?
- Plan and billing options: Collect member payment with multiple payment methods (PayPal or credit card), as a one-time payment or on a recurring basis.
- Protect any page content: If you can place something on your Squarespace website, you can protect it. This means you can protect video, audio, images, event calendars, and downloadable files.
- Email members from your dashboard: The membership area directly connects to Squarespace Email Campaigns. Members are automatically segmented into a list of subscribers, making sending newsletters and other messages easy.
What are the limitations of Squarespace Member Areas?
- Inflexible pricing plans: Squarespace Member Areas doesn’t let you prorate fees or set specific billing dates for members.
- No group memberships: You cannot give a multi-user license to organizations or businesses that would like to have their staff access your membership offerings.
- No scheduled content drips: You cannot pre-load content into Squarespace Member Areas and have it go live at a designated time in the future. If you’re offering a course with weekly lessons, for example, you’ll have to publish the content every week manually.
- Restrictive member management: There’s no way to add members to plans manually, and you can’t approve new members. This limitation also makes upselling or limiting group sizes tricky.
- Few available integrations: There are a small number of extensions that integrate with Member Areas and you can’t use services like Rewardful to create an affiliate program or Circle to build a community around your membership business.
- Limited content protection: While you can protect pages with Squarespace Member Areas, you can’t protect individual files. A member could technically log into your site and share a link to a video or file with a non-member. (When using MemberSpace, you can add an extra layer of protection to your files with our Content Links feature that prevents file access by non-members.)
- Forced content duplication: Each plan is associated with a particular set of membership website pages. If you’d like to allow multiple paid membership plans to access the same content, you’ll have to duplicate the pages for every plan. This process creates a cluttered back end and more work for you.
- No free trials: While you can create a free plan tier in Squarespace Member Areas, you can’t offer a free trial. The lack of a trial can make it harder to sell and upsell your plans based on value.
- Customers can’t change their email addresses: If they want to change their email address, they are forced to create a new account and lose all their previous order history.
Is Squarespace Member Areas right for me?
Squarespace Member Areas is a fast way to add a membership component to your website, but it can’t yet support a scalable membership business.
MemberSpace is just as easy to use as Squarespace Member Areas, and offers considerably more power and flexibility. If you’re looking for a minimal, password-protected area on your site for occasional client access, Squarespace Member Areas will work.
However, if you’d like to grow — and profit from — a membership business, MemberSpace offers the tools you need. You can launch an online course, start a private podcast, build a community, maintain a continually updated email newsletter list, and more with the help of our API and Zapier integration.
Plus, MemberSpace isn’t tied to a single platform. If you leave Squarespace in the future, you can take every member and plan with you. It only takes a few clicks to install MemberSpace on a new website and resume business as usual.
MemberSpace works with any Squarespace plan. Try building your membership site with our 14-day free trial and see everything that MemberSpace offers.
💡 For more information and inspiration, check out our complete guide to building a Squarespace membership business.