Making It Know

Ask Us: Offering Online Workshops with Member Areas

Editor’s Note: Find the answers you need to succeed in Ask Us, a monthly advice column powered by Squarespace employees and other experts in their respective fields.

Hosting an online workshop is an effective way to make your services more widely available, expand your client base, and bring in more revenue. It also comes with challenges — launching a virtual workshop often means learning how to use a new hosting platform, and directing visitors away from your site when they register. With Squarespace Member Areas, you can offer online workshops, video courses, and other gated content directly through your website — no need to direct visitors to another URL or use a new platform.

Whether your Squarespace plan is Personal, Business, or Commerce, you can enable Member Areas as an add-on subscription and start offering courses to your audience. From using Member Areas to upload and organize content, to setting up pricing and signups, learn how to sell workshops online:

  1. Upload your workshop content

If you’re hosting a live online workshop, simply create a page in your member area where members can see the workshop information, including the date, time, and a link to where they can join. For self-guided workshops, first think about how you want to organize the course material in your member area. You can use a Squarespace Blog or Portfolio collection to create a page for each course you offer. Portfolio pages have built-in pagination, so members can easily navigate through your content in the order it’s meant to be viewed.

You can also use video pages to build and organize a library of video courses, or add downloadable PDFs to your member area. For example, if you’re hosting an online writing workshop, you might upload sample reading for participants to discuss in the live portion of your course. If you choose to include PDFs, consider adding password protection to your documents and sharing the password in your member area. This way, your content is both protected and accessible to members.

2. Set a pricing structure

With Member Areas, you can choose to charge your members a one-time membership fee, set up recurring membership subscriptions, or allow members to sign up at no cost. Think about your pricing structure in the context of a larger gated content strategy. If you’re hosting online business workshops, you might offer a free, introductory guide or checklist to site visitors in exchange for them signing up for an account on your site with their email address. From there, you can send those visitors a promotional email about your upcoming workshop, or offer a special discount on membership fees to further incentivize them to sign up for your paid course.

If you’re migrating existing members from another platform, you can easily transition them to your Squarespace website by creating a 100% off discount code. This will enable existing members to migrate to your new member areas and create a membership account on your website free of charge. You can also temporarily set your membership price to free while existing members migrate, and change the price after they have moved over.

3. Enable signups

Once you’ve uploaded your online workshop content and settled on a pricing structure, it’s time to enable signups. Create a sales page where visitors can learn about your workshop, and add a Member Sign Up Block so visitors can sign up and pay for membership directly on your website. Customize your welcome email for new members, and edit your Access Denied screen so site visitors who try to enter a gated member area are directed to sign up in order to gain access.

When members sign in, you can customize your website navigation so they can view and enter the member area they belong to. Site visitors can also click on the “Account” link in your navigation to view their membership details.

4. Promote your online workshops

After enabling signups, it’s time to promote your workshop. You can use Email Campaigns to announce an upcoming workshop to subscribers or customers, and send reminders as the date approaches. Share your workshop signup page on social media to reach a wider audience, and drive additional traffic through an announcement bar on your site.

Once you’ve hosted your first online workshop using Member Areas, you can duplicate site pages and easily use the framework for future courses.

Planning your next workshop? Make it a success with Member Areas.

This article was updated on January 26, 2022.

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