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Which platform is best to host your online coaching programme?

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I was recently asked why, when creating an online coaching programme, people bother with additional software for membership sites when Squarespace, for example, offers the option of password protected pages as standard.

If you’d like to offer an online coaching programme as either a completely hands-off passive income course or as a group coaching programme, there are a few things to consider and different options available.

Squarespace website

Pros to hosting your online coaching programme on your Squarespace website = simple and no extra cost

Squarespace gives the option of making your pages password protected. This means that you can restrict access to content certain pages, making it only available to anyone with a password.

This is really simple to do and is one of the basic functions on the normal Squarespace websites.

Things start to get a bit more complicated if you want to make processes as automated as possible ie taking payment and allowing access to the content. You can automate the sign up process by taking payment through your SS shop and dropping those contacts onto a list in your email service provider. If you set up an automated email associated with that list you can instantly send a welcome email to anyone who pays. That way you can include the relevant page password so your client can access the content.

However because you are sending the same one password to anyone who signs up, your content is not desperately secure.

It would be really easy for someone to share that password, and therefore your content, with someone else. Of course, even with unique passwords that could happen but you could more easily pinpoint issues if each client had a unique password generated for them.

Course dashboard for multiple courses

If you are providing multiple courses it’s a much more user-friendly experience if one login allows the client to access all their courses in one place. You can’t do that on Squarespace (unless you are getting people to just pay one price to access everything).

Also, you could be making access even more complicated if you decide to have your course content on multiple password protected pages with a different password on each page.

Other online coaching programme features

Other features online course providers may wish to provide are:

  • Drip content – instead of having all the course content available from day one, release new content each week from when the client signed up or on a set day each week so everyone access it at the same time (automated rather than having to manually upload each week
  • Integrated, automated payment and login – the software generates a unique login at point of sale.
  • Integrated quizzes – create online quizzes and tests for your participants
  • Mandatory completion – feature so that participants can’t move on to the next price of content until they’ve completed the previous ones/quiz etc

It depends on the type of course you are offering which features are important to you. If your course is simple and has minimal content like a PDF workbook and video for each module, you will likely need minimal features.

If, for example, completion of your course leads to a qualification, integrated quizzes and mandatory completion of sections may be more relevant to you.

Squarespace Membership Site Options

Memberspace is  the only Squarespace membership site plugin I’m aware of and it allows:

  • payment to be taken and a membership to be generated automatically.
  • you to dictate which pages can be viewed by which course (host multiple courses/levels of membership)
  • content to be protected within the page as well as access to the page itself

WordPress Membership Site Options

If you have a WordPress website there are a variety of online coaching programme plugins to choose from. They all have slightly different features and some are free and others are available for a one-off or on-going annual fees. If you need a WordPress membership site plugin you could investigate the following:

Wishlist member

Optimise press

Flyplugins

S2member

Independent Membership Platforms

Other sites allow you to create an online coaching programme on their software. Be aware they will dictate certain aspects for example the pricing bands your course must fall into, the level of branding you can have and costs depending on the features or number of members you have:

Teachable

Clickfunnels

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