You have an idea for a webinar and you may even have someone willing to co-host with you, but you just aren’t sure how to set it up.
Webinars are a great way to get noticed, grow your audience, and show your expertise in real time to people who are interested in what you do. They are also a great way to promote a product or service while still providing tons of valuable information for free.
Unfortunately, most webinar programs cost money and can be complicated to use. I’m going to walk you through setting up a webinar on your Squarespace site for free and make it easy to direct people to the Webinar and the replay afterwards.
Start with the Basics
You’re going to need some free accounts in order to use all of the services below. Many you may already have, but if not, make sure you set up an account before you start or create them as you walk through these steps.
- Google +
- Canva/Illustrator/Graphics Program
- Stripe/PayPal (if you’re offering something for sale)
- Photobucket/Photo hosting site
Create a New Email List
You are going to want to create a specific email list for people who register for your webinar.
You can use MailChimp to set this up for free. Name your list with your webinar title and customize the Confirmation and Thank You emails so everyone knows that they’re registered for the webinar and when it will be live.
Having this list will allow you to send emails only to those who registered without bombarding the rest of your audience.
Once the webinar is over, you can copy the people on your webinar list to your larger list if that’s how you send out your newsletter.
Create a Cover Page
This is a simple way to create a beautiful landing page without having to set up another domain or use a paid program.
Just enter your Webinar title and details, choose a fun picture that represents your webinar, and add a Form to collect Names and Email Addresses. Link the form to your MailChimp email list and you’re good to go!
You can start linking people to this page right away to get them excited. Use an easy to remember URL or convert your URL into a bit.ly link to make sharing it easy. You can see an example of a Cover Page I created as a landing page here.
Set Up the Webinar Page
You can use an Unlinked Page on your site with links to the video and chat to have a great looking page where people can watch.
Create a Google Hangout on Air
Use your webinar name and enter a brief description of what you’ll be talking about. Set the Hangout to Start Later and pick your time and date.
You may want to set it to start 15 minutes before you’re webinar time so that you can log in and get started early. If you’re co-hosting your webinar, add their email address to the Audience section. If not, put in one for your alternate email address or one of a friend’s.
The trick here is that you don’t want to share the Hangout to the Public or you can get some weird comments and people watching, but you have to share with someone, even if they don’t end up watching.
Once you share the Hangout, you can find the link you will need to embed on your page in the Details section.
Copy the Video embed link, then go back to the Webinar page you created. Edit the page and enter a Code block. Paste the Video embed link from the Hangout into the Code Block and adjust the size as needed.
I recommend setting the width to 800 and the height to 535. If you want to center the video on the page, insert a Spacer Block on the left side of the video and adjust the width
Create a Button for Your Product
If you’re promoting a product or service through the webinar, you want to create a button and add it below the video. You can do this by creating the button in Illustrator or Canva and then linking it to the checkout page. My button is 800px wide by 100 px high.
If you’re using Stripe, which is partnered with Squarespace, you can create the bundle as a product and then add the button image with a Click-Through URL to the product page.
If you’re using PayPal, you will need to create the button in your PayPal account and then embed it onto the Webinar page.
1 | Upload the image you just created to Photobucket or another photo hosting site. Once the photo is uploaded, copy the Direct Link.
2 | Go to your PayPal account and Create a button under the Tools section. Enter the Product or Service name and price. Then, in the “Customize Button” box, choose “Customize text or Appearance and Use your own button”. Paste the Direct Link to your image here.
3 | Fill out any other details, including setting a Qty if your product is limited to a certain number of people, and setting up a custom URL when they’re finished checking out. If someone needs to schedule a meeting with you after the purchase, you can direct them to your calendar or if they have items to download, you can create a page on your website that contains all the documents they need.
4 | Once all the information is entered, Create the Button and then copy the Website code. Go back to the Webinar page and paste it into another Code Block under the video. If you set the width of the button to be the same width as the video, they should line up.
Create a Chat Box
You can create a customized chat box that you can embed on your website through Chatango. Sign up for an account or login in and then choose “Add a group chat to your web page.” Choose the Box layout, name the group, adjust the box color, and set the width to match the width of the video and button on your web page.
Create the Group and copy the embed code. Add the block to your website by pasting the embed code into another Code Block.
Schedule Your Emails
Once all three of these sections are embedded on your Webinar page, you are ready to link people to the page and start your webinar.
The easiest way to do this is by creating a campaign for each email you want to send and scheduling it to go out at a certain time. You’ll want to send out an email an hour before the webinar starts, 15 minutes before you start, and at the start time. Be sure to include the link to your Webinar page in each email.
If you’re setting up a replay or want to remind people that your service or product will expire at a certain time, set up email campaigns to go out after the Webinar ends as well. You can link the emails to the same page, since the Webinar video will be available on that page once the Webinar is over and has processed.
Start the Webinar
Go back to the Google Hangout you created and start the video. You can invite a co-host to join you on video using the Invite People inside of the video. Make sure to send the invitation to the email address that is linked to their Google+ account. When you’re ready, “Start broadcast.” There will be a delay between what you’re recording and what shows up live for people watching, but this is normal.
During the webinar, you can share your screen using the green Screen Share button on the left of the video. Be sure to engage with everyone in the chat. Once you’re done, just Stop broadcasting and close your screen. The recording will be processed on YouTube and will be linked to the video window you embedded, so you don’t have to change the link for a replay afterwards.
Webinar Tips and Advice
So now you’ve gotten everything set up and you’re ready to go, but you’re still nervous about hosting your webinar. I’ve got some tips for you so that you can be as prepared as possible when it comes time to start.
- Promote on social media. Share your webinar topic and the link to the registration page on all your social media accounts. You should also send out an email to your email list so that they can sign up as well. If you’re co-hosting the webinar, ask your co-host to promote the webinar as well. This was you can reach people you wouldn’t normally have contact with.
- Automate as much as possible. By setting this all up ahead of time and scheduling your emails, you won’t have to worry about forgetting anything or needing to make changes at the last minute
- Create an outline. Make sure you have an outline of the topics you're going to cover. You don’t want it to be so detailed that you’re reading from a piece of paper, but you also don’t want to forget an important section.
- Use a Slideshow. This is especially useful if you have a lot of information to share that people are going to want to take notes on. It also means that you won’t have to be on screen the whole time. If you’re offering a service, product, or bundle, you will at least need a slide that details everything that’s included so people can check it out before deciding to buy.
- Test it out. If this is your first time doing a webinar or video, make sure you test it out. You want everything to run as smoothly as possible on the day of, so making sure you know how to start your video and share it with someone is important to do ahead of time.
- Have fun and engage with your audience. Remember that you’re doing this webinar for the people watching. Check the chat box and answer questions. Get to know people and be willing to go with the flow. Your audience is going to determine the tone of your webinar, so use this time to get to know them and show your skills and expertise.
Now that you know how to set everything up, go out and do it! It’s really not as scary as it sounds and if you have a partner or a co-host who can share the screen time and the content, it’s even easier and a lot of fun.
About the Author
Samantha helps creatives and small businesses stand out online through building a visual brand that reflects the things that make them unique. She is also the creator of Inspired Online: a video interview series featuring online entrepreneurs sharing their stories and actionable tips for those growing their own online businesses. A Pittsburgh native with North Carolina roots slowly making my way south, I love God, ice cream, and tv shows that were cancelled too soon.