Adding a PayPal "Buy Now" button to your website is easier than you think

[As of December 1, 2017, this feature is only available on Squarespace Business and Commerce plans. It is no longer available on Squarespace Personal plans.]

 Kerry A. Thompson Blog - Adding a PayPal Buy Now button is easier than you thnk

I've had an opportunity recently to add some simple PayPal buttons to a few websites. With a PayPal business account, it is surprisingly easy to create button code that adds a Buy Now, Add to Cart, or Donate button to your website. Your visitors don't even need a PayPal account to make their purchases; they can pay with a debit or credit card too. As you're setting prices, you'll want to be aware that PayPal makes its money by charging a fee for each transaction (2.9% for businesses or 2.2% for nonprofits and 30 cents for each transaction in the U.S.).

Disclaimer: I'm not a PayPal expert and have only tried creating some basic buttons, but I wanted to share what I know about this option because I think it's helpful for small businesses or nonprofits that don't need a powerful online purchasing experience.

This blog posting shows you how I created a button for online gift certificate purchases. This is a simple example; I encourage you to explore the button options in PayPal for your own inspiration.

You need a PayPal business account to be able to access the button tools. I use the no-frills free business account. After logging in, select Tools - All Tools, then scroll to the PayPal Buttons tool and open it.

 Kerry A. Thompson Blog - PayPal button tools

PayPal provides three sample buttons (shown in "View your saved buttons") for you to use as a template for your own buttons. For this example, I used the Sample Buy Now Button and selected Action - Create Similar Button to open the button editor.

 Kerry A. Thompson Blog - PayPal sample buttons

I named the button and filled in options for a dropdown menu with prices. I left the default text for each option and changed the price. You can change the text, but you can't remove it; you must have some kind of text in addition to the price. Clicking Done gave me a preview of what the button would look like.


 Kerry A. Thompson Blog - Customizing sample Buy Now button in PayPal

I also changed options in the Advanced section. I turned off some extra choices like quantity changes and special instructions. Then I added URLs for website pages I wanted the buyer to go to in the case of a cancelled or completed transaction.

 Kerry A. Thompson Blog - Website URLs for PayPal button transactions

Saving the button opened a window where PayPal showed the code generated for the button. The code is unique to this button. I selected the code and copied it. 

 Kerry A. Thompson Blog - Generated PayPal button code for websites

Moving to my website editor, on the page where I wanted to add the button, I added a Code block on my Squarespace website. In Weebly, this is called an Embed Code element. I replaced the default code with the button code I copied from PayPal. I saved the page to be able to see it in a browser. 

 Kerry A. Thompson Blog - Squarespace code block for PayPal button code

To see if the button worked, I logged out of my PayPal account and then opened the page in a browser. Clicking the button showed the PayPal window. When I work with clients, we usually go through a full paid transaction to test it (and then refund the purchase after the test).

 Kerry A. Thompson Blog - PayPal payment window testing button on website

Many more complex coding options are available through the PayPal Developer API, but creating simple buttons may be enough for you to add monetary transactions to your website. You might add gift certificates, event tickets, and downloadable or shipped products to your small-business website. For a nonprofit, these buttons can be used for donation requests, event tickets, and downloadable or shipped products.