How To Make A Website On Squarespace
How To Get Started With Squarespace
Squarespace is an incredible platform for business owners looking to create beautiful, functioning websites quickly. That's just for starters, there are so many benefits to using Squarespace. Whether you are looking to switch from another platform or are looking to create a website for the first time, here’s a quick guide on how to set up your Squarespace website.
Step 1: Sign Up for A Free Trial
Head on over to Squarespace’s website and begin by selecting the ‘Start A Free Trial’ or ‘Create A Site’ button.
You’ll then be taken to a page where you can sign up for an account and add some basic information about your business. All Squarespace website’s come with a 14-day free trial with no credit card required. This will give you some time to familiarize yourself with the platform and begin building your new website.
2. Select A Squarespace Template
Squarespace has a huge library of themed templates for you to choose from. These can all be fully customized to your branding and the vision you have for the layout of your site.
There are a few key considerations you will want to keep in mind when selecting your theme:
Depending on your website purpose, you’ll want to choose a theme that highlights your core purpose whether it be:
- A service based site focused on your core call to action
- A product based site focused on highlighting your storefront
- A content-based site focused on your latest article publications
Many Squarespace templates are designed to showcase beautiful imagery; perfect for photographers, designers, and other visual based industries. If full-width galleries with lots of imagery fits your brand, you’ll want to opt for a template that compliments this.
On the other hand, if you like minimal design with white space or are looking for a professional, corporate feel, there are a few specific themes tailored to that.
Only Squarespace sites with Index pages incorporated allow for parallax scrolling. If this is a feature you’d like to include on your website, it’s important that you choose a site with that capability.
Don’t stress too much about selecting the right theme your first time. The great thing about Squarespace is that you can easily switch between templates with the click of a button. You can also see a live preview of a new template by installing it so you can play around with a new template before committing to it.
Once you’ve selected the template you’d like to start with, hit ‘start with this’ and your template will be installed on your site.
Initially, you’ll start with demo content. You can either delete this all and start from scratch or you can edit the demo content (recommended) by replacing it with your own words, photos, style etc. This is a good option if you’ve never created a website or are new to the Squarespace platform.
3. Navigating Your New Squarespace Website
Squarespace is incredibly user-friendly on the backend of your website. You will see a navigation bar to the left hand side of your page.
Pages: Manage all of your website content included web pages, blog posts and your store
Design: Manage the aesthetics of your site such as the fonts, colours and overall feel.
Commerce: Manage your store in terms of inventory, customers and promotional discounts.
Marketing: Integrate your social media integrations, pop ups and email campaigns.
Analytics: View your website’s performance and see how customers are navigating through your site.
Comments: Manage all your blog comments.
Settings: Control the set up and backend of your site such as inputting contact information, SEO, domains, payments and tax etc.
Help: Access Squarespace’s extensive knowledge base and speak to Squarespace support.
To the right of your page, you’ll see a preview of your website and if you look up to the top, you’ll see the option to switch between desktop, tablet and mobile views.
4. Basic Squarespace Website Set Up
Before jumping into adding the content to your new Squarespace website, go through each of the tabs on your navigation sidebar and add in the basic information about your business. Here’s a few quick tips for getting started.
Start by clicking Settings.
Under General, add in your business information. You will also want to check the Regional tab just to confirm you have the right timezone settings.
Now under Websites, input your Basic Information. This categorizes your business and allows you to add a brief description which is important for SEO purposes.
When it comes to your Domain, if you already have one, you can connect it, Squarespace will walk you through the steps to do this. There is also a Squarespace Domain FAQ section you can refer to at anytime.
Alternatively, you can purchase a domain via Squarespace if this is your first rodeo. Depending on the paid plan you go on to purchase, a free domain may be included.
You may wish to wait until your site is ready to go live before connecting your domain.
This avoids customers visiting your site while you’re still in the process of creating it. Alternatively, you can connect it but add a lock screen so that when customers visit your site, they will be taken to a landing page.
Temporary Lock Screen
To add a temporary lock screen, go back into Settings > Security & SSL > Site-Wide Password.
Select ‘Enable Site Wide Password’ and add in a password you’ll remember.
To customize the lock screen, visit Design > Lock Screen and customize the options available.
Bonus Tip: Before launching your site, change the password and share it on social media giving your community/email list a behind the scenes sneak peek ahead of your launch.
Under SEO, be sure to include your search engine description so that you don't forget. Take time to do keyword research and carefully craft your website SEO description accordingly.
I like to search YouTube. It's free, simple and it's the second largest search engine in the world, owned by Google, the largest search engine in the world. I start by typing a few words relevant to what I do and look at what it suggests. These are highly searched terms, terms you want to be found for.
If you have a store or are planning to sell products and/or services on your website, under Commerce, click Payments and connect your payment processor. At present, you can choose between Stripe and Paypal.
One last step in settings especially if you are based in Europe. Under Settings > Website, you'll see an option for 'Cookies & Visitor Data'. Turning this on initially will ensure you are covered from a legal standpoint.
Squarespace's default cookie banner isn't the prettiest. As you get more comfortable with the platform, you might want to customize it.
Here are a couple of great tutorials from fellow Squarespace bloggers that you might find helpful.
Kerstin Martin: How to Customize your Squarespace Cookie Banner
Heather Tovey: How to Customize the Squarespace Cookie Banner
Next, come out of your settings and click Design > Logo & Title.
Include the name of your site, your tagline and upload your logo.
If you don’t have a logo, you can always create a simple one in a tool like Adobe Photoshop, Canva or Picmonkey.
Always ensure you use a high-quality logo to avoid it looking pixelated and upload on a transparent background so that it will work with whatever background colors you go onto use.
Underneath, you’ll see an option to add a favicon. This is the little image that appears in browser windows when people are viewing your site.
Once you’ve completed this step, hit save.
These are the basic tasks. The great thing about Squarespace is that for the most part, everything is self-explanatory. With that in mind, let’s move onto the next step.
5. Add Your Website Content
Now it’s time to add your content. To do this, click Pages on the navigation bar.
As mentioned previously, you can either add your own pages from scratch by clicking the little ‘+’ icon and choosing your page type or you can click on the demo pages and use them as a base to get started. You can just edit the words, content blocks and move things around as you wish.
It’s always a good idea to plan out your site ahead of time so you have a good idea of the layout, pages and overall feel that you want your site to have.
Consider your customer and design your site in a way that guides them on the customer journey. Simple is key. Be clear, concise and ensure it’s about serving their needs. You want customers to click on your site and instantly feel like you solve a problem they have.
As a business, there are some pages you might want to include:
About: Who you are, what you do, who you help and why they should care.
Problems We Solve/ Services: Show how they make their lives better.
FAQS: A place to answer every objection your customers have and make the buying decision easy.
Blog/ Articles: Deliver value and SHOW vs. tell people why they work for them.
Contact: Make it easy for customers to have a conversation. Conversations lead to sales especially when they happen on a one on one basis.
6. Designing Your Squarespace Website
Now it’s time to polish your new website up ensuring that it is fully brand cohesive. It’s really important that all aspects of your branding align. Not only does it help people to instantly identify you, it’s that consistent element that builds trust.
On Squarespace, you can customize the spacing layout, fonts, colors, backgrounds, elements such as buttons and blog posts. Almost everything can be customized to your brand.
You can do this under the Design tab then Style Editor.
You can go through everything step-by-step. It can be a good idea to click on the elements you’d like to adjust. This way you can visually see the element you are customizing.
7. Make Your Squarespace Website Live
It’s now time to go live with your new Squarespace website. If you haven’t connected your domain already be sure to do that first.
Go to Settings > Billing & Account and select the plan that’s right for you.
Don’t worry if you change your mind later on, Squarespace makes it really easy to upgrade, downgrade and switch between plans at any point in time.
8. Keep It Growing!
Your website will forever be a work in progress, growing and adapting as your business evolves. Luckily, Squarespace can grow with you.
Be sure to post content frequently and use your site to always be improving your customer’s experience. It’s those little changes that make a big difference, especially in the long term.
This guided Squarespace overview was designed to give an overview and a basic guide to getting started with Squarespace. The platform has so much more to offer.
If there is anything I haven’t covered or you have a question regarding Squarespace, let me know in the comments below. I’d be delighted to help.