Squarespace 101: Setting Up + Choosing a Template
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When you are just starting out on your blogging or business journey, it can be really intimidating trying to figure out what platform you should use for your website. Of course, the two most popular choices are Wordpress and Squarespace. I love both platforms, and believe that they each serve different businesses and bloggers. For me, I love Squarespace because it saves me time - I don’t have to worry about keeping my site up-to-date or making sure my security is rock solid...Squarespace does that for me. It eases my mind and frees up some time - super important when you’re a solo business owner.
Today, I’m going to go ahead and assume that you’ve decided to use Squarespace for your website (awesome choice!). It can be difficult learning a whole new program, So I wanted to walk through the first steps here...setting up your site and account, as well as choosing a template.
Setting up your site.
Once you’ve inputted your information (like e-mail address), you’ll be taken to the page below.
Here, you’ll need to decide which type of website will best suit your business needs. You’ll see templates at this point as well, but they are broken up into the different kinds of websites, so don’t jump the gun and choose a template just yet. The types of websites you can choose from are:
- Cover Page
Each serves a different purpose, and has a different pricing tier attached to it. See the table below, and for even more information head on over to Squarespace’s Pricing Menu. Also keep in mind that you get a 14 day FREE trial before committing to buying, which is a great way to try the platform out first without spending a dime.
Once you’ve chosen what kind of website your business needs, it’s time to choose a template. For the purposes of this post, I’m going to assume that you need a Website with multiple pages.
Now it’s time for the fun (and somewhat overwhelming) part - choosing a template. Squarespace categorizes their templates in the following way:
When choosing a template, don’t get caught up in what “category” Squarespace says it is. You can absolutely build a business site on a “personal” template or a “wedding” template, not just a “business” template. These categories are simply a way for Squarespace to break their offerings up into easier categories to scroll through.
As you search through templates, you’ll see that some allow for your homepage to be a single, full-length full-width image. Many allow for large header banners (size can always be tweaked as you start designing!), and some still are parallax themes (“Parallax scrolling involves the background image moving slower than the content in the foreground, creating an illusion of depth and immersion.”) Others are more geared towards bloggers and allow for magazine-style layouts, allowing your blog posts to be featured on your homepage.
Choosing a Template
Wish so many choices, it can be totally overwhelming to choose a template. Give yourself some time to think about how you want your website to function, and what you want your site to look like.
1. How do you envision your site looking like overall? Do you want a full width header image? Do you want to showcase an awesome flat-lay photo of your products, full-screen? Or do you want something a bit more simple?
If you’re stuck, try sketching some ideas out on paper. Or, look to other websites that closely match your vision and choose a template that looks similar.
2. Think about whether or not you need a blog. While all templates have blogging capabilities, not all allow for a sidebar. Some templates are considered “blog” templates, and will showcase your recent posts as your homepage.
3. Is your content image heavy? You might want to consider a portfolio or gallery template in order to showcase those images.
4. Pro-Tip: If you love a certain website and want to know if the site is built on Squarespace, and if so, what template it’s using, do this:
Go to the website and right-click. Choose “View Page Source.”
Once you click, you’ll be taken to a page that looks like technology gibberish. Look towards the top. If you find a line that says “This is Squarespace” then you know the site is built using Squarespace.
Now, to figure out which Squarespace template the site is using, hit command + F (Mac) or control + F (PC) and type in “templateid.” Hit enter.
“Templateid” will be highlighted in orange (there’s only one instance of it). Next to it, you’ll see a string of numbers and letters.
This number signifies which template the site is using. To match the numbers to the name of the template, head over to this website. Scroll down until you find your match, and viola - you have the template name.
You’ll see on this table that my site is using the Bedford template. This is a great way to see templates working in action, on live websites.
As you see templates that interest you, click on them. You’ll be able to view live demos of them and test them out. Once you’ve found one you like, click “Start With (template name)”. For this example, I’ll choose “Start With Bedford.”
Don’t stress too much if you find that you just aren’t loving the template you’ve chosen. You can always choose a new one, and “preview” it with your content, without interrupting your live site (if you’ve gone live already).
Basic Website Set Up
Once you’ve chosen your template, you’ll be asked to input some information. Once you do, I still want you to do a few things before you get into designing and adding content to your site.
- Head over to “Settings”. Under “General”, choose “Business Information.” Fill out all the relevant information.
2. Back under “General”, choose Regional. Double-check that you have your correct timezone chosen.
3. FYI: Under Billing & Account, you’re able to choose which plan you want (personal or business). Choosing your plan will charge your account immediately, and you’ll be out of the “trial” run. Remember: your trial run will last 14 days, so there’s no real rush if you aren’t ready to buy yet.
4. Under “Website”, choose “Basic Information.” Fill out the relevant info.
5. FYI: Domains - here you’re able to purchase a domain through Squarespace, or, if you’ve already purchased a domain and it’s being hosted somewhere else (like BlueHost or GoDaddy), you can domain map it. Be very careful when domain mapping, and if you aren’t comfortable doing it, contact your favorite Squarespace whiz to help you out. Again, this doesn’t have to be completed until you’re ready for your site to be live (but make sure your chosen domain is available!)
6. Under “Website”, head to “Connected Accounts”, connect your social media accounts. It’s easier to do it right away, because it can be forgotten. Then, when you want to add your Social Links to your site later on, you’ll be confused as to why they aren’t showing up - they only show up if the accounts have been connected.
7. Under “Website”, head to “Marketing.” Choose “SEO.” Fill out the relevant information.
8. Under “Marketing,” choose “Share Buttons.” Choose which share buttons you want to display on your site when you insert your Social Links.
9. Under “Marketing,” choose “Pin It Buttons.” If it’s disabled, change it to enabled (so readers are able to pin your content) and choose which kind of pin it button you want to appear over your pinnable content.
10. If you want to link your business Facebook Page, then click that button under “Marketing.” Use their guides for setting it up.
11. Go back to “Settings.” Under “Website,” choose “Blogging.” Once there, click on “Comment Settings.” Be sure that your comments are enabled.
Whew. It’s a lot of steps, but this ensures that you won’t miss any of the important back-end things, such as setting up SEO or your business information. It’s easy to forget when you’re ready to get started designing and adding content to your Squarespace Website.
Congrats! Using these steps, you’ve successfully set up your own Squarespace website, and you’re now ready to start customizing it and adding your own content.
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