How to Create a Simple Website with Squarespace

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Not that long ago, building a website meant hiring a developer, a designer, and paying out for tech support. The process was costly, slow, and often yielded underwhelming results. Now, of course, there are tools that allow anyone to construct a simple, elegant site in just a few hours. (Even if you don’t know a lick of HTML and have no idea what CSS means.) Times have changed on the Internet, and for the better.

It’s never a bad idea to get guidance and input from a pro when you’re building a site for your online business; Designers and developers will have insights into layout trends and coding tricks that make your site more efficient and effective. That said, it’s also never a bad idea to create a clean, clear, easy-to-navigate informational site to serve your clients until you’ve got the resources to build something more custom. So with that in mind, let’s explore one of the most effective and easy-to-use site-building tools out there: Squarespace.

Why use Squarespace to build your website?

There are dozens of site-building platforms available, but we’re longtime fans of Squarespace and frequently recommend it to new online teachers. Some of the top reasons to consider choosing this tool include:

  • Squarespace is affordable: You’ll choose from four plans, ranging from $12 per month to $40 per month, with the higher price points encompassing both the site itself and fully integrated e-commerce. All plans include a free custom domain; unlimited pages, galleries, and blogs; and unlimited bandwidth.
  • Squarespace is user-friendly: Drag-and-drop design capabilities make this tool a newbie’s dream come true. The back-end interface is straightforward and makes editing a snap. Everything is intuitive, customizable, and and virtually frustration-free.
  • Squarespace offers stellar tech support: All plans include 24/7 email support and outstanding live chat support from in-house experts. Responses are generally quick and helpful. Squarespace also has a decent archive of articles, videos, and community forums that can guide you through troubleshooting common issues.
  • Squarespace has truly gorgeous design templates: Templates that look stiff and template-y are a major turn-off, in our opinion. Fortunately, Squarespace provides an array of versatile, professional-level templates that have been designed specifically to look polished, elegant, and attractive. You really can’t go wrong with any of their offerings.
  • Squarespace is mobile-friendly: SO important! As of 2016, mobile devices were used for nearly 2 of every 3 minutes spent online. If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, the majority of your visitors won’t even be able to view it properly and will quickly click away.

While it’s true that platforms like Wordpress allow a bit more customization, Squarespace makes the entire site-design process seamless and simple. You don’t have to register your domain separately, figure out email, or track down a hosting service, since all of those elements are already integrated into the platform.

Convinced? Great! Let’s dig into some Squarespace best-practices.

Tips for creating a beautiful, useful Squarespace site

Your website is often the first thing potential clients see when they’re researching your brand, so naturally, you’ll want to focus on building a site that aligns with your aesthetic, mission, and values. But regardless of your specific design wants and needs, there are a handful of guidelines that will help make any Squarespace site look spectacular and function well.

Choose the right template: This tip is front-and-center because it’s absolutely crucial. Bear in mind that the prettiest template available might not be the best fit for your site’s content and navigational needs. So before you commit, chart out how you want your site to flow, sketch out some basic navigation, and then begin investigating which templates will work within those parameters. Cruise through template categories and look at example sites. If you sell physical goods now (or plan to in the future), be sure to pick a template that has built-in e-commerce features. Changing templates isn’t all that difficult, but it will cost you some time so you’re better off making an informed choice from the start.

Leverage spectacular visuals: One of Squarespace’s strengths is its natural symbiosis with imagery. Very few templates allow you to design a text-heavy site, which is a good thing! Select (or shoot) stunning photos that reflect your brand and use them to make your site alluring.

Pair fonts: Even if you don’t geek out over typography, it’s helpful to acknowledge the power of font choice. And since most websites have various text levels—headers, links, body text—selecting two complementary fonts will help make your pages easy to read and understand. You generally want your body text to be a simple and readable font, but your header/title font can be a bit fancier. Canva has some great resources on font pairing including this article with examples, and this online tool that helps you choose great font pairings. (All fonts and colors can be tweaked using the Squarespace style editor; click “Design” in the home menu, then choose “Style Editor.”)

Pick colors carefully and strategically: If you’ve got a logo already, that makes color selection much simpler. You want this site to reflect your brand, so the site colors should mirror the logo colors. If you don’t currently have a logo but have already selected some imagery for your site, pick colors that complement the images. Your background should be white, period; Don’t make your text hard to read by going color-wild! For a clean, impactful design, choose just two accent colors and apply them like so:

  • Use color 1 for your header and color 2 for navigation.

  • Use color 2 for titles. (You want them to be the opposite color from your header.)

  • Use color 2 for buttons. (You want them to reflect the title font.)

  • Introducing a third color can be tricky, but if you’re dying to add one just use it sparingly. It can work as your color for live links or secondary navigation.

Create a Favicon: Compared to font and color choices, your Favicon is minor. But it’s one of those finishing touches that makes your site look thoughtful and complete. Turn your logo or a simple graphic into a .ico file using this generator. Then upload in Squarespace by navigating to Design / Logo & Title / Favicon (Browser Image). It may take a few hours to update, so don’t panic if it doesn’t start showing up right away in your browser tab.

Get feedback before launching: You definitely CAN build and launch a website in a day … but probably shouldn’t. Get input from trusted colleagues, or email screenshots to friends and solicit their honest opinions. So long as you haven’t veered too far from the template, you’ve likely created a lovely and easy-to-use site. But even if you’ve missed the mark, Squarespace makes it so easy to edit and make changes that you can incorporate feedback in an hour or so and be ready to rock!

{Love the look and feel of Squarespace, but don’t want to DIY? We highly recommend the design and branding work of both Seana Peele at Brandhabit and Danielle Joseph at Function Creative Co.}