Getting Started with Squarespace (Part One)

 
getting started with squarespace www.lotusmediadesigns.com
 

If you’re going the DIY route with your website, it can feel a bit overwhelming with all the options out there — Wordpress, Wix, Shopify, Squarespace, Weebly — the list goes on. Chances are, if you ask around you’ll hear a lot of varying opinions about each of these platforms, making it even harder for you to make your decision.

As a web designer, I’ve worked with several different platforms over the years. When I first started my web design business I focused solely on offering custom Squarespace websites to my clients; I’ve used Shopify in the past as well, and have slowly started integrated custom Wordpress design services just in the last few weeks. Those three platforms are my top recommendations for bloggers and business owners — I’ll be getting into the details and comparing these three platforms in a future post, but today I wanted to highlight one in particular.

The website platform you choose is going to depend on your needs, time and experience level. Since I work with clients who are bloggers and online business owners, Squarespace is a great platform to meet multiple needs and is easy for clients to manage regardless of their experience level.

Before you jump into learning more about designing with Squarespace, here are some of the great features you can expect to find with this builder:

  • Affordable plans — Choose from four different plan options, starting as low as $12/month. To learn more about the plans Squarespace has to offer, you can check out this post here.

  • E-commerce capability — sell your physical/digital products or services and manage your online store from your phone or computer

  • Blogging capability — easily customize your blog posts and draft, publish or schedule your content; you can also manage this area from your phone through their app

  • Drag & drop design — no need to worry about custom coding or confusing design features; easily create and customize your site

  • Email marketing integration — take advantage of Squarespace’s email marketing service, integrate MailChimp, or embed content from other third-party platforms

  • Domain hosting — create and host your domain with Squarespace, transfer an existing domain, or point your current domain from a third-party to your site in minutes

  • G-Suite integration — create and connect a professional email account to your site (for example, mine is elizabeth@howshedoesit.co)

  • Professional, modern templates — browse the library of modern, dynamic templates and customize it to your brand or start with the custom builder

  • Mobile optimization — minimal tweaking for mobile and tablet devices; Squarespace does the hard work for you to make sure your site is presentable on other devices without compromising your design

  • Custom CSS — if you are familiar with CSS you can further customize your site by implementing a bit of code. Although I always start with a template for all my clients’ websites, I customize each of them with CSS to create a fully personalized site

If you want to find out more about the features and functionality of Squarespace you can read more here.

Preliminary Design Process

Before you start designing on Squarespace — or any platform for that matter — it’s important you take some time to ask yourself several questions. Questions like:

  • What message(s) am I hoping to convey to my audience?

  • Who is my target market or target audience?

  • What features and functionalities must be included on my site?

  • What style preferences do I prefer?

  • What pages (and how many) do I need to have on my site?

  • What are some websites that really inspire me and what do I like about them?

These (and others) are all questions I ask my clients during the on-boarding process. I also ask them to create a vision board on Pinterest of colors, images, and websites that inspire them (and their brand) so I can begin creating their initial design concept. If you’re ready to start designing your site, you can grab the full questionnaire here and start pinning some inspo to a board on Pinterest!

Once you’ve filled out your printable questionnaire and have created your inspiration board on Pinterest, make sure you check back here for the next post in this series. If you’re ready to get started DIYing your design (or want to learn how to design on Squarespace so you can make this service available to your clients) you can enroll in the Build It With Squarespace: The Essentials course.

Are you working on designing your own website? Are you considering Squarespace? What questions do you have?