How to Set Up Your Site on Squarespace (And How Much It Will Cost You)
In an earlier post I did a thorough comparison of Squarespace and Wordpress. There are pros and cons to working with both platforms, which you can read more about here, but in this post I’m going to walk you through how to get started with Squarespace and breakdown your potential total investment to get things up and running.
First, as I’ve said many times before, it’s important to take into consideration a few different factors before you decide to go with Squarespace. Things like:
What you need your website for (blogging, e-commerce, displaying services/portfolio, etc.)
The amount of time you can spend on building and designing
The features and functionalities that are non-negotiables
Whether you plan to sell anything on your site in the future (physical/digital products and/or services)
How much flexibility or control you want to have in your design
How comfortable you are working with technology and your experience level creating websites
If you aren’t totally convinced you should be working with Squarespace, you can take this free quiz to confirm your decision and find out if it’s the best platform for you and your brand. If you’re ready to jump right in though, here’s what you need to do next:
*Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, which means I could make a commission at no extra cost to you should you click through and make a purchase. Thank you so much for your support!
Choose a Template (Option One)
When you create your Squarespace account, you’ll be prompted to choose a template so you can begin building your website. If you decide to use one of the free Squarespace templates, I highly recommend going with one of the templates in the Brine Family. While there a lot of beautiful free templates to choose from, the Brine Family templates are going to give you the most flexibility and customization features. I always use a Brine Family template as a base for my client websites (the site you’re looking at right now uses a Brine template), and urge anyone going the DIY route to do the same. The following Squarespace templates are within the Brine Family:
Basil, Blend, Brine, Burke
Cacao, Clay, Custom Template
Fairfield, Feed, Foster
Hatch, Heights, Hunter, Hyde
Maple, Margot, Marta, Mentor, Mercer, Miller, Mojave, Moksha, Motto
Pedro, Polaris, Pursuit
Rally, Rover, Royce
Sofia, Sonny, Sonora, Stella
Once you select your template you can start customizing your layout, design and site contents. If at any point you want to change your template, you can do that easily by going to Design > Template > Install New Template. You’ll be able to preview and customize the chosen template before uninstalling your existing template, and can change templates as many times as you’d like. If you’re comfortable with CSS, you can further customize your template beyond what is offered with the drag and drop content blocks and in site styles.
Total investment for Squarespace template: $0
Invest in a Pre-Made Template (Option Two)
If you don’t want to use one of the existing templates on Squarespace or worry about working with code, you can purchase a pre-made template. The cost to purchase a pre-made template will vary, so it’s important to shop around until you find a design that you love that’s within your price range. Most template creators will supply a training video along with their template to show you how to install it on your site, but some creators will require you purchase this separately.
These pre-made templates offer further customizations compared to the free templates supplied by Squarespace, so if it’s in your budget this can be a great option for you.
Potential minimum investment for a pre-made template: $100+
Secure Your Domain Name
Squarespace gives you a built-in domain name that looks something like: www.yoursite.squarespace.com
However, it’s important you purchase a domain name either through Squarespace or a third-party site like Go Daddy. The cost to secure a domain name will vary depending on the provider and the actual domain name itself, but most domains purchased directly through Squarespace will cost approximately $20/year. Domains from other third-party providers may cost more or less, so make sure to do your research before selecting your domain name. I’ll have a specific post detailing how to choose domain names in the future, so more on that later.
If you want to secure a domain name through Squarespace you’ll need to follow these steps:
Settings > Domains > Get a Domain
Type in your desired domain name and follow the prompts on screen.
If you already have a domain name or have purchased one on a third-party site, you’ll need to make sure you connect your domain name to Squarespace. In order to do that, you’ll need to follow these steps:
Settings > Domains > Use a Domain I Own > Domain Name > Continue
Then again, follow the prompts on screen. You may have to unlock your DNS setting with your host provider, or complete additional steps to ensure your domain name is connected properly, but Squarespace will supply you with instructions. You can also reach out to their support team through their chat feature or by email if you run into any issues.
Minimum investment to obtain domain name: Approx. $20/year
Choose a Plan
When you create a new Squarespace account you will have 14 days to use your free trial until you have to select a plan. Once you’ve selected a plan, you can then publish your site or keep it private until you’re ready to launch. Either way, you must choose a plan before you can publish your site. There are four different plans to choose from on Squarespace:
Basic Online Store
Advanced Online Store
To see a full breakdown and comparison of these four plans to determine which one would be best for you, you can read this post and download the comparison chart here. It’s important you compare these plans so you can choose the one with the features you need while still remaining within budget.
You can choose to pay monthly or annually for your Squarespace website. If you pay annually, your total cost will range from about $144-$480/year. If you pay monthly your total cost will range from $16-$46/month which comes out to approximately $192-$552/year. Once you choose your desired plan you can upgrade or downgrade at any time. Although monthly plans can help individuals on a tight budget, choosing an annual plan will save you quite a bit of money in the long run if you’re able to pay up front each year.
Minimum investment for your plan: $144/year OR $16/month
If you’re creating your own website with Squarespace, it’s important to understand the initial steps and total costs involved to get your site up and running. While your set up process and costs can vary depending on your domain name host and how you’ll go about designing your site, the minimum investments you need to be aware of could look something like what I’ve outline below:
Total Minimum Investment to Get Started with Squarespace and Free Template (Monthly Plan): $36+
Total Minimum Investment to Get Started with Squarespace and Free Template (Annual Plan): $164+
Total Minimum Investment to Get Started with Wordpress and Pre-Made Template (Monthly Plan): $136+
Total Minimum Investment to Get Started with Wordpress and Pre-Made Template (Annual Plan): $264+
Are you thinking about creating a website with Squarespace? What questions do you have?