Getting Started with Squarespace: A Beginner's Guide
Starting a website can be an overwhelming task. That’s why I love recommending Squarespace for solopreneurs. It’s ease of use, drag and drop features and amazing support team make it an amazing platform.
This post is going to give you a step-by-step guide of getting started with Squarespace if you’re a beginner.
Choose your Squarespace template
Most people get this wrong because they look at the type of business the template is associated with. They see a similar business to theirs being showcased so they think that must be the right template for them.
But this is the trap you don’t want to fall into (ugh I was so guilty of this when I first started building my website).
Why is this important?
Squarespace templates have different degrees of flexibility and ranges of features. And templates within the same family have similar flexibility and features.
So what you want to do instead is find a template that meets the functionality you’re looking for.
Do you want a sidebar?
Do you want parallax scrolling (the “melting” look of images)?
Do you want index pages (pages stacked on one another)?
Do you want a side navigation or one across the top of your website?
These are questions, among many others, that you want to address before choosing a template and diving right on in.
I had to change templates twice…and it cost me hours and hours of time wasted trying to reformat everything.
So I hope this saves you from wanting to rip your hair out in frustration.
I love to recommend anything in the Brine template family because it’s known for being very flexible in terms of features.
If you already have a template installed in your account and want to change it, you can change your template by clicking Design -> Template in the backend.
Note: You have a two week trial for each template you try out. You don't need to set up a domain after two weeks, just billing for the hosting to continue to edit it.
Add your business name, logo, and favicon
If you have branding materials already made for you, you’ll want to upload them to your Squarespace website.
Under Design - Logo & Title, you can first insert the name of your business and then upload an image of your logo and favicon.
If you're not familiar with what a favicon is, it's the image in the browser of a webpage. You'll notice mine is a cursive TD inside of a circle.
If you want to DIY your logo and branding, check out my course Solopreneur Branding Toolkit.
Add your business information
Under Settings - Business Information, you can enter your business name and email. If you have a physical business, it would be a good idea to enter your physical address, hours and email.
Purchase a domain and update billing & account
As mentioned above, you’ll need to insert your billing information to continue to edit a template past the 2 week trail period.
Under Settings - Billing & Account, you can add/change your credit card payment and your subscription (monthly or yearly plans).
You can also view invoices as well as the domains and G Suite account registered under that account.
To add a domain, go to Settings - Domains. To purchase a new domain, click on “get a domain.” From there, you can search for the domain you’d like and follow the instructions to connect it to your account.
To connect a domain you already have, click “use a domain I own.” You can type it in the domain name search box when prompted and either connect the domain (the domain will remain with its current provider) or transfer it to Squarespace (so you can manage it under your account).
It’s recommended to transfer the domain to Squarespace so that your domain and hosting are in one place. Squarespace support would also be able to assist you with any issues that arise.
Update the SEO settings
Under Marketing -> SEO, you can add your site title and site meta description, which is what will show up in Google below your URL.
For your site title, you’ll want to add a pipe and then keywords. But you’ll want to keep this short and sweet, no more than 50-60 characters.
Make sure you’re not keyword stuffing. Click here to learn more about keyword stuffing and SEO mistakes.
Taylar Digital | Squarespace Website Design for Coaches and Creatives
Noventure | Executive Search and Recruitment
If you have a location-based business, this would be a great area to add a city and/or state.
Lana Ortiz Photography | Upstate Albany NY Portraits
As for your meta description, roughly 155 characters are shown, so this should be kept to a once sentence summary. However, unlike the title, the words you use here will not help with ranking. Instead, it will help users decide if they want to click through to your website or not. Therefore, this sentence should clearly outline what you do and who you help.
Create a coming soon page
If you already purchased a domain and want to build some hype around your website launch, then this is a great feature to use.
One thing you can do is collect emails to announce when your website is live. With Mailchimp, you can directly integrate your account with the website. If you use Convertkit (yes, that’s an affiliate link) or another email marketing platform, you’ll most likely have to use a program like Zapier to connect the two.
Create a cover page
Under Pages, you can click the + symbol next to the Primary Navigation and then choose “Cover Page.”
From there, you can give it a name and start editing it. Under the cover page settings, you can:
change the layout
add a logo
add a headline
add body text
add social media links
add an image(s)
add one or two buttons/links or connect a form
adjust the fonts colors and sizing
When you’re done, you can change it to your homepage so that website visitors will be greeted with the page instead of an empty or in-progress website.
Click the gear icon next to the page to bring up its settings. If you scroll to the bottom, you’ll see a button titled “set as homepage.” Once you click this and confirm, you’ll now see a house icon next to the cover page confirming that it is now your homepage.
Note: a cover page’s settings are separate from the settings that are on your site, meaning you’ll have to update your fonts and colors to match your brand for every new cover page you create in the future.
Now you're ready to start designing!
As a recap, some initial steps you’ll want to take when setting up your Squarespace website are:
Choosing a template based on functionality
Add your business name, logo, and favicon
Add your business information - email, location and hours (if location-based)
Update billing details and purchase a domain
Update SEO settings to include keywords relevant to your business
Create a coming soon landing page that will serve as your homepage while you’re building the site