Having a strong online presence is vital in today’s market regardless of your industry or business model . Having a well designed website can increase your visibility, lead generation and ultimately revenue. Despite this some businesses still do not have a website or view their website as a secondary concern.
Perhaps you are concerned about not being tech savvy enough to be able to design and manage a website. Perhaps you are concerned about cost. It is easier and cheaper than you think to get started designing your website and in this article i would like to share with you how you can get started using a service called Squarespace.
I have spent recent weeks designing a template for use by opticians allowing you to get a head start on creating your own website, additionally this article provides a series of video tutorials teaching you how to use the tools squarespace provides with the hope that you will be able to take our template and adapt it to your unique requirements.
What is Squarespace:
Squarespace is an online website building & hosting platform. It allows you to create a website using drag and drop functionality and gives you a multitude of templates & elements to help you easily create a beautiful website.
Squarespace is really easy to use but it also gives you various advanced features allowing you to really dig in and customize your site should you so choose. So how do you get started?
Creating a login and starting a website:
The first step is to create a Squarespace account and get started with your website. Go to www.squarespace.com and click on get started in the top right corner. From there you will be taken to a page displaying the website templates Squarespace has available. A template is basically a pre-built site which has the core structure & design aspects already sorted – you just have to focus on the content.
If you choose a template and you decide later that you don’t like it that’s absolutely fine; the Squarespace design tools are universal across everything, this means you can customize every aspect of the design to suit your needs. To save time though i do encourage you to preview and closely look at the various templates, because picking one which closely matches your needs will save time in the long run.
Once you choose your template you will be taken to your website. Squarespace will ask for a name for your website which ideally would be your business/brand name.
The navigator can look complicated but it’s really a lot simpler when broken down. In the centre you will see your website, on the left there will be a settings panel. For now I will focus on the top two options on that panel Pages & Design.
- Pages: Clicking on the pages option will show you all the pages in your website on the left side panel. This section is divided into two sections – linked & not linked. Any pages in the linked section will appear in your websites navigation bar. Any pages in the not linked section will not be in the navigation bar although it will still be a part of your website and you can access it by typing in the correct URL or by linking to it from another place on your site (a button for example)
To create a new page click on the + icon. You can either start a page from scratch or use one of Squarespace’s page templates. Either way make your selection and a page will be created – give that page a relevant name and your good to start designing. You can move pages from the linked and not linked sections by dragging the page in the left hand panel.
- Design: By clicking on the design option in the left hand panel you will be able to customise the fonts, colours and other design elements. It is possible to go into quite a bit of detail however Squarespace does give you various presets or pallets for you to easily choose from. I would recommend sticking to these predesigned pallets initially as they all look really beautiful.
To edit page content itself go to the top left of the main window and click on the edit button. This will take your website full screen and allow you to edit the various elements. Most of this is fairly straightforward as Squarespace is a drag and drop editor. However in the following section i will highlight to you how to make these edits.
Website Edits – Sections and Content Blocks
Making edits in squarespace is fairly straightforward. Please see the video above where I walk through some basic edits. This website which i am working on will be available as a free template should you want it. Just get in touch with us and I will send you a copy for you to get started on and tweak to fit your needs.
Header & Footer
The header and footer are at the top & bottom of the page respectively and are global meaning they appear on every page on your website.The footer you can edit in the same manner as other sections. The header has its own settings panel. Click edit header and view the settings on the window that opens up, while your customisation choices here are not as extensive it is possible to add a logo, change your navigation bar location and add social media icons.
If you do not have a logo squarespace has a useful free tool to help you called ‘logo maker’. https://www.squarespace.com/logo
Web traffic from mobile phones will compose more than 50% of your total users. All squarespace websites are automatically adapted for mobile devices, however you may wish to see what your website looks like on a phone just to double check everything is good.
To do that go to the top right corner of your editor and click on the icon that looks a bit like a phone. That will allow you to preview your website as if you was looking at it on a mobile phone.
Subscription Plans & Domain
Now you have your template and know how to personalize it to your needs you need to get your website live. For this step you need to register your domain and choose a squarespace subscription.
A domain is another word for web address. By default squarespace gives you a random web address for your site which looks a little bit like this – https://alligator-primrose-fbxe.squarespace.com. To have your own web address you need to navigate to settings in the left hand panel on the editor. Then select Domain / get a domain (or if you already have a domain click use a domain i own ) You will then be presented with a screen where you can search for your desired domain/web address. It will tell you how much that domain will cost you per year. Once you have chosen your domain you will be given the option to assign it to your site.
Squarespace has several subscription options depending on your needs. In the same settings menu click on billing & account / billing and then upgrade. You will then be presented with a page showing you the subscription options. Decide what is best for you and once you and now you are ready to go. It’s important to note that certain advance features require a certain subscription plan so get the correct subscription plan for you.
Written By James Treveil
My name is James and I work for the prison opticians trust. I have great experience in designing websites using squarespace. You can learn more about me by visiting my personal website here.