How to build a website with Squarespace

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Want to learn how to build a website with Squarespace? Have you thought about using this industry leading website builder to build your own website or online store?

As one of the best website builders in the world, Squarespace has a great selection of tools and advanced features to help you get started online. However, it can be confusing for those with little experience with web development or design.

With Squarespace, you can build everything from a basic business website to an online store. In this step-by-step guide, we demystify the process and explain everything you need to know to get started.

Step 1: Create an account

A 14-day free trial is available to all new Squarespace users, and we recommend that you take advantage of it. When you click on the “Get Started” button, you will be asked a few questions about the type of website you want and your long term goals.

Once you have answered these questions, you will be asked to select a template. Squarespace will present several suggested models based on your answers, but you can browse the entire library if you want. Create your account by logging in with Google or Facebook, and you will be taken directly to the site editor.

Step 2: Familiarize yourself with the editor

Naming your Squarespace site

You will be asked to name your Squarespace site when you visit the editor for the first time. (Image credit: Squarespace)

When the Squarespace publisher first loads, you’ll be asked to name your website. There is a getting started guide designed to help you familiarize yourself with the user interface, and we highly recommend that you go through it.

There’s also a design wizard that outlines recommended actions, and following those suggestions will help make sure you don’t miss a thing.

Step 3: Define Overall Design Configurations

Global Squarespace Design Options

You can specify fonts, color schemes, spacing, etc. (Image credit: Squarespace)

Squarespace lets you set clear overall colors and fonts that will stay consistent across your website. We recommend that you do this before adding your own content or starting to build your site.

To configure overall design settings, head to the “Design” tab in the menu to the left of the Squarespace editor. Under the “Site Styles” tab, you’ll find options to change colors, fonts, spacing, button styles, and various other settings.

It’s also a good idea to set the appearance of your 404 error page, screen access denied, and checkout page while you work on your overall design.

Step 4: Create your page hierarchy

Square pages

Adding and removing pages is easy (Image credit: Squarespace)

A good thing to do once you’ve set your overall design parameters is expanding your page hierarchy. Basically, this means that you have to build the basic pages that you need on your website or online store. Specify which pages belong to where, and spend time naming and designing them.

This step is important, but don’t worry too much about making it perfect. As your site grows, you can always come back and add or remove pages if you need to. All of this is done via the “Pages” tab in the main menu to the left of the editor.

Squarespace has several tools to help you customize your website header and footer. Start by hovering your mouse over the one you want to customize and click on the “Edit site header” or “Edit footer” button. A pop-up window will appear with various layout, styling, and positioning options.

You will also be able to specify the elements you want to include in your header and / or footer.

Step 6: Add your own content

Adding background media

It’s easy to add media to your Squarespace website (Image credit: Squarespace)

Adding media and written content to your website is an absolute must, and it’s probably the longest part of building a new site.

For starters, you need to make sure that every page on your site has unique and well-written content. Make sure it’s engaging and informative, as people are much more likely to stick around and browse if they’re interested in what you have to say.

Also, you should use visual content like images, infographics, and videos to split your text. Make sure all media is relevant and engaging, and be creative when using stock photos.

Step 7: Connect a domain name

Your domain name is basically your digital address. Squarespace provides a branded subdomain in the form of yoursite.squarespace.com for all new website owners, but you shouldn’t use it if you can help it. These types of domains are unprofessional and generic, and they won’t help you develop a strong online presence.

Instead, consider purchasing a new domain for your website. Squarespace has its own domain registration portal which is expensive, but offers great convenience. You can also import a domain that you already own. Once you have a domain, just follow the instructions to link it to your site.

Step 8: Perform search engine optimization

Logging in to Google Search Console

You can connect your Google Search Console for in-depth SEO information (Image credit: Squarespace)

Search engine optimization (SEO) is all about making sure that your website is configured in such a way that it ranks well on search engine results pages. To get started, take advantage of Squarespace’s built-in SEO tools. Head to the “Marketing” tab of the main menu and tap on the SEO option.

There is a neat SEO checklist that you can use to guide your efforts. You can also link to your Google Search Console. With the clear help offered by these two tools, you will be able to get a decent search engine ranking in no time.

Step 9: Do a final check and click publish

By now you should have a fully functional website that is almost ready to go. But you should always take a step back before hitting the big publish button.

Spend some time clicking through your site, making sure it looks good on different devices and with different browsers. Ask your friends and family to take a look, too. Note and remedy any problems they encounter.

When you are sure that you have resolved most of the issues with your site, you can go ahead and publish it.

Congratulations, you’ve learned how to build a website with Squarespace!

How to build a website with Squarespace: Summary

Squarespace isn’t the most beginner-friendly website builder in the world, but it’s still a great option. The editor has a built-in design wizard that will walk you through the site creation process.

As long as you’re willing to put in the time, you should be able to build an engaging, high-quality Squarespace website without too much hassle.

Further reading on website builders

If you’re interested in learning more about Squarespace and its alternatives, check out our lists of the best website builders, the best ecommerce website builders, and the best small business website builders. Learn how to build a website for free or read our top 10 tips for building your first website.

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