How to build a SquareSpace website...

Learning how to build a Squarespace site is easier than you think.


Making a website doesn’t have to be difficult. When you think of a website made by a beginner, you might imagine something ugly, confusing, and broken, but if you use Squarespace, that will be far from the truth. You can learn how to build a Squarespace website within a single day, and you’ll be able to use that knowledge to create a site that looks like it was built by a professional.


Why Squarespace?



If you’re here, then you probably already want to learn how to use Squarespace, but you might still be deciding whether or not it’s right for your project. Before we explain how to build a Squarespace website, we’ll explain why. It’s up to you to decide if it’s the best choice. 


Squarespace specializes in providing professional looking websites that anyone can build. No matter which service you choose, there will be some time investment in learning its systems, but it’s so easy to learn how to build a Squarespace site that you could have a functional website within a day. 


Squarespace also specializes in advanced ecommerce features, though not every website will need them. Our commerce tools are powerful and simple to implement, so you don’t need to worry if you don’t know how to use Squarespace, they’re as easy to use as the rest of our tools.


If you want to learn how to build a Squarespace website before making a financial commitment, then you can use a fourteen day free trial, but if you’re looking for a website hosting service that’s free to use forever, you should look elsewhere.


What to Expect



Learning how to build a Squarespace website can be intimidating. There are challenges in finding a design aesthetic that works well for your brand, optimizing for search engines, streamlining the user experience, and more. This guide will show you how to build a Squarespace site and go into detail for every step involved so that you can be sure you’re making the best site that you can. 


By choosing Squarespace, you’ve already taken a good first step. The Squarespace website builder has professionally designed templates, powerful design tools with enough customizability to create a site tailored to your specific needs, and SEO tools that will help get you to the top page of search results. Squarespace has excellent documentation including and beyond this guide, so figuring out how to build a Squarespace website won’t be as hard as you might think.


This guide will give you all the information you need to learn how to use Squarespace. It will cover:

  • Signing up for Squarespace
  • Choosing a plan
  • Preparing content for your site
  • Planning perfect site navigation
  • Choosing your template
  • Securing a domain name
  • Adding your content
  • Adding ecommerce features
  • Publishing your site
  • Spreading the word
  • Updating your site continuously



It’s a lot of information, so to get the most out of it, we recommend following the steps as you go through the guide.


Step One: Signing Up



Signing up for a Squarespace site is easy. Head to the Squarespace homepage and clicking on one of the buttons that says “Get Started.” You’ll be prompted to answer a handful of questions to help Squarespace give you a head start in finding your template, and answering them will take you to the templates page. You’ll be asked to pick one to get started with, but you don’t need to agonize over this choice just now. If you follow this guide, you’ll choose your template very carefully, and only after figuring out exactly what you need from it. That means that for the moment, you can choose any template at all, because you’re going to change it later anyway. If you want to take this opportunity to look at what there is to offer, feel free, but don’t get stuck trying to make a final decision. Our website editor has built in tutorials to teach you how to use Squarespace, but you can ignore some of them if you’re following this guide.


Next, you’ll need to create an account with Squarespace. You can use an existing Google account or sign up with your email. After that you’ll be asked to come up with a title for your website. If you already know exactly what you want it to be you can enter it now, but don’t worry if you’re not quite sure yet, a placeholder will suffice. 


You’ll notice the website builder will provide a general introduction to using its tools, but you can ignore it for now. Later on, we’ll go over how to build a Squarespace site in depth. When prompted to choose to either customize your style or explore on your own, choose the second option. We’ll cover the style options later as well.


Note

At this point, your website is already live. Don’t worry, though, nobody can see it right now. It will remain invisible to the public until you decide to publish it, so take as much time as you need to learn how to use Squarespace before releasing it.


Step Two: Choosing a Plan



Look to the right side of the screen and you should see a sidebar titled Assistant. It has a handful of options, but right now, you only need to pay attention to the first one, which reads Start Your Trial. The checkbox should already be selected. Scroll to the bottom of the options bar and click the blue Subscribe button. 


The plans available are a personal plan, a business plan, and two plans that specialize in Squarespace eCommerce Plans: Basic and Advanced. This page contains a detailed comparison chart between the options. Choose the plan you think will best meet your needs, but don’t worry too much about it. If you find out you need access to certain features later on, once you know more about how to use Squarespace, you can switch plans at any time. Do be sure to also check the Squarespace Discounts that are available as there are many on offer especially if you are Student, see our Squarespace Student Discount that gives you 50% off your first year.


If you’re not sure what to consider when choosing your plan, think about what you need your website to be able to do. If it only needs to serve as a portfolio, the personal plan is probably best. If you want to process a high volume of sales, then one of the eCommerce plans is probably right for you. When taking into consideration you then looking into Square space Pricing and plan to see how and what fits best for you needs.


Note

We recommend buying annually instead of monthly, which will save you more than ten percent of the price no matter which plan you choose. 


Step Three: Preparing Content



This is where it gets serious.


Before we can show you how to build a Squarespace site, you need to have something to host there. In this step, you’ll plan the aesthetics of your site, collect images, and write out all the copy you need to get started. That’s a lot to think about at once, so we’ll break it down into parts. 


First, you need to get an idea of what you want your site to look like. Squarespace provides tools for complete customization of your site’s appearance, but they won’t do any good until you know what you want to use them to create. 


Start by thinking from the perspective of your ideal user. Who do you expect to visit your website? Who are you trying to attract to it? What kind of aesthetics appeal to them, and what would catch their attention and keep them on the page? Keep in mind that not all your users will be familiar with, or know how to use Squarespace, so don’t plan for too many bells and whistles. 


Try taking a look at websites that succeed in the areas you’re focused on. Analyze the elements that really make them work. You don’t want to copy their entire style, of course. Your website should look different from the competitors. Write down a few key elements that you want to put in place, and leave the rest as is. 


If you’re starting to get an idea of how you want your website to look, make it tangible with a mood board. Search for images, colors, and fonts that fit your idea of the website, and collect them in a single place. If you plan on having more than one site, and need to know how to build a Squarespace website quickly, this step is important to master.


Second, you should start collecting images. Make a list of the sorts of images you’ll need for your site. When you begin to actually format your website and add content, you’ll find out that you didn’t get everything you need or need everything you got, but it’s best to collect what you can now. 


We recommend you find a banner image, a background pattern, and an eye-catching image to put on your landing page. You might not use them all, but you should have enough to play with when you’re learning how to build a Squarespace website later on. You can source images from wherever you prefer, but try to make sure that they are small enough to load quickly, between 1500 and 2500 pixels wide. Faster loading images won’t just improve user experience, they’ll also boost your search engine results, as Google prioritizes sites that load quickly. 


If you don’t know where to look for images, Squarespace has partnerships with Unsplash and Gettyimages, and both databases are integrated into the website builder. You can create an unlisted page on your website, then fill it with images that you want to use elsewhere. If you plan on collecting images this way, you might want to skip ahead to learn how to use Squarespace to organize images on a page.


Note

It’s also a good idea to rename your images to reflect their content, and to add alt-text, which appears when a user mouses over the image. This will help search engines find your site based on relevant image searches.


This is also a good time to find or create a logo. Squarespace’s logo designer makes it quick and simple, and gives you a chance to learn how to use Squarespace for logo design.


Third, you need to write out your copy. Copy refers to any text on your website, whether its a blog post, the words on a call to action button, or just the labels on the navigation bar. Everything in this guide on how to build a Squarespace site is copy. Before you start to build your website, you should have everything you want it to say written out somewhere else. That way, you don’t have to break the flow of your design process to come up with it on the spot. Try to make a list of all of the pages your site will need when you make it public, and what kind of writing each one will need.


Here are some kinds of copy you might need:


  • A bio to introduce yourself to visitors
  • Some introductory text for the home page
  • A first blog post
  • The titles for each page
  • Text for the sidebar or navigation menu



Do the best you can to have all of the text you’ll need to launch your website written out somewhere easily accessible, like google docs. 


Step Four: Site Navigation



You already know what your site needs to do, and you have all of the content to do it, so now all you need to figure out is how to build a Squarespace site that puts it together. This is where the navigational structure of your website comes in. In effect, a website is simply a collection of pages linked together in various ways, so if you want visitors to your website to be able to find what they’re looking for easily, it’s important to make sure that those connections are quick to find, and make intuitive sense.


A visual sitemap will help you figure out the ideal structure for your Squarespace site. It’s essentially a flowchart that shows how each location within your website connects to all of the others. You can make one with a digital tool, but it might help you think more clearly about it if you use a pen and paper to draw it out. You can use sticky notes to plan out how to build a Squarespace website, and they work just as well as anything else, so don’t be afraid to do it old school.


You can start with your landing page, where you expect a user to start after they click a link to your site. Then, look back at the list of pages you made when you were writing copy, and figure out which of them need to be directly accessible from your home page. These might include your blog, about page, and digital storefront. Are there pages that need to connect to these as well? If so, draw them in. 


Once you have a complete sitemap, consider what path you want most of the visitors to your site to follow. If the primary purpose of your website is to sell merchandise or services, how can you streamline the process of getting to checkout? If you want to keep them reading your blog, how do you make it easy for them to find content that interests them? In the case of this page, what do you need to do to make sure they learn how to build a Squarespace site?


Step Five: Choosing a Template



It’s finally time to select the template for your website. The first time you were asked to pick a template, it wasn’t of much consequence, but this time is different. After you start customizing your website and adding content, changing templates will force you to do most of the work all over again. Luckily, we’re here to help you choose the right one. 


First, it’s important to understand what templates actually change about your website. After all, most of the visual elements of a template can be changed or replaced later on. The importance of your template actually depends on your version of Squarespace. 


On version 7.1, you should choose a template based on how close it is to the aesthetic you want. 


If you’re using version 7.0, you can think of a template as a skeleton for your website. It will decide some of the fundamental structure of your site, but won’t lock in its style. The template you pick will influence things like:

  • If there is a sidebar
  • Whether you can implement parallax scrolling
  • The functionality of your footer



To get an idea of the differences between templates, you can compare their details. Make a list of your favorite templates, then a list of the features your website needs to have, and see which among them fit your needs. They’re similar enough that you shouldn’t worry about your choice making it harder to learn how to use Squarespace. We also encourage to use the template comparison chart which shows each template’s features as compared to the others.


Note

If you can think of a website that really knows how to use Squarespace to its fullest, and you want to use the same template, you can right click on it and select page source or view source. If the site was made by Squarespace, then you will see a line reading ! This is Squarespace! near the top of the page. Use Ctrl + F to search for Template id and copy the code that you find.


Step Six: Securing a Domain Name



A domain name is like a website’s phone number. It’s how people reach it directly. Like a business’ phone number, it will work better if it’s easier to remember, or if it has some connection to the purpose of the website. 


You can search for and purchase a domain name from a third party, or see the domain search tool which will make finding the perfect domain even easier. Also check the Squarespace Discounts 2020 for discounts on domain discounts.


Note

You can further customize your domain name by carefully choosing a top level domain. .Com is the most common by far, but there are many more to choose from that could work to reinforce your site’s identity. A real estate company might use the .apartments TLD, for example.


Step Seven: Adding Content



It’s finally time to return to the website editor and start making changes. This is where you’ll get to learn how to build a Squarespace Website firsthand. First, you’ll change the style of your website to fit the design aesthetic you established earlier. Have your mood board handy, and navigate to the design section on the sidebar on the left side of the editor. 


Here, you’ll find options that control the colors and fonts that your website uses, as well as settings for spacing and positioning on your site. Experiment with these options for a while, then bring them in line with your aesthetic vision. If you’re not sure whether or not to change a setting, it might be best to leave it at its default value. Our templates are designed by professionals, so if you don’t think you know how to use Squarespace yet, you can trust them.


Once you’re finished with that, consult your visual sitemap. Create each page that you need, and start filling in its structure. You can use the duplicate function to create pages with identical formatting if you have a setup you want to reuse. Learning about how the elements arrange themselves is important to understanding how to build a Squarespace site. Our website editor functions using a grid which elements will conform to. The spacer element will be very useful in organizing your website, and the elements in the summary section will come in handy for pages that need to display multiple images or text blocks.


Nobody starts out as a web design expert, so if you’re not easily able to achieve exactly what you want to, keep trying, or reach out to Squarespace customer support for help. The more time you spend studying how to build a Squarespace website, the better the result will be. There are also a number of tutorial videos available online, and you can ask specific questions in a related facebook group or on the Squarespace forum, though response time may be longer in those cases.


When you’re finished organizing the layout of your pages, you can finally see it all come together. Paste the relevant text into place, and insert images in the spaces you’ve made for them. Once everything is in place, all that’s left to do is test and fine tune your website before moving on to the next step.


Note

To paste text without including any formatting it might have retained from Google Docs, press shift + Ctrl + V on windows, or Option + Cmd + Shift + V on mac.


Step Eight: Adding Commerce Features



Adding commerce features with Squarespace is as easy as can be. We provide you the opportunity to sell your products online, or in person with the Squarespace Commerce app, and you can access all eCommerce options from the website builder so long as your plan includes them. 


With the practice you got adding your content in the last step, building a commerce page shouldn’t be too difficult, but if you get stuck, you can find answers on our understanding Squarespace commerce page.


Step Nine: Publishing Your Squarespace Site



When your site is finally complete, you’re ready to publish it. You can do this by going to the settings section of the menu, find the Site Availability option, and selecting Public, then saving your choices. 


Before you do that, though, you should be sure that your site is complete. 


  • Take a look at the site launch checklist.
  • Look over each page one last time to make sure everything is there.
  • Check out the SEO tips to make sure people can find your site.



Step Ten: Spreading the Word



Now you’ve published your website, but even with top notch SEO, you can do more to publicize it. Squarespace has built in capabilities for social media engagement and email campaigns, and making use of either would be a good first step toward spreading the word. You can find those tools and others in the Marketing section of the site builder menu. If you haven’t explored it yet, take the time to do that now.


Blogging may make greater demands on your time than the previous methods, but it will also help to build a serious following of people who visit your website frequently, and will do wonders for your site’s shareability. It will also give you a place to try out new formats, which will help you learn how to use Squarespace. If you think you have something valuable to say about your work or the topic of your website, consider blogging about it.


Step Eleven: Continuous Updates



With or without you, the internet will move along. New security measures, design trends, and important topics to cover will come, and you need to be ready and willing to adapt as your needs and the needs of your business grow. Fortunately, Squarespace websites can be altered without any hassle whenever they need to be, and it’s especially easy when you already know how to build a Squarespace site. You are even able to upgrade website if you need, you can move from your Squarespace Personal Website to a Squarespace Business Website if you feel that it would be beneficial.


While previous steps have been things you could do as soon as you finished reading them, this is one to put on your calendar. Pick a time a few months, or maybe even a year from now, and set a reminder for yourself to return to your website and see if it needs any changes. 


If you’re a blogger, or you’re posting regularly anyway, don’t forget to update the appearance and function of your website whenever it makes sense to do so. Content is king, so keep its castle clean. Websites which look old or messy won’t appeal to most users, but if you can show them you know how to build a Squarespace website with modern features and designs, it will help build their interest.


After You Finish



Now you know how to build a Squarespace site. If you were following along as you went, you’ve already published one, and maybe it’s getting its first visitor right now. It’s been a long journey, and learning how to use Squarespace might have taken a lot of energy. Nothing is stopping you from leaving right now to go and celebrate, but there are a few final notes and tips you might find useful. 


This was mentioned earlier in the guide, but in the future, if your website needs commerce features that it didn’t before, or if you’ve learned more about how to use Squarespace and feel confident investing more money in your site, you can always upgrade to a more advanced plan. Even upgrading from personal to business will allow unlimited contributors and unlock ecommerce features. You don’t need to worry about learning how to build a Squarespace site all over again, either. The features aren’t difficult to use.


Even if you already know how to use Squarespace, your tastes might change, and we’ll probably add new features that could make your site stand out even more. It’s a good idea to visit the website editor sometimes to look for new options, and to see if any new guides about how to build a Squarespace website have been written.


They do provide many resources and Squarespace Courses for learning how to build a Squarespace site that are produced in-house, but there are plenty of third-party guides and tutorials as well, so you don’t need to be shy about using them if this guide didn’t tell you everything you need to know about how to use Squarespace.


Multiple Sites


Squarespace allows its users to have multiple websites registered to the same account. If you learned how to use Squarespace intending to create more than one site, remember that sites are billed individually, so it might be more cost effective to merge your ideas. 


Recap



If you come back to this guide later and want to refresh your memory without reading through the entire thing again, you can browse all the most important points below.


  1. Signing up: Just click one of the Get Started buttons on the home page and follow the instructions from there.
  2. Choosing a plan: If you already know how to use Squarespace for business, this will be easy for you. If not, consult the comparison chart and use that information to make a decision.
  3. Prepping Content: A lot of the important tips on how to build a Squarespace website are in this section. Collect images and write copy that fits your website’s aesthetic, and stage it so it will be easy to transfer into the site editor.
  4. Site navigation: This is another very important step, especially if you want to know how to build a Squarespace site quickly. Create a visual sitemap that has everything your website will need at launch, and make sure you know how users will navigate between your pages.
  5. Choosing a template: Look through the template comparison page. Consider finding out what template your favorite Squarespace website is using. If you’re using Squarespace 7.1, you can choose any template because they all have the same underlying functionality. You won’t have to learn how to build a Squarespace website all over again if you have to switch in the future.
  6. Securing a domain name: If you want to know how to use Squarespace to find a domain, you can follow the link in step six which will direct you to our domain search. Third party domain integration isn’t hard either.
  7. Adding content: You’ll learn most of how to build a Squarespace site during this step. This isn’t a user manual for the website editor, so we didn’t go over the tools available in detail. If you’re having trouble, you should be able to find tutorials or advice on how to build a Squarespace website in a single search. The trick is organizing your prepared content in a way that looks good and works how you want it to.
  8. Adding commerce features: Learning how to use our commerce features is an important part of understanding how to build a Squarespace site for anyone who wants to use their website to conduct business. Adding them to your website is similar to adding any other element, but you should read up on the features you want to use beforehand to see how they work together.
  9. Publishing your site: Go to the availability settings and mark public, then save your settings. Be sure you really know how to build a Squarespace Website before doing this, or you might be missing out on some great features.
  10. Spreading the word: Knowing how to build a Squarespace site doesn’t mean you know how to market one. Fortunately, we can help you do that. Email campaigns and social media engagement buttons are easiest to implement, but Squarespace sites are great for blogging, too.
  11. Continuous updates: If you thought you were done learning how to build a Squarespace website because you published yours, you may want to reconsider. To keep users engaged, you should update your site regularly with new content, and occasionally functional or aesthetic changes. As you figure out more about how to build a Squarespace site, you’ll have more options at your disposal.

Head to our Squarespace Tips and Tricks page for more information on obtaining a Squarespace Discount.



Thanks for choosing Squarespace! We hope that you’ve learned everything you need, and that you know how to build a Squarespace website that will make your ideas into reality. If you are looking for information on different Website Builders and how they all compare head to our Website Builder Comparisons 2020.