One of the most important parts of your business’s brand is your website. If you run an e-commerce business, online course, or blog, your website is your business. Even if you have a retail store, professional service business, or are a consultant or coach, your website is likely one of the most visible parts of your brand. With so many businesses using Squarespace, many small business owners ask how they can get the best Squarespace web design.
Your website combines all the key elements of your branding. The visual style of your colors, fonts, and design choices, as well as your key messaging and tone of voice. A carefully crafted website will attract your ideal client and make your value proposition very clear.
Is Squarespace the best choice for your small business brand?
Squarespace has become a leader in DIY website design for small businesses. Their drag and drop features make it easy to try out different visual layouts, design choices, and where you position and style the text on the site. And you don’t have to pay anything to get started.
If you know what you’re doing, you can quickly build your own website that reflects and reinforces your branding and have one of the best Squarespace web designs.
To begin the process, you may be served up some initial questions about the type of business you have or how far along you are in building your business (Whether or not you see these questions can be inconsistent and is likely dependent on your path to the site). However, your answers to these questions actually make no difference in the options of templates that they suggest for you, or how they might be customized to your needs.
How to choose the best Squarespace web design template for your business
At Squarespace, every website begins by choosing a template. You can select either a regular website template or an e-commerce template. The e-commerce templates are needed if you want to sell online, otherwise, a regular template will work.
What you’ll learn is that templates are actually completely irrelevant, but more about that later… Squarespace asks you to select a template first, so we’ll start there too.
You’ll see a list at the top of different types of businesses or websites that may match up to yours. Some of these categories have pre-built functionality that may be critical (or irrelevant) to your website. For small business owners, solopreneurs and non-profits, consider these categories:
- The templates under Professional Services, Local Business, and Community & Non-Profits could serve a wide variety of organizations. Some (but not all) are set-up to connect with Squarespace’s scheduling tool that allows website visitors to book appointments online.
- The Personal & CV templates are good to consider if you’re struggling to find imagery (see more about that below).
- The Blogs & Podcasts templates help you post new content that is organized by date.
- Both the Portfolios and the Photography templates can help you showcase your creative work. You can display your images in different grids and groups into categories or galleries.
- The Events templates can help you share information about a single event or a series of events. Some connect with online ticket sales, others just have users RSVP without payment.
- The Restaurants templates do a great job with displaying menus — which can be tricky to typeset and look good on a website.
Best way to customize your Squarespace web design template for your brand
After you choose your template, you can begin to customize it. It starts out looking exactly like the Demo version — the words, imagery, and pages will all be just like what you saw in the Demo. This is helpful so that you’re not starting with a blank canvas, but remember to change out everything so there’s no copy or imagery that doesn’t pertain to your company.
You can begin to change things like colors and fonts and see the results live.
Add Site Title and Logo
You’re going to want to add in your logo or just typeset your business name. If you don’t have a logo yet, just typesetting your business name in a specific font is a great solution. This treatment is called a wordmark logo, and it’s a great way to build name recognition and get the visual style of your brand started.
Using Branding Compass before building your site is a great way to get recommendations on the best colors and fonts for your branding, so you know you’re making a good choice.
If you have a logo — whether it has a symbol or only a text-only wordmark logo — make sure it’s a .gif or .png file so that it will have a transparent background. Otherwise, if you use a .jpg file, you may end up with a white rectangle around your logo.
Which font is the best for your Squarespace website?
Within the design menu, you are able to choose various fonts. Squarespace pushes you to use a font pack, they later refer to this in your style guide. You can work with this small group of fonts as-is, or you can make changes to specific areas of the site to choose alternative fonts.
If you want to go into override the font pack suggestions and manually choose fonts, you’ll get a large list of font options. It’s best to limit yourself to only two throughout the site.
Take a look at how the look and feel of the Degraw template changed dramatically as the font changes.
The best font for your website is one that coordinates with your branding.
Ideally, you have a small group of fonts that you use in all of your branding and marketing. The fonts may even be part of your logo. You may have one decorative or display font that could be used in headlines, but would be difficult to read in large paragraphs. Then, you’ll have at least one more font that is better at smaller sizes.
Look for your ‘brand fonts’ in the list of available fonts from Squarespace. With the 7.1 version of templates, you no longer have the ability to work with additional fonts. So, if they don’t have the font you’re looking for, you should choose something that looks as close as possible to the font you have in mind. Look for details like whether it is serif or sans serif, if it’s thick or thin, italic or bold face.
What color is best for your Squarespace web site
Squarespace uses color palettes that feature five main colors themes: Dark, Light, Accent, Black and White. The accent color is often used on for headlines and buttons. Light and Dark options are used for large areas as a background color. Usually, the light color uses black type on top of it, the dark color uses white on top of it. You can choose from their ‘designer’ palettes or customize this yourself.
Color is really important to branding, and you’ll want to choose your key colors to match your brand standards exactly.
Squarespace pushes you to use their pre-made palettes and their eye-dropper tool. While these are a fun and fast way to see results in real-time, you really should be using web hex #s for your colors. This will ensure that the colors on your website match your logo, business cards, and other marketing materials.
So, head over to the custom color selector. This is a bit twitchy, but with a little playing around you’ll be able to enter in the exact web hex #.
You have the ability to change each of the five key colors: white, black, accent, light and dark. But remember to always keep with the concept behind each color. For example, the template won’t look right if you swap out a dark or bold color for white, but it may work with a light ivory or very pale gray.
There are literally endless color combinations to consider, if you don’t have a plan going into your web design process, you can waste a lot of time. Using a tool like Branding Compass to help you narrow down color choices is where you’ll really save time.
For many businesses, the color of your website becomes the color of your brand.
Templates don’t actually matter in Squarespace
When you start using Squarespace, you are funneled into picking a template. After you start to edit the styles and content of your website, you’ll realize that Squarespace is completely customizable.
You can add different types of content — text, images, videos, forms, buttons — in every conceivable layout — large, small, multi-columns, and more.
Starting with the right template can make this less overwhelming, but once you understand that you can actually change everything about your site — layout, colors, fonts, words, content — you may realize that it really doesn’t matter which template you begin with.
So where should you start?
Making your website look as good as the demos
When you look at the templates, you’ll notice right away that the demos all show bold, dramatic homepages. You’ll need stunning photography and/or attention-grabbing copywriting to make your site looks anywhere close as good to these examples.
Start by analyzing the type of content you have access to:
- Do you have great photography — either that you took or from stock?
- Do you have strong writing that engages the reader?
- Are you clear on how you envision your website and your brand?
- Do you know who you are trying to attract to your website?
Tip: If you don’t have photographs to use, the Corrigan template can be a great place to start. Plug in your fonts and colors and you’re off!
Then, think about the functionality. Do you want a visitor to be able to purchase a product, book a time, or just learn more and be impressed with your expertise?
How to create a website in Squarespace that represents your brand
If you arrive at Squarespace with a well-defined vision for your business and your brand, it will be easy to use this DIY tool to build your site. If you have already defined your fonts, colors and overall brand personality, you’ll be able to choose and customize a site that reflects your brand.
If you’ve already done the legwork to understand your Unique Value Proposition and who your ideal customer is, you’ll be able to quickly write the text you need for your site.
Without this foundation, it’s likely that you’ll spend hours and hours trying to build and refine something without the clarity to ever know if you’ve built something that’s on target. You’ll get that feeling when you can recognize the website doesn’t feel right, but you won’t know how to fix it.
If you’re looking to get the best Squarespace web design, remember that having an amazing website is a reflection of having a well-defined brand.