Are you new to Squarespace? Maybe you've just switched your site from WordPress to Squarespace (because you read my last post on 10 reasons why I chose Squarespace over WordPress). ;) That's my winky face. Anywho, you picked your Squarespace template and signed up for your 14 day free trial. Now you're ready to start creating your website. Read on to see the first 5 things I do when designing a new site on Squarespace.
How to get started on squarespace
1. set up logo and title
I know the first thing you want to do is start adding pages and working on the design but think back to when you started your business. First you needed to register your business name before you could create your logo. You need to have the same thought process when building your website.
Once you login to your Squarespace site you'll see your dashboard aka "Home" in the left hand of your screen. On the right is the live preview of your site. Cool right! You'll make all the edits to your site by clicking on the tabs on the left.
The first thing I do when building a site is go to the tab Design -> Logo & Title. In this section I'll add the clients logo, site title, favicon, and social sharing logo. Let's go over each.
The site tile is very important for SEO so I make sure to write my clients business name in that field. As for the logo, I upload my clients primary logo. The logo is never the size I want it to be. That's okay. I'll change the size in the Design -> Style Editor section at a later time. Sometimes I'll add a tag line depending on the template. Next I'll upload my clients favicon which is the icon that shows up next to the sites URL link in the URL bar. Lastly, I upload my clients alternative (smaller) logo variation in the social sharing logo section. If my client shares a link to any of their pages (other than blog posts) on social media this logo will show. Everything automatically saves. Now I'm on to my next step.
2. Set up business information
The second step is to set up my clients business information. I'll go back to Home and then click Settings -> Basic Information. You can find it under the website section.
Here I'll select my clients site type, which is used by Squarespace to categorize the site. Then I'll add the site description. For the description I have my client summarize their business in one sentence. It should be their value proposition. If my client has a blog I have my client write one sentence describing what their blog is about. Plus I'll allow Squarespace to use the site in their examples because it can lead to good traffic.
3. Set up SEO
After I set up my clients description I like to also set up their SEO. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Optimizing my clients website for search engines like Google and Bing will help drive traffic to their site. From the Home dashboard I go to Settings -> Marketing -> SEO.
In the Search Engine Description I add my clients' one sentence business description. It's the same as the first sentence I used in their site description. In the Homepage Title Format section I make sure it says "Site Name" so that my clients site names comes before their page names i.e. www.redlanterncreative.com/about. I leave the second two sections as is unless my client specifies changes. The reason I leave it is because a potential client is going to search for keywords before they search for my clients business name. The collection title and item title will likely have keywords so they are more likely to show in Google written as such.
4. Set up the blog post URL format
These last few steps seem technical but they are necessary when setting up your site. While I'm in the process of setting up my clients page titles I also want to set up their blog post URL format (if they have a blog). Again from Home I go to Settings -> Blogging
For the default Post URL Format I choose /TITLE. If you click on the ? you can see additional formatting options such as month, day, and year that the blog post is published. I find it best to keep the blog link simple. Here's some examples:
- Choosing /TITLE your blog post URL will look like this: www.redlanterncreative.com/blog/new-to-squarespace-follow-these-5-steps-to-get-started
- Choosing /MONTH/TITLE your blog post URL will look like this: www.redlanterncreative.com/blog/march/new-to-squarespace-follow-these-5-steps-to-get-started
5. Customize the Squarespace built-in domain
If you look at your URL link while your editing your website in Squarespace you'll see that they gave you a built-in domain. It most likely looks like this: your-site-name.squarespace.com. Sometimes it might have additional numbers added. When your working on you're trial site this is the URL of your website until you upgrade to a paid plan and redirect your site to your purchased domain name. In the meantime I like to change the domain name to my clients business name since this is the link I'll be sending them to view their website. To change the link name I go to Settings -> Domains.
I'll click on the Built-In Domain box and in the Site ID section I'll type in my clients business name (no spaces and lowercase) then click rename.
Housekeeping is complete. Now it's time to decorate!
With the backend, not so fun stuff complete I can start working on designing my clients website. I hope you find these steps helpful. A great advantage of following these first steps is that it helps you get comfortable with the Squarespace dashboard. For additional help getting started check out Squarespace's video tutorials here.
I'd be happy to help if you have any questions. Don't hesitate to leave your questions or comments below.