In this 12-minute read:
- Building your own website from scratch using Squarespace
- Things to consider before you get started
- Tutorial: 11 steps to build your business site
Building your own business website can seem like a daunting task, but there are several great website builders out there that allow you to seamlessly integrate your brand and business into a professional-looking website.
In this article, we’ll walk you through the steps to create your own website on Squarespace.
One thing to keep in mind as you start building your Squarespace website: this isn’t a free solution. Squarespace has several different subscription plans ranging from $12/month to $46/month. Each plan has varying features and levels of support. (We’ll provide more information on this later on, too.)
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Before you get started building your small business website
Before you jump in and start putting together your website on any DIY platform, it’s important to first map out a plan for your website.
- Determine the main pages that you want on your site (home/landing page, about us, services, products, FAQ, contact, shopping cart, etc.)
- Determine which pages you want to be in the main navigation of your site (this is the main menu along the top of your site to help visitors find the information they need)
- Write (or hire out) any content that you want featured on your website (we strongly urge you to write your own content and not to copy and paste from another website, as this can hurt your online visibility and may be illegal in some cases)
- Decide what content you will want on your home page
- Gather other assets that you’ll need on the site (logo, images, videos, graphics, etc.)
- Have a few ideas for your domain name (your exact choice may not be available)
Once you have your plan in place, then you can jump in and get started.
Step-by-step tutorial: how to build a basic website for your business
As we mentioned, we’ll be walking you through how to build a website on Squarespace, but most of these steps will be similar to other DIY website builders (Wix, Weebly, etc.) And no matter which site you start from, you’ll need to create an account before you can move forward with launching your new site.
We’ll go over the following steps:
- Get started and pick a template
- Create your account
- Start building your site
- Editing your pages
- Editing images
- Adding a new section
- Creating a new page
- Editing the main navigation
- Editing you header
- Publish your site
- Register your domain
Step 1: Get started and pick a template
On Squarespace you don’t have to have an account in place before you are able to look at the various templates they have available.
So if you prefer to check out your options before signing up, let’s start here. Click “Get Started”
From the next page, you can describe your business or website with the buttons or text field provided. This will help Squarespace show you the templates that are a good fit for your industry. Alternatively, you can click “I’m just browsing” in the top right corner to look through all of their template options.
Next, you get to pick your template. You’ll have tons of options to choose from, and if you need help narrowing it down, you can browse by category (see the left side of the screen).
When you hover over one of the template options, you can choose to start building your website on that template, or you can preview it first. We suggest looking at the preview so you can get a feel for that template and all of its pages before you start.
When you preview the site first, you can see what it looks like on desktop, tablets, and phones so you get an idea of how the experience may vary across different devices. Click through each of these options and the different pages on the site to make sure you like it.
When you find the template you want, click “Start with this design” in the top right corner.
Step 2: Create your account
If you haven’t created an account yet, this is where Squarespace will prompt you to do so. You can use a Google, Apple, or Facebook account or continue creating an account with your email. We recommend using the email or Google account that is associated with your business.
Once you’ve selected your option, click “Log in” in the top right corner to log in and get started.
Step 3: Start building your site
On the next page, Squarespace will provide a mini-tutorial/welcome message to help you get started. You can choose to skip this if you want, but it’s helpful information.
On the first page of this tutorial, title your site.
The next couple of pages will just be brief tips on how to edit, create, and style pages.
Click “Get Started” on the last page.
As you get started, your page will look similar to this:
Click “Edit” at the top left of the website template to start putting your site together.
Step 4: Editing your pages
You’ll notice that as you hover over different elements (Squarespace calls these “content blocks”) on any page of the website, you can edit the text and images.
Click in the box to rewrite the text and style it how you want it:
You can also choose to remove any content block by hovering over it and clicking the little red trash can icon:
If you want to add additional content blocks, you can hover over the left above or below the current elements and you’ll see a gray teardrop that you can click on to add something in that spot.
You can scroll through the different options to see what kind of content you can add.
As you can see here, we chose to add a line to help separate the text.
To update the size, content block alignment, and colors of any section on the site, just hover over the larger section and click the edit icon.
Under “Format,” you can adjust the height of that section, the content width (how wide it stretches across the screen), and the content alignment.
You can easily change the look and feel of the site with just the click of a few buttons.
Under “Background,” you can choose what you want the background to look like: if you want an image, video, solid color, overlay, or for the background to stretch across the screen or have some white space around it.
Under “Colors,” you can select a color theme that you want for each section. If you don’t love the color choices available, then you can click the edit icon on the theme that is closest to what you want and customize the colors yourself.
You’ll be able to look through every possible element and choose the color that it should be. There are a lot, so this can feel overwhelming. We recommend sticking to one or two main colors for headings, links, borders, and backgrounds, and using one or two neutral colors (black, white, gray, tan, brown) for the rest. Choose colors that coordinate with your brand’s aesthetic.
You may also like: How to create and build an effective brand
If you want to rearrange the sections on any page, you can hover over it and click the up and down arrows to move the entire section.
If you just want to rearrange the content blocks within a section you can drag and drop them.
Step 5: Editing images
Squarespace is helpful in that it has tons of free and premium stock photos for you to choose from, and it has an image editor built into the site so you can easily adjust colors and the cropping of the image within the engine.
To edit the image in any section you can hover over the image you want to change and click the edit icon.
From the content tab in the new window that pops up, you can change the image that is being used. You just need to delete the current image and upload a new one or search through the images that Squarespace has available. (They pull their free images from Unsplash.com.)
If you click “image editor” below the picture you just uploaded, you can make the following edits to your image if you need to:
- Add filters
Click “Save” in the top left corner when you are finished editing your image.
You’ll then be redirected back to your website. In the image window, there are a couple other adjustments you can make to your image to help style it the way that you want.
Under the “Design” tab, you can choose where the text resides in relation to the image (if there is any) and you can add a link to your image if you need to. The link can be a button on or next to the image or it can be in the image itself.
Under the “Animations” tab, you can choose if you want the image to have an animation when it loads onto the page. Play with these and test them out to see if any fit the tone you are going for on your website. If you have multiple images on one page, we recommend using no animations or the same animation for all of them. Too many different animations can make the site feel overwhelming or busy.
Step 6: Adding a new section
Similar to adding new content blocks, you can add new section to any page for different types of content that you have. Just click the plus icon above or below any section to add a new one.
Then you’ll get a popup window with all of your options. Click through the menu on the left to see what each of these items looks like and scroll through the different configurations available.
And remember, you can always adjust the colors, images, and layouts once the section is on your page.
We added a contact section with a form to our example home page.
Step 7: Creating a new page
Next let’s create your pages! When you’re ready to make a new page, you can click “Done” in the top right corner to return to the main menu.
From there, you’ll click “Pages” to edit or delete the current pages and create new ones.
The next menu will look something like this. If you want your new page to be linked up in the main navigation, you can click the plus icon next to “main navigation” and create a new page from there. You can choose between a blank page and start from scratch, or you can choose a prebuilt page layout to start from.
If you choose a page layout, you’ll have several options to choose from, depending on the kind of content that will reside on that page. You can also select “Add Blank” from here if you choose not to use a page layout.
Once you pick which option you’ll use for your new page, you’ll need to title it.
If you click the little gear icon next to your new page, you’ll have several settings that you can adjust, including SEO options, the featured image for social media, and other advanced page settings.
You can also use the general settings on any page to duplicate that page if you want the same layout for other pages (for example on services or products pages).
Just make sure that whatever changes you make, you click “Save” in the top left corner when you are done.
If you added the page into your main navigation, you’ll be able to see it linked up there once you’ve created it.
Follow the instructions for editing a page and editing images above to design your new page.
Step 8: Editing your main navigation
Editing the main navigation is super quick and easy.
When you are under the “Pages” menu from the last step, you can click and drag your pages to wherever you want them in your main navigation. If you created any pages in the “Not Linked” section, you can also drag those up to the main navigation.
We recommend not adding more than 5-6 items here because it can start to get busy and wrap weirdly if there are too many items.
Step 9: Editing your header
When you are editing your website, you can hover over the header (from any page) and click “Edit site header.”
From here, you’ll have the option to change the layout of the header, update the site title and logo, add different elements to the header, change the colors, and adjust the style.
At the very least, we recommend adding your logo and scrolling through the header layouts to see if there’s another layout you might like beyond the default.
Step 10: Publish your website
When you are finished building your website, adding all of your pages and organizing it the way you want, then it’s time to publish!
Under “Done” in the top right corner, make sure you save your changes, and then click “Done.”
We recommend taking advantage of this “Assistant” that Squarespace provides. If you scroll down to the bottom of the window, you’ll see a “Launch Your Site” option with a checklist.
Click “See the checklist” to review final recommendations for publishing a complete and professional-looking website.
Once you’ve reviewed the checklist and are satisfied with all of your final touches, go to your assistant or the bottom of the page and click “Subscribe.”
From here, you can select the plan that you want from Squarespace. They lay out all of the different features that each plan comes with and you have the option to pay annually or monthly (there is a discount when you pay annually).
Once you select your plan you will need to enter your payment information.
Just one more step. You’re almost there!
Step 11: Register your domain
With all annual plans on Squarespace, you get one custom domain free for the first year. You can choose to purchase your domain through Squarespace, or if you already have your domain from a third-party domain registrar, you can follow these instructions to get it registered with your Squarespace site.
To find a domain through Squarespace, go to squarespace.com/domain-name-search. Type in your desired domain name right on this page to search for the right domain for your website.
You can find instructions here for registering your free Squarespace domain.
Once your domain is registered and you’ve purchased your plan, you can launch your site and start sharing it on your social media accounts, business cards, and other marketing platforms.
Get your site out there so that it can start working for you and bringing in new customers.
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