The Most Important Thing to Know Before Starting Your Squarespace Website
BY BIG CAT CREATIVE
So you’re DIYing your Squarespace website? Kudos to you! But before you start designing ANYTHING, you need to know what I’m about to tell you. Because if you don’t, you may end up spending a lot of time designing your website, and then having to do it all over again.
So what is it then!?
You need to learn how the Squarespace templates work and how to choose the right one.
Let's get started
Squarespace makes the ‘choosing a template’ process really simple, so to appeal to the DIY audience. While there are benefits to this, there are also downsides. Because the templates are all beautifully displayed, Squarespace makes it seem like you’re just choosing the design.
You are choosing so much more than the design.
Actually, that’s the least important aspect of the template you choose.
Let me break it down for you:
- Squarespace offers a variety of templates that are all customisable to an extent.
- Different templates offer different ranges of customisation.
- As an easy example, say, some templates come with the ability to have a sidebar on your blog, whereas other don’t.
The trouble people get into here is that they choose their Squarespace template because they like the style of it. What they don’t understand is that if they don’t know what customisations it offers, then they might spend all of their time designing their website on a template that doesn’t offer what they actually really need, only to have to start all over again on a new template.
The style of the website (colors, fonts, images etc) is all customisable. So, when you see the beautifully displayed templates that Squarespace offers you to choose from, and you start swooning over the one with the light and bright color palette and gorgeous font combinations, remember that ANY of the templates can be adjusted to have this exact color palette and fonts. But what can’t be changed is the underlying functionality of the template.
Here’s where it gets a little bit easier (or, trickier, depending on how you look at it). Not EVERY template has different functionalities. The templates are grouped within families. The family is the underlying functionalities, and templates within that family all possess the exact same functionalities as each other, but they just start with a different style (remember, the style is all of that customisable stuff that makes it pretty).
For example, the Brine Family (IMHO: the best Squarespace family everrr) is a group of templates that all have the same functionality as each other.
The templates that are a part of the Brine Family are:
Brine, Aria, Basil, Burke, Cacao, Clay, Ethan, Fairfield, Feed, Foster, Greenwich, Hatch, Heights, Hunter, Hyde, Jaunt, Juke, Keene, Lincoln (discontinued), Maple, Margot, Marta, Mentor, Mercer, Miller, Mojave, Moksha, Motto, Nueva, Polaris, Rally, Rover, Sofia, Sonny, Sonora, Thorne, Wav, and West
All of these templates, although they may look different on the surface, share the same underlying structure and functionality.
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So, how do you choose a template then?!
Firstly, you need to know what functionalities you want on your website. Make a mental list of these things and think about which ones are more of a priority. You may have to do some compromising, there’s a good chance that you’ll find a template that offers 90% of what you want, but not 100%.
Now, click here to find out some more information...
Especially at the bottom under “browse for specific features”. This section outlines the most common features people look for, and features that are different template to template: Index Pages, Gallery Pages, Product Pages, Blog Pages, Social Icons and Navigation, Sidebars and Footers.
UPDATE! (November 2017) Squarespace has finally released a template comparison table page. Check it out here
In the list of links I have created below...
I have linked to a specific resource page that outlines which templates have what functions, and compares them template to template. So for example, if you’re sure you want a sidebar menu, click the “Sidebars” link and scroll down until you find a comparison table which will then tell you what template you need to be using!
So just remember, don't be fooled by the pretty exterior! It's the underlying functions that really count. (I'm sure there's a great analogy in there somewhere...)
I hope this has helped you. Let me know in the comments below! And good luck with your DIY!