How to Build a Beautiful Website in Just Hours
So you wanna DIY a website? Awesome!
You have a great idea, and you really want to launch your biz, but you KNOW you need a killer website to back it up.
Ugh, but where do you even start? Do you have to learn how to code? Which platform do you use? How do you make graphics? Is it going to cost thousands to hire someone else to do it? On top of all that, do you even have enough time to figure it all out?
Yup, building your own website can be seriously overwhelming and stressful.
But I’m here it tell you, it really doesn’t have to be.
In this Blog post I’m going to walk you through the steps you need to take to get started.
This is no joke - if you sit down and dedicate yourself to this process, you could be launching your website tomorrow, seriously.
Let’s break it down into 4 simple steps:
(I’ll get super detailed below):
Sign up for Squarespace
Install a Squarespace Template
Build your site
Upgrade your account - launch!
Easy as that, right?
Before you sit down to start building anything, you’ll want to make sure you have a good idea of what you’re going to create!
For example, what’s your business all about? What’s your business name? Who is your target audience? These are all things that you’ll want to have sorted before you jump into creating your website. Those are more business related preparations, so I’m going to go ahead and assume that you’ve got that sorted out already.
As a web designer, I could go on forever here about preparing correctly by doing things like: designing a logo, creating a color scheme, collecting images, writing copy and planning out your pages.
There’s so much stuff that you CAN do to prepare, and while a lot of the time it is important to prepare those things, I think it’s actually worse to get hung up on them and not create anything at all.
A website is ALWAYS a work in progress, so I recommend just getting it started, don’t get hung up on the small details, and refine it as you grow.
STEP 1: Sign up for Squarespace
Trust me when I say, you’ll want to design your website on Squarespace.
Squarespace is my go-to web design platform, and if you’re just building a basic website, it is perfect!
But don’t let ‘basic’ put you off, you can design some incredible things on Squarespace, and it’s totally equipped so that you can grow with it too.
It’s truly an amazing website creation platform that handles everything to do with your website including hosting, designing and even your domain. I recommend Squarespace for almost everyone. See why I recommend Squarespace here.
In some rare circumstances, depending on your business needs, Squarespace might not be perfect for you, and if that’s the case, then you probably should just click out of this Blog post, because you’re not gonna learn much.
But I will say, if you’re a creative entrepreneur, small business owner or anything in between, Squarespace is likely to be perfect for you.
(The only time I would steer away from Squarespace is if you’re planning to open a LARGE e-commerce store, then, check out Shopify!)
Have I convinced you yet? Awesome.
Head on over to Squarespace.com and sign up for a 2 week free trial (how great are free trials though!?)
You can easily build your new website in under 2 weeks, so you can leave your site in the free trial for now and I’ll show you how to upgrade at the end.
STEP 2: Squarespace Template
You have two options here. Choose a free template from Squarespace, or purchase one of our premium Squarespace Template Kits.
Let’s talk about the pros and cons of each.
Free Squarespace Templates:
You can get free templates from Squarespace, they are pretty sleek and clean.
If you see one and you think “that’s exactly how I want my website to look!” then it’s going to be super easy for you, and you should go with a free template.
Most people find that they are a bit too simple or generic, and they want to be able to change them up a lot — which you totally can do! The only problem is, if you’re not familiar with Squarespace already, you’re going to find yourself spending a lot of time tinkering around and trying to figure it out.
Without the step by step tutorial videos and instructions that our premium Squarespace Templates come with, it will take you quite a lot longer to create something *different*. But if you are creating something really basic, these are a good and quick option.
Premium Squarespace Template Kits:
These template designs are built on-top of Squarespace templates. With your purchase you get everything you need to build out that exact design, and edit it to make it your own.
The great thing about purchasing a premium custom template from the Squarespace Template shop is that it comes with step by step tutorials that help you not only create an beautiful website, but learn how use Squarespace and completely take control of your website so you have the power to change it any way you like and make edits in the future.
The designs are definitely more exciting than your run of the mill Free Squarespace templates.
It might take a bit longer to implement one of these, because it’s a lot more custom and unique.
Learn more about what’s included in your purchase here.
You can preview all of the free templates here here
And you can preview all of the premium Squarespace Template Kits here
If you want a full run-down of the difference between free and premium Squarespace templates, check out this post I wrote about it.
Whatever you decide to do, pick a design that you think will work well with your business! Remember, you can customize any template to work with your business. But make sure you choose wisely, because it’s a total pain if you want to change templates halfway through.
If you decide on a Free Squarespace template, just click “Get Started” to start your new website.
If you decide on a Premium Squarespace Template Kit, just follow the step by step instructions that you get after you purchase!
Here are some of the Squarespace Template Kits from our shop:
STEP 3: Build your Site
If you have purchased one of our premium Squarespace templates, this step will be a breeze. You just need to follow the step-by-step instructions provided to build your whole website. There are tutorials on how to do all of this, including writing your copy and sourcing and saving your images for web.
If you’ve opted to use one of the free Squarespace templates, similarly, you can just replace their demo content with all of your own content, easy!
If you’re completely new to Squarespace and aren’t sure how to replace their demo content with your own content, I recommend watching a few video tutorials. It’s a fairly intuitive platform, but instead of wasting your precious time trying to figure it all out yourself, Squarespace has an awesome intro video series. After you watch this you will have a better understanding of the platform, how to navigate around and how to add/remove content on your site.
Undoubtably, this is the part that’s going to take you the longest. And it really depends on a lot of factors like, how tech savvy are you? Are you already familiar with Squarespace? Are you using a free template or a premium template? Do you have your copy and images ready? Are you going for something super basic, or are you going for something super custom? All of these things are going to contribute to how little or long this part takes you.
But if you’re going for something simple, there is no reason that this should take longer than a couple of hours!
STEP 4: Upgrade your account + launch!
As soon as you plan to make your site live, you will need to upgrade to a paid plan and purchase a domain name (if you’ve purchased a template, all of this information is included with your purchase!)
When you are editing your site, there's a big button at the bottom that will say "UPGRADE NOW"
Choose your plan.
The biggest difference between the Personal and Business plan: is that you get a few more features with the Business plan like access to premium blocks and e-commerce features. You don’t need a Business plan to run a website, but you may want to purchase a Business plan for the extra features. You can compare the features when you’re viewing the pricing page.
There is also two options for an e-commerce plan, if you’re planning to sell on Squarespace, these plans are great (no selling fees!) but I recommend just starting with Business and upgrading to e-commerce when you need to as these plans are quite a bit more expensive, and you can run an e-commerce store with the Business plan.
If you sign up for a yearly business (or higher) plan, you will get a domain free for a year!
Now you have signed up for your plan, we'll need to connect your domain. Go to your website editor sidebar > Settings > Domains.
If you have already purchased one of these elsewhere you can connect your domain by clicking "Connect Existing Domain" and follow the simple instructions.
If you have not purchased a domain yet and would like to purchase one through Squarespace (and register your 1 free year), click "Get a Domain" and follow the instructions.
Whether you're transferring an existing domain or registering a new one, it will take around 24 hours to process/for your site to go live (usually it's less than that!)
Now you can pop the bubbly and take a big sigh of relief! You just successfully signed up for Squarespace, designed and built your WHOLE site, you’ve purchased/connected a domain and launched your site! With hours to spare? You’re freakn’ amazing! And not only have you created your site, you now have the knowledge to completely take control of it and own it!
Remember, your site is always a work in progress, just like your business is! But now you have the tools to update it all by yourself, and that’s pretty empowering.