Should I Buy a Squarespace Template Kit, or Invest in a Custom Squarespace Design?
So, you’ve decided to use Squarespace for your website, excellent choice! (You haven’t? Well, check out this post about why I recommend Squarespace!)
But this post isn’t about whether you should use Squarespace or not (let’s face it, you probably should.) This post is about helping you to figure out if you should purchase a Squarespace Template Kit, or if you should invest in a completely custom Squarespace design.
A valid question! A question that I get very often, and also a question that I’ve seen answered very differently depending on who you’re talking to (eg depending on if who you are talking to is trying to sell you a custom web design or not…)
I’m stepping up and saying this article is going to be completely unbiased, because I believe there is a place and a need for both of these options. And I want to make sure you’re making the right decision for where you’re at in your business.
So let’s get started, and hopefully by the end of this article you’ll be super-duper clear on whether you should go with a Squarespace Template kit, or invest in a custom Squarespace website design!
Squarespace Template Kits
What are they?
Squarespace Template Kits (sometime’s called Squarespace Kits or Squarespace Themes) are developed by third party platforms (like myself) to help you build your new Squarespace website on your own. They vary between each provider, but usually they come with a package of editable graphics and step by step tutorials to show you how to set your website up from scratch.
Prices range anywhere from $80-$500. All of our Templates are $149.
Much cheaper than custom website design
You learn how to build and use your site in the process
Easily make changes to it down the track
You get to choose the design you like
Usually a pretty quick install
Usually a DIY Install, so can take some time and effort on your part
Not completely custom to your business, depending on how much you edit it
When should use a Squarespace Template?
I would strongly recommend using a Squarespace Template Kit when you’re just starting your business, or are in the first year or so. This is because your business will change within the first year, you may not foresee it changing, but I can almost guarantee it will. I’m not saying you’ll completely revamp your whole business within a year, but you will definitely tweak and change things in the beginning, this is almost certain. If you are working from a Template, then you can go in and tweak it yourself, as you’ll have learned how to in the building process.
If you have invested thousands in something custom and your business model changes, you will have not only wasted a lot of money (that you probably don’t have yet) but you probably won’t have the skills to be able to tweak and change your website, and you’ll have to rehire your designer to make changes for you. ($$$!)
Of course, you can use Squarespace Templates to build your site at any stage of your business, but if you really want something custom, I recommend holding off until you are 100% sure of your business model and you know you won’t need to change your website in the near future. Also, when you have the income to support investing in something custom.
If you’re worried that the Squarespace Template doesn’t have all of the features you need on your website, just reach out to the provider and ask! In most cases, they’d be more than happy to help answer your questions and steer you in the right direction (if they’re not, go with someone else!). If the Template you want doesn’t have a certain feature you need, you can always hire someone hourly to add it in for you, which is often still much much cheaper than getting something custom.
Custom Squarespace Design
What is it?
Getting a custom Squarespace Design is pretty self explanatory. You hire a professional to build your website for you from scratch! Obviously the process will be different depending on who you plan to hire, so do your research.
Prices range anywhere from $1000-$10,000
Of course, this depends on what you need, you will get a custom quote. Often website designers will have a set amount then charge you for extra pages + features.
A completely custom website design
Working 1:1 with a designer
Add integrations and custom coded features that are harder to do by yourself
Large investment ($$$)
Can take a long time to complete (depending on the designers process)
You might have to re-hire the designer to make changes to your website down the track instead of making them yourself
When should I invest in a custom design?
Custom websites are amazing, but they are an investment. So, I recommend only investing in a custom website design once you have been in business for at least 1 year, and you have a really solid plan of what your business message is.
You’re spending a lot of money on this website, so if you decide you want to change it a couple of months down the track (which very often happens in the 1st year of business), it’s going to be a huge waste of money. You’ll not only be scrapping a large part of the website that you’ve already paid for, but you’ll also probably have to rehire a designer to make the new changes. I also say 1 year because hopefully after 1 year in business you’ll have the available funds to make this investment without going into debt.
Of course, there are some cases where I think you can invest in custom design before you’ve been in business for a year, but make sure you have the available funds to do so, and make sure that you’re completely set on your business direction and message.
If you do plan to do this, I also highly recommending hiring someone who plans to show you how to make updates to your site, or is in your budget to hire on a monthly or hourly bases, because I can almost guarantee within the first year of your business you will be making changes to your content.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that just because you need a certain feature, plugin or app installed into your website that you have to get a completely custom website design. If this is the only reason you’re opting for something custom, stop right there! You can easily install a Squarespace Template then hire a custom designer/developer to add the feature you want in on an hourly basis (just make sure you check with the template designers and your custom designer/developer that it’s something they can actually do before you go ahead with this option.)
But if you need a whole lot of custom features, you might be better off going custom from scratch.
Custom websites can be amazing, so if you’re in the right stage in business and financially ready to invest in one, go for it!
An important note about custom designs
If you are considering investing in a custom design, please please please pick your designer carefully. There are SO many “Squarespace Designers” on the internet these days, that it’s really easy to spend a small fortune on something that you could probably do yourself with a Squarespace Template. Because it’s such a user friendly platform, literally anyone can claim that they’re a Squarespace designer.
But just because they can create a website on Squarespace, doesn’t mean it’s a high quality website, or worth what they’re charging for it. If you’re investing, make sure to really do your research, make sure the designer is legitimate and that you have seen previous work that they have done and make sure they have lots of good testimonials! Get on a phone call with them and make sure it feels like a good fit. And make sure you sign a contract!
If you do find the right designer, they can create some amazing stuff with Squarespace!
I hope that you learned the main differences between Squarespace Template Kits and Custom Squarespace designs in this post, and you’re more clear on which you should choose!
I’m no longer offering any custom website design work, but if you need some of my best recommendations, contact me or DM on instagram and I can send them through!