How to pick the best Squarespace template for your business
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Today we'll be diving into the truth behind the Squarespace template options so you can be intentional with picking the best one... not just going by looks alone (after all, looks can be deceiving!). Plus, I'll be sharing my favorite template and pretty much the ONLY one I ever use to build my clients websites.
Also, you might be asking... "What's the deal? Doesn't she sell Squarespace templates? Why wouldn't I want to just go with one of Squarespace's free ones??" Yes, we'll talk about that too...
First... what exactly is a free Squarespace template and why does it matter?
To put it simply, Squarespace has many, many templates to choose from that allow you to build your site with a variety of site styles.
Do you want your logo in the top left corner, the top center, overlapping the banner image, the top right?
Do you want your main navigation links in the top center of the page, do you want it in the top right, or maybe above the logo?
Do you want a website that is blog heavy? Do you want a blog sidebar? Do you want to have a 'grid' style blog layout (if this is you then you might want to check out my recent post about setting up a 'grid' style blog layout here.
Your template will determine ALL of that and more!
So, here's the good and the bad...
The good: Squarespace has done their best to make your website building experience as easy as possible by giving you websites that are essentially 'pre-set' with specific functions based on the design you want... You find a template demo you like, you select that, and you build your site to somewhat reflect the demo.
The bad: The downside to this is, if you one day want to significantly adjust your website functionality, design, or layout... you may be somewhat limited by the template you have chosen, if you haven't chosen by functionality vs design.
And don't worry, it is possible to switch templates down the road... but I'll be honest with you, that process can be a pretty big pain since it could mean almost starting your site from scratch again.
Here's an example:
Let's say that you want to build a house and you really want to be in on the tiny home fad going on right now. So you lay the tiny home foundation, and build a tiny little home on that foundation. Now, let's say 2-3 years later you decide that you want to expand your home. The truth is that the foundation that is laid for a tiny one-room home is completely different from the foundation that is needed for a 6 bedroom mansion.
The free Squarespace template you choose for your website works similarly. Some of the templates essentially have 'tiny home' functionality... which may work great for what you're initially looking for, but once you decide to upgrade later, you may find yourself really limited by what you can and can't do. This can cause SO MUCH headache and overwhelm.
Well, whether you find yourself limited by your current template OR you want to build your Squarespace website right the first time, this post is for you!
The first thing you need to do before picking a template is think about what features you want your site to have. I'm currently creating a quiz that will hand pick the best Squarespace template for you, but in the mean time, here is a list of questions to get you started...
Do you want to have a grid vs stacked style blog page?
Do you want to be able to have a slide show style gallery section or a grid style (or both)?
Do you want advanced ecommerce products that zoom on hover, have quick view buttons, or image zoom options?
Do you want to be able to have different background images (banners) throughout one page of your site? The website page to the right is an example of a page with different background colors and banner images for each section all in one page (this is created by combining multiple pages in one 'index' section).
Do you want to be able to have a left side vertical navigation menu vs horizontal across the top of the site?
Do you want to be able to have a sidebar on your blog? Or maybe throughout multiple pages on your site? (Note, I can also install a sidebar plugin into your website/blog for you, so this one isn't one to get too caught up on!)
Where do you want your logo to be placed? Top center? Top left? Top right? Overtop of your banner image?
Where do you want to be able to use page banner images? Just on regular pages? At the top of blog pages?
Do you want to be able to set up a video as a page banner background?
How much do you want to be able to manipulate the mobile formatting of your website? Do you want to be able to change the menu icon? Change the logo size?
Do you want to be able to 'fix' the site navigation section so it scrolls with the page?
Do you want to be able to hide the main navigation links on mobile?
Do you want to be able to hide blog author/date on posts?
GUYS! I could go on... but this list is getting pretty long. So keep reading and I'll make it easy on you and give you my FAVORITE template for pretty much every website I design...
Ok, so next, look through that list and determine what are absolute DEAL BREAKERS for you. Now look at these charts from Squarespace and determine which template is best for you based on your must have features.
Ok, so maybe you're thinking 'MAN, Squarespace is pretty limiting! If you pick the wrong template you're just out of luck!"
Yeah, I get that... but here's the thing... if you really know what you're doing in Squarespace, and if you know code, you can work your way around a LOT of these things. For example, I can add a custom sidebar into any of the Squarespace templates with code. I can hide certain things on mobile only using specific code. I can hide and show things using code. So, if there's something specific you're looking for, just reach out and I would love to help.
Ok, ok... that's great... but where does that leave you as a DIYer???
Here's what you've been waiting for...
My FAVORITE Squarespace template is any template in the BRINE family (basically, a family is a set of templates that are all set up using the same basic 'foundation').
Why do I love the Brine template family so much? It's simply because it allows for the most customization options!
You can adjust where the logo goes at the top of the page, how the navigation shows up, how the blog layout looks, you can add different background sections/images to one page, you have a lot of customization options for the mobile features of your site, and so much more!
So, if you're looking to switch templates or start your site right, I would totally recommend starting out on one of the Brine family templates which includes...
Custom Template (sites made with the custom site builder)
Want to see a detailed list of what you can and can't do with the Brine template? Check out this post by Squarespace.
Ok, Sandra, so what's the point of your paid templates then?
If you are new here, then maybe you haven't seen that I also offer creative Squarespace templates as a low cost option to get you launched in less than 7 days. (YES! Really!) So, why exactly would someone want to purchase one of my templates?
Well, basically, if you use a Squarespace default template to create your site, you will have a site that looks a bit cookie cutter. There's really no way around it. Squarespace has done a great job with their templates, but there are SO many people using them, that the chances of you seeing someone else with a site that looks very similar to yours is very high. Also, once you get your site template set up, you don't actually know how to use it! (Ugh!) and learning a brand new website building platform can be SUPER overwhelming and add weeks or even months onto your website launching process.
My Squarespace templates are made to look unique and they walk you through building and launching your site from start to finish... and the best part is that you can launch your new site FAST.
Ready to stop dreaming of the perfect site and start launching?
My Squarespace templates will have you launched in less than 7 days!
Well there you have it. This is my complete guide to choosing the best Squarespace template plus my recommendation if you just want to get started on the most robust template available!
Let me know if you have any questions! I'm always here to help you out.
Always cheering you on!