Squarespace newb? Here's my top 5 tips on what NOT to do
After a long-ass time using Squarespace, I thought I'd wrangle together some of my number one things to avoid if you're new to the platform and are still sussing out how it all works. So I pulled together 5 of 'em for you!
I've also tried to make these actually specific to Squarespace, not just generic website things like 'make sure your menu is easy to navigate'. Check 'em out below! 👉
Thing #1 not to do ::
Put any text you want to be readable in the 'Banner' images
The 'Banner' images are basically the background images that are available on most Squarespace templates, so as you can image, with it being a background image its going to change in size a lot when you're viewing the site on different devices, so its best to avoid putting any text you want to be readable in those 'Banner' images.
Here's what to do instead ::
DEF still make the most of the 'Banner' image option and get creative with how you use them. Throw in some handwriting, layer it up, put in some huge block text, get messy with it.
Put any text you want to be readable, as actual text blocks, or image layout blocks. Seems simple, but hey, sometimes it's worth pointing out the obvi.
Thing #2 not to do ::
Insert large text blocks as images
Why? Cause first of all its lazy, and second, the text won't be responsive.
I know it can be frustrating when Squarespace might not have the font you want to use installed, but creating text blocks as images then just throwing them into your site is the most shortcuty thing you can do... That won't actually do you any favours, or cut you any corners.
You also don't need me to tell you, but I'm gonna anyway — the amount of people viewing websites on mobile these days is massive — enough for you to really give a shit about it. This means you gotta be making sure all of your content is viewable across all device sizes.
Here's what to do instead ::
Just use a regular text box. Duh. 😉
If Squarespace doesn't have the font you want to use, you can install it! Here's an article to show you how to get 'er done.
Pair text boxes within Squarespace with some custom heading images, if you MUST. For example, handwritten headings (that you insert as images), or just your fave font that you CBF installing.
Thing #3 not to do ::
Use too much additional code
If you're not familiar, there's multiple places on your Squarespace website you can throw in some additional coding for special features and design. This is rad because it allows for some additional customisation, but things can get messy if you go too ham with it.
Trust me, I'm talking from previous experience here. YEARS ago when I was still kinda new to Squarespace I had so much extra code in my website (both in the CSS and code injections) that it literally broke my site. I was using all kind of timer plugins, social media plugins, extra designy CSS coding + sooo much more. I begged Squarespace to help me (even though technically its not on them to help you when you install custom code), and literally all they said was 'WTF is all this code, take it out and your site should work, and if not we can help from there'.
It's so damn easy to go balls to the wall on adding fun extras to your website, but don't over-do it. Not only do you risk breaking your website but in my honest opinion it can make your site look messy very quickly, if you're using all kinds of social sharing plugins and things that show up on the front end of your website.
So... Go easy on the additional code.
Thing #4 not to do ::
Use a template that's not flexible enough for what you want
It's important to have your goals and intentions for your website outlined BEFORE you choose a template (when I say template, I literally mean the templates you choose within Squarespace), because if you're planning on building out a large website that you want to expand down the road — it can get messy to switch templates.
Basically, there's a 'family' of templates on Squarespace that fall under the 'Brine' family — which is known as the most flexible range of templates on the platform. They have a LOT more design settings than all of the other templates which basically means you can customise them a lot more.
To see more info and the full list of templates that are in the 'Brine' family, check out the help article on Squarespace over here.
So if you know for sure you want a website that can grow long term and you want to be able to easily change the design settings without fucking up your whole site (and spending days re-doing it on another template), I'd recommend picking one in the Brine family.
And if you don't care about that at all or you just really really dig keeping things simple + easy, this isn't something you need to worry too much 'bout! From here you can just roll with a template you like the look of. You can check 'em out over here.
p.s. If you're wondering which templates the Good as Gold Squarespace Design Kits use, here's the deal :: the In Focus, Full Nomad, and Hearty AF Kits all use a template in the Brine Family, and The Basic Bitch uses one in the Skye Family — which is a lot more basic + minimal.
That to say, if you want a really simple website that's easy to setup and very no-fuss (but still got slick AF design vibes), check out the Basic Bitch Design Kit. If you want something more customisable with the possibility to expand it into a much bigger website down the road, check out the other 3; In Focus, Full Nomad, and Hearty AF. ✌️
Thing #5 not to do ::
Not adding filenames to your images
I know I know, you've probably heard people raving about this one before but ITS IMPORTANT! I've also not taken my own advice on this in the past and sometimes I forget or miss an image, but hey, we ain't all perfect lol. I'm not one to bang on about SEO, but hey, this is very easy and it's important if you want people to be able to find things on your website.
This is how Squarespace themselves explain it :: "Alt text is text associated with an image that some browsers display instead of the image. Search engines use it to identify the content of a page. Adding alt text to images is a great way to give your site an SEO boost and make it more accessible." Here's their official help article, if you wanna see more.
You want to name the file that relates to whatever the content is. For example, this is what I've got on some of the images on the Good as Gold website :: 'Good As Gold Studio | Squarespace Design Kit Templates + DIY Branding Resources'
A side note :: You need to wait until AFTER your image has finished uploading before you enter the filename. Squarespace automatically uses the filename of your image, and it does this as soon as your image has fully uploaded. So wait until it's done, then replace it.
Pretty much anywhere you add an image in Squarespace, you'll see an option like this...
Dat's it! Hopefully that was helpful for ya. ✌️