How To Build A Squarespace Website For Your Business The Easy Way
You need a website for your small business. The problem? You don’t know a bit from a byte, and you know about as much HTML as Hungarian. Is it hopeless, or is there a solution for you that doesn’t involve hiring a pricey tech hero?
Relax. You’ve got this! In fact, we will walk you through it, step by step. Even if you don’t have a minute of coding experience, you can create a professional site using any one of the reliable, user-friendly website builders available. Today, we’ll walk you through how to set up a website using one of the most popular options: a service called Squarespace.
Table of Contents
What You’ll Need To Start Your Squarespace Website
Because Squarespace offers new users a free 14-day trial, you won’t need a credit card or any payment method to set up a store. You will need:
- A computer and internet connection
- An email account, Google ID, or Apple ID
- A name for your store
- Product photos and descriptions
How To Build A Squarespace Website
Now that you’re ready to log on, the next question is how to actually use Squarespace to build a website for your business. We will go through the steps, one by one, and show you how easy it can be to build a Squarespace web store. Start by creating an account, using your Google account, your Apple ID, or your email address. Add a password, and you’re in! You won’t need a credit card, because when you sign up for a Squarespace account, you automatically activate a 14-day free trial period.
Alright, let’s walk through the steps involved in creating a Squarespace store in more detail.
Set Up Your Account
From the start, Squarespace sets itself apart from most other eCommerce platforms or website builders. First, the signup page is visually arresting. Squarespace hosts sites for many musicians, photographers, artists, designers, interior designers, and other creative types.
After creating your account, you’ll be guided to choose options to describe your site’s purpose. If you don’t see your choice among the 21 options listed, you can enter some keywords to get suggestions.
Next, you’ll be asked to pick your top goals for the site you’ll be creating. Choose all that apply.
The top option is Sell products, and you can add as many as you want. Squarespace uses your answers to these two sets of questions to guide you to a set of template options, although you’re free to browse the full set.
The final question you’ll be asked during this setup phase is to describe where you are in the process of building a website and a business. At each stage in the setup, you’re given the option to choose I’m just browsing. Other options run the gamut from Collecting inspiration to Growing an existing business.
Choose Your Theme
Now it’s time for the fun part — selecting the look you want for your store. This is another area where Squarespace sets itself apart, because unlike other eCommerce platforms, the 110 pre-built themes you’ll find on Squarespace all are available at no charge. You don’t need to feel limited in your choices by what your budget will allow.
Squarespace groups themes loosely by website type, so you’ll see right away that you’re able to browse categories designed to appeal to certain types of businesses, such as musicians or bands, wedding planners, local businesses, or online stores. Feel free to look around at all the themes you want, because you can always choose a theme from another category and use it for your eCommerce site.
Take your time to explore your options and preview as many themes as grab your eye before you choose the theme you’d like to use. While it’s possible to switch themes later, if you change your mind, it’s not easy to do so. What if you can’t choose? There’s a site builder you can use to build a custom site. You can add blank pages too, and use your own text and images as you’d like.
Build Your Site
Once you’ve selected the theme you want to work with, you’ll need to give your store a name. Then you’ll be treated to a walk-through of the steps involved in setting up a store. Be sure to watch the short introduction video when Squarespace prompts you to. It offers a quick tour of the options you’ll have as you develop your online store.
Ready to start building your store? On the left side of the page, you’ll see a simple and clean admin menu, and on the right, you’ll see the default for the template you chose. Click the Edit button to make changes, like adding photos and text. You can add new pages, too, by clicking New Page. Choose the fonts and colors you want, so they match your vision for your brand or your existing marketing choices.
One handy feature is a toggle button you can use to switch between three types of page views: desktop, tablet, and mobile phone. As you edit your pages and build your store, check occasionally to make sure your design works on all three types. That’s not as hard as it sounds, since Squarespace sites are responsive.
As fun as it is to tinker with the headers, the footers, photos, links, and more, don’t forget what you came to Squarespace for: eCommerce! When you have put together a website that’s ready to tell your story and introduce your products to potential customers, click the link on the admin that says Commerce to be guided through the five-step process of setting up your site for sales.
You’ll want to add products, add a way to get paid, think about shipping options, choose your subscription plan, and then take your store live. Squarespace offers a demonstration for each step. We’ll walk through those steps one at a time, too.
- Add Products: Click on the Inventory button, and you’ll immediately be prompted to subscribe to a plan. If you’ve looked into the options and know what you want, you can upgrade now, but you can proceed without doing that. Just click the OK button, and you’ll arrive at a blank page that lets you add products. If you haven’t already created a product page, you’ll be prompted to make one now. Again, add photos and text, but this time with a Shop button.
- Set Up To Receive Payments: When you click on the button for adding payment methods, you’ll again be reminded that you need to upgrade to a Business and Commerce plan to add a payment processor to your store. Squarespace lets you choose between Stripe and PayPal, and you can use Square for in-person sales if you’re in the U.S. Your store currency setting defaults to U.S. dollars, so if you’re selling outside the States, you can choose from more than two dozen currencies.
- Take Charge Of Shipping: Squarespace offers two methods for calculating shipping fees: flat rate and by weight. And you can use Squarespace to request price quotes from FedEx, UPS, and the USPS for your typical packages, including different shipping methods and speeds and types of packaging. You can even add a standard postage markup, as a percentage, so you recoup some of your shipping costs from each sale.
- Choose A Subscription Plan: By this point, you probably have taken advantage of your free trial period and gotten pretty far along in setting up your online store. Now it’s time to choose a plan and get ready to take your site live. Squarespace offers four payment plans. All of them include a free custom domain, SSL certificate, unlimited bandwidth and storage, 24/7 customer support, basic metrics, and access to Squarespace extensions. All but the lowest level Personal plan allow eCommerce.
Among the eCommerce plans, only the lowest level Business plan includes transaction fees of 3%. Higher-level plans do not charge any transaction fees. Choose to pay annually, rather than monthly, and you can save up to 30% on the plan you choose. If you pay annually, the plans will cost $18 for the Business plan, $26 for the Basic, and $40 for Advanced. Each plan is fully integrated for eCommerce, but as you go up in service level you gain additional features like abandoned cart recovery, analytics, and marketing tools.
5. Take Your Store Live: You set up your online store, added products, and took care of details like payment processing and shipping options. Now it’s time to let customers know about your store and start taking orders! Hit the Publish button, and that’s it — your Squarespace store is ready to start making sales for you.
How To Promote Your New Squarespace Site
Rather than waiting for customers to find your Squarespace store, you can take some simple steps to draw them in. And Squarespace offers some good tools for doing just that. From your admin, select the Marketing tab to get started.
From SEO (search engine optimization) strategies to social media promotion aids, you can use Squarespace resources to draw attention to your store and your products on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Reddit, Tumblr, and Pinterest. Once you select and pay for a plan, you can take advantage of an automatic Google Ads credit too.
When you’ve gotten familiar with Squarespace marketing options, you may be ready to take your strategies to the next level. If you learn about marketing strategies for growing your online store and put them in action, you’ll be well on the way to eCommerce success.