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How to make a website with Squarespace

Squarespace editing interface
(Image credit: Squarespace)

Do you want to learn how to make a website with Squarespace? Have you been thinking about using this industry-leading website builder to create your own site or online store? 

As one of the best website builders in the world, Squarespace comes with an excellent selection of tools and advanced features to help you get started online. However, it can be confusing for those with little web development or design experience. 

With Squarespace, you can build everything from a basic business website to an online store. In this step-by-step guide, we demystify the process, and explain everything that you need to know to get started.

Step 1: Create an account

A 14-day free trial is available for all new Squarespace users, and we recommend taking advantage of it. When you hit the "Get Started" button, you will be asked a few questions about the type of website that you want and your long-term goals. 

Once you’ve answered these questions, you will be asked to select a template. Squarespace will present several suggested templates based on your answers, but you can browse the entire library if you want to. Create your account by signing in with Google or Facebook, and you will be taken straight to the site editor.

Step 2: Familiarize yourself with the editor

Naming your Squarespace site

You will be asked to name your Squarespace site when you visit the editor for the first time (Image credit: Squarespace)

When Squarespace’s editor loads for the first time, you will be asked to name your website. There’s a getting started guide that’s designed to help you familiarize yourself with the user interface, and we highly recommend working through it. 

There’s also a design assistant that outlines recommended actions, and following these suggestions will help ensure that you don’t miss anything.

Step 3: Set global design configurations

Squarespace global design options

You can specify fonts, color schemes, spacing, and more (Image credit: Squarespace)

Squarespace enables you to set clear global color and font schemes that will remain consistent across your website. We recommend doing this before adding your own content or beginning to build out your site. 

To configure global design settings, head to the "Design" tab on the menu on the left of the Squarespace editor. Under the "Site Styles" tab, you will find options to change colors, fonts, spacing, button styling, and various other settings. 

It’s also a good idea to set the appearance of your 404 error page, access denied screen, and checkout page while you’re working on your global design.

Step 4: Create your page hierarchy

Squarespace pages

Adding and removing pages is straightforward (Image credit: Squarespace)

A good task to move to once you’ve set your global design settings is the development of your page hierarchy. Basically, this means you need to create the base pages that you require on your website or online store. Specify which pages belong where, and spend the time naming and designing them. 

This step is important, but don’t get too stressed about getting it perfect. As your site develops, you can always come back and add or remove pages if you need to. All of this is done via the "Pages" tab in the main menu on the left of the editor.

Squarespace has several tools to help you personalize the header and footer of your website. Begin by hovering your mouse over the one that you want to customize, and clicking the “Edit Site Header” or “Edit Footer” button. A popup will appear with various layout, style, and positioning options. 

You will also be able to specify the elements that you want to be included in your header and/or footer.

Step 6: Add your own content

Adding background media

It’s easy to add media to your Squarespace website (Image credit: Squarespace)

Adding media and written content to your website is an absolute must, and it’s probably the most time-consuming part of creating a new site. 

For starters, you need to ensure that every single page on your site has unique, well-written content. Make sure it’s engaging and informative, because people are much more likely to hang around and browse if they’re interested in what you’ve got to say. 

Also, you should use visual content, such as pictures, infographics, and videos, to break up your text. Ensure that all media is relevant and attractive, and be creative if you’re using stock photos.

Step 7: Connect a domain name

Your domain name is basically your digital address. Squarespace does provide a branded subdomain in the form of yoursite.squarespace.com for all new website owners, but you shouldn’t use this if you can help it. These types of domains are unprofessional and generic, and they won’t help you develop a strong online presence. 

Instead, consider purchasing a new domain for your website. Squarespace has its own domain registration portal that is expensive, but offers excellent convenience. You can also import a domain that you already own. Once you have a domain, simply follow the prompts to link it to your site.

Step 8: Perform search engine optimization

Google Search Console Connection

You can connect your Google Search Console for in-depth SEO insights (Image credit: Squarespace)

Search engine optimization (SEO) involves ensuring that your website is set up in a way that will make it rank well on the search engine results pages. To get started, take advantage of Squarespace’s built-in SEO tools. Head to the "Marketing" tab on the main menu, and hit the SEO option. 

There’s a neat SEO checklist that you can use to guide your efforts. You can also link to your Google Search Console. With the clear assistance offered by these two tools, you will be able to gain a decent search engine ranking in no time.

Step 9: Do a final check and hit publish

By now, you should have a fully functional website that’s almost ready to go. But you should always take a step back before you hit the big publish button. 

Spend a little time clicking through your site, ensuring that it looks good on different devices and with different browsers. Ask friends and family members to look over it too. Note and remediate any problems that they come across. 

When you’re comfortable that you’ve ironed out most of the issues associated with your site, you can go ahead and publish it. 

Congratulations, you’ve learned how to make a website with Squarespace!

How to make a website with Squarespace: Summary

Squarespace isn’t the most beginner-friendly website builder in the world, but it’s still a great option. The editor has a built-in design assistant that will guide you through the entire site creation process. 

As long as you’re willing to spend time on it, you should be able to create a high-quality, attractive Squarespace website without too much trouble.


Further reading on website builders

If you would like to know more about Squarespace and its alternatives, check out our comparisons pitting Wix vs Squarespace; Wix vs Squarespace vs Weebly; WordPress vs Wix vs Squarespace; and Squarespace vs Shopify.

It's also worth looking at our lists of the best website builders, the best ecommerce website builders, and the best small business website builders to see how Squarespace fares. If you're looking for more flexibility and customization as a more experienced web user, check out the best web hosting services.

Daniel Blechynden

Daniel is a freelance copywriter with over six years experience writing for publications such as TechRadar, Tom’s Guide, and Hosting Review. He specializes in tech and finance, with a particular focus on website building, web hosting, and related fields.