How to Choose a Squarespace Template (by Function, not Design)

Choosing a Squarespace template is an ordeal.

You're checking out all the templates and finally settle on Margot, Basil, and Hatch. You're not sure why you've settled on these 3, you just did.

And then you stress out. 

5 Ways Squarespace Web Designers Can Handle Clients from Hell

First, I admit - “5 Ways Squarespace Web Designers Can Handle Clients from Hell” is one heck of a clickbait title. But you clicked, didn’t you.

Read on.

If you’ve found this post because you have a client from hell, let’s figure out why.

Inspiration from Renowned Art Museums for Your Art Gallery Website on Squarespace

If you want to build an art studio or art gallery-style website on Squarespace, look for inspiration from the big guys!

Who are the big guys exactly?

Well, in my webby world, it's The Met, The National Gallery of Canada and the Mackenzie Art Gallery of Regina, Saskatchewan.

2 Easy Hacks to Edit a Squarespace Page

Hey DIYer Squarespacers.

It's that time of the day when you're faffing around ON your business that you realize - you've gotta edit one of your Squarespace pages big time. You've got some new info to share and you've learned a thing or two about design and UX since the first time you DIYed your site.

You've got to move some images over here. Move some text over there. Add a call to action button. That kind of stuff.

 
2 Squarespace Page Editing Hacks
 
 

These page edits will be so much more than adding a new link or correcting a typo. We're talking major changes.

Easy peasy, right? I mean, maybe you did the website yourself and so you think you know what to do.

And you go in and start mucking about and then, "OMG! What the heck have I done!"

And no, you can't undo it. And yep, I've been there many times. 

I've finally learned my lesson.

Before you start making major edits to your Squarespace Page, watch this tutorial.

These are the 2 hacks you need to try first. They work for me every single time.


 
 
 
 

Don't want to watch the vid? Here's the short text version. When you're making major edits to a Squarespace page:

 
 

 
 

Need to launch a website
RIGHT NOW
& no time to learn Squarespace?

Try out Design-in-a-Day, my collaboration with Squarespace expert and web designer Sarah Moon. We'll snap together a polished website based on a Squarespace template that you choose or we recommend. 

This is a quick and efficient process to get you online in time for that big opportunity that demands a solid online presence.

 
 

 
 
Kath O'Malley Squarespace Web Designer Partner

 

Hi, I’m Kath - author of this blog post (and others like it) and copywriter, editor, keyword researcher and website setter upper for Squarespace web designers and service-based entrepreneurs and freelancers. Team up with me to get your web design projects done, like yesterday.

Click the button below to get in touch.

 
 

 
 

 
 
 

Create a Mini Search Engine Website with the Squarespace Search Block

Taking inspiration from search engines like Answer the Public and the big dawg, Google itself, I attempted to turn my trial Squarespace website into a mini search engine.

Did it work? See for yourself.

Why You Should Organize your Content with Squarespace Tags & Categories

Here's Why You Should Use Squarespace Tags and Categories: You want your site visitors to find your products, services and blog posts easily. And you don't want them losing interest or getting frustrated as they navigate through your site.

3 Reasons Why I Wish Design in a Day Existed for My First Squarespace Website

You bit the bullet and signed up for a Squarespace account. Good for you. 

And, I'm guessing you did what many DIYers do - dove right in and started building your Squarespace site because...

WEBSITE. {Ding ding ding!}

Encourage your Website Visitors to Take Action with Page Goals.

Keep it Simple:  Prep for Your Squarespace Website Series
This blog post is the third in a 4-part series on how to prep your Squarespace website before you fiddle around with the tech side of it all.

Set Specific Goals for your Squarespace website Pages

If you've been following along in this series, then you should have already:

You’re keeping it simple because you know that your website will grow and shift with your business. That’s the beauty of using Squarespace - once you know how to use it, it’s easy to make changes so that your website stays fresh and up to date.

Here are the next 2 steps to preparing your Squarepace website before you even log in.

Step 1

Decide on the goal for each one your pages.

Step 2

Decide one main call to action for each page.

What is a call to action?
A call to action is something you ask your website visitor to do such as

  • sign up for your newsletter
  • click a link to another page or blog article
  • get in touch with you by filling in a short form.

Don't spend too much time at this stage in your web build process figuring out what your site visitors will and should do.


Simply decide on a page goal, add a call to action and watch how your visitors behave over a couple of months. Tweak your pages if needed based on your visitors behaviours.

 

We interrupt this blog post to let you go play.

 

Listen, you still don’t need to log into your Squarespace account to do these 2 steps. But, I get it, you’re eager to dive right in. Go for it, if you really want to. Nothing like hands on learning, imo.

Here's a tip if you want to dive right in:

1. Copy and paste in Cupcake Ipsum text 
2. Use Squarespace’s default images or grey blocks for your "images."

By doing this, you'll get a feel for how the platform works. If you're trying to learn the Squarespace platform AND be all creative with words, you'll get frustrated. Don't do that.

 

Did you go and play for awhile? That’s ok. Thanks for coming back.

 
 

What are the 4 or 5 most important pages on your Squarespace website?

That depends on your business.

We’ll use my website as an example, since you’re already here.
 

UPDATE: Since writing these posts, my website navigation has changed but the advice stays the same (and I've even followed my own advice!) 

 

My top 4 pages are:

Home page
(Note: it’s a long scrolling page, so we’ll look at just the top section)

  • Goal: encourage Squarespace web designers to sign up for my newsletter
     
  • Call to Action: a newsletter sign up form with a free opt in (a sample word count cheatsheet)

 
About Page

  • Goal: Find out about me and the benefits to working with me
     
  • Call to Action: Text Links to my Work with Me pages so potential clients can find out more about what I do.


Work with Me
(Drop Down Menu - two pages - one for Squarespace web designers & another for service-based entrepreneurs)

  • Goal for each page: Find out more about the benefits of my services and how I can help
     
  • Call to action for each page:
    -For Squarespace web designers, get in touch with me.

    - For entrepreneurs and freelancers, click the link to the Design in a Day service page on Sarah Moon’s website. Sarah's a fab and expert Squarespace web designer I’m collaborating with to help entrepreneurs with quick website launches. 
     

Blog Page

  • Goal: Read my Blog Posts
     
  • Call to Action: I break my own rule of one main call to action per page - my blog page has several calls to action including linking to specific posts, following me on Pinterest, searching blog topics, or checking the archives.
 

 
 

 

Now it’s your turn.

Start by writing down your page goals and calls to action that a visitor can take on each page.

One more thing - I get that it can be hard to visualize how your website will look. It’s hard to outline things without “seeing” them first - and that’s why you want to get into your Squarespace account and start playing.

One way to'fight this urge'to set up your website before your content is ready is to search for inspirational Squarespace websites and templates and pin them or bookmark them to refer to later.

Stick to the plan!

  • Write down a page goal for each page.
     
  • Write down a main call to action that visitors can take on each page.

Let's recap.

Here are all the steps you should take before you start building your Squarespace website. 

  1. Decide who your ideal website visitor is (aka potential client or customer)
  2. Decide what the main goal of your website is?
  3. Decide what pages you want in the main navigation (up to 5).
  4. Create a visual sitemap of your website.
  5. Write down a page goal for each page.
  6. Write down a main call to action that visitors can take on each page.

Keep it simple. 


{Pssst}
Are you keeping all this information in one place? In a notebook, a Google Drive folder?  If not, do that.


Need to launch a website like
RIGHT NOW
and no time to learn Squarespace?
 

Try out Design-in-a-Day, my collaboration with Squarespace expert and web designer Sarah Moon. 
 

We'll snap together a polished website based on a Squarespace template that you choose or we recommend. This is a quick and efficient process to get you online in time for that big opportunity that demands a solid online presence.


Kath O'Malley Copywriting and Squarespace Services

Hi, I’m Kath - author of this blog post (and others like it) and copywriter, editor, keyword researcher and website setter upper for Squarespace web designers and service-based entrepreneurs and freelancers. Team up with me to get your web design projects done, like yesterday. 
 

 

2 Reasons why you should create a Visual Site Map for your Squarespace Website

 
 

Keep it Simple:  Prep for Your Squarespace Website Series
This blog post is the second in a 4-part series on how to prep your Squarespace website before get into all the techy stuff.

 

Why You Need a Visual Sitemap for your Squarespace Website

 

Have you logged into your Squarespace account yet and started editing some pages.

Yes? I don’t blame you. It’s fun. It’s frustrating. It’s intuitive. It’s crazy-making. It’s all those things.

It’s time to stop playing around.


Instead, head back over to your boring old Google doc or Word doc or chicken scratch notepad or where ever you wrote down your website goal.

You did decide on your main website goal, right?

 

Not yet? Then read how to set your website goals first, then come back.

You’re back now? Good.

Remember, we’re keeping it simple. You already have a service-based business, you’ve got a roster of clients and customers and it’s time you had a decent website.  

Step 1 (is done):

You have a goal for your Squarespace website.

Step 2:

Brainstorm! Decide what pages you want on your website. 

(Keep in mind that your website will grow as your business grows, so you don’t need to get all ambitious - unless you really want to.)

In that notepad or Google doc, write down all the pages you want. How many is that?

Step 3:

From that list of pages you want, what are the absolute must-have pages you'll add to your main navigation?

(The main navigation are the links at the top of your website that visitors have access to no matter what website page they are on. Or, if on mobile, the ‘hamburger’ stack.)
 

 
Responsive Hamburger Menu in Squarespace
 

UPDATE: Things have changed around here...but I don't have time at the moment to rewrite this post. My apologies! My must-have navigation pages have changed from the ones listed below.

In my case, my must-have navigation pages are:

  • a Home Page (long scrolling page called Squarespace Designer Partner)
  • an About Page
  • a Services Page which I call ‘Work with Me’ (it's actually a drop down menu with 2 pages - and one link leads to my Design in a Day collaborator's website!)
  • a Blog page.

 

What are the main navigation pages you want on your Squarespace website?

 

 
 

 

Next: 2 Reasons why you should create a visual sitemap for your Squarespace Website.

 

A visual sitemap is basically a flow chart for your website. Here are 2 reasons why you should have one.

1. A visual sitemap will help you organize your website

Start with the main navigation pages, then add interior pages if required.

 

 
Have you noticed the change? Time to do another sitemap, I think.

Have you noticed the change? Time to do another sitemap, I think.

 

 

Remember, keep it simple. How many pages do you really need if you’re just getting started on Squarespace? (Hint: Start with the pages that will bring you clients and customers.)

 

As you create your visual site map, always remind yourself: what is the website's main goal?

Keep in mind how each page - which will have its own goals - can serve your website's main goal as well.

2. A Visual Sitemap will help you remember what pages go where if you rebuild your site or move pages around

Julienne Desjardins explains why you should have a visual site map - scroll down to point 4. (I agree).

I also like the look of the free tool Bubbl.us for creating a visual sitemap. I use Google Docs and draw by hand, but this looks easier to use.

Let's recap.

Here are all the steps you should take before you start building your Squarespace website. 

  1. Decide who is your ideal website visitor (aka potential client or customer)
  2. Decide what is the main goal of your website?
  3. Decide what must have pages you'll have in the main navigation (up to 5)
  4. Create a visual sitemap of your starter website.

Keep it simple. 


Need to launch a website
like RIGHT NOW
& no time to learn Squarespace?

Try out Design-in-a-Day, my collaboration with Squarespace expert and web designer Sarah Moon. We'll snap together a polished website based on a Squarespace template that you choose or we recommend. 

This is a quick and efficient process to get you online in time for that big opportunity that demands a solid online presence.

 
 

 
 
Kath O'Malley Squarespace Web Designer Partner

Hi, I’m Kath - author of this blog post (and others like it) and copywriter, editor, keyword researcher and website setter upper for Squarespace web designers and service-based entrepreneurs and freelancers. Team up with me to get your web design projects done, like yesterday.

Click the button below to get in touch.

 
 

 
 
 

You've Decided to Build your Website on Squarespace. Now What?

You’ve bought your domain and signed up for a Squarespace account.

Now what?

The Now What is simple. What do you want your website to ‘do’ for your business?

Choose a goal for your Squarespace Website.

7 Steps to Adding Targeted Keywords to a Squarespace Blog Post

 
Add a Targeted Keyword to a Squarespace Blog Post
 
 

The other day, after doing some SEO keyword research work for one of my fab web designer clients, Sarah Moon (check her out!) - I decided to see where my site ranked in Google search results for the keyword Squarespace.

I used the site Where Do I Rank.

It was somewhat depressing.

 
Without Squarespace Blog posts www.kathomalley has a NA Google Search Result Rank.
 

Out of 38,600,000, my ranking was N/A.

And yet, I have been noticing a wee trend in my Squarespace analytics - some visitors are finding me via Google (and some have even contacted me after a Google search! Woohoo!) 

So I decided to test my rank again.

I entered a keyword that I used in a previous Squarespace blog post.

 

I entered the (longtail) keyword: Duplicate Page Squarespace

Now how about that?

I rank number 6, on the first page.

 
Google Search Result Page for one of my Squarespace Blog Posts.
With Duplicate Squarespace Page my Squarespace Blog Post Ranks #6.
 

Just to be on the safe side, I tried another keyword rank checker at SEOCentro

Still #6!

 
My Rank for Squarespace Blog Post Keyword Duplicate Squarespace Page is Still #6.
 
 

What's a Longtail Keyword, by the way?

A Longtail Keyword is 3 - 4 words or a descriptive phrase. If I understand correctly, up to 70% of searches use a long tail keyword. (But don't quote me on that.) 

I'm no SEO expert. I simply try to follow Squarespace's SEO suggestions and that of more experty experts - which, among other things, is to blog.

 
Blogging involves updating your site frequently, which helps search engines see it as an active site. Even if you’re a business and not a blogger, adding a Blog Page and updating it regularly with relevant content could potentially benefit your SEO while building your brand.
— Squarespace Tutorial Support
 
 

Writing How To and Other Squarespace Blog Posts brings me site visitors.

Blogging is what makes my site dynamic and brings me the right kind of visitors. (I think, anyway).

But it's not just the blogging, it's the keywords I use in the blog posts and where I put them.

Here are the places I put keywords in my blog posts (these days).

  • Title
  • Headings
  • Body (the actual post)
  • The image File Names & File Title Names
  • The Blog Post URL

Starting today, I'm also going to use the excerpt field and put the keyword in there. Squarespace excerpts usually show up in Google Search Results.

 
Add a Keyword to Excerpt Field of a Squarespace Blog Post.
 

Most of my blog posts are Squarespace How Tos and a lot of potential clients (even Squarespace web designers, my niche), google how to do stuff on Squarespace. The more I post, the more I should rank up there with the Big Dawgs, even if my main site never makes it to the top.

Going forward, my goal is to follow these 7 steps every time I write a How to Do Something in Squarespace Blog Post:

  1. Pick a keyword (or phrase)
  2. Use the keyword in the Title
  3. Use the keyword in Headings
  4. Use the keyword in the Body of the Squarespace Blog Post (see what I did there?)
  5. Ensure all my image titles include the keyword and add it to the File Name Field when I upload an image
  6. Include the keyword in an Excerpt
  7. Use the keyword in the post URL.

Basically, I'm doing this....

 
Add a Targeted Keyword to Squarespace Blog Post Infographic
 

Want a copy of the above ever-so-fancy Infographic to stick on the wall next to your computer so you don't forget? (Hey, don't laugh. I have to do this.)

 

Just click the button below to download.

 
 

How to Make your Embedded Facebook Live Videos Mobile-friendly-ish

Mobile Responsive Embedded Facebook Videos in Squarespace

The other day a fellow entrepreneur who uses Squarespace popped in on my Facebook Page to ask about how to make embedded Facebook Videos on Squarespace mobile-friendly.

It dawned on me, dang, I never actually checked mobile to see how the videos looked. I assumed, wrongly, they were mobile responsive.

They were not.

 
See - the video width is cropped. Had no idea!

See - the video width is cropped. Had no idea!

 

 

First, before you continue reading this post, if you don't know how to embed a Facebook Live and regular FB video in a Squarespace page, read this post first

Then come back!

I didn't (and still don't) have a whole ton of time to find the solution but as a determined-to-figure-stuff-out elementary HTMLer & CSSer, I went in search of an answer anyway.

Let me admit right here that I'm more of a copy and paste coder. I know that there's got to be some code out there that will work and if I pinpoint it just right, I'll find the answer.

I did. 

Sort of.

The trick, apparently, is to set the width view in the code at 100% rather than pixels. (Mine was at 560).  Here's a picture of the embed code where I change it from 560 to 100%.

 
Make Embedded Facebook Video in Squarespace Mobile Responsive
 

Here's where the 'sort of' solved it comes in. The width now looks good in mobile, but the height doesn't work. I tried height at 100% and Auto, but the video ended up cropped midway. I've kept height at 400 so there's a padding issue. (I think it's a padding issue).

Embed Facebook Video in Squarespace Height Issue

But you know what, I'm ok with that for now. Having said that, if anyone has the answer PLEASE PLEASE share it with us over on Facebook in the post where the discussion is already taking place.

We will forever be in your debt. Or at least very very grateful.


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My Ideal Work Week - What's Yours?

 

+ Customizing Colours in Squarespace

Ideal Week and Customizing Colours in Squarespace
 

Last week I had that problem I shouldn't ever 'complain' about. Work. Lots of it. Coming at me from left and right and centre. 

I even had two full sitting-at-desk days - almost like a full time - in-an-office job. Took two 15- minute breaks and a half hour lunch. Yowza.

What else?

In my inbox, I found two Work with Me Requests. (Yay!)

Also had some admin stuff to deal with.

And bills to pay.

And kids hungry for snacks. And cuddles. And stories. And wha??? Another snack??

So I didn't blog.

My 4 batched posts were all used up in the previous 4 weeks.

Oooph.

If there's one thing I've been this year, it's I've been diligent with blogging once a week, mainly about Squarespace.

I knew that it was time to dust off my IDEAL WORK WEEK calendar.

It's in a spreadsheet. It's colour-coded but otherwise, not all that pretty. 

Check Out My Ideal Work Week in a Handy Screenshot

 
Click the image to expand / download it - no opt in required.

Click the image to expand / download it - no opt in required.

 

Now the key word is Ideal. Life gets in the way. (Halloween, for example, and last minute candy shopping.) Actual work also gets in the way.

But, I did manage to follow this ideal week for all of about 3 weeks before the summer and let me tell you - I was super efficient.

Like astonishingly efficient.

So it's time to get back at this again to see if it helps me feel like I'm on top of things.

(For the record - Monday from 5 - 6 am is blog / newsletter brainstorm, editorial, batching time - and I'm doing it. In 15 minutes. This post will be scheduled for tomorrow.)

Squarespace tip: How to change colours in Design -> Style Editor section.

Recently (not really sure when, one day, I just noticed it was different), Squarespace changed how you customize colours in the Design -> Style Editor section.

The colour code defaults are hsla (or is it rgba?) 

Anyway ... not HEX!

 
rgba color code Squarespace
 

There's probably a very sound designy reason for this, but as a non-designer, I was all - GAK! Way back, I created a wee brand guide for my biz and it's all only in hex colours. I also use Canva for my graphics. Also hexy.

In one of the Squarespace Facebook groups I belonged to, someone asked about Hex to HSLA and I suggested they try this colour converter which has helped me:  Hex to HSLA.

An even better tip for changing color. 

All you have to do is pop in your hex numbers in the field and it works just fine.

Check it out (and thank you Kaitlyn Fox of Crown Fox for this tip, from all us DIYers).

 
Remember to use the # before the hex number or it won't work.

Remember to use the # before the hex number or it won't work.

PS If you're wondering what all this colour code stuff is all about, this explanation in the HTML Color Codes site is pretty good.

Click Squarespace Changing Colours tutorial for more info. (Oops, colors, I'm Canadian, sorry, yep, sorry, Canadian there too).

 
 

 

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Get a monthly email with my latest 3 or 4 posts and access to my resource library with tips and how to-s for Squarespace and copywriting.