Squarespace sometimes gets a bad rap from critics claiming that using the platform can make sites look too cookie-cutter. But, trust me, this doesn’t have to be the case! There are actually lots of great ways to customize Squarespace sites, but I’m always surprised by how many people don’t know about these tricks. So in this post, I’m sharing four simple ways to customize and personalize your Squarespace site, so it fits your brand and stands out online.

Plus, I’ve even included two bonus tips you can use to make your Squarespace site look more customized in about 15 minutes or less! (But, you can also hire me for Squarespace design!)

Update Your Template

When you sign up for Squarespace, initially you have to pick one of their templates to get started. These templates offer a visual representation of what your website might include once you add all the content. They come complete with fonts, colors, graphics, dummy content, etc.

While it might be easy to stick with the stock content and standard options that Squarespace gives you when you choose the template, one of the most basic ways to make your site stand out is to add all of your own content and change the customization settings so they align with your brand.

Head to the Style Editor of your Squarespace site to see how easy it is to customize the look of your site by updating elements like backgrounds, buttons, fonts, colors…the list goes on and on! (I love Squarespace more than Wix!)

Use Index Pages

First, let me start with a little disclaimer: index pages are only available in certain templates with Squarespace. So check this chart to see if your template has index pages.

But basically, an index page is a type of page that allows you to use a full-width banner multiple times throughout the page. For example, a template may include an “About Us” banner at top, but scrolling down you may see another banner with a new header called “Meet the Writer.”

You can customize and use index pages to emphasize different types of content on your site, and to make things more visually appealing and dynamic. Tiffany’s website uses lots of Index pages!

Get Creative With Graphics, Images & Squarespace Design Elements

This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s incredibly important to use professional-looking, high-quality photos and graphics on your website.

This goes for all creative entrepreneurs — not just Squarespace users.

But in relation to making your Squarespace site look and feel more personal and customized, getting creative with your graphics and images is one of the best ways to make sure your site stands out.

Many Squarespace templates also come with simple design elements like dividers (hint: dividers aren’t the same as index pages) that you can tweak and change by adding new colors, textures, frames, and borders for visual interest

 

If you’re not sure how to get started with creating new dividers in Squarespace, you can always experiment with creating elements with Canva (for example, a dotted line that incorporates your brand colors) and using those on your site in place of the standard Squarespace options. This is what we did for Tiffany’s website above!

I’ve recently finished up re-designing a few Squarespace websites. While I love Squarespace for it’s ease of use and great templates, a template alone will not make a great website for your brand. Yes, it make take you a step in the right direction, but putting in the extra work will make a big difference. Incorporating elements from your brand, and incorporating your voice into your copy will take your website from bland to being an accurate reflection of you, helping you attract more of your ideal clients.

Truly, whether you’re on Squarespace or another platform, your website needs to accurately reflect you. But, sometimes it’s Squarespace users who have a harder time getting creative and making their sites not so template-like. Here are some ways you can brand your website and take it further.

  • Colors: Create a color palette that meshes with your brand, and carry it throughout your website. Buttons, links, headers, blog graphics, sidebar graphics, graphics on your sales page, etc. This doesn’t mean that the background of your pages have to be neon pink with neon green buttons. Don’t overload your site with colors, just use colors to enhance it.
  • Fonts: Changing fonts on Squarespace could not be easier. You can scroll through a variety of fonts, and preview it LIVE on your site, without even having to click save or refresh the page. You don’t have to stick with fonts that are pre-set in the template. Pick a font that’s easy to read, but matches your style.
  • Copy: It’s not JUST about design. Yes, your fonts and colors are part of your brand, but so is your copy, because it’s your voice. Your copy needs to sound like you. But, one mistake that people make in their website copy is not having a strategy behind it. What do you want people to do when they come to your site? Don’t just post a blog without a call-to-action. Whether it’s sharing on social media, or signing up for your list, or buying something – give them an action.
  • Social media: Take it one step further, and brand your social media. If you are already branding your blog graphics, and sharing those on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, you’re one step ahead. But, what about other graphics that you post? The graphics don’t have to be identical, but using the same fonts and color palette will help your overall online presence be cohesive.

Example 1:

Before, my client Beth had a grid gallery for her home page. This is okay, because it gave the reader a quick glimpse at her variety of work, but the overall design didn’t have any personality. The website also didn’t have much color to it. Beth didn’t want to use any bright or bold colors, but something more than just black and white. I created a soft color palette, added in a pattern to the background, and created some custom buttons. It’s a simple, but stylistic website that will draw in her potential clients.

Pro tip: Not every design has to be bold and over the top to add style. If your site feels bland, try adding a decorative element or a pattern. 

Example 2:

Before, my client Caitlin’s website had a lot of color, which sometimes was hard to read. But, it wasn’t very clear on her website what she did or who she served. Caitlin described her brand as fun, creative, and modern boho. She really wanted her website to show more of her style, and attract more of her ideal clients. We cleaned up the website, implementing bold lines with accents of colors. For her services page, I used some geometric graphics to carry over the fun + modern vibe to that page.

Pro tip: Choose colors carefully. Make sure your text is easy to read if you’re using color on color. Consider using a white background, and bringing in color through photos and accents. 

Example 3:

Before, Suzanne’s website didn’t accurately represent her brand, as her brand has evolved over the last few years. She moved to a new city, and wanted to rebrand herself and update her website to match. Her previous website had a good combination of color and photos, but wasn’t the easiest to navigate. We chose a new layout that better reflected the simple + pure aspect of her brand. We added a few simplistic accents to incorporate more color, while keeping the focus on her photos.

Pro tip: Recognizing when your branding does not align with you and your work anymore is crucial. When you connect with your brand, and you’re excited about it, you will feel more confident promoting yourself, and creating new services and products. 

Experiment With Custom CSS

Ok, I know…this can be intimidating, especially if you know nothing about coding. But don’t freak out yet because it’s actually much easier than you think to add custom CSS to your Squarespace site. (Plus, it’s a great way to make sure you site looks really customized since this tip is totally underutilized.)

You can find CSS code to customize your site with elements like:

  • Newsletter blocks and photo galleries
  • Personalized animations
  • Links to your social media feeds
  • And lots more!

These days, it’s easy to find snippets of CSS code for fairly cheap (even free!) online. When you find something you want to use, you just cut and paste the code in the appropriate space…and you’re done! It’s a great way to elevate the overall feel of your Squarespace website.

And lastly, use Squarespace plugins for further functionality.
– Squarepaste (use code JESSCREATIVES to save 20%)
– Squarestudio: https://squarestud.io/?tap_a=20328-aaea81&tap_s=158345-d22c9b (aff. link)
– Ghost Plugins: https://www.ghostplugins.com/

I have another post about how to integrate Mailchimp and Squarespace, too.

Quick Squarespace Tips from a Squarespace Designer:

1. Use a favicon

One small tweak you can make to change the overall impression your website makes on visitors is using a favicon. If you’re not familiar with favicons, they’re the tiny icon at the top left of tabs open in your browser. Squarespace includes its own brand logo favicon as the default on all of its site templates, so it’s a dead giveaway to visitors that you’re using Squarespace (and looks less professional).

2. Remove “Powered by Squarespace”

Every Squarespace template comes with a line of text displayed at the bottom of the website that says “Powered by Squarespace.” You’d be surprised by how many businesses leave this at the bottom of their site when it’s so easy to remove. #facepalm

Now that you know how truly simple it is to customize Squarespace sites, you may be considering making the jump from WordPress to Squarespace. If that’s the case, be sure to watch the video below for my full tutorial on making a seamless switch over to Squarespace!

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