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Why I Love Squarespace for My Clients

Why I Love Squarespace for My Clients | Lemon and the Sea

Whenever I talk to people about my website design services, they always ask which platform I use to design. There are so many out there (and I’ve tried quite a few), but I’ve chosen to stick with Squarespace design because it meets the needs of my dream clients – even needs they didn’t know they had.

While some designers and online business owners are supporters of using other platforms, especially as a business grows, I’ve found that Squarespace is the best balance of beautiful design, easy-to-use functions, and integrations.

Here are some of the reasons I love Squarespace websites for my creative entrepreneur and small business clients – and for myself:

Low cost for basic websites

Squarespace offers plans starting at $16/month for up to 20 pages (less if you pay yearly). If that isn’t enough space, it’s easy to upgrade to a plan with unlimited pages for just $26/month. And, if you sell products through your website, you can choose an e-Commerce plan that allows you to pay less in fees when someone purchases.

Easy to update their own website

One of the main reasons my clients come to me for a website design is because they are frustrated with their current website. It’ shard to update – if they can even figure out how to do it on their own – and out of date because of constantly changing templates and versions.

Squarespace makes design easy because it’s a drag and drop platform with lots of different block options to meet all of your needs.

It’s also very easy to edit text on your website – without touching the code – which is important when you want to make a quick change without waiting for a designer or developer to have an opening in their schedule.

Another great feature is that Squarespace is designed to work across every platform and device – which is extrememly important now that most people visit websites on their phones. You can even check the tablet and mobile layouts while designing on your desktop.

Page templates

I’ve heard a few people complain that you can’t have page templates in Squarespace to make designing multiple pages with the same layout easy – but that isn’t actually the case.

You can create your own page templates by adding a design as an unlinked page and then duplicating it and updating the content. To learn more check out this post.

Creating page templates for my clients makes it easy for them to add new projects to the gallery or play around with the layout without worrying about messing up the live website.

Full ownership of their website

Squarespace makes it really easy to both me and my client to have access to the website during design and for me to transfer ownership once the project is completed – and I can remain on the website to make updates in the future. Check out this post to learn how to set permissions for your website.

Can see the design concept live

When designing anything for my clients - brands, websites, or collateral - I always start by designing a concept. This allows my clients to look at the ideas that I have based on their business, questionnaire answers, and our conversations before I finalize anything.

Squarespace makes this really easy for website design because I can create the concepts in Squarespace so clients can see how their website will actually look live instead of imagining a PDF becoming a working site.

We can also collaborated on changes via phone or chat so clients can see updates as they happen, which makes giving feedback and making changes much easier and faster.

Easy SEO

Check out this post for some great ways to increase your SEO with Squarespace’s built-in features and a few tricks.

Customizations are available and can really make the design their own

Great customization options that still allow someone who isn’t’ web-savvy to update their own website. That means that even if I add lots of custom features to a website, my clients can still edit pages and make updates on their own without worrying about messing up the code.

Great tutorials through Squarespace

Squarespace’s tutorials are in-depth on every feature they offer and their customer service is quick to respond to issues, so you can almost always find answers quickly if you can’t – or don’t want to – wait for a designer to help you out.

Easy integrations

Squarespace is set up to easily integrate with MailChimp (for email newsletters), Acuity (for scheduling), social media, and G Suite (for email). While you can certainly use other tools with Squarespace, their integrations make these easy to set up and maintain when you don’t want to mess with code.

Always coming up with new features

Squarespace is always developing new features and fixing bugs that have been reported, but you don’t have to worry that these updates will break your website like on some platforms. They always do beta tests with memebers of the Squarespace Circle (that’s me!), so they know that everything is working correctly.

And if you choose to work with a designer who is a Squarespace Circle member, you can use these beta items on your own website before they are released to the public (no promises they’ll work perfectly right away though).

Security

Because Squarespace creates and manages all of the integrations with their websites, there is little chance that there are loopholes people can exploit to hack a website. This may not seem like a big deal when you’re first starting out, but if you’re hacked and lose your entire website (I had this happen to a client), you know how frustrating and time consuming that can be.

Integrated e-Commerce

When you’re just starting a business, you may not know whether you want to offer products or courses that require e-Commerce capability – and that’s okay. Squarespace allows for e-Commerce on any plan and template, so you can add it at any time.

Great for any small business owner

Squarespace’s versatile templates and functions make it a great platform for any small business owner including wedding professionals, instructors, virtual assistants, designers, authors, bloggers, physical businesses, interior designers, and podcasts. If you can create a business, you can use Squarespace to design your website.


Lemon and the Sea is a brand and website design company located in Richmond, VA. I specialize in making the branding process personal. I work with creative women who have a heart to serve others grow their businesses so they can focus on what's most important - family.   I work closely with small businesses to help them dig into what makes them unique, share their vision, and build a business that genuinely represents who they are.


How to Use the Squarespace Image Block

How to Use the Squarespace Image Block

One of my favorite parts about being a Squarespace designer is that I am a member of the Squarespace Circle. While that isn't necessary to do my job, it does allow me to find out what updates Squarespace is making and experiment with my (on my website and on client sites) before they are released to everyone else. (The other big benefit is that I have a six month trial on all new websites instead of just 14 days.)

Sometime this is beneficial - I knew when Squarespace was beta-testing PayPal integration and when fixes are made - but it can also be  detrimental when I know of a new update and can't share it with other Squarespace users just yet.

One update that I am excited about - and that many people were looking forward to - is the new Squarespace Image Block and the options available for adding text to images without a separate design program.

Basically, the Image Block now allows you to add text to images in a variety of ways instead of just as a caption below or in an overlay. Plus, the design settings for each option are controlled separately, so you can change them for each type of image you use.

If you haven't experimented with the new Image Block options, here is an overview - including the settings you can update in the Design > Style Editor menu. 

 
Inline Image Block

Inline Image Block

Image Block: Inline

Display an image with optional caption

  • Caption font matches paragraph font settings
  • Do Not Display Caption
  • Caption Below
  • Caption Overlay
  • Caption Overlay on Hover
 

Poster

with subtitle

Image Block: Poster

Display an image with text overlaying it

  • Text Alignment - left, right, center
  • Title Font
  • Title Color
  • Inline Link Color
  • Title Separation - the space between the title and subtitle
  • Image Overlay Color - color filter over image
  • Content Width - the width of the text
  • Title Background Color - optional color behind the title text
 

Card Image Block

with subtitle

Image Block: Card

Display an image with the text aligned to the right or left

  • Dynamic Font Sizing (On/Off) - resizes the text based on the browser
  • Content Position - top, center, bottom
  • Text Alignment - left, center, right, match (aligns title and subtitle on the same side of the image), opposite (aligns title and subtitle on the opposite side of the image),
  • Image Width
  • Title Font
  • Title Color
  • Subtitle Font
  • Subtitle Color
  • Inline Link Color
  • Title Separation - the space between the title and subtitle
  • Card Background Color - color that displays behind the caption
  • Card Padding - spacing on either side of the caption
  • Card Separation - space between image and card background
  • Image Overlay Color - color filter over image
  • Title Background Color - optional color behind the title text
 
haute-chocolate-styled-stock-photography-brights-workday-17.jpg

Overlap Image Block

with subtitle

Image Block: Overlap

Display an image on one side with text on the other, partially overlapping the image

  • Optional background color
  • Dynamic Font Sizing (On/Off) - resizes the text based on the browser
  • Content Position - top, center, bottom
  • Text Alignment - left, center, right, match (aligns title and subtitle on the same side of the image), opposite (aligns title and subtitle on the opposite side of the image),
  • Image Width
  • Title Overlap - how much the title overlaps the image
  • Title Font
  • Title Color
  • Subtitle Font
  • Subtitle Color
  • Inline Link Color
  • Title separation - the space between the title and subtitle
  • Image overlay color - color filter over image
  • Title background color - optional color behind the title text
 

Collage Image Block

with subtitle

Image Block: Collage

Display an image on one side and text over a background “card” overlapping the image

  • Dynamic Font Sizing (On/Off) - resizes the text based on the browser
  • Content Position - top, center, bottom
  • Text Alignment - left, center, right, match (aligns title and subtitle on the same side of the image), opposite (aligns title and subtitle on the opposite side of the image),
  • Image Width
  • Content Width - the width of the caption
  • Content Offset - how much the caption overlays the image
  • Title Font
  • Title Color
  • Subtitle Font
  • Subtitle Color
  • Inline Link Color
  • Title Separation - the space between the title and subtitle
  • Card Background
  • Card Padding - space on either side of the caption
  • Image Overlay Color - color filter over image
 

Stack Image Block

with subtitle

Image Block: Stack

Display an image with text below

  • Optional background color
  • Dynamic Font Sizing (On/Off) - resizes the text based on the browser
  • Text Alignment - left, center, right, match (aligns title and subtitle on the same side of the image), opposite (aligns title and subtitle on the opposite side of the image),
  • Title Font
  • Title Color
  • Subtitle Font
  • Subtitle Color
  • Inline link Color
  • Title Separation - the space between the title and subtitle
  • Card Background
  • Card Padding - space on either side of the caption
  • Image Overlay Color - color filter over image

To-Do for You: Try out the Squarespace Image Block and take advantage of the SEO boost that having actual text instead of an image of text can give you.


Lemon and the Sea is a brand and website design company located in Richmond, VA. I specialize in making the branding process personal. I work with creative women who have a heart to serve others grow their businesses so they can focus on what's most important - family.   I work closely with small businesses to help them dig into what makes them unique, share their vision, and build a business that genuinely represents who they are.


My Favorite Squarespace Customization Tutorials

My Favorite Squarespace Customization Tutorials | Lemon and the Sea

One of my favorite things about Squarespace website design is that I can customize so much of a website while still maintaining the clean design of the platform.

But I don't figure all that customization out on my own. There are lots of great designers out there who are sharing how they have customized Squarespace, so I like to take advantage of their generous sharing to use for my own designs.

These are some of my favorite customizations and how I've used them both for my own website and for clients:

Adding a Custom Font to Squarespace from MunoSpace - This is a fantastic post if you're interested in adding a custom font (not from Google or Typekit) to your Squarespace website. It does involve some Custom CSS, but the instructions are easy to follow - just make sure the font you want to use is a Webfont. I used this tutorial to change one of the heading fonts on Stag and Lily Event Co. to match the logo design.

 

How to Create an Accordian Menu from Forth and Create - This customization may seem difficult since it includes Custom CSS, Javascript, and a Markdown Block, but the instructions are easy to follow. I used this customization on quote a few pages for Ronsen Consulting so we could display a lot of in-depth information in a way that is interactive and legible.

 

Adding Domain and Email Aliases with G Suite from Squarespace Answers - This tutorial, which is actually the answer to a question in Squarespace's forum is extremely helpful if you have two domains for your website and want to receive emails to both without setting up and paying for two G Suite accounts. I used this to help Nicole at Stag and Lily Event Co. transition her domain name and email address.

How to Use Index Pages in Squarespace from Lemon and the Sea - This tutorial walks you through how I used Index pages and Custom CSS to create the new look for my website, Lemon and the Sea.

 

Squarespace SEO Tricks You Should be Using from Lemon and the Sea - I created this tutorial to help bust the myth that Squarespace can't have good SEO and to share the tricks I've learned through setting up basic SEO on all my client websites.

Squarespace Hack: Customize Your Contact Form from Forth and Create - This easy-to-follow tutorial uses Custom CSS to customize Squarespace forms so they better fit your brand. I use this on most client websites, including Candice Prentice's author website.

How to Create a Gallery in Squarespace from Lemon and the Sea - Galleries are one of my favorite tools in Squarespace, especially for small businesses that need to show a lot of images. I used this tutorial to help Jennifer at CAVdesign create her portfolio, as well as for Kate Phillips Events in a brief Squarespace customization consultation.

 
 

Customizing Squarespace with CSS Tricks from My Billie Designs  - this post covers a few different CSS Customizations you can use to make your website more unique.

Custom CSS for Menu/Recipe Design from Meg Summerfield  - The menu block isn't one I use often in website design, so I was thrilled to find this tutorial that allowed me to customize the block for use as a recipe display on Candice Prentice's Recipe Blog.

 

3 Ways to Have a ‘Tweet This’ Quote on Your Squarespace Website from Kreanille Design  - If you've ever wanted to add a "Tweet This" link on your Squarespace website, this post will show you a few options for creating one. I used this on my blog for a while before I began to focus more on Instagram and Pinterest.

How to Customize the Read More Link on Squarespace Blog Post Excerpts from Megan Minns - I haven't used this tutorial yet, but I'm excited to. Megan explains in detail how to customize your Read More links in blog posts so that they are more visible and fit your brand.

To-Do for You: Check out Squarespace tutorials (Pinterest is a great place to find them) and see how you can make your website your own.


Lemon and the Sea is a brand and website design company located in Richmond, VA. I specialize in making the branding process personal. I work with creative women who have a heart to serve others grow their businesses so they can focus on what's most important - family.   I work closely with small businesses to help them dig into what makes them unique, share their vision, and build a business that genuinely represents who they are.


7 Little Known Squarespace Tricks

7 Little Known Squarespace Tricks | Lemon and the Sea

Part of the reason I love using Squarespace so much for website design is that there are quite a few ways to customize your site without having to be a designer or developer. This is especially helpful because almost all of my clients come to me because they have no idea how to design a website on their own, but they want to be able to make basic changes once the website is live.

These are some of my favorite tricks to make designing on Squarespace easier and think outside of the restrictions you might have with the template you’ve chosen.

1. Duplicating a Page

This is one of my favorite tricks (I share it with all my clients), but most people have no idea it’s possible. You can easily duplicate any regular page on your website by opening the page settings, scrolling to the bottom, and clicking Duplicate Page. Then you just need to rename it, place it where it needs to be, and start editing.

I use this feature to create page templates that my clients can then duplicate to make adding new pages or projects easy. This really comes in handy when you have a portfolio with different project pages – you want them to have the same layout, but it can take a long time to recreate a page full of images each time you feature a new project.

You can also duplicate pages if you want to update your design without having the changes go live as soon as you save. Simply duplicate the page you want to work on and move it under Unlinked Pages in the side menu. Then you can change anything you want without worrying about your visitors seeing all sorts of crazy changes.

2. Adding Custom CSS to One Page

If you want to really customize your Squarespace website, custom CSS is a great way to get the look you want without having to be a website developer. (If you want to learn more about Custom CSS, check this post out. )But sometimes you want customizations on one page instead of throughout your website.

To add Custom CSS to one page at a time, simply open the page settings, go to the Advanced tab, and paste your CSS into the Page Header Code Injection area. You will need to make sure your code is read by adding Style tags like this, <style>/* Insert Custom CSS Here */</style>, but otherwise it works the same as the Custom CSS section.

You can also add Javascript, metatags, or other custom code to the Page Header Code Injection area to further customize your Squarespace website. (To see how I use this section to build my SEO, check out this post [http://www.lemonandthesea.com/blog/squarespace-seo-tricks-you-should-be-using].)

3. Creating a Faux Sidebar

While I love Squarespace, there are some limitations based on the template you choose. One of the biggest is that there is very little flexibility in how a blog displays.

For example, I recently had a client who wanted her blog page to be very simple and streamlined with the blog post thumbnail and excerpt laid out in columns. Because of her template, there was no way to create that look using her current template (even with Custom CSS).

Instead, we found a solution by creating a regular page and adding a Summary Block to display her blog posts. The problem with this? There was now no sidebar.

This is where Squarespace’s column design comes in handy – I was able to create a faux sidebar by lining up all the items in her previous sidebar and making them only a few columns wide. Then the Sumamry Block with here posts could look the way she wanted and the page still looked like the blog visitors see when they open a post to read more.

If you want to see how this works, check out Maggie Richard’s new website design featuring a custom designed page for her main blog.

4. Adding Permissions

Have you ever shared your Squarespace user name and password with someone who needs to access your website? You don’t have to!

Squarespace has built in a really great (and easy) system for adding people to your website with different permissions based on what they need access to. Check out my in-depth tutorial on how to set permissions and the different types of users you can have on your Squarespace website.

Just a note – on the Personal plan, you can only add one other person to your account, so if you have multiple people who need to access your website, you will need to upgrade to a Business plan.

5. Using a Cover Page instead of LeadPages

One of the reasons that I’m willing to pay a little more for Squarespace than I might for WordPress is that I can cut out other plugins and services.

LeadPages has become a very popular tool lately because it allows you to easily get people onto your email list (or signed up for your event) with great analytics and a high conversion rate. But if you’re on a budget or just starting out, LeadPages may seem overwhelming.

That’s where I like to use Squarespace Cover Pages. You can create a great looking landing page in just a few minutes that’s hosted on your website and doesn’t cost anything extra. Then you can set it up to connect to your email list, send people to a PayPal link, or anything else you want to do.

For a tutorial on how to create a Cover Page in Squarespace, check out this post[http://www.lemonandthesea.com/blog/creating-a-cover-page-in-squarespace]. It even includes a video tutorial from my Tutorial Library.

6. Changing the Squarespace Block Spacing

One of the biggest complaints I get from clients using Squarespace is that the blocks are all too far apart. While Squarespace does this on purpose to add white space to the design, sometimes it is too much for what you’re trying to accomplish, especially since each block has padding around it that can add up.

The solution for this is simple if you just add a little Custom CSS to your website. Go to Design > Custom CSS and add this code into the CSS block. You can adjust the margin numbers based on your design, but I’ve found that there work well to still allow for space while reducing it enough that your design doesn’t look too spread out.

/*SS Block Size*/

.sqs-block {margin-top: -5px; margin-bottom: -5px;}

There is also Custom CSS you can add to individual block types to adjust the spacing on those further, but that can vary by template.

7. Connecting Social Media Accounts

Did you know that Squarespace makes it really simple to connect to and share on your social media profiles?

Simply go to Settings > Connected Accounts and add any social media accounts you want to display (add them in the order you want them to appear). Then allow Squarespace to connect to your account and changes any settings as needed.

Now, when you add a Social Links block, the icons for those social platforms will display and will automatically link to your profile or page.

Here’s one more tip if you are trying to connect to a Facebook Business page: You will need to sign into Facebook with your regular account and then change the Push Target to the page you want blog posts to post to and update the Profile URL so it links to your business page instead of defaulting to your personal page.

To-Do for You: Check out your own Squarespace website and see if you can take advantage of any of these little known tricks.


Lemon and the Sea is a brand and website design company located in Richmond, VA. I specialize in making the branding process personal. I work with creative women who have a heart to serve others grow their businesses so they can focus on what's most important - family.   I work closely with small businesses to help them dig into what makes them unique, share their vision, and build a business that genuinely represents who they are.


Why You Need a Professional Website for a Word of Mouth Business

Why You Need a Professional Website for a Word of Mouth Business | Lemon and the Sea

Have you ever looked up a restaurant you heard great things about only to find an out-of-date website (or no website at all)? I know that I have. And while I may be more picky than most, I usually choose not to eat at that restaurant. It’s not that I don’t trust the person who referred me, but that I like to check things out for myself.

Recently, a client came to me in need of an updated website. Her business was thriving and she was booking new clients faster than she imagined through word-of-mouth referrals, but she wanted to appear more professional when people searched for her online.

Referrals are great – and my business is built on them – but it’s important that you don’t let a word-of-mouth business tempt you into letting your website remain less than professional. (If you’re just starting out, I totally support your DIY-ing it until you’re ready to invest in working with a designer.) You want your website to support the recommendations you’re receiving.

These are a few reasons why having a professional website is so important:

Have a Home

Your website is the online home of your business. And in an age where everyone is searching online, that home needs to reflect what you do and who you work with.

If you’re currently building your business based only on social media platforms, you really need to create a website as well. While social media is a great way to build community and share your work, it doesn’t belong to you. Facebook can shut your account down at any time, even if you didn’t do anything wrong, or they can decrease your reach so you have to pay for ads to continue growing.

A website is something you own and you can change it as needed to reflect your business. You can also use your social media to direct people to your website where they can more easily get in contact with you so that you can find more of your dream clients.

Build Trust

People judge a business based on it’s website. There’s no way around that, so you need to have a website that looks professional and trustworthy.

Your website should reflect your brand, be authentic to your voice, and provide value to visitors so that they can know and trust you before they even get in touch with you about working together.

Building trust can be done is many ways, including:

  • Creating and sharing content
  • Posting consistently
  • Sharing images of yourself (head shots and at work)
  • Featuring testimonials and projects
  • Making it easy to navigate

The best websites will have all of these things, and you should be checking every few months to make sure they are all up-to-date.

Find Dream Clients

A well-designed website will show your dream clients that you’re the perfect fit for them (and it will turn off those not-so-dreamy clients so you don’t have to).

This is where your portfolio becomes really important – you want show work that you want to be hired for, not just every project you’ve completed. Here are a few tips to help you curate a portfolio that gets you hired:

  • Only share work you loved and want more of
  • Include a testimonial from the client along with a head shot
  • Talk about some of the details of what you did and how that benefited your client
  • Include a link to a blog post with more of the story if applicable

You can also make it really easy for visitors to know who it is you work with by telling them who your dream client is. Making a list of things your dream client loves, believes, and does is a great way to do.

The overall goal of your website is to get your dream clients to hire you and to turn others away for you so you don't have to say no.

Share Important Information

We all have information that we would like our clients (or other vendors) to know before they work with us and it can be exhausting to share that each and every time someone asks.

You can use your website (especially your blog) to education clients about the most important information, answer your frequently asked questions, and let people get to know who you are before they hire you.

By sharing this information freely and openly, you let visitors know that you’re an expert in your industry and that you provide even more value if they hire you.

Move to the Future

You can grow and expand a website as your business grows and changes.

They are easy to update (especially compared to paper documents), help you reach more potentials clients, and can help you build an audience over time so that you always have people supporting you.

While you may not know what services you want to offer in the future, a professional website will be able to expand with you so that you aren’t limited by the platform.

To-Do For You: If you don't already have a website, look into Squarespace. It makes it really easy to DIY a website until you're ready to invest in a working with a designer.

If you have a website, but you think it needs some improvements so that you can get hired by your dream clients, book a FREE website assessment with me. During this 20 minute assessment we'll

  • Review your website together
  • Talk about ways you can tweak your website to attract your dream clients
  • Come up with three simple updates you can make today

Lemon and the Sea is a brand and website design company located in Richmond, VA. I specialize in making the branding process personal. I work with creative women who have a heart to serve others grow their businesses so they can focus on what's most important - family.   I work closely with small businesses to help them dig into what makes them unique, share their vision, and build a business that genuinely represents who they are.