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Since its inception in 2004, Squarespace designers have developed more than 60 templates to fit nearly every website use case. That number is even more impressive when you realize that each template is fully responsive (meaning there is a mobile/tablet-optimized version that is automatically generated for site visitors.) So this wealth of choice begs the question: which is the right template for you?
According to McLane, the first step in choosing a template is to think carefully about your content. Consider the types of content—like copy, images, logos—you’ll be featuring on your website and let those inform your template selection. “If you’re a designer or photographer with a lot of visual content, you may want to go with an image-heavy template like Carson or York,” said McLane. Bloggers and writers might want to steer toward a template that is better geared toward text-heavy content, like Foundry.
Not sure where on the text content continuum your content falls? Consider mapping out a website outline to get a better sense of the elements that you’ll be including. (Remember that your template selection isn’t set in stone. You can preview and switch templates at any time during your website trial or subscription.)
You’ll have an easier time browsing the collection of templates if you know what category your website will fall into. For most people, it’s a portfolio, blog, online store, wedding website, and restaurant website, that drives their website ambition. For businesses, where sales is the end goal, there are a myriad of ways to sell and merchandise products, collect customer insights, and track your business’s growth. (For a success story, see How to Create a Custom Business Website with Squarespace.)
You also have the option to create a cover page (also known as a landing page) that can be used to tease a work-in-progress website, provide contact information, collect visitor information, and more.
Ok, so you’ve done your content map. Now what? Start with McLane’s choice of the three most versatile templates. “One of the biggest differences to look for between templates is within each template’s layout,” McLane explained, “Certain templates are very grid based, while others are more linear. It’s important to think about how you want visitors to consume your content when deciding on the best layout for your website.”
- With the option for full-bleed imagery and parallax scrolling, Brine is one of the more flexible templates and works well for both websites and online stores.
- Jasper is a versatile portfolio template, complete with grid or full-bleed project galleries, scalable typography, and dynamic layouts for project pages.
- Skye is a great template for blogs. It offers a customizable grid that is perfect for image or text heavy posts.
McLane is not only a Squarespace designer, he’s also a visual designer with his own Squarespace site. So what does the expert use? “The best template for me is currently Jasper, as it makes for a great portfolio website,” said McLane, “I also get a lot of use out of York’s customizable grid layout, immersive project pages, and cascading image and text feature.”
And once your template is on lock-down (that is until you decide to mix things up again), it’s time to give the content some love. McLane has some thoughts on that front too. “Your website is a hub for your ideas and/or products, so you want your visitors to be able to find them. With that said, it’s important to have a menu or navigation that’s easily accessible from any page of your website. You don’t want visitors to feel lost or that they can’t find what they’re looking,” McLane said.
He also suggested incorporating the Squarespace newsletter form, which can be customized to match the look and feel of your chosen template. And finally, he suggests an About page. “An About page is a simple way to personalize your website by speaking to your experience, explaining your idea, and telling your story.” After all, isn’t that what this whole website design thing is all about?
Make your next website using Squarespace. Squarespace offers online stores, websites, and domains to help you get your business off-the-ground! And when you use coupon code DESIGNMILK at checkout you’ll get 10% off your first purchase.