Tag: Squarespace

Squarespace For Beginners

Let’s revisit Squarespace! I’ve already wrestled with it once before; if you’re interested in reading about that Gong Show, I wrote a post about it.

Login to LinkedIn Learning

Today, I will report on the most up-to-date Squarespace course for beginners available on LinkedIn Learning. Your best bet for finding it is to use the search bar at the top of the page and type in “Squarespace”, then filter the search results for “Courses”. There will only be a handful of results. The one you want is titled Squarespace Essential Training: The Basics by Jen Kramer. Or, you can simply follow this link.

From your LinkedIn Learning dashboard, use the search function to find Squarespace Essential Training: The Basics by Jen Kramer.

Version 7.1 Released In 2020

This course was released in March 2023 and teaches everything you need to know to get started on Squarespace version 7.1. This version was rolled out in 2020 and is still the most current version of Squarespace as of this writing in 2024.

A Hands-on Course For Beginners

Before we get started, let’s make sure you are in the right place. If you are brand new to Squarespace then just jump right into this course. The course is designed for beginners like you! Squarespace is a no-code website builder, which means you do not need to know a lick of HTML, CSS or any other acronyms to create a visually stunning website.

Version 7.0 Prior to 2020

If you dabbled in Squarespace prior to 2020 then be aware that things will look quite a bit different now. You would most likely have been using version 7.0, which was launched in 2014. See my previous blog post, Spaced Out With Squarespace, to read my ramblings about being lost and confused about Squarespace versions (completely optional reading!).

In spite of the differences, I think you will find that most of the basics have remained the same and you will get up to speed in no time.

What If I Already Have A Squarespace Website?

If you already have a Squarespace website that was created using version 7.0 (i.e. before 2020), then you might want to carefully read through this guide on Squarespace’s blog about updating your site from version 7.0 to 7.1. They have an update tool to help you with this process.

Course Summary

I love LinkedIn Learning courses! They have top-notch instructors and well-constructed courses. This course is hands-on, so you will need to sign up with Squarespace and follow along as the instructor walks you step-by-step through building a website for an imaginary photography business.

Create a Squarespace Account

If you are not yet signed up with Squarespace, don’t worry; after a brief introduction and overview of the project, the instructor will walk you through the sign-up process.

Note: Squarespace offers a 14-day free trial, so I highly recommend NOT signing up until you are ready to set some solid, uninterrupted time aside to work through the course. The course is only about two and a half hours long but you might not want to plow through the whole thing in one sitting. It covers a lot of information so you might prefer to complete it over the course of several days.

Download Text and Images

Another thing that’s great about LinkedIn Learning courses is that they often provide “Exercise Files” that you can download as a supplement to the course. In this case, you are provided with the text and images you will need to create your imaginary photography business website. So you don’t need to worry about creating your own content; it’s all provided for you. You can just focus on learning how to use the platform.

Build a Website Step By Step

By the end of the course, you will know how to:

  • choose fonts and colours
  • set up your site’s header and footer
  • add pages
  • work with page sections
  • add text and images
  • design both desktop and mobile views
  • add links, buttons and videos
  • add a contact form
  • choose the right payment plan for your needs and publish your website
  • share your website in trial mode before publishing

Next Steps

So now that’s two website builders under our belts: first Wix, and now Squarespace. A third builder I’d like to learn how to use is WordPress. I’ll start exploring that in a future post. Stay tuned!

Feature image credit: Dhruv on Unsplash

Spaced Out With Squarespace

Hello again! Thanks for joining me on our next field trip. This time we’re heading over to another website builder called Squarespace. Similarly to Wix, you don’t need to have any knowledge of HTML or anything like that in order to build a website with Squarespace. Is it as easy to use as Wix, though? Let’s find out.

Learn Squarespace on LinkedIn Learning

As with Wix, I tinkered around with Squarespace a couple of years ago and looked for a video tutorial to guide me. I found one on LinkedIn Learning by the same instructor as the Wix tutorial. (Remember that if you live in Toronto, you can access LinkedIn Learning for free with your public library card. Also, some organizations offer their employees free access to LinkedIn Learning, so check with your employer to see if they do!)

The LinkedIn Learning course is called Squarespace Essential Training: The Basics and, as of this writing, the most recent update to the course was in March 2023.

Keeping Up With The Versions

Remember back when they invented papyrus and it took another 4000 years or so to come up with the printing press? Yeah, it’s not like that anymore. Things change a lot more quickly in the digital age. When I was working my way through the course back in March 2021, I began to notice that things looked different. What I mean is, what I was seeing on my Squarespace interface did not always match what the instructor was showing me in the video tutorial. The further I got in the course, the less things seemed to match, until I was just barely muddling my way along.

Squarespace Versions 7.0 vs 7.1

I eventually made use of the Help section to try and figure out why I was so lost in space. Turned out that I was using version 7.1 of Squarespace, whereas the instructor seemed to be using version 7.0. (For a detailed explanation of the different versions, head over to this Squarespace blog post.)

In spite of this enlightening bit of information, I for some reason continued to struggle through to the end of the course before it finally occurred to me to check if there was a newer version of the tutorial and… yep, there was. It was released just a few months prior, in October 2020. The older course was created in May 2018; the newer one in October 2020. That’s almost two-and-a-half years older! The course that is there now was just updated a few months ago, but by the time you read this, it too may already be a relic of an earlier, simpler time.

What’s really hilarious is that the outdated course I had just finished slogging through was almost 5 hours long, whereas the newer course was a mere 2 hours. I spent about 9 hours on the project altogether!

Expect Change

The take-away here is: don’t be surprised when things look different. In fact, be a little suspicious when things still look the same. If you find that things on your screen don’t match up with the tutorial, don’t panic! Chances are, things will look a lot more different than they actually are. Just do your best to muddle your way around. The more you muddle, the better you get at this learning tech stuff!

Just to be clear, the May 2018 course, which is the course I originally worked through, was for Squarespace version 7.0. The October 2020 course was for Squarespace version 7.1. This is why they looked so completely different from each other! (Note that the October 2020 course was last updated in April 2022.) The current course, released in March 2023, is also for Squarespace 7.1. You will only find this latest course listed in LinkedIn Learning, the first two have since been archived. But they still exist in cyberspace, just follow these hyperlinks if you want to check them out:

I am currently working through the March 2023 course. I’ll report on the new course in a future post. For now, let me share what I learned about Squarespace the first time around.

Shocker #1: Squarespace doesn’t have a free option

Gah! How are us broke people supposed to check this thing out if it’s not free??

Thankfully, they do offer a 14-day free trial. I would suggest that you don’t start your 14-day free trial until you are ready and able to dedicate some solid blocks of time on this.

If I can use Wix for free, why would I pay to use Squarespace?

Well, first off, the free option for Wix is very limited in its capabilities. It’s pretty much like an unlimited free trial. In order to have a fully functional website, you’d need to upgrade to a paid plan. Beyond that, Squarespace apparently has a lot of features that make it “better” than Wix. The LinkedIn Learning tutorial goes over some of these. For instance, Squarespace automatically makes the necessary changes to your website so that it can be viewed on any device, whether that be a desktop computer monitor, a tablet, or an iPhone. Wix does too, but doesn’t do it as well, says our instructor, and requires extra tweaking, which means you have to spend more time building your site. Time is money, people!

Another feature that Squarespace has that Wix allegedly doesn’t is the ability to export your site to WordPress. Naturally, you have questions. What is WordPress? And why would I want to export my site to it? WordPress is yet another website builder, and it is on our travel itinerary, so hang tight, we will get to it soon! If your business or organization or project outgrows your initial small website, you will likely need to move to another platform that can handle a larger, more complex site. So that’s where the exporting from Squarespace to WordPress would come in. There isn’t an easy way to move your site from Wix to WordPress; you’d pretty much have to rebuild the site all over again (ouch!)

I know what you’re thinking. Why not just start with WordPress and avoid the potential hassle? Well, according to our instructor, “What makes WordPress so popular (all the functionality) is also what makes it confusing (all the functionality).” In other words, it might be more website builder than you need. Both Wix and Squarespace could be just fine for a small business or organization, or as a hobby site.

Shocker #2: Planning your website

Uh-oh, we need a plan??

Yes. According to our instructor, we need a plan. In the March 2018 course, she spent a significant amount of time explaining how to plan out your website and why it’s important to do so before you begin building it. This planning out stage is not specific to Squarespace, this is something we are encouraged to do regardless of which website-building tool we choose. She also went over some basic information about working with photos and how to decide whether our website should be single-page or multi-page, among other things. This is why that 2018 course was 5 hours long vs. 2. I think she has now created a separate course to go over this information; I’ll have to look into it to confirm and get back to you on that.

Adding Photos In Squarespace

Here’s an important thing I learned while working through the Squarespace course: photos don’t just appear out of nowhere. You may recall back in Wix Land, back when we were mere Noobs, we discovered that it was easy to find professional-looking free stock photos right within the Wix interface. (If you missed it, here’s the post in question.) Well, it doesn’t look like Squarespace has this handy feature. So, I did a little research and found this website called Pexels. It looks like photographers upload photos for you to use for free, although there is an option to donate to them if you wish. You can also copy a link back to their profile page to include on your site in order to give them credit and exposure. Please be sure to give credit where credit is due!

Squarespace or Wix?

So which is better? Squarespace or Wix? In my very limited experience, here’s my opinion.

Ease of Use

In terms of actually building a site, as someone who was just learning how to do this, I think I preferred Squarespace to Wix. I think. But I’m not really sure. Fourteen days just wasn’t enough time to get a good feel for it. I think I preferred it for its seemingly more customizable design capabilities though, not for ease of use. Remember that Wix had two interfaces: Wix ADI and Wix Editor. The Wix Editor had more customizable design capabilities as well, but it also had a steeper learning curve than Wix ADI. I guess if we’re talking strictly about ease of use, Wix ADI wins hands-down.

Pricing

Let’s talk money. Currently, the cheapest plan Squarespace offers is $192/year. This is for the “Personal” plan. The next tier is called “Business” and costs $276/year. I’m assuming this is in US dollars, so for Canadians we’re looking at around $250/year for the Personal plan and $365/year for Business. For Wix, the cheapest plan is free, followed by a very basic plan for $90/year, then a personal plan for $180/year. The next tier is for entrepreneurs and freelancers at $240/year. These prices are all in Canadian dollars. I guess if you’re reading this, it means you’re just at the learning stages of website building, in which case Wix is probably a more budget-friendly option to start with.

My First Squarespace Site

Now, since Squarespace doesn’t have a free version, and I wasn’t about to pay to make a fake site I will never use, I had to get creative with how to share my project with you. Because I can’t actually publish it, I instead took a series of screenshots, hacked them into photos, and put them into a free Wix site to make it kinda-sorta look like what it would look like if you were actually looking at it as a real website. (Note that it’s a bit fuzzy-looking because detail was lost in going from screenshots to jpegs. If it were an actual Squarespace site, it would look much crisper.)

I added hyperlinks so you could “pretend” to click on links and move through it like you would a real web site. (Tip: hover over the menu bar at the top right and just click anywhere, it will move you to the next page. Just keep doing that until you come back to the Home page.) You’ll have to use your imagination a bit.

I’m not sure exactly how it will turn out on your end. It should look “okay” in either desktop or mobile (not sure about tablet), but if things look really wonky or broken, it means my hack didn’t work out. C’est la vie.

Ta-dah!

Ok then, off you go! Have fun! Don’t forget to write!

A space portal.

Enter imaginary Squarespace website

through this portal.

Image credit: Christopher Burns on Unsplash