Getting Started with Squarespace for Your Virtual Assistant Business
It’s obvious to all of us now that online presence (and presentation) are a requirement for most businesses to be successful.
As virtual assistants, this is even more so the case as we conduct our business 100% online.
Reese recently wrote about the options independent virtual assistants have for creating their own websites. She mentioned that we don’t all have the option of paying a designer/developer to create a great site, but we also don’t want to sacrifice good design because of a limited start-up budget.
This dilemma is the point at which I always recommend Squarespace. I’ve worked in both WordPress and Blogger before, but after creating multiple websites through Squarespace, I’m totally sold on the platform’s sleek, expensive-looking design and the company’s top-notch customer service.
If you’re interested in exploring Squarespace, here’s a quick Getting Started guide:
1. Choose a Template
With any platform, choosing your template is one of the hardest decisions in the early stages of creating your site. We all want something with just the right look and functionality for our offerings and business model, but it’s easy to get distracted by beautiful-looking templates that aren’t the right structure for what we do. If you’re not sure which route to go, consider these tips:
Use the industry groupings on Squarespace’s site. Virtual assistants will get the most use out of the “Personal” & “Businesses” options. Graphic design virtual assistants, like me, should also check out the “Portfolios” choices.
Review the Feature Index. This can be pretty lengthy, so don’t get overwhelmed, but this is where you can confirm that features you need (and maybe some you hadn’t even thought of!) are available under your choice of template.
2. Sign Up for a Free Trial
Once you’ve got a template in mind, sign up for a free trial. This is a great option for anyone on the fence about starting/switching to this platform. You can play around with site design, upload all your own content, all while the site remains locked to anyone but you and you don’t even have to submit your credit card info.
3. Play Around with Each “Type” of Page
Be forewarned, if you’re used to the back end of other platforms, it might take a little patience to get used to the setup of Squarespace. Their prioritization of sleek design means that icons are more prominent than words, and functions are sub-categorized to minimize each menu. Don’t lose hope! I promise you’ll get used to locating everything once you’ve set up a few pages and given everything a test drive. If you’re still having trouble, their customer service is very speedy and personalized in a way that will help you get through pretty much any issue. Be sure to check at least these 3 features:
Blog Posts: See what a published post will look like, along with the process of adding photos, videos, etc. to the blog post through Squarespace’s editor.
Style Editing: In “Preview” mode (the eyeball at the top of the left-hand menu), you can select to enter “Style Mode” by clicking the paintbrush in the bottom right-hand icon section.
Use this mode to play around with colors, fonts, site width and header images. There are a ton of options for customizing your template, and you can see the changes live before saving anything.
Newsletter Signup & Buttons: I know this seems pretty simple, but I just love the capabilities of the “Newsletter” & “Buttons” blocks. You can sleekly link out to your social media sites, directly connect your MailChimp account to a newsletter signup on your site, and both of these can go at the bottom of every blog post you write, which opens up a lot of promotional opportunities.
There you go! This short guide will get you started managing your own elegant and expensive looking design without any financial commitment.
Good luck designing and I’d love to see your new sites when they’re up and running!
This guest post was written by Stephanie Schertz. Stephanie is a graphic designer and virtual assistant specializing in monthly content design services and website creation through Squarespace. Her blog features weekly design tips & stories of the entrepreneurial experience.