How To Plan Your Squarespace Website (+ Free WORKBOOK)
Planning your Squarespace Website
If you've ever explored the platform, you probably know creating your website on Squarespace has a lot of benefits. Where many business owners struggle is that they jump right into the process without thinking about the big picture and how a website fits into their overall mission.
Planning ahead of creating your Squarespace website has big impact on your success. It’s the difference between setting up a really beautiful website and setting up a really beautiful website that generates revenue for your business.
So how do you go about planning your website?
1. Vision: Why Do You Need A Website?
Before we dive in, let’s look at some of the reasons your business needs a website.
We are all personal brands. Whether you are an employee or business owner, how you show up in the world defines your personal brand.
As a business, your website creates a space where your potential customers can experience your brand and decide if you are a fit before even contacting you.
It should create a look and feel unique to you. It’s about communicating who you are, what you are about and the experience customers will have working with you. How you communicate that message is what differentiates your business from your competitors because it’s based on your company values and personality.
Your Home Base
Social media is great but it’s a world of distraction. People rarely go on social media and stay consumed with your content, there’s so much else to see and keep up with.
You are trying to engage and keep the attention of your potential customers. Having a website helps you accomplish that by providing a place where they can explore your world in depth free from the distraction of others.
You are able to strategically guide your visitors along the customer journey helping them to reach a positive buying decision.
You own your website. It’s yours and no one can take it away from you. It’s your real estate. As long as you keep paying for your domain and your hosting, it’s yours. This puts you back in control.
When it comes to other marketing communication channels such as Facebook or Medium or LinkedIn, just to name a few, you have no control over the platform. You don’t get to decide the rules . These companies can and do change on a frequent basis leaving your business vulnerable to how those changes will impact your growth strategy.
Not only that, these platforms could disappear at any time leaving you with no real estate at all. This happened to a lot of companies in 2016 who investing a ton of time in platforms like Meerkat and Blab. Of course, companies can and should adapt but investing in your own website that will stand the test of time is a sure bet especially when it comes to longevity.
Your website can change, grow and adapt with you. The more content you add, the higher it will be ranked in search engines and the easier it will become for potential customers looking for your service. This is dependent on how much you utilize your website and add content to it but making the assumption you’re ready to use your site to generate sales, this is a longer play that will reap the rewards.
Your website should be with you forever. It’s your hub, your home and the one place you should always be guiding customers back to because it’s soley focused on the problems you solve for them.
Purpose: What’s Your Websites Purpose?
Before jumping into the design and content elements of creating your website, it’s important to take a step back and look at how your website fits into your business and your overall vision. Your website should seamlessly integrate into your business and help you achieve your company goals.
Start by asking yourself the following questions:
What is your overall business mission/goal?
How will your website help you achieve that?
What are the key steps you need to have in place in order to achieve that?
What is the key message you are trying to share?
You need to ensure that it aligns with the systems and processes you have in place especially when it comes to your sales and marketing operations.
Consider the process your customers currently go through from becoming a stranger to a prospect to hot lead to a sale and afterwards, a brand advocate.
Your website should play a key role in the process so that regardless of how they find you, their next step is to visit your site where you can use your branding, content and layout to guide them to become a customer.
Using this information, you can begin to get a feel regarding the layout of your site.
Target Audience: Who are you talking too?
Ultimately, you want to convert sales for your business with your website. The most important factor in achieving that is how well you target your ideal client through your website.
You need to be really specific about your target audience so that you can create a website that speaks directly to their pain points in a way that resonates with them and compels them to want more.
If you are too general, you’ll fail to connect on a deep level that gets your website visitors excited about finally finding a solution to their problem. You want them to say:
“I LOVE this company. They just get it!”
In the words of Marie Forleo, "If you are talking to everyone, you are talking to no one.”
Your target audience defines your website’s colours, tone, style, feel and how you communicate with them through your website content.
Consider the following:
Geographics: Customer location
Demographics: Age, sex, occupation, customer buying behaviour etc.
Psychographics: Values, interests, key pain points, what drives them etc.
Your Red Velvet Rope Policy
One last point. If you are a service based industry, you’ve probably had your share of difficult customers. You’ve also probably said you wouldn’t work with these types of people or businesses again. You’ve probably said this then falling into the trap of working with these people again.
When you are a service based company this can be demotivating. You want to deliver your best work. You deliver your best work by working with people who share your values, enthusiam and are a good fit.
Your website is the perfect opportunity to filter these people out.
Michael Port refers to this in his book, Book Yourself Solid, as the red velvet rope policy. Dump the duds for the VIPS.
You do this by being very intentional about who is and isn’t a fit for your business. You can then incorporate this into the sales pages of your business to ensure you only attract your VIP clients.
If you want to filter these people out even more, consider adding a client intake form to your sales pages and ask some key questions before agreeing to work with someone. Help them to help you to help them.
As you can see, planning this out ahead of time has a big impact on how you go on to design your website.
Hook: What is your core message?
Next up, you have to consider your core message.
This informs everything you do. You have 3 seconds to engage a website visitors attention. You need to ensure that when your target audience clicks onto your site, they understand this core message immediately not only in the words but in the branding, the layout, the feel. Turn this core message into an experience that’s instantly identifiable.
Knowing your website’s purpose, how it fits into your business, who your customers are and the journey you want them to take will help you to define the core message on your website.
Speak to your ideal customer. What do you want them to know.
If you’re not sure, use the following statement as a template:
I help Who? with Problem? by Product/Service? resulting in Solution? .
Content: What pages do you need to include?
By planning your website content in advance makes the actual creation process so much easier. Content and design are each important. Your content should determine the design. Often when we see a nice design, we’re inclined to make it work because it’s pretty on the eyes. As a result, your message can get diluted.
If you start with the content, you can then create a beautiful design around that.
WIth that in mind, here are some key considerations when it comes to your website copy:
1. Focus on what matters.
You are trying to solve a problem for your customers. That’s it!
2. Keep it to the minimal.
Less is more. Avoid the bells and whistles, they distract from your core message.
3. Customers first, customers always.
Your website is all about your customers, not you. Speak with them, not to them.
4. Consider the customer journey.
Think about how you can guide a new website visitor along the customer journey through the pages you have on your website.
“People aren’t buying a product or service, they are buying a solution that triggers an emotion that makes them feel as if their lives are better in some way because they worked with you.”
If you’re unsure about the key pages you need on your website, use the following pages as a basis to get you started.
Home: Your core message. Include who you are, what you do, who you help, how you help.
About: Who are you, your story, why you started the company and your overall vision.
Problems You Solve: Consider a page where you list all the problems you solve so it’s easy for people to identify with. Sometimes people don’t know the right solution but they always know their problem.
Services / Store: Your product/service offering
FAQS: Use this to answer any questions and objections a customer would have . This makes the buying decision much easier.
Help/Contact: Make it easy for customers to connect with you and start a conversation
Blog: Leverage your knowledge, deliver value and show versus tell your customers why they should buy from you.
Use the list you create on the ‘Problems you solve’ page to create blog posts that you can link to. This is a great way to provide instant value to customers you know you can help and it guarantees the content you are sharing on your blog supports the goal of your website - to convert customers.
Designing Your Website
When it comes to the design of your website, the look and feel should be aligned with your brand’s personality and that of your customers. Everything you do should deepen the connection you have with them.
If you currently don’t have a brand, here are some resources to help get you started:
If you are on a bootstrapped budget, you can create a simple logo and brand board in Canva. They have some great templates as a starting point.
The key elements that make the visual design include:
Ensuring your brand is consistent online and offline is really important in building trust. People do business with those they like, know and trust.
Once you have your branding set, you can then choose a Squarespace website template. There are over 90 to choose from and they can all be customised to your brand. All themes are mobile responsive and the great thing about Squarespace is that it comes with a 14-day free trial so you can experiment with different themes to find what works.
If you’re new to Squarespace, this Getting Started with Squarespace post is a good place to start.
Note: If you aren’t using another platform such as Wordpress, you can find website themes on themeforest or simply through researching on google.
Once you’ve gone through these steps, you will likely have a much clearer vision for your website and how it will all fit together.
Now, you’re the key action steps you need to take are as follows:
Research and Identify your audience
Establish your core purpose and message
Plan out your content page
Below I’ve included a free workbook to help guide your through this process. When you sign up for it, you will be added to my newsletter where I share even more tips on everything from website development to marketing and promoting your website.
After you’ve finished planning your new website, you can get started on creating your new website with Squarespace.
In the meantime, if you have any questions, share them below and let’s start a conversation.
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