How I Redesigned My Site In 48 Hours
GUYS! Have you noticed anything different around here? Yep! I redesigned my site 2 weeks ago. I went from 0 to the site you see now in just 1 weekend.
I actually had never used squarespace before but I got a free trial on a whim and was able to finish my site before it ended so I had to sign up!
First, let's talk about Squarespace because I know a lot of you are thinking about making the switch over!
Your site will look professional really quickly -- I was impressed by the templates and the straight-out-the-box options. Even someone with very little experience can be up and running within a week.
The interface is fairly easy to use once you get the hang of it (it's kind of strange at first) -- I just jumped on and start playing around with it. If you are familiar with any page builder, it will make sense.
Agile + Easy to use -- my old site was carrying around all sorts of baggage that I couldn't even see, this site is nice and straight-forward
Support -- It's really nice to have somewhere to go with my website questions
The Squarespace look -- Okay, you can go ahead and throw rocks at me but I really don't like the typical Squarespace look. It's all too clean and sterile and I worked really hard to make changes to the font and design to make sure it looked less....basic? haha.
They aren't really built with non-artist businesses in mind. You have to FORCE some of the more basic features out, this is especially the case for OPT-INS which only connect to mailchimp (????) and required me to use Zapier to make work. I still haven't gotten them all the way I want.
Lack of control -- There is a LOT that is not within your control on the platform which is fine for newbies but I really wish I could do more, design-wise
Overall I'm happy with it and it got the job done. I wanted to create something new quickly and without drama and this site would have taken me weeks to do on my own.
Here was my approach to getting the site done over one weekend:
1. Picking the right template
Squarespace offers quite a few templates in their library, any of which could be good but I was looking for one that captured the spirit of what I wanted to create AND also looked for a design that I hadn't seen as much.
I ended up landing on Heights, which was a business site built for a gym.
It's important to go with a template that you like stylistically and not to worry about the pages. I think this was a huge reason why I was able to finish my site so quickly.
While I had to make a lot of changes to the site, the sleek style, pops of yellow and modern feel was more Hey Shenee. I also paid attention to the placement of things because there are some things you can't change, like the footers and the way each of the pages look. Did I want it to be super photo focused? Do I want it to be more about the typography? Let's compare these! My theme is on the left.
Sure, I could get it where I wanted it to go but it would be a lot harder (and take a whole lot more time) to get me there.
Now ultimately, I went with a different font story completely but the bones were there and I was inspired by the original design.
2. Page Planning
Once I downloaded the template, I took out a pen and paper and started asking myself what information I wanted to be displayed on each page. What ACTION did I want them to take? Where did I want them to go? I had a to-do list for every major page and so when it came time design, I just referred to it whenever needed.
I also looked at the different page elements and layouts available in the editor and used them as inspiration.
I am not a visual designer but you could also wireframe the pages beforehand as a way to save time. My process was more intuitive like "okay, I know I want some type of opt-in here...what are my options?"
3. Radical business minimalism
I decided to cut the fat and focus on 4 key pages
- Is This You?
- Free Resources
- Work With Me
I have a few other pages behind-the-scenes but my move was made way simpler once I decided what I truly needed (and didn't need) to move forward. This also made the idea of redesigning my whole site feel less overwhelming because I only had to focus on those 4 pages.
4. Lots o' clarity
Yo, I've never been more clear and focused in my business. Ever. I knew exactly how I wanted the brand to feel and the way I wanted my audience to interact with me and the brand as a whole. The copy just flowed out of me super easily. Partially because I'm a copywriter but also because I knew what I wanted to say
5. Open Mind
I went into the experience knowing that I'd get stuck and stalled out at some points but that I can figure out anything and if not, I'll just ask squarespace support. It's crazy what you can do when you decide to just go in and GO even if you don't know what the hell you are doing. The Squarespace support team is super nice and super available.
6. Established brand colors and images
This was a big one. I had a big rebrand in 2014 (expensive) that produced the textures and colors I currently have now. You know it's good because I've tried to phase it out multiple times but I always come back because it just feels like me. I was able to pull directly from those docs and just plug and play.
Those are some of the factors that contributed to me building this site in one weekend. What do you think? Do you want me to talk about Squarespace some more? I have so much more I want to say about the platform. Are you on Squarespace? How do you like it?