squarespace website

3 Sure-Fire Personal Branding Website Templates

If a tree falls in the forest and no one sees it, does it really make a sound? Similarly, if you want to be known for something but never write about it on your own website, will you ever make a sound in your own industry or area of interest? 

Building your own online presence is one of the first and most important investments in your personal brand, but not everyone is capable of creating and hosting a website. That's why I've been recommending Squarespace.com for years now. It's the fastest and easiest way to build a high-quality website, and today I'll show you three sure-fire personal branding website templates using Squarespace that will have you online in under hour.

Personal Branding Website Template for the Online Entrepreneur

PatBlute.com is a website built using the Aviator Squarespace template.

PatBlute.com is a website built using the Aviator Squarespace template.

The first Squarespace template to check out is one that supports just about anyone looking to create a personal brand online. Aviator is a versatile Squarespace template that features full-page image backgrounds that are adjustable on a page-by-page basis,  full use of Squarespace's drag-and-drop LayoutEngine page-building system, and a billion goodies and integrations built right in courtesy of Squarespace. Aviator is visually impressive and supports professionals in a wide range of professions.

Personal Branding Website Template for the Creative Professional

NicholasHillPhotography.co.uk is beautifully built on Frontrow.

NicholasHillPhotography.co.uk is beautifully built on Frontrow.

Frontrow is a mostly-visual template that features full-page galleries and images, which comes in especially handy for professionals looking to showcase the work they've created. All Squarespace templates are mobile-ready with responsive design built right in. Frontrow is no exception, so it looks remarkable on any device no matter how many images you use.  

Personal Branding Website Template for the Blogger

Forte is one of Squarespace's newest templates. 

Forte is one of Squarespace's newest templates. 

Blogging is a big part of building a personal brand. Branding itself has been forever measured by frequency and reach as metrics. Personal branding is measured by the same concepts, and blogging gives you the ability to increase both. Forte is one of Squarespace's newest templates, and it comes with a gorgeous blog. 

Be Online in an Hour

In my opinion, building a website isn't optional if you want to build a personal brand. Your website is your main platform, and Squarespace allows you to focus on what you want to say instead of spending on time fiddling with technology.

The best thing about Squarespace is that you can be up and running in no time at all. Just give them your name and email address and you'll be building your new online presence using the personal branding website templates found here or one of the other two dozen Squarespace templates offered. There's really no easier way to get your own website up and running and your personal branding efforts underway. 

Perspective on Squarespace Pricing: What You Need to Know

You're probably looking at Squarespace as a potential new home for your website and wondering what to make of the fee structure. Squarespace pricing is a steal in almost all cases relative to the value it provides to website owners, but it may not seem that way on the surface if you're used to a free hosted service or through options that allow multiple websites through a single hosting account (e.g., Wordpess).

Read on to find out if you'll find value in one of the three main Squarespace pricing points.

What Squarespace Pricing Options Do You Have?

Squarespace provides three major pricing options:

  • Standard - $8/month or $96/year ($10/month if you pay month-by-month)
  • Unlimited - $16/month or $192/year ($20/month if you pay month-by-month)
  • Business - $24/month or $288/year ($30/month if you pay month-by-month)
Squarespace pricing options.

The standard account is good for basic blogs and websites, but is a bit light on features and options. Unlimited is the best value because you get unlimited pages, storage, bandwidth, and contributors. The business account includes full ecommerce support including a store and checkout integration. 

Squarespace Coupon Codes

There are a few Squarespace coupon codes out there, but they can be hard to find. My best advice is to listen to a few episodes of Tech News Today to get an up-to-date Squarespace coupon code and a discount for your website account purchase.

Best of all, Squarespace comes with a two-week free trial. You don't even need a credit card to get stared.

What Do You Pay for When You Build a Website?

The basic composition of all websites includes hosting it (i.e., storing the files that make up your website on the internet), registering your domain name (e.g., renting the rights to www.yoursite.com), and the tools to manage changes and make updates to your website content. 

When you build with Squarespace, you're getting all three at the same time (provided you go with the yearly plan, but more on that later). With other platforms the tools to manage the website are often free (e.g., content management system like Wordpress), but then you often have to register your domain to the tune of ~$10/year and pay for hosting each month ranging from $5-$100/month depending on the quality.

Comparing Website Features to Gain Pricing Perspective

Let's compare Squarespace and Wordpress on the four main building blocks of a website:

Hosting - When you look at hosting, you're looking for reliability and scalability because you want your website to always be there and you want it to be able to handle a lot of traffic if need be. With Squarespace, you get the most dependable hosting you could hope for and shared hosting that can handle spikes in traffic from reddit and the social web. Wordpress hosting is cheap on the low end, but can get expensive quickly if you want to match the scalability of Squarespace's hosting. 

Domain Registration - For the most part, this cost is independent of the content management system you choose. You're nearly always going to have to pay around $10/year to register the right to use your domain name. An exception is if you go with the annual Squarespace plan, which comes with a free domain name as a part of the checkout process. Simply add your domain name upon checkout and your Squarespace website comes pre-mapped to your custom domain.

Content Management - The last dimension you should consider when comparing website platforms and their respective pricing models is the content management tools themselves. Squarespace provides their award-winning cloud-based tools standard with every account, while Wordpress needs to be downloaded and installed on your own server. Furthermore, Wordpress requires constant updates while Squarespace automatically installs new features frequently.

Support: Above and beyond the basic components of a website is the ability to maintain and update it without hassles. Squarespace provides 24/7 email-based support which is extremely effective, and they also provide chat-based support during the week. You're on your own with Wordpress which can be a pain if you don't know how to do it yourself.

The Only Drawback of the Squarespace Pricing Model

The only drawback I can think of with Squarespace pricing is if you have a lot of different websites. Squarespace provides the tools, hosting and support for one domain at a time. The math can start to add up after a certain number of websites, after which points a shared hosting account and a solution like Wordpress begins to look more attractive than Squarespace.

What's your opinion on the Squarespace pricing model and the account options available? Do the options available support the needs of websites owners broadly enough and is there enough value in the premium tools to charge $8-$20/month?

Squarespace Themes: 6 Advantages for Creating Effective Small Business Websites

Small business owners demand many tools in a content management system in order to build a website that will bring in new customers and keep the ones you already have. And even when you find a platform you can work with, you also need customizable templates that help your business stand alone.

The many Squarespace themes, or templates, are incredibly business-friendly, and offer six major advantages for small business owners considering their web publishing options.

1. Squarespace Themes are Built for Business

Every Squarespace template is different, and each offers a unique combination of highly configurable options to support the creation of web pages, image galleries and portfolios, product pages, and more. Use drag-and-drop controls to build each page with intuitive tools. 

Each Squarespace theme supports every standard widget block.

Each Squarespace theme supports every standard widget block.

2. Squarespace Integrates with Small Business Tools

You can either invest in a website that requires thousands of dollars in custom integrations, or you can go with Squarespace, which includes simple, out-of-the-box connections with small business tools such as Google Docs, Mailchimp, Google Maps, Google Analytics, Facebook, Twitter, Disqus, Amazon, Pinterest, Reddit, Tumblr, and more. 

Squarespace integrations include many plug-and-play connections with popular small-business services.

Squarespace integrations include many plug-and-play connections with popular small-business services.

3. Squarespace Themes are Highly Customizable

No one likes a cookie cutter website. The stale look of stock photography and a theme that induces Internet deja vu will make it challenging to differentiate your small business.  Squarespace's templates can be customized infinitely using the unique drag-and-slide interface. Simply click on a section of your website in Squarespace's style mode and make a quick change using the tools provided and you'll be on your way.

The WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) design tools of Squarespace cut down the time and effort required to administer your website.

The WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) design tools of Squarespace cut down the time and effort required to administer your website.

4. Squarespace Websites are Easy to Manage

If you haven't noticed by the first few screenshots, Squarespace's administrative tools are incredibly easy to understand, which makes maintenance and performing updates less confusing and more manageable. Many small business owners are able to all but eliminate tech support costs related to their websites by going with Squarespace. Just look at how intuitive this page's editing interface is:

Edits take just a few minutes so you can be in-and-out, and back to managing your business.

Edits take just a few minutes so you can be in-and-out, and back to managing your business.

5. Squarespace Themes are SEO-Friendly

It's hard enough to plan and build a website. You don't want to have to worry about extra steps to make sure you show up in the search engines, too. Squarespace templates are all search engine optimization-friendly (SEO-friendly). You have full control over the important areas of your web pages, including meta titles, descriptions, and even image attributes.

You can configure each meta title in Squarespace for maximum SEO impact.

You can configure each meta title in Squarespace for maximum SEO impact.

6. Squarespace Templates are Mobile-Friendly 

Everyone knows that mobile devices and tablets are where it's at in this day and age of the mobile web. Every Squarespace theme is built with an approach called responsive design, which means the design of your website responds to each device that loads it separately. Your website looks great on desktop browsers, tablets and smartphones without paying thousands of dollars for mobile-friendly website development.

Responsive design means your business looks amazing on any device.

Responsive design means your business looks amazing on any device.

I personally loved how easy Squarespace made running my consulting business when I was taking on new clients through Big Picture Web. Every Squarespace website comes with a free two-week no-credit card trial, so there's no risk. Start your small business website using one of the many Squarespace themes, and you'll be convinced by the end of the trial.

What are you looking for most in a small business website? What services have you tried that haven't quite fit the bill?

What Will 2013 Will Hold for Squarespace, Inc?

2012 was a huge year for Squarespace. They released Squarespace 6, weathered Hurricane Sandy, and announced the Squarespace Developer Platform. They keep cranking out new features, and new customers keep signing up in droves. If this trend continues, 2013 will be another big year for Squarespace, Inc.

What's on Squarespace's 2013 Road Map?

Squarespace is typically pretty tight-lipped about their future plans. This desire to surprise and delight customers is exciting when new features are released, but those hungry for more information are often left guessing about what the future will hold for the company and the product. Luckily, there are a few clues out there that suggest an exciting 2013 for Squarespace.

Squarespace Careers Page

You can always tell a little about a company based on what jobs they have open. The Squarespace Careers page currently lists 15 full-time and internship positions on the Squarespace team. Here's what we know:

  • The five openings on the engineering team suggest a focus on continuing to advance the core Squarespace product, and an open position for each Android and iOS suggest a balanced prioritization of both major mobile platforms in 2013.
  • The openings in marketing/business development suggest an expansion of Squarespace-based content on the web, as well as deepening integrations and partnerships with other services on the web.
  • Their design openings and internships imply that Squarespace doesn't show any signs of departing from their designer roots any time soon.
  • Finally, Squarespace continues to hire in the area of customer service, another historically strong area for the company

The Squarespace Rumor Mill

Squarespace already boasts countless features, but what other changes should we anticipate in 2013? Based on previous company statements and community buzz, expect to see a lot more advances on the Squarespace Developer Platform. Also, will 2013 be the year we see a completely integrated e-commerce platform for Squarespace? 

What changes do you hope Squarespace, Inc. makes in 2013? What advances to the platform should they make? What new third-party integrations should they support? Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments.