The ink has just dried on your contract for your brand spanking new Squarespace website and you can’t wait to get started—so you fire up PhotoShop, Canva or Google Slides and start creating a mockup of your dream website.
You fire that off to the website designer you know is a great fit for your vision. This has got to be a great help to her, right?
Unfortunately, most of the time, while well-intended, it actually makes your designer’s job harder and results in a diminished return on investment for you.
Why is that? Let’s dig into why it’s not a good idea to help your Squarespace designer by designing your website for them.
It’s easy to not know what Squarespace can and cannot do—but your designer is here to help.
You don’t know what you don’t know—a proprietary system like Squarespace has very specific functions built into the system, and they are generally not alterable. This includes the twelve column grid system the platform uses, as well as available blocks and modules. And now with Squarespace 7.1, we have different features on different versions of Squarespace. We designers would never expect clients to know all the ins and outs, but nothing is more frustrating than having to tell a client that something they had their heart set on isn’t possible.
Lean on your designer to educate you about what is doable and how you can use blocks creatively. For example, we use Markdown blocks a lot in our Design in a Day™ program to add interesting features like pricing tables to Squarespace websites, and image blocks to create unique process diagrams like this:
SEO and Conversion Optimization are Critical
Your designer should be thinking about search engine optimization and conversion optimization—and I bet you maybe aren’t even sure what those things are! (Which is fine—normal people don’t need to know that!) Did you know that your homepage should have a particular headings structure? Or that you need to have actual written content on every page of your website? You may, but you may not! What about the ideal button or call to action placement on a page?
Again, this is not something you’d be expected to know, but your Squarespace designer does. This is one of those seemingly small things that designers do to provide huge value to you, so take advantage of it.
Mobile matters—big time!
Think about how often you quickly look something up on your phone or browse on your iPad while Netflixing—that’s all mobile. And while Squarespace has built in responsive behavior (resize your browser and see how this works), there are still mobile considerations to think about. Even elements as granular as letter spacing can be awesome or awful on mobile, and your designer can help guide those decisions. Furthermore, positioning changes from screen to screen, and that’s a feature not a glitch, but it can be confusing and frustrating for non-designers to get their heads around that. There’s just so much to consider with mobile and that’s up to your design team to tackle.
By mocking up your Squarespace website for your designer, you’re missing out on a wealth of creative strategy!
Designers are trained, and through experience understand how, to develop solutions to complex problems. By cutting out much of that strategy, you’re actually not getting as good of value as you could from your designer. There’s a good chance they’ve tackled similar problems to yours previously, have designed many websites aimed at the same audience, and simply know the cleanest route from Point A to Point B.
You may want a slideshow, for example, but your designer may have a much stronger way to present the breadth of your work. I was recently talking to a Design in a Day™ client and they had an idea to showcase several works in a large slideshow. After asking a few questions, I came up with a solution that’s much more effective, a regularly updated feature section on the homepage. And that came from listening to the OUTCOME the client wanted to achieve and determining that there was a better way to achieve it.
When you mockup your Squarespace website, you can easily lose sight of your business goal.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of picking photos and fonts, but none of that is as important as your singular business goal. For example, my primary website goal is to grow my email list, as that is the leading generator of new clients at this point. So, everything I do on this website is aimed at getting the right people to sign up for my list. Yes, there are other elements, but that goal is always the priority. Your website is no different and your Squarespace designer can help keep you on track and ensure that all design elements feed your goal.
Does this mean that you shouldn’t provide ideas and inspiration? Absolutely not!
- Do show your designer sites you love and tell them exactly why.
- Don’t be shy about explaining things that bother you about website.
- Have an idea? Explain it or doodle it out on paper and explain the why behind your idea. While they likely won’t use it literally, it can be great to get inside clients’ heads this way.
- Create a Pinterest board for style and feel and explain why you love the pins you love.
- Be prepared to clearly explain who your audience is and the brands they’re likely to interact with regularly.
- Ask questions! Have you seen something online that’s appealing? Ask your Squarespace designer what they think and if a similar element would work for you!
When you refocus your excited about your website on these big picture concepts, you’ll end up with a much stronger and more effective website design in the long run. You’ll empower your Squarespace designer to guide your decision-making and may find yourself surprised at what’s possible!