Sharing your "Under Construction" Squarespace website

Squarespace offers a special home page called a lock screen that you can use while you're designing your website. The lock screen appears when people go to your password-protected website. Use a lock screen to build excitement for your brand, get a head start on Google search results, and provide a preview option for reviewers.

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The best of both worlds — your own domain and a free Weebly website

I recently learned that you can use your own domain name with a free Weebly website. You'll want to start with a free Weebly website, then upgrade to the Connect plan and purchase a domain from Weebly or use one you bought elsewhere. It's a good compromise between choosing a professional domain and taking advantage of cost savings as you start a new venture.

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Button up your site with SSL

Enabling SSL security for your website ensures an encrypted connection between a visitor's website browser and your website. It also has the added bonus of giving you a boost in Google search results. Find out what I discovered about enabling SSL for my clients' Squarespace and Weebly websites and what I learned about Weebly and SSL that you must know.

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Your new website: How much will it cost? How long will it take?

Heeding advice from a self-guided business course I'm taking, I sent out a survey a couple of months ago to my website design clients to learn more about their preferences and concerns. One of the questions I asked was "What were you most concerned about before working with me?" The two answers given most frequently were "How much it would cost" and "How long it would take."

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Choosing a design based on where the navigation text falls

Whenever I start working with a client, I ask the client to make one or two decisions to narrow down the design choices. The first decision I ask clients to make is to choose a large image that goes the full width of the page or choose a narrower image with some "breathing room" on either side. If they prefer a wide edge-to-edge image, there's a second decision. Do they want the navigation text to appear above the image or within the image? Making that second decision narrows down design template choices to just a few.

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The one trick that will narrow down your design choices for a new website

When you get started with Squarespace or Weebly, you are faced with a design decision before you even provide a domain name or a credit card number. As I browsed through many templates in doing work for clients, I started to realize that there was a pattern in the designs that could help me narrow down template choices for my clients. The decision about the main image on the website cuts down the choices dramatically.

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The Copy button is my favorite Weebly feature

For websites that are updated frequently with new design elements that are similar to those already on the site, Weebly is a great choice because you can copy individual design elements from one page to help you design another page. I use the Copy button to copy text elements to a new page when I need a similar piece of text. You can also use the Copy button to copy any type of design element to a new page, including images, slideshows, galleries, social sharing icons, or custom HTML.

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Words on your website speak loudly too

The words on your website are as important as the images. They tell a story about you, your work, and your customers. If you rush to publish your website pages and blogs without proofreading, those missed grammar and spelling mistakes can lead visitors to question if you will rush through your customers' work also. 

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Important Squarespace features for small businesses are dropped from Personal plan

On December 1, 2017, Squarespace changed which features are included in its lowest-cost Personal plan. Many simple customization and third-party integration features are now classified as Premium features, only available with the Business and Commerce plans. I'll have to take this into consideration as I talk with new clients about their options.

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The Cancel button is my favorite Squarespace feature

I specialize in creating websites on Weebly and Squarespace because they are two of the easiest do-it-yourself website platforms. One of the biggest differences is that Squarespace offers a Cancel button so you can dismiss all changes you've made to a page if you don't like them.

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Adding a PayPal "Buy Now" button to your website is easier than you think

It is surprisingly easy to create PayPal button code that adds a Buy Now, Add to Cart, or Donate button to your website. Use the Button Tool with a PayPal business account to generate code that creates a custom button for your website. This blog posting shows you an example of a button for visitors who want to purchase an online gift certificate. This is a simple example; I encourage you to explore the button options in PayPal for your own inspiration.

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Squarespace gallery pages come to the rescue of a crowded portfolio

When I started my website design business last year, there was lots of room on the Portfolio page. When I took a look at that page this week, I knew it was time to do a major redesign of the page because its overcrowded design no longer worked with the number of samples I had added throughout the last year. I ended up using Squarespace gallery pages to create a multi-page Portfolio that allows for expansion.

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A good website has everything a local bakery has

People have been asking me recently what they need to put on a new website. What pages do they need? What information do they need to include? It occurred to me that a website is like an old-fashioned bakery, like those I've seen in the North End section of Boston or in small European villages.

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Quit telling me to "submit"

It's a pet peeve of mine. Both Squarespace and Weebly use the word "Submit" as the default button text and I hate that word on a form I'm filling out. I might like to send you a message but I'm certainly not going to "submit" to anything. Do me, and the internet, a favor and change the default button text on your Contact forms to anything other than "Submit."

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Letting go frees you to embrace something new

As I sit here this morning, no longer a motorhome owner, I feel a familiar feeling of being in an in-between time. I can tell you from experience though that when you let go of something that no longer serves you and use the in-between time to relax, dream, and follow your heart, the freedom and spaciousness of that time will allow something better to come into your life.

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Creativity and focus needs time and space

I read an article today about a writer who resorted to renting a cabin in the woods for two days without internet service or a cell phone to reach his goal of writing 40,000 words for his upcoming book. I won't be renting a cabin in the woods anytime soon, but I think I'll take some inspiration from this article to think about unplugging at regular intervals to give myself some quiet time to allow creativity and new ideas room to grow.

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You need a website like you need a coat rack

A coat rack is a central location in your house where all the coats, hats, and scarves are kept. It's a meeting place for all of that outdoor apparel. A website is like a coat rack that organizes all the marketing apparel for your business: your About Me information, your Services descriptions, testimonials, photo galleries, product pages, blog posts, a contact form, and links to social media accounts. So what are you waiting for? Get that long-postponed website designed and launched. After all, your home (page) is where you hang your hat.

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