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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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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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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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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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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A picture is worth a thousand words and helps with searches too

I learned recently that images play a role in improving your website's search rankings. It isn't an image by itself, but the words associated with an image, that can make a difference. There are three places where words are connected with an image:

  • The file name
  • Alt text (alternate text) that appears when the image can't be viewed
  • An optional caption that goes with the image

Using file names and image properties in Squarespace or Weebly to include possible search words is a good practice for improving the search rankings of your website.
 

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Encouraging Facebook Page Likes from your website

I wanted to learn how to put a "Like Our Page on Facebook" button on a website. It turns out there's a Button Configurator in Facebook that does most of the magic. You then put the code the Configurator generates into your website as code. Here are the steps I used for my KerryAThompson website on Squarespace. Instructions for sites on Weebly are included where they differ.

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What's the personality of your healing business?

I came across an article today about developing a "brand" for your healing business that echoes much of what I think about as I'm helping small businesses plan the design of a new website. Your business "brand" is who you are and what you have to offer as a healer. The colors, images, and text you add reflect what you have to share with clients as you help them on a healing journey.

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Your website design is an extension of you and your business

When a potential client approaches me about working together, the first thing I do is send out a questionnaire to get a sense of what the vision is for the website. The questionnaire includes practical questions about which features are needed, such as a blog, a calendar, a newsletter, and so on. But it also includes questions that elicit more thoughtful responses about what the personality of the business is and how the website will support that.

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Is your website responsive when smartphones are calling?

With so many people looking for information on their smartphones, it's critical that your website employs a responsive design. A website that has a "responsive design" responds to the screen size of the device the reader has and narrows or widens pages so information fits the width of the device. Before you consider a website page ready to publish, check the page with the Mobile preview feature so you can see the page as a cell phone user will see it. 

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Start with plain text for easier website updates

If you add text to your website by copying text from other sources, such as email, word-processing documents, online articles, and social media, it's important to convert the text to plain text before pasting it into your website.  Squarespace provides a convenient way to convert copied text to plain text directly from the website editor. With Weebly or other website editors, use a plain text editor as an intermediary.

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