Here is a list of our best advice for creating the perfect website. We utilize Squarespace, but these tips can (and should) apply to just about any platform.
number one — plan the flow of your website, first.
First we have to talk about planning. Often times people think they can skip this part and go straight into the fun stuff, but speaking from experience it never works out. When we start a website we always start with a website flow or outline that basically goes through exactly how the website will function. It tells us where each button will go and what calls to action we need to lead the user through the whole site.
Take your time here. Put yourself in the shoes of your audience and ask youself what you'd want to know and at what point. Think of it in terms of importance—what's the first thing you want them to know or want them to do? What questions will they have after that? And so on until you reach the end of each page.
In the end this process saves us a bunch of time. After we get the site flow nailed down we can put all our focus into the design (aka, the best part).
number two — use quality images
Our next tip is something we love receiving from our clients and that is high quality images. The quality of the images are what can make a good website become a great one. Images that capture your product or service and communicate your brand identity are one of the most important pieces of your site.
Squarespace especially loves high quality images because of the large banner images that make a lot of their templates stand out. Professional photography is 100% worth the cost because of how well the photos pay off in transforming your website by showcasing you and your product in the best way. So hire a professional!! Email us if you need a recommendation!
number three — make it responsive
Always remember to pay attention to the responsiveness of your website. What is that, you ask? When we say responsive, what we're talking about is the ability for the site to shift as the format does. On your desktop? Looks great. On your phone? Also should look great.
Today more than ever people visit your website from their phone over a desktop or a laptop. You would hate to make a beautiful website on your laptop to have it be
completely ruined on the mobile version. This is another reason we love working in Squarespace because, for the most part, it will automatically make your website responsive from desktop to ipad and mobile.
It doesn’t always come out perfect (and this is where professional tinkering comes in) but it’s a great starting point to a responsive site. From there it’s just a matter of getting the order of things exactly right and making sure all the elements match the desktop.
number four — know thy templates
Another thing to remember when working within a platform that provides templates is that not all templates are equal in what features they provide. Especially in Squarespace. Some are highly customizable and some are not. We often start with templates in the Brine family which provide the most flexibility when creating a custom site. We use templates and then inject custom CSS to make everything fit our design and the needs of our client.
which brings us to...
number five — custom css
This is the secret sauce. Custom CSS allows the common user to import custom fonts, colors, and alter the grid outside of the template you start with. We always customize our sites, every time, and we probably get a little more technical than the average person.
But just knowing that this option exists can open up a lot of doors for someone building their own site. All you need is a quick Google and your very own Squarespace account! And when you get tired of doing it yourself, we'll be here (: