Branding Your Squarespace Website When You Don't Have A Brand
If you are dipping your toes into the blogging world you might not want to invest money into a brand just yet. Why spend money on something that you might not follow through with or eventually find out it just isn't for you?
The good news is you don't have to drop the dollar bills just yet or put too much time into creating your own brand. If you are new to the blogging world you should focus on your content first and find out if it's something you are passionate about.
However, even though you're just starting out you should still have a well-designed website. This will keep your reader's attention and make it easy for them to navigate. A beautiful site can do wonders and with a little help you can have a professional looking Squarespace site up and running in no time.
*Although I focus this post around Squarespace the same rules apply whenever your site is hosted.*
TONE OF VOICE AND TARGET AUDIENCE
Before you open Squarespace take some time to figure out who your target audience is.
Branding goes deeper than visual elements and despite the fact that you are just starting out you should still figure out who your audience is and the tone of voice you want to convey.
In order to do this create your ideal avatar by asking yourself the following questions:
- Who are they?
- How old are they?
- What do they like to do for fun?
- Where do they work?
- What are their hobbies?
- What do they like to read and watch?
Really dig deep and get specific with your avatar. Once you have your ideal avatar laid out it's time to create a new list with words that describe your business. For example, let's say you own a sock business and you want to open up an online shop.
Your list might look something like this:
- Men and women
- Gift giving
- Ankle socks
- Knee high socks
- Not your average socks
- Fabric, etc.
Judging by the words in the above list you probably want a website design that isn't too uptight and professional, these socks aren't your average socks and so your website should have a fun personality.
You can achieve this unique brand look by:
- Taking fun product shots of the socks
- Using bright colours
- Using fun fonts
- Using website copy that sounds like you are talking to your best friend. AKA it doesn't sound like a robot is talking.
Just like that, you have a good idea of the direction your website design should go in and will make the process a lot less stressful once you open up Squarespace.
Picking a template
Now it's time to pick a template. Luckily, Squarespace has a tonne of beautiful templates ready for you to add your own content.
A few things to consider when picking your template are: What is the main focus of your business? Are you a photographer, a blogger, or maybe you are looking to set up shop to sell your products. Squarespace makes it super easy to find the right template. Once you're logged in head on over to the template section and you will find a category list of different themes for different professions.
Picking your fonts
Squarespace has a lot of great fonts to choose from but that can lead to feeling overwhelmed and possibly choosing too many fonts. I would suggest picking out 2-3 fonts at most.
So what fonts should you use and where? Good question!
In Squarespace (depending on the template) you can choose fonts for:
- Body copy
- Navigation menu
- Footer menu
- And Buttons.
Now imagine if you used different fonts for all the above. That's seven fonts spread across your site. Imagine visiting a website that uses seven different fonts, my guess is you would run in the other direction. Too many fonts will leave your website looking unprofessional and confusing.
My suggestion is to pick one font for headers, one font body copy, and maybe one for quotes. If you pick a font with different weights then that allows you to add contrast and variety to your website without having to pick another font.
If you are feeling confused check out my example below.
In the image below I've used only one font but with different weights that one font has added contrast and visual interest.
Header One - Open Sans Extra Bold
Header Two - Open Sans Bold - Tracking 200. (Tracking is how far I've spaced out the letters in Illustrator.)
Header Three - Open Sans Regular
Button - Open Sans Semi Bold - Tracking 100
Quote - Open Sans Italic.
You can have a beautifully designed website with very little fonts.
Picking out the perfect font(s) might feel overwhelming so I've paired a few below to get you started. The fonts I have listed below are all free which is great if you aren't ready to drop money on fonts just yet. Squarespace comes with over 600 fonts and although you are free to use them on your website, if you want to use the font elsewhere you will have to purchase it.
Pro-tip: Using free fonts on your website means you can download them and use them on any branding items outside of your website. This will make sure your brand stays consistent.
01 - Abel and Open Sans
02 - Bebas Neue and Droid Serif
03 - Playfair Display and Montserrat
04 - Droid Sans Bold and Lora
05 - Raleway Light and Bitter
06 - Roboto Slab Bold and Source Sans Pro
07 - Abril Fatface and Raleway
08 - Josefin Slab and Droid Sans
09 - Poppin Semi Bold and Open Sans
Pin For Later
Picking your colours
Just like fonts you don't want to add every colour in the rainbow. Since you're just starting out and without a brand I suggest heading over to a site such as Coolors.co and finding a palette that fits your business.
Once you've decided on a palette hover over it and click "view." You'll be taken to a page that looks like this...
The hex code for each colour is displayed and you can easily copy it and paste it where necessary in Squarespace.
Pro-tip: Just because you have five colours to play with doesn't mean you need to add all five to your website. Adding colour to things such as:
- Footer background
- Social media icons
add a touch of colour without being too overwhelming.
ADDING YOUR LOGO
There are a few affordable options available such as DIY your logo or purchase a pre-made logo if you don't want to drop too much money in the beginning.
Pro-tip: There is nothing wrong with simply writing out your business name in a font and using that as your logo.
To upload your logo head on over to the main menu in Squarespace then pick Design and then pick Logo and Title.
ADDING A FAVICON
A favicon is a website's icon that you see in the tab section on your browser. If you don't upload a favicon in Squarespace then the boring Squarespace icon is used.
Since a favicon is really tiny it shouldn't be too detailed. If you don't know what to use upload a circle or shape with one of your brand colours, just to get rid of the Squarespace one.
Squarespace recommends creating your icon at 100px x 100px. When you are ready to upload it head over to the same place you uploaded your logo.. Main menu > Design > Logo and Title and scroll down to the bottom.
Starting a new blog or business is exciting and you shouldn't sell your self short with a messy website. Following the above tips will make sure you have everything you need to start and come across as a professional who cares about their business.
Looking to DIY your brand? Check out my Create Your Brand Ebook + Workbook.
CREATE YOUR BRAND EBOOK + WORKBOOK
The Create Your Brand Ebook and Workbook will give you the right tools and actions to help you build your brand from start to finish.
This book will not only help you build your brand but you will also learn important branding elements along the way so you're not left in the dark.