Choosing a Squarespace template

Squarespace currently offers 58 templates. While this is relatively few compared with other website building platforms, it can be a little overwhelming when you’re starting out. Thankfully, there are a number of ways to whittle down your options and save yourself countless hours of agonising over which template to choose. We’ll take a look at these shortly. 

First things first

Before you start browsing the template options, it’s important to have a think about the purpose of your website. If you’re selling products, then this needs to be your major consideration when choosing a template. Or, if you’re a photographer building an online portfolio, you’ll want to pay close attention to how a template displays images. This might seem an obvious point to make, but once you start browsing the template options, it’s easy to be seduced by a template that fits the look you're going for. Ultimately, though, it may not be suited to your end goal(s). 

Style vs structure

When you start browsing templates, you’ll likely be drawn to stylistic elements of particular websites – fonts, colours, images, logos, etc. It’s important to understand that these elements are not unique to a particular template. You can employ any font or colour scheme or image on any template – these options are universal within Squarespace. 
Structural elements, however, are unique to the template you choose – so you’ll want to make sure it provides the elements you require. Structural elements include the nav bar, header, footer and sidebars. For instance, if you want a navigation bar that displays vertically on the left side of the page, you’ll need to choose a template such as Wells (below) or Keene. Similarly, if you require a sidebar, you’ll need to choose a template, such as Five, which offers this element. 

 Wells is one of the few Squarespace templates to use a vertical nav bar

Wells is one of the few Squarespace templates to use a vertical nav bar

Special features

Squarespace templates employ a number of special features, which, like structural elements, are not available on all templates. You’ll need to keep this in mind when deciding on a template. Some of the special features to be aware of are index pages, project pages, parallax scrolling, product pages and blog pages. 

Miko Coffey has put together a useful Squarespace 7 Comparison Chart. This shows which elements are available for each template.

Whittling down the options

While Squarespace offers 58 unique templates, many of these are in the same family. Each template in a family shares the same underlying structural elements. The only real difference is the name and how they’ve been styled. For instance, if the Pacific template has the functionality you require, you’ll also be able to use the other templates in its family (Bryler, Charlotte, Fulton, Horizon and Naomi). The comparison chart mentioned above is segmented into families and will let you know which templates are related. 

Squarespace makes the decision making process a little easier by segmenting templates into categories. If you look to the left of the templates page on the Squarespace website, you’ll see there are 14 categories to choose from. So, for instance, if you select ‘online stores’ it will display only the templates that are optimised for online retail. 

Note: Once you’ve found a template that you like, select it on the template page and scroll down to see a selection of real websites using the template. This will give you an idea of how the site can be customised. Keep in mind, however, that these sites are often designed by professional website designers and may include some custom coding. 

 In summary

The key to selecting the best template for your site is to look beyond the styling and consider the structural elements that are not universal to the platform. Squarespace makes it relatively easy to change templates, but if you want to convert from a template that uses an index page, for example, to a template that does not, you’ll have a bit of work on your hands reorganising content.

Please leave a comment if you have any questions and I’ll do my best to help you out. Alternately, if you’d like help building your site, or to have us build it from scratch, just holler!