Seven Big Mistakes you are making on Squarespace
Today’s post isn’t about shaming the DIYer. I LOVE DIYers, in fact, I’m working on something to launch the first part of 2019 that will help the DIYer take their site to the next level. Stay tuned.
Think of this like painting your house, literally everyone COULD paint their own house if it was required of them. Would be it easy? No. Would it be fun? Probably not. Would the world come crashing down? No. Would a professional do a better job? Absolutely.
If you HAD to paint your own house for the very first time, would look on YouTube for tips from pros? Uh Yes!
Today’s post is more of hey, make sure you didn’t make these mistakes, and if you did, here’s how to fix them. In a perfect world, the only things actually look DIY-ed are home-baked cookies, not the website for your business.
1- Using the default Squarespace favicon.
A favicon is that little icon next to your website name in the browser tab. This helps people recognize your site instantly, especially because they inevitably have 10 browser windows open are flipping from tab to tab.
The Squarespace default is a grey cube. It’s a sure sign of an amateur, but don’t worry its an easy fix!
Your favicon should be something really small a lot of times you’ll see a small shape or the first letter of a business name. In the photo above you can see three examples. Asana has a little section of their logo, Amazon music is just the smile in a blue square, and mine is just the A of my business name.
Just be sure to put something custom there. Don’t use the cube.
To create a favicon, you want to make a document that’s 100x100 px. You can do this in Canva or Illustrator. The file size needs to be under 100KB. If you keep the icon very simple you won’t have any problem. If you need more details here's the info about using the favicon from Squarespace.
To add your favicon to your site, you’ll go into your Design Tab under Logo + Title.
And hey, while you are in there see mistakes #2.
2- Leaving the social share image blank.
When you share your site to Facebook or Twitter, it automatically pulls an image from your site, and usually is your logo which does not fit in the space and it just looks lame. If you add an image in here, you can avoid that!
This only happens when you share a main page like if you respond to Facebook ISO post with your link. If you are sharing a blog post, the thumbnail image from your post will be shared instead. For this section I usually design a 1200x1200 graphic with the logo centered and some kind of pretty background, being sure to leave plenty of space around the logo. Here are some examples.
One thing to remember is that social media platforms change the optimal size often so it’s hard to tell exactly what size of image to put here. I personally feel like a square image is the least of the worst.
Add the social share image in the same tab as the favicon, Design, under Logo + Title.
3- Leaving the Squarespace badge on your site.
There’s no good reason to show the Squarespace badge for most people. It’s free advertising for them. Sometimes a designer will leave it on because we want to show people that we can do all this cool stuff on Squarespace.
Disable the badge in the Design Tab under Squarespace Badge.
4- Lack of consistency through the fonts and colors of the site.
This happens when you are either rushing through your website just trying to get something done or you didn’t create a brand before you started. Both are big mistakes that can cause you to look sloppy and unprofessional.
Before you start designing your website you need to set up some brand guidelines so that you know which fonts and which colors you are planning to use.
The worst thing you can do is just pick from the list of options each time you are setting a heading or color. Sometimes I’ll see DIYer just grab a “green” with the eyedropper instead of tying in the same code each time. I promise you will NEVER get the same green with that method.
Check out my blog post on setting up your stylesheet in Squarespace to make this easy and stressfree.
5- There are no captions on your images.
The captions on your images are super important for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) because google robots can’t “see” they only read the text. So adding a caption is another way to tell those robots what the image is about.
You don’t have to display the caption for this to be effective. I always mark my captions as do not display, after I add the text. For a caption, I recommend you include the title of your blog post and something that can help sum up the purpose of your post.
Example: 5 Mistakes Squarespace DIYers make on their website. Avoid these common mistakes when creating your own Squarespace website.
6 - Pictures are named random things and it’s not enhancing your SEO efforts.
The worst thing you can do is leaving the name of photo something like IMG_003. Which is pretty much what everyone does. The name of your photo file needs to include the keywords or phrase that you are creating content for.
Then you also want to make sure that the Filename is filled out in the Squarespace editor too.
Typically, I just use the name of the blog post I’m writing for in the image is going in a blog post. However, if you are adding the photo from your about page you want to use some keywords that are specific to your business.
If I were uploading my headshot to my about page, I might say: “Erin Alexander, Squarespace Designer for women business owners, founder of Alexander Design Co.”
Each photo should use a different combination of words. If I add another photo of myself, I might put “Erin Alexander, Web Designer, Squarespace Authorized Trainer, and Creative Director at Alexander Design Co.”
7- The pictures are huge and taking forever to load.
Another super common mistake is using photos that are too big which really slows down your website and google hates that. And hey so do human, we are infamously impatient. If your site is too slow some people will just leave and not give it a second thought. We don’t want that.
This is so easy to fix, just pop open tinypng.com and let it do its thing. Tiny PNG is a free image optimizer and it’s my favorite tool for shrinking pictures because it’s so easy to use. You can even do images in bulk!
All photos should be under 500km and around 1500 pixel WIDE for full-width images. This ensures that your photos will look good no matter what size screen the viewer is using.
Just be sure to add the caption and file name after you’re done! ;)
These quick fixes will help your site look more polished and get more views thanks to the SEO update! If you want to check out some fun ways to add a little something extra to your site, then you should also check out my last post with some easy CSS snippets you can add to customize the way your site looks a little more.