1. What is the primary goal of the website? 

2. What type of assets are they showcasing?

  1. At this point I want to be clear whether your primarily looking to drive sales, generate leads, or attract visitors. I recommend that we select a design direction to achieve that goal.
     
  2. If I find my client needs to communicate who they are visually, we will take a close look at Gallery pages and Blocks. If you need to communicate who you are through copy, we will pay particular attention to how Page collections can be laid out to break up text and create more compelling designs. 

Client Deep Dive

We take the time to learn about our client’s brand and business, their goals for their website, and their aesthetic sensibilities. Having a deep understanding of our client’s needs and wants before beginning to build goes a long way in avoiding miscommunications.

  • We need to get clear on our client’s strategic goals, the services and products they offer, and their ideal customer.
  • We need to take a deep dive into our client’s business. Get the lay of the land and find out how they want to be seen in their industry.
  • We ask your clients about the nitty gritty: Who needs access to the website? What assets do they already have? What assets will need to be created?

Create An Agreement

Conversations are a great place to start, but written agreements are easier to reference after we begin building. Having an organized document explaining your process, fees, and expectations is invaluable.

  • Website will be built on a CMS.
  • Project timeline, including allotted time for rounds of revisions.
  • Providing training, include specifics about format, number of hours, and number of trainees.
  • Additional costs for additional assets or subscriptions (stock photography, Google Apps, etc.). We detail the approval process for purchasing additional assets.
  • What services will continue beyond launch of the website and, if so, the nature, and cost of those services.
  • What additional services will be include - (copywriting or search engine optimization (SEO) research and implementation).

Make A Sitemap

A solid outline acts like a framework to support the buildout of the website itself. Summarizing our client’s website in an outline not only refines their vision, it doubles as a convenient checklist to use while building. Once the outline is approved, we will not change the quantities of pages or order.

Here’s an example of a simple outline.


Collect Assets

The best way to keep a project on schedule is to collect assets at the beginning. The more organized we are, the easier it will be for design reduced and our client to work together. Our recommendation is to create a shared folder with sub-folders that track your client’s website page structure and content requirements (Dropbox and Google Drive are both great options).

We will share the folder with our client, talk them through it, and let them upload on their own time. If our client is missing assets, decide whether you have enough to move forward, and create a plan to develop or purchase the missing pieces.

 
 
 

Step 1 — Architecture Setup

In this step we will frame out the website by adding, deleting, duplicating, or reordering pages to match the sitemap you’ve already developed, creating a solid information architecture for the website. When we are done, the Pages panel will show every page for the website in the proper order relative to each other.


Step 2 — Styling

In this step we will create the look and feel of the site. Depending on your timeline and our client’s expectations, we will be using dummy copy (e.g., lorem ipsum) and image placeholders. Keeping the content generic will maintain your client’s focus on the design elements, which are the “moving parts” at this point in the process.

Key Styling Elements

  • Logo: size and placement
  • Tagline: font, color, size, and placement
  • Navigation styles: font, line height, and letter spacing
  • Copy treatments: font, color, and size
  • Page styles: header or no header, and background colors

Getting Feeback

  • We will set the styles for the first version and share
  • We will take a screenshot of the homepage and include the Style Editor so that you will have a record of the tweaks associated with that version

Step 3 — Layout & Content

We have got the website’s architecture framed out and our client’s sign-off on the styling so it’s time to start laying out and adding finalized content to each page.

Optimize for a goal on every page

While the landing page should be keyed to our client’s primary goal — leads, sales, or subscribers — we will look for opportunities on other pages to achieve speci c goals.

For instance, a blog can include a “call to action” to follow our client in their preferred social media channels; an “Our Services” page can include a lead-generating submission Form Block; an “About” page can include a click-to-send-an-email button. The key is to keep our client’s strategic goals in mind and ensure that every aspect of their website is contributing to those goals.

Double-check styling

Once we've replaced the dummy content with our client’s actual content, we will want to take another close look at the website’s styling in case it needs some fine-tuning.

Make content requests en masse

This is the point where unforseen gaps in our client’s assets and content will become apparent. All else being equal, we think it’s better to wait until the end of this step to ask our client to fill in the gaps, rather than making one-of requests along the way. It’ll simplify both our lives.


Step 4 — Finishing Touches

We built the architecture, styled it, and then populated it with assets and content. The next step is adding backend finishing touches to the website. Some of these finishing touches, such as connecting social accounts, will require our client’s input before handoff.

SOME KEY FINISHING TOUCHES

  • Import client’s old blogs
  • Set up URL redirects
  • Add contact information
  • Add other business information
  • Disable login with Escape key
  • Create a Favicon
  • Set up a custom 404 page
 
 

A successful project culminates in a smooth handoff of website management and ownership to our client. We want you to execute this critical transition flawlessly. 

 
 
 

Site Contributors & ownership

Inviting contributors

In many cases, your client will want multiple people to have access to their new website. Help them understand the di erences between permission levels, and teach them how to send invitations to each contributor.

Transferring ownership

Unless you have speci cally agreed otherwise, we recommend that your client take over as the website’s primary owner and either remove
you completely or keep you on as a contributor. Here’s a guide on how to transfer ownership.


Plans & Payments

Plan and subscription period

Squarespace o ers a range of products and plans and this guide can help frame a conversation with your client about which will best t their needs. As part of that conversation, you may want to highlight these subscriber-friendly policies:

  • Annual billing plans are offered at a discount to monthly plans
  • Annual billing plans come with a free custom domain for one year
  • Annual billing plans can be canceled at any time and Squarespace will refund subscription fees that have already been paid on a pro rata basis
  • Subscribers can upgrade or downgrade between plans at any time

    Note: If you are a resident of the European Union, we will need to discuss VAT.

Payments

Squarespace sites become publicly accessible as soon as they are upgraded from trial to paid subscriptions, so payment information should be submitted only when your client is ready for their new site to go live. Unless you have speci cally agreed to pay the subscription fees, we recommend that your client pay using their own credit card.


Site Migration & Domain Mapping

Site migration best practices

If your client’s new website is replacing an older site, consider helping them implement site migration best practices. Also, it’s a good idea to help your client understand that, even with these best practices, search performance will fall immediately after the site migration, but should recover in time.

Finally, we recommend that you make your client aware of the SEO tools and features built into their Squarespace website.

Domains and domain mapping

Your client has the option of purchasing custom domains from Squarespace or from third-party providers. Let your clients know that regardless
of who provides their domain it can take up to
72 hours from the time a website is correctly mapped to a custom domain to when their website will be accessible at the custom domain.

Squarespace domains

Clients on annual billing plans are eligible for one free custom domain for the rst year of service. Custom domains are not free for subscribers on monthly billing plans, but can be purchased directly from Squarespace. Learn more about claiming and purchasing Squarespace domains here.

Third-party domains

Many clients will have purchased domains from third-party providers, and mapping those domains to their Squarespace sites requires updating DNS settings managed by the third-party provider. While this is an element of the website development process that happens outside of Squarespace,
it is one where you can be a useful resource for your client. Our Knowledge Base has a guide with general instructions and another set of guides
with speci c instructions for mapping domains purchased from major third-party providers. 


Configurations & Settings

Configurations & settings

Consider providing guidance to your clients on con guring components of their websites that require their login or other con dential information.

Some common examples:

  • Form Blocks: Mailchimp or Google Drive
  • Special Blocks: OpenTable and Bandsintown
  • Third party connections: Stripe; Xero; ShipStation
  • Social Accounts
  • Google Analytics

Style settings

We think it’s great to share screenshots of the Style Editor for each page of the website as part of the hando process. This will make it easy to roll Style Settings back to the ones you created in case your client experiments with other styles or accidentally resets their website’s styles to the template defaults.

Category and tag management

If you have con gured a block (such as a Summary Block or an Archive Block) to lter content by Category or Tag (or other criteria) then it’s a great idea to show your client how to apply tags and help them develop an initial content taxonomy. 


 

Congratulations and welcome to your new website! 

 

A Guide To your website

One of the great things about Squarespace is that you’ll be able to manage and maintain your website on your own. To get you started, here is a selection of key Knowledge Base articles to reference as you get more familiar with your website. If you need support or help, the award winning Squarespace Customer Care team is at the ready 24/7. You can reach out at anytime here. 


Accessing & managing your account 

Accessing your site

You can access your site via login. If you are having log-in or password trouble, go here.

Account and billing

If at any time you want to update your address, change your credit card information, or switch your billing plan, go here.

Adding a contributor

Squarespace supports multiple contributors and multiple levels of permissions. If you want to give someone access to your website, go here.

General troubleshooting

If at any time your website performance seems slow or o and you want to read up on troubleshooting advice, go here.

   


Content & Social Media

Adding a page

Adding pages is a simple process, whether you want to add a page to call out a new service or add a page to highlight holiday hours. When you’re ready to
read up on the detailed instructions, go here.

Images and videos

Having compelling images and videos is a great
way to engage visitors to your website. Squarespace makes it easy to add and format a variety of media and le types. For guidance on adding and updating images and video, go here

Blog

Blogging is a popular way to generate interest and engagement with a website. To learn more about the ins and outs of adding posts, RSS feeds, comments, and blog excerpts, go here

Social media

Having a strong social media presence is a great way to bring tra c to your website. To learn
about adding new social media accounts or about pushing more content to your existing social media accounts, go here.


Search engine optimization & metrics

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO refers to steps you can take to make sure your website shows up in search results for relevant keywords and your Squarespace website has many SEO elements baked right in. To learn how to make the most of them, go here.

Metrics

Squarespace makes it easy to keep track of your website’s performance through its Metrics tools. You can monitor website tra c, track popular content, and nd out what percentage of visitors are browsing from their phones. To learn more about how to use Metrics tools, go here.

   


Commerce

Products

As your business grows and changes, you might want to add or update your product o erings.
To learn more about product edits, adding variants, scheduling product launches, and how to handle
a sold out product, go here.

Discount codes & coupons

Offering discounts, coupons or special pricing can be a great strategy to drive sales and encourage spending. To learn more about creating discount rules, go here.

Orders

Managing orders e ectively is a crucial component to running a successful store; and handling issues smoothly is the hallmark of great customer service. If you want to learn more about cancelling or refunding orders, adding notes to an order, or even exporting orders, go here.

Checkout

The checkout page is often an underutilized point of contact with customers. Using a custom checkout form is a great way to collect additional information from customers, like gift messages, special delivery instructions, or comments. You can also create a newsletter opt-in or even add a product review
tool at checkout. To learn more about optimizing checkout, go here.

Taxes

It’s important to be in compliance with all tax rules and regulations when you sell products online. To learn how to create tax rules for every country and state to which you ship products, go here. 

Shipping

Shipping is a major component of selling physical products online. Whether you want to ship at rate, by weight, or carrier calculated, Squarespace lets you con gure the right option for your store. To learn more about the ins and outs of shipping rates, go here.