Well, the truth is: you don’t!
Squarespace, the platform we recommend for small businesses, bloggers and freelancers, is designed to be simple and easy-to-use for everyone—and it is! (That’s why we recommend it!)
If you know how to use a computer, you could easily find your way around the Squarespace back-end and teach yourself how to use it. If you’re just looking to set up a basic blog or website and you have the time and interest in doing so yourself, you do not need a web designer.
In fact, there are many wonderfully helpful resources available to guide you through setting up your own Squarespace website. Squarespace itself offers a robust set of free guides for getting started with and designing your website. And we also love sharing tips and resources on building your Squarespace site: check out our blogging tips, photography tips, SEO tips and how to grow your website traffic.
So, absolute full disclosure that you do not need a web designer to set up your own Squarespace website.
But you may need a web designer if:
You want to customize anything beyond what’s offered in Squarespace’s standard templates
You want a more professional-looking site
You want to include advanced integrations
You want it done as quickly and painlessly as possible 😅
Let’s chat about when you might need a web designer, and when you’d be perfectly fine with some good old fashioned DIY…
How do I know what I can customize myself?
As we mentioned above (and are totally happy to keep saying), Squarespace is designed to be suuuper easy to use, and it definitely facilitates building a website without a professional web designer. You choose a template you like, you update your fonts, colors, etc. Add your legally-sourced images via Unsplash. Set up your blog. This route is just fine and works for many people!
But just keep in mind that you’re working within your template. There are basic things you can customize (fonts, colors, layouts), but in general you’re playing within a fenced-in area, so to speak. There are certain customizations you can’t access—they’re fenced off by the Wall of CSS. (Just kidding, but you need to know how to code to tweak them.)
What do web designers do differently?
Web designers open up the back end of your site (where it says “Custom CSS”) and write some magical code that makes your site look or function differently.
This is sometimes necessary to achieve a desired function, and sometimes it’s a stylistic choice to add some brand-specific flair or differentiate your site from other sites built on the same template.
What are some examples of custom design?
Common Squarespace customization we work with includes:
re-formatting header styles (including adding additional header styles or custom fonts not available in Squarespace)
changes to font styles not customizable in the Squarespace interface (blog post metadata, form fields, etc.)
image formatting (for example, Squarespace doesn’t offer round images in their image editor, but we can custom code that)
promotional pop-up and announcement bar formatting
adding background colors or images
When to DIY your site
Here are a few scenarios in which (in our opinion) you’re probably perfectly able to DIY your site and still fulfill its purpose just the same:
You run a personal blog for fun, it’s read mostly by family and friends, and you do not desire to turn it into a business
You have a new blog/business but aren’t ready to commit to the direction or brand you’ll ultimately try to grow
You’re happy with a simple site and the basic customization options provided in your template are sufficient for your needs
When to work with a web designer
And here are a few scenarios in which you might consider working with a professional web designer to maximize the impact of your website for your business:
You want to monetize your blog
You are a small business owner, freelancer, or creative who needs a professional website to promote your products/services, but you don’t have the time/energy/desire to build one yourself
You have an existing website but aren’t really proud of it
You would like a more cohesive and professionally branded online presence
You need to build a website but have no idea where to begin
You want to improve your website conversions to sell more [insert your product/service]
If you think you may need a web designer for your site, we’re happy to chat about your project!
Want to create a beautiful, functional & professional website to grow your business?
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We’ll also send occasional emails with helpful tips on web design, blogging & entrepreneurship.(Woohoo!)