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Why the Brine Family Templates are the Best for Your Squarespace Website

Bold & Pop - Squarespace Website Designers : Why the Brine Family Templates are the Best for Your Squarespace Website

Not all Squarespace templates were created equally, and we would know! We specialize in website design on the platform, so you could say we know the ins and outs of all of the templates pretty darn well at this point. Even though we custom build all of our clients’ websites, each starts with a template that dictates the built-in customization options included in the style guide. This includes colors used throughout, header sizes, mobile logo sizes, alllll of the goods so picking a template that has a lot of flexibility and built-in customization features makes our jobs a little easier to meet all of our clients’ needs, plus it may cut-down on some of the custom coding needed. Not only is this awesome for us as designers, but it’s also really great for you if you’re DIYing so that you can get the look you want without having to worry about trying to learn coding.

So all that being said, do you want to know why we come back to the Brine family of templates project after project? For a lot of reasons! All of which I’ll showcase below. Before we get started though, you may have noticed I mention the “Brine family” so I wanted to explain that a little bit. On Squarespace, you’ll find a number of templates and then each belongs to a “template family” which essentially means they are built with the same underlying structure and features but still offer very different and distinct looks.

For the Brine family, there is actually a template called Brine and then there are also these other templates included in the family including Aria, Basil, Blend, Burke, Cacao, Clay, Ethan, Fairfield, Feed, Foster, Greenwich, Hatch, Heights, Hunter, Hyde, Impact, Jaunt, Juke, Keene, Kin, Lincoln, Maple, Margot, Marta, Mentor, Mercer, Miller, Mojave, Moksha, Motto, Nueva, Pedro, Polaris, Pursuit, Rally, Rover, Royce, Sofia, Sonny, Sonora, Stella, Thorne, Vow, Wav, and West (and that’s just as of now)! Whew, as you can see there are a LOT so you’ll still have a lot of flexibility in options while also getting all of the benefits we’re going to talk about below. So let’s get to some of our fav things about the template family.

Parallax Scrolling

Something that is very popular these days and just a really fun feature in general is what we call parallax scrolling. This is a feature that adds a sense of depth by having a background image move when you scroll through a website. We use the feature on our website (as well as lots of client websites) and the option is available throughout the Brine family. This is a big one too because a lot of Squarespace templates do not have this option as a default. if parallax isn’t your thing, you can easily turn it off as well. Below is an example of a website we used parallax scrolling on. Bonus, check it out in real-time to see it in action!

Bold & Pop - Squarespace Website Designers : Why the Brine Family Templates are the Best for Your Squarespace Website

Layering Abilities

Going beyond the parallax option, the Brine templates also make it easy to create layered graphics which can also add depth to the user-experience. This means you can add a banner image to an index page (more on that later) and then you can add other graphics, photos, text buttons, and more right on top of it. Without this, more complex images would have to be created as images which isn’t usually recommended because of the loss of SEO opportunities but the Brine family makes this easy to do! Below is an example of how you can layer images on top of background images.

Bold & Pop - Squarespace Website Designers : Why the Brine Family Templates are the Best for Your Squarespace Website

Index Page Galleries

Something else we love about this template is the option to have index page galleries. Woh, woh, what does that mean? We’ll start with index pages. So, when you have a scrolling homepage (or full website) which means you scroll from section to section, in the Brine templates it’s actually created with a bunch of pages using an index. Brine templates allow pages within an index to stack right on top of each other which is super helpful for a lot of reasons, one being you can rearrange them easily to change the order without having to actually move all of your elements around and two, it’s also easy to deactivate them or add new sections as needed.

In addition to the index page features, the Brine family allows you to have an index page gallery which can be used for a bunch of fun options. Essentially it allows you to include photos that are full width (like banner images) on a section. You can use these as buttons to direct users around to other pages of your website, just break up the space, or highlight a slideshow type element. It’s another neat feature that isn’t on a lot of other templates and you know how we like options! Below you’ll see how we utilized the feature for different services at a studio and spa we worked with.

Bold & Pop - Squarespace Website Designers : Why the Brine Family Templates are the Best for Your Squarespace Website

Built in Customization Options

Above anything else, the built-in customization options on any templates in the Brine family are just at the top of their game. The family is one of the newer options on the platform and because they are popular, Squarespace has continued to develop out the options and template variations (as you can see with the number of template options within the family). So why does this matter? As I talked about in the intro, the built-in customization features within the style guide are restricted on the template you use. The Brine family offers much more built in options right internally that would have to be custom coded on others which just streamlines the process for everyone involved. There are also much more built-in mobile style options which is also really nice!

Bold & Pop - Squarespace Website Designers : Why the Brine Family Templates are the Best for Your Squarespace Website

Advanced Commerce Features

As we talk about additional options in the style guide, those options also expand into the ecommerce capabilities. Some of the design aspects for ecommerce are limited on other templates so if you have a shop or plan on adding one down the road, even more reason to choose this family.

Bold & Pop - Squarespace Website Designers : Why the Brine Family Templates are the Best for Your Squarespace Website

Flexible Navigation Menus

One more point on the customization features that is so worth mentioning! So on a lot of Squarespace templates you are limited by how your navigation lays out in relation to your logo. A popular design layout that isn’t always possible on others is having a split navigation with the logo in the middle — but on Brine this is (as you might guess) built right in! There are also options to have a double navigations which could be helpful for bloggers and other businesses you might want a second navigation bar on. Another feature that we love is that you can add the social media icons to the header. This may not seem that exciting, but many other templates don’t allow that option and they would have to be custom coded, so to have the option built right in is a perk!

Bold & Pop - Squarespace Website Designers : Why the Brine Family Templates are the Best for Your Squarespace Website

As you can see, the Brine family templates just give you a little something extra that a lot of others don’t which is why we recommend them so much! At the end of the day, whatever template you select, it’s all about thinking of those key features you would like to include and finding one that those are available on. You can do just about everything you want with graphics but that template choice will be key when it comes to things you can easily do structurally. Your template is only one part of the project that’s for sure, but when you’re working with one that has a lot more doors to open you’ll have a lot more flexibility now and for down the road as your business or blog evolves. Have more questions about the template family or just Squarespace in general? You’re always welcome to drop us a comment below, shoot us an email or give us a shout in our Facebook group for some help!

P.S. Exciting news! We launched a free #GoingBold Facebook Group and would love for you to join us! Come on over!

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Why You Should Hire a Designer for Your Squarespace Website

Bold & Pop : Why You Should Hire a Designer for Your Squarespace Website

There are a lot of reasons we love Squarespace at Bold & Pop -- Visually driven designs, responsive design, and versatile built-in features being just a few. Our top reason we love the platform (and our clients do too) is how user-friendly the back-end is compared to some of the alternative options. Afterall, it is this aspect that draws a lot of people to design their websites themselves on Squarespace. So that being said, if it's user-friendly and DIY-focused, why would you want to work with a web designer? We're taking on that topic for today's blog!

Taking Your Website Beyond Templates

While you can create a beautiful website straight from the templates on Squarespace, working with a designer allows you to go above and beyond. As Squarespace designers, we know the ins and outs of the templates and the options each provides. It's more than just selecting a template and filling in the blocks with your content, rather we select templates based on core features and then build you a completely custom and unique website. Designers can also assist you with optimizing your user experience and helping you organize and make the best use of your messaging and assets.

Beyond your template selection, one of the key things that can help set your Squarespace website apart from the templates is custom graphic elements. This is where a lot of people get held up on their DIY designs. Working with a designer will provide you with graphic design assistance and allow you to take your design beyond the standard templates. Consider creating custom slideshow or banner graphics, sidebar graphics and dividers.

Last but definitely not least, working with a designer will give you additional options for your website with custom coding. We use custom CSS coding on all of our client websites to tweak the features and get the result our clients are after. This can also be a consideration if you're using programs and other services that aren't directly integrated with Squarespace -- like ConvertKit. This is often another snag for DIYers where designers can add a lot of value to. 

Maximizing Features & Optimizing Website

Because web design is our specialty, working with a designer will help ensure that you are taking full advantage of the features and uses for your website. You might not know the best way to highlight similar posts in your blog, or how to build an archive using summary blocks.. but your designer will! We can advise on the best set up for what you are trying to accomplish and then make it happen. There's a lot more than meets the eye of the basic features and settings and your designer will make sure you're getting the most out of your website.

Something else that is imperative with your website design is optimizing your responsive design and SEO. Squarespace is great because templates are automatically responsive, which means the designs with automatically adjust for best use whether your user is viewing your website on their desktop computer, tablet or phone. Same goes with your SEO. Squarespace has a lot of great built-in SEO features and a designer will be able to make sure everything is set up to help increase visibility for your business. 

Freeing Up Your Time

One of the top reasons to work with a designer on your website is to free up some of your time. You know, so you can focus on running your business! While you can certainly build a beautiful website on your own in Squarespace, it takes time. Often more than some expect!

A lot of times, people will realize they're in a little over their head after going to DIY route, or they're simply not getting the look or feel they're after. Don't be afraid to call in the pros! While there will be a bit of an investment, we've found our clients have felt a huge relief when deciding to work with a designer which will save you a lot of headaches in the long run. Hiring a designer allows you to focus on the things you're best at, and let us take care of some of the heavy lifting to get the features and design where you'd like it. Then when everything is wrapped up with a nice little bow, we'll train you on the back-end of your website and the features included so you feel empowered to make minor edits yourself. That way, you're still getting the perks of the user-friendly platform of Squarespace that you'll be able to update on your own in the future, while also making the most of your time now.

Need help with a revamp or a full Squarespace redesign? Give us a shout so we can chat about how we might be able to help!

P.S. Exciting news! We launched the free #GoingBold Facebook Group and would love for you to join us! Come on over!

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5 Ways to Improve Your Website’s User Experience

Bold & Pop : 5 Ways to Improve Your Website’s User Experience

So you’ve built your website… YAYYY! You have your homepage, products or services, about page, blog and any other pages you need and it all looks bomb digs! Whoop! Whoop! But have you taken a second to evaluate whether or not your site flows properly and allows for easy navigation? This is your website’s user experience and it is just as important as making your site look amazing! Not to worry though, we’re walking you through some of the easiest adjustments to make to improve your site’s user experience so your site not only looks amazing but also provides a great experience for your users. 

But first things first, why is this important to your site?

User experience (UX) design focuses on the functionality, usability and efficiency of your website rather than the visual aspects (although they should go hand-in-hand when designing your website). Creating a positive user experience helps users quickly and easily find what they are looking for which ultimately helps:

  • Encourage them to stay on the site longer

  • Encourage return visits

  • Encourage referral traffic

  • Increase sales and/or inquiries

Alright now let's get into the nitty gritty -- Let’s improve that UX design!

Navigation

Take a peek at your navigation. What do you have in it? If you have a ton of links in your navigation this can be completely overwhelming for your user! An easy way to clean this up is to either combine some into a dropdown menu or to move them into your secondary navigation in the footer.

Bold & Pop : 5 Ways to Improve Your Website’s User Experience

We suggest having no more than 7 main links in your navigation (excluding a customer login or shopping cart link). This will keep things concise allowing you to highlight the main points of your website with all your other information in dropdowns or the footer. 

Another point when it comes to your navigation is to rename and/or reorder your navigation. Make sure your navigation titles are clear and to the point. If you have an online shop, title it Shop instead of something like Catalog or Lookbook so users know they can buy directly from your website. It can be tempting to get creative to add a little personality but just make sure they clearly define what that page is about if you do! 

Also keep in mind that we naturally read from left to right so make sure the most important pieces of your website are listed first in your navigation. This is why most website navigations are in the order of Home, About, Services/Shop, Blog, Contact. This is because most new users will come to your website and want to learn more about you then your services and then contact you. However, really take some time to think through how your ideal client would flow through your website since every industry is different. This may affect how you decide to order your navigation.

Above the Fold

You want to keep your most important information on each page above the folder. Above the folder means the part of your page that your users see before they begin to scroll. This will give your users a quick view of what they can expect from that page ultimately help keep them on that page to explore longer.

This is where your web design meets UX design though. You don’t want to load the top of the page with so much information that you overwhelm your user either. Consider if there is a way to rearrange your content to provide the important information upfront in an aesthetically pleasing way. Finding a balance can be tricky but this will ultimately help improve your UX while still keeping your site beautifully designed!

Call-To-Actions

This is so insanely important in creating a positive user experience. Your call-to-actions (CTAs) direct your users around your website so you want to make sure they flow in the best way possible. While your navigation will help with this, implementing call-to-action buttons and graphics throughout your website will help encourage users to click through and explore your website even further. This can be as simple as creating buttons saying “Learn More About Our Services”, “Shop Now”, or “Check out our portfolio” in appropriate areas on your site. You typically want these after content that has already explain a little more though. For example, at the end of your About page it may make sense to add a CTA to direct users to your portfolio. Something along the lines “Interested in learning more about how we can help? Take a peek at our portfolio!”

Take a look at each page on your website and see where it makes sense to add some CTAs so you can help direct your users around your website and ultimately land a sale or inquiry! 

Homepage Design

Your homepage is a snapshot of your overall website so you want to make sure you are highlighting the main points of your business right up front! Chances are most of your new traffic is landing on your homepage first so the design of this page is essential to directing those users around your website to keep them on your website longer to learn more. (Because nobody likes to land on a site that they 1) have no idea what it's about and 2) can't easily navigate to the information they are looking for!) 

Bold & Pop : 5 Ways to Improve Your Website’s User Experience

We suggest evaluating the main pages you’d like your users to visit and then create graphics for the homepage to direct users to those pages. This can be graphics for a homepage slideshow and/or various buttons. Consider your various services or product categories and how you can direct users to these pages. You may also have seasonal or holiday specific promotions you’d like to offer meaning you can swap these graphics out when applicable!

Search Bar, Summary Blocks, and/or Category Buttons

Now that you have everything else all set, you might want to consider implementing additional features to make it easy for users to find what they are looking for or similar content. This can be as simple as implementing a search bar and displaying it in a prominent area so users can easily search your entire site and/or blog.

Other options would be to add category buttons. This makes the most sense for your blog and/or your shop. You want to make sure your blog posts or products are first categorized appropriately. Then create your category buttons (custom graphics or simple buttons through Squarespace) to add to your blog sidebar or on your shop. This will make it seriously easy for users to click on that necklace category button to see all the necklaces you sell increasing your chances to sell even more (Score!).

Similarly, you can use the summary block on Squarespace to add related blog posts to the bottom of each of your blog posts. This will show your user related posts they may be interested in helping them get more of the information they are already interested in.

Bold & Pop : 5 Ways to Improve Your Website’s User Experience

As you can tell any steps you take to make it easier for your website visitors to navigate your website so they can find the information they are looking for is essential for improving their user experience. Take your time going through your website page by page evaluating where you can implement some of the tips above. This way you can have a beautifully designed website with a great UX design as well!

P.S. Exciting news! We launched the free #GoingBold Facebook Group and would love for you to join us! Come on over!

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