This content originally appeared on Mashable for a US audience and has been adapted for the UK audience.
In this gig economy day and internet age, no writer is just a writer anymore. A writer is also an idea collector, a pitcher, a negotiator, an SEO specialist, a proofreader, a self-promoter, and a professional invoice sender. They might even be a full-on brand at this point, depending on whether they buy into the Twitter discourse(Opens in a new tab).
That being said, you’d probably struggle to find a handful of writers who think of themselves as especially adept developers. English, journalism, and creative writing coursework isn’t exactly rife with opportunities to learn how to build websites, and self-led bootcamps are intimidating if you don’t have a lick of coding or HTML experience. This can feel like a huge hurdle when it comes time to needing a personal website, whether you’re trying to showcase a portfolio, attract new clients, sell a book, or just simply blog.
Enter: Squarespace, a popular website building platform that presents itself as an all-in-one solution for designing and managing a website (with plans starting as low as £13 a month). Going live is as easy as choosing one of its modern, mobile-optimised templates and customising it with your branding; technical chores like website metrics, SSL security(Opens in a new tab), video storage, and updates are all handled by the platform itself. Plus, it maintains a full-featured app that lets you edit your site on the go, including updating pages, adding new images, writing blog posts, reviewing site analytics, and managing the inventory of an online store.
With hundreds of templates available as of 2023, it can be tough to decide which will best suit your needs as a freelancer, author, journalist, copywriter, and/or poet. Keep scrolling for a comprehensive guide.
What is a Squarespace template?A Squarespace template (or theme) is a pre-built demo website that’s meant to serve as a “starting point to help inspire your site’s design,” to quote its support site(Opens in a new tab). Each one can be used entirely as-is or fleshed out with different colours, font packs, layout pages, and content blocks.
Templates work differently depending on whether you’re running Squarespace version 7.0 or 7.1(Opens in a new tab), the two iterations of the platform it currently supports. Version 7.0 (launched in 2014) contains 91 templates it categorises into “families” that share the same underlying structure and style settings. Some features are exclusive to certain families, which makes it harder to swap between templates without doing at least a partial rebuild.
Meanwhile, version 7.1 (launched in early 2020) has 143 templates it’s merged into a single family. They all share the same features and formatting options, which makes it way easier to change templates on the fly.
Some experienced Squarespace designers still use version 7.0 because a handful of its advanced functionalities(Opens in a new tab) haven’t yet migrated over, but we’d recommend starting with version 7.1 if you’re new to the platform: It’s much more flexible and future-proof (especially with the recent launch of Fluid Engine, Squarespace’s next-gen, grid-based content editor).
No matter which one you decide to use, keep in mind that moving between versions(Opens in a new tab) often requires a complete rebuild and carries the risk of tanking your site’s search ranking. Fortunately, Squarespace offers a free 14-day trial so you have the chance to play around with both versions before officially building your site.
Is Squarespace good for writers?Squarespace has a lot of useful features that writer types can take advantage of, including pre-made Portfolio and Blog layout pages, mobile editing, newsletter blocks, social media integration, email campaign integration, tag and category support, multiple author support, Google Analytics support, the ability to schedule posts, and a built-in commenting system that includes content moderation and abuse filters (plus Disqus integration). It also recently added a tool called Members Areas, which lets you gate and monetise content on your site.
In short, Squarespace is very good for writers — again, even if you have no prior coding experience.
How do you choose the right Squarespace template?Squarespace’s Templates library gives you the option of sorting them by type (Online Store, Portfolio, Memberships, Blog, Scheduling, and One Page) and topic (e.g., Media & Podcasts, Professional Services, and Personal & CV). You can click on any template’s “Preview” button to check out its demo content, which will give you an idea of how it looks in the wild.
Squarespace recommends focusing mainly on the “specific colours and layouts that appeal to you” rather than the content you see there, but adds that “you may find it easier to start with a design that’s already close to how you want your site to appear.”
What is the best Squarespace templates for writers?To help make your decision process a little easier, we have lined up a selection of templates that should suit everyone. You just need to pick a favourite.
These are the best Squarespace templates for writers in 2023.
Best For CVs
Simple but statement-making, Suhama is a bold, one-page portfolio template that can easily be turned into a digital destination for your CV and clips — as previously mentioned, everything’s already formatted as such. It opens with a professional statement and a brief bio, followed by links to your best writing samples, a rundown of your credentials, and a blurb with your contact info. Links to all relevant socials can be found in the top navigation bar. The only thing it’s really missing is an image block for your headshot, but you can add that in just two clicks if you’re so inclined.
Best For Copywriting
Degraw is a friendly and informative portfolio template that clearly states your value proposition upfront, letting your conversion-optimised copy do the talking right from the get-go. Once visitors start scrolling, they’re treated to a full-width image, a list of your services, a featured testimonial, and a bunch of call-to-action buttons. Prospective clients can easily schedule a consultation using the convenient form on its contact page. There’s also a pre-made, grid-style blog available for you to showcase articles or go into more detail about your experience and expertise.
Best For Freelance
Myhra is a feature-rich template punctuated by full-bleed banner images. It comes equipped with a Services section, a blog (“Recipes”) where you can put testimonials or clips, an About page, a contact page with an inquiry form, and a newsletter sign-up block in the bottom navigation — you’ve got a lot to work with, here. But the best part is that it’s pre-enabled with Squarespace’s premium Member Areas feature, which lets you create gated content on your site that’s locked behind either an email signup or a subscription fee. It’s an incredibly easy way to monetise your writing outside of client-specific freelance projects, and an independent alternative to platforms like Substack and Medium.
Best For Blogging
Featuring a chic white-on-black demo colour scheme, Mérida is a magazine-style template with a strong visual hierarchy. Its well-organised homepage can handle a lot of content without looking cluttered, alternating between grids of thumbnails and “featured story” banners (plus a newsletter sign-up block at the very bottom), while its one-column post pages make great use of negative space for balance. We can see it working really well for anyone who maintains a heavy publishing schedule, whether you’re a prolific blogger or someone who runs a larger digital publication.
Best For Book Selling
Manual is tailor-made for a site that’s selling a singular product — the demo version even stars a fictional author’s debut novel — so you’ll need to do very little work to get your version live. Its homepage leads with the book’s cover art, a short blurb, and a call-to-action button; you can link that to a separate product page on your site, or just direct customers over to Amazon or another bookseller to create a one-pager. Venture down to check out a slot for reviews, an author bio, and a newsletter sign-up block. Some subtle linework that separates each section and a neat rise animation effect on all of the page elements add some interesting visuals to an otherwise basic layout.
Best For Book Tour
Vandam’s demo site was designed with bands in mind, but it’ll work just as well for authors who are trying to sell their book(s) and tickets to readings or signings. Its homepage features sections for your headshot, plugging your book, a list of upcoming tour dates, merch, and reviews of that book. (The latter three also get their own separate pages, but you can always scrap those if you prefer a simple one-page site.) Those sections alternate between different colours to break up all that information into digestible chunks, while the sans-serif typefaces make it super easy to read on mobile.
Best For Poetry
Think AllPoetry and Hello Poetry look outdated? Prefer self-publishing over platforms like Tumblr, Wattpad, and Medium? Intimidated by Wattpad? Use Harman to create a simple, scrollable site where your musings can live (ad-free, we might add). Unlike the vast majority of Squarespace themes, which rely heavily on imagery, this bare-bones template keeps the focus solely on your words with a grid of headlines and their corresponding excerpts. The demo site plops some “About” and “Contact” pages in the top navigation bar next to some social icons, and equips each post with a comments section (which you can enable or disable at your leisure).
Haley is a Mashable shopping reporter based in Chicago. Before joining the team, she covered politics for The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, wrote about exotic pet ownership for the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, and blogged for several Jersey Shore stars. In her free time, she enjoys playing video games and hanging out with her parrot (Melon) and dog (Pierogi). You can follow her on Twitter at @haleyhenschel(Opens in a new tab) or reach her via email at [email protected].
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