In this day of the gig economy and in the age of the internet, no writer is just a writer anymore. A writer is also an idea collector, pitcher, negotiator, SEO specialist, proofreader, self-promoter, and professional invoice sender. They might even be a brand in their own right at this point, depending on whether or not they’re buying into the Twitter Speech. They are absolutely a seasoned caffeine snob.
That being said, you’d probably be hard pressed to find a handful of writers who consider themselves particularly competent developers. English, journalism, and creative writing classes aren’t exactly full of opportunities to learn how to build websites, and standalone bootcamps are daunting if you don’t have coding or HTML experience. It can seem like a huge hurdle when it comes to needing a personal website, whether you’re trying to showcase a portfolio, attract new clients, sell a book, or just blog.
Enter: Squarespace, a popular website building platform that bills itself as an all-in-one solution for designing and managing a website (with plans starting at $14 per month). Going live is as simple as picking one of its modern mobile-optimized templates and customizing it with your branding; technical tasks such as website metrics, SSL Security, video storage and updates are all handled by the platform itself. Plus, it runs a comprehensive app that lets you edit your site on the go, including updating pages, adding new images, writing blog posts, reviewing analytics website and inventory management for an online store.
With a few hundred templates available as of 2022, it can be difficult to decide which one will best suit your needs as a freelancer, author, journalist, editor, and/or poet. Keep scrolling for a full guide and a list of our current favorites.
What is a Squarespace template?
A Squarespace template (or theme) is a pre-built demo website intended to serve as a “starting point to inspire your site design”, to quote its support website. Each can be used entirely as is or fleshed out with different colors, font packs, layout pages, and content blocks.
Templates work differently depending on whether or not you use Squarespace version 7.0 or 7.1, the two iterations of the platform it currently supports. Version 7.0 (launched in 2014) contains 91 templates which it categorizes into “families” that share the same underlying structure and style settings, which cannot be changed, while version 7.1 (launched in early of 2020) has 143 models which have all been merged into one family, meaning they share the same features and formatting options. (It’s much easier to switch between templates this way.)
The best Squarespace templates for blogging about food, travel, fashion, and more.
Some experienced Squarespace designers are still using version 7.0 because a handful of its advanced features haven’t migrated yet, but we recommend starting with version 7.1 if you’re new to the platform: it’s much more flexible.
No matter which one you decide to use, keep in mind that switch from one version to another often requires a complete rebuild and may affect your site’s search rankings. Luckily, Squarespace offers a 14-day free trial so you have a chance to play around with both versions before you officially build your site.
Is Squarespace good for writers?
Squarespace has a ton of useful features writer types can take advantage of, including a pre-built portfolio and blog. layout pages, mobile publishing, newsletter blocks, social media integration, email campaign integration, tag and category support, multiple author support, Google Analytics, the ability to schedule posts, and an integrated commenting system that includes content moderation and abuse filters (plus Disqus integration). It also recently added a tool called Member Zones, which allows you to manage and monetize content on your site.
In short, Squarespace is very good for writers – again, even if you have no prior coding experience.
How to choose the right Squarespace template?
Squarespace’s template library gives you the ability to sort them by type (online store, portfolio, subscriptions, blog, schedule, and single page) and subject (such as media and podcasts, professional and personal services, and resumes). You can click the “Preview” button of any template to view its demo content, which will give you an idea of how it looks in the wild.
Squarespace recommends focusing primarily on the “specific colors 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 you want your site to appear.” We’ll use the Suhama and Devoe templates as an example:
Both are one-page personal and resume templates, but Suhama (left) is already pre-built as a portfolio site for a writer with sections for clips and work experience; Meanwhile, Devoe’s demo content features little more than a full-bleed banner image and contact information. That’s not to say Devoe wouldn’t or couldn’t be good for a writer too, but it will take a lot more tinkering to get there.
Overwhelmed by all your options? Below, you’ll find a list of six templates that we think would make great sites for writers with minimal effort.
Note: Most of our recommendations come from Squarespace version 7.1, but we’ve added a few options from version 7.0 that continue to stand out. The models have been labeled accordingly.