Personalization has to do with the aesthetic of your site, and minor changes to the layout. It includes functionality, but only relating to “how” something happens. For example, something simple like text appearing on the screen when you scroll can have a few nuances. You can make the text fade in or you could just have it appear. This is a decision related to personalization.
- Color - text, backgrounds, navigation bars, footer, and other elements
- Typography – fonts, sizes, weights
- Shapes - how are the sections of the site
A distinct line to draw is between Personalization and Features. Features are anything functional that your site does.
- Accepting credit card payments
- Live chat integration
Personalizing (also known as customizing) your website template can be easy to over or under prioritize. Everything comes down to the following three questions:
- “How much money (or more money) can this website make me within the next 12 months?”
- “What’s the probability that I will make that money from the website?”
- “How important is expressing your unique brand?”
Let’s place “personalization” on a 0-10 scale for the sake of the following examples:
- 0 means taking the Squarespace template and quickly picking your typography, color palette, and choosing standard layouts.
- 10 means designing the website from scratch, then molding Squarespace to look exactly like that design.
Now I’ll describe three scenarios with theoretical clients, and what is the best route to take. Hopefully you’ll be able to identify with one of these three and that gives you enough insight as how to proceed.
(If you have more questions, feel free to ping our Squarespace Concierge team to ask for advice. They’re all made up of veteran Squarespace freelancers who’ve served between dozens and hundreds of clients each, so they’ll be able to offer quality advice.)
- Starting a Blog - Little-to-no personalization (0-3 on the scale) is ideal. Immediate money probably isn’t the goal. Further, having a basic design doesn’t hinder your ability to gain monthly readers. You’re better suited to focus on writing posts, then improving the design quality later.
- A 5+ year old law firm - You should choose between a moderate to extensive level of personalization (4-8 on the scale). If your new website wins you just a few clients you wouldn’t have otherwise gotten, you’re ROI positive. Think of the perception your clients have when they walk into your office as similar to the perception they have of you when they visit your website.
- Nationally recognized brand w/ millions in revenue - Unless you’re testing a concept with an extremely limited audience, you should custom design a template from the ground up (9-10 personalization). Your brand is paramount. Having any semblance of a standard website template will make you seem cheap. Not that those designs aren’t good – you’re just a nationally recognized brand. Great brands are unique.
Bringing this back into context of utilizing Sixty’s Hire™ product:
- “Standard Template” - Represents roughly 0-3 on the personalization scale.
- “Enhanced Template” - Represents roughly 4-8.
- “Custom Template” - Represents 9-10.
Setup with one of Squarespace’s industry-leading templates. They're are mobile-responsive out of the gate and built to look great. If you’re on a budget, you won’t go wrong with a more basic level of customization. You can think of Standard customization like a high-qualify off-the-rack piece of apparel. It’s well designed, built to last, and optimized for value.
If you’re a new business testing a concept, organization, and the like, we recommend starting off with a standard template. If you’re not confident in your site’s ROI or you’re not planning on generating money at all, this is typically the best option. You can always come back to your designer to ask for an upgraded design later, although you’ll be paying slightly more than you otherwise would have to create a separate scope of work.
The Standard level of customization typically doesn’t require much, if any, custom coding. Theses sites are the most maintainable and easy to add more pages by yourself with.
Advanced customization takes Squarespace’s templates and personalizes them to your brand. While the templates look modern and sophisticated, Squarespace has over 1,000,000 users. Advanced customization takes more steps to refine your site to your brand’s unique personality. You can think of an advanced template like a tailored piece of clothing. It’s fitted specifically for you and takes an extra step to make you stand out from the crowd.
We recommend Advanced customization for those most confident in their website’s ROI. Doctors, lawyers, financial services professionals, established bloggers, and the like should choose this option.
These sites achieve their look by using custom code. They are very-slightly less maintainable compared to Standard templates. If you request an intro to designers from us, we take every effort to make sure designers offering Advanced Customization services are coding in a way that preserves maintainability as much as possible. You can expect training or a specific note about how maintenance will change with your new template. Another thing to note with this choice is that Squarespace performs template updates every few months. Occasionally an update will happen that breaks a small piece of your site. For example, a font style. In our experience, skilled designers code your site in a way that avoids this. If it does happen to you, it’s often a quick 15-30 minute fix.
Guaranteed to impress. Designed from the ground up to amplify your brand’s personality to the highest degree. If you can dream it, chances are you can achieve it with Bespoke customization. You can think of Bespoke customization like made-to-order apparel. It’s expensive and takes longer to make, but the result is a perfect fit and a one-of-a-kind look. No one will tell your site was built on Squarespace with this package.
Established brands and larger corporations and organizations competing at a high level. You’re generating strong revenue from your company.
These sites are heavily custom coded and may use Squarespace Developer Mode. While your designer will create your site in a way where you can easily add content, any further customization to the template, like font-style changes, will almost certainly require professional work.