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  1. When starting an online business, marketplaces and/or social platforms are usually a great option for taking the first steps into the world of ecommerce. They make it easier to find your audience, allowing you as a seller to expand your reach and accelerate customer acquisition. As you find your niche and your business starts growing, seeking an independent online presence could be an exciting next move to make. It’s an opportunity to take control and tell your brand story in a more cohesive and professional way. Squarespace helps make the operational aspects of such a move easier for sellers by offering an automatic option to import products from third-party platforms. From your experience with moving your business from a marketplace toward a more emancipated online presence, what are your top tips for someone starting a similar journey? Share them with us in the comments below!
  2. When conceptualizing and creating a website, font choices are often the last thing we think about. However, choosing the right fonts can not only help you aesthetically, but it can also aid in the user experience by having an impact on readability across different browsers; creating a consistent brand identity, and avoiding eye fatigue. Not all fonts are created equal, and it pays to do some research and choose a combination of fonts or a font family for your site taking into consideration the language that you’re writing in (specifically if it has non-standard characters, like those derived from cyrillic), how long your text is going to be, and the personality of your brand. It’s a whole world of fonts out there! From classic and elegant serif fonts, to minimalist sans serif fonts, these choices communicate who and what your business is to the world. Get to know more about choosing fonts in this practical guide published by 99Designs. As an additional resource, Google’s Design library has a great guide to using Google Fonts, which is a popular destination for web safe fonts. What are your experiences choosing fonts for your site or another site you’ve worked on? Tell us in the comments below!
  3. The world of digital advertising can be a complex and exciting undertaking. With so many tools at your disposal –like Google Ads, Facebook and Instagram ads, search engine optimization tools, audience and conversion trackers– deciding how, what, and when to advertise online can become a full time job. However, the tools mentioned above are there to help you succeed and create an advertising plan that works for you and your business. But, how do you start creating an advertising plan for your online business? Quicksprout has a great resource with actionable steps on how to put together an online marketing plan that works for you and your business. Some of the foundational steps include: Focusing on your customers wants and needs Create a marketing framework focused on growth Building a robust social media presence Having a compelling brand story Use free and paid traffic acquisition Leverage some of your content for marketing purposes What tips do you have for getting started in online marketing and advertising? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
  4. Choosing a domain name (the address/URL of your site) is a momentous occasion in your journey as a website owner. A domain is your brand’s first impression and coming up with a unique and memorable name is something that often requires some thought. Common best practices include: Use keywords (about what your business is or where you are located) so your audience can find you easily Keep the name short and simple for easy typing and memorization Keep pronunciation in mind to favor word-of mouth Register mistyped domains, so no matter what your audience types, they'll always be directed to your site. If you already have a business name, then you’ve got your starting point. Either way, a decision also needs to be made about what TLD/domain extension (part of a URL that follows the last period) to pick. While .com is the most familiar and easiest to remember, you could consider other common choices such as .net, .org, or even location (.uk, .ca, .au) or business/niche (.yoga, .community) based extensions as an alternative. No matter what, ideally your decision would be a long lasting one. While it’s always possible to change your domain later on, some caution is required to avoid hurting search rankings. How did you come up with your own domain name? What are your top tips on choosing the right one? Share in the comments below!
  5. According to the US Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy, there were at least 31.7 million small businesses in the United States as of 2020, accounting for 99.9% of businesses in the country. This means that millions of people, in the US and all over the world, have taken the plunge to not only bring their ideas to life, but to take ownership of the work that comes with being a successful entrepreneur. All those late nights developing business plans, counting inventory, or receiving early morning deliveries eventually pay off and are worthy of celebration. We’d love to know, what have been your biggest success stories as a business owner? Do you have any advice for prospective entrepreneurs? Celebrate your wins and share your experiences in the comments below!
  6. We’re all creating content daily –whether it be through social media posts, forum interactions, voice notes, and blog posts; content is a great tool to reach out to your audience in relatable and useful ways. However, not all content is created equal and, more importantly, not all content serves a purpose. According to Quicksprout, having a clear content strategy and specific benchmarks for success –like increases in traffic, conversions, mentions, likes, or sales– can be a great tool to reach your business goals, create brand awareness, and offer something of value to your readers or prospective customers. In order to create engaging content, they recommend the following: Create content that is unique and unmistakably yours. Don’t skimp on your content marketing budget. Create actionable content. Use the power of storytelling to your advantage. Create eye-catching headlines. Writing this type of content isn’t easy and, more often than not, it requires market research and a trial and error approach in order to figure out which type of content and strategies work for you. Do you have any tips on how you create appealing headlines and content for your site? Share in the comments below!
  7. Launching a website is an ongoing process and it’s important to celebrate the victories, no matter how big or small! We want to know what milestones you’ve hit. Did you: Write your first blog post? Update your custom logo? Land on the perfect color palette? Increase your social media following? Sell your first product? Send out your first email campaign? Something else? Let us know what milestone(s) you’re proud of! And looking ahead, what milestones do you hope to hit in the near future?
  8. Launching an online store can be as easy as choosing your website provider, uploading cool images for your products, setting a price, and selling them or advertising them in a marketplace. However, planning your online store launch thoroughly can help you manage expectations for your business and achieve long term success. To start, some experts recommend: Fully fleshing out your business idea, including researching your business name, target market, and their motivations for purchasing your products. Writing a comprehensive business plan that includes an exit strategy. Creating a budget and researching additional funding sources, like loans or business grants. Following government regulations and guidelines for registering your business as a legal entity. Building your team and creating your branding. Because businesses are varied and have different needs, there really isn’t a blueprint you can follow wholesale. Everyone’s timeline is different! Just check out what these startup founders told The Muse on how they fared when they started their businesses. What do you wish you’d known before launching your online store? Tell us all about it in the comments below.
  9. There are currently more than a billion websites out there in the world, and keeping track of all the information you want or need to know on a daily basis is a full time job most of us don’t have the time to complete. Newsletters are not only a great way to have curated information about the topics you are interested in delivered right to your inbox daily or weekly; they’re also a great way to find out industry trends, resources, and to hear from your peers. They can be enriching, motivating, insightful, and also a great tool to promote creativity in all facets of your life, not just your business. We’d love to know, what are some of your favorite newsletters? Which newsletters have you turned to for help or have inspired you along your journey?
  10. Starting a new business can be an exciting, yet scary, process –from coming up with the idea for your products to drawing up a business plan that works for you, creating your brand, and finally bringing your business to life. There’s no one size fits all method to starting a business, but there are certain steps you can take to prepare yourself to launch your big idea. Forbes recommends considering these questions: Does your business idea solve a problem for you or someone else? Have you researched your potential market? Do you have a defined audience? Have you validated your idea? As an example, Squarespace customers Ergo Chic and Soul Cap considered their own needs and the needs of people around them to create businesses that solved existing gaps in the market. What was the first step you took to make your business idea a reality? What recommendations do you have for emerging entrepreneurs? Share your experiences and learnings in the comments below!
  11. With so many channels available for advertising a company and its products, it can be tricky to decide how much to spend on advertising and where to allocate your budget to maximize profit for each dollar spent on ads. According to Inc., a successful advertising budget takes into account several things, including the cost of each product, the target consumer, which media channels (i.e. social media or more traditional mediums like print and television) are best to reach your target audience, and their motivations for buying your products. Not to be confused with marketing, the right advertising can boost your company’s presence in the minds of consumers and, as a result, can help you reach your profit goals. How do you make the most of your advertising budget? Which mistakes do you avoid? Tell us all about it in the comments below.
  12. Favicons are a fun and unique way to maintain your branding consistent throughout the browsing experience. In essence, a favicon or a browser icon, is a small square image that displays next to a page's title in browser tabs and in other places across the web. Adding a custom favicon makes your site recognizable in a browser full of tabs or bookmarks. Sometimes the 16 X 16 pixels small icons can also display as the default image in search histories and search ads, and they can indirectly benefit SEO by increasing the usability of your site. Find out more about the history of the favicon. All Squarespace websites come with a default cube image as the favicon. Have you added your own favicon to your site? Do you have any recommendations for designing effective or innovative favicons? Share in the comments below!
  13. Vision statements are a powerful tool for companies both big and small. They serve as a North star for where you want to take your business in both aspirations and impact. While mission statements focus on the present, vision statements are all about the future. Vision statements are about finding the balance between simplicity, inspirational, meaningful to you, and most importantly, actionable. You can start developing your vision statement by asking yourself questions like what is the purpose of my business? What are my long-term goals? What are my company values? Then take these answers to craft 1 to 2 sentences that sum it up. Other best practices include using the present tense, and avoid using industry jargon. Some great examples of inspirational vision statements include: Ben & Jerry’s: "Making the best ice cream in the nicest possible way." TED: “We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and, ultimately, the world.” How did you develop the vision statement for your business? What guiding questions did you find helpful? Share your learnings and vision statements in the comments below!
  14. The year is flying by; we can’t believe we’re already more than halfway through! We wanted to take a moment to celebrate some wins with you all focused on customer interactions. It’s no secret that customers are a crucial part of any business and we’d like to hear about moments that they provided much appreciated levity or reminded you why it is that you do what you do. Share your favorite customer interaction, of the year or in general, in the comments below!
  15. A business plan is a crucial step towards bringing your idea to life. It is your roadmap to guide you through the winding road of getting your business off the ground. Beyond establishing your business’ focus, a solid business plan can also help you secure funding and attract top talent. Your business plan should answer questions like what is the purpose of your business? Who is your audience? What needs are you filling? How will you define success? Researching and writing out the answers to these big questions will help you set yourself up for success. How did you tackle your business plan? What resources did you rely on, and what learnings did you gain along the way? Share your tips for developing a solid business plan in the comments below!
  16. Choosing images for your website can be a fun, yet daunting, task. You need to decide how you want to present your brand to potential customers. You can choose to keep your website imagery focused solely on your actual product, or open it up to some more varied imagery. Showing people and faces in your images can be a powerful tool. They can serve as visual cues so that your visitors will ‘look where they look’, guiding visitors through your website’s information. This kind of image can provide context for your products, or even lend more authenticity to your About or Testimonial pages. Others can find the inclusion of people and faces distracting, particularly if the images are very obviously staged stock photos. Where do you land on using people in pictures? Have you noticed their impact or lack thereof? Share your learnings in the comments below!
  17. Keywords are essential for generating traffic from search engines. But which keywords should you use? And how do you brainstorm your ideas? Let’s go through some ways to generate ideas and different types of keywords you can use. To get started, there are tons of organizational note apps that lend themself to a personal brainstorm, so play around and see what works for you! I personally use Google’s JamBoard as my virtual sticky note go-to. This way I can visualize the contents of my site and see what keywords make sense for which pages. For my example photography business, I decided to break it up into the different types of photography I’m involved in and some potential keywords that would relate: Some questions to ask yourself when brainstorming: Who is your target audience? What sets you apart from your competitors? What synonyms can you utilize? For example: New York photographer and NYC photography are two different keywords. And what other words does Google autofill? Type the words you've come up with in Google and see what else pops up! When determining types of keywords, there’s “Head” and “Long-tail”, and there are benefits to using both types. Head keywords are short, usually one-word keywords that catch a wide audience like ceramics, tapestry, and shoes. Long-tail keywords are Multi-word phrases that are more specific, such as engagement photography, NYC shoe designer, and LA dog cafe. Head keywords can catch a more general audience who might not be specifically looking for you, whereas long-tail keywords cater to those who search with the intent of finding a specific product or service. How did you brainstorm your keywords? Any tools or tricks that aided you in the process? Share your thoughts and tips in the comments below!
  18. Congratulations, the first big step has been taken - you launched your website! Now, it’s time to check how it is doing. Monitoring Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for your site will help you determine its performance, uncover optimization opportunities and ultimately assist you with converting your visitors into actual customers. Squarespace Analytics is our website reporting tool, designed to empower users with a wide range of insights including pageviews, conversion, sales, referrers, and bounce rate, that can offer a clear picture of how your site is performing. Set yourself up for success thinking through what exactly you want to measure, why you are measuring it, and what actionable steps you’ll be able to take. And through the Squarespace App you can have this info accessible on the go! The most relevant and useful metrics to track are certainly dependent on your website and business goals. Nevertheless, there are some claimed key website KPIs that should require attention like conversion rates, mobile vs desktop traffic, or traffic sources. Which are your top ones and why? Tell us about them in the comments below.
  19. Sliders AKA slideshows are revolving carousels in a website showing products or photos. Often they’re displayed as a banner at the top of the webpage and occupy the full width of the browser window. They create a dynamic browsing experience and offer visitors a taste of your brand, your work, or offerings. With Squarespace you can create sliders using Gallery Sections, Summary Blocks and Gallery Blocks. While their usage is very popular and they can be helpful to consolidate content so more is visible on one screen, some find them more often distracting than attracting, due to the fact of several messages being delivered at once which can lead to the focus being lost. Deciding if including carousels is the right choice for you will depend on your business, audience, and goals. What are your feelings on using sliders and what are some examples where you feel folks have used them intentionally and effectively? Share in the comments below!
  20. Google My Business (GMB) is a free tool for managing the address and information that appears for your company in Google Search and Maps. Is it worth listing your business? The short answer is: yes. You can either set this up directly in Google, or within your Squarespace website you can manage Google My Business via the Marketing > Location Management panel. Having an additional avenue for your customers to call, email, visit your website, and engage with your business can help boost your search rankings. You can engage with customer reviews, list your contact and business information, and gain insights into local search performance. You may be asking: what if I don’t have a physical address to list for my business? Well, there are several options available if you want to use Google My Business. You can list “I deliver goods and services to my customers" to hide an address The post office can assign a physical address to a P.O. box upon request You can rent a mailbox at a private delivery company that offers the same option Have you leveraged Google My Business for your own website? Any insights gained from it’s additional analytics? Let us know in a comment below how GMB has worked for you! Note that Location Management is a Premium feature available in Business and Commerce plans. Only site owners and contributors with Admin permissions can make changes to Location Management.
  21. Promotional pop-ups are a great way to grab someone’s attention when they visit your website. You can let potential customers know about exciting sales or the launch of a new product. Pop-ups can also be used for more ‘housekeeping’ purposes like conducting surveys or asking visitors to verify their age for any age-restricted content you might have. On Squarespace you can tailor a variety of aspects of your pop-ups to maximize their impact. You can choose the layout, deciding between a subtle placement in the bottom right corner or going for a more dramatic, full page design. You can also customize the timing and frequency that they display. Learn more in creating a promotional pop-up. How have you used promotional pop-ups on your website? Which settings have been the most impactful for you? Share in the comments below!
  22. Call to Action (or CTA) is a buzzword in the Marketing and Web Content fields these days. But, what actually is a CTA? Simply put, you’re inviting your visitors to take a desired action. It can range from two words (“Buy Now”) to two sentences, and its end goal could be anything - getting email subscribers, trial sign-ups, conversions, etc. A well crafted CTA can determine not only whether people take the desired action, but also how many. For an effective CTA, you need to consider both the design and the placement. For the design you can consider questions like how long should it be? How do I want to format it so it pops? When it comes to placement options, you can choose to put it at the top of your website for maximum visibility. Or you might find that placing it after some contextual info makes it that much more impactful. Do these decisions sound familiar to you? Tell us all about your learnings, tips and best practices on how to design powerful CTAs for a website and where to place them in the comments below!
  23. ‘Above the fold’ traditionally refers to print media, specifically the upper half of the front page of a newspaper. There is some debate amongst web designers as to whether the concept of ‘the fold’ applies to digital content. Some believe that given device context, such as viewing a website on a mobile device, scrolling is an agreed upon action. As long as it looks like there is a reason to keep scrolling, visitors will continue to do so. Others believe that even if the exact location of the fold changes between devices, it still very much exists. Visitors will only continue to scroll if the content above the fold is promising enough to encourage them to do so. Clear indicators of the content to come, like anchor links or engaging imagery, will let your visitors know they have arrived at the right page and encourage them to keep scrolling. Do you think of the fold when designing your website? Has it affected how you structure your content? Tell us all about it in the comments below!
  24. Colors can be used throughout your website to tell the story of your brand. They are a key part of the experience the customer has with you, as colors are often what a customer remembers most. Colors are also an opportunity to direct your visitor’s eye towards important buttons or calls to action (CTAs). While it’s tempting to stick to your brand colors throughout your website, we find that choosing a different color for these buttons and CTAs helps them stand out. Think of your brand colors as your ‘passive’ ones and choose an ‘action’ color for all of your links and buttons. What are your color preferences for your website? Do you like the contrast of ‘action’ colors or prefer to keep it all within your brand color palette? Tell us about how you use color in the comments below.
  25. There are many exciting ways to grow your business beyond traditional marketing, including being proactive about creating an outreach list to generate buzz for your business. Your outreach list can include social media influencers, industry bloggers, traditional reporters for industry publications, or even the owners of similar businesses. Networking in these groups can help you reach and connect with your target audience on a variety of fronts! How did you build your outreach list? Did you develop a standard pitch to send? Tell us all about how you tackled the outreach process and what you learned along the way in the comments below.
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