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Choosing the right template

We offer a variety of templates you can customize to create a site that presents your style, brand, and vision to the world. While all of our templates are adaptable to different purposes — from minimalist blogs to portfolios of full-bleed images — each template has its own unique features and style. This guide offers advice on picking the right template and some important factors to consider.

Before you begin

  • You can switch your template at any time. Starting with a template that's right for you will make designing your site easier, but if you decide a template doesn't meet your needs, you can preview a new template or switch completely without starting over. For more information, visit Switching templates.
  • If you're unsure of how you want your site to look, we recommend brainstorming the general features you want on your site. Do you need space for lots of big images? Are you going to be writing a blog? Is this site for an eCommerce store? Putting together a list of your desired features will make it easier to find the right template.

Website vs. store templates

You can choose any template, regardless of whether you're on a Website or Commerce plan.

All templates include the ability to showcase and sell products, but some have features that are optimized for online selling, such as Quick View and Image Zoom. For a list of templates that support advanced or unique Products Page options, visit Products Page styles.

The Cover Page plan uses layouts instead of templates. For help picking the best one for you, visit Cover Page layouts.

Template demos

Visit Squarespace.com and select Website or Commerce.

You can then view the available templates for that product. Each template demo site, like bedford-demo.squarespace.com, uses sample content to show the template's special features and provide inspiration for your design.

Click a template to view its demo site. Rather than focus on the business used in the demo content, we suggest looking for specific features that appeal to you.

For example, our Basil demo site is for a restaurant, but Basil's parallax scrolling Index Page can be used for any site if you're interested in combining bold headlines with alternating images.

Information, images, and eCommerce

When selecting a template, we recommend thinking about the overall purpose of your site. After considering the purpose of your site, you can browse templates while paying attention to the page types and features that vary significantly between templates.

Sites generally fall into the following categories:

Information

The goal of your site is to provide information to visitors, like business hours, who you are, or an overview of a project. The goal might be passive, where visitors find the information, read your blog, and move on, or active, where they sign up for a newsletter, submit a form, or contact you.

Images

The goal of your site is to display beautiful images. If you're an artist, design studio, or photographer, an image-focused template will help you display your work to prospective clients. Sites for restaurants, weddings, and more can also be very visual.

eCommerce

The goal of your site is to sell products, services, or media. If you're selling a small number of products, you can use a Website template to create a small shop. But if eCommerce is the primary goal for your site, a Commerce template provides advanced features to help your product display match your brand and vision. 

Browse for specific features

Once you have a goal for your site, it might help to browse the demo sites and look for the design features that you'll use the most.

Index Pages

Index Pages organize multiple pages or galleries into a single collection using thumbnail images. Depending on the template, this could be a grid of images or a series of scrolling banner images. Index Pages vary greatly between templates and are a great way to present a portfolio, information about a business or project, and more. To learn more about Index Pages and the templates that support them, visit Using the Index Page.

If the template you want doesn't support an Index Page, you can still display content from multiple collections on a single page using the Summary Block.

Gallery Pages

Many templates feature unique Gallery Page designs for displaying media in exciting ways, including full-bleed images that span the width of the page. If a gallery will be an important feature of your site, look at the Gallery Page on the demo site of any template you're considering.

If the template you want to use doesn't have a Gallery Page you like, you can use Gallery Blocks instead. For more on the differences between these gallery types, visit Gallery Blocks vs. Gallery Pages.

Products Pages

For eCommerce stores, Products Pages are perhaps the most important feature to consider when you get started. They control how customers will navigate through your store. Commerce-focused templates feature unique Product Pages with additional features, but all templates support Products Pages. If you're a merchant, look at the Commerce templates' stores until you find a layout that speaks to you.

Products Pages are the most common area to display items for sale, so we recommend picking a template with a Products Page you like. However, you'll have more flexibility beyond what's in a template's Products Page. You can use Product Blocks to highlight products or create custom layouts on Regular Pages, blog posts, and other content areas.

Blog Pages

The style of Blog Pages and blog posts varies between templates. This includes what meta data displays, like author, date, categories, tags, and more. If blogging will be an important part of your site, we recommend selecting a template whose Blog Page you love.

Social icons

Most templates support social icons for connected accounts like Facebook and Twitter. The location and appearance of these icons varies between templates, making it an important factor to consider. For a list of templates with built-in social icons, visit Displaying social icons.

The Social Links Block can be used as a replacement for built-in social icons on Regular Pages, footers, editable headers, and more content areas. To learn more, visit Using the Social Links Block.

Navigation, sidebars, and footers

The final important variations to consider when selecting a template are its navigation menus, sidebars, and footers.

  • Navigation menus - When browsing templates, pay attention to the placement and behavior of their menus. Additionally, some templates feature secondary navigation menus for displaying an additional set of links or provide navigation options from within an Index Page or folder. In most templates, you can customize the spacing, font size, and position of these menus.
  • Sidebars - Sidebars are only supported by specific templates. Sidebars may be used on all pages, Blog Pages only, or other combinations. If you want sidebars on one or all of your pages, look for demo sites that have them. For a list of templates with sidebars, visit Editing sidebars.
  • Footers - Various templates support footers. Some templates have options for two footers. For a list of templates with footers, visit Editing footers.
Note: Since navigation menus, sidebars, and footers are important structural elements of a template, we don't recommend using custom CSS to add these features to templates that don't support them.

Get started

As soon as you pick a template, you can start building your site with it right away. To get started, visit Squarespace.com.

More help

We've found that the best way to pick the right template is experimenting by switching templates on your site. However, we know sometimes it helps to just ask an expert.

If you have more questions about our templates after reading these tips, open a ticket so an Advisor can help you find the perfect template. Provide any of the following information to help us suggest the right template for your needs:

  • What is your site for?
  • What are the most important features you're looking for?
  • Do you want an image-heavy site, or would you prefer more white space and text?
  • Is your focus on Information, Images, or eCommerce?
  • Any examples of Squarespace sites or other sites you're using for inspiration.
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Choosing the right template