Choosing a Squarespace Template for a Portfolio Website

How To Choose a Squarespace Website Template

Using A Squarespace Website For Your Business

Squarespace makes it easy to build beautiful portfolio websites but like all things that seem easy on the surface, it takes practice to make something truly unique.  Think of it this way, anyone can buy a Fender Stratocaster and a Marshall amplifier on EBay for less than $1,500, but it’s going to take some time and effort to play anywhere near as well as BB King.  To stick with the guitar analogy, this article has been written to help you know if a Martin Road Series Acoustic or Gibson Flying V is the best choice for your goals.

Finding The Best Squarespace Website Template for a Built Environment Firm

When we build websites for architects, interior designers, landscape, and design-build firms, we start by working with our clients to determine which Squarespace template best fits their needs. We often start by looking at the way a site delivers visual content and Squarespace provides a variety of templates designed to exhibit photographic galleries.  We're looking for a template that will fulfill your current needs and allow you to post work into the future without changing the structure of the website. Image captions, titles and descriptions play a tremendous role in the search engine optimization of your website. Choosing a template that allows written content to be affiliated with an image and also allows the written content to be hidden from view is an option we look for. If you want your website found online, then you must have on page SEO.  But having a block of text on top of your image is generally not acceptable. 

Every Squarespace website allows you to change quickly from one style of a template to another, but the content on the page will migrate into some unusual configurations when making the change. A new templates page structure can mean much more work than just flipping the switch and making a template change. Plan to decide on a template and stick with it.  With 35 templates available and an infinite number of customizations, we spend considerable time questioning our clients to determine the best template fit for their needs. This conversation goes far beyond a templates look and feel.  We want to get to the core of your business and will ask questions such as how do you hope to attract new clients, what are your sales goals, and how do you allocate your marketing and advertising budgets to specific lead generation tactics. The answer to these questions - and more- will help us make template recommendations before we start building your website. 

Does a Squarespace Template Matter That Much?

Yes and no. When choosing a Squarespace website template, it is more important to choose functionality over look and feel. The reason for this is directly tied to the difference in how a Squarespace website is built compared to other more popular platforms like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, and you typical web technicians proprietary platforms.  When using Squarespace, you are not tied to a particular template design for your pages look and feel. Every page including the home page is designed using content blocks. Older content management systems make it difficult to change the size of an image, text area or remove a sidebar from a blog as an example. You're often forced to choose a different hard coded page template that comes close to the look and page structure you want. Most WordPress website templates come with a set of predesigned templates that can not be changed without creating a new Photoshop file, converting it to HTML and uploading it via FTP to your Wordpress platform. Four weeks and hundreds or thousands of dollars later you can now upload images to a new fixed size.

Squarespace pages are customizable using a flexible grid system. If you want to change the width of an image, gallery, text block, pull quote, or make any variety of design changes, you grab the edge of the content block and drag it horizontally to the size you want.  If you want it located somewhere else on a page, drag it to the location. Want to crop the image to be a panoramic view that runs the width of your page? Just pull the bottom of the image up until your image height is narrow. In a nutshell, Squarespace pages are infinitely customizable in seconds, not days. This allows you to concentrate on the most important reason for having a website, creating compelling content that attracts your ideal prospective customers. 

How To Choose a Squarespace Template

When it comes to choosing a template for home design companies, there are a few things to consider. Squarespace offers three broad template categories, Website, commerce and cover page templates. For this article, we will stick with website templates. Commerce websites are designed primarily for selling items online. These are ideal if you are an interior designer looking to supplement your core business by selling home decorator items, rugs, furniture, etc. but are not the best choice for most built environment companies seeking to sell services. Cover pages are small websites that are ideal for specialized purposes such as under construction pages, landing pages, and online resumes. Cover pages can be used in conjunction with a standard website template, but that is another article. 

Once you we’ve determined the goals for your website, review example sites that have the features that will help you attain your engagement goals.  The following are highlights of the attributes Squarespace websites contain that we consider when helping choose a website template. For a deep dive into the features, download our guide, 85 Reasons For Using Squarespace" below.

Index Pages

Index Pages organize multiple pages or galleries into a single collection of small sized images. Squarespace templates have two index types; a grid of images as can be seen in the Avenue template or scrolling banner images as are used in the Pacific template. Index Pages deviate significantly between templates.  They are an excellent way to display a portfolio of home designs.

Gallery Pages

Many templates feature unique Gallery Page designs for illustrating your work. For architecture, a home page gallery that features full-bleed images that span the width of the page is often a good choice.

Blog Pages

A well-designed blog is the heart of any online content marketing initiative.  The display of blog posts, as well as supporting information such as blog excerpts, will vary between Squarespace templates. Look for templates that display author, date, categories, and tags and have a sidebar content area.

Social Icons

Squarespace templates support social icons so that visitors can easily visit connected accounts like Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter and many more. The appearance and position of these icons change between templates. 


The placement and behavior of navigation menus will also vary depending on the template choice. Some templates have navigation menus located below banner images. You may also be able to choose the justification of menu navigation, left right or center. This choice is helpful depending on the attributes of your logo. Some templates provide secondary navigation for displaying additional navigation options from within a subsection content area such as an index page or folder. Customization of spacing, font size, and position of secondary navigation menus is possible on just a few Squarespace templates.


Sidebars are only supported by particular templates. The template Five uses a sidebar design that is available for use on all pages. Depending on your template choice, sidebars may be available for use on all pages, or just blog pages but there are a few that allow for other combinations. If you want sidebars on one or all of your pages, look for example sites that have them.


Various templates support footers. Some templates have options for two footers. Footers are useful for call-to-actions that link to landing pages, logos of professional organizations and secondary navigation.

At this point, I am sure many of you are confused by how to prioritize the functionality you need and coming to a decision on what template is best for your business. That's okay. Remember, Eric Clapton spent years playing a guitar before he was able to attract an audience. We are here to help you with your website template choice. Just remember, the key to a good portfolio based website is getting the visitor to examples your work quickly. Sign ups for email marketing and publishing blog articles are keys to converting those visitors into paying clients. Contact us and we will guide you through the decision process and help you choose the Squarespace template that works for you.

About Michael Conway

I'm the owner and strategist at Means-of-Production. My firm builds Squarespace websites, Houzz profiles, and content marketing and advertising solutions for architects, interior designers, design-build contractors and landscape design firms. Our all-in-one marketing tactics attract the right clients with exceptional architectural photography and brand messaging that sets you apart from the competition.