Squarespace Test Website: Essential Steps for Previewing Your Design

By Akim Perminov

Founder & Lead Designer

Creating a test website on Squarespace is an essential step for anyone looking to launch a polished and functional site. As an intuitive website builder, Squarespace provides users with the tools needed to design, build, and run a test site before going live. This practice allows me to experiment with different layouts, themes, and content without affecting my live website. Whether I'm new to web design or a seasoned pro, testing out my ideas in a controlled environment offers the chance to refine my website’s user experience and troubleshoot potential issues.

The process begins with setting up a trial site on Squarespace where I can explore the platform’s capabilities. Utilizing the various customizable templates and design features accelerates the creation of a test site that mirrors the look and feel I envision for my final product. Adding content, implementing integrations, and assessing site functionality are all tasks I perform easily within this trial space. This approach not only improves the overall design but also ensures that my website operates smoothly, providing a satisfying experience for future visitors.

Key Takeaways

  • Squarespace enables the creation of test websites to refine design and functionality.

  • Customizable templates and tools facilitate the building and experimentation process.

  • The trial phase is crucial for ensuring smooth operation and a positive user experience.

Understanding Squarespace


When I discuss Squarespace, I focus on its comprehensive tools that allow for the creation, testing, and management of websites tailored to a variety of needs.

What Is Squarespace?

Squarespace is a platform I recommend for individuals and businesses that desire an all-in-one solution for website creation and hosting. It provides users with intuitive design tools, customizable templates, and a user-friendly content management system that simplifies the process of building and maintaining a professional online presence.

Benefits of Using Squarespace for Testing

In my experience, Squarespace's testing capabilities are particularly useful. Here, users can:

  • Preview changes: Before going live, you can review site modifications.

  • Test orders: You can simulate transactions to verify the checkout process functions smoothly, essential for e-commerce sites, as seen on Squarespace Help Center.

  • Create test pages: This function is excellent for experimenting with different layouts and features while fine-tuning your site, per guidance from Creating A Test Page On Squarespace.

Using Squarespace for testing is ideal for ensuring a website not only looks good but also operates efficiently from a user experience viewpoint.

Setting Up a Test Website

When I build a website, setting up a test site on Squarespace is crucial to experiment with different designs and functionalities before going live. It allows for a risk-free environment to ensure everything runs smoothly.

Choosing the Right Template

I start by selecting a template that aligns with my vision and goals for the website. Squarespace offers a variety of templates that cater to different industries and uses. I ensure the template is flexible and suits the content and features I plan to implement.

Custom Domain vs Squarespace Subdomain

When configuring my test website, I have the option to use a Squarespace subdomain or a custom domain. A Squarespace subdomain is free and is structured as sitename.squarespace.com, which I find useful for testing purposes. If I want a more professional look or plan to transition smoothly to live, I sometimes opt for a custom domain; though, this typically incurs additional costs.

Designing Your Test Site

Creating an effective test site on Squarespace involves a strategic approach to both layout and branding. These elements are fundamental for sculpting a user experience that's reflective of what the final website will offer.

Customizing Layouts and Pages

I begin by selecting the right template that aligns with my website's goal, keeping in mind that every template can be tailored to suit different needs. After choosing a template, I focus on customizing the layouts and pages. Here's what I do:

  1. Structure my pages: Ensure that each page serves a purpose and contributes to my site’s overall flow.

  2. Adjust page settings: Tailor the settings like the page description and SEO to my needs.

  3. Edit content blocks: Click and drag different content blocks to structure the page precisely how I want it.

  4. Utilize Spacer blocks: These help in creating adequate white space for a cleaner, more visually appealing layout.

Incorporating Branding Elements

Branding elements include logos, color schemes, and typography, which are crucial for making my test site resonate with my brand identity.

  • Logos: I upload my logo, and if necessary, adjust its size and placement to ensure it's visible and makes an impact.

  • Color Schemes: I choose a color palette that matches my brand, using it consistently across all pages.

  • Typography: The fonts I select speak volumes about my brand personality; hence, I choose them carefully and use no more than two to three font types for cohesion and clarity.

Incorporating these elements thoughtfully ensures my test site reflects the unique essence of my brand, providing stakeholders with a clear vision of the final product.

Adding and Managing Content

When I build a test website on Squarespace, my focus is on efficiently adding content and managing it through the platform's robust system. It's crucial for me to understand how to use these features to reflect the desired appearance and functionality of my test site.

Using the Content Management System

I begin by navigating to my site's dashboard where I can access the content editor. Here, I am able to click on any area to add new content, which includes text, images, and other media. It's a straightforward process: I simply click an insert point and choose the type of content I wish to add from a selection menu. The platform allows for real-time editing, which means I can see my changes as I make them, ensuring I can fine-tune my test website precisely.

  • Adding text: I select the Text Block from the menu to add paragraphs, headings, or quotes.

  • Inserting images: By choosing the Image Block, I can upload and embed images directly onto the page.

  • Embedding videos: Using the Video Block lets me insert videos by pasting a URL or embedding code.

Squarespace's CMS allows me to drag and drop blocks to rearrange the layout, and I can utilize the Style Editor to customize fonts, colors, and other settings to match my brand's aesthetic.

Optimizing Images and Media for Test Purposes

As I populate my test site with content, it's important for me to optimize images and media. This ensures faster loading times and a better user experience. I usually:

  1. Compress images before uploading them to the test site to reduce file size without significantly affecting quality.

  2. Use appropriate file types; for instance, JPG for photos and PNG for graphics with transparency.

  3. Limit the number of videos and high-resolution images on a single page to prevent slowing down the site.

  4. Test different media formats to determine which works best on various devices, maintaining a balance between quality and performance.

By sticking to these practices, I guarantee that my test site remains responsive and gives an accurate representation of what the live version would perform like.

Testing Site Functionality

When I confirm the functionality of a Squarespace test site, my focus is on key elements like mobile responsiveness, interactive components such as links and buttons, and the integrity of form submissions and data handling processes.

Ensuring Mobile Responsiveness

I always begin by resizing my browser window to simulate various screen sizes, ensuring the site adapts smoothly. For a comprehensive check, I also use Squarespace's Mobile View which is accessible from the bottom of the editor page. This feature allows me to preview and interact with the mobile version of the website directly, without needing to rely on physical devices. My objective is to confirm that all content is legible and navigation is seamless, even on the smallest screens.

Link and Button Interactions

Each link and button on the Squarespace platform is crucial to site navigation and user experience. I methodically test every interactive element to confirm they:

  • Link to the correct pages or external sources

  • Trigger the right actions (e.g., download a file, submit a form)

  • Highlight appropriately on hoverPractical execution of this step prevents users from encountering the frustration of unresponsive or incorrect redirects.

Form Submissions and Data Handling

Forms are the lifeline for capturing leads, feedback, and inquiries. I meticulously test form submissions, taking note of the Data Capture process:

  1. Fill out every field in the form to verify data is accepted as intended

  2. Submit the form to ensure successful data transmission

  3. Check the connected email or database for the entry

By doing this, I can be confident that user data is managed correctly and securely, maintaining the integrity of the site's purpose and user trust.

Integrations and Plugins

In developing Squarespace websites, I’ve found that leveraging Integrations and Plugins can significantly enhance both functionality and user experience. These powerful tools allow me to customize and scale websites according to the needs of each project.

Extending Functionality with Third-Party Apps

I routinely enhance my Squarespace sites by linking them with third-party services. These services include analytics tools like Google Analytics which provide insights into visitor behavior, or typography services like Typekit for custom font options. These integrations are fundamental in expanding the capabilities of a website beyond its core features.

  • Analytics: Track website performance and user engagement.

  • Typography: Utilize a variety of fonts to improve site aesthetics.

Using Squarespace Extensions

Squarespace offers a curated list of extensions that seamlessly integrate with my sites, enabling me to customize ecommerce features, or to add marketing and shipping tools. These extensions are specifically designed for Squarespace, which means they maintain the platform’s design integrity and provide a consistent user experience.

  • Ecommerce Enhancements: Add specialized shopping features.

  • Marketing and SEO: Improve visibility and reach for my site.

Feedback and Iteration

In building a successful Squarespace test website, I focus on gathering detailed user feedback and implementing iterative improvements to refine the site's design and functionality.

Collecting User Feedback

I use multiple methods to collect feedback from users. One approach is to integrate a feedback form directly on the site, where users can easily share their thoughts on usability and design. Additionally, I might set up user testing sessions to observe how people interact with the website in real-time. This can offer valuable insights that are not always evident from written feedback alone.

Making Iterative Improvements

Once I've gathered feedback, my next step is to prioritize and make iterative improvements. For each round of updates, I focus on:

  • Prioritizing issues based on factors like user impact and ease of implementation.

  • Making small, incremental changes to ensure that each update brings the site closer to the ideal user experience.

  • Testing each change thoroughly to confirm that it addresses the feedback without introducing new issues.

By repeating this process, I ensure continual enhancement of the Squarespace test website, making informed decisions that are guided by actual user experiences.

Publishing the Site

Before a test website goes public on Squarespace, certain critical steps are necessary to ensure a smooth transition. I will guide you through the process of taking your test website live and then detail the important task of monitoring its performance once it is accessible to your audience.

Going Live with Your Test Website

Taking my test website live involves a clear sequence of actions. First, I ensure that all pages are designed to my satisfaction and that content is finalized. I navigate to the Settings panel, locate the Site Visibility option, and select "Public". After confirming my billing information, I click "Save" to publish my site. This procedure is illustrated on Squarespace Help Center, ensuring you can follow the precise steps.

Monitoring Post-Launch Performance

Once my site is live, it's essential to monitor its performance closely. I check the site's analytics regularly to gather data on visitor behavior and page views. This monitoring helps me understand how well the new site meets user expectations and where improvements may be necessary. Squarespace includes built-in tools for this purpose, which makes the process efficient and user-friendly. Insights from analytics are valuable for tweaking the site’s performance, which can be read about in more detail here.

Maintenance and Updates

When I discuss maintaining and updating a Squarespace website, I focus on two essential elements: keeping content fresh and ensuring the site's security and stability.

Scheduling Regular Content Updates

Updating content regularly is crucial for keeping visitors engaged and improving SEO rankings. I recommend scheduling updates, such as blog posts or portfolio additions, on a consistent basis—perhaps weekly or bi-weekly. In my practice, I utilize Squarespace's built-in calendar to plan these updates, making sure my site always has something new to offer.

  • Weekly Blog Posts: Update every Monday to keep content fresh.

  • Monthly Portfolio Refresh: Showcase recent work to attract new clients.

Managing Site Security and Backups

For security, Squarespace provides robust, built-in protections that I rely on. I ensure that these features are always up-to-date, and I am vigilant about running test orders to monitor the checkout process for any potential issues. As for backups, although Squarespace doesn't offer a traditional backup tool, I make it a habit to export my website's data regularly for peace of mind.

  • Weekly Security Checks: Review and update security settings.

  • Monthly Data Exports: Download and store site data externally.

Frequently Asked Questions

In this section, I cover some of the most common inquiries about Squarespace's test site features, including sharing, collaboration, trial limitations, and methods for starting a trial.

How can I share a preview link of my Squarespace website?

To share a preview of my Squarespace website, I go to the Settings panel of my site, navigate to the 'Website' section, and select 'Sharing & Permissions'. From here, I can enable 'Shareable Link' and provide the generated URL to others for viewing.

Can I add collaborators to edit my Squarespace site during the trial period?

Yes, I can add collaborators to my Squarespace site during the trial. I simply invite them via email through the 'Permissions' section under 'Settings'. Collaborators will need to create their own Squarespace accounts to edit the site.

What are the limitations of the Squarespace free trial?

The Squarespace free trial usually lasts 14 days, and during this period, I can't make my site public or process real payments in an online store. However, this is ample time to build and test most features of the website.

Can I extend my Squarespace trial before it expires?

If I need more time, I may be eligible to extend my Squarespace trial for an additional seven days directly from my site's dashboard, giving me further opportunity to evaluate and refine my site.

What happens to my site when the Squarespace trial ends?

When my trial ends, my site becomes private and is not accessible to the public. To make my site live again, I'll need to choose a subscription plan and publish it.

How do I start a Squarespace trial to create a test website?

I start a Squarespace trial to create a test site by visiting the Squarespace website and clicking on 'Get Started'. I'll be guided through the process of choosing a template and starting my trial, no credit card required.

Gain an advantage

Having trouble with making your website work? Upgrade your brand in 7 days with our agency-level Squarespace templates!

Gain an advantage

Having trouble with making your website work? Upgrade your brand in 7 days with our agency-level Squarespace templates!