Squarespace has made one of the most significant updates in recent history with Squarespace Version 7.1
This new version is only available as early access at this time, but as a Squarespace Circle member, I was able to get access to look around the new platform.
I spent some time working with the latest version and compiled my thoughts on what works, what doesn’t and how you can get started with Version 7.1.
Let’s jump into it!
What’s New with Squarespace 7.1?
Version 7.1 is an attempt to make the design and styling of your website smoother and simpler for the user. The design related menus had the most significant overhaul.
The Analytics, SEO or Commerce sections of your Squarespace site will be the same on either version.
A few things to note before we continue:
Version 7.1 is only available for early release.
You can not switch a 7.0 site to 7.1. You would need to create a new website at this link in order to access a 7.1 site.
You can not use a 7.0 template on a 7.1 site.
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Squarespace 7.1 Highlights
Let’s start with what Squarespace Version 7.1 has to offer. There are more features to this version than I am listing here, but these are some of the most significant updates to the platform.
You can learn more about the features, here: About Squarespace Version 7.1
A page section is similar to the stacked Index Pages you find in Version 7.0.
With page sections you are able to select pre-built layouts or customize layouts to create a unique style throughout your page. These layouts can be anything from banner images or videos, footer layouts, quotes or testimonials and more!
Additionally, you can move, edit and delete your page sections easily in this new version. For instance, if you design a page at the bottom of your website and later decide you would like it at the top, you can easily edit the placement or add a new section all together.
Learn more about this here: Squarespace Version 7.1 Page Sections
This may seem like a small upgrade, but it’s my personal favorite.
With Version 7.1 you are now able to double-click on any block to open the edit menu or begin editing. You can also begin editing your page simply by double-clicking no matter what menu you are currently using.
Having to leave the Design menu to start editing a Page is one of my biggest headaches with Squarespace Version 7.0, so I hope they make this a universal change.
Another upgrade that I think will be important for many entrepreneurs is the use of 4 Headings.
With Version 7.0, you would need to add CSS to your website to get a fourth heading option. Squarespace has made this simpler*.
*I’m not a fan of the Style Themes, so I want to say simpler with a grain of salt. ;)
Squarespace 7.1 Limitations
Now, let’s talk about Squarespace Version 7.1 limitations.
The style themes is the most significant limitation.
Although, this may make designing a website easier for some, I think the interface is less intuitive and incredibly limiting.
The Style Themes enforce large scale style changes that can be difficult to customize. That means, you may be making font or color selections that are applied in ways you didn’t intend.
In order to customize them, you have to dig deeper into the Design menu than you have to in Version 7.0.
This isn’t a total loss, but it can be confusing to navigate at the beginning. I’ll show you more about this later in this blog post.
Limited Font Selection
While working on this blog post, I noticed there are limited fonts to choose from with Version 7.1.
I don’t know if this is going to remain the number of fonts (currently there are only 24 to choose from) or if these are the only fonts available for the early release. If so, I find the font selection to be lacking.
As of right now, there are no separate styling options for mobile display with Squarespace 7.1. Your site will automatically adjust to mobile settings.
As mobile viewing is growing in popularity, it is unfortunate that Version 7.1 didn’t expand on this editing functionality.
Getting Started with Squarespace Version 7.1
I want to show you a little behind-the-scenes of editing and designing in Squarespace Version 7.1.
Let’s start at the beginning.
When you log-in to your website in Version 7.1 it looks the same. You still have all your primary menus on the left-hand side, a preview of your website in the main area and the ability to view mobile or a pop-out in the top corner.
When you navigate into the Pages menu, at first glance everything appears the same.
However, once you select the + icon, you’ll notice this sub-menu looks incredibly different.
Your new menu will now list:
Pages: Blank Page and Page Layouts.
Collections: Blog, Store, Portfolio and Events.
More: Folder and Link
To get started, select the Page Layout.
These layouts are broken into subsections to make them easier to navigate.
Each subsection has a few design layouts to choose from to help you get started with the layout of your design. They are fully customizable so you can make each layout unique to your website.
When you select a layout it will open it up into a new page. Here, you can begin editing the layout by simply double clicking on any block you wish to edit. (*PRAISE HANDS*)
Additionally, these layouts are designed as Page Sections, similarly to vertical Index Pages in Version 7.0, but there is one element that makes them a little more user friendly.
Now, when you go to edit a Page Section you can simply click the up or down arrow on the right-hand side to rearrange the overall layout.
Alternatively, you can select the blue + sign in between two sections to add a new section at anytime.
Now, let’s look at the Style Themes
Let’s navigate back to the main menu and select the Design tab.
Once there, you will notice that this menu has had some significant changes made to it.
This new menu now lists out: Fonts, Colors, Buttons, Spacing, Blog Posts, Product Items, Image Blocks, Browser Icon, Lock Screen, Checkout Page, 404 Page, Social Sharing and Custom CSS.
Let’s start with the Font tab.
When you select the Font tab it brings you to a new menu.
This new menu is broken down into three main categories: Sans-Serif, Serif, and Mixed. These are the most common font categories and as such, Squarespace has broken down your font selections to help you more easily navigate them.
With this new menu, when you select a font it automatically shows you how it would appear on your website.
To edit a selected font, select the Gear Icon.
That opens up an additional menu where you can view how the fonts you have selected are being used: Headings, Paragraphs, Buttons and Meta.
To edit those sections, simply select one of them menu tabs and adjust the line spacing, style, weight, sizing, etc.
If you want to make specific changes, outside of the Style Themes, navigate to to Fonts > Select the Gear Icon > Advanced. This will be at the bottom of the menu under Headings, Paragraphs, Buttons and Meta.
This will open up a new menu that allows you to customize each individual font setting.
Select the specific font you would like to customize, whether that’s the Site Title, Header Button, Announcement Bar, Menu Nav, etc.
That will open a new menu where you will see a Style and Size Dropdown. Change those settings to Custom in order to fully customize those settings to fit your needs.
The Pros of Squarespace Version 7.1
Page sections will make updating your website quicker and easier.
Double-Click Editing will save you time and frustration.
4 Headings will allow you more flexibility with your design.
The Cons of Squarespace Version 7.1
Limited style variations for colors and fonts can make your website look like a template.
No mobile editing functionality can cause some unforeseen issues.
Limited font selections is just that - limiting.
At the end of the day, I think Squarespace Version 7.1 is great for entrepreneurs who need to quickly and efficiently design their website. If you want a more custom or one-of-a-kind website, you may want to hold off on Version 7.1 for the time being.