In November, Squarespace announced a new subscription plan for people who simply want to set up a landing page or cover page—a one-page website, basically. This is a fantastic option for authors who want to promote a new book (and for writers or editors who want to create an online résumé). You don't need to know how to code, every subscription includes hosting, and annual subscriptions include a free domain name. You can choose from a variety of themes, customize the look, and switch between themes and styles at no cost as often as you like. (Bonus: all of Squarespace's themes are responsive, which means they look great on any device and any screen size without any extra effort on your part.) Most importantly, Squarespace offers 24/7 support, so you can focus on character development and let someone else figure out why all of the links on your website are suddenly upside-down.
Plans are priced really competitively and start at $60/year (or $7/month if you aren't interested in committing for a full year). When you factor in the domain name, hosting, 24/7 support, and a selection of beautiful and responsive themes, it's a great price for a really important investment.
This sample page took me five minutes to make, and most of that time was spent coming up with silly placeholder text.
No Coding Skills Required
I have a background in web design, so I frequently get requests from friends who want help setting up a website for a small business. Squarespace is my top recommendation because it allows me to help someone create a beautiful website and then easily show that person how to update their own site. If you want to change a font, you choose it from a dropdown. If you want to change a color, you select it from a color wheel. Even for a full website like Second Breakfast Media, I arrange the content by dragging and dropping the different elements where I want them (includes text, images, videos, etc.). If you're familiar with something like Microsoft Word or Pages, you should have no trouble creating a beautiful website with Squarespace.
Free Hosting and Domain Name
Setting up the hosting and domain name (the URL, like "secondbreakfast.me" or "yourbooktitle.com") for a new website can be daunting, and it usually costs me $10-15/month just for those two things. Squarespace is a game-changer. Hosting is included with the price of every subscription, and you can register a free domain name with any annual subscription purchase. (If you already have a domain name registered somewhere else, Squarespace has really wonderful tutorials to help walk you through the process of linking your domain name with your Squarespace account.)
Beautiful, Responsive Themes
It is really hard to make a Squarespace site look bad. Every single one of their themes is beautiful on its own, and with a few minor modifications, you can make it fit your own style. Change the fonts, images, colors, sizes, and alignment without any coding knowledge—all with a live preview of what it will look like on your desktop or mobile device. As I mentioned earlier, you can switch themes at any point (all themes are free to use), and every design is responsive, so it will automatically restructure your website's content to look good no matter what size screen its viewed on.
I have lost count of how many times I have tweeted at or sent an email to Squarespace support, and they have always been quick to respond and diligent in finding a solution to my problem. Sometimes, I've made a mess of my own site and need help getting out of a picklet; other times, I've discovered a unique problem that Squarespace is quick to acknowledge and fix. This alone is worth the cost of the subscription, in my opinion. (Learning about web design is really fun, but crawling through dusty forums in a panic while your website is imploding is not fun.)
Use the official Squarespace coupon code (GIMME10) to get 10% off any annual purchase.
Note: Squarespace is what I use to design and host the Second Breakfast Media website and blog, but this post is not sponsored. I am simply a happy customer who cannot stop recommending this product/service to everyone.