Editor’s note: Squarespace recently announced Squarespace Refresh, its annual release of new features and updates (including video monetization and custom merch tools). We’ll be updating this content with additional information in the weeks to come.
Looking to take your filmmaking, video-editing, or streaming talents beyond YouTube, Vimeo, TikTok, or Twitch? A personal website filled with your best work can attract potential clients, grow an audience, and help flesh out your brand. It can even serve as an alternate source of income — think virtual classes or behind-the-scenes exclusives that are ripe for the monetizing.
As far as website builders go, Squarespace(opens in a new tab) is a popular pick for creatives because it takes a streamlined approach to site management and design. With pricing starting as low as $14 a month, all of its plans(opens in a new tab) include 24/7 customer support, unlimited bandwidth, performance metrics, SEO features, ecommerce tools, and SSL security. It also maintains a huge library(opens in a new tab) of stylish, mobile-optimized templates that are easily customized using drag-and-drop page elements; you don’t need any coding experience to create a visually stunning site that runs smoothly.
Oh, and did we mention that all of those templates support video?
Truthfully (and depending on how decisive you are), this could be a blessing or a curse. On the one hand, you’ve got so many templates to choose from — 234, to be exact. On the other hand, you’ve got so many templates to choose from that it can be hard to settle on a select few, especially if you’re still not sure exactly how you want your site to look.
Below, you’ll find Mashable’s guide to choosing the right Squarespace template for video and a roundup of our current favorites.
What is a Squarespace template?
A Squarespace template or theme is a pre-built demo website that’ll serve as “a starting point to help inspire your site’s design,” according to its support center. You can leave that website mostly as-is and simply repackage the demo content with your own branding, or give it a top-to-bottom makeover with different colors, font packs(opens in a new tab), layouts(opens in a new tab), and content blocks(opens in a new tab) — it all depends on how unique you want your site to be (and how much time and effort you feel like spending on it).
Templates work differently depending on the version of Squarespace(opens in a new tab) you’re running. You’ve got two options as of June 2022:
Squarespace version 7.0 contains 91 templates(opens in a new tab) it sorts into different “families” that share the same fixed structure and formatting options. Some experienced Squarespace designers prefer using this version because a handful of its advanced functionalities still aren’t available in the newer one (the Brine(opens in a new tab) template family’s parallax scrolling(opens in a new tab) effect, for example), but the inability to mix and match features from different families can make it feel inflexible.
Squarespace version 7.1 merged all 143 of its templates(opens in a new tab) into one family, so all of them share the same features and style elements. The demo designs wind up looking a little more homogenous, but the trade-off is that you can easily switch between templates without risking content loss. Version 7.1 templates can also be built out using Fluid Engine(opens in a new tab) (new as of July 2022), Squarespace’s next-gen, grid-based content editor; it offers more flexibility for block placements and layout options compared to the platform’s Classic Editor.
Some fine print: It’s technically possible to move from version 7.0 to version 7.1(opens in a new tab), but that usually involves a manual rebuild and a hit to your site’s search ranking. If you’re not sure which version you should use, go ahead and boot up Squarespace’s free 14-day trial(opens in a new tab) — that’ll let you explore both before locking in a paid plan.
How do you add video to a Squarespace site?
You can add videos to your site(opens in a new tab) in three different ways, which also depend on the version of Squarespace you’re running.
Embed videos from YouTube, Vimeo, Animoto, or Wistia using a URL or embed code. This works with video blocks(opens in a new tab), embed blocks(opens in a new tab), gallery blocks(opens in a new tab), gallery pages(opens in a new tab), cover pages(opens in a new tab), lock screen backgrounds(opens in a new tab), and some banners(opens in a new tab) and product pages(opens in a new tab) (depending on the template family) in version 7.0, and with videos pages(opens in a new tab), video blocks, embed blocks, section backgrounds(opens in a new tab), lock screen backgrounds, and some gallery blocks (depending on the site area) in version 7.1. You can even include livestreams from YouTube and Vimeo, but note that they may not work after the stream is over depending on your settings.
Upload .mp4, .m4v, or .mov files. Version 7.1 also lets you add clips directly to any videos page or section background (up to 5GB or 500MB, respectively). These play on the platform’s custom video player and feature editable titles, descriptions, URLs, thumbnails, and metadata. Note that all Squarespace plans come standard with just 30 minutes of high-resolution video storage, but you can upgrade by activating its Member Areas feature for an extra fee. (More on that in a sec.)
Swap static images for animated .gif files. Sound-free GIFs that play and loop automatically can go anywhere on your site where images are supported, including image blocks(opens in a new tab), banners, and gallery blocks. Both versions of Squarespace give you this option.
This one comes with an important caveat as well, which is that Squarespace doesn’t include any video metrics in its analytics(opens in a new tab) tab. Plays of embedded videos may add to your total view count, but you’ll have to contact your host (e.g., YouTube) for more intel.
What other video tools does Squarespace offer?
Squarespace has launched a few cool new video-related tools within the past couple years, one being the aforementioned Member Areas(opens in a new tab) feature. Add it to your plan for as low as $9 a month to unlock more video storage and the ability to gate certain content on your site, including virtual workshops, tutorials, packages, and newsletters. It makes a good in-house alternative (or supplement) to Patreon or YouTube channel memberships, as you can charge users a one-time fee or a recurring subscription for access.
The other new addition to its suite is Squarespace Video Studio(opens in a new tab), a mobile app that makes it easy to create premium videos you can share directly to your site and/or on social media. Featuring professionally designed video templates you can autofill with your site’s brand styles and product images, its AI voiceover tool and built-in teleprompter (with script length suggestions!) make it easy to whip up clips on the fly. It’s free to download with any Squarespace plan or trial, with full access unlocked for Business and Commerce subscribers.
How do you pick the right Squarespace template?
Squarespace’s templates tab(opens in a new tab) lets you filter its library by Type and Topic, which should help you condense your pool of candidates quite a bit. Hit the “View Demo Site” button after clicking on any template to see what a live version could look like — very few include video, unfortunately, but keep in mind that they’re fairly easy to add almost anywhere on a site. Squarespace notes(opens in a new tab) that “you may find it easier to start with a design that’s already close to how you want your site to appear,” so focus mainly on colors and layouts that catch your eye.
Need some better direction? Keep scrolling to check out seven Squarespace templates that work especially well for video right off the bat.
Note: Most of our recommendations are from Squarespace version 7.1, but we’ve sprinkled in a few options from version 7.0 that continue to stand out. Templates have been labeled accordingly.
Best for a portfolio
- Squarespace version: 7.0
Lange(opens in a new tab) may be a Squarespace version 7.0 template, but a stunning homepage filled with full-bleed banner images for different projects (which you can easily swap for GIFs or videos) has secured its standout status. Each of those projects direct to separate pages where you can stash credits and go into detail about your process, while links to a simple one-column blog, a contact page, and an “about” page (“Studio Info”) live in the top navigation menu. It could probably use some social icons somewhere, but other than that, it’s an ideal video portfolio site right out of the gate.
Best for a one-page site
- Squarespace version: 7.1
Need a website that’s packed with information but extremely easy to navigate, especially on mobile? Go with Oranassi(opens in a new tab), a slick Professional Services template that covers all of your need-to-knows on one page. Its demo version features a scrolling carousel of visuals up top where a collection of GIFs could go, followed by a list of your services, more project teasers, a company mission statement, some team member headshots, and a rotating gallery of client testimonials. Better yet, the whole thing is peppered with lots of call-to-action buttons that link out to your email. We’re not fans of the typewriter-style typeface Squarespace picked for its body text, which feels odd and kind of distracting, but you can change that in a click or two.
Best for freelancers
- Squarespace version: 7.1
Bright and inviting, Laurie(opens in a new tab) is a retro-inspired Portfolio/Professional Services template with two obvious strong suits: showcasing your work and connecting you with potential clients. Its comprehensive homepage slips tons of visuals among sections for your bio, a list of services, testimonials, and a collection of recent blog posts; alternating colors and some cool fade-in animation effects keep it from feeling like an information overload. Visitors can submit inquiries directly through a separate contact page — there’s a great pre-made form there — or hit the red “Free consultation” button at the top of the site to find a time to meet using a built-in Acuity Scheduling block(opens in a new tab).
Best for agencies
- Squarespace version: 7.1
Nolan(opens in a new tab) is another template from the Portfolio/Professional Services categories with a bold, one-stop homepage. It immediately presents visitors with your mission statement, a featured visual, and a link to a list of your services, then continues with a prompt to see your full portfolio, a featured project with a cool collage-y layout, and a past client roster. An “about” page (“Company”) in the top navigation menu is where you’ll introduce the staff and/or the company’s vision and values. The typefaces in the demo version are perfect for mobile, and the white-on-black color scheme is moody and elegant — anyone who uses Dark Mode will be a fan. Its only notable flaw? A mysterious lack of social icons anywhere on the site. You’ll have to go in and add those yourself.
Best for hosting virtual classes
- Squarespace version: 7.1
Not famous enough for a MasterClass? No problem: A Squarespace template like Passero(opens in a new tab) that’s pre-enabled with its Member Areas(opens in a new tab) feature makes it easy to publish and monetize your tutorials and workshops (or any kind of videos, honestly). One of the few templates that actually features video in its demo site, its relatively short homepage includes full-bleed visuals, multiple calls-to-action, and a participant testimonial. You’ll find an “About” page with instructor bios, a “Classes” page with course curriculum, a “Contact” page with a simple form, and a “Login” link for subscribers in the top navigation. Squarespace did a good job with the calming neutral color palette, too.
Best for streamers and YouTubers
- Squarespace version: 7.1
Another rare template that includes video in the demo, Otroquest(opens in a new tab) is pre-configured for someone who puts out a steady stream of content. Highlights include a schedule for upcoming livestreams, a grid of your VODs, a store page for merch, and a fantastic “Support” page with prompts for tipping, subscribing, purchasing Twitch Bits, and joining a community (hello again, Member Areas). Social icons for your Twitch, YouTube, and Instagram pages appear in the top and bottom navigation menus so visitors never have trouble finding them. The only thing we don’t like about Otroquest is that the featured blog post at the beginning of the homepage makes it seem like a news site at first glance, but that’s an easy delete.
Honorable mention: Arcade(opens in a new tab) (7.1).
Best for an online store
- Squarespace version: 7.1
Lexington is a playful modern template that’s well-suited for online stores with featured videos, whether you want to demonstrate how a product works or give potential customers a behind-the-scenes look at your process. Its dedicated, pre-made “Videos” page includes a full-bleed banner GIF and thumbnails that can be sorted into different categories; clicking on one takes you to a fullscreen video with space for a brief writeup below. Meanwhile, its grid-style shop features product images that change when hovered over. A simple bio page and a “Contact” page with a pre-added form round it out.
Haley is a Mashable shopping reporter based in Chicago. Before joining the team, she covered politics for The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, wrote about exotic pet ownership for the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, and blogged for several Jersey Shore stars. In her free time, she enjoys playing video games and hanging out with her parrot (Melon) and dog (Pierogi). You can follow her on Twitter at @haleyhenschel or reach her via email at [email protected].
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