10 Tips for Building Custom Websites With Squarespace Developer Mode






So you've decided to build a custom website using Squarespace Developer Mode. Nice choice - their platform makes it easy to create a stylish site without needing to know how to code. But if you do have some web design chops, Developer Mode unleashes the full power and flexibility of Squarespace.


With a few clicks, you can access the code editor and tweak the HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to create a truly unique site. But where to start? It can be difficult to choose among all the available possibilities. Don't worry, we've got you covered.


In this article, we'll share 10 tips to help you build a custom Squarespace site like a pro. From enabling Developer Mode to adding custom fonts and animations, these tricks will give you full creative control over your site's look and feel. Your clients and visitors won't believe you built the entire thing yourself without writing a single line of code.


10 Tips for Building Custom Websites With Squarespace Developer Mode


















Turn on Developer Mode


To unlock Squarespace’s full customization potential, you’ll need to turn on Developer Mode. This opens up code editing, letting you tweak templates and create custom designs.


To enable Developer Mode, go to Settings → Advanced. Switch "Enable Developer Mode" to "on". A warning will appear letting you know that editing code can break your site. Don’t worry, any changes you make are reversible. Just be sure to preview and test them first.


Once Developer Mode is on, a new option called “Edit Code” will appear throughout your Squarespace interface. This lets you access the code for pages, blocks, stylesheets, and templates. You can add custom CSS and JavaScript, edit HTML, and make changes to Squarespace template files.


A few tips for customizing in Developer Mode:


  • Start with minor changes like editing text or adjusting padding before overhauling templates.


  • Preview and test all changes to ensure there are no issues before publishing.


  • Comment your code well so you understand what you did if you need to undo it.


  • Learn Squarespace template structure and syntax. Their Developer Platform has resources to help you become familiar with their system.


  • Keep a log of changes in case you need to revert. Squarespace updates can sometimes override custom code.


With some practice, you'll be tweaking templates and crafting custom designs in no time. Developer Mode unlocks a whole new level of creative control and flexibility for your Squarespace site.



Understanding the Squarespace Template Structure


To really customize your Squarespace site, you need to understand how their templates are structured. Squarespace templates come with pre-designed pages, layouts, and styles to get you started. But under the hood, they’re built on a framework that gives you a lot of flexibility.


The essential details you should be aware of are:


  1. Page types - Squarespace has standard page types like Home, About, Contact, Blog, and Gallery. These can either be used as-is or modified. You can also create custom page types for unique needs.
  2. Layouts - Each page type comes with one or more layouts that determine the overall structure. You can swap layouts on any page or create your own custom layouts.
  3. Blocks - Layouts are made up of blocks like images, text, galleries, maps, etc. You can add, remove, and rearrange blocks on any page. You can also modify block settings to change their appearance and content.
  4. Styles - Squarespace has preset styles for things like fonts, colors, button shapes, and more. You can modify these styles or create new custom styles. Styles allow you to change the look and feel of your whole site at once.
  5. Code injection - If you want even more customization, you can inject custom CSS and JavaScript code. But be careful, as this can make your site harder to update in the future.


With some time exploring the Squarespace template framework, you'll be customizing pages, creating unique layouts, designing your own blocks, and styling your site to match your brand in no time. The key is starting simple and building up from there. Happy customizing!



Using Page Templates


Squarespace Developer Mode gives you access to page templates that provide the basic structure and design for your site pages. Using the right templates will make building your custom site much easier.


Choosing a Template


Squarespace offers a variety of page templates to choose from. Select one that closely matches the type of page you want to build. For example, use the Blog Post template for blog posts, the Gallery template for an image gallery, or the Product Page template for an e-commerce product page.


Once you've selected a template, you can then customize it by adding page sections, adjusting the layout, changing the design, and modifying the content. The template provides the foundation, but you shape it into what you need for your particular page.



Editing a Template


To edit a page template:


  1. Go to Pages in your Squarespace site dashboard.
  2. Choose the Add Page option to start a new page.
  3. Select a template from the list of options. The new page will open using that template.
  4. Add or remove page sections as needed. Page sections include things like images, galleries, blog posts, products, etc.
  5. Adjust column layouts and widths to your liking. Most templates offer 1-3 column layouts.
  6. Change the page design by selecting a different style from the Design menu. Choose a style that matches your site's overall look and feel.
  7. Modify or replace the sample content in the template with your own words and media.


Don't be afraid to experiment with different templates, sections, and designs. You can always revert back to the original template or undo changes if needed. The key is finding what works best for your particular page and aligns with your site goals. With the right template as your foundation and a few customizations, you'll have a unique page built in no time.



Customizing the Template's SASS Code


After choosing a template, it's time to modify it to reflect your brand. Squarespace Developer Mode gives you access to the template’s SASS code, which is a CSS preprocessor used to generate the CSS stylesheet. Editing the SASS code allows you to make more complex changes to the template’s styles.


Finding the SASS Code


To access the SASS code, go to Design > Advanced > Developer Mode. This will open the Style Editor, which contains the SASS files for the template. The main file is styles.scss. This imports several other .scss files that control specific parts of the template like typography, forms, buttons, etc.



Making Edits


You can edit colors, fonts, spacing, and more by tweaking the values in the SASS code. For example, to change the primary button color, find the $primary-button-color variable and enter your desired hex code. To change the header font, edit the $header-font-family and $header-font-weight variables.


  • Use comments (#) to note any changes you make.


  • Compile your code frequently to see the changes live on your site.


  • Be very careful editing core template files like _reset.scss and _variables.scss.




Adding Custom SASS


You can also add your own .scss files to the Style Editor to create custom styles. For example, you might add _custom.scss and import it into styles.scss:


```scss


// Import custom styles


@import "custom";


```


Then in _custom.scss, add your own SASS code to create custom buttons, a newsletter signup form, image galleries, or anything else you need for your site.


With some practice, you’ll be tweaking Squarespace templates like a pro in no time using Developer Mode and SASS. Customizing the code gives you granular control over the design and styles of your website for a truly tailored look.


Adding Custom JavaScript


Adding custom JavaScript to your Squarespace site allows you to enhance functionality beyond the built-in features. You have full control to build custom interactions, animations, and more.


Enable Developer Mode


To add custom code, you'll first need to enable Developer Mode in your Squarespace site settings. This unlocks additional tools for developers.


Create a Code Block


The easiest way to add JavaScript is by creating a Code Block. Go to Design > Add Block > Code Block. Give the block a name like "Custom JavaScript".


Add Your Code


In the Code Editor, select JavaScript as the language. Then add your custom JavaScript code. You can reference page elements using their ID or class names.


For example, to hide an element on click, you could use:


```js


document.querySelector('#myElement').addEventListener('click', function() {


document.querySelector('#otherElement').style.display = 'none';


});


```


Use the Squarespace API


Squarespace provides a robust API to interact with content, commerce, and more. You can access the API from your custom JavaScript to build advanced features.


For example, to get blog post data in JSON format, use:


```js


fetch('https://your-domain.squarespace.com/api/1/posts')


.then(response => response.json())


.then(posts => {


// Use post data here



});


```


The Squarespace Developer Platform has full API documentation to explore.


Test Your Code


Be sure to test your custom JavaScript thoroughly before launching your site live. You can preview your site in Developer Mode to check for any errors or unintended behavior.


Consider a Code Injection


For more complex JavaScript needs, you may want to consider a Code Injection. This allows you to add JavaScript files, create advanced interactions, and build custom blocks. You will need to be comfortable with Squarespace's Template Language (TSL) and Liquid markup to create Code Injections.


With some JavaScript knowledge and the power of the Squarespace Platform, you can create unique custom experiences on your website. Let your creativity run free!




Conclusion


So there you have it, 10 tips to help you build a custom Squarespace website that stands out from the crowd. With a little bit of CSS and HTML know-how, the world of Squarespace Developer Mode is your oyster. You can tweak designs, add custom features, and make a site that looks like no other.


The best part is, you don't need to be an expert coder to get started. Just dive in, start experimenting, and see what you can create. Who knows, you might just build the next big thing! If you're willing to put in the effort, the opportunities are limitless. So go ahead, fire up that Developer Mode and start customizing - your dream website awaits!












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