Starting a brand new website on any platform can be overwhelming. However, there a couple of tasks that every new Squarespace user should check off their todo list before diving in to the content and design customization.
Hide your site from Search Engines: No Index / No Archive
“What?! Hide my site? Are ya nuts!” Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying! Every new website starts out as a Squarespace subdomain- yourwebsite.squarespace.com. The majority of you will be (or at least should be!) using a custom domain. Squarespace even gives you a free domain with any annual purchase. Otherwise, you can easily get one for under $10 per year elsewhere. (I like Namecheap.com).
A popular topic on the community forums is how customer’s Squarespace domain is showing up in the search engine’s search results instead of their custom domain. Ironically, many folks post this link in the forums when asking for help on other topics (make sure the link is not clickable if you do post it!). And if anyone links to you or shares your SS subdomain before you get a chance to map your domain, then forget about it, you are most likely going to show up in the Serps with that subdomain.
There are ways to “downgrade” or redirect these links, but why not make your life easier and just don’t link, share or be found while on your Squarespace subdomain. Of course, you must make a note to go back and check the option and allow search engines to index/archive your website once you are ready. Hehem, trust me, this kind of thing happens to the best of us
Optimize your Titles and Meta Descriptions
It may seem strange that we are optimizing titles and meta descriptions for search engines while at the same time hiding (noindex/noarchive) it from them. But this will have major seo benefits once you have mapped your custom domain and you are ready for your site to go live. Creating meta descriptions for each of your pages as you go will make your life easier in the long run.
Goto Website Management > Website Settings > Searching/Indexing > Search Engine Parameters
Of course there are many options of where to go from here. For the most part and now that you have cut your strings (albeit temporarily) from the search engines recording your every move, feel free to play around and create whatever you want in whatever order that gets the job done. However, I do suggest signing up for Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics. Even if you don’t have the inclination or the time to use these tools right now, go ahead and let them start working for you. Eventually you will want access to the valuable (and free!) data these tools have been aggregating in the background.
I’m almost finished with a “How to Optimize your Journal Configuration” post that will walk you step by step in setting up your blog / journal so be sure to check back or subscribe to our Rss feed!
Related Official Squarespace Help Docs:
- CAN I RESTRICT PORTIONS OF MY WEBSITE BEHIND A PASSWORD? HOW DO I ADD AN EDITOR TO MY ACCOUNT?
- RECONFIGURING A PAGE, WIDGET OR SECTION
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