First off, don’t panic. It’ll all be okay. I mean we’re talking about Squarespace here, so you know everything is going to be just fine, right? They’re not the sort of company to just leave their customers high and dry. They make it simple to create your own website, but they’re also in the business of being easy to use.

And they’re pretty cool to boot.

So your website’s trial period is ending and now you’ve got some decisions you need to make. I feel like this is an exciting time! If it’s what you want to do, then you’re just a few steps away from debuting your great new website to the world. If that’s not a reason to get excited and party, then I don’t know what is.

So let’s start partying! 🎉

The most important question you need to ask yourself

If you’ve got a Squarespace website trial going and you’ve built out a site that you’re feeling pretty great about, then the answer to this question should be easy, but it’s still important to ask:

Do you really want to have a website?

If not, then that’s perfectly okay. Just make sure to delete your site and cancel everything before your card gets charged. You don’t want any financial surprises.

If you do, then let’s keep moving forward.

Decide what Squarespace plan you need and upgrade

You’ve got four choices and four different pricing options here:

  1. Personal - $16 a month or $144 a year
  2. Business - $26 a month or $216 a year
  3. Basic Commerce - $30 a month or $312 a year
  4. Advanced Commerce - $46 a month or $480 a year

The choice here is up to you. If you’re just blogging or running a photo gallery for yourself, then either of the first two options are fine. If you’re working on starting an online shop, then I would recommend either of the last two options.

Since you’re running a trial site, you’ll have noticed a banner at the bottom of your Squarespace editor window. Click the Upgrade Now button to be walked through the process of selecting a plan and paying for it.

Get yourself a snazzy new domain

I’m a huge fan of using Hover to find and buy all my website domains, but if you want to keep everything in one place, then you’re in luck. Squarespace sells domain names! Even better: if you sign up for one of their annual plans, you can get a domain name for free for the first year. You’ll need to pay a renewal fee every year after that, but it’s still a great deal (and renewal fees tend to be inexpensive).

You can start searching for domain names here or, from your Squarespace Home Menu, click Settings and then Domains.

A screenshot of the Domains menu in the Squarespace website editor. The old Dandy Cat Design page is shown on the right side of the page.

From that menu you either purchase a Squarespace domain or, if you already own a domain name, you can connect it to your Squarespace account. This is usually a fairly straightforward process and Squarespace has great support articles to help you do it.

It may take a little while for your website to be accessible through this new domain name of yours. This is a normal thing and you shouldn’t worry about it unless it takes more than a few days for your domain name to work.

Make sure your website is set to “Published”

Trial sites are set to private by default. You can see your site, but other people won’t see anything if they search for it. Now that you’ve paid for your plan and have a great domain name to go with your website, it’s time to make it accessible to the public.

To do this, in the Home Menu, go to Settings -> Site Availability.

A screenshot of the Site Availability menu in the Squarespace website editor. The old Dandy Cat Design website is on the right side of the page.

Here you can choose between Public, Password Protected, and Private. Select Public and click Save.

Connect a payment processor

If you’re running an e-commerce site, then you’ll need to make sure you have a payment processor that can help you get the money people will be spending on your products or services. You won’t be able to sell anything otherwise.

Navigate from the Home Menu to Commerce and then Payments. You can connect either a Stripe account, a PayPal Business account, a Square account (for point of sale transactions), or any combination of the three.

A screenshot of the Payments menu in the Squarespace website editor. The old Dandy Cat Design website is on the right side of the page.

Once the payment processor is connected you’ll be able to start collecting payments for your awesome goods.

Getting a website going can sometimes feel like a daunting task, but taking things one step at a time can make the whole process a lot easier. In the case of going live with your trial Squarespace site, there are only four or five simple steps you need to worry about.

Squarespace’s legendary ease of use doesn’t just apply to designing a website on their platform, they also make the behind the scenes stuff dead simple.

It’s never been easier to get a website up and running, so let’s go live with your site today.

Debut something wonderful, cats.

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