Kelsey Gilbert-Kreiling: Squarespace From Signup to Launch

On episode #231 of The Author Factor Podcast, I am having a conversation with nonfiction book author Kelsey Gilbert-Kreiling. Kelsey is a digital disruptor and the visionary author behind the book "Squarespace: From Signup to Launch."

Kelsey Gilbert-Kreiling and Mike Capuzzi

Kelsey Gilbert-Kreiling co-founded the innovative agency Week of the Website and has built over 800 Squarespace sites, helping entrepreneurs carve their digital paths.

Her book, "Squarespace: From Signup to Launch," serves as a comprehensive guide for users of the platform. One big reason listeners will find Kelsey’s book interesting is that it not only covers the technical aspects of building a website but also incorporates valuable insights from other industry experts, making it an indispensable tool for anyone looking to grow their digital presence.

Unlocking the Author Factor: This Episode's Big Takeaway

The key author factor from this episode is the significance of blending technological expertise with a strong client-focused approach. Kelsey Gilbert-Kreiling emphasizes the importance of using platforms like Squarespace to empower entrepreneurs and businesses, making web design accessible and manageable. Through her agency, Week of the Website, she showcases a model that stands out for its efficiency, client collaboration, and the ability to deliver high-quality websites in a short span of time. Her journey in creating a comprehensive guide on Squarespace reflects her dedication to helping others leverage technology effectively to achieve their business goals.

Kelsey Gilbert-Kreiling shares her Author Factor...

Learn more about Kelsey Gilbert-Kreiling by visiting:


Mike Capuzzi: Welcome back to another insightful episode of the author Factor podcast. My guest today is Kelsey Gilbert Kreiling, a digital disruptor, Squarespace savant, and the visionary author behind Squarespace. From signup to launch. Co-founder of the cutting edge agency week of the website, Kelsey's work empowers entrepreneurs to carve their digital path with over 800 Squarespace sites, to her credit. Kelsey, welcome to the show.


Kelsey Gilbert-Kreiling: Thank you so much. I am so happy to be here.


Mike Capuzzi: You are quite patient, because I know you reached out to us right around the time your book was published and which was latter part of last year, and unfortunately, we were so backlogged. But I do appreciate your patience. Now, you're kind of a seasoned author, so you've got a couple extra months there. Kelsey, I just briefly described your background. I'm a pretty tech savvy guy, so I'm interested in hearing a little bit more about your agency. Tell us your backstory, where you've been and what you're doing today.


Kelsey Gilbert-Kreiling: Yeah, I'm so grateful to have the opportunity to chat with you, and, you know, books are forever, so that's the one thing that is a fun twist on a life built around technology, is I got started building websites, gosh, over a dozen years ago at this point, and launched my agency with my business partner in 2014. So we're coming up on our tenure anniversary.


Mike Capuzzi: Congratulations.


Kelsey Gilbert-Kreiling: Which feels like five minutes and 50 years all at the same time. But when we got started, the goal was really to change the experience of working with a web designer to one that felt very collaborative, high touch, you know, mutually beneficial, and, you know, here we are, years later, week of the website exists, and we've built websites for hundreds and hundreds of different people, whether they're small businesses or large nonprofits. We have quite a swing, and we've done it by using Squarespace. So we really love working with clients who come to us with, you know, a vision for what they want to be and what they want to do. And I have a team of about 25 team members who help those come to life. So that's how I got started in the world of Squarespace and reached a point where I was thinking a little bit about, what's the legacy of that? And had a publisher reach out and ask if I would be interested in writing a book about Squarespace. And my initial reaction was, absolutely not. Why would I want to do that? That sounds very hard.


Kelsey Gilbert-Kreiling: But, yeah, I've always loved to read, and so it felt like something that maybe someday would happen, but it was a great opportunity to really take all that I had learned after many, many years and many, many websites built for clients and create something that could help kind of the next era of people looking to use this tool to empower their own businesses.


Mike Capuzzi: All right, so just for some background, even my own to a certain level, what is Squarespace?


Kelsey Gilbert-Kreiling: Yeah, so Squarespace is a website building tool. You can think of it as kind of a corollary to a WordPress or Wix or Webflow. There are different tools out there that help people build websites without having to know how to use pure code languages. So really they're a great bridge between people who have never used CSS or HTML or JavaScript and people who are maybe in need of their 1st, 2nd or third websites. And it's been around for 20 years. It's now a publicly traded company and a really growing and evolving tool. And every day there are people who click on their website and go to start a trial to build their own sites. So our agency comes in, once people get into that space and maybe they want to go further or maybe they realize, you know what, this is not really my thing.


Kelsey Gilbert-Kreiling: That's fine. Other people can diy it. We come in and help them make their vision come to life using a platform we all know and love very well.


Mike Capuzzi: And I know you said you've got a wide range of clients, but just in case someone's listening, can you just dial in a little bit more? Who's an ideal client for you? I mean, for example, I know a lot of business owners that use WordPress.


Kelsey Gilbert-Kreiling: Yeah.


Mike Capuzzi: Do you find other people that migrate from WordPress to Squarespace so just share a little bit more about who your target client could be?


Kelsey Gilbert-Kreiling: Yeah. So we love working primarily with clients who see their websites as a tool for their business. Candidly, we do a lot of replatforming from WordPress to Squarespace because clients realize that they need to be able to use their website as a central hub for their business. They can't just rely on social media, and these days they need to be able to update information about what they offer and how they work and what they do on their own. In many cases, WordPress is a fantastic tool for updating content, but less so if you are the kind of business who wants to be continually evolving design. So because it is so user friendly, we help bring a lot of small to medium sized businesses to the Squarespace platform. We do quite a lot of work with professional services companies. So attorneys, accountants, folks like that.


Kelsey Gilbert-Kreiling: We also work with a lot of authors. We build quite a few author websites in preparing to promote their books. So we worked with author Jenny Hahn and Jessica Knoll in preparation for. For their new books that have come out over the last couple of years. And I love doing those sites personally because, you know, it's something that I've gone through myself. And then, you know, we work with a fair few nonprofit organizations, so we just undertook a really big project with YWCA, rebuilding their website, their website on the platform. And then over the last four months, we've rebuilt 75 websites, moving them from WordPress to Squarespace so that they can continually be using those sites to update events and get donations and stay in contact with potential volunteers. And it's been amazing to see them have kind of the power of the website in their hands after we design it to meet their specifications.


Mike Capuzzi: And is your agency focused just on website design, Kelsey? Or do you do digital marketing at a wider level, or is it just, you know, this is your sweet spot?


Kelsey Gilbert-Kreiling: Yeah, we really are pretty laser focused on web design. So in certain circumstances, we'll have additional services that'll come in to support that. Meaning we have some copywriters on our team who will come in and assist clients as they're putting together content. We can do some more deep, like UX audit work. Each project includes search engine optimization, but beyond that, what we really do is rely on our community and the people that we have in our network to make really good recommendations. So if someone comes to us and says, hey, I want to build a website with you, but I need a brand first we go, okay, let's open up the Rolodex. Like, who should you work with to do your brand based on your business, based on specifically what it is you do, and kind of do a little matchmaking there in preparation. So we have a really robust pro partnership program where we essentially collaborate with other agencies who do the things we don't do, and they typically don't build websites.


Kelsey Gilbert-Kreiling: So we have that really nice, kind of harmonious, collaborative balance between us where we can bring them website services, and they can bring us the other things our clients need.


Mike Capuzzi: All right, so before we jump onto your book, I have got one more question about your agency. Tell me, please.


Kelsey Gilbert-Kreiling: I'm here all day.


Mike Capuzzi: Yeah, right. I'm trying to help you get the word out. Week of the website. Tell me about that name for your agency.


Kelsey Gilbert-Kreiling: We do it in a week. Most of our client projects we build over three to ten days. So our core week of the website offering, we kick off on Monday. We do a design review call each day of the week, and then Friday, we pass the website back to you to give us a final round of changes. We implement those and then launch the website. Awesome.


Mike Capuzzi: Yeah.


Kelsey Gilbert-Kreiling: That's our core week of the website offering. And then we have a smaller, like, launch, which is just updates to an existing site, or like a tiny, bitty three page website. And then we've taken that model of really collaborative design with the client, and that is the foundation that we have built all of our larger, more custom projects from. So whether you're building a three day website with us or you're doing a larger enterprise project, we still keep that process and that closeness at our core. So we really think about things in terms of weeks, and it's really created such a special way of working for our team and for our clients. We love it.


Mike Capuzzi: So we help people publish short books. Not quite a week, but they're very focused. They follow a very specific formula we've developed. But one of the chapters we encourage our authors to write is about their special sauce, which is exactly what you're talking about here. You've come up with your own unique way, and as soon as you said that, it paints a picture of, oh, hey, this is not going to take weeks, months of my life to do. It's gonna get done. It will get done. Congratulations.


Mike Capuzzi: Very cool.


Kelsey Gilbert-Kreiling: Thank you so much. Thank you. It's really special.


Mike Capuzzi: And I'm gonna guess it wasn't week of the book, though, when you published this book. Oh, this is a textbook. This is like a textbook, right?


Kelsey Gilbert-Kreiling: It is. It is like a textbook. And I will tell you, it was a really big shift for me because, you know, whether you're a small business owner or you are, you know, someone who works on these shorter projects, everything is always changing. So it's. It's easier to become comfortable with the unexpected. I think one of the biggest challenges was just, it's eating an elephant, right? When, you know, I had been living more of a snack based life before, and it was. It's really. It was a big adjustment, I will tell you.


Kelsey Gilbert-Kreiling: I also had a one year old when I started writing it, so that was a choice. And so I went from this very high, intense experience of making a human and then taking care of it from its infancy into almost being a little bit more functional, and then comes along this publisher, and I don't know why I said, yes, I'm glad I did, but it was. It was a big change.


Mike Capuzzi: So when I think of now, I have not seen your book. But I. My guess is it's like a user's guide, right? I mean, it's probably chock full of screen grabs and stuff like that. Is it that type of book? How many pages is out of curiosity, because when you showed it, it had a thud factor.


Kelsey Gilbert-Kreiling: 3327, 327. I didn't expect it to be. I mean, I didn't know what to expect, but.


Mike Capuzzi: So how long did it take you from when they came to you to when it was published?


Kelsey Gilbert-Kreiling: It was about. Well, it took 35 weeks. So how many months is that? Nine months, eight months? Eight, seven, seven and a half months. And I actually finished it on time, which I don't know that they expected. So it was actually published a little bit earlier than I had anticipated, which was fine. It was good. I was surprised by that. But I worked with a really amazing team, and I would have never done it without the structure.


Kelsey Gilbert-Kreiling: I think I needed that structure from the publisher and publishing team to really say, hey, I need this at this time. And I would be like, great. I don't want to break a rule, so I'm going to meet your deadline. I don't know if that would work for everybody, but for me, it worked very, very well. And they were pretty rigid in helping me stick to the outline that I had created. And what I really wanted for this book is that it would be not just a technical guide to the platform, because one of the most difficult things about building a book about technology is that technology changes. It evolves. I was actually at the Squarespace office last week, and I brought in a whole bunch of signed books for their team and had been in a meeting with one of their product people.


Kelsey Gilbert-Kreiling: And afterwards I gave him a copy, and I was like, you can go through and you can look at all the things that have changed since this was published six months ago. Thank you. I was joking with him, but they were kind of amazed because they were like, it's so wild to see this on paper in a book that people can get at a library. But I wanted to create something that was more useful than just a guide to the technology as it was that moment. So I interviewed a lot of other people in the industry who have built design agencies, who built thriving freelance practices, and didn't just make it a section by section guide, but really created this as a tool for anyone who is looking to begin or grow a career in building on this platform, as well as a guide for people who wanted to diy it. And that, to me, made it even more meaningful because I got to talk to all these people, I respect and get their perspective on big things, like creating content for your website, and small things like how to choose, or I guess it's not small, but small details like choosing typography and colors. And that was probably the most rewarding part of it, was getting to be able to work in community with all these other people who have formed my knowledge of the platform over the years that I've been doing it now with.


Mike Capuzzi: A book like that, which I come from the tech world and from the software world. So I know exactly. It publishes on January 1, on January 2. Dialogue boxes are different and all that good stuff. Is it going to be the kind of thing, Kelsey, that you will be updating yearly or whenever? Is that part of the big picture?


Kelsey Gilbert-Kreiling: Yeah. So what I tried to do, and I haven't really talked to them about a second edition, I think if they make really significant changes to the platform that would, like, completely alter the way that people use it, I would definitely approach them. But what I've tried to do is build it in such a way that we talk about the methodology and the mindset, so that it's like, if a button moves, you can still think through how to find it. I also have an online resource through my own website that I can use to update things as they change. And then I use a really cool tool to put all of my links through so that I can be monitoring whether or not links break and I can update them and check them so that the book stays current. And I actually was building an advanced Squarespace course, video course at the same time that I was finishing the book. So slightly different topics. And that one I probably will be releasing some updates to this year because there are new tools, new advanced tools that have come out.


Kelsey Gilbert-Kreiling: But this one, I think, because it stays pretty focused on the fundamentals and focused on teaching people how to think about using the tool. I'm hoping, unless they really surprise us with an entirely new platform, that I'm okay for at least another couple of years.


Mike Capuzzi: Well, yeah, I mean, it's more of an established platform. So you don't have that. We're working with a CRM right now. My own business, which they're going through such growth, it seems like it changes daily. Yes, that's the one benefit of that kind of established technology. So when the book was published late last year, latter part of 2023, was all the marketing and promotion on your back? Kelsey, did the publisher like, what did that launch look like? Because I got to believe with that established user base, there was probably a lot of interest fairly quickly.


Kelsey Gilbert-Kreiling: Yeah. You know, I was very lucky in terms of the timing of the book. So every year, Squarespace does a developer conference called Squarespace Circle Day. So the book actually came out right before Squarespace Circle day. So bring copies with me. I did do a bit of the heavy lifting when it came to promotion, but my publisher did work with me to secure some additional opportunities at that conference. They did a great job of doing some interviews on their own websites, but, you know, I was pretty comfortable with taking it in my own hands and thinking a little bit about how I wanted to present it because this is so tied to my professional life. Right.


Kelsey Gilbert-Kreiling: Because it's the tool I use at work, it's the tool I use for the book and the course. I was able to kind of weave all of that together. And, I mean, it's lucky. I really enjoy talking about this, and I really, really do feel passionate about helping people build their own websites. I've had a lot of people ask, like, why would you want to teach other people how to build a website if you have a company building websites? And the answer is because, like, not everyone can afford to build a website with an agency, or they want to feel empowered to do it on their own. So really focused a lot of my promotional efforts in terms of, you know, podcasts. I go and do workshops with other communities to share those with them. And then I've been very lucky to have some ongoing opportunities with Squarespace.


Kelsey Gilbert-Kreiling: So did a live talk with them back in November to their entire developer community, virtually. And, yeah, I've just been really trying to share it as a tool as much as possible. I do find the social media piece of it to be, like, a little bit exhausting, but I think that's just a factor of having a lot going on. I did work with, like, a book specific pr manager, not manager consultant, who helped me kind of put together and formulate a plan. And then as a part of kind of the process of writing the book and doing the course, I actually built a lot of the promotional tools that I used on the website as teachable lessons and modules in the course and in the book. So as I was going through and being like, here's how you set up a landing page to collect email addresses. That was the landing page that I had up to collect email addresses. Right.


Kelsey Gilbert-Kreiling: And so I tried to work smarter in most of those cases because I think most authors, you know, they have other jobs. They have other, they have other things that they're working on. So I think really choosing an area that was felt, like, vital to me and also things I enjoyed. Right. Podcasts, workshops, speaking, and just kind of dialed that in instead of worrying about doing everything right.


Mike Capuzzi: Yeah, it's practically impossible. I mean, you're right. There's so many things, and, you know, and obviously, with your background and the fact that you're in touch with technology so much, it makes it a little bit easier. Yeah. There's still a ton of things as an author, and you'll continue to do. I mean, like you said, the book is going to be there forever, which is, you know, kind of an interesting dichotomy to things on the web that can come and go. Some of them. What about Kelsey? Because this is such a unique type of book.


Mike Capuzzi: Definitely a different style of book. It's not necessarily meant to be read from beginning to end in that, you know, but it's a. It's a guidebook. What were the. Was there any particular challenge with this type of book that if you were to do it again, either from scratch or for an update, that, you know, you would do differently this time around? Was there anything during that whole author publishing process? Process?


Kelsey Gilbert-Kreiling: I regret not documenting and sharing more through the processing? I think I was really in it, and I also had a lot of. I was. I felt very self conscious, like, it's hard to write a book from the perspective of an expert when you really try to always have a beginner's mindset. Right. I'm always trying to approach something as if I'm learning, and I think the reverse side of that coin is it could be kind of hard to hype yourself up and be like, I know about this now. When I look back at this book, I go, oh, wow. Actually, I know a lot about this, but I wish that I had been a little bit more bold in the process of sharing that, because I think that's the stuff I find interesting. Like, I would love to know more about some of the background behind my favorite book.


Kelsey Gilbert-Kreiling: So that was something that I think I probably could have leveraged a little bit better during the writing process to get people more excited about it. Right. It was almost, like, not a surprise, but because this was my first time doing it, because I wanted to make sure I could accomplish what I had set out to do, I think I was a little bit timid in terms of telling people what I was working on. And next time, I think I would be a little bit more bold in sharing those things, but hopefully, we strike a good balance and just thinking about how I can connect more people with it. It's not like it's one that my parents are going to pick up and read. Right? It's not like everyone in my high school is like, oh, my God, we went to school with this author. She wrote a book about Squarespace. It has a really specific community, but the people that know about this, it's exciting to them.


Kelsey Gilbert-Kreiling: And I have to be confident in sharing that with people who are learning and kind of trying to grow on the platform. But that's just a mindset shift, right?


Mike Capuzzi: Yeah. Yeah. And listen, it's funny because that's what I say. It's a different type of book than we typically get on this podcast, but it doesn't make its impact and its importance any less, because, again, for the technical person, the person who's learning wants to learn something. In this case, Squarespace. It's like the Bible. You know, it's. It's.


Kelsey Gilbert-Kreiling: It's.


Mike Capuzzi: It's a must read book. So congratulations with that very.


Kelsey Gilbert-Kreiling: Thank you so much. Thank you. It also doubles as a great launch gift for our clients. Right? Like, hey, congratulations. You have a site built on the platform. Now, here's a book, here's an ebook that's got everything you need that you can search and find. So it's been a fun to then connect them with that and say, here are the resources to help you continue to be successful even once our time together is done.


Mike Capuzzi: Yeah. Which actually leads me to this last question, which is, what has it meant to you, Kelsey, to be the author of this book? Like, what? What? Since you've published it, what impact have you seen? Whether it's personal business with the users?


Kelsey Gilbert-Kreiling: Personally, I had had a really tough couple of years prior to this book. I'd had a challenging experience giving birth to my son, and he came a month early. I felt like I never got to complete that project. And then I was really struggling to catch up. There was something about writing this book and finding a way to squeak time into the day to do it that helped me come back to being a person and not just someone's mom, someone's caregiver. It helped me reaffirm my competence in my own abilities, my own knowledge, and my value to my business, which was really helpful. And I think it also was a really amazing way to step into our 10th year as a business. Right.


Kelsey Gilbert-Kreiling: It was a great way to look back on all of the. Because I found myself going, like, deep into the archive for examples. And it was just an amazing opportunity to look back on the scope of work that we've accomplished over the last ten years. And I would say also the amazing people on our team. Like, I got to work with a lot of my internal developers and project managers to ask their opinions and to see how much they all have grown, just made me realize that, like, this book is, it's a mark in time to commemorate all the work that's gone into it. So I'm curious to see what the next ten years will bring. But I think in doing this book, it gave me that 10,000 foot view. I think that's very hard to come by in anyone's professional career.


Kelsey Gilbert-Kreiling: And, you know, it was just a. Now I've done it right now I can never unbe an author again. So that is just, like, another special thing to be able to carry with me on the days where things feel really hard.


Mike Capuzzi: Well, congratulations on all of that business. The ten years, the birth of your son. It's a testimony to some of the amazing things you've done and will continue to do. So, Kelsey, how can our listeners learn more about you, your agency, and where's the best place to grab your book?


Kelsey Gilbert-Kreiling: Yeah. So you can head to to learn more about the agency. There's information about the book there, and you can get the book kind of wherever books are books. Right. So you can get on Amazon, Barnes and noble,, and all of them will be able to point you in that right direction.


Mike Capuzzi: Very good. Well, Kelsey, congratulations, and I appreciate your time today.


Kelsey Gilbert-Kreiling: Thank you so much. This was wonderful. Great questions. I really enjoyed it.

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