In this post, I am going to put forward some opinions on why I feel small to medium size businesses should consider creating their websites using Squarespace.
Before we begin, I want to be clear that I have no affiliation with Squarespace and the contents of this post are purely one of opinion.
I hope you find the information within this post to be helpful and aid you in making an informed decision when deciding on a platform to manage your website.
Want to know the biggest secret in the website design industry today?
So you want a website so you can write blog posts and news. Showcase your business or services or perhaps sell products online?
You have spoken to a few website designers/developers and words like WordPress, CMS, Hosting etc... have been mentioned. You are wondering what all these words mean and how they will affect you and your future website.
My advice to you right now is "STOP!". Take some time to read the next few paragraphs, and I will tell the big secret that many website designers and developers working today do not want you to know.
The BIG Secret
It is not hard to build a website anymore, and anyone can do it with some invested time and practice. New technologies in the form of hosted website platforms (such as Squarespace) allow people to create a site for themselves and control it in its entirety.
The Facts (why you need a professional)
OK let's be honest here, yes anyone can build a website with these new technologies but its really a question of can you produce a competent, professional site?
Employing a professional to create your site can still be the best way to go for many reasons. Here are a few listed out:
They know what they are doing and will get your website built and launched in a matter of days and weeks rather than weeks and months allowing you to get your site up and running quickly and start benefiting from it.
You're, not a designer. A qualified design professional with years of experience can create a vastly more professional looking site than you can. They will be able to create custom graphics, infographics, icons and imagery inline with your visual identity and brand that will make your site look the part and stand out to your visitors. They will also be able to use custom code to modify the standard Squarespace Templates or use Developer Mode to build an entirely custom coded website from the ground up.
A professional will have a proper understanding of UX design (User Experience Design) and will be able to organise your site, and it's content appropriately for your target audience.
A website professional can give you advice on SEO (search engine optimisation), digital marketing, copywriting and where to get help with these services. After all, a website is just the base foundation for your content. The quality and structure of this content will be what ultimately determines the success of your site.
You will not need to spend time learning how to use the platform on your own. You will be able to use that saved time to run and grow your business and then learn how to use the platform at a slower and less time-consuming pace once the site is built and live.
If you are moving your site from another platform, a professional will be able to help you do this while having the least negative impact possible on your current search engine listings and rankings.
Why choose a hosted website platform such as Squarespace?
Hosted website platforms are excellent because they just work. In the case of Squarespace, it works because not only is your site hosted by Squarespace it is also maintained for you behind the scenes by Squarespace, and all this is included in your monthly fee. This fee is often a lot cheaper than what you would pay for just hosting with some companies.
24/7 Award-Winning Support
Also included in this price is 24/7 support. Yes, it is 24/7, and they are very helpful indeed. Try calling you're your local outfit on Christmas Day or while they are away on holiday and see how that goes! Even a dedicated local firm will still have to go stop what they are doing and sort your site. Not fair on you and not fair on them. Simply put, you will never get this level of support and service from a local company and certainly not without paying a lot more for it.
Paying someone to maintain your website?
Are you paying someone to manage and maintain your site right now? In our opinion, if this is the case you are more than likely paying a local company a bloated fee to look after your site that should not need looking after in the first place if it was indeed fit for purpose.
A website should just work the first time around and should not need constant monitoring and maintenance that you have to pay extra for. If you think about it that way, it's just nuts, and it is one of the reasons we are not big fans of WordPress. Because without regular maintenance and intervention WordPress will just cease to work.
Your time when working on your website should be about expressing your business to others and showing what you can do. You don't want to be wasting time fixing website issues.
Squarespace It is going to save you time and money. It is going to stop two things from happening when using your site.
Spending time doing security updates, backing up or fixing plugin issues.
Unnecessarily paying someone money to do this work for you.
A fit for purpose website platform just works right from the outset and continues to work with no intervention needed.
If you want to get the most out of your website by focusing all of your time and energy making great content to promote your business AND NOT wasting your time fixing issues or worse, paying someone to fix issues that should not be there in the first place. Ditch your WordPress site and build your site on a platform that won't cost you time and money.
A Squarespace website is a hassle-free website.
So what is Squarespace? (Boring Technical Bit)
Squarespace is a hosted website platform that anyone can use to create a website. No coding skills of any kind are required!
For Coders and Developers
Squarespace also offers a Developer Mode which allows developers and coders to create complete custom site designs from a white page.
Squarespace also gives users the option to inject code into Squarespace templates for those who do know how to code and want to customise their site beyond the start templates.
What is a hosted Website platform?
Unlike a platform such as WordPress which is a self-hosted platform and requires a separate host to work a hosted website platform does not. You manage your site and its hosting directly through your website browser all in one location.
A hosted platform has many advantages over self-hosted platforms that can make owning and managing a website a lot easier. Please click this link to skip the article and jump to this section: The advantages of Squarespace for you.
Squarespace and the current designer/developer community
If you speak to some website designers/developers about Squarespace, You might hear them say:
“Hosted website platforms are for amateurs.”
“Website builders are too limiting and not flexible enough.”
... or something along those lines.
This view is not wholly wrong. Most website builders are weak, inadequate solutions.
Squarespace is very different. It's a considerably more sophisticated and professional tool for developers, designers and clients alike.
Why do some developers not like Squarespace?
Designers and developers are always going to have opinions about which platforms they feel are best. Responsible developers will always advise and direct the client to pick the most suitable platform for their particular needs.
However, it is sometimes the case that designers and developers sell what they know and don't always consider other options that may be a better fit for their client's website requirements.
Squarespace tends to fall into this 'other options' grey area as some designers/developers share the opinions as mentioned earlier and don't see Squarespace as a viable professional tool for their clients.
Of course, this view could not be further from the truth, and it is often just the case that these developers have painted Squarespace with the same brush as other less comprehensive hosted website platforms and are simply unaware of the full potential and benefits of Squarespace for themselves and their clients.
Squarespace is just a website builder and not for developers, right? (Custom Designed Sites)
When speaking with other designers and developers about website platforms sometimes It has been apparent that many of them are oblivious to the fact that they can code and build entirely custom designed sites from a white page using Squarespace. Up to that point, many of them saw Squarespace as a platform that only offered pre-designed themes or templates as an option.
If you are a website designer or developer and want to find out more about building custom sites with Squarespace follow the link below:
Do some research for yourself
It is a good idea when starting a website project to begin by doing some research. Don't start with the designer or developer but start with the platform you are considering using.
Take advice from many sources before making a decision and try to speak to someone impartial if you can.
Join some Facebook groups and talk to other Squarespace users. Obtain opinions on users likes and dislikes. Don't forget to check out other platforms as well.
It is so important to do this as being stuck with a platform that is not best suited to your needs can be a real burden on you and your business.
Even though we build websites using Squarespace if a client's needs are not suitable for the platform we suggest or pass them to another more appropriate vendor.
No website platform is perfect, not a single one
It is essential to understand that Squarespace will not always be a good choice to build your website.
Squarespace like ALL platforms does have its drawbacks, and it is crucial before considering using Squarespace (or any other platform for that matter) that you know what these are and how they could affect your particular project and website needs.
I am not going to go into all the things you need to consider before choosing Squarespace in this post. However, I would like to quickly mention what I feel is currently one of the largest drawbacks of using Squarespace.
Commerce (Shopping) Website
You will be pleased to know that Squarespace makes setting up a commerce site incredibly straightforward and easy.
While these are both excellent world-class systems which are very popular, they might not be appropriate for your shopping website needs.
You pay a small fee to these systems everytime someone buys a product on your site. For some online businesses, this is fine and cost-effective for their business model. However, if you are selling hundreds of products a day on your site, these systems might not be a good choice.
You may find cheaper alternative solutions from a different payment provider who might, for example, offer you a fixed monthly fee for unlimited purchases on your website.
There are lots of articles on the Squarespace website relating to this subject so do visit their site and do some research for yourself. You can start by clicking the link below:
For the majority of small to medium size blog and commerce (shopping) sites, Squarespace is more often than not an excellent choice.
If you have any specific questions, please feel free to get in touch.
Building a Squarespace site
So you may be asking If I can build my website myself with Squarespace why do I need to employ a designer or developer?
Well, in a nutshell, skill and time. I would imagine your time is probably worth more to you and what you might take a month to do someone with expertise and experience can do it in a few days.
Also, employing a graphic designer with UI/UX (User Interface, User Experience) skills and knowledge means they can organise your website content and implement existing corporate identity more effectively into a website than you can.
One other reason might be you that you want a fully custom design. Yes, for all you developers and designers out there, it is possible to design and build from a white page with Squarespace.
So it will work better, look better and will be done a lot faster if you get a professional to do it.
You will also get additional training and support from your designer/developer. We make a point of always being available to our clients to offer support whenever we can. Of course like all businesses we go on holiday sometimes and leave the office which brings me to another reason why Squarespace is such a good choice of platform.
With Squarespace, you get 24/7, 365 days a year award-winning support. So even if your designer or developer is not available or worse gone out of business permanently it makes little difference to you as you can contact Squarespace directly anytime.
Who owns what?
A lot of website designers and developers resell hosting services and host their client's sites for them. Having done this ourselves for many years, we now think this is a terrible idea.
Letting your website supplier host your site on your behalf puts them in control of your site, and its data, not you! If they go on holiday, who are you going to call for help? If they go out of business how will you retrieve your site and its data?
When we build Squarespace sites, we also ensure that the website is owned entirely by the client. The domain, the Squarespace account, all of it is in the customer's name. This way whatever happens to us the customer has no official ties with us and are in complete control of their domain, website and data.
(The advantages of Squarespace for you)
1. Smaller budget
It's often cheaper for your designer or developer to create a site for you on Squarespace (Custom bespoke designed sites being the exception to this). They will not need to spend as much time coding as they would with other platforms which means throughout the project there will be more focus on design, user experience and content.
2. Faster delivery
Urgent websites may not be a problem. A designer/developer creating a site for you on Squarespace can do considerably faster than other platforms. A real plus when deadlines are tight, and you need to get your website live.
3. More empowered
You can easily add, remove and update your content with Squarespace. It’s a lot more intuitive than other platforms.
The simple drag and drop builder makes it easy to add content to your pages. It's a lot of fun, and with a bit of practice, you can begin to build pages on your site just the way you want.
Squarespace gives you a helping hand by giving you some pre-made page templates that ship with your Squarespace theme. Of course, once you get good at it you can ignore these and start from a blank white page instead.
To get an idea of how easy it is to build and create pages with Squarespace take a look at the video in the article below:
4. More reliable + Easier to Manage and Maintain
In short, Squarespace needs a lot less TLC that other website platforms.
Websites built on WordPress and similar need to be hosted on a separate web server to work. Sometimes that web server is not always ideally optimised to run WordPress.
Occasionally hosting companies make server-wide changes without considering the individual effect on your website. An update to their core software can cause your site to malfunction or even go offline.
Wordpress needs to be manually updated every now and again. Forget to do it, and your site and its security are more vulnerable to attacks.
Platforms such as WordPress rely heavily on third-party plugins to function. Sometimes developed by unknown developers these plugins if left unchecked and unmaintained (often by the developers who built them themselves) can cause security issues for your site.
WordPress needs to be backed up, and often you have to use one of these third-party plugins I just mentioned above to do it. So enough said there.
The staff at Squarespace manage all security updates and backups for your site in the background. All the plugins used with the platform are developed and maintained by the staff at Squarespace.
The risk of having security breaches or website downtime is much lower with a Squarespace site than other platforms.
Having all these updates done for you means you can spend less time focused on the technicalities of your website and more time focused on running your business.
On a side note...
I came across a company online the other day who specialise in maintaining your WordPress website and security on your behalf for a fee of £29 a month. Along with website hosting fees and possible purchased WordPress plugins these additional costs can add up each month.
It's crazy to me to think you actually might need to employ a third-party service to manage and maintain your website for you at additional monthly costs.
Surely a user-friendly website platform should not need all these extras to function properly?
5. More Access to support
Along with your designer or developer, you can also go directly to Squarespace for help and support 24/7, 365 days a year, giving you another option when your designer or developer is unavailable.
Many thanks for taking the time to read my post. I would just like to mention again that I have no affiliation with Squarespace and the contents of this post are purely one of opinion.
I hope this helped to shine some light on some of the myths about Squarespace.
If you are any questions or a project you need some help with, please feel free to get in touch. We are always happy to give help and advice where we can.
Useful Links for Designers and Developers
Have some work you need doing? Don't want to run around to a separate photographer, designer and website developer to get it all done? Let us sort it all for you in one place.