Why We Love Squarespace
Our favourite website platform, for small to medium business, even for those who with online stores, is Squarespace. It's user friendly page builder allows even those with minimal website design skills to build a beautiful website. While you'll still need the right strategy and an eye for design to create a site with optimal user experience, Squarespace helps you make the first step.
Squarespace is a drag and drop platform, so is very easy to create and edit the site. There’s are few tricks to learn and until then, you can muddle through. If you regularly save the page you're working on, and make one wrong move, you just press Cancel and you're back to before. That allows you to click things and see what happens without major destruction. I can easily provide training for clients, so that they can take over after the initial design project.
Each Squarespace plan is very cost effective. Hosting can be incredibly expensive and Squarespace doesn’t limit you on that, they don’t charge you a “management fee” that doubles your cost. It’s just all included and they host your site for you with no issues. In the past year, my site has not gone down to my knowledge which unfortunately is not always the norm.
Transaction fees are quite low for an online store platform, and are nill on either of the Commerce plans. Products are also simple to manage and orders are easy to manage through the platform, so you can design categories and product pages easily. Squarespace even lets you customise your checkout page.
The cheapest plan allows you to have up to 20 enabled Pages. Blog posts count as one page though, so don't worry about that taking up all your page count. The next plan up gives you Unlimited Pages, so if you need more than 20, it's not too big of a worry, the cost is just slightly higher. This is to cover the extra hosting of those pages.
All SEO components are easy to find and edit. You don’t need to go into a different part of the site to edit page SEO, just edit the page and it’s all there in the settings.
The blog tool is super simple to use. It works very similiarly to Wordpress, in that you create a post in this section and it treats it just as a blog post, not so much a disconnected page. You can either host these on one page of your website, or create summary blocks throughout your website, to show posts with either a specific tag or by category. Blog post layouts allow for hiding dates, category or name, or allow you to include them all. This allows you to use the blog feature for more than just blogging.
If you want to add events to your website, either ones you'll be at, or ones you'll be hosting, Squarespace supports this, and also makes adding and editing them very easy. Similiar to the blog, you can create them, then promote them across the site in many ways.
If you want to host a podcast, but aren't quite sure how to set up an RSS feed for it, Squarespace can solve that problem. You can host podcasts, adding them just as you would a blog post, this will then be sent directly to iTunes.
We love that we can set up and create a website for our clients, then enable them to edit and manage this platform in their business with ease. While we build the website, we can still allow the client to be a contributor, to keep all developments visible. We can transfer the ownership once the project is finished, allowing the client to take full control, once they have gone through a brief training. While Squarespace is a platform that allows your everyday Joe to create a website, we add the strategy and are able to set up the pages to our client's brief quickly, making sure the project they don't have the time or attention for, is made quickly and gives their audience the best user experience.
The number of contributors are limited on the cheapest plan, although they are unlimited on all other plans. However, if you want to be able to add someone who can be attributed as an author of blog posts, add them as a Basic Author. You can add content on their behalf, and attribute it to them, but they can't log in to the back end of your site.
For a little help on design, Squarespace offers a full range of templates to get you started. While each template limits your header and footer, and what types of pages you can build, each page's content can be changed in full, to look completely different if you want.
Squarespace offers a free 14 day trial to all users, and a longer trial period to those who are Circle members (a community for creative professionals who design websites on Squarespace, like us), so if you want to check it out for yourself, you can do so for free, without giving any credit card details.
In saying this, if you're the type of business who sells hundreds of products, gives intricate discounts, or wants to be able to have code everywhere, Squarespace might not be the platform for you, so take a look for yourself before you get too far in.