Last week, I hosted a webinar about how to get started with email marketing using Mailchimp. While I was taking my attendees through the process of embedding a Mailchimp newsletter opt-in at the bottom of each of my blog posts, someone asked me why I used Squarespace.
I've been online writing in some capacity for the better part of a decade (since 2008), which I know isn't enough to impress the LiveJournal set out there, but at least I remember the awful atrocity that was Blogger. I've used at least half a dozen different website platforms and despite the tribe of Wordpress fans out there, Squarespace has been the platform that I've chosen for both this site and my main business.
These days, it seems like new and growing business owners are bombarded with so many options (from Weebly to Wordpress to Wix to a completely custom site) that I thought I'd clarify exactly why I use Squarespace (and why I love it so much).
1 | Backend functionality that makes sense
This is the BIGGEST reason that I chose Squarespace in its battle with Wordpress is that Squarespace's back end is EXTREMELY intuitive. While, after being in business for myself in some capacity for three years, I understand that the more I do something, the better I get at it (making blog graphics is a great example of this), spending hours learning the back end of Wordpress was not one of those things that I had any interest in doing.
Plus, when you're a newish business owner, you do not have time to learn the entire back end of Wordpress (unless your business is in website development, in which case, that is sort of your job, at LEAST for market research). Seriously. You need to be focused on making money, on finding clients that you love working with and who will refer you to all their friends, and making sure you are generating an income.
Squarespace's backend is so much easier to use and there are fewer options to choose from, which may seem limiting to some, but let me tell you, when I'm struggling to write a blog post at 10pm at night, I don't need 100 different options for plugins and optimizers. I just need to hit the publish button and get my ass into bed.
2 | The nature of my business
I am primarily a strategic event planner and marketer for small business owners. Secondarily, I create info products or do coaching sessions on how small business owners can increase their presence online and start attracting. Eventually (probably this year), I'll move into teaching courses and running more webinars for potential students. I also run in-person events
That said, I am not selling physical products. I don't deal with shipping, I don't have to take payments over the internet, other than to put a link to my PayPal account. I'm a service- and info-based business, which means I deal with a far fewer numbers of transactions than most product sellers.
I don't have first-hand knowledge with Squarespace's selling platform, but I've heard it's sort of a nightmare.
Because I don't need the functionality of a selling platform within my website, Squarespace is the better choice for me (although I know MANY a Boss Lady CEO who have product-based businesses and who use Squarespace and link out to Shopify or a similar online store platform to take orders).
3 | The "room to grow" factor
Like I said, I've been online since 2008 and, if anyone remembers blogging and website platforms back then, they were frustrating at best, and headache-inducingly discouraging at worst. Which means I often spent my lunch break at work Googling "how to find out hex codes on my blog" or "how to resize and center a photo" (which, if nothing else, this story is a good case for making your blog titles easy to read and understand so they'll be easily Google-able).
This also means that I've been around the internet block before and while I can't straight up code, I can recognize bits of HTML, know where to insert lines of code, and can figure out how to at least Google almost anything tech related.
Squarespace is easy enough for someone without any of years of experience DIYing websites to manage working with, yet has some more advanced, customizable features that allows me and my business room to grow (like coding and templates that can be customized with the help of an ace graphic designer, click-of-a-button color and font choices, and a lot more that I haven't even deigned to look at. The options are many, but not so overwhelming as Wordpress).
4 | Let's be honest: it's gorgeous
I'm not a graphic designer and while I believe great design is an important piece of any blog or website, I also know that clean, simple, streamlined design is even more important. Which is why I hand-make all my own blog graphics, and stick to a pretty basic color palette on both of my sites.
Squarespace's templates are all stunning. I will never live down my old blue and orange atrocious Wordpress site as long as I live, but I don't have to anymore, since there isn't a single Squarespace template that I'd be ashamed having as my website.
Squarespace's templates allow us non-designers to pretend we have somewhat of a design aesthetic without having to hire a graphic designer for everything. They're templates are also clean, which is where website's are going these days (have you recently seen any major company's website have 13 dropdowns and hundreds of sidebar links? There's a reason Google's homepage only has two user fields).
5 | It's mainstream enough with good customer support
One of the benefits of Squarespace is that it's mainstream ENOUGH to be integrated with almost any type of third party plug-in solution that you may need. Currently, I use Mailchimp and Youtube integrations to include my newsletter and webinars directly on my Squarespace site.
Many of the other DIY softwares (Weebly for sure, and probably Wix) don't have the ability to integrate with any other softwares at all, which can be a mega bummer if you're trying to grow a business online.
Wordpress is probably the most mainstream and definitely has the best and most robust plugins. However, you have to have more technical knowledge to really get the most out of Wordpress and if you're just starting OR if you don't have time to teach yourself all of the nitty gritty backend, then I wouldn't choose it.
Which platform do you use? And why did you choose it? If you use Wordpress, but looked into Squarespace, tell me in the comments below what swayed you to the Wordpress side?
PS No, I'm not being sponsored to run this post, as Squarespace doesn't have an affiliate program. However, I really, really believe in Squarespace as the best product for new - intermediate bloggers and business owners.