Falling in Love
With a website platform
Just like love relationships, it takes a while to get to know a website platform and to know whether you want to commit to the long term. While I haven't quite mastered the love relationship thing, I do feel like I can finally commit to a website platform.
I've been around the block, ahem, platform-wise. Front-Page, Serif WebPlus (before anyone cared about responsive sites), Adobe Muse, WebFlow, and WordPress. I've tried them all and while they did the job, I wasn't in love.
You know how that goes. One foot in, one foot out. Frustration and lots of compromise.
I always shunned SquareSpace. It was an ego thing. I prided myself on CUSTOM work and pooh-poohed anything related to a template. But to what cost?
To the cost of the client, that's what. Especially the kind of client that I serve - small business owners on a tight budget.
First, it takes a very long time to build a completely custom website from scratch. Time = money. I was spending all my time on custom, and little time on what really matters, like strategy and content and strategy, and strategy, oh did I mention strategy?
Second, I haven't found a single, normal, small business owner who enjoys trying to learn the popular alternative, WordPress. WP seems simple at first, but it isn't as soon as you try to move something around and the padding goes all wonky. Deviate at all to the plan and find yourself lost in Googleland in search of some PHP code.
Third, WordPress (since I'm in the mood to pick on WordPress) is notorious for getting hacked, and you have to keep upgrading plugins and security patches, which takes time, and that cost has to get passed along to the client in the name of monthly maintenance fees.
After many frustrating experiences on WordPress and Adobe Muse (the latter of which I've developed a strong distaste for), I decided to give SquareSpace a try. This move coincided with my new philosophy and approach about websites, which is:
Everyone looking for an affordable and effective website needs to focus more time/money on branding, strategy and content and less time on silly blinking things, animated graphics, exploding sweet potatoes (yes, this was actually a client request), and moving things 2 pixels here and there.
I fell in love with SquareSpace.
SquareSpace allows me to design and develop beautiful websites in less time so that I can provide clients with the services that will help make their website a success.
And I get to share the love, by passing on the savings to you.
What's not to love?
The Benefits of SquareSpace
- It's EASY to make changes to your website - you don't need to hire a developer to help you
- Integrations with MailChimp, Google Drive, Acuity Scheduling and more are within the platform
- You don't have to worry about upgrading plug-ins or installing security updates
- It links directly to Getty images, so it's super easy to search for and insert stock photos ($10 a pic)
- You can edit images (crop, enhance, filters, etc.) within the platform so you don't have to install other software for that
- The templates follow, what I consider, good, clean, minimal design best practices
- Yes, you can get super custom - how you do that is by creating custom graphics, icons, and special branding touches throughout the site and also adding custom CSS
- You get access to tons of beautiful fonts
- Their support is really good
The things that aren't so good about SquareSpace
- Without some complex coding, you can't control the design on various breakpoints. This means that if you want to serve up a different experience for mobile users (which is a good practice), you can't
- SquareSpace won't support custom coding - they will only provide answers for the standard function of the platform
- I have found that, sometimes, websites load slowly, which Google does not like (note: this is a problem on WordPress too, especially if you have lots of plug-ins installed
- For me, it's inefficient to have the design tools separate from the pages. I hope that one day you can change the styling directly from the pages section
- You can't save a copy of the website, so if you screw up a section on a page, it's gone. You can, however, restore a page if you accidentally delete it
- You can't duplicate content. So if, for example, you've created a form to gather information from prospects, you have to re-create it every time you want to place it somewhere on the site. This seems a bit dumb to me!
If you want to talk to me about whether SquareSpace is a good choice for your website project, feel free to set-up a friendly, no obligation chat with me. Clicking this link will take you to my scheduling page.