Why I Build Client Websites On Squarespace
Like many web designers/developers, I used to be an adamant WordPress (WP) supporter. I loved how WordPress gave me full control over my every single aspect of my website and that I could get it to behave exactly how I wanted at all times. I worked with everyday so I was very comfortable creating, maintaining and updating websites (both mine and my clients’) on WordPress.
But fast-forward to the present and I’ve changed my position and now I am standing on the mountain top singing praises of SquareSpace instead.
Today, I build all my clients’ websites on the SquareSpace platform and encourage anyone taking the DYI route to do the same.
So what changed? Why did I make the switch from WordPress to SquareSpace as the platform of choice for all my client websites?
When I thought critically about my clients’ goals and what they needed from their websites, SquareSpace came out on top in every way. Read on to learn why.
Before we dive into this debate, I want to say that I don’t think SquareSpace is necessarily better than WordPress - they are two different platforms and each has its own pros/cons.
One platform might be a better fit for you than the other, and that’s okay! WordPress, for example, offers nearly unlimited functionality and possibilities, which might work best for some people or businesses. However, I know that SquareSpace is the better platform for the clients I work with.
Simplicity and Usability
Right off the bat, SquareSpace outshines WordPress in this MASSIVE area.
My clients love SquareSpace because after our project wraps up, they take over their websites and find that SquareSpace is very easy to work with.
During our website design and development process, we finish the project with a SquareSpace tutorial that shows them how to do basic features (e.g., blog on SS, edit and update content, add images/text, etc.). This tutorial lasts about half an hour and in that time, we can cover everything they will need on a day-to-day basis to continue running their website / business on their own. There is also much less confusion for my clients since they aren’t stressed out about touching code and the possibility of wiping their site clean (unfortunately this happens all too often on WordPress).
This means that clients can essentially do whatever they want on their own. They no longer have to depend on a developer (like me!) to make simple changes. In my opinion, that sense of self-sufficiency cannot be understated.
Easy to build and maintain websites
Another reason why I build my clients’ websites on SquareSpace is because it is so easy to build initially and maintain moving forward. The drag and drop features specifically lets you do so much without digging deep into the code.
This is a bonus for two reasons:
As the designer/developer, working with the SquareSpace platform means that I can work faster. When I worked on WordPress, I would usually go directly into the code (which was fun and I enjoyed that!) to make the changes but because of that method, my work was slower. And because it was slower, it was more expensive. Time = money and now that I work almost exclusively on the SquareSpace platform, it’s faster so I can do more in less time. The added bonus is that I can work with more clients and fill my pockets with more $$$.
My clients prefer working with SquareSpace because they are more confident updating existing pages. They know how to move sections around, add images or text, insert banners, etc. This means that when they take over maintenance and updating responsibility of their SquareSpace site after our project is finished, it isn’t a terrifying thing.
After our project wraps up, I don’t want my clients worrying about their websites. Instead of tweaking design elements and updating plugins (more on that below), I want them to create awesome products and services, and grow their businesses! This has been one of the biggest advantages of working with SquareSpace to build my clients’ websites.
Loving the Limits
People often talk about the limitations of the SquareSpace platforms (meaning you have to work within the confines of set templates) but I actually really like this aspect. Yes, there are limitations built into SquareSpace and there are a relatively small number of templates to choose from (compared to WordPress’s nearly endless theme options) but this works for me and my clients.
It’s widely acknowledged that having too much choice will make people unhappy which is why I like that SquareSpace forces us to build and design within the confines of their templates. This stops me and my clients from constantly overthinking and tweaking every aspect of their website, and it also gives the project clearer finish lines and boundaries.
Even though SquareSpace websites have to be built with templates, there is a lot of creativity and customization that can be done that many clients do not even realize. For example, this website currently uses the Pacific template and I’ve managed to make it unique and true to my brand. If you look for Pacific in the template library you’ll see that it is actually under the Restaurant section (and not under the Businesses section where many people think to look first). By comparing template features and functionality and picking the right template for your needs, Squarespace has you covered.
That being said, it’s important to remember that SquareSpace does offer the Developer Platform which lets experienced site owners and administrators make changes directly to the code (e.g. HTML) of their site/template if they need it. Most of my clients do not need this but it’s good to know that it’s there for them if they do.
Design and Functionality
SquareSpace also works better for me and my clients because the emphasis is on creating clean and functional sites. I favour minimalistic websites that include lots of whitespace and simply formatted design (as do my clients - that’s why they hire me!). SquareSpace really “gets” that and encourages that style.
Bang for your Buck
Cost is another reason why I set my clients up on SquareSpace. WordPress might initially look like the more economical option but when you add up hosting fees, the cost of premium themes (usually between $40-75), plugins and ongoing tech support, the cost of SquareSpace is much more appealing. I like that with SquareSpace you don’t have to whip out your credit card every time you sneeze in order to get your website to have the features and security you want.
Squarespace also offers different pricing plans so you only end up paying for the level of service you need. They also offer discounts on annual plans (versus paying each month) and for Squarespace Circle Members!
Social Media Integration
Another reason why SquareSpace works well for my clients is because of how well social media integrates with their websites. For example, SquareSpace offers sleek and modern Instagram photo grids which are extremely popular and work well for many of my clients. It’s also super easy to embed Tweets which are great for social proof.
All of the points above are fine and dandy but we still haven’t even covered the meatiest reason why I build my clients websites on SquareSpace (instead of WordPress)!
Less Website Worries
At the most basic level, I want my clients to run their businesses and not have to worry about their websites and that’s where SquareSpace wins by a landslide.
SquareSpace doesn’t require daily backups, there’s less risk of getting hacked and my clients won’t have to spend their time doing security checks like monitoring login attempts.
Back-end console problems are one of the biggest headaches WordPress users have to deal with - just take a look at almost any FaceBook group that caters to small business owners and bloggers and you’ll see countless posts from people freaking out about a problem with their website. All the SquareSpace users are chilling and spending their time creating instead of getting caught up in yet another website crisis.
Plugins, for example, are one of the most troublesome aspects of WP websites that SquareSpace users don’t have to deal with. When a plugin needs to be updated (which seems to happen all the time), it must be done immediately or your website is more vulnerable to hacks. Along those lines, if a plugin gets updated without first backing up the site, there’s a possibility that restoring your site might not be easy - or even possible. Finally, every new plugin could potentially crash the site or conflict with another plugin (a very common complaint from WP users).
With WordPress, there’s so much to remember and many people feel like they are in a constant state of stress dealing with the back end of their websites.
This is why I build my clients’ websites on SquareSpace - I’d rather save my clients the headache and empower them to maintain their websites with peace of mind!
SquareSpace for the win!
Like I said above, there’s no right or wrong platform to use when deciding how to set up a new website. After reviewing my clients’ needs and goals for their websites, along with considering many of the repeated complaints and stuck points, it became clear that SquareSpace was the platform that would work best for them.
If you’re new to SquareSpace, I encourage you to sign up for a free 14-day trial and play around with the platform today! Once you see for yourself just how easy and intuitive it is, I have no doubt that you will see what all the hype is about.
Is your site is built on SquareSpace? If so, how do you like it? Do you find it easy to use? Have you or are you considering making the switch from another platform? I’d love to know so leave me a note in the comments!
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