This post is one that I am surprised I have not written sooner. Squarespace was the first and only website I have used for my business despite having blogged on Wordpress for a few years beforehand. Having extensive experience with both platforms gives me a unique perspective to share with those trying to determine which platform might be best for them and their business.
I am a huge fan of SS which should come to no surprise to those who read this blog consistently.
I'm NOT here to try to convince anyone that Squarespace is the end all be all of websites and is hands down the best option out there....
but I DO think that Squarespace has a lot of benefits to offer those who run their own businesses and I also think there are a lot of misconceptions about the ability of Squarespace to serve your business well.
This is NOT a post comparing all of the different website platforms out there. There are many, MANY options out there for photographers and creatives looking for a website host and platform to serve their needs. Some of the biggest players out there are Wordpress, Squarespace, Showit, Wix, Zenfolio etc...
I heavily researched all of these when I was on the hunt for a website for my new photography business. Squarespace won out and I have not regretted my decision. In fact, the more I learn about Squarespace, the more I feel confident that it will serve me and my business for many years to come.
Here are my top reasons for choosing Squarespace. I hope some of this information will help you as well if you are currently in the decision making process of your own!
This is the absolute numero uno reason why I chose Squarespace.
I (<---me!!!!!) can make changes.
I can easily adjust design elements, colors, fonts etc and I don't have to call anyone, email anyone, or pay money to anyone to help me do it.
The system is straightforward and easy to understand (with a slight learning curve of course.) There are tons of beautiful templates to choose from and then from there you can customize even further.
Once you decide on a template you can easily change templates if you like without losing content and there are countless things within each template that you can customize to give it that perfect finishing touch for your branding.
Squarespace is known for its somewhat minimalist design aesthetic and great use of white space. All of that appeals to my personal aesthetic so it was an obvious choice for me from a design perspective from the beginning.
Squarespace claims it is optimized for SEO right out of the box, and while factors that the top search engines use to rank sites aren't common knowledge, there are many best practices to SEO and Squarespace is ahead of the curve on all of them.
Squarespace automatically generates sitemaps. From the Squarespace website:
Clean HTML markup, alt tagging of images, page descriptions, clean URL's, and search engine descriptions are also built right in to every site.
I am a firm believer that having a Squarespace site does NOT mean you are out of the game with regard to SEO, in fact from my own personal experience, I believe quite the opposite.
An anecdote from my own personal experience....I didn't really pay attention to SEO on my website until I had been in business for about a year. Once I did however...within about 3 months of consistently practicing minor SEO tweaks on my site, I ranked on page ONE (third on the page) of Google for my desired search term "Ridgecrest photographer". I was not even in the top 10 pages prior to that!!!
Another HUGE benefit to SEO (and the user experience) is that all Squarespace templates are optimized for mobile. Google recently updated their technology to give mobile-optimized sites priority in search results. Knowing that my site views perfectly on mobile and I don't have to do ANYTHING to get it that way is a huge win in my book.
Want to sell something on your site? No problem! Its a breeze to set up shop on Squarespace and they have built in all of the tools and resources you need to get started and get going quickly.
I recently experienced this myself as I set up shop for my new blog outsourcing services. I was able to set up my products, set prices, discounts, create rules about taxes and shipping and can customize the whole experience to match my branding. Clients can pay through the site and the whole process is seamless and pain free.
Squarespace has a few different billing plans and while I'm not completely up to date on how much many other website providers cost, I can tell you that for the price I pay, the peace of mind and ability to be personally involved in my site, it is worth every penny.
For $18/month (billed annually) you can have a ready to go website for your business with unlimited pages, galleries and blogs and unlimited bandwidth, storage and contributors. You get a free custom domain, metrics, 24/7 customer support, and professional email with google.
Grows with you
When I set up my first photography site on Squarespace in 2012, I admit, I knew nothing about the platform. However, it was easy for me to get started and I was very proud of how professional it looked despite my limited knowledge of how to actually use the platform to its full potential.
Fast forward three years and my knowledge of all things Squarespace AND photography have grown leaps and bounds and I've been able to expound, create and customize new things on my site that I couldn't have even imaged back when I first started.
I've discovered ways to use what Squarespace has to offer in order to achieve my desired result. I feel like I am learning new things every week about how to fully utilize this platform not only to make my user experience fantastic, but to make my life easier!
The fact that you can have a blog attached to your site (instead of linked to your site) was huge to me. I didn't have to have another blog site to keep up with, I could just do it all together on the Squarespace platform.
Since Squarespace wasn't originally intended to be a blogging platform, some people may feel like the blogging options are limited. While I understand where they are coming from, with a little creativity you can use the features offered in Squarespace to essentially get you to the same place.
Squarespace also keeps tabs on the most popular plugins available for Wordpress and attempts to keep up with those and integrate them into the platform. This is another huge bonus to me as an avid blogger. I was never really a fan of plugins and was constantly afraid something was going to break my site since I didn't understand the underlying actions that were taking place. On Squarespace, I am never worried. ;-)
The last thing I want to mention is more of a response to a common objection as opposed to a "reason" to use Squarespace. The objection:
All Squarespace sites look the same and they are never "truly custom" since they are all built off of preexisting templates.
I will admit, comments like this do tend to get under my skin just a bit. While I agree that most Squarespace sites have a similar aesthetic, I don't really understand why a site being "truly custom" matters? If your website is easy for you to use or update, if it is branded appropriately with your brand, if it makes it easy for clients to know what you are about and what you offer and then contact you and convert into sales....
...what does being "truly" custom have to do with any of that?
I highly doubt customers or clients are turning away from my website because they feel it is not custom enough. I think the only people that might care about that are other creatives or website owners? Maybe? I'm not really sure why this objection keeps coming up, but I wanted to mention it because I would hate for someone to turn away from an amazing resource that can really help them to reach clients and convert sales simply because they feel its not "popular" in their community.
Whew! That was a lot! So tell me, was any of this new info to you? Do you use Squarespace? Are you thinking of using it? Tell me all about it in the comments! I love to hear from you!