How To Create A Great Website For Your Small Business…
If you’re like me chances are you fire up your music player when you’re ready to grind! Whether it’s at work or at the gym, music is one of those things that gives us that extra kick we need to get sh*t done! So as I sit here working, listening to my Spotify, this Squarespace ad keeps coming up. I keep hearing it not just on my Spotify, but on my podcasts as well. I can tell Squarespace is investing a lot of marketing dollars! The ad touts how simple and easy it is to setup a website for new small business owners. And while there is some truth to that, there are also some caveats that should be taken into consideration. To help you with that, below is a list of 5 things to consider when building your website on Squarespace.
First of all, you will find PLENTY of posts out there on pros vs. cons of using Squarespace. I didn’t want this post to be another clone of that. What I did want, was a comprehensive list of things you, as a business owner, should be on the lookout for and consider when thinking of setting up a new website, or migrating to this platform.
No Phone Support
I personally don’t have an issue with this. I do most of my shopping online and most of my interactions with companies come in the form of email. But since I’ve been working in technology for so long (since I was like 16), I’m pretty technically savvy and don’t usually have a need for talking to any techs over the phone.
Consequently, you, as a business owner, may not be technically savvy. You’re probably really, really good at marketing, auto repair, or fashion, but when it comes to technology, it might not be your best friend. And that’s totally fine. We all have our strengths and weakness. And part of being a successful business owner is capitalizing on your strengths and not focusing so much on your weaknesses.
You can get support via email, Twitter, or their Live Chat which is only available weekdays from 3am to 8pm EST. However, if you prefer to have someone available that you can jump on the phone with you and answer your questions, this may not necessarily work for you.
A website on Squarespace is typically simple brochure sites. This is a website that is solely used to provide information without much interaction. They have pretty solid designs, although you can get similar designs in other platforms like WordPress as well. But let’s say you want to add some custom functionality. Whether it’s a live chat feature, a way to connect your website to your CRM, or add a plugin that can help boost your SEO. You won’t be able to do that with Squarespace.
Because their platform is a closed environment you’ll run into some limitations when trying to customize your site. Their system is closed by design. It helps Squarespace keep a tight lid on security and software bugs. This works if you want a quick, simple website.
If you feel like you may need to add further functionality at some point, you’ll find yourself being limited and may need to change platforms to something like WordPress at some point.
Ownership & Portability
Say you found a less expensive platform to host your website and you’d like to transfer your site over from Squarespace over to that platform. Unfortunately, it would be pricey, if not impossible. Because their websites sit on a proprietary platform, their websites don’t easily transfer to any other platform. You would need to hire a developer to copy all the content, work some technical magic, and import everything into your new platform. It could be pricey and it wouldn’t be guaranteed to fully work. And this is largely because you don’t own your website and there is no access to download your website “files”.
Setting up a website on Squarespace (also applies to Wix and Weebly), locks you in to their system for the life of your website. So if you ever wanted to switch, you would either lose your site, or have to pay a steep price to have it migrated.
Squarespace made it’s name largely from giving users access to some very beautifully designed templates. They made it easy for a business owner to setup a website, select a template, add some content, and launch. But the limitation comes in when you want to customize that template to your liking.
While it’s fairly easy to add text, add images, and change colors, customizing your template is a whole other ballgame. I’ve seen clients butcher a website because the Squrespace user interface wasn’t as intuitive and easy to use as they proclaim. Building website on Squarespace can sometimes leave you frustrated, eating up your time, trying to figure out how to make modifications to their designs.
Now, if you don’t mind your website looking exactly like hundreds of others, who use the same template, that is not a problem. But if you need a little more customization to make your website more unique, you may find yourself running into this issue.
There is a time and place for DIY (Do-It-Yourself), but building a website, may not be it unless you know what you’re doing. Otherwise, you could end up spending much more time than you initially anticipated. This is usually spent trying to figure out the system, trying to figure out how you’re going to add your content, and what images you’re going to add. Time adds up quickly! Before you know it, you’ve spent 1 week on this, then 2 weeks, then a whole month, and sometimes even two months.
As a rule of thumb, it’s always advisable to hire an expert in whatever field you need a solution for. For example, even though I am a bit of a handyman, I typically hire a plumber, electrician, or landscapre to do some of the work I don’t want to spend time on figuring out. They’re the best qualified individuals! They’ll get it done in a fraction of the time it will take me. Time, I can be focused on growing my business or doing other things that bring me pleasure…..like hiking! 🙂
Building Your Website on Squarespace – Conclusion
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to bash Squarespace! They have a solid platform and there is definitely a market for it. But just like with anything, it’s not a solution for everybody. It may be for you if you need something quick and simple. It may work if you don’t need to talk to a tech over the phone. And if you don’t need to do much customization now or in the future, it may be the solution for you
The cool thing about building your website on Squarespace is that you can sign up fairly easily and test it out. It’s not expensive and you can see how it works and if it meets your needs. But if you find it falls short of your expectations, it might be time to pursue a different route. If you need more from your website, it may be wise to consult with a website professional to look at other solutions.