Squarespace launched in January 2004 from the founder Anthony Casalena's college dorm room at the University of Maryland with a simple aim to 'provide creative tools that help anyone give a voice to their ideas'. There's no denying that the platform has gone from strength to strength since then, due to it's elegant style and incredibly intuitive CMS that puts the user at the heart of the creative process.
There are plenty of options out there when it comes to website platforms - WordPress, of course, being one of the biggest players - but Squarespace has definitely got something very right. The New York based web builder is growing rapidly in popularity and as soon as you start using it you immediately see why.
As Web Designers it has been our platform of choice for both our own and clients sites for a long time, so much so that we've recently made the move to build solely on the Squarespace platform.
So why is it so good? Well let us give you just a few reasons!
1. Simple, cost effective plans.
Squarespace have always had super simple, competitively priced plans and with a recent update they now fall into three categories:
- Cover Pages - for stunning single page site.
- Websites - for businesses of all sizes.
- Commerce - for online stores that need to sell products or packaged services.
Squarespace's plans include: hosting, unlimited bandwidth / storage, custom domain, 24/7 support, metrics and a butt load of responsive templates (that you change as often as you like!). You get a lot of bang for your buck and will genuinely have everything you need to get yourself online. Compared to the likes of WordPress with separate theme, hosting, plugin, domain and ongoing general maintenance / update costs - you really can't go wrong.
2. Beautifully crafted responsive templates.
Squarespace offers a whole host of amazing responsive templates to fit any purpose - from wedding sites to full scale commerce sites. Each template has it's own features, functions and style so you're spoilt for choice. Squarespace's template demo pages also give you a selection of live customer site's that have been built using them so you can really get a feel for how a template could potentially look / feel to use. What's more, you can change your template at any point at no extra cost!
But doesn't that hugely restrict functionality?! Squarespace has a robust CSS editor as well as a developer mode, so although you start off with a template (or from scratch in dev. mode) there's loads that can be achieved through custom coding. As designers we are well versed in CSS & HTML coding with Squarespace.
3. Intuitive CMS system.
Not only is the general menu navigation in Squarespace really simple, actually building up web page content couldn't be easier. All pages are built up using 'content blocks', once inserted you just drag & drop them in to position! With the live view editor you're able to immediately see the changes you're making and build / edit your website in 'real time'.
For us, as designers, and for our clients this is key to our service because once we've built a kick-ass site we can spend a few hours with our clients teaching them the basics of updating content in Squarespace / making simple edits. When we're done, our clients have the confidence and knowledge to maintain their new site in the long run. No extortionate ongoing monthly maintenance fees here!
4. Great seo.
Squarespace website's are automatically optimised for SEO and it's extremely easy to add SEO descriptions and other bits of information within Squarespace's settings. Here's just a couple more ways that Squarespace sets you up for good ranking results (thanks to this question on Squarespace Answers):
- Pages are automatically produced with clean HHTML markup.
- Squarespace generates a sitemap.xml - submit this to search engine webmaster tools!
- Pages have correct meta tags.
- Web pages have 'clean' URL's that are easily mapped & indexed by search engines.
- Squarespace also proactively (and aggressively) fight spam, more so than other free/super cheap services that may allow your site to be group with other spam sites.
There's a whole host of other things that Squarespace do as well as a few design techniques that can be implemented to ensure that your site is rocking the rankings. Want to know more? Give us a shout!
Squarespace tracks user data on your site and presents it all in the 'Metrics' area of the CMS dashboard. Here you can get a really good idea of traffic numbers on your site as well as popular content, mobile usage, referrers, RSS subscribers and search engine queries. It may not be as in-depth as Google Analytics (which you can easily plug in to Squarespace under External Services) but it does give you a good overview and is a really nice feature to have.
6. It'll save you time & money.
As Squarespace is so easy to work with, you (and your business) will ultimately save time and money. When hiring a designer like us the time needed to build a site is reduced, so we can deliver stunning websites much faster than we'd be able to on other platforms.
You'll also save money in the long run because making those small, simple updates to your site will be exactly that... simple. Let's be honest, it sucks paying someone £150 for an hour's work just to add a new image to a page or updates some headings, so scrap it! We're all about our client's being in control of their site once it's done - we're here to get it looking awesome in the first place and be available to lend advise, make those changes if needed and help out with some of the bigger changes further down the line. How can that not be great for any business?!
7. EASY BLOGGING.
Squarespace has fantastic built in SEO functionality meaning that you're site will be working wonders for you off the bat, however the key to maintaining this is CONTENT. No doubt you've heard or seen 'Content is King' a gazillion times online already but the fact still remains that in order to keep your website ranking highly in search engine results you need to be keeping it up to date with new content. The easiest and best way to do so is by blogging.
Squarespace offer build in blog publishing with all their Website & Commerce packages and just like building web pages - you guessed it - it's super easy and intuitive. You can add thumbnails, tags, assign categories, integrate Disqus commenting and of course include anything you would do on a web page. You can even publish simple posts from their App! Which brings me nicely onto...
8. Squarespace Apps.
As well as the main desktop based system, Squarespace also has a suite of mobile apps designed to 'capture, showcase, and track your brightest ideas'. Images & descriptions from squarespace.com/apps.
Squarespace Blog gives you the tools you need to write and edit posts and manage comments on multiple Squarespace websites.
Record your inspiration and send via e-mail, or sync with a range of popular services including Evernote, Dropbox, Google Drive, and more.
Sync with all the galleries on your Squarespace website. Customise the presentation and showcase your work without relying on an internet connection.
Monitor website analytics. In addition to KPIs like page views and unique visitors, projections and charts for your site are at your fingertips.
9. Top notch Support.
The customer support that Squarespace offer is second to none. Whether it be through the live chat, opening a ticket or through social media - there's a team around 24/7. They are incredibly friendly and often go above and beyond to make sure any issues or queries are sorted out / answered swiftly and clearly. There's also a super friendly and help community of users, designers and developers that help anyone out on the Answers forum.
10. Try before you buy.
You don't have to shell out right away, all new customers can test Squarespace out before committing to a plan. You can sign up for a 14 day free trial on squarespace.com and get started right away! Two weeks is easily enough time to really get a feel for how the platform works so give it a go! You won't regret it...