Why Squarespace May Not Be the Best Platform For Your Site
I’m going to call it out right away—this is a very non-traditional post. I anticipate that you’re slightly confused as to why a Squarespace designer would somehow share the secrets on why this platform may not be the best for your business.
The thing is, I want to make sure that your best interest is my priority. I know, I make a living off of designing websites for Squarespace but if my designs can’t serve you, then what’s the point? I’ve done a lot of research (mostly as I was narrowing down what platforms I even wanted to design in) into the best platforms and I’ve recently had a handful of consultation calls where it’s been very clear that Squarespace may not work best for their business. The three biggest website platforms out there—Squarespace, Wordpress and Shopify—were developed to serve any type of business, but they clearly have their own niches.
What it is: a complete commerce platform that lets you start, grow, and manage a business.
Best for: eCommerce-focused businesses
Benefit: Although their plugin library (what they call “Apps”) is not as robust as WordPress’, they still have a TON of options for you to beef up your website, from customer service chat boxes to subscription box integrations and more.
Benefit: There are plenty of totally free Shopify themes to choose from, as well as their own library of paid themes from very reputable designers. Keep in mind, unless you know how to edit Shopify’s code, you will be limited to the design of that theme.
Drawback: Shopify uses its own code “language,” so those that aren’t familiar with coding (or specifically Shopify’s type of code) will have a very hard time getting their site to look and act the way they want it to (without a Shopify designer’s help).
What it is: the all-in-one platform to build a beautiful online presence and empowers people with creative ideas to succeed.
Best for: Service-focused businesses
Benefit: The simplicity of the backend is one of the top benefits of Squarespace. Building a page is as easy as dragging and dropping, and you can see your edits as you make them in the same way that your viewers will see them, so there’s no saving and then opening up your site in a new window to see what your edits look like.
Benefit: Squarespace is really easy to pick up and understand right away. No matter your tech background or skillset, I’ve often equated making edits to your site like you’re in Microsoft Word—everything is laid out in an easy-to-understand way.
Drawback: If you’re looking for really intricate/robust features for your website, Squarespace may not be the best option for you. While they have a ton of great tools and features, platforms like WordPress have thousands of plugins + add-ons to help your site function the exact way you want it to.
What it is: an open-source content management system, or in other words, anyone can use or modify the WordPress software for free.
Best for: Content-focused businesses
Benefit: The most flexibility on what you can do with your website through their plugin library. You use these plugins if you want more “intricate” features, like an interactive product guide or a really in-depth look at your SEO.
Benefit: There are TONS of Wordpress themes out there, so you’re bound to find one that will fit both your brand and business goals. Wordpress themes range from free to $$$$, so you can also narrow them down by budget.
Drawback: If you’re looking to update your website frequently and are not very tech-savvy, the backend of Wordpress will be very confusing for you. Many times, those that can’t figure out how to work the back end of their site will have to hire someone on a monthly basis to make the changes and/or additions they’re looking to see.
Now here’s the dirt—as a business owner who has had their website on all 3 platforms, I’d definitely say that Squarespace is the easiest to maintain. Since the functionality of the platform is drag-and-drop and click-to-edit, it’s very easy to pick up and learn, no matter what level of “tech-savvy” you're at. That being said, anytime I’m on a call with another business owner we talk shop. We get down to the nitty-gritty. If I sense that their needs could be met on another platform (for example, they had an eCommerce-focused website), I explain the benefits of Shopify for their business but ALSO explain how Squarespace could benefit them as well. In this same example, if they want the more robust eCommerce features of Shopify and won’t be managing + adding inventory themselves, Shopify would be a better option for them. On the flip side, if the client will be updating their site on their own and the eCommerce features of Squarespace fit their needs, Squarespace would be a better option for them so that they can easily and regularly edit their site.
My top tip if you don’t know what platform your site should be on is to find a designer you want to work with and schedule a consultation. Most designers will be honest about where you should stand and possibly have references if necessary!