You may have heard people raving about Squarespace websites, and how they are so great for small business owners.
Here, I want to get into the nitty gritty of why Squarespace is so darn good, and also what kind of businesses benefit from having a Squarespace website-and importantly, which ones don’t.
Squarespace Review: The Pros and Cons For Small Businesses
Squarespace are among the main website Content Management Systems (CMS) people use to create websites and are among the ranks of Wordpress, Joomla and Wix.
CMS is basically a fancy word for a framework that your website is created on, so that you, the user, can update information and upload blog posts or pages without using code.
But first off, we need to make clear that Squarespace is not just a CMS (like Wordpress).
It's also a website builder, host, security manager, social media plugin, domain name registrar, SSL certificate and email list builder all in one! (Amazing? Yes!)
What are the main limitations of Squarespace?
If you're thinking of a huge, multi-function, membership-based online website business, Squarespace is not the right CMS for you. Compared to Wordpress, which has thousands of plugins and themes to give amazing functions, Squarespace has relatively few.
Squarespace also integrates with only a few 3rd-party providers.
For email list building, only Mailchimp and Squarespace’s built-in email list provider is offered. (Although there are workarounds if you use code).
Squarespace’s eCommerce for digital products
Paypal, Square and Stripe are the built-in eCommerce options.
There are also limitations on how you can setup your ecommerce shop.
If you are selling stock photos online, we definitely do not recommend Squarespace to our clients, because you can't bulk upload photos, so to upload 100 images you would literally be at it all day!
If you are focusing on selling various online courses or access to quizzes or other online goods, the limitations are that you customer will only receive one standard email. This means you can’t customize the email to include special instructions, etc specific to that particular product.
Squarespace is easy to use....kind of!
Squarespace is touted as easy to use and create a website, but in reality it has a steep learning curve for most people who aren't tech savvy, to setup and design a website.
Many small business owners struggle to create a finished website and find it very frustrating to use at first.
In most cases, we find at best that DIYers can't finish and get help for their Squarespace website. The worst scenario is when they finish the website themselves, but it's really not setup correctly and has a lot of design, SEO and user experience flaws that drastically affect traffic and conversion rates.
Contrary to what many Wordpress website designers may say, Squarespace’s SEO is absolutely fine for the average user and does not negatively affect SEO at all! In fact, some say it’s easier to optimize.
It’s only when people don’t know how to use the SEO settings in Squarespace that you won’t get the same results as a Wordpress website.
Some default settings and layouts are not particularly good for SEO, so it’s best to get a professional to set it up for you, and perhaps run a tutorial for you to make sure you are optimizing your website for search engines.
Squarespace strong points and benefits for small business
Once setup, however, Squarespace truly comes into its own.
If it's one thing that small business owners are short on, it's time and money and in terms of running a website yourself, Squarespace can really solve both of these problems.
Even though the setup cost and hosting of a Wordpress website is a little less, Wordpress chews through money once you come across inevitable problems, hacking or maintenance that requires an IT professional.
A truly “no-maintenance” website!
Many small business owners don't realize the amount of work and maintenance a Wordpress or Joomla website requires, and when they do the old "leave and forget" technique, it spells disaster. Wordpress websites have the highest rate of being hacked into among all other CMS.
Squarespace requires no maintenance at all, as it’s all done automatically through Squarespace, so you don't need to worry about updating plugins, themes and you don't need to pay a developer a lot of money to maintain it. It's all bundled into your plan. Amazing!
The beautiful ease of use for a small business owner is almost heaven-sent. It's truly a "leave and forget" kind of website—NOT that we recommend this, you need to add more content/blog posts to keep improving your SEO! :)
Domain name, hosting and web builder in one
You can also register your domain name through Squarespace, lessening the amount of accounts you need to have, not to mention your hosting are all in the one place.
I don't know about you, but as a small business owner myself, I have over 100 password logins and accounts for various things, so anything to make my life simpler is greatly appreciated.
One little hiccup is if you are in Australia and you want a .com.au URL you need to register your domain name outside of Squarespace, (legal domain name reasons) using a domain name registrar such as GoDaddy.
Who is Squarespace best for?
If you are a serviced-based business or brick-and-mortar business, Squarespace is your match made in heaven.
For an online-based businesses who needs a lot of advanced website functions like online membership, a forum, or if you want to do very specific online marketing, Squarespace will be difficult to work with and Wordpress would be the best bet for you.
With no need to pay for monthly maintenance (like Wordpress), and everything pretty much working beautifully, Squarespace is an absolute no-brainer, which is why we recommend Squarespace to the vast majority of our small business clients.
What's your experience with Squarespace? Do you have any questions about Squarespace? Leave a comment below!