Squarespace is a website building tool
It's based around templates that you can customise to create a lovely modern, professional website. All Squarespace websites are automatically mobile friendly and there are even some cool features designed specifically for people browsing on their phones.
Squarespace provide their own hosting and security updates, so you don't need to worry about the technical installation process. I've written a blog post on some key website terms like hosting and domains if it's all a bit of a mystery to you!
So, what else can you do with Squarespace?
- Add a huge range of content types including images, galleries, videos, contact forms, blog posts and podcasts
- Sell digital downloads, services or physical products online
- Easily copy pages, events, products and blog posts so you can set templates up and reuse them to save time
- Preview your pages in a visual content editor so you can immediately see how your website is going to look
- Link your social media accounts, so you can display your own tweets and Instagram feeds on your website
- Automatically post your new blog posts or events on social media when they’re published
- Talk directly to someone from Squarespace via email 24 hours a day by email or live chat
You can see a full list of all Squarespace features on their website.
A note on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
- Squarespace does a great job helping you to get found online by translating the information that you provide into a format that makes Google happy.
- If you've got a fairly distinctive business name and that's what you expect people to look for, you should start appearing near the top of search results in the weeks after your website goes live.
- However, if you want to appear higher up on Google for popular search terms with lots of competition, then it is still possible but you'll have to put in some extra effort yourself (i.e. you can't expect Squarespace to be a magic bullet). This would be the case no matter how your website was built.
Squarespace have a guide to increasing your visibility on search engines.
What's the difference between Squarespace and other tools like WordPress, Wix and Weebly?
- Wix and Weebly (or options like the website tool that comes free with your domain) are fine for people with very little budget, where looking super-professional is less important than providing information. These platforms are often used by small community groups or clubs. For example my boxing trainer's website is on Wix. Does it look like a premium site? No. Does it give me the details that I need? Yes.
- WordPress is probably the best known alternative to Squarespace, and it's great if you're a developer, or you have someone techy that can provide ongoing support. The main difference between WordPress and Squarespace is convenience, and how easy it is to use if you aren't techy.
- With WordPress, many people say that it's free, which is true... but if you had a free car with no fuel, it wouldn't really be that useful. The "fuel" that powers a website is hosting, and with WordPress you need to pay for your own hosting (via a hosting company). You then need to make sure that every time WordPress makes changes to their code, it gets added to your version of it on your hosting. Not keeping this up to date can leave you vulnerable to hackers and security risks.
- On WordPress, you can also add lots of functionality with little bits of code called plugins. Most of these aren't made by WordPress themselves, so you have to a) make sure you're getting your code from a reliable source, and b) make sure that the plugin code is also kept up to date. If the plugin isn't updated, it can start to break your website when you update your WordPress code.
- With Squarespace, nearly everything you could need is there, right from the start, straight 'out of the box'. Because your website is hosted, updated and supported by Squarespace you don't need to worry about having to do anything technical yourself. And there's loads of functionality built in, so most people don't need any extra plugins.
- Is the monthly or annual fee for Squarespace higher than cheap hosting for WordPress? Yes. But if you want someone to manage your WordPress site (and you really should if you don't want security issues) then the cost for paying a developer (or for premium, managed hosting) soon makes Squarespace a very good value option.
- There are some limitations to what you can do with Squarespace compared to WordPress, the main one being having user accounts for customers or your community. There is however a way to add membership functionality to Squarespace using the Memberspace tool.