This is Why I Build With Squarespace
I often find myself defending Squarespace to so-called "real" web designers. I don't know what that even means—but it's rude.
Squarespace is all I've ever known with respect to web design. Back when my business partner and I started our first business (because I'm totally obsessed with leaving the 9-5 grind), I struggled with making my own website on several different platforms, including Shopify, Wix, and a couple lesser known platforms, and eventually ended up building the final site on Squarespace.
At the time—and especially before the Brine family of templates, which I'll get into in a different post—I found the interface to be remarkably obtuse and limited, but in the end, I ended up with a beautiful website that customers raved about.
My clients, the people that matter most to my business, didn't care whether the site was built with Wordpress, or Drupal, or whatever. They loved the clean, beautiful layout.
After building that one website, I quickly regarded myself as an expert, mansplaining about it all over town, and went on to build another site for a friend's mom who insisted that I hadn't charged her enough for my services and took it upon herself to double the payment I was asking for (awesome!). This is the moment I recognized the potential of Squarespace.
Clients Don't Care 'How'
People who have businesses to run don't care how you do your job as long as you can do what they're asking without a lot of fuss. Squarespace is a DIY platform—Squarespace designers get that. It still takes a tremendous amount of time and effort to learn and even more time and effort to master. This is true of any profession. I am positive that I have the cognitive ability to be a doctor. Guess what! I'm not going to med school to find out why I have this weird mole.
This is what I'm getting at: Squarespace is not necessarily 'better' than Wordpress (for the sake of argument I'll use Wordpress as primary my comparison because those are the people I encounter who are on the highest of horses about their craft). Both are great platforms, each with their own pros and cons—like iOS and Android.
Simplicity & Ease of Use
Squarespace outshines Wordpress in this regard without question—like iOS and Android. Srsly though; I take on each client for 2 weeks. On the last day of that 2 weeks, I give a 45 minute to 1 hour tutorial about how to work with Squarespace and how to do all the things an average user would need to know for day-to-day operations of a business within its environment. This is a bonus for me because clients no longer need to depend on me after the build. Can you fathom trying to wrap your head around Wordpress in 45 minutes? Client self-sufficiency is the core of my business model; I can't express how valuable this is.
A little-known feature of Squarespace is the ability to dive into the code and become what is regarded as being a 'true developer.' While the drag-and-drop nature of Squarespace makes it easy to do so much without coding, the option is there when you need it.
The limitations are something that was annoying at first, but something that I've since learned to embrace. Have you ever been to a restaurant that has a menu with seventeen-hundred options? It's frustrating AF, and you end up making a poor to mediocre decision because you're hangry. The limitations of Squarespace encourage clean, content-focused design choices, but if you know how to manipulate the system, you come out looking like a superstar because the results are phenomenal.
This can be viewed in a positive light, or a negative one. Some people don't like the idea of a government-like entity presiding over their creativity. From my perspective, this is one of the most valuable perks of using Squarespace. For every piece of functionality offered by Wordpress, a plugin is required. However, plugins are created by an untold number of developers with each plugin needing their own updates and security patches. Updates and patches must be performed immediately to avoid security implications, but an update to one plugin could break another—this is very difficult to scale when you're a one-person operation. In my mind, this is an ongoing nightmare that far outweighs the perceived limitations of Squarespace and my two-week commitment to clients. The Squarespace back end is 100% managed from top to bottom without my intervention, and I like it that way.
If you've never heard of Squarespace before, definitely try it out; it's free for 14 days with no credit card required, so you have nothing to lose. If you're trying to decide between Wordpress and Squarespace or another platform, I hope this has provided some guidance. If you flat-out hate Squarespace and its developers, maybe go have some chamomile tea or something.
If you've tried Squarespace and just want someone to deal with it for you, try this.