(and why you should use it for your business, too).
Okay, I struggle with this little problem that's called "I believe what works for me should totally work for everyone else." I know, life isn't like that. Hah... if there's ANYTHING I've learned from motherhood, it's that what works for one person does NOT work for everyone else!
BUT! That doesn't mean it won't work for at least ONE other person! Right?
So, it's been exactly one year since I launched this website of mine and if I had known what a difference switching website platforms from Wordpress to Squarespace was going to make in my business, I would have used Squarespace from the beginning. I have typed and re-typed this "sales pitch" over and over in the last year for friends and I finally decided I should put it on my blog so I could just link people to it in the future. :)
5 Reasons I Seriously Love Squarespace
I should say up front that I am a web design semi-guru. I know code. I have known basic HTML and CSS since I was 12. I have designed all of my own websites and many more for other businesses and friends. I was doing just fine with my awesome Wordpress sites for many years. Even before Wordpress, I spent countless hours building websites on GoDaddy, Dreamweaver, Homesite (anyone remember Homesite? Come on!), and many others. I have also lived through good (and downright horrible) experiences with other web designers.
That said... Squarespace simply takes the cake for the best Website Content Management System I have worked with. Here's why:
Saving Time - Because of the ease of Squarespace, switching to their web platform has completely changed the way I am spending my time. I am no longer spending my time on the following tedious tasks:
- Resizing images for the web. Oh no, Squarespace does this FOR ME. I simply drop in the original file and Squarespace automatically generates a thumbnail image, a portfolio images AND any other image necessary for the project in which it's being used. It resizes the images on the page so they load naturally and quickly.
- Manipulating content with HTML code so that it is arranged in a proper and pleasing manner on each page. (In other words: Using code to "fix" my wordpress pages. Talk about TIME CONSUMING.)
- Sending the same emails over and over to people. Instead of sending the same (non colored or image illustrated) info in emails continuously, I have created pages on my website with the data so I can respond to people with a link instead. These pages are full of pretty pictures, example illustrations, and guides for my clients. They are much more pleasing to their eyes, a lot more informative, and offer a better professional image for my business. But even better, my SEO improves each time a website visitor lands on my website and now I can send them there repeatedly.
- Dwelling on the fact that my portfolio hasn't been updated in forever. Oh no. I am updating my portfolio constantly on all of my squarespace websites. It's so EASY. Literally a drop-and-drag action and done! My wordpress website went almost TWO YEARS without an updated portfolio. I kept putting it off because it was so time consuming to choose the images, resize them for the web, reorganize and reorder them. Oh the list goes on.
- Backing-up my website. Squarespace has got me covered. No more monthly emails reminding me to back-up my site. No more spending time downloading my blog, compressing the files, and putting the zip file in safe keeping. Squarespace has it all covered.
- Trying to remember my FTP login information. Everything is all in one place with Squarespace. I don't have to drop and drag files onto my host's server anymore through FTP. I don't have to upload a new theme through FTP and then login to my Wordpress account to work with it. Everything is together with one easy login page.
- Searching for add-ons and plug-ins. Squarespace has full social media integration, e-commerce capabilities ready-to-go, an awesome blogging platform, and even incorporates forms (and backs them up to Google docs, MailChimp AND emails them to me!) Squarespace has everything I need!
- Design - The Squarespace templates are beautiful. They are easy to customize and the (very few) limits are more often a way to force site owners to follow a design guideline than they are just generic limits. I feel confident that anytime I design a Squarespace site for a friend or client, I never have to worry about the site "looking bad."
- SEO - Did you know that Google doesn't care how much you blog? (Thanks Emily Goodstein for that little nugget!) What Google really cares about is how often your website is updated. Because Squarespace is so QUICK and EASY to use, I am using it daily as a Content Management System for my whole business. This has, in turn, moved me to the top of the "Lynchburg Wedding Photographers" google search list by default. I have not paid for SEO assistance, I have not spent my days working tips and tricks to increase my SEO. It's just happening organically because I am on the back-end of my website daily.
- E-Commerce - Squarespace has a beautifully simple and reliable e-commerce solution. For the first time in almost 8 years of being in business, my clients can add products to their shopping cart and make payments on my business website. The design is consistent and offers a much more professional presentation. There's nothing wrong with using PayPal, really there isn't. But the designer in me LOVES that receiving payments is a streamlined process right here on my own site. (And that it looks pretty, too.)
- It's FAST - I seriously throw pages together almost daily and thanks to the "Duplicate Page" option, I can create customized sites in a fraction of the time it used to take me on Wordpress. Actually, I never did follow through with my goal of creating custom client sites on Wordpress, anyway. It was just too time consuming. But all of my couples now have their own customized page with appropriate links to guides, timeline information (customized to their date), and links to their online galleries. This is just ONE benefit I can offer my clients that helps set me apart from other photographers. I have a few others up my sleeve, but I can't share them all publicly, you know. ;)
There's so many more great things about squarespace (it's so easy and fast and I love love love it!). Here are a few screen shots of what Squarespace has offered me that I never had (time to create) before through Wordpress (hover your mouse over the bottom of the images to read my notes):
If you are thinking of making the switch, pick a template and sign up for a free two week trial (be sure to tell them firstname.lastname@example.org sent you!). Once you're ready to really make the switch, grab a coupon code!
P.S. I was not compensated in ANY way for this blog post. This my complete and honest opinion about Squarespace. If you hear of them coming out with an affiliate program anytime soon, let me know! I am sure I could benefit from it. :)