It is important for entrepreneurs of all types to stay on top of the latest tools and technology available to them. It is also important to evaluate the efficacy of these tools before adopting them. Jumping on the latest bandwagon can be just as or more harmful than doing nothing at all.
Every year, there’s a new ‘trend’ or ‘fad’ to follow with some tool or another that will enable you to make more money at a lower cost point. For instance, Optimize Press or Premise allowed you to create your own landing pages on the fly. Or there’s LeadPages, which allows you to create landing pages and conduct split testing. These tools were designed for semi-technical and low cost virtual assistants and they easily produce simple and unnatractive pages. They can be useful tools, but they only help you so long as you understand the needs of a landing page and split testing. Even further, they caused some people financial harm, as they were installed on WordPress websites that were then able to be hacked and were opened to security risks. Those trend-adopters either now live with that or have paid someone to come and clean it all up.
Squarespace is one such tool that has recently become all the rage. Much like Weebly, a non-technical user can use a template from Squarespace to create a pretty good looking website and then manage it, similar to WordPress. The templates they offer are pretty good-looking, but they are available to everyone, meaning your site will look like or very similar to a lot of other sites on the web. It makes Squarespace a great low-cost entry point for a first website, a one-off site particular to an event or even a single-product sales page.
For those who want or need more than just a basic site, however, Squarespace begins to make less sense. If you want a custom design on Squarespace, you’ll still need to hire someone to design it and then build it, and building custom designs on Squarespace is not for the faint of heart. On top of that, Squarespace is currently unable to do a number of things which WordPress does very well. It won’t integrate with any payment gateway other than Stripe, handle a full-fledged membership site, control user access to portions of the site, give you complete control over site speed and hosting and other bits of functionality considered standard in WordPress.
This isn’t to say that these and other features won’t be added to Squarespace in the future, but for now it remains a limited tool, albeit a very good one for beginners and simple sites.
There is one thing Squarespace does which WordPress does not (out of the box) handle for you — email at a cost of $60/person/year. But if you already have an email solution that is working for you, or if your website requires anything more than a basic template, then it is clearly not for you.
So watch out for the marketing maven that is claiming you ABSOLUTELY MUST switch to Squarespace from WordPress. If you need a new site, you might need more than Squarespace can offer, and if you already have a responsive WordPress site like the spiffy ones we make here at Solamar, then why pay the expense to rework your website AND your email on Squarespace? WordPress has roughly the same workflow, and is just as easy to figure out while providing much wider functionality. It also has the added benefit of having been around for a long time, with a large community of dedicated contributors.
Oh, and one more word about switching from one framework to the other. No matter which you decide on, if you switch to the other one later, your search engine rankings will take a hit. So it is important to really weigh your needs, not just as they are now, but as they might be in the future.
I know shiny things are sparkly, but remember that a level head and a clear evaluation of how much a tool really helps you will lead to success far quicker than the latest fad will. And as always, give us a shout if you ever need a fantastic website. We got you!