I've been using Squarespace since 2005, and have been recommending them ever since. They deliver a hassle-free Web solution, great if you're a small business owner, or entrepreneur that spends more time thriving in your industry than debugging obnoxious Website problems.
I joined their affiliate program in 2011 after bragging about them enough. In 2012, I also joined their stellar Customer Care team for nine months, and worked my ass off during their Squarespace 6 launch. It was fun, and the product is still great.
Note both disclaimers...but the experience conveyed here is genuine and organic. This is a product I've used for seven years.
You should try them now, to validate these claims.
What is Squarespace?
Squarespace is a service for people who want to create an impressive, professional looking website, but don't want to worry about time consuming coding, and stressful troubleshooting. They provide hosting, content management tools, traffic analysis, and lightning fast, friendly tech support which makes them particularly attractive to the small business owner or entrepreneur. It helps you optimize your customer's experience and monetize your initiatives.
Squarespace is a well vouched for platform that attracted big industry names like Mark Ecko, and earned accolades from Wall Street Journal, Business Week, and CNET, to name a few. I've been using them for seven years, and they have been the face of four businesses for me, and one charity.
Today one of those businesses is still on its own Squarespace website, and most of the other efforts have been absorbed by my personal Squarespace blog, which reflects on the beauty and versatility of Squarespace for the entrepreneur or business owner. It's versatile. When I was inspired to promote financial literacy through a charity effort called PoorSucks.org, I had the website up within hours, and was generating traffic instantly.
What Can I Use it For?
In my last two business website consultations, I had mockups of their sites up and running within an hour using the tools provided by Squarespace. One was a music teacher's studio, and the other was a Bed & Breakfast in Brooklyn. Squarespace is ideal for you if you are a real entrepreneur or business owner that spends most of your time connecting with people in person, building your business, and focusing more on your operating income than the obsessive points of search engine optimization, or web design.
Squarespace takes care of all the Web elements for you.
Creating an elegant and professional looking website that inspires trust and confidence in your brand is a challenge that should not be downplayed. The most common weakness I see in small business owners and entrepreneurs I work with is a lack of technical savvy. Honestly, if you are focused on running your studio, or maintaining your rental business, I don't expect you to be completely web savvy.
I've been an IT for over 11 years now, and it's a profession all in its own! Technology evolves at an absurdly quick pace, and it's a headache to try and keep up with every little update. You would have to pull away from your actual business to try and catchup on the learning curve of the website design and development business. If you're not committing a large portion of your time to this, you'll be left with an unattractive website that gets passed over by potential customers.
Don't Settle for an Ugly Website
Because keeping up with that technology is so time consuming, most small business owners make mistakes when setting up their websites and end up publishing something that looks rickety and cheap. You end up with an ugly website. It's instant loss of credibility when a prospect lands on your webpage, and it looks like you pieced it together with Window's Paint program.
Years ago when people asked me how to setup a website, I would tell them about some basic HTML, let them borrow a couple of coding books maybe, or point them to online tutorials, or respected design sites. That's how I first learned, but the same challenges would present themselves over and again to most business owners.
Learning to code is time consuming. Troubleshooting server setups is time consuming. Figuring out networking protocols is time consuming. The only ones who become really good at it are the ones who are passionate about the craft of developing websites, or IT infrastructure...that becomes their business.
On top of that, even when I was able to point people in the right direction to do it themselves, recommended resources expired quickly. The Web found itself changing in look and feel, especially over the last few years. The boxy, primary colored Web turned into a sleeker, more attractive web. "Web 2.0" as they called it, came around, and if you were a business owner that didn't bother to advance all your coding skills, you were left with outdated looking sites, and a stale presentation that was quickly passed over by the customer base.
This Review Could Get Long! You Can Try It Now and Skip All This.
It Might Not Be Right for You
Squarespace isn't for everyone. If you want something free and overused, don't use Squarespace. Squarespace is a competitive edge. Use it if you want something that is truly stunning, easy to setup, and comes with a full service support team available to you 24/7, to keep your business front running all the time.
Simply creating any old website is not a challenge. Anyone can open up a Blogger or Wordpress account and have a rudimentary site online with ease. That part only acknowledges that being on the Web is important to your business. It neglects the competitive edge that is gained with superior product placement, and ignores brand positioning. It's the difference between opening up a lemonade stand and opening a Jamba Juice franchise.
Getting your business' name out on the Internet isn't the hard part. You can put your address and phone number up right away in Google Places, or on Wordpress and no one will try to stop you. But if you want to be taken seriously, if you want to look like an expert in your field, you better be ready to compete with others who have the cash to pay $5,000 - $10,000 for a professional Web package, or who are technically savvy enough to create their own beautiful websites.
These guys will be dominating your market share if you don't find a way to compete with them in quality and versatility.
It's not enough to just click "New" on the most readily available free blog platforms and hope that their default templates set you apart, or that the website stays live 24/7, and offers all the tools you need to optimize your sales flow. If you want to look like you're in, and be in the top of your industry, you've got to harness the tools and systems that will give you that competitive edge!
Who Makes the Switch to Squarespace?
My decision to move to Squarespace was easy. I coded my first website when I was 16. After I enlisted in the Coast Guard, I continued to study HTML and CSS, but it took a backseat to my primary IT duties for the Coast Guard. In about 2004 or so, I started writing articles online with a hand-coded website. I would put summaries of each new article on the front page to tell people what was new. This was a blog before the word had caught mainstream acceptance. Now blogs are almost a necessity for any business that interacts with consumers directly.
Although I liked the challenge in coding, and had a knack for it, it was time consuming. What I found was that I was more eager to put my content on the Web than I was to code unique Web appearances. But I still cared about that Web appearance. In 2005, I discovered Squarespace, and the solution made sense. It looked better than the Blogger and Wordpress default templates, and the name offered exclusivity because it wasn't as widely used, and wasn't adopted by Internet spammers.
The system worked really well.
They poised themselves as a publishing platform and that's exactly what they did. They published your content in style, and with professional looking elegance. Even bigger than that though was that they were more than Blogging software. They were, and they are an entire website-publishing system. You get an entire website out the gate with a Contact forum, About page, a dynamic blog addition, and dozens of other useful tools for businesses, like slide shows, portfolio galleries, social media integration, message boards, and FAQ's.
Why Are People Using Squarespace?
Squarespace takes you and your business and publishes it on the Web with sophistication, positioning you as an authority in your field. It provides credibility and functionality all in one system. It amplifies what you have to offer with clarity and command, but it's still not a magic pill. Your success relies on commitment and business know how. You have to be the entrepreneur.
If you have a shabby business model, or your product offers no value to customers, don't bother. If you have a clear vision, and are committed to creating value for your customers, committed to seeing your endeavors through, and adamant about positioning yourself at the top of your industry, then Squarespace is a good choice.
Many businesses who excel with Squarespace do so because they are focused on their product and customer. They recognize that truly stunning websites don't come free. Quality rarely ever comes without cost. These owners grew sick of the piecemeal Web results they were achieving when they cut corners. They were unamused by being lapped by their competition.
Other business owners and entrepreneurs use Squarespace solely because it looked great when they found it, and they wanted to look like the best.
I ended up choosing Squarespace as a combination of the two. Fighting over the learning curve, and trying to do everything myself doesn't appeal to me as an entrepreneur. I want to cultivate ingenuity, and then execute swiftly when market conditions come together for profit opportunities.
Now when I have ideas, or someone presents me a business opportunity, I can create a new website with a 14-day trial, put up an impressive business front, and test the market before I have to decide to move forward with the business opp or not. I can do that with impressive speed using Squarespace.
It's easy, it's beautiful, and it puts me in front of my competition.
About Squarespace's 14-Day Free Trial
The 14-day free trial is the number one reason to take Squarespace for a spin. Try it! There's no credit card required, and no commitment. You just choose a site name and about 30 seconds later your site is ready for editing. "New Business Venture" is live and waiting for your finishing touches!
Recently, I met with a friend and he was talking about how he needed a website to consolidate all the third-party listings of his rentals available in Brooklyn, for short-term New York City stays. This is his primary income and his "retirement plan," as he calls it.
He wanted a slide show on the front page, clean "whimsical" design, and a professional appearance. I told him I'd have him up within an hour on the next day. I opened up his temp account for him, quickly cruised through the templates, uploaded the photos he had, and customized the personal info.
It was beautiful, and he was floored.
He had the keys to a fully operational website, that offered him more functionality than he originally thought he could get for his money. Now he has reliable hosting, a fully customizable, professional looking website for his Bed & Breakfast business, and 24/7 tech support available to answer even the most rudimentary questions for him, like "how do I get this to look like this?".
It's Reliability, Flexibility, and Contingency all Rolled Into One!
I've been using Squarespace as the face of my entertainment company for over three years. We integrate our Twitter account with it, post updates about the shows, host customer reviews, and centralize our monetization, like online ticket sales, there. The Squarespace Help and Support staff have been there for me anytime I needed them, even at odd hours.
I once thought I deleted an entire section of my website that was critical to establishing our credibility. The support staff reminded me about the change tracker, and guided me to instructions on how to pull deleted sections of my website out of the online trash can. It wasn't code that I had to reinstall, but entire sections restored with the click of a button, and business operations were back up within an hour of putting in the ticket!
That is the support that I want as a business owner focused on my business, and that is why I continue to use and recommend Squarespace. It's affordable, and it comes with full service tech support so you can remain focused on your business, not technology glitches.
This Review Definitely Got Long! Try It Now. Skip The Rest. You'll Be Happy You Tried It.
Squarespace or an Alternative?
If you're considering using Wordpress or Blogger to setup your online presence, you can do that. But I strongly encourage business owners and entrepreneurs to make a better choice.
The first impression you make on a prospective customer is often your website, and the look and feel of the Blogger and Wordpress standard setups are bland and recognized as sub-par, unless you paid a designer to set yours apart.
There are cheaper services than Squarespace.
Wordpress and Blogger are free, for example. But any business who actually moves toward business growth (increased profits and operations) quickly outgrows those options and finds themselves with two problems.
- You have to recreate the entire website somewhere else, which constitutes time lost.
- You find yourself in a cost situation anyway where you have to secure hosting and/or server space. A basic, basic hosting package runs about $30 a month if you want any type of technical control over it. And server space brings up tech support costs, and website implementation costs.
What Kind of Low Price?
As a matter of fact, most initial website expenses, for the average small business, entails a hefty development fee anywhere from $1,000 - $10,000, and then a monthly hosting fee. Something important to note, also, is that a $10,000 website should look good. I've consulted on a few of them, but a $1,000 website rarely looks good, and is quickly outdated!
Compared to the actual costs of launching your business website, and maintaining it, the costs of using Squarespace are breathtakingly low!
For $10 a month, you can have a website that looks better from the start then most $1,000 website installs that I've seen, have access to round-the-clock tech support, with hosting costs included.
The Basic Package is perfect for a large portion of companies, but not all of them. With my entertainment company, we use the Unlimited Plan because we want hundreds of thousands of visitors to our site per month, and the Unlimited Plan offers unlimited bandwidth. It's $20 a month for unlimited everything, and it is still cheaper than your average hosting cost, plus again it comes with the drop-of-a-hat customer service that sets them apart.
My partner and I work hard on our business, and we've learned the painful way that going the cheap route often ends in disaster. Friend connections fall through. They produce shoddy work, and there is no accountability because it came from a friend that charged below market rate. Often times the friend connections lead you along and never deliver period. We decided to be smart business owners that care about our craft and our time. We employ the services of professionals at fair rates. Everything works better, with less stress, that way!
If the Squarespace decision sounds smart to you, a good place to start is the 14-day trial. You don't commit to anything, and it gives you the opportunity to validate everything I've told you.
You might also want to read about building a website with a tool like Squarespace vs. "designing" one as a graphic designer, etc, in this article.
Or you can email me with more questions. I'm pretty busy, but I try to get to all my emails.
Once you're in and running with the trial account, engage the Squarespace support left and right. Ask them anything! They're incredibly friendly, and they too are passionate about their craft. Get started. It's not often that you will find this much clarity in making a decision.
Your Business Success is Ultimately in Your Hands
A lot of us choose to learn things the hard way. We seem to be sticklers for pain. One of those lessons in business is that "cheap" services render cheap results. This will prove true over and over again. When you skimp on quality, you end up with sub-par presentations, and less-than-desired products.
Sometimes, though, the right choice is made abundantly clear, and we have the opportunity to seize it and capitalize on the business edge that product or service provides us! I'm a business owner and entrepreneur first. I'm passionate about the community building benefits of small business, and endlessly inspired by the entrepreneurial path of creating value, and impacting the world with business initiatives.
There is much to do within our respective industries, cultivating success one level at a time. Take charge of your business, and take charge of your technology! Use Squarespace to position your business for maximum success, and send me your review of it also. I know you're going to enjoy it.