If you had asked me five years ago which platform you should use to build your website, I would have said WordPress. In fact, I would have told you that WordPress is the only option if you want to be taken seriously and grow your business.
Then, I decided to start an online marketing company. Like any diligent entrepreneur, I reviewed my options again and signed up for a free Squarespace trial…just to make sure. When the two-week trial came to an end, I was impressed enough to sign up for an annual plan. I didn’t know how far I could push the platform but Shiny Object Syndrome had taken hold. I had to give it a go.
Building my first Squarespace website was a revolutionary experience. It was so much easier than working with WordPress! I fell in love with it. So when my very first marketing client asked me to build her a website, I agreed. I knew Squarespace would be the perfect platform for her.
I enjoyed building Squarespace websites so much that I quickly realized I was in the wrong line of work. So just months after launching my business, I quit, invested in a Squarespace design and development course to refine my skills, and rebranded myself as a Squarespace designer.
Squarespace literally changed my life.
I still see a lot of people on social media staunchly defending WordPress as the best option for small business owners, the only platform that has great SEO, and so on. And I get it. I used to be one of those people. But now, I truly believe Squarespace is the best option for service-based businesses. Here’s why.
Squarespace is Incredibly User-Friendly
Intuitive and robust, Squarespace is perfect for beginners and experienced users alike. When I first started using Squarespace for business, it took me less than two weeks to learn the basics, but I continued to discover amazing features with each new website I built.
Squarespace Will Keep Your Business Safe From Hackers
One of my favorite things about Squarespace is that I don’t have to worry about hackers. There are three features that make Squarespace so secure:
- Two-factor authentication. With two-factor authentication enabled, you’ll be completely protected against brute force attacks.
- Free and easy SSL certification. You can activate SSL on your website with the click of a button and it’s included in the cost of a subscription. SSL is not only essential for your security and the security of your clients, but it can also give you a major SEO boost.
- Closed system with automatic updates. WordPress is the wild west of content management systems. It offers unlimited customization––at the cost of security. Squarespace is a closed system, which means that unless your site is built in Developer Mode (which I don’t recommend), all updates and security are handled by Squarespace. This makes it virtually immune to security breaches.
During the eight years that I used WordPress, I had two major security incidents that illustrate just how horribly wrong things can go when hackers decide to target you.
The first incident was a brute force attack against my shared BlueHost server. BlueHost, being one of the cheaper web hosts, decided that the best way to handle this attack was to shut down the websites of everyone on the server––for two weeks. They told me that unless I upgraded to a more expensive plan, I would just have to wait out the attack.
The second incident happened years later when I was with InMotion Hosting. Despite being protected by a popular WordPress security plugin, my website was accessed by hackers who proceeded to send over 300 spam emails from my professional email address. They also disabled my site, making it inaccessible to visitors and destroying years of SEO work. InMotion’s solution was to direct me to a third-party service that would secure my website and clean up the hacked files for an additional $200 fee. It was a nightmare I wouldn’t wish on anyone.
The best way to protect against WordPress hackers is to use a high-end managed web host that takes your security seriously. The problem is that those web hosts are often financially out of reach for new and small businesses. Squarespace offers great security and amazing customer support at a much lower price, which brings me to my next point.
Squarespace Virtually Eliminates Hidden Costs
WordPress isn’t as cheap as you think it is. As I illustrated in my security breach stories, cheap web hosts can cost you a lot of money, time, and sanity if something goes wrong. And even if you do go with a budget host, you may find that the cost of your site grows stealthily more expensive when you start adding premium themes and plugins.
Squarespace’s costs are simple:
- Domain name. You can purchase your domain name from Squarespace or GoDaddy. Squarespace is a bit pricier but your first year is free if you sign up for an annual hosting plan. GoDaddy is cheaper overall and easy to connect with your Squarespace site.
- Hosting and templates. Squarespace offers four pricing plans that include your web hosting and the entire family of Squarespace templates.
- Business Email. Squarespace business email is hosted by G Suite. The first year is free and you also get 30 GB of Google Drive cloud storage.
Most Squarespace users don’t need to purchase plugins, but if you do, rest assured that Squarespace plugins are generally cheaper than their WordPress counterparts. For one thing, they typically cost a one-time flat fee. Many WordPress plugins require signing up for an annual subscription. Furthermore, there are tons of free Squarespace plugins available thanks to the generous developers at Moov Labs.
Overall, my expenses while running an active WordPress website were significantly higher than they are running a Squarespace site. It also saves me time, and time is money.
Squarespace is More SEO-Friendly Than You Think
Squarespace offers users a lot of control over SEO while eliminating unnecessary distractions. Here are some of the things you can do to boost your Squarespace SEO:
- Add your own SEO page titles and meta descriptions.
- Customize the title format for your homepage and other pages on your site.
- Customize your image file names and add alt text.
- Easily create 301 redirects for broken links.
Squarespace also makes it easier to successfully conquer other challenges that can damage your SEO. For example, Squarespace websites typically load more quickly than WordPress sites without heavy-duty optimization. As I mentioned before, enabling SSL is quick and easy. You can also enable AMP for blog posts, which makes them load faster on mobile devices and can positively impact your SEO. Squarespace automatically generates an XML sitemap for you. Little things like this add up to make a big difference.
Squarespace vs. WordPress SEO
If you’re thinking, “But what about Yoast?!” right now, let me do a quick dive into Google’s current algorithm.
There is no such thing as an ideal keyword density but you wouldn’t know that if you rely on Yoast for SEO. Google is much more interested in making sure content is relevant and using related keywords is the best way to signal relevancy. In other words, write about a subject organically and your page will probably rank just as high as it would if you went to all the effort of targeting a specific keyword.
The emphasis on organic content is even greater since Google’s BERT update in October. BERT uses Natural Language Processing to help interpret the searcher’s intent and deliver content accordingly. This means that “targeting” longtail keywords, in particular, is going to be a lot harder. The best way to rank is to pick a topic that people are interested in and write as thorough and helpful an article as possible. Yoast isn’t going to help you with that.
I ranked #1 on Google for multiple keywords when I used WordPress but it was a struggle. It took me years to get there and my page speed and security issues constantly threatened to undo my progress. Eventually, that major security breach I told you about did just that.
Since launching my Squarespace website, I’ve noticed that my search engine ranking for various pages and blog posts has improved far more rapidly than it ever did with WordPress. It’s one of the many reasons I recommend Squarespace to my clients––especially those that don’t have the time or expertise to drill down into the more technical aspects of SEO.
Squarespace is More Customizable Than You Think
Squarespace has a number of different templates and template families with varying levels of flexibility. Brine is the most versatile template family and allows for more customization options than I could ever list here. And with the creative use of images, text, and content blocks, you can achieve a look that’s all your own.
Want to see what’s possible and get some inspiration for your own website? Check out my free homepage blueprint.
Squarespace Offers Easy Integration with Third-Party Systems
You can connect virtually any system or program with Squarespace through Zapier and Squarespace also has a number of built-in integrations that can be activated in less than thirty seconds. Here are just a few of the integrations Squarespace offers:
- Acuity Scheduling
- Google Analytics
- Google Maps
Squarespace also allows you to add social media blocks anywhere on your website, has a built-in pin-it button for Pinterest, and integrates with Unsplash for easy stock image selection.
Squarespace Has Award-Winning Customer Support
Let’s say you have a WordPress site and something goes wrong. The first thing you’ll need to do is find the source of the problem. Is it your theme? Your web host? A plugin? Which one? Once you’ve identified the source, you’ll have to contact the support team for the company in question. If you’re using a free theme or plugin, there might not be a support team. If you’re using a cheap web host, the support might be terrible. You might have to resort to spending your hard-earned money to hire an expert or searching forums for answers. I’ve been there more times than I can count and trust me, it’s not a fun way to spend an afternoon.
Squarespace has an Award-winning customer support team that can help you troubleshoot. The only thing they won’t do is help you with problems related to custom code that you’ve added to your site. You probably won’t even need to contact them that often because you’re less likely to have technical issues with a closed system. No more white screen of death!
Squarespace Helps You Focus on What Really Matters
When you don’t have to do manual updates, protect your site from hackers, spend hours trying to solve technical issues, and “maintain” your website, you’re free to focus on the things that really matter. Things like growing your business, improving your client process, or just spending time with your family.
Choosing Squarespace for Business: An Overview
So, Is There Anything You Don’t Like About Squarespace?
The truth is, there’s no perfect website platform. And yes, there are things I don’t like about Squarespace for business. I have yet to find a social sharing plugin that integrates with Squarespace and compares to Social Warfare. (Now, I use Sumo.) I miss having a plugin that automatically compresses my image files on upload. (I use TinyJPG.) But I’ll take those small annoyances over the time-sucking, hair-pulling madness of WordPress any day.
Is There Still a Place for WordPress?
Despite its issues, WordPress is still an amazing platform. It offers unlimited flexibility if you have the skillset or money to accomplish your vision. And there are some situations where it is the best option. You might want to consider WordPress if you:
- Have a primary income stream through content creation (i.e. you’re a professional blogger).
- Produce a huge volume of blog posts.
- Want to host a forum on your website.
- Need custom functionality beyond what Squarespace can provide.
If none of the above applies to you, keep reading.
How Does Squarespace for Business Measure Up to Other Platforms?
I’ve compared Squarespace to WordPress but what about other popular platforms like Wix, Weebly, SHOWIT, Shopify, and Webflow?
Wix and Weebly are both great platforms for personal websites but they lag behind Squarespace when it comes to style and SEO. I can’t overlook the horror stories of people who did a nose dive in the SERPs after making the switch.
Wix also shares a major issue with SHOWIT. Neither platform is mobile-responsive. You have to build a separate mobile site for smartphone-sized devices. In contrast, Squarespace templates automatically respond to screens of any size. This is better both for SEO and user experience. Plus, building a totally separate mobile site is extremely time-consuming. For clients, I tweak Squarespace’s naturally responsive design with CSS to correct any display issues, but for the most part, things look good without adding any code.
Shopify is hands-down the best platform for e-commerce. It’s not designed for service providers. Squarespace does have e-commerce capabilities though, which is great for service providers who also offer products or who want to sell their services using an e-commerce setup.
Webflow is an exciting new option that I look forward to exploring in the future but it’s not great for beginners or DIYers. Though Webflow is a visual editor, it’s based on HTML and CSS and you need to understand how those code languages work in order to use it effectively.
In conclusion, I love Squarespace for business.
I switched from WordPress and turned down the opportunity to become a Wix partner because I truly believe that Squarespace is the best option for service-based businesses. And whether you plan to DIY your website or hire a Squarespace designer, you won’t regret it.