11 reasons Squarespace makes Creating your Website Easier (for Non Techie Business Mums)
Before we get into what squarespace.com can do for you and why it's such a excellent option for non technical Business Mums that want to DIY their websites, firstly lets take a look at what you need for building your own website where you can sell your products and services and have your blog
Your own domain name (your www. address)
Hosting (where your website is stored online)
A content management system (CMS). This is what you use to add content (images, text, products, pages and blog post), update and manage your website. This is the magic bit (yep I admit it, I have no idea how they work, I'm just glad they do!) that means you can actually make your own website without being a web developer.
The website theme or template. This controls what your website looks like. There are lots of options available with varying degrees of customisation.
E-commerce software. This is the bit that allows you to add products to your website and allows your customer to add it to their basket, pay for it and you then get a notification to fulfil the order
If that all sounds a bit complicated and/or like a foreign language - don't panic! Read on to discover why Squarespace will make your (website building) life a whole lot less stressful and confusing!
Super pro blogger squarespace recommendations
Obviously, I want you to take my word my for it that Squarespace is awesome, but just in case you don't - take these ladies' word for it instead (there's some gorgeous examples too)!!
When I first started looking into upgrading from wordpress.com (hosted Wordpress) when I re-branded to create The Badass BusinessMum wordpress.org (self-hosted Wordpress) seemed to be the only option for a fully functional, highly customisable blog and website. I was this close (*holds fingers 1cm apart*) to buying my hosting and a wordpress theme when squarespace was mentioned in a webinar hosted by Mariah Coz of www.femtrepreneur.com and then again less than a week later by one of my favourite bloggers, Regina from www.byregina.com. It seemed like the Universe was trying to tell me something - look into squaaaarespaaace (to be said in spooky twilight zone voice. Of course!)
And upon further investigation I discovered another of my favourite bloggers, Lauren Hooker from www.elleandcompanydesign.com (yeah I have quite a few favourite bloggers!) uses squarespace and recommends it.
Mind made up - if these three ladies running seriously successful businesses recommend Squarespace as the place to build a functional, beautiful website without a massive learning curve and the need to learn HTML and CSS (and let's be honest here, you haven't got the time to be learning all that tech stuff!) then I needed to try it too!
And I'm glad I did - here's why I think you should to...
11 reasons why you should definitely consider squarespace.com to build your website
1. The themes are all awesome
The themes are gorgeous. All of the themes are well designed, feature packed and customisable. By you.
2. Easy and widespread customisation
Customisation and design is all done in a WYSIWYG editor that uses blocks you simply drag and drop to customise your layout. Blocks include galleries, forms, social links, audio, video, images and text blocks. (I'm not going to lie, it took me a while to get to grips with making layout changes but if you actually watch the help videos first it won't take you so long!) You can customise the fonts and colour schemes to match your branding and make your website unique to you.
3. Get technical if you want
You can get technical if you feel the need! You can edit the CSS of your site without having to pay extra or get a professional package. If you're set on a particular feature that is only available by adding to the CSS of your theme, you can.
4. Your site is optimised for mobile devices
All of the themes are optimised for mobile. Without you having to do anything. Which not only means the people that will visit your website on their phone or tablet will enjoy their visit, your website will also please Google (who, as from April 2015, rank mobile friendly sites higher on searches carried out from mobile devices)
5. Your shop and blog is built in
All of the themes have a blog and e-commerce built in (you don't have to use them). You can have your own products right there for sale on your own site and not have to send your customers away to buy (for example, to your Etsy or Folksy shop) You can sell physical products, digital products and services. Squarespace integrates with Stripe to process payments and you can set GBP to be your default currency.
6. It's an all-in-one package
Your hosting is part of the package and you even get a free domain name if you need one. If you already have a domain name purchased elsewhere you can use that. Some people recommend purchasing hosting and your domain name separately anyway because it can make moving your site easier in the future, if you ever need to.
7. No SEO plug-ins required
SEO is built in (important for getting your website seen on Google and other search engines) You have a built in sitemap, customisable site description, image titles, alt tags, blog post titles and page titles. Making it easy for you use your keywords in important areas for on site Search Engine Optimisation.
8. Easily create and promote your blog
Squarespace is excellent for bloggers. You can make your blog your homepage, customise your sidebar (check first for a theme that has a sidebar because not all of them do) use Amazon and other affiliate links, have multiple authors and connect your blog to some social sites for automatic sharing. If you use Pinterest for blog promotion (which you really should!) you can add a 'pin it' button to your images with just a mouse click and enable rich pins directly through Squarespace.
9. Collect email addresses with Mailchimp
Squarespace is fully integrated with Mailchimp, making it easy to collect email addresses. You have newsletter blocks (which you can add in multiple places), cover pages and your announcement bar that give you multiple ways of collecting those email addresses.
10. Help is at hand
Lots of help is available. Squarespace provides videos and tutorials on every aspect of building your site, from choosing your theme to using the advanced features. There are also community forums and if you're still stuck there is 24/7 email support and online chat from 3am - 8pm EST / 7am - midnight GMT.
11. Grow your website as your business grows
You can start off small and grow your website. Squarespace makes it easy to add pages, products and blogs. You can change themes at any time and test a new theme without affecting your current, live site. You can change your homepage in a single click if you wanted to go from a blog to your services being your homepage in the future. You can upgrade (or downgrade) your package at any time when your needs change.
As I said, I think Squarespace is the best place for non techie Business Mums to build an awesome website but I know it's not for everyone and I would hate for you to blame me if you sign up and hate it!!
Soooo.... I have created a Pros and Cons guide (3 pages long!) covering the most important considerations you need to take into account before deciding if Squarespace is for you (<< click the link to download it, or the image below)
Time to take action! Download and read your Free Squarespace Pros and Cons guide. You can sign up for a free no-strings-attached 14 day trial at Squarespace (you don't even have to give them your credit card details) to test it out. I recommend playing with the templates until you find one that's right for you (customisation options and features vary quite a bit) and looking at the examples and live preview sites for each template. (I used to use the Montauk template and now use Nueva)