We’ve all heard or seen the ads for Squarespace that promise the ability to create a stunning website in minutes. Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, yes and no. It really depends on your goals (both immediate and long-term) and the level of consideration you’d like to apply to the selection of the right template, application of user experience and design of your site.
Let’s be clear: at JPD Studio, we love Squarespace and recommend customization of their templates to our clients as a great solution in certain situations. However, there’s the website Squarespace claims you can set up in minutes by plopping in images and copy to a template (which can be much trickier than expected) and then there’s teaming up with a designer who can take your simple website to the next level by selecting the right template for your specific needs, applying content strategy, user experience and design. The latter is the route that will help you establish trust with clients, direct them to actions you’d like them to take on the site, and best display your particular message and content.
We like the analogy that going the route of Squarespace for a website for your business is like renting an apartment (it’s less timely and costly up front, but you’re confined by limits and at the mercy of a landlord who ultimately controls the space), while going the route of custom WordPress design and development is like buying a house (the possibilities are endless, you don’t have to stay within confines/rules, but you’re responsible for all fixes and costs ongoing).
WordPress vs. Squarespace deserves its own post, but in the meantime, let’s go back to that apartment rental analogy for Squarespace. If creating a Squarespace website is like renting an apartment, then choosing and populating content in your own template without consideration to user experience and design as it applies to your specific brand is like decorating your first dorm room; you slap some posters on the wall, maybe throw a rug down, plug in your lava lamp and call it a day.
Hiring a designer to customize your Squarespace site is like hiring an interior designer to curate your apartment.
Hiring a designer to customize your Squarespace site is like having an interior designer come to your first apartment to help you with the curation and layout of your furniture and belongings to best optimize the space and make it feel the way you want it to feel when people come over to visit.
The difference is occupying a space vs. optimizing a space, and your target audience of users can tell the difference and will respond accordingly. Saving up to work with a team that is invested in applying good user experience, information architecture, content strategy and design on a Squarespace site will positively impact your site’s conversions and actions. And if there’s one thing to invest in in a business, it’s a solid website presence, whether that means renting (for now), or owning.