The Greatest Squarespace Myths
I’ve heard and read a lot about Squarespace over the years, the good, the bad and the ugly. Obviously, I am a Squarespace fan (in five years it has served me very well!) so I want to debunk some of the most common myths about SQSP I’ve heard…
A simple search online brings up hundreds of articles on Squarespace varying from fans like me, to those who consider it the devil’s work, one thing to always bear in mind as with reading anything on line is to consider bias which I touch on later in this post. You may be thinking that perhaps I am just as biased, but I always aim to give you my honest experience after working with Squarespace and also some of the alternatives.
MYTH NO 1 : SQUARESPACE SITES DON’T HAVE GOOD SEO
There are so many myths that I’ve heard over the years concerning SQSP including negative reports of its SEO abilities, and I can honestly say in this case don’t believe everything that you hear. ‘Good’ SEO isn’t a case of ticking a certain setting or adding a plugin, but lies in creating relevant content, using keywords, enabling mobile responsiveness and creating a great user experience.
SEO relies on many things and whilst SQSP does have some basic inbuilt SEO features to improve search engine rankings, there are also a number of things to implement to further improve SEO that should be done when working with any website platform.
MYTH NO 2 : SQSP WEBSITES are just TEMPLATES
This actually isn’t a myth! SQSP like many website platforms requires the use of a template, but these are anything but ‘just’ a template! A template for someone with limited design experience is to simply add in their own images and text. But a web designer will work within the settings of that template/theme and start with a blank page to create original page layouts and add in code to customise it much further.
Here’s a well known secret for you, Squarespace isn’t the only platform that uses templates or themes - Wix, Showit, GoDaddy, Webflow, Weebly and even Wordpress all offer templates/themes as a basis to create a website, it is an industry wide occurrence. Below, the first image shows the unaltered Brine template in Squarespace 7.0, which I then used to build the custom design in the second image, not just drag and drop, right?!
MYTH NO 3 : SQSP IS NOT AS GOOD AS WORDPRESs
I’ve done my fair amount of research online about web design platforms out there, and stumbled across many ‘articles’ that extoll the virtues of WordPress whilst writing off Squarespace. It’s good to take a pinch of salt whilst reading these kinds of articles as in some cases they are written by people that have obviously never even tested out SQSP! Be mindful that many WP designers or developers have a business model that offers monthly ongoing maintenance packages or hosting services, so it would not be in their interest to offer a service in which the customer could manage their own website or hosting afterwards.
In some cases for a website that has very complex needs, then maybe Squarespace wouldn’t be the best fit, and in some of these cases WordPress wouldn’t be used either, instead a custom developed website would be created. There are some situations in which SQSP may not suit everyone, but that is always something that is discussed prior to booking a web design project and considering individual needs.
MYTH NO 4 : all SQSP SITES look the same
If it was impossible to make a website look different from another when built with the same template/theme then I wouldn’t have a job, but it definitely is possible! In fact that’s kind of the whole point of templates and themes, they serve as a set of guidelines in which the style settings are laid out but can be altered to suit your needs and taste.
One important skill of a website designer is in understanding how elements look and work together: the typography, colours, layout and also how the website functions for site visitors. At the start of every website design project I select a template, but each page begins with an entirely blank page. It’s not simply a case of picking a template and dropping a few images alongside text in a ready-made page, instead each page is designed from scratch intentionally to fit its role and purpose.
Here’s a good example below of two different website home pages I designed for different purposes, but built using the exact same ‘template’ as a basic framework.
MYTH NO 5 : YOU CAN’T Code in SQUARESPACE
You can indeed code a Squarespace template until your lovely heart is content, you just need to remember that all those tweaks can increase page load times as with any website on any platform. There are options to add code blocks, page code injection and further style CSS and that is in addition to all the standard CSS settings in the style panel.
*If you should need support from Squarespace that code is going to have to come off first, but it’s simply a case of copying code and removing it, then replacing it afterwards.
The before and after images below show how html and CSS has been added to further customise the template design. Small tweaks to fonts, backgrounds, links and the overall layout to improve not only the look for visitors, but also to add to mobile responsiveness for a better user experience on all screen sizes.
MYTH NO 6 : WORDPRESS over squarespace
I’m a great believer that different website platforms suit different businesses and users, WP is a fantastic platform and I would never discourage anyone from using it if they thought it was the best platform for their business! I believe if you are fully invested in learning a more complex system, have a good technical knowledge of website design, have a large business or corporation, or have the time to dedicate to monthly security updates or are prepared to pay someone else a monthly fee to do so, then it may be the right choice.
In my experience, when you are running a small business you don’t always have the time to dedicate to learning a complex platform, maybe you don’t have the technical know-how, or don’t want to pay a monthly fee for someone to manage it for you on top of hosting and website fees - then in this case Squarespace or another platform may well be more suitable, it really is a case of doing trials and finding out what works best.
If you’re considering a move to Squarespace but you’re not sure where to start that’s what I’m here for. As an experienced SQSP user I would be very happy to help you see if the platform would suit you and then move towards building your brand new website. You can get in touch here…
About the author…
Sophie is the website designer behind White Blossom Creative Co. Craft enthusiast, lover of colour, avid learner and html/CSS addict. You’ll often find her tweaking code, drinking tea and trying to find a creative solution to a dull problem.