Squarespace has unleashed its latest platform, Squarespace 7, upon the world.
Now that probably means nothing to a hell of a lot of people, but trust me, in the world of web development it’s an exciting advancement.
WordPress has been a very reliable tool for web designers and developers for a number of years now, but over the past couple of years Squarespace has been on the rise, with people comparing the two and their individual merits.
There are a lot of development platforms already out there and WordPress has long been touted as one of the easiest to use.
But with each new update Squarespace becomes easier for people to use, making it a powerful design and development tool for amateurs and professionals alike.
Do you have any experience with Squarespace? How do you feel it holds up against WordPress or other platforms? Let me know in the comments section below.
The eye of the beholder
One of the biggest appeals of Squarespace is that its websites look absolutely stunning, and it’s easy enough for people with even the most basic concept of websites to create something nice.
There is a catch, however. You can’t really start from scratch with Squarespace. Instead you get a choice of templates that you can trial and play with for free for a fortnight, allowing you to experiment.
Squarespace works by giving you blocks to play with and letting you lay them out as you see fit. So, for instance, instead of spending time coding an image block and resizing it and fitting two text blocks underneath, you can create an image block and two text blocks in seconds.
Squarespace’s templates are a bit of a catch-22. On one hand they’re incredibly visual, high-quality web designs that you can bend to your will, but only to an extent. The templates can also restrict you, and some features on one template may not be present on another.
So while one template may have excellent thumbnails for your blog posts, you may find another template is better for the overall vision of your website. Its blogs, however, may not look the best. Choices choices…
The benefits of Squarespace
I hope I’m not coming across as a salesman for Squarespace, by the way! I’ve been playing with Squarespace for a while now and some of its features are very impressive.
The introduction of Squarespace 7, for instance, allows users to license Getty images for their websites at just over £5 a pop. For Getty-standard images that’s an absolute steal.
Users can also edit their site’s appearance in real time while Google Apps features are also present in Squarespace 7. New summary blocks have also been introduced with bloggers taking advantage to try and create the next-generation of online magazines.
Squarespace is also pretty useful for data capture, allowing you to instantly create an attractive email capture/subscription form which sends data directly to Google spreadsheets, MailChimp accounts, and other options.
Another huge advantage is that Squarespace’s websites are responsive, taking a heap of trouble out of the web development side of things. Squarespace also hosts websites, eliminating another potential headache and keeping everything condensed.
Is Squarespace able to make people with little design experience more confident designing websites or is there more to it than that? Let me know below!
But is WordPress better?
It’s personal preference. If you’ve been designing and coding on WordPress for years then you may find Squarespace’s template system constrictive.
With WordPress you have a blank canvas, and if you have the time and patience then you can probably create something better and more visually appealing than a Squarespace site, provided you have the skills, of course…
WordPress also offers more versatility thanks to its plugins. A WordPress site with the right additions can become a real online powerhouse; The WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast, for instance, is still an SEO’s favourite and is a wonderful addition to any WordPress site, especially when it comes to content mark-ups.
eCommerce can be done very well on Squarespace with its visual prowess helping to give products the kind of care and attention that usually helps them fly from the virtual shelves.
However Squarespace’s payment processor is via a programme called Stripe, and while secure, it charges 2.4 per cent plus 20 pence for every successful transaction made through your site.
That can be a lot for a small business just starting out, especially for franchise-based industries such as travel agents that have to already give some of their commissions to a higher power.
Also, as mentioned earlier, Squarespace can be restrictive with its templates. If you need to make changes to your code on WordPress then you can dive right in, whereas you may have to acclimatise to a whole new template on Squarespace if certain changes need making.
What’s best for your needs?
On one hand Squarespace is affordable, looks great, has a number of search options built in, and has an easy-to-use CMS.
WordPress on the other hand gives you total creative control and is one of the most supported and popular web development options available. Plus it’s free!
It highlights the importance of strategy and research before you start your website and invest in a long-term project. Both platforms are very strong in different ways; the best one for you is the one that amplifies your overall strategy and works best for the benefit of potential visitors and users.
Everything your business does online is for the benefit of people visiting your site. No matter which platform you choose, as long as you design it so it’s easy to navigate, fulfils users’ expectations, and entices them to share and come back again, then you’re on the road to development perfection.
If you’d like to know more about web design and creating an effective user journey for your visitors contact the Webpresence team today!