If you browse around here, you'll see one thing in particular: I have an undying love for the Squarespace platform. However, I do not believe it is the best option for everyone. Some businesses will be too advanced for the abilities of Squarespace.
Not every client that comes my way will be best suited for Squarespace, and that's okay! I offer my design packages to work with a wide variety of platforms for that very reason. While I love Squarespace, sometimes WordPress or Shopify might work better.
In today's post, I'll be sharing why I will not recommend Squarespace to every client.
Nothing is a one size fits all
There's a lot of noise out there that will tell you "_________ is the best platform and everyone should use it!". But let's be honest - that's not true. Not everyone is fit for a particular platform. They all have a purpose and are a perfect fit for a particular person, but not for everyone.
There's a few things you have to think about that really determine what platform you'll need to be on.
consider your long term goals
The first thing you need to consider with just about anything related to your business - especially your website. What types of offerings are you going to launch? What is your #1 goal for your audience? What kinds of features will you need in order to support these?
As an example, if you want a very complicated membership system with say a public forum, you might want WordPress because it can handle these capabilities.
If you only want a basic website and will have courses hosted on Teachable, Squarespace might be fine for you.
And if you want a store front with advanced features, Shopify might be the best fit.
Different platforms will suit you better depending on your goals.
access your tech skills
The other part of the puzzle you need to think about is how comfortable you are with learning tech skills. Do you know about as much as your 90-year-old grandmother? Or are you a complete wiz who can do the most advanced stuff in just a few minutes of figuring it out?
If tech isn't your thing, Squarespace will be an amazing option for you since it's so simple.
But if you want advanced features and are comfortable with tech, WordPress or Shopify might be an option.
Keep in mind that while Squarespace can't do advanced stuff out of the box, you can make it work if you need that platform due to your limited tech abilities.
Squarespace isn't always the right fit
Squarespace is amazing and my favorite platform, but it's not perfect for everyone. There are a few downsides to Squarespace. If these issues are a big deal, well then by all means, stick with Squarespace. I won't blame you at all! ;)
the features are very basic
For me and my business, Squarespace does a great job in features. I can setup a coming soon page with the cover pages, design beautiful sales pages with index page feature, and have an announcement bar at the top. I can even create a header with a call to action or place an email optin down in the footer.
However ... it doesn't do anything more advanced without the help of another tool.
If you want a fancy membership site with lots of capabilities, for example, you'll have a hard time achieving that with Squarespace. Or if you want a robust commerce system for physical product sales, that might be hard to get.
In some cases, Squarespace is great. In others, you might want to look into choosing a different platform.
customization options are limited
The awesome part of Squarespace is the visual editor - you can easily change the fonts, colors, size, etc of every template. However ... that's all you can really do. You can brand it with images and graphics and how you lay everything out, sure.
But in the end ... you don't have options to customize beyond the basics.
Sure, you can hire a developer to make changes but that can get expensive pretty quickly. I'm also very confident in the thought that after I work with clients, they should have the ability make changes if they want to.
In most cases, this is the case. But for some, they can't make the changes they want on their own. On other platforms, you can customize a lot more because there is the ability to do so.
Squarespace is amazing but if you're looking for a feature that none of the templates have ... you're out of luck.
choosing the right platform
Now with taking this all into consideration ... what platform do you choose if Squarespace isn't the right fit?! I was on WordPress for years so I will usually say that platform. But, I have also heard good things about Shopify.
Let's go over these two platforms, shall we?
1 | Advantages of using WordPress
I loved WordPress for so long because of how advanced the functionality is. You have entire library of themes and plugins. You can do just about anything you want with it. It has the ability to grow with your business if you later on end up having some BIG goals to achieve (such as ones mentioned above). You also have more control over the SEO settings of your website. There's also ALOT of help out there with learning the platform since it's so popular.
If Squarespace isn't for you, WordPress is an incredible option.
2 | Disadvantages of using WordPress
There are however .... a few disadvantages to this platform. There's more maintenance required, it can get expensive, and the learning curve is pretty steep. I didn't have any problems, but I know many who did. One problem I did run into though, is I had problems achieving the look I wanted without paying a good chunk to my developer. And while she's kind of amazing, I'm not at that point in my business yet where I can afford her services aside from a few things here and there. With that said ... there are some way more amazing themes out there now than there were even 6 months ago when I was still on WordPress.
A small disclaimer to add is that I have not personally used Shopify. I am including it because I know it's a popular option. I have rounded up the information below from research and hearing what others have to say about it.
1 | Advantages of using Shopify
Shopify is a great option for anyone who wants an online store - especially when selling physical products. It has all the features you need and will walk you through the process. Everything from adding products to customizing your shop to adding tax rates. It also a killer support team, awesome SEO setting options, and is customizable. It's a great option for anyone who wants to build a business that will primarily be an online shop.
2 | Disadvantages of using Shopify
Some of the disadvantages of using Shopify over WordPress is the cost - it can get kind of expensive depending on the plan you choose and how low you want your transaction fees to be. The designs are also setup in a way that can be confusing and there isn't a good way to add a blog or other pages in a way that looks great like on WordPress. It is, however, a pain if you want to switch platforms.