Why I Love Squarespace as a Small Business Owner
Here we are in the 4th installment of my 5 part series on my favorite business tools / apps. In this series, you're getting the scoop on the five programs I use all the time to make my business run smoothly.
4th BUSINESS TOOL: SQUARESPACE
Squarespace (www.squarespace.com) is an easy-to-learn, inexpensive, dynamic website platform.
Squarespace powers my business far beyond my company website. Much like my story on the power of Keynote, I use Squarespace in a myriad of ways to grow my business and improve my client experience – so I’ll take you behind-the-scenes and show you some of the great ways you could use it too!
Why I Use Squarespace vs. Other Web Platforms
There are about a million articles comparing website platforms.
I'll go ahead and tell you a couple of things I know to be true from my experience as a small business owner and a web designer that lay the groundwork for why I use Squarespace:
- No website platform is perfect - every single one has trade-offs (like you might be able to customize every inch of it BUT it's difficult to update, especially if you're not tech savvy).
- No website creates your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for you - there are large components to optimizing SEO that either you need to input or have an SEO consultant do for you.
- Squarespace is a great platform for some businesses and business types, but not for all. For example, it has SEO settings built-in - but it's not the strongest / most customizable platform for SEO if search engine ranking is your #1 goal (see WordPress and other solutions).
- WordPress is a great platform for some business and business types, but not for all.
- Even platforms like Wix have their place, especially if you are just getting started.
- For my needs as a service-based business and for my marketing strategies, Squarespace is the perfect fit for my business.
All of this being said - there are 4 key reasons why I use Squarespace for all of my business websites:
- Greatest Story Creative (my agency)
- BrandingwithAnnie.com (our new workshop series for Greatest Story)
- AnnieFranceschi.com (my personal site)
- It's easy to use, easy to learn, and super fast update to update a small business owner
- It's modern in appearance and mobile-responsive
- It's inexpensive (~$18/a mo for unlimited pages for hosting a non ecommerce site)
- With my advanced CSS training, there's a ton I can do to customize any Squarespace site and Squarespace itself is always adding functionalities that make the platform even more valuable for my business and my clients' businesses
Because all website platforms have their quirks, pros and cons - I always start by guiding prospective clients on what might best fit their business needs and marketing goals.
If Squarespace is a fit, I often write and design their website, as I design websites exclusively on Squarespace.
If another platform like WordPress will work better for their key goals, we typically work together in several ways. Sometimes I'll just do their branding and they'll take the files to a web designer. Occasionally, I'll write and design the website as a mock-up which another partner can then put on a WordPress site. I actually love to meet other web designers and often refer work / come up with customized solutions for our branding clients who need platforms like WordPress, Drupal, and others!
Here are all the ways I've used Squarespace to do in my business
- Hosting my business website for the past 3.5+ years
- Hosting my personal blog (which I moved from WordPress)
- As a platform for a website just for my events (Branding with Annie / greateststoryevents.com)
- As a client portal - Squarespace offers password-protected pages, so every Greatest Story Creative client gets their own "homebase" page on my site customized to their project - including a project timeline, copies of their invoices linked, and all their files ready for download!
- To feature my eBook (opt-in) which I gave away for free all of last year for joining this newsletter. I was able to use Squarespace "Cover Pages" just to feature the book itself and all the confirmation pages that would get linked when people downloaded the book.
- Taking projects payments - though I current use Wave Apps for invoicing, for more than a year I created store products for my clients to pay for their project services. Squarespace allows you to easy add a store and a handful of products as you'd like!
Beyond these uses, I also use "cover pages" often to feature projects and as "online business cards" for my clients. Where possible, I give our clients a temporary online landing page right after their logo is finalized so they can share their new look with the world while we finish the rest of their branding!
Enjoy a look at one of these cover pages in action here for LeadingUp Consulting.
Squarespace Allows Me to Be a Business Superhero
Having my sites on Squarespace means I can make changes in seconds to minutes on most of my pages. I can add video, images, slideshows - all with quick clicks of a button.
This has been game-changing for my business. "Branding with Annie" - for example, went from an idea to a real website in a matter of 90 minutes or so. Being able to be fast and creative means I can make big ideas happen - and that means the business grows.
For me personally, years ago, I used to have a blog on wordpress and wanted to tear my hair out every time there was an update or something would break on the site! It was almost a daily occurrence. It was usually something I could figure out, but not without a ton of googling and wasted time.
Everyone's got their favorite web platform and their reasons for choosing it - this is simply mine. After 3.5+ years using it, I can confidently say I love it and have seen fantastic results from using it as a service-based small business owner. It's truly a powerful business tool in every sense of the word for me.
Business Tool #5 Next Week
I’ll be back next week with a spotlight on the 5th business tool I really love and use to save me time, money or both- and I'll also be including some runners up!