Why Squarespace?

You might be asking why Going Square recommends and uses the Squarespace website delivery platform over the multitude of other options available such as WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Wix, Weebly, SiteCore etc.

The reasons are many fold, some technical, some strategic but the fundamental reason is the ease with which website owner can manage and maintain their own content once Going Square has helped to establish the initial website.

At Going Square we understand the client has some fundamental needs for their website and we work with them to capture these -

  • Website goals and objectives
  • Branding and Theme
  • Content requirements
  • Responsive design - Mobile and multiple device format support
  • Search engine optimisation
  • eCommerce requirements
  • Online social network integration
  • so on…

All of the above capabilities and client needs can be accomplished in one form or another using Squarespace, WordPress, Wix, Drupal, Joomla etc.

But all too often website design and development agencies forget about who they are developing the website for. The agency gets so caught up in the technology they are pushing that they forget or avoid outlining to a client other things they needs to consider.

Here are some of the other key requirements that are critical for a client to be aware of before deciding on a website delivery platform -

  • Cost effectiveness - some of the other platforms initially look appealing but fail to factor in the total operational costs over the year(s). What may appear cheap on initial investigate does not work out that way in the long run. For example - domain name registration, hosting, hosting support, purchasing a theme, purchasing plugins.
    • Other than setting up a custom domain registration Squarespace provides a known monthly or annual subscription fee with no other hidden additional fees.
  • Infrastructure requirements and management and support overhead
    • All infrastructure for a Squarespace site is owned, managed, maintained and supported by Squarespace
  • Easy for the client to manage and maintain the website without requiring technical expertise
    • It is easy for a user to manage everything for their website through a web browser in a clean and concise management screens
  • A True WYSIWYG content editing experience
    • When you edit the content on the screen in Squarespace the end result us exactly as you designed. There is no going backwards and forwards constantly tweaking content layout because the editing view is different to the published result
  • No applications to install locally to manage your website
    • Squarespace can be managed and maintained completely through your browser
  • Extendable to allow for new capabilities as required
    • Additional capabilities can be added to your Squarespace subscription as and when required. You don't have to pay for everything up front. If you do need additional capabilities such as eCommerce or third party integration you aren't left to your own devices by having to select from a bewildering array of add-on modules. You use the one provided with your subscription because it is tried and tested by the Squarespace team.
  • Constantly monitored and maintained to ensure it is available - 24/7
    • Squarespace have a 24/7 monitoring and support in-place for their environment where they apply updates and fixes as required. They also have a responsive on-call support service to resolve any issue you have.
  • Lower maintenance risks
    • Unlike other platforms whereby applying an update can risk breaking add-ons, plugins or at worst your entire site the Squarespace team constantly update the environment for you. You don't have to worry about breaking anything as they manage all of this for you.
  • Implemented on an environment with rigorous  backup, failure and recovery capabilities in place
    • Squarespace provide all of these services as part of your subscription
  • Constantly having most current security measure applied and maintained
    • You don't have to worry about having the latest security patches applied as Squarespace does this for you.
  • Customisations and addons run the risk of impacting performance and security of the website
    • Squarespace thoroughly control new capabilities added to their platform, you don't have to worry about any side effects or impacts introducing a third party product to your website might have. You have to be very wary of what performance and security implications might be introduced to a website by adding a third party product.
  • Quality of Customer Service / Support
    • They provide great 24/7 customer service. You don't have to rely on the good will of other people on a forum or chat session to help you out or pay for additional support services.
  • Bandwidth limit and restrictions
    • With a Professional subscription Squarespace this is not limited
  • Use of Content Delivery Networks to globally speed up your website performance
    • Squarespace utilises a CDN as part of its normal subscription service
  • Built-in eCommerce support
    • Squarespace provides a range of eCommerce capabilities across subscription levels to meet your needs
  • Built-in Form Services
    • Squarespace offers built-in form services to capture, store or email data entry form details from website users
  • Built-in Image management capabilities
    • Squarespace offers built in capabilities to manage and correct images through the browser

Some if not all of the above elements are not typically provided by all website creation and delivery platforms without some additional development work or addons. Squarespace caters to all of these requirements and more. Many of the above are not normally requested by a client because they don't know to ask at the time. It is usually after a website is delivered that these questions start to be raised.

This is why Going Square prefer to use Squarespace for our clients as our website delivery platform of choice. 

In so many ways it helps to meet our clients known and unknown needs and requirements.

In what scenarios will Squarespace not meet your needs?

That's right - Squarespace does have some limitations to be aware of that are either not provided or the work-around is not a solution we would recommended. We have listed below some scenarios that need to be considered -

  • Secure members area - there is no easy means to provide discrete security for groups and users to access specific parts of your website
  • Forum / Discussion area - No support for a form / discussion space for your users
  • HTTPS across the whole website - Squarespace provide HTTPS across their ecommerce capabilities but there is no easy way to achieve this across a whole website
  • eCommerce Shipping Options - Requirements for handling  different shipping costs can be challenging. For example - based on postcodes and weight/size in Australia or shipping internationally
  • Integration with externals databases and services - It requires additional development effort to integrate and pull data from external databases and services
  • Centralised media management - All images are uploaded independently of one another so there is no means of centrally storing and re-using images across many locations in a website

In each of the above scenarios we advise clients to consider using a hybrid or other options instead of Squarespace - typically this would be to use Squarespace developer mode, WordPress or develop a completely custom web site / application solution.

Other areas that Squarespace is limited that potential clients should be aware of are list below. They aren't necessarily a deal breaker and can typically be worked around with some manual effort:

  • Limited payment gateway options - Stripe is it. No built in support for PayPal or other eCommerce gateways
  • External backup capabilities - There is no built-in means to download a copy of a sites contents in one operation.
  • Ability to copy a site - There is no means to copy one website instance to another within the Squarespace environment

In over 90% of cases Squarespace will meet a client's needs and electing to use WordPress or develop a custom solution will incur additional costs. This is due to the increased development time and effort required to use another website platform.

Going Square can help you decide the when, why and how to go about implementing a custom solution if required. We do promote Squarespace as our preferred website delivery platform but we are also realistic and know it boundaries. We will assist in implementing a solution in other technologies and platforms where it makes sense.

So in summary, choose Squarespace where you can for the benefits listed above within the constraints that have been outlined. In most cases it will meet client's needs - even those they don't know about at the time!

 

 

If you have any questions on any of the above please let us know.

 

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