Posts tagged Squarespace
7 Reasons Why Your Small Business Needs Squarespace

We've worked with many website platforms, hosting services, and domain providers over the years, from WordPress and Wix to SiteGround and GoDaddy. Waaaay back in the day, we even tried our hand at self-hosted pages. But it's not the early 2000's anymore, and there are way better options to work with.

Previously, the platform we had the most experience with was Wordpress and our favourite domain and hosting provider was none other than SiteGround. And while WordPress certainly has its strengths, we weren't exactly fans of some of its downsides, and neither were some of our clients:

  • Its user interface is clunky, outdated, and not always straightforward to navigate.

  • It requires frequent check-ins to make sure plugins are up to date.

  • Most concerningly, it is a frequent target for malicious hacking attempts.

You might think as a small business that your website won't be targeted, but alas, that is not the case, and while there are some great security options out there, the best of them are paid.

If you are going to pay more for add-on services, why not upgrade to a better platform that offers more value including built in security?

That platform is Squarespace.

Here are 7 reasons why your small business or personal brand would benefit from Squarespace:

1 — It's very well designed

Yes, WordPress has more templates. But we think Squarespace's are better. By offering a limited amount of starting templates, Squarespace is able to guarantee something that most other platforms can't — consistent high quality design and functionality.

Every single template they offer features a modern design that is versatile and easily customized, ensuring that your website is fully unique to your business and brand. They even offer a variety of starting points for different niches — whether you're an artist, blogger, service provider, brick and mortar, musician, or something else entirely, there will always be options that work for you. 

Most importantly, your website is not only going to look professional, but function professionally too. If you are just starting out, or are are worried about moving over a lot of content, Squarespace offers the means to streamline everything together beautifully, both through its own options and with customized code.

And hey, let's say you are setting up your own website on Squarespace and you just aren't a fan of how your template is working out. You can easily change your template at any time and your content will be saved — you'll simply have to update your branding in the new template's design settings, which is so much quicker and cheaper than with other platforms.

Not only do the settings use the same menu as before, but all of these themes are accessible to you with the monthly hosting fee that you pay. Squarespace also offers free trial periods (which we include in our web design timeline) so that you can be sure that the platform works as well for you as it does for us. 

2 — It's ridiculously easy to use

Not everyone is a technology wizard, and we totally get that. This is why we so strongly recommend Squarespace to everyone no matter their technical skill set. Squarespace makes it extremely easy for users to navigate the backend by featuring an intuitive menu structure, drag and drop functionality, easy-to-insert widgets, and straightforward page layouts.

Whether you need to publish a blog post, update your event calendar, add a new page, tweak some copy or imagery, or edit some settings, there's virtually no learning curve. And unlike Wordpress, the interface menu isn't going to change depending on what widgets you're using, because they've all been accounted for in the first place.

If you're looking to move forward with one of our web design packages, you'll be happy to know that we do include custom video tutorials that walk you through how to complete the most common updates on your website, and we are happy to offer more as needed.

For those that prefer to set up their own websites, we will also be releasing a walkthrough of our own website's backend, as well as some beginner's design tutorials, so that you can learn from those too.

3 — It includes built in mobile responsiveness

Gone are the days when its okay for a website to be solely designed for desktop use, and its surprising just how many websites still exist in this form. In fact, most websites nowadays are being viewed from mobile, with many having 50-80% of their traffic coming from smartphones. 

It simply won't do to have a website that is cut off, misaligned, or with features that don't work on mobile devices. Which is why we are excited to share that every single Squarespace template is fully responsive, whether you are viewing from desktop, tablet, or mobile.

For the most part, you don't have to do much as Squarespace does most of the heavy lifting for you. They also offer a selection of mobile design settings depending on your chosen template, and even allow you to test your website in desktop, tablet and mobile form so that you can ensure that everything is displaying optimally for your web audience before you go live.

4 — It's effortless to integrate with 

Let's start with the most simple and popular integration — social media. While every platform is capable of integrating with social media, we especially love how easy Squarespace makes it for you to integrate with, and even stream your content between, your favourite social platforms. 

It also takes this a step further by integrating seamlessly with a variety of common digital services including:

  • G suite for business management and a professional email

  • Xero for financial tracking and analytics

  • ShipStation for shipping your e-commerce products with ease

  • MailChimp for basic email marketing

  • Acuity for online booking (this is one of our favourites)

  • 500px, Flickr and Instagram for displaying your photography

  • Google Maps to embed an interactive Google Map with a location pin

  • OpenTable or ChowNow for restaurant booking or food ordering

  • YouTube, Vimeo, Animoto, and Wistia for sharing videos

And those are just some of the most popular, there are many others.

If you are working with a service that isn't officially integrated, you'll be pleased to know that most other services can be easily integrated using a code block and (optionally) Zapier to complete automations.

If you think about it, having the ability to easily integrate these services with your website can potentially save you hours of time each week and significantly increase your profits too. It all comes down to your systems and strategy. 

5 — It's fees are straightforward and inclusive

Unlike with many other platforms, Squarespace can function as both your host and domain provider. The fee for hosting can be paid either monthly or annually and if paid annually, often includes a free year for your domain.

As Squarespace Circle Members, we can also offer you 20% off your first year of hosting if paid annually, which, combined with Squarespace's discount, often equals out to 40% in savings. If you have a domain with a different provider, this can either be transferred to Squarespace or kept with your provider and connected.

Really though, it's not about how expensive this service is, it's about how much value it brings your business.

Let's break this down a little further. Squarespace currently offers 4 different plans with different features which are divided under two main categories, Websites and Online Stores. The four different plans are as follows (please note that pricing is in USD and doesn't include our discount):

Personal - $12/mo if billed annually, or $16 month to month

This plan is perfect for those looking for a beautiful and simple website. It includes unlimited pages, galleries and blogs with up to 2 contributors which can have different permission settings. It also includes basic website metrics, SSL security and 24/7 customer support. 

Business - $18/mo if billed annually, or $26 month to month

This plan is what we use and most frequently recommend to our partners. It includes all of the above, plus unlimited contributors, advanced website metrics, professional email from Google (G Suite account) for 1 year, $100 Google AdWords credit, promotional pop-ups, and fully integrated e-commerce with the ability to sell unlimited products (physical, digital or services) and accept donations with a 3% transaction fee. Finally, it also features complete customization with CSS and Javascript, premium blocks and integrations (like Acuity) and an announcement bar. 

Basic - $26/mo if billed annually, or $30 month to month

This plan is perfect for the e-commerce entrepreneur. It includes all of the above plus no transaction fees, powerful e-commerce metrics, label printing via ShipStation, integrated accounting via Xero, checkout on domain, and customer accounts.

Advanced - $40/mo if billed annually, or $46 month to month

This plan is perfect for a bustling e-commerce business. It includes all of the above plus abandoned cart recovery, real time carrier shipping, automatic discounts, gift cards, and orders API so that you can integrate with any of your other service providers (order fulfilment, etc.)

6 — It's security and support are invaluable

As I've mentioned before, I've worked with WordPress websites that had hacking attempts against them daily. Some had security teams at the ready, and even with their efforts, their website would be drastically slowed and in some cases were completely inaccessible.

In other cases, limited or no security was in place and the hackers were able to wreak havoc on the website, stealing bandwidth, slowing down pages, and spamming the website with ads. 

This doesn't happen with Squarespace.

A variety of security measures are included in your hosting fee. In addition, all of the platform updates are performed automatically and on Squarespace's end — you don't have to lift a finger.

Squarespace has 99.9% uptime and 24/7 support staff that are amazing. They are extremely friendly and really take pride in their work. All of their support staff are located at their headquarters in New York, Portland and Dublin and they offer twitter, email and live chat support.

In addition to that, they also offer articles, videos, and community forums for any other extra help you might be looking for. I've used all of these services myself and am extremely happy with them as you can tell!

7 — It can literally make you money

Now this point was kind of included in point 5, but I thought I would elaborate a little here.

Your website should be working for you. It shouldn't just be looking pretty.

Squarespace's websites can do heavy lifting for your business, and you can really think of your website as your newest employee. When you think of how much time your website can save you, and make you, it really makes their fees all the more valuable.

It's also easy to scale up your account as your earnings increase, which is why we love the integrated e-commerce features that Squarespace provides to its users. It is so quick to integrate your website with Stripe and PayPal, making it easy for you to list and sell both products and services directly from your website, whether they be physical or digital in nature.

And even if you are a bit old fashioned and wary about trying this feature out, consider this — many people today value convenience above all.

I'm not saying that's always right, but that is usually the case. So if someone looks at your website, and your competitors, and one of your competitors make its easier to purchase, book, or otherwise access what they need, there is a good chance that your competitor will get that business over you.

If you're the better choice, make sure your website reflects that. E-commerce functionality is just one puzzle piece that can go a long way to make you stand out. 

Related Resources:

Squarespace Pricing

Squarespace Features

Have any questions about Squarespace and whether its right for your business? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

SEO for Beginners

One of the topics we are most frequently asked about is how is to improve SEO.

Many of our clients understand the importance of ranking high on Google, but they don't know what SEO is, or how it relates to their business. In other cases, they are familiar with SEO but feel intimidated as to how to use it effectively. I'll just say this — if your business has a website, SEO is an extremely important strategy to address. The higher you rank on search engines like Google, the more free traffic will be sent from searches to your website, increasing your opportunities for brand awareness, list growth, engagement and sales.

Unfortunately, many people expect SEO to be a quick fix to their website's traffic problems. The truth is, SEO is a long-term strategy, and it's always going to be most effective when it's practised consistently. You don't have to waste time or money on SEO experts if you understand how Google works and what practices you can implement to improve your ranking.

What is SEO?

SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimization, a collection of strategies that are used to improve your site's ranking on search engines like Google. 

Anytime anyone searches a topic on Google, Google "crawls and indexes" (analyzes) pages, based on the chosen keywords, displaying a list of results based on what is most relevant. 

The closer you rank to the top, the better, and here's why:

Some interesting facts about Click-Through Rates

Ignite Visibility, an award-winning SEO company,  released a case study in 2017 on click-through rates. They analyzed over 5,000 searches to discover more about how often the page 1 links (top 10 search results) are clicked in comparison to one another. 

They discovered:

Nearly 50% of clicks go the top 3 search results.

20.5% of the total clicks go the #1 search result.

If half of all clicks are going to the top 3 results, and you aren't ranked in those top 3 results, your business is missing out on a ton of traffic. Thankfully, we have the perfect solution:

The secret to SEO is Content.

In fact, we would argue that content is the most important component of your website. Content not only aligns you with your audience and ideal client, it affects your ranking too. 

You can load up your website with all the right keywords, but if you aren't providing the right experience, and offering the right value with your content, your keywords won't convert.

Which is why we believe the best way to improve your SEO is to focus on creating and sharing content that's relevant and of high-value to your readers. And Google themselves agree:

Google SEO starter guide excerpt: Search engine optimization is often about making small modifications to parts of your website [...] Even though this guide's title contains the words "search engine", we'd like to say that you should base your optimization decisions first and foremost on what's best for the visitors of your site. They're the main consumers of your content and are using search engines to find your work. Focusing too hard on specific tweaks to gain ranking in the organic results of search engines may not deliver the desired results.

They also share the following in their Webmaster Guidelines: Give visitors the information they're looking for. Provide high-quality content on your pages, especially your homepage. this is the single most important thing to do. If your pages contain useful information, their content will attract many visitors and entice webmasters to link to your site. [Create] a helpful, information-rich site [with] pages that clearly and accurately describe your topic.

Content is key because you're writing for people, not search engines.

If you provide value, traffic and rank growth will follow.

The SEO Foundation You Need

While content is the most important ongoing strategy to implement to increase your growth, there are some important foundational steps that you should implement first.

Step 1 — Submit your website to Google

Google offers a number of ways to submit your content and increase your visibility. One of the first ways you can ensure that your website is visible is by submitting your URL.

Visit the link above and click Add your URL to submit your website.

Get your content on Google | SEO for Beginners | Barton Creative Co.

Step 2 — Add Your Sitemap in Google Webmaster Tools

Google Webmaster Tools helps you monitor your website's health and standing. It's not required to rank on Google, but does offer opportunities to improve your ranking. 

Before you can access these resources, you need to verify your website.

Google Search Console | SEO for Beginners | Barton Creative Co.

Click Add a Site and enter your website URL. Now let's submit your sitemap. This will provide Google with a virtual map, allowing them to more accurately rank your website.

Search Console Sitemap Submission | SEO for Beginners | Barton Creative Co.

Click on your domain name to access your Site Dashboard. You should see a panel of options on the left, click Crawl, then Sitemaps. You should see a big red button that reads Add/Test Sitemap. Squarespace users can type in sitemap.xml and then click Submit to finalize.

Step 3 — Check Your Status with Fetch as Google

If you have any concerns, or would just like to check how your website is being analyzed, you can use the tool Fetch as Google under the Crawl section of the dashboard.

Search Console Fetch as Google | SEO for Beginners | Barton Creative Co.

Click Fetch for a quick check or use Fetch and Render for a more detailed one.

You can learn more about Google and SEO with their free SEO Starter Guide.

Now that you've established a foundation for your website's SEO, it's time to switch your focus to creating SEO-friendly content of high-value to lure in more of your ideal audience.

Want to learn more about SEO? We'll be back with more posts soon, on topics like SEO for Squarespace, and How to Create SEO-Rich Content that actually Converts. 

In the meantime, I'd love to know — what's one new thing you learned about SEO?