Why We Don’t Use Squarespace
Don’t let the statistics fool you. In a list of small business statistics compiled by Review42, fewer than 64% of businesses in 2022 own a website. However, 58% of these businesses plan to invest in a website within the year.
Most likely, the 2020 global lockdown influenced their decision to go online as businesses that had websites were able to continue operating and make money.
Another factor that will contribute to the increase in demand for websites is the growth in entrepreneurship.
The lockdown made people reassess their career paths and realized owning a small business might provide a more stable source of income instead of a 9-to-5 office job because so many employees were laid off during the pandemic.
However, tight budgets made these budding entrepreneurs and solopreneurs put off their website projects. This created an opportunity for a website builder like Squarespace to carve its niche in the marketplace – a website template where web developer skills aren’t needed.
What Is Squarespace?
Squarespace was founded by Anthony Casalena in 2004 while he was a student at the University of Maryland, College Park. The platform started out as a blog hosting service but a few months later evolved into a drag-and-drop/do-it-yourself website builder.
Initially, Squarespace was capable of only developing static websites that functioned more like online brochures. But as the company grew and became profitable, it added more features that expanded the capabilities of the platform.
Squarespace’s integration of Stripe’s online credit card payment processes made it possible for website template subscribers to set up e-commerce stores. A mobile version of the e-commerce feature was introduced in 2014. You can also use Squarespace to run email campaigns and create online video ads.
It’s estimated that as of December 2020, Squarespace has acquired more than 3 million subscribers. If you frequently stream popular YouTube channels, you might have come across a Call-to-Action (CTA) from the host midway through the video for you to consider Squarespace as your website builder.
Squarespace is a direct competitor of WordPress and Wix. Given its apparent user-friendliness and popularity, we at Mountaintop Web Design still prefer to use WordPress to build the websites of our clients over Squarespace.
Why WordPress Is Better Than Squarespace
Having 3 million users is a major accomplishment for Squarespace. Since the company earned its first million in 2007, Squarespace reported that it generated US$784 million in revenue in 2021.
But WordPress has over 400 million users with more than 20 billion pages viewed every month. It was reported that in 2021, of the 1.3 billion websites on the Internet, 455 million are powered by WordPress.
WordPress was launched in 2003 – just one year before Squarespace – and has acquired 150-times more users.
The reason is obvious.
WordPress is better than Squarespace.
For our clients who entrust us with the online performance of their business, they deserve no less than the best and that means powering up their websites with WordPress.
Here are 5 reasons why we don’t use Squarespace and instead use WordPress for our clients.
1. Open Source WordPress Frees Up Your Creativity; Squarespace Inhibits It
To be fair to Squarespace, the platform was designed specifically for someone without any knowledge and background in coding or programming. In contrast, while non-programmers have used WordPress with success, its features have the professional web designer in mind.
Proof of this is that WordPress carries a GPL 2.0 license which allows the user to make changes to the code provided that you strictly follow rules and regulations. Remember, WordPress is open-source software. Whatever changes you make in the code must be shared as open-source to other users.
As an example, with WordPress, you can customize your Content Management System (CMS) and tinker with your plugins and themes to improve the look and performance of your website.
How many plugins are at your disposal at WordPress? There are presently 57,000 plugins available that you can use and customize to your preference and make your website as unique as possible.
If after reviewing your analytics you decide to add contact forms, fortify security features, and boost site optimization, WordPress has a plugin that can do the job.
Squarespace users have to abide by provision 5.1 of the terms of service as well as provision 1.5 of the Acceptable Use Policy both of which expressly prohibit you to mess around with the platform’s code.
Basically, with Squarespace, you’re stuck with what you have. If there are areas of performance and specific features that you feel need to be improved upon – you can’t.
2. More Value At No Cost
Right off the bat, we could have stated that WordPress is free. It’s open-source software that you can download at no cost and use on your preferred web host service provider.
But to further highlight the value of WordPress, not only is it free to download but you can install the platform to more than one site or as many sites as your web host plan allows you to have.
In fact, you can create a Multisite or a network of websites that you can access in one location. Go ahead and have a blog site or a basic business website to support an e-commerce site.
There’s no such flexibility with Squarespace. In the same way that you’re stuck with whatever features and programs your site comes with, once you sign up, your site can only be hosted by Squarespace and its servers.
And the basic package – Personal Website Plan – will cost you US$19/month.
3. Squarespace Is Watching Your Every Move
With Squarespace, you have to read the contracts very carefully and go through them with a fine-tooth comb. Get a lawyer if you have to.
According to statements 2.2 and 2.3 of Squarespace’s Terms of Service, the company can use copyrighted content such as advertisements, blogs, and images. Squarespace doesn’t even have to notify you of its decision to use your content. And they won’t pay you for it.
Squarespace can monetize your copyrighted content and isn’t obligated to send you a royalty check.
Not only can Squarespace use your copyrighted content without prior notice or your approval. The platform can also remove or discontinue any feature on your website without asking for your permission or advising you of the reasons why it intends to do so.
If you want to verify Squarespace’s authority to remove or discontinue features on your site, you can find them described in statements 4.1 and 6.1 of the company’s terms of service.
And don’t get too excited about Squarespace’s claim of “unlimited bandwidth”. If you read the fine print, subscribers of their service are only entitled to “normal usage”.
“Normal usage” isn’t defined. Only Squarespace knows what constitutes “normal usage”. But if the platform finds out that your website is experiencing above-average traffic, guess what?
Your site can get shut down.
WordPress practices and observes transparency. The WP platform will send you notifications of changes that will take place in the system. Likewise, it will recommend improvements that you can make on your website such as removing or updating specific plugins.
And WordPress won’t present any claim to copyrighted content published on your website.
4. Domain Ownership Is Never An Issue With WordPress; Not So With Squarespace
With WordPress, you can select a domain registrar that offers WHOIS privacy while at the same time having complete ownership of your domain.
In comparison, Squarespace has already selected the domain registrar for you – Tucows, Inc. and its terms and conditions become valid and effective once your domain is registered.
According to the terms of conditions of Tucow Inc., Squarespace legally owns your domain because it has been identified as the Main Contact. Why? Because Squarespace automatically imposes WHOIS privacy on all domains that have been registered with Tucows, Inc.
Can you transfer domain ownership from Squarespace to you? Yes, but it’s not that easy. It involves a process that requires you to write Squarespace and “convince” the company to instruct Tucows, Inc. to transfer ownership of the domain to you.
5. WordPress Is Fully Accessible; Squarespace Is Not
Recently, we wrote an article on why it’s important for websites to be ADA Compliant. ADA stands for the American Disabilities Act of 2010 and mandates all companies invested in digital technology to incorporate special features to make their websites accessible to people with disabilities.
If your website isn’t ADA compliant, you can become the subject of lawsuits from people with disabilities who can’t access your site and accuse you of discrimination.
Additionally, the US government can hit you with a US$150,000 penalty for not having an ADA-compliant website.
With WordPress, while it takes extra time and effort, you can make your website ADA compliant.
With Squarespace, accessibility has always been an issue for people with disabilities. And because the platform won’t allow you to customize or modify features on your website, you can’t make it ADA-compliant.
Is Squarespace a bad choice for a website builder?
We’re not going to say that it’s a bad choice. Ultimately, it will come down to what you want in a website; its features and functions, and how you intend to manage it on the Internet.
As we mentioned earlier, Squarespace specifically targeted entrepreneurs who have no experience or knowledge of coding/programming.
Squarespace offers them an opportunity to have a plug-and-play website where everything has been taken care of. Just choose the design template – and there are over 140 to choose from – focus on your business and Squarespace will take care of the rest.
The problem with this business model is that it fails to consider one thing.
At the start, the website’s features might be enough to handle the current activity of the business. But once things get moving and business activity increases, the entrepreneur would want to scale up operations.
The entrepreneur develops a greater understanding of who his customers are; what they want and expect of a business. To keep up with the growth process, the entrepreneur has to institute improvements on his website that will support the demands and needs of his customers.
The numerous restrictions and constraints imposed by Squarespace will prevent you from implementing the changes you want to enhance the User Experience on your website.
Squarespace is not only limited. It’s also limiting.
If you’ve decided to invest in a website, go with WordPress. Contact us via phone or email and we’ll get you started right away.
And if you enjoyed this article, feel free to share it with friends who are also thinking about having a website for their business.