Why I decided to use Squarespace to build my First Website
Disclaimer: I am NOT being sponsored by Squarespace to write this blog post or on any of the links I provide. These are my own thoughts and opinions using the platform.
When deciding to put yourself out there you have one of two options: build your 'home' on an existing social media platform (E.g Behance or Dribbble) or create your own website to showcase your work.
These options both offer their own sets of advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages of building your home on an existing social media platform
- High Exposure - Websites like Behance and Dribbble already have a huge amount of users ready to see your work either by chance or by finding it through a user they already follow.
- Less work upfront - The design of these websites is already made up for you so it's generally just a case of uploading your work onto the site and using suitable tags so users can find you easily.
- Cost - In terms of price, almost all social media platforms allow you to create accounts for free so they are open for all designers from all areas of expertise.
Disadvantages of building your home on an existing social media platform
- High amounts of competition - While the volume of users can certainly help you get noticed you then have the challenge of having to stand out compared to your competition.
- You have to play by the platform's 'rules' - At any time the platform's creators can 'change the game' and these game changers can often leave the users at a disadvantage. Whether its the platform slapping ads all over pages or altering site algorithms so that your posts are going to be harder to find, it's definitely something all users need to be mindful of.
- Lack of freedom - Since most platforms will have a main purpose, YouTube, for example, has the main purpose of sharing videos, you are then constrained by the type of content you can share and would have to migrate to other platforms if you decided that instead of video you wanted to share blog posts to your audience.
- Limited Customisation - You also can only have limited customization of your account and profiles on social media platforms which will make it harder for you to stand out amongst your competition on there.
- It's not as professional - While potential clients and employers will be used to seeing online portfolios built on social media websites like Behance and it can lead to jobs, you can stand out so much more and leave a far better impression by having your own website. It shows you're serious about your work and allows viewers to have a far more personal connection to you.
Through considering all these options, I decided for sure that I wanted my own website.
I do plan on using social media accounts and being active on them but my ultimate goal for all of them will be to get people to come visit my main website.
Unfortunately, I have no current knowledge of coding so I knew rather than spending time teaching myself that it would be better for me to use a website building platform to get started.
Through planning, I worked out what my goals were for this website and concluded that I wanted to attract clients and build an audience. I also knew that one of the biggest tools to do this was through blogging so it was essential to me that whatever platform I used had a strong blogging system involved.
When assessing my options for blogging websites the standout options were Wordpress and Squarespace. I had previously used Wordpress to create a blog in the past but knew that if I wanted to have a .org account I would have to invest a lot upfront on a professional theme and plugins.
I had heard about Squarespace through a lot of the designers I follow and all the sources I followed only had good things to say about it. It also seemed perfect since no coding knowledge is required and from what I saw of their websites, you could make beautifully designed websites using it.
Squarespace offers 2 week free trials so I decided that I would attempt to create my website using it and if I hated it then I'd go back to Wordpress. However, I'm very pleased to say that my experience using Squarespace was incredibly positive and I'm really happy with the website I've made using their platform! They have wonderfully integrated blogging into the website templates and also have an amazing commerce system which I plan on using in the future.
I'm also a huge fan of the templates Squarespace offers. I experimented with a variety of them and decided on the Avenue template for my first website. I also fell in love with how simple and clean the interface is and how everything can be customised with buttons and slider bars.
If you're savvy to coding you can also edit the template using CSS too so original templates can be changed to points where they barely resemble their original form. Squarespace also has fully responsive designs for all the templates so through the web editor I could see how my website will appear on mobile devices.
After my website was complete, I then upgraded my trial account to make my website go live. Squarespace offers a student discount for your first year which I took advantage of and have used for my website. I'm on the business plan which allows me to have unlimited pages, website metrics and the plan even includes a free domain and professional email from google which saved me having to get all those extras separately.
Of course, Squarespace isn't perfect and certainly isn't the best option for everyone. It is a more expensive option starting out but I feel all the features involved make it completely worth the upfront investment. Especially if you're a student like me!
It may also not be your thing if you're not a fan of templates or wish to do more intricate and upscaled services or products within your business. If you do have coding knowledge you may feel more comfortable creating your website yourself so you can fully customise everything. However, if you're just starting out or have a creative based business I would definitely recommend it. You can start a trial account here and if you decide to fully publish your website you can use this code for 10% off.
I'd be very interested to hear your thoughts on Squarespace! Are you a fan of the platform or do you prefer different methods of website creation?
Interested in having your own website created for you using Squarespace? I can assist you with designing yours! Contact me here.