What Platform Should You Choose To DIY Your Website?
If you want to have an online business, you need a website. Having a Facebook business page with 207 likes is NOT ENOUGH. You don't own Facebook, my friend. In the 21st century, if you can't be bothered to create a website for your online business, then why the hell should I trust you as an expert? At the very minimum, you need a simple one-page website that has the singular purpose of getting visitors to sign up for your email list (and you do have an email list, right?).
So we're agreed that you need a website.
How do you choose what platform to build it on?
You have several options. There are platforms that cater to people who are afraid of technology (Weebly and Wix). There's also the option to have a bespoke coded website (which is what my background is in, but which I don't recommend to my clients because it makes blogging difficult). And then you have the top two contenders – Wordpress vs. Squarespace.
I'm sure you've come across loads of blog posts and comments in Facebook groups endlessly debating which platform is better. I shake my head and wonder, "Why is this even a debate? Why would you even choose WordPress??"
The truth is, I've seen very few good Wordpress sites.
The good sites are always done by a professional (and a high-quality one at that). So, if you want to do it yourself, which I always recommend for newer/smaller businesses, then WordPress is not an option (unless you're a WP developer).
I often ask people why they use WordPress, when it's not user-friendly or inherently responsive and it's super bulky. They generally have two reasons:
- It has plugins for #allthethings
- It's good for SEO
Okay... Now I'm going to crush you by telling you all the reasons why those things are total BS [insert evil laugh].
- They need to be updated / maintained
- They add bulk to your website (aka slow it down)
- They don't always play nice with each other
- They can cause glitches
You've heard the phrase, "there's an app for that"? Well, there's a plugin for that, but you don't fucking need it.
Bottom line, plugins are bad mmkay.
- With all the plugins on your site you've got layers of code slowing you down. Slow sites = bad search engine rankings.
- If your site isn't mobile-friendly (aka responsive), then Google will penalize you, which is bad for business and SEO.
- Bottom line – a plugin can't magically implement SEO, and Google is smarter than a bunch of tactics.
These days, if you’re looking for good SEO, you’ll need a website that looks nice, is easy to use, generates regular doses of good content, and gets shared by other people on the interwebs. Aside from that, there are a few things that you need to be doing for SEO best practices, but that's for another time.
Now, onto the platform that I recommend to my clients: Squarespace.
When I ask people why they don't use Squarespace, I usually get one of two responses:
- What is Squarespace?
- I can't customize it, and it will look like everyone else's website.
To which I scoff and walk away to write an educational blog post.
To answer the first point: Squarespace is an all-in-one website builder, hosting service, and blogging platform for creating modern, responsive websites. AND it's user-friendly, customizable, and has 99.9% uptime, so yeah...
To address the second point: that's just not true. You can completely customize your Squarespace site to be uniquely yours and, more importantly, you can do this WITHOUT dropping loads of cash on hiring a developer.
In the next few weeks, I'll be walking you through some Squarespace websites
These were created by other online business owners like you and me. I'll point out the good and the not so good, and give you pointers on how to improve your own website.
I'm also answering YOUR Squarespace questions right now.
Just pop over to this form to ask your most pressing question about Squarespace. It can be generic like, "How do I transition from Wordpress to Squarespace". Or it can be super specific like, "I want to create an accordion for the FAQ section on my sales page...".
I may feature your question in a full blog post, or I may just email you back with the custom code you asked for. Either way, it's completely free because I absolutely love helping people learn to tweak their own Squarespace websites.
What's your stance on Wordpress vs Squarespace?
Sound off in the comments below!