So, you need a website. The good news is it’s never been easier to build one. The bad news is there’s a lot of conflicting information out there for a newbie. Let me break it down for you:
The two big contenders today are Squarespace and Wordpress. Squarespace is a website-builder that offers in-built, templates, features and intuitive use. Wordpress has two branches - wordpress.org is open-source code and wordpress.com is the average joe version.
Google Employees vs The Rest Of Us
Both versions of Wordpress are a top choice for those who know the ins and outs of coding (or are even versed in multiple code “languages”) but for the rest of us code is just a bunch of nonsense on a screen.
Blind editing vs Drag and Drop previews
One of the most amusing things of working with Wordpress.com is seeing the high-spec front-end of a website (the part of the site presented to the world) dissolve into Wordpress’ uniform and monolithic back-end. No matter how flashy or individual each site appears, everyone working with Wordpress has to navigate the same button-riddled back-end in order to make their changes.
For those without a photographic memory this renders editing a bit complicated because Wordpress does not offer a real-time preview of your changes. In fact, the preview function will open the front-end of your site in another tab meaning you then have to compare the back-end and front-end to find the problem if there’s an issue with the modifications. This preview does not update automatically, meaning every time you make a change in the back-end and wish to see the result you’ll have to reload that preview function.
Squarespace takes a different approach offering a real-time drag-and-drop built-in preview-extraordinaire. Picking, switching and personalising your templates could not be easier with their drag-and-drop function: building your site is as easing as stacking lego blocks and their preview function means the site appears before your very eyes as you build. This is called What You See Is What You Get editing. The back-end of your site is presented as the front-end with editing functionality meaning you won’t get lost as you build and changes are easier to imagine. Let your creativity fly!
The quality of Squarespace’s designs and functionality are world-renowned for good reason. Not only do they offer over 60 impeccably-designed templates to work from, every single one of these templates is mobile-optimised ensuring your website is perfectly adapted for mobile devices with no extra work on your part. The mobile view is automatically built in with every template so you can monitor how your site will appear on a phone or tablet. Considering over half of all website traffic worldwide is generated through mobile phones this is vital for anyone building a site.
Wordpress has thousands of designs to choose from for your site, however this aesthetic freedom does not guarantee quality. If you choose an older theme you might miss out on mobile-optimization meaning your new website will look outdated to half of your visitors.
Plug-ins vs Built-In
Every Squarespace template comes with loads of tools and features for ecommerce, customisation, blogging and design - to name a few! Here are some examples of the tools integrated on Squarespace’s platform:
All of these - and many, many more - come with your standard Squarespace editor. Simply go to your dashboard, click the feature you want, and drag-and-drop to your heart’s content. You’ll be up and running in no time. And the cherry on the cake? Squarespace updates and introduces new features all the time at no extra cost.
Wordpress is a powerful website builder thanks to the thousands of plug-in options. Wordpress does have some built-in features but to make the most of the site’s functionalities users need to search and download plug-ins and apps. You also need to keep an eye out for new releases and update your site manually. Whilst the range is vast this does leave your site more vulnerable to hacking. An outdated site is a huge security threat - a quick google search of “wordpress plugins hacked” show multiple articles warning readers of the plug-ins to avoid. Not everyone has the time to manage their site for fear of an impending security risk - nor should you - which is why Squarespace is a safe and viable alternative.
Unless you’re inundated with job offers from Silicone Valley or willing to hire a full-time expert Squarespace is my professional recommendation to everyone. Enjoy their breadth of quality templates, built-in features and high-level security that make building and maintaining a website easier than ever before. And for the tricky bits that involve maximising your business reach? That’s where I come in.