Squarespace is an online platform that’s heralded as a magic cure for website building. With “Build It Beautiful” as its slogan, it focuses on designing attractive, flexible, and customizable templates for its users. However, when it comes to local online advertising capabilities for small businesses, how much does it actually offer? In this edition of “Prospect Genius Reviews…,” we’ll examine how effective Squarespace is for small, local businesses who want to promote themselves online.
The Squarespace platform works for people with a wide spectrum of experience in website design, including those with no experience whatsoever. That’s because users are able to choose between dozens of premade, professionally designed templates. Then, they can add and arrange their own content, drag-and-drop photos and multimedia, and receive a custom domain name. Setting up a Web site is very intuitive and the directions are easy to follow. The minimal technical savvy required by users is a big selling point.
However, many individuals and small businesses are also sold by Squarespace’s SEO features, which are unfortunately misleading. It’s not that the sitemaps, search engine descriptions, and title tags are ineffective— in fact, they’re certainly crucial elements of SEO— they’re just insufficient. Not only is it up to the user to fill them in correctly, which leaves quite a bit of room for error, buÂ these elements are also not enough to fulfill all of a local business’s SEO needs on their own. Not even close.
The truth is, the two most significant components of SEO are high-quality content and inbound links. Not only do websites have to contain relevant, valuable content (as perceived by Google), but there has to be a lot of it. Site owners must effectively target the right search terms and keywords, appeal to their audience with original content, and add new content regularly. On top of that, they need to develop and implement an inbound link strategy in order to boost social cues and citations. Without plenty of links and high-quality content— which Google’s webmaster guide deems “the single most important thing— even the prettiest website will have a hard time growing a local web presence.
And that’s the thing: Squarespace’s websites are pretty. This “Prospect Genius Reviews…” edition would be remiss if it didn’t mention that. However, having a nice-looking website is only a small aspect of online advertising. If you’re dead-set on designing a website with Squarespace, then you have to at least supplement it with effective content creation and link building. Be aware, though, that reviews of Squarespace’s SEO capabilities are mixed. Despite the built-in features described above, many industry specialists claim that optimizing a site built and hosted by Squarespace proves very difficult.
If you’re just looking for a site that existing customers can use as a hub for buying products, making reservations, looking at your portfolio, etc., then Squarespace will probably give you what you need. But if you’re looking to build a website as part of a larger online advertising campaign, then you’ll most likely find Squarespace to be lacking.
Next time on “Prospect Genius Reviews…,” we’ll examine how effective Instagram is as a social tool for local businesses.