Internet Marketing

Big Picture Web Turns Four Years Old

I pulled up Google Analytics to take a look at the web analytics stats for BigPictureWeb.com this week and what did I find? This humble home to Squarespace tips and resources turned four years old on May 27, 2013. That's right. I've been writing articles to help Squarespace website owners with marketing for their websites since 2009.

Big Picture Web turned 4 on May 27, 2013.

Big Picture Web turned 4 on May 27, 2013.

The 6 Most Popular Squarespace Resources in 4 Years

What pages and blog posts have been the most helpful for Squarespace website owners over the years? Here are the most popular half dozen pages on BigPictureWeb.com--as measured by lifetime website visits--in the last four years:

  1. Squarespace Vs. Wordpress - Here's a comparison I did in partnership with a Wordpress expert to write a comparison on the two content management systems. Obviously I rooted for Squarespace.
  2. The Squarespace Template Guide - Are you planning a new Squarespace website? This guide contains a complete list of all of Squarespace's current templates, screenshots, and the pro's/con's of using each one for your next website project.
  3. Why You Should Consider a Squarespace Website - Arguably our best resource, this page demonstrates the value of owning a Squarespace website to the potential owner.
  4. My Squarespace Review - All the way back from 2010, see my first impressions from moving to Squarespace from Drupal for BigPictureWeb.com. This review was for Squarespace v5.
  5. Squarespace SEO Secrets You Should Know - Looking to drive more search engine traffic to your Squarespace website? Be sure to reference this handy guide back from 2010 to help your website earn more visits from the Googles.
  6. Squarespace Designer Directory - Our free directory features over twenty professional Squarespace designers that can help you take your website to the next level with Squarespace v5 or Squarespace 6.

Your Favorite BPW Resources?

Are you a fan of Big Picture Web? Then thank you for helping to make this blog a repeat destination for many Squarespace website owners. I'm happy if I was able to help you out in any small way with these how-to's. 

What resource or resources have been the most helpful to you over the years? What topics relative to owning and marketing your Squarespace website should I write about over the next four years?

Perspective on Squarespace Pricing: What You Need to Know

You're probably looking at Squarespace as a potential new home for your website and wondering what to make of the fee structure. Squarespace pricing is a steal in almost all cases relative to the value it provides to website owners, but it may not seem that way on the surface if you're used to a free hosted service or through options that allow multiple websites through a single hosting account (e.g., Wordpess).

Read on to find out if you'll find value in one of the three main Squarespace pricing points.

What Squarespace Pricing Options Do You Have?

Squarespace provides three major pricing options:

  • Standard - $8/month or $96/year ($10/month if you pay month-by-month)
  • Unlimited - $16/month or $192/year ($20/month if you pay month-by-month)
  • Business - $24/month or $288/year ($30/month if you pay month-by-month)
Squarespace pricing options.

The standard account is good for basic blogs and websites, but is a bit light on features and options. Unlimited is the best value because you get unlimited pages, storage, bandwidth, and contributors. The business account includes full ecommerce support including a store and checkout integration. 

Squarespace Coupon Codes

There are a few Squarespace coupon codes out there, but they can be hard to find. My best advice is to listen to a few episodes of Tech News Today to get an up-to-date Squarespace coupon code and a discount for your website account purchase.

Best of all, Squarespace comes with a two-week free trial. You don't even need a credit card to get stared.

What Do You Pay for When You Build a Website?

The basic composition of all websites includes hosting it (i.e., storing the files that make up your website on the internet), registering your domain name (e.g., renting the rights to www.yoursite.com), and the tools to manage changes and make updates to your website content. 

When you build with Squarespace, you're getting all three at the same time (provided you go with the yearly plan, but more on that later). With other platforms the tools to manage the website are often free (e.g., content management system like Wordpress), but then you often have to register your domain to the tune of ~$10/year and pay for hosting each month ranging from $5-$100/month depending on the quality.

Comparing Website Features to Gain Pricing Perspective

Let's compare Squarespace and Wordpress on the four main building blocks of a website:

Hosting - When you look at hosting, you're looking for reliability and scalability because you want your website to always be there and you want it to be able to handle a lot of traffic if need be. With Squarespace, you get the most dependable hosting you could hope for and shared hosting that can handle spikes in traffic from reddit and the social web. Wordpress hosting is cheap on the low end, but can get expensive quickly if you want to match the scalability of Squarespace's hosting. 

Domain Registration - For the most part, this cost is independent of the content management system you choose. You're nearly always going to have to pay around $10/year to register the right to use your domain name. An exception is if you go with the annual Squarespace plan, which comes with a free domain name as a part of the checkout process. Simply add your domain name upon checkout and your Squarespace website comes pre-mapped to your custom domain.

Content Management - The last dimension you should consider when comparing website platforms and their respective pricing models is the content management tools themselves. Squarespace provides their award-winning cloud-based tools standard with every account, while Wordpress needs to be downloaded and installed on your own server. Furthermore, Wordpress requires constant updates while Squarespace automatically installs new features frequently.

Support: Above and beyond the basic components of a website is the ability to maintain and update it without hassles. Squarespace provides 24/7 email-based support which is extremely effective, and they also provide chat-based support during the week. You're on your own with Wordpress which can be a pain if you don't know how to do it yourself.

The Only Drawback of the Squarespace Pricing Model

The only drawback I can think of with Squarespace pricing is if you have a lot of different websites. Squarespace provides the tools, hosting and support for one domain at a time. The math can start to add up after a certain number of websites, after which points a shared hosting account and a solution like Wordpress begins to look more attractive than Squarespace.

What's your opinion on the Squarespace pricing model and the account options available? Do the options available support the needs of websites owners broadly enough and is there enough value in the premium tools to charge $8-$20/month?

6 Reasons to Use Squarespace for Restaurant Websites

Restaurateurs like you combine entrepreneurial gumption with culinary passion and expertise to bring delicious dining destinations to your communities. These days, building a website to represents your restaurant that is just as eye-catching as your entrees is a must if you want to take advantage of the social/local/mobile (aka "SoLoMo") revolution and drive more customers to your restaurant.

Here's a half a dozen reasons why using Squarespace for restaurant websites is an appetizing idea. 

1. Squarespace Offers Image-Rich Templates

There's nothing like full-color photos to tantalize taste buds and drive interest in the items on your menu. Squarespace's award-winning templates are completely customizable, too, so you can achieve a unique look and feel that is both beautiful and effective at driving more customers to your location(s). Check out our templates guide, and be sure to pay special attention to templates like Adirondack, Aviator, Dovetail, Frontrow, Momentum, and Peak.

2. Squarespace Restaurant Websites are Mobile-Friendly

Squarespace's website templates are all mobile-friendly right out-of-the-box. Your website are built with impressive responsive design best practices, which means customers will see the a tantalizing website no matter which device they have. Smartphones are where people are when they decide they're hungry these days. Squarespace gives restaurants a leg-up. 

Your restaurant's website will look great on any mobile device with Squarespace's responsive design templates.

Your restaurant's website will look great on any mobile device with Squarespace's responsive design templates.

3. Squarespace Integrates with Google Maps

Squarespace makes it easy to show people how to get to your restaurant by seamlessly integrating with Google Maps. Simply add a map widget to your Squarespace website and enter your address. Squarespace takes care of the rest, bringing you stylish and elegant Google Maps customized for your restaurant's website.

Squarespace integrates with Google Maps.

Squarespace integrates with Google Maps.

4. Squarespace Integrates with OpenTable

Provide patrons with an easy way to make reservations with an OpenTable widget that works with your existing account. If you already work with OpenTable for reservations and reviews, simply visit your restaurant's profile page and copy the five-digit "RID" code within the page's URL.

Paste your OpenTable RID into the Squarespace widget to enable reservations on your restaurant's site.

Paste your restaurant ID in your Squarespace OpenTable widget and you've given your customers an easy way to book reservations at your restaurant straight from your website.

Embed a Squarespace OpenTable reservations table on your website.

Embed a Squarespace OpenTable reservations table on your website.

5. Create Simple Menus with Formatting Options

Squarespace recently released a lightweight menu system with simple formatting options for price, menu item titles, descriptions, and some minor design options to account for variations in products and visual preference.

Squarespace's menu widget allows for lightweight formatting options for your menu items.

Squarespace's menu widget allows for lightweight formatting options for your menu items.

6. Squarespace Restaurant Websites are SEO-Friendly

You want your website to show up when people search for food and restaurant options within their area. Squarespace is SEO-friendly and is a reliable platform when used as a part of an effective online marketing strategy. 

Squarespace and Restaurants are a Tasty Combination

Are you a restaurateur looking for a website platform for your place of business? Take a look at these awesome Squarespace websites and then check out Squarespace's two-week free trial to see if your restaurant might just be a Squarespace restaurant.

The Unofficial Squarespace Podcast Airs Season Three Premiere

Looking for a great place to get tips and advice about using the Squarespace web publishing platform? Content, Structure & Style, the unofficial Squarespace podcast, is part podcast, part video tutorial, and part nonsense, and might just be what you're looking for.

Last week hosts Alan Houser of Squareflair, Brandon Davenport of OkayGeek.com, and I returned to our microphones (and added our web cams) for the season three premiere of Content, Structure & Style hosted via Google+ Hangout on Air. 

CSS: Episode 301 - Season 3, Squarespace 6

In the season three opener of the unofficial Squarespace [video] podcast Alan and I started the show as a duo instead of a trio due to a late arrival by Brandon Davenport. Alan and I discussed our many new projects since season two of CSS and then recapped Squarespace 6 news.

The major items for discussion relative to Squarespace 6 news include ecommerce, calendars, and fonts. Both Alan and I shared first impressions of the three new features and went on to provide a few hands-on tips and insights for each.

Brandon Davenport eventually joined us, which segued into an impromptu ad for Fancy Hands (If you sign up for Fancy Hands after visiting them by clicking this link, I'll receive a discount on my use of the service.), the virtual assistant service that takes your request via phone, email, or iPhone app.

The final segment of the show focused on the first installment of a season-long look at migrating from Squarespace 5 to 6. This episode focused on performing inventories of existing Squarespace 5 content, migrating your site from version 5 to a new Squarespace 6 template, and then pruning your migrated content.

Alan, Brandon and I all equally relished in the simple joy that comes from the weight being lifted off a webmaster's shoulders when starting on a clean template. You get a chance to start some things over and refine your process, your assets, and your entire experience. It's as if your entire brand is reborn and ready to reap new rewards and opportunities. 

Yes, migrating to Squarespace 6 from v5 can occasionally be a real pain for people who have built up a lot of custom code or certain types of assets, but the process should be more or less painless for most people. We certainly feel for those of you who will have to spend more time migrating due to v5 customizations. 

What suggestions do you have for future Squarespace podcast episodes of Content, Structure & Style?

How to Migrate from Squarespace 5 to 6

It's coming up on a year since Squarespace released the sixth version of its revolutionary web publishing software, and yet there's still a ton of happy customers using version five. Now, I know everything Squarespace releases is great, but if you're still on v5, you're missing out. Today we show you how to migrate from Squarespace 5 to 6 in 3 easy steps.

Step 1: Tune in to Content, Structure & Style

(Click to add to your calendar and RSVP for April 18th at 7:00 p.m. CDT.)

(Click to add to your calendar and RSVP for April 18th at 7:00 p.m. CDT.)

The unofficial Squarespace podcast is back with a new season of Squarespace tips and news with season 3, episode 1 at 7:00 p.m. CDT on Thursday, April 18, 2013.  As an added bonus, this season Alan Houser, Brandon Davonport and I will be sharing tips each episode on how to migrate from Squarespace 5 to 6. RSVP now to watch live or watch the archived episode after April 18th.

Step 2: Pick Out Your Squarespace 6 Template

(Click to check out Squarespace 6's ~30 kick-butt, mobile-friendly templates.)

(Click to check out Squarespace 6's ~30 kick-butt, mobile-friendly templates.)

Did you know Squarespace 6 offers nearly thirty amazing new templates, and they're adding more every month? These templates contain all of the same power and configurability of Squarespace 5, and more. Check out the Big Picture Web Squarespace 6 Template Guide to learn about the advantages and differences of each template for designers, photographers, artists, bloggers, entrepreneurs, small, and medium sized businesses.

Step 3: Getting Tactical with the Help of Squarespace

(Click the image to check out Squarespace's step-by-step tactical guide.)

(Click the image to check out Squarespace's step-by-step tactical guide.)

After you've tuned in to the podcast for a dose of strategy and picked out your new template, it's time to get tactical. Squarespace put together a wonderful step-by-step help article that they maintain as they make product updates. Once you've completed steps 1 and 2, head on over to this Squarespace tutorial to take you the rest of the way.

Squarespace 6 is the Future

Squarespace promises to continue to support customers using v5, but Squarespace 6 will be the focus of new features as time goes on. If you haven't made the move yet, consider taking the three easy steps shared today to migrate from Squarespace 5 to 6. If you're still on Squarespace v5, what's holding you back from moving to Squarespace 6?