Hello, Gorgeous! Or, Why We Launched Our New Site On Squarespace

 Hello, Gorgeous!

A career in emergency management taught me three things:

  1. That most people crave clear and concise information.

  2. That most people want to skim first, then read all the way through. If they can’t get what they need in the skim, you’ve lost ‘em.

  3. That if you are going to say or do anything more than twice, create a system to make it easy to repeat or share.

Beehive launched just over a decade ago and we grew from crafting manageable systems (think forms and checklists and other super-helpful tools) to specializing in email marketing and social media. Websites came a few years later.

With friends like these

It was a friend who suggested that I should get into web design. They pointed out that I understood how people tended to move through spaces and how spaces could be made to help people know what to do.

We see this physical wayfinding in big spaces like airports…and websites. It was a brilliant “you know what you’d be great at” moment from that friend.

I thanked her for the idea, backburnerd it, and plugged along in my business. Beehive was growing and I was happily doing my thing. Investing in another skillset was not an option at the time.

And the day came

One day a prospective client reached out and decided that we should re-do their website.

“I don’t offer that and I can give you the name of someone I trust.”

There was a pause and a laugh.

“They sent me to you! They’re booked said that you’d be perfect!”

A few questions later and after quickly assessing that what they needed really was up my alley, we agreed to work together.

And so began the journey

What I lacked in technical cred I gained through shared knowledge, online tutorials, and a massive amount of time. A LOT OF TIME.

That first project wasn’t an epic project that launched a new career. But it did light a spark.

I learned to work on WordPress websites. I loved the unlimited possibility of things. I built many sites. I learned enough to advise clients who needed things better organized. I collaborated with developers when the need exceeded my own skillset. Most importantly I could translate what was needed and how to make it happen to clients who either didn’t know or didn’t care to know. They just wanted it done.

Along the way in these last eight or so years, I added website design and built or assisted in the launch of dozens of websites. I was a devoted WordPress fangirl. I loved the process and the aesthetic. I love turning sites over to to clients and showing them how things worked on the inside.

What I was also seeing troubled me. Even the best one-on-one training, custom documentation, and other tools and resources had only so much room in the life of a small business. Time is a limited resource and not all clients wanted to allocate even a few minutes to maintenance.

Does this make them lazy? Does this make me a terrible vendor? No way! They are highly focused and need to get the most out of every available minute. I could deliver what they needed. The challenge was to either make more time in the day or find a better website design option.

What I saw was that I was billing to fix things that they couldn’t done and wanted to do themselves. That some of our billable hours were paid in checks written with resentment. I played therapist to clients who’d start calls with “I know how to do this myself, but I just don’t have time.”

Enter Squarespace

A couple of years ago, another friend was starting a small business, she knew I had the technical chops and challenged me to take on her project even though I hadn’t built a Squarespace site before. I dove in and found a new landscape that I could easily identify with. I could also see how many clients would love this simplified* approach.

Suddenly it all got really easy. There was still all of the planning and fussing and detailing.

What I love about Squarespace…

I love the all-in-one approach. I love the straight-forward and un-fussy presentation of informaiton. Need something? Look it up.

Is it perfect?

Nope. But perfection is ellusive and no one wants to deal with that kind of smug.

Squarespace is great for folks who like just enough DIY to get things done and appreciate how many feautres come along for the ride. Are some options limited? Yes. That’s the trade-off. But one can also take the time to learn a bit of html and css to customize things a bit more.

But for most of the clients who come my way? Squarespace gives them the flex and dazzle that they’re after.

The biggest question I get is about search engine optimization (SEO) and to them I say, Squarespace offers some basic tools that are now considered fairly standard. There are a handful of ways to up your game…that is of course, if you are willing to put in the time.

…and why I’m still working in WordPress

Simple doesn’t always means better. We continue to build in WordPress when it’s the right fit for the client’s project. Not all web-based technology is compatible with each other and professionals like me can help clients decide the right combination.

Squarespace is not for businesses and organizations who need solutions that must be custom-built. A recent project involved a custom-built database. WordPress was the answer for them. This is where knowledge and wisdom in the biz helps.

So why my site?

I’ve had a great site running on WordPress for many years. Now that my clientele is seeing that Squarespace and other simpler yet robust options are available, I wanted to have some fun. Because my website is what I often refer a client who wants to learn more before they hire me, I thought why not? Why not migrate over to Squarespace and give it a whirl. I’ll post about the process another time.

Welcome to Squarespace

Yes, this website that you see before you is built on Squarespace. I love what I can do, and love the ease of things both on the frontend and behind the scenes. My search engine results will dip a bit during this transition (that’s a common result) but I’m not concerned about ranking at the moment.

I have a business to run. I love my website but it’s just one arm of how I attract and inform folks. I have work to do and this is a great fit for me.

What are you digging about this site? What are you missing from the old site? Drop me a line and let me know.

**Yes, many of my clients can and do embrace the training, use the documentation, even come back for new projects.