The best tools to make your Squarespace site an online powerhouse
We all know that Squarespace is an incredible website builder. Its beauty is in its simplicity. Someone with no coding experience can roll out of bed and assemble an attractive website for a relatively small fee. It’s revolutionized the digital small business, removing barriers to access for people who have a great business plan and less great coding abilities.
However, simplicity is a double-edged thing. The basic Squarespace website isn’t meant to be a full-fledged eCommerce machine with all the bells and whistles. It isn’t meant to be. That’s what integrations are for. Let’s look at ten great Squarespace integrations that could accelerate your business.
Businesses need beautiful images. That’s just table stakes now. However, most people aren’t photographers, and most stock photography is laughable, right? You don’t want to adorn your website with a cheesy picture of “Happy Customers From Many Backgrounds.”
But actually, stock photography has taken a huge leap with Unsplash. Unsplash is a free, beautiful stock photo platform, with content curated by a dedicated in-house art direction team, as well as celebrities like cookbook writer Amanda Hesser, and, weirdly enough, Nas. (Yeah, the rapper.) It’s also absolutely free—the company makes its money through native advertising and brand partnerships—and it’s easy to use through Squarespace.
Great entrepreneurs lose sleep over positioning. Unless you’re, say, Facebook, the demographic you’re targeting probably isn’t “everyone.” And one great way to differentiate your business is typography. An organic skin care line for quirky moms is going to want a very different typographic impression than an Internet security firm.
Squarespace has some great free fonts built in. But the selection is limited. Adobe Typekit changes that with a dizzying selection of for-rent fonts, ranging from the classiest Swiss sans serifs to wacky tiki capital letters. The only issue with Typekit is that you might spend hours of your free time browsing the beautiful fonts you can use.
Analytics are the bread and butter of Internet marketing. Squarespace’s built-in analytics are an excellent start. They can tell you all the basic information: how people are arriving at your site, how many unique visitors there are, which content is more popular, and so on. They’re also really readable.
However, you can go one step further with Google Analytics. Google’s analytics will tell you what demographic your site is reaching, a statistic that might tell you about some surprising. They all can also show you diagrams of page flow, which tell you where users go once they hit your site, information which can help you optimize your design so that users are going exactly where you want them to go. It may be more complex and less readable than Squarespace’s basic panel, but there’s no question about which is more powerful.
This is another case in which Squarespace has a default platform that’s adequate but will only take you so far. Do you want a simple newsletter that gets sent out to a few hundred loyal customers, informing them of what’s going on with your business? Fantastic—the built-in Squarespace email platform will serve you well. It’s also arguably easier to use, since it’s a native feature, whose interface makes it easy to pull in links from your Squarespace site.
Meanwhile, MailChimp, which integrates flawlessly with Squarespace, allows for multiple email lists, A/B testing, and many other advanced features. It’s got a bit of a learning curve, since it does have so many features and since it’s designed for flexibility, not simplicity. But if you want to get really serious about your company’s email presence, you’ll need to spend some time with it eventually.
We’re all influenced by the concept of “social proof,” which is basically a fancy way of saying FOMO. Somebody else did it, so we want to do it too. This is the concept that drives order notification plugins—tools that allow you to create notifications that alert users whenever someone orders something on your site. “Sally bought our Squarespace Site Design eBook.” Don’t you want to buy an eBook, too?
SquareCertify is a dedicated Squarespace integration for this purpose. Be careful how you use these things—they’re best for mid-range products that are bought occasionally but not super frequently. Your site will become unusably annoying if customers get a notification every fifteen seconds telling them that somebody bought a t-shirt. Used sparingly, however, SquareCertify can be a powerful psychological tool.
Mobile browsers are famously impatient. Anyone doing their web browsing while waiting for the bus or sitting in a public bathroom doesn’t want to wait for an elaborate site to load. This is why Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) exist. AMP is what it sounds like: an integration that allows you to give mobile users stripped-down versions of your website that load much faster.
A few caveats here. First, AMPs only work with blogs. However, that’s one of the areas they’re needed most—your blogs should have big beautiful images and interesting content blocks for your desktop readers, but mobile readers have other priorities. Also, some content blocks don’t make the transition to AMP, and AMP on Squarespace automatically presents your pages with Muli, a web-optimized Google font. But that’s just the price of speed, and it’s a price often worth paying. Finally, the AMP versions of your page only come up on Google search, not with other search engines. But hey, who doesn’t use Google?
Any business is stronger if it forms a community. If your company offers a thing that people buy and forget about, that’s great. But if the thing you sell becomes a part of your customers’ identity, and they want to talk about it, that’s even better.
Disqus is one way to make that happen. It’s a discussion platform that can turn any Squarespace blog into a mini-forum that functions a lot like Reddit does. And, as with Reddit, Disqus users are incentivized to provide high-quality contributions with upvotes and downvotes, as well as the fact that their reputation travels with them to other sites that use Disqus.
If you’re worried about the potential issues that could come with a more full-featured comment section, you’re right to be. However, Disqus offers moderation tools that can help you manage weird people who might pollute your site with their remarks, like automatic word blocking and moderator recruitment.
I know it’s weird that most people in the world don’t speak English. And yet. What this means is that if you have an English-only website, you’re potentially neglecting a huge Indian/Russian/Chinese customer base. You can solve this issue with Bablic, a website translator that integrates with Squarespace, delivering users from different countries a version of your site in their native language.
One thing that makes Bablic a winner is the option of different methods of translation. If you’d prefer to hire your own translator, Bablic allows you to input your own translations. If you’d like to skip the translator hiring process, Bablic has partner translators who will help out. And if you’d like to skip all of that, Bablic offers automated machine translation, which is reportedly pretty good. As well, you can mix and match these services—for example, you can make your blogs machine translated for speed and economy, but use human translators for your company mission statement, ensuring that your most important words sound right in Mandarin.
Stripe, which goes with Squarespace like peanut butter and jelly, has a dedicated following among newer businesses for very good reasons. First of all, it’s fast—your customers won’t bail out because their payment is taking forever to process. Also, the fee structure is transparent; unlike other payment services, with Stripe, you won’t wonder where mysterious dribs and drabs of your money are going. Recurring payments are supported, which is great for selling that 20-part online course that’s going to make you a fortune. And, finally, there’s no long-term agreement required: if you don’t like it, you can chuck it. The only real drawback, for a small business, is that it doesn’t accept PayPal payments.
We’re going to end this article with a bit of a bummer. Sales taxes are deeply annoying for entrepreneurs. And, if you have multiple revenue streams, online and offline, the difficulties of bringing everything together can conspire to make you commit accidental tax evasion.<br> However, TaxJar is here to save you. It’s an advanced sales tracking tool that will break down the tax burden from your Squarespace sales with maximum precision. It doesn’t miss any of the details—for example, it’ll give you full breakdowns of county and city taxes, where that applies. Also, if you’ve been lazy about keeping track of your taxes, it’s not too late to use TaxJar. It applies retroactively, which means that it’ll give you a grip on your whole year of sales if you’ve been forgetting about your yearly date with the government.
There was a time when website builders like Squarespace were regarded as underpowered and simplistic. But, thanks to these integrations and others, that notion is out of date. Whether you’re just establishing your first sales funnel or trying to expand into a new continent, there’s an extension for you. You’ll have the best of both worlds: the power of third-party tools with the drag and drop elegance that Squarespace is known for.