My First Foray into Squarespace: Crafting a website for Peter Langlands, NZ Foraging author and expert

Screen shot of Forage NZ Website

Last Updated on April 22, 2024

As an experienced WordPress website designer, I recently embarked on an interesting new website journey: building my first ever Squarespace website for Peter Langlands, a professional New Zealand forager who wanted to showcase his expertise and let people know about his new Foraging New Zealand book (just released by Penguin). 

Screen shot of Forage NZ Website
Website for Peter Langlands, at Foraging in New Zealand with Peter Langlands (foragingnz.com)

So, how did someone very much working in the WordPress world come to build a Squarespace website? Well, a few months back, as part of a New Year’s resolution to cast my net a bit wider (pardon the pun!), I created a Squarespace account and tried remaking my website’s homepage in Squarespace (7.1) to get a feel for the system. 

From the moment I logged into Squarespace, I was pleasantly surprised by the interface and its simplicity and aesthetics. The drag-and-drop editor allowed me to easily arrange elements, tweak layouts, and experiment with various designs. It felt good to work on a web design without having to install and set up WordPress and the technical aspects you need to take care of first. It felt like a giant head start not having to wrestle with the technology stack. I realised also, this wasn’t the Squarespace I’d looked at and discounted a few years ago, and quite frankly, it was a really fun experience.  

I was impressed by the built-in modules and the array of tools catering to diverse needs. Some of the standouts for me were the following features:

Form Builders: Crafting contact forms, surveys, and feedback mechanisms was a breeze. It was intuitive to create a form, relax, and know I wouldn’t have to install anti-spam protection, set up a Google ReCaptcha, install and set up an SMTP plugin and service, and then test and re-test the form submissions. It just all worked and was ready to go. 

Mailing List Subscription: Peter wanted to inform his audience about upcoming foraging workshops and seasonal tips. Integrating a mailing list with Squarespace was straightforward, and there were sign-ups within a day of going live.

No Web Hosting Setup: As a WordPress user, I’ve grappled with the intricacies of web hosting, WordPress setup, and security measures. But with Squarespace, I got to leave those issues behind. Squarespace hosts everything for you, so there’s no need to navigate complex server configurations or worry about uptime or web hosts that want to charge extra to fix an issue they’ve probably caused. Going live was super simple – just follow the DNS instructions, and voila, the domain changes, the links change, and everything works.

A design first focus: While I greatly appreciate and value WordPress’s rich ecosystem, Squarespace offered a refreshing change. I could focus solely on design and content without being distracted by plugin compatibility issues, themes, and WordPress updates.

Form Delivery Issues?  Squarespace handled form submissions flawlessly. No more lost messages or frustrated users wondering if their enquiries had been seen. Better still, the enquiries are automatically saved into your Squarespace contacts or added to your mailing list if they’ve opted in.

Recaptchas? Not a Concern: Squarespace’s built-in spam protection should help keep your inbox free from unwanted spam and scams.

Looking ahead

My first Squarespace adventure convinced me to offer this as a web service. I’m excited to announce that I’ll soon have a well-priced Squarespace website package for clients seeking hassle-free solutions. Whether you’re migrating from other platforms or starting fresh, Squarespace’s elegance and ease of use make it an attractive choice. 

Of course, WordPress is still my main toolkit for building websites, as its versatility and vast plugin library perfectly serve certain clients with very specific needs. But for those who are after simplicity, style, and ease of use with an all-in-one business toolkit, Squarespace might be the answer. I will help you decide if that’s the case or if a different platform might suit your requirements.

And… I don’t intend to stop at Squarespace; I’ll soon be taking a closer look at Wix and Webflow to continue supporting web clients on whatever platform best suits them. For those who don’t know, I already offer help with building Shopify sites (as a Shopify partner).

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