Review and Compare
Squarespace for Lawyers
This article reviews Squarespace law firm websites compared to LawLytics with the goal of helping attorneys decide which is best for their law firm’s website.
Squarespace Review for Lawyers
As lawyers realize that they don’t need to give their power and money away to marketing agencies like Scorpion, FindLaw, or Martindale-Avvo, they are seeking out website platforms that let them build and manage their own websites. Squarespace has emerged as a viable option for lawyers on a tight budget. This article reviews Squarespace for law firm websites and compares it to LawLytics.
Squarespace is an inexpensive, general-purpose do-it-yourself website program that advertises itself as a website solution for entrepreneurs, photographers, restaurants, musicians, small businesses, fashion designers, and more. Because of the focus on images, Squarespace websites are particularly popular among artists, photographers and designers. Although very limited in some areas of functionality, Squarespace is a viable platform for attorneys to build a basic starter law firm website. The platform can produce acceptable results for attorneys who:
- Can’t afford LawLytics (calculate your price); and
- Don’t need their website to produce new revenue for their law firm.
Squarespace starts at as little as $12 per month when paid yearly. Some lawyers who can’t initially afford LawLytics build a starter law firm website with Squarespace and later upgrade to a LawLytics website when they are financially able to do so, or when they realize that they have outgrown their Squarespace website.
Starting With A Squarespace Lawyer Website
Lawyers who build their websites with Squarespace should be prepared to spend significant time learning the system and creating their site. After they create their site, they should also be prepared to do significant research, and endure a lengthy learning curve of trial and error if they want their website to produce business for their law firm. Even so, the investment of time and energy only goes so far for most law firms. There are two primary reasons for this:
- Squarespace is not designed for lawyers and does not have legal-specific features built in.
- Sqauarspace does not provide attorneys a fully-supported turn-key experience because it is a general self-serve do-it-yourself program.
The most common reasons lawyers move from Squarespace to LawLytics are:
- They’ve taken their Squarespace site as far as they can, and they want a more powerful system that will scale with their business and their goals.
- Their Squarespace website is not producing new business for their firm.
- Their Squarespace website is not appearing for relevant search engine queries.
Regardless of the reason(s) for the move, the switch to LawLytics instantly enables the attorney to move beyond the limitations of their law firm’s previous Squarespace site because LawLytics is a turn-key platform with built-in attorney-specific features, strategies, and support.
What Is It Like to Work Within Squarespace as an Attorney?
Getting started with Squarespace takes a few clicks. The software allows you to input your goals, or to just skip to templates. The top template categories on Squarespace are:
- Online Stores
- Blogs & Podcasts
- Professional Services
- Local Business
- Community & Non-Profits
- Musicians & Bands
- Personal & CV
- Real Estate & Properties
As the choices indicate, Squarespace has something for everybody. This means that it has to suffice to produce passable websites in all categories. But like all generalists, it chooses to make itself accessible to everybody but specialized for nobody.
Selecting the “Professional Services” option reveals that Squarespace classifies websites for a personal chef, handyman, graduate students, attorneys, and others as professional services.
It has one example of an attorney website, which is built on the “Harris” template. But that template is not unique to lawyers, and there is nothing in the template that is legal-specific. Squarespace uses the same template as an example for a building supply company, for a company called “High Class Ironing,” a sustainability solutions company, a photographer, and what appears to be a filmmaker.
To be fair, this is not the only Squarespace template that could be used for law firms. There is no reason why most, if not all, of the available templates couldn’t be used for an attorney’s website. There is simply no distinguishing features that make one template more or less likely to be effective for a law firm.
Squarespace, headquartered in New York, was founded in 2004. A college student developed the concept of Squarespace as a project for his personal use. Like Wix, Squarespace has invested heavily in mainstream advertising, with Super Bowl spots (including an Emmy Award for outstanding commercial in 2017). That same year it became a sponsor of the New York Knicks professional basketball team, adding its logo to the team’s uniforms.
Here’s an ad, starring John Malkovich:
As the above shows, Squarespace is aimed at the mass market of business owners and individuals. Based on its high marketing overhead and its low price point, the company depends on attracting a massive number of customers across the spectrum. And like the company’s mass marketing, the company depends on massive numbers of customers to pay it for its low price products. Because of the general nature of the service, the low price, and the massive customer base, attorneys should not expect any strategic or substantive help from the company with their websites.
For law firms, the primary benefit of using Squarespace is the very affordable price. If you’re budget-conscious, it’s a more viable choice compared to any legal marketing agency. This is because you are risking comparatively very little, and at a minimum, Squarespace will force you to learn a bit of online marketing, which will serve your firm well in the future.
What is the Squarespace Law Firm Website Design Experience?
When you begin a new website with Squarespace, you’ll start by picking your template, as discussed above. Once you choose your template, Squarespace presents you with the ability to edit the filler text that comes with the template. It also presents you with a range of confusing style options.
As mentioned, a Squarespace website may suffice for beginner attorney sites. The problem, like with Wix, is with differentiation and extensibility. The major limitations for attorneys using Squarespace are:
Lack of deep navigation: The Squarespace website navigation structure is flat, and only allows for one sub-level of pages. Not only is the menu interface not intuitive for most lawyers to use, but the built-in limitations also pose a serious problem for attorneys who want to build sites rich in content. And, since the content is one of the primary ingredients in making a successful law firm website, any attorney who wants one will likely outgrow the capacity of their Squarespace website. Currently, it’s difficult to have more than about 30 pages in the main navigation of a Squarespace attorney website.
Difficult to use interface: Squarespace is advertised as simple to use. However, most attorneys we’ve talked to who have tried it complain that’s its a maze that’s easy to get lost in. Things like publishing and editing content and editing the design (that should be simple) can be challenging to locate and use. While this is not ultimately a permanent limitation, the learning curve does come with some opportunity costs.
Limited templates: While Squarespace templates look attractive (in most cases more attractive than Wix), the reason is mostly due to the photography. Unfortunately, photography is not what drives the success of law firm websites. Content, specifically written content, is what drives potential clients to a law firm’s website through the search engines. While it is possible to have pages with robust content on a Squarespace website, it is extremely difficult to build large, content-rich repositories of information which are the hallmark of all successful law firm websites.
What Should Lawyers Expect From Squarespace Customer Support?
Lawyers should not need to spend their time struggling with technology or trying to adapt it to suit the unique needs of their profession. Like Wix, there is no legal-specific help or guidance for attorneys that comes with Squarespace.
Squarespace provides a knowledge base, videos, and webinars, but does not offer telephone support. It provides a “bot” to help guide users to the right information and allows the user to type “human” for help from an actual person. Doing so reveals that you can email them 24/7, and do a text-based live chat from 4 am to 8 pm EST, Monday – Friday.
While you will likely be able to get technical answers and help with problems, you’re unlikely to get any meaningful assistance from Squarespace’s support that will help you move the needle for your law firm.
Does Squarespace Have Attorney Modules or Features?
No. There are no attorney-specific features or modules built into Squarespace.
How Is Squarespace for Law Firm SEO?
While it is possible for lawyers to get search engine optimization (SEO) results using Squarespace, for the most part, they are left to figure out how to do this on their own. If they spend a significant amount of time and are willing to go through the process of experimentation and refinement, they may well succeed. But at what cost? For most lawyers who want great SEO, we believe that the opportunity costs of using Squarespace may exceed the small cost savings.
If you can’t afford an attorney-specific solution like LawLytics, Squarespace has one advantage over Wix, and one disadvantage when it comes to SEO. Unlike Wix, Squarespace websites are fully responsive, which is good for SEO. However, the selection of headings to be used in text in Squarespace is limited to H1 through H3.
The bottom line is that with inexpensive systems like Squarespace, attorneys are left to figure out and execute SEO strategy on their own, which can result in a lot of wasted time and missed opportunities.
Conclusion: Should Attorneys Use Squarespace?
Squarespace is a great option for a beginner law firm website for attorneys who lack the budget for LawLytics. It is an especially good option for attorneys that are:
- Fresh out of law school; and
- Tech-savvy; and
- Already know a lot about SEO; and
- Are willing to spend a significant amount of time on the design and technical details of having a law firm website.
It’s easy to graduate from Squarespace to LawLytics whenever you’re ready. The migration process is turn-key and handled by LawLytics staff members who migrate law firm websites into the LawLytics system daily, ensuring no downtime and no loss of business in transition.
If you’d like to experience the differences and see what our platform can do for your law firm, schedule a personalized 20-minute demo.