Did You Over-Customize Your Squarespace Website?
When building your website, you don't want it to look like a template. It won’t.
Whether you use Squarespace, Shopify, Wix, or any other platform provider, you can tweak or customize their software to incorporate all elements of your brand design (logo, typefaces, colors) and make your website look the way you envisioned it.
However, some web designs and layouts are easier to realize than others. Complex designs often require a significant amount of custom code. You might get the website you've always wanted but with a considerable downside. It might break in the future.
How Websites Can Break
If you can achieve your website vision by just changing your logo, colors, typefaces, and adding images, illustrations, or short videos, your website is usually future-proof. Problems typically arise with web designs containing a lot of custom code that not only changes the way your website looks but also how it behaves.
Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) properties. If you want to change the color of your font or the background picture on your website, you can turn to different CSS properties.
For example, the CSS property background-image sets the URL to the photo you want to show as your background. For the code to work, you need to target the correct HTML elements either by their class or ID. And that's where your website can easily break. Should Squarespace decide to rename a class or element ID, your custom CSS code will stop working. Your website may still function, but your content will be displayed incorrectly.
As Squarespace is constantly releasing new features or improving existing ones, there is always a risk of content incorrectly displaying whenever existing classes are being renamed or new classes are being introduced.
How to Future-Proof Your Squarespace Website
Squarespace allows you a high level of customization without writing a single line of custom code just by adjusting your settings. Most of their websites or online stores already look absolutely stunning using the features and tools Squarespace offers. If that's your case, you are all set because your website will likely be future-proof.
If you consider adding more complex capabilities to your site, check whether Email Campaigns, Member Areas, and Scheduling can fulfill your requirements. These apps are made and supported by Squarespace and will seamlessly work with your website.
If you are looking for different features, you could use an approved app from Squarespace's app store called Extensions. That would give you at least some comfort that your setup won't break in the future. But there are no guarantees as the app developer could suddenly stop supporting the app you rely on.
What If an App Does Not Exist?
If an app does not exist and you need to hire a programmer to develop this feature, your requirements may not fall within Squarespace's core purpose of being a platform that allows you to build a stunning website in minutes.
By pushing away from this purpose, you risk over-customizing your website. I am sure a good programmer can make your Squarespace website do what you intended.
However, I would question whether Squarespace is the best platform to achieve your goals. There are better options available that are built to support this level of customization, such as WordPress. Unfortunately, they come with their own set of problems, not the least of which is their price.
Keep Your Website Design Simple
However, Squarespace, like any other platform provider, comes with a few constraints which require you to compromise.
As long as your customization stays within these limits, your web design is a good fit for Squarespace. Stepping outside these limits can lead to the risks I talked about above.
Therefore, I recommend keeping your website design simple and questioning the need for changes that add complexity to your site. The late Steve Jobs famously said: "Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it's worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains."
Thanks for reading Digitally Explained! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.