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How to offer web design when you don't know how to code

How to offer web design when you don't know how to code

Nesha here! I'm so excited that I finally get to share this blog post with you guys because it's soooooo good! Krista Rae, a strategic Wordpress developer, is here today to show you how to offer web design services when you don't know how to code.

I would have died for a blog post like this when I first started my design business. (Okay, I probably wouldn't have died. But I would have paid a shed load for this kind of information, for sure.)

When I decided I wanted to be a freelance designer, I knew a bit about HTML and CSS, but not enough to start offering web design services. The thought of screwing up someone's website because I couldn't code properly put me off from actually offering web design for a long time. But there are things you can do if you don't know how to code and still want to design websites for a living. Read on to hear Krista's awesome tips!

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Web design is a great complement to a branding or graphic design business. With that combination, you can find the perfect clients and keep them, rather than offering branding and then referring them elsewhere for a website.

Luckily, if web design is something you’re looking to add to your business there are several options for how you can do it, both with and without coding on your end. In this post, we’ll cover 3 of the best options for doing just that, the pros and cons of each option, and the details of the option that will give you the most freedom. Let’s dive in!

Why I switched from Wordpress to Squarespace (after being such a Squarespace hater!)

 
Click on this pin to find out why I made the decision to switch from Wordpress to Squarespace and no it's not because it's better but something much more. Find out what that 'much more' is now! #Business #Design #Sqaurespace #Wordpress, #Web Design

OK, so I didn't hate Squarespace... That's a little dramatic of me. But I didn't understand the hype around it, or why why dozens of my friends were switching from Wordpress to Squarespace.

I tried it for a day and decided that it was OK, but not as good as Wordpress. I even wrote a blog post outlining the pros and cons of both and favoring Wordpress. (That post has since been updated with a fair amount of pros for both.)

However, a conversation with a friend totally changed my opinion of Squarespace. 

As we sat drinking frappucinos one afternoon, we began talking about work. I told her everything was going well and I was still enjoying my business. But I wished things were a little more simple. 

I explained that one of my goals this year is to achieve a simple business. I thrive most when things are simple, easy and clean. I've noticed this spans into my personal life too, not just my business. I like simple interior decor, simple outfits, and I much prefer a simple and quiet life over a busy city life.

I've slowly realized that when my business systems and strategies are simple, I feel happier and more relaxed. And my business blooms a lot more when I feel that way!

I told my friend that I'd simplified a lot of my systems, but things still didn't feel 'easy' enough. I'm a big believer that business should be easy, or else it isn't fun. 

"You wrote a blog post on Wordpress vs. Squarespace, right?"

I nodded. 

"I know Wordpress is awesome and offers everything you could ever need in a website, and I know that you love it. But maybe what you need is a simpler platform, with less updates and plugins and themes. Like Squarespace."

She'd been raving about Squarespace all year and I'd just rolled my eyes. But it was when she said that (or something to that effect, anyway) that I decided to give Squarespace one last try.

I signed up for another trial of Squarespace and set myself a little excercise: see how long it takes to rebuild my website on Squarespace, getting as close as I could to my Wordpress design.

And here's the amazing thing: it took just two days, and that was in between doing client work. 

Here the other amazing thing: I think my Squarespace sites looks better than my Wordpress site. 
It's amazing how much better my second Squarespace trial was. Maybe it's because I actually gave myself an assignment instead of fiddling with a theme I wasn't interested in. Either way, I've found myself jumping on the Squarespace bandwagon. Not because it's better than Wordpress but because it has something Wordpress doesn't: severe simplicity. Anyone could learn Squarespace in a day, and that really appeals to me. 

A few more reasons why I switched from Wordpress to Squarespace (after being such a Squarespace hater):

  • I knew my clients would love it. I design brands and websites for small business owners, and they usually like to maintain and update their website themselves when our project is over. Squarespace is the perfect platform for them to maintain their site easily without getting confused or stressed out.
  • I love the drag and drop feature. I barely have to touch any code!
  • I love that it's limited, which is ironic because that's one of the aspects I disliked to begin with. But I love that my clients and I can only choose from a certain amount of themes. It stops us from overthinking things.

I'm very happy with my decision to switch from Wordpress to Squarespace. In fact, I'm thinking of creating a mini-series on it for you very soon!

In case anyone is wondering, I'm using the Galapagos theme. It's a very popular theme for bloggers because of how simple and clean it is, so I highly recommend you try it if you're a Squarespace user!

I'd love to know- are you thinking about switching to Squarespace? Do you have any questions or concerns?


 

Squarespace or Wordpress?

The question we all ask whether that be when were starting out on our freelance journey or wanting to make a switch, is which one is better for me - Sqaurespace or Wordpress? Well worry no more! Click on this pin to see the naked truth about both platforms and how it can help you make that final decision of what's best for you and your business! #Freelance #Business #Web Design #Squarespace #Wordpress

UPDATE: Since moving my website from Wordpress to Squarespace, this post has been updated.

Amy, an event planner, emailed me the other day and asked this:

Should I choose Squarespace or Wordpress? I like Squarespace- it's easy to use and the themes are clean and gorgeous. But I've heard a lot of people use Wordpress and it's apparently the better option. Help?

Both are fantastic website builders, but I'd like to point out that every business owner is different. Just because Squarespace or Wordpress works for someone else, doesn't mean it's the best fit for you. The only way you can decide which platform is the right one for you is by doing your research and testing them both.

I used Wordpress for 4 years before switching to Squarespace, so I have a pretty rounded-out view of both. Here are the pros and cons I've discovered:

Flexibility

  • Wordpress is an open source platform, which means that you or your web developer can customize their codes and make your website truly unique.
  • Squarespace isn't an open source platform, which stops a lot of people from using it. But if you sign up for the Professional package (which most users go for) you get access to the developers platform, which allows you to make changes to your website's html etc. 
  • There are thousands of themes available for Wordpress users, so you have a lot more choice on what your website looks like. Choice is great! But you have to be careful what theme you choose- some are coded awfully and don't offer any kind of customer support when things go wrong.
  • Squarespace doesn't offer hundreds of themes. But because the Squarespace team have focused on their select variety of themes, they are coded amazingly and are constantly being updated.

User Interface

  • Wordpress is fairly easy to use, but it takes a bit of getting used to when you first join. For instance, you need to learn what plugins, themes, child themes and widgets are. 
  • Because of its limited flexibility, Squarespace is really easy and simple to use. It has a drag and drop feature, so you don't have to tweak any code. You just drag a photo or a text block into place.

Support

  • There are lots of Wordpress forums that can help you if you get stuck with anything Wordpress-related, but it can sometimes be difficult to get a correct and quick answer. There are also lots of fantastic books on Wordpress, like this one
  • Because Squarespace limits it's themes, their team are more in control and can provide great support. In fact, they strive to answer all questions within one hour.

Pricing

  • Squarespace can cost $96-$288 per year, and they offer a free domain name and free support. Depending on the package you choose, you can end up paying more than you would for a Wordpress website. But if you value simplicity and amazing support, it's worth it. 
  • Self-hosted Wordpress is a similar price depending on where you host your website- I recommend Dreamhost. However, you also have to pay for a theme (a one-time payment of about $30-$50) and a domain name (about $10 per year.) You may also end up paying for premium plugins if you really want to.

My opinion

If you're not very tech savvy, you want to be able to maintain your website yourself, and you value simplicity, I'd recommend Squarespace. I use Squarespace for my own website and I love it! I offer a Squarespace website design package if you're interested.

However, Wordpress is more flexible and offers thousands of themes and plugins. If you're good with code, or you want things like membership websites, Wordpress is probably best for you. Squarespace offers the option of password-protected pages, but it doesn't allow you to create membership websites like Wordpress does.

Choosing a website platform is a personal decision and I'm not telling you which one is best for you; this is just my personal opinion. If you have any questions or you need help choosing the right platform for you, I'd love to help! Just leave a comment on this post.

Tell me in a comment- do you prefer Wordpress or Squarespace?