I've been a web developer for over 15 years. But in recent years I will only develop for clients that have a marketing agreement with me. Building the website personally ensures the website will have everything to perform well.
15 Years Raw Experience At Growing Revenue
One of the reasons I don't market myself as a web developer anymore is because the sites I build are pretty involved and expensive to build around a custom marketing strategy. It's a more meaningful conversation if we're talking about a long term digital marketing strategy, which includes a website as a crucial part of but not the main goal. If you just want a nice website then you have a lot of cheaper options out there. If you want a website system that works with your digital marketing initatives for successful revenue growth, then there's no substitute for raw experience.
Dreamweaver Custom Websites to Shopifty and everything in between.
I cut my web developer teeth in 2011 when I left my corporate life as a marketing director to teach myself how to build websites (back then in Dreamweaver) and E-commerce websites so I could make money working from home and still take care of my kids when they were in elementary school to high school age. My first commercial contractor job came from an upstairs neighbor looking to replace their webmaster that had left their boutique SEO Ad Agency, Top Site in Orlando Florida. Fifteen years later I'm still building websites and ecommerce solutions but I generate the bulk of my revenue from digital marketing with a focus on search engine marketing analytics, rather than just web development.
Although I don't focus on web design and development. revenue, it's still a core skill set I keep up to date with current projects always under development, like www.Krisada.com the testing ground for many different themes, components and SEO tactics. There will always be2-3 other websites on my plate at any given time and several on a back burner for my own virtual real estate projects. Most of those projects will be LAMP based or cloud hosted (Shopify), with a stray one in classic ASP (Winn-Dixie).
This is in order of preference.
- Shopify Partner & Advanced Developer
- Custom PHP + Cart32
Opensource CMS Platforms
Also in order of preference.
Cloud Based Platforms
There are important differences in these. And also I would not recommend these platforms for a business that is serious about making money online in a competitive market industry or niche. Mostly because you don't own the code and they are limiting in a universe of competitors with all the choices you didn't take. And Yep...in order of preferance.
Q) Can you fix the robot.txt settings in Squarespace and how?
A) No, Squarespace does not allow you to edit the robot.txt file.
It’s one of the many standard things you can’t do with Squarespace that’s available in a typical website.
And I'm not pointing that out to say Ah HA! LOOK SEEE SEE WHAT SQUARESPACE DOESN’T DO! ...I’m pointing it out because not having access prevented me from fixing an error in Google Console (screenshot) for a client. Those errors by themselves may not hurt the website rankings in Google but it’s been my experience that if Google took the time to show you the error, than you should probably try to fix it. Especially if your website is trying to compete in a fairly competitive market.
It also means there’s a lot more being “protected” from their users than those website owners will ever know, or want to know.
The average Squarespace user is a member because they don’t know much, if anything, about the different website platforms and how they function, which is legit. Sometimes I wish I didn’t “know” so much. Then I wouldn’t have to deal with the maddening amount of tech changes to all the systems to keep that knowledge up to date.
But in reality what I know can be important. And that is not having access to basic code and files is a whole set of problems I avoid like the plague. It’s like having a vending machine for a kitchen or Ubering instead of owning a car. Yes, Squarespace will serve the function and yes, you will get to where you are going. But your path is severely limited and out of your hands.
That’s not the foundation I would build my business on. Cheap and easy is just that.
With Great Ease, Comes A Great Lack Of Control
With a lack of control, no database access, no direct access to code and no ownership of that code, it’s difficult if not foolish to invest hundreds or thousands of hours in a system that YOU DON’T OWN. That’s right. You don’t own your website code. If you outgrow Squarespace then you part ways with all that work.
I know because I get a good bit of my business migrating or completely rebuilding websites started on Squarespace, Wix and Weebly.
It's No Secret
Squarespace acknowledges the shortcomings and sluffs it off as a non-issue. Which it could very well be in some cases, but what they're glossing over is the lack of accessibility to fundamental settings that any standard website provides. Much like how they treat their "SEO" controls as something special but it's barely the same basic controls found in every website. Simply by providing access to these bare basic functions is their version of "Advanced Features".
On A Related Note
I've got a related story about Squarespace Advanced SEO features I'll write up for another time. It's mostly about the dumbing down of web designers and internet professionals in general that are raised on these brainlessly simple cloud website platforms.
Until then, learn to ignore the Google errors and enjoy the Squarespace koolaid of easy bliss.