I've just built the website https://professorhappy.co.uk for the amazing children's life-skills coach Simona da Silva. The site is pretty simple, basically just brochureware with a form to get in touch with the owner. In the past I might have coded this sort of thing from scratch, but I wanted to try squarespace and it was pretty important that Simona could update the site with articles by herself, so short of doing a Wordpress or other CMS implementation, something like Squarespace or Wix looked like the obvious choice. A few things observations:
1. Whilst it's completely possible to do, it's not actually as easy to build something professional looking as you might expect. There's more usability friction and bugs in squarespace than I was expecting and I had to do quite a lot of fiddling around with spacing, margins and so on, which is something I thought would be seamless. It's much better that Wix was when I tried it a few years ago, but there's still room for improvement. Hopefully Simona will have the perseverance to work through this in the future if she's updating it herself, but from experience I know some people won't really get it.
2. It's more expensive than I was expecting. Obviously it's cheap compared to hiring a developer and so on but the hosting on Squarespace is not a trivial amount of money (about £150/year depending on what you need) which seems a lot if you consider that you don't even get version history of your content. I naively assumed that given Squarespace's economies of scale a basic website would be extremely cheap. To be fair you are getting a lot behind the scenes for that money, like security, accessibility and stability, I just thought it would be cheaper.
What's been more surprising is how difficult it is to convince customers to go through the booking journey. We're able to push people to the website via social media advertising, but the bounce rate is about 80%. Everyone who's qualitatively reviewed the site is happy, and the usability is pretty straightforward, but the product itself seems to be a hard sell. The idea is to do life-skills group coaching with 8-12 year olds. This is the sort of activity that CEOs in big organisations do, and to an extent private nursery and secondary schools do this, but no-one in the world does it for preteens. So you would think that parents would at least be interested even if they don't necessarily commit to payment, but alas not yet. Clearly there is some marketing trick we're missing, but I'm not sure what.