TL; DR: Founded in 2003 in a dorm room at the University of Maryland, Squarespacehas since grown into one of the industry’s leading hosting providers and now powers the online properties of millions of businesses worldwide. Since day one, the host has operated with the goal to deliver affordable, enterprise-grade web solutions, including high-performing infrastructure, security, and eCommerce tools, so small- to medium-sized businesses can turn profits in the competitive online marketplace. We recently sat down with Squarespace’s Matt Zito, who told us how the host is continuing its mission to empower entrepreneurs to build web presence and realize their business dreams.
When Danny Bowien was 19, he found himself at a crossroads. Living in Oklahoma City at the time, he was still unsure what he wanted out of life and a career. But there were two talents he had nurtured since he was a kid that he kept in his back pocket — cooking and creativity.
“Whenever my friends would get together, I’d be the one that would always cook and host parties, and I really loved entertaining,” Danny said in an interview. “So, I thought, ‘Well, culinary school sounds fun — it’s a good way to get out of Oklahoma.’”
After working his way through culinary school in San Francisco, Danny moved east and cut his teeth in the competitive New York City cooking culture. And, not long after, he opened Mission Chinese Food on East Broadway.
Looking to get the word out about his budding business, Bowien turned to Squarespace to create a website that showcased his creative efforts. And, with the help of the host’s professionally designed templates and drag-and-drop web builder, Danny’s site came to life in a way that complements his cutting-edge menu and colorful dishes.”
“I want people to leave the website and feel like they’ve had an experience different from what they’ve had from other websites because that’s what we do at our restaurant,” Danny said. “If we can incite some sort of emotion, and people can connect to it, by the time they’re leaving, they’re like, ‘Wow, that was cool. That was different — I wasn’t expecting that.’”
With Squarespace, millions of aspiring entrepreneurs, like Danny, have been able to bring the best aspects of their businesses to the web. The host offers a one-stop shop where users can source an array of hosting, domain, eCommerce, and web development solutions.
Squarespace’s main appeal for entrepreneurs and SMBs is its offering of enterprise-level features to smaller clients with less to invest. Matt Zito, Director of Product at Squarespace, cites its SMB focus as one of the main draws to working with the company.
“My background has traditionally been in enterprise software,” Matt said. “I was really intrigued by a platform that had the power of an enterprise solution but was targeted at consumers.”
Delivering Aspiring Site Owners the Tools Needed for Online Success
As Matt noted, a large portion of Squarespace’s user base consists of SMBs. Surprisingly, many small brick-and-mortar businesses have little to no web presence — even in today’s digital-centric landscape — and are missing out on a highly effective promotional tool.
Matt told us just how essential it is for businesses to spread their message online and how Squarespace can help them do it.
“The most important thing to do when starting a business is to start,” Matt said. “Instead of getting every single website detail perfect, get the bare minimum that you need to get your vision across, and then iterate from there.”
And, once the ideas are in place, Squarespace’s compelling themes and intuitive web builder can help develop the professional, modern feel necessary to attract and retain customers.
According to Matt, the relationship Squarespace has with its clients is mutually beneficial, as site owners are effectively investing in their own future profit.
“I think Squarespace users are aspirational. They have a vision of the business they want to build, and we’re helping them create a brand and identity that is much bigger than they are,” he said.
By partnering with Squarespace, SMBs gain affordable access to hosting, site management, and eCommerce tools for creating sites that range from company advertisements to full-fledged eCommerce platforms.
In addition to its quintessential content management tools, Squarespace helps secure websites with SSL. Not only does this improve security for the businesses, but it also safeguards customers’ personal and financial information.
“All of our customers automatically get free SSL certificates as part of their subscription,” Matt said. “It shows your visitors that you care about protecting any information they share with you.”