If you don't know tech: read this about Squarespace Specialists
So it seems there's a lack of knowledge surrounding Squarespace Specialists and web designers in general. If you are a newbie to Squarespace or technology, it's easy to think there isn't much of a difference between people who label themselves as "web designers".
Let me break it down:
This is the term used for designers and developers who signed up for Squarespace's outdated "Specialists" web page. It was meant to be a resource for people not in tech to hire a Squarespace pro to design their website. They were vetted for quality before being added.
As the years went on, this page stopped being updated which gave those already listed an unfair advantage against all the other designers. The truth is, the designers in this directory are usually at capacity or only work on super technical changes. In other words, they aren't interested in editing your Image Block.
As a former employee of the company (with arguably the most experience with the platform) I wasn't listed because it was a conflict of interest and the page ceased to be updated.
Squarespace Circle Member
The new and improved version of being a Squarespace Specialist. The circle is only for professionals who design on Squarespace. I am a member of the Circle.
However, just because someone is a member, doesn't mean they are good at what they do. There is minimal criteria you need to meet to be a part of the Circle (specifically, have three sites on Squarespace). New and seasoned Squarespace designers alike are part of this community.
Additionally, not all Circle members provide a website from A to Z. Most of them only do the design/setup, so you would need to pay someone to write the copy, pay someone to make your logo, pay another person to take your product photos and pay ANOTHER person to provide coaching.
I've made it a point to be full-service, so everything you need I do in-house. You only ever deal with me which makes your life so much easier! Putting together a fabulous website is hard enough on you in the beginning stages, why make it any harder than it needs to be? If you need design assistance for the site, chances are you also need professional copy written and product photos taken. This holds up the website build because most designers won't work with you until you have all the assets in advance, and for good reason. We need to know what we're working with! But if for whatever reason you're starting from 0, it makes the most sense to have everything done by a single person.
Squarespace Web Designer
Anyone who wants to call themselves this can. It's a loosey goosey term. Just because someone set up their own website on Squarespace and feels like they know how to add blocks doesn't mean they are actually a Squarespace web designer- especially when they leave the "Powered by Squarespace" in the footer or don't even change the default style settings (ie it looks exactly like the example template) !!
Anyone can plug content into a Squarespace template, but not everyone knows how to make the platform work for you.
That's what I specialize in. Creating a website is more than just plopping blocks on to a page. It's designing a cohesive "brand" and intentional user experience that makes for a memorable few minutes for your visitors. On average, 55% of visitors spend fewer than 15 seconds on a website. Crazy, right?! It's my job to make that time count.
This requires out of the box thinking -no cookie cutter solutions here! Having the "technical" skills to set up a website and having the creative skills to personalize the content and design are two very separate things.
I hope this clarifies the mystical "Squarespace Specialist" terminology, but feel free to ask me anything that's confusing about searching for a designer.