Squarespace Review

Established in 2004, Squarespace now has over a million users. Some of their customers include HBO and Target, just to name a few.

Basically, Squarespace is a website builder that uses a drag and drop editor. You can, therefore, use it to design your site even if you know absolutely nothing about coding (CSS and HTML stuff). Yes, these days, creating a website has become that easy. And since Squarespace also offers hosting, you have everything you need (right then and there) to make your site go live.

Squarespace logo

Squarespace is actually one of the best website builders today (this is an opinion shared by most expert site designers). In fact, you can create a really beautiful and professional-looking website with it in just a few hours – a day, if you really want a customized site with a lot of functions.

Note that Squarespace comes with really amazing templates (it’s one of their best features). You can show off your content through texts and images and showcase your products as well.

Our aim in this post is to let you know everything about Squarespace. This way, you can make an informed decision about whether you should choose it as your website builder or not.

Squarespace homepage

Features and Functions

Read on to find out all about Squarespace’s features and functions. We’ll discuss them all in detail below.

Domains

To reach your website, people will have to type your domain name on the address bar. Therefore, a domain name is your first requirement in putting up a website (along with hosting).

You can get your domain at Squarespace – but there are actually a lot of domain registrants where you can buy domains from. If you’re getting a plan at Squarespace, it would only seem logical (and practical) to get your domain name there as well. However, if you already have an existing domain, you can also use it on your Squarespace account (all you have to do is point your DNS settings to Squarespace).

Squarespace is currently offering its users free domain for the first year of their subscription. As long as you pay upfront for a whole year (or more), they’ll include a free domain in your package. You still have to renew your domain yearly, however – and that’ll cost you anywhere from $20 to $70 depending on your domain extension. Popular domain extensions like .com and .net are priced at around $20 while more specific domains such as .store and .salon can cost more. So do take their renewal rates in consideration when choosing a domain extension for your website.

One of the things that we like about Squarespace’s domain pricing is that it includes a whois/ domain privacy. Your privacy is important to protect you from spam and attacks – and other website builders/ hosts charge around $10 per year for this. The way it works is that it hides your contact information from the public and instead shows Squarespace’s address (since they’re hosting your website on their servers).

Squarespace Start

Ease of Use

As Squarespace uses a drag and drop editor, you already know that it’s easy to use. Keep in mind, however, that Squarespace templates already carry basic structures – therefore, you just can’t place elements anywhere you like on the page.

Elements are presented in the form of content blocks. You’ll find a wide variety of features for texts, photos, buttons, video players, forms, and more. You’ll just need to position these on their designated areas to complete your site’s design.

We like that Squarespace has a neat interface – it’s simply less confusing that way. Mind you, working within their structure can prove to be a little challenging at first – but you’ll get used to the setup eventually. And once you get the hang of it, you’ll find that it’s quick and easy to design your Squarespace site.

For us, one of the advantages of using a drag and drop builder in the caliber of Squarespace (versus a content management system like WordPress) is that what you see is what you get. You won’t be working from the backend blindly (where you’ll only see how everything looks like from a preview or once you publish your web page). Instead, you’ll see how things look like on the front-end as you work on the page editor.

Squarespace templates

Templates

While other website builders pride themselves on having hundreds and hundreds (sometimes even thousands) of templates to choose from, Squarespace only has around 70 at the time of this writing. However, they’re continuously adding new layouts and improving their current selections to meet their customers’ demands.

In spite of their seeming lack of choices in template designs, however, this is still one of Squarespace’s strongest points. The reason for this is that ALL their templates have very high quality – so it’s really a “quality over quantity” type of thing.

Since all their templates are free to use (they come with your subscription), you can basically use any of them. You have the option of browsing each of their theme templates or you can also browse by category to narrow down your choices. Some of their categories include music, health, photography, and so much more.

When choosing a template, keep in mind that each one carries different features. We, therefore, recommend reading their feature lists and instructions first before deciding on a particular one. Not doing so can result in getting a template that can’t handle all your needed features (and this can be very frustrating).

Another thing that we like about Squarespace’s templates is that you’re free to switch templates as often as you want. Doing so will not result in unwanted deletion of content – as the same content will be copied to your new template.

For more advanced users, you also have the option to tinker with your site’s HTML and CSS codes. This option is available via the Developer platform when you get their Business plan (or higher).

Customization

In spite of having really wonderful templates, Squarespace encourages design customizations to make your site truly unique. Fortunately, their templates are highly customizable – you can choose the color and fonts of texts, delete sections, add content blocks, and more. You can even have content blocks overlapping each other to get your desired effects.

And don’t forget, you can always change your site’s template for some drastic changes in your site’s design and overall look. You can also use photos from Getty Images as Squarespace has a partnership with this Company. They have both free and paid photos and paid ones usually cost around $10. Note that you really don’t need to spend anything for photos as the free ones are really nice. It’s just that professional photos cost a little more.

As we’ve mentioned in the previous paragraphs, you’re allowed access to your site’s HTML and CSS settings (Business plan and up). This will enable you to make more customizations on your pages, structures, colors, background, etc. (you can also hire a professional designer to do this for you). Of course, you can also customize those through the built-in customization tools and dragging and dropping elements here and there (but with some limitations).

We especially like Squarespace’s customization options for images. Unlike other website builders that only allows for cropping of photographs from the outside, Squarespace allows you to focus on a focal point when cropping an image. This is especially helpful if you want a certain area of your photograph centered.

Social Media

Right now, popularity on social media can greatly contribute to your site’s success. Squarespace’s ability to connect to more than 20 social media platforms would, therefore, prove to be very beneficial to your marketing strategies. You can even synchronize your site with Dropbox and quickly gain access to your stored images there.

With Squarespace, you also have the option to embed social media feeds right there on your website. This will make it easier for your viewers and followers to get the latest updates on your niche.

SEO

We’ll tell you right now that Squarespace has very good SEO. It actually has built-in SEO features that follow the best SEO practices today. What’s more, it provides you with tools and resources to further boost your SEO campaign.

Here are some of the included SEO features in Squarespace:

  • Their support articles contain SEO guides.
  • Squarespace templates are mobile-friendly and your content will automatically adjust to fit different sizes of screens. As you may or may not know, Google has already announced (in 2018) that they’re indexing mobile devices first (yes, even before desktop use). This means that having a mobile-friendly site has become a ranking signal in SEO. Fortunately, all of Squarespace’s templates are mobile-friendly. You can choose any one of their templates and don’t need to do anything to make it mobile-friendly (it just automatically is).
  • Squarespace supports AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages). AMP enables the creation of a lightweight version of your website. This will then result in quick-loading pages on cell phones and other mobile devices. And as we all know, the speed on loading pages is one of the determining factors in SEO. You’ll have to manually enable this feature on your control panel, however, as it’s not automatically activated.
  • You can customize meta titles and descriptions on your web pages and blog posts. Having keywords in the title tag is very important in SEO as search engine bots look at these when they visit your site. And while the descriptions are not directly influential on your site’s SEO, these will show on search results and serve as the introduction to your content (this should be attractive to your would-be site visitors to get them to click).
  • You can place alt texts on images. The ability to enter alt text descriptions (with keywords) on images on your site is good for SEO.
  • You can customize URLs on your website. Custom URL or URLs with your targeted keywords is good for SEO as web crawlers check your web address in full when they go to your site.
  • All Squarespace domains come with free SSL certificates. SSL or https sites have better security than those that don’t have this feature. Google has also announced that this feature is included in their SEO ranking.
  • All Squarespace websites have sitemaps. You can submit your sitemap.xml to Google Webmaster Tools – it helps search engines find your website (and content) faster.

Squarespace help

Marketing

Squarespace has an e-mail campaign platform called Email Campaigns. You also have the option to use MailChimp for your newsletters. E-mail marketing is a good way to reach more people in your niche and grow your audience. And when you combine this with your SEO efforts, you can truly dominate the search engines.

Analytics

Squarespace has a built-in analytics tool with the following information:

  • Traffic
  • Sales
  • Popular content
  • Abandoned cart
  • Site search
  • Purchase Funnel
  • RSS subscribers
  • Activity log

We also encourage you to install Google Analytics to monitor your website visitors’ statistics.

Third-Party Integrations

Compared to other website builders, Squarespace only supports a few third-party integrations. But then again, they’re going by the quality not quantity rule again. Here are some of the supported integrations included in their higher-priced plans:

  • MailChimp – for newsletters
  • Amazon – for affiliate tracking
  • Acuity scheduling – for online booking
  • Google fonts – for web fonts
  • G Suite – for e-mail address with your domain name
  • Disqus – for blog commenting
  • Instagram – for your Instagram photos feed

Widgets

You can use widgets to add more functions on your Squarespace website. You can add a calendar, galleries, social media functions, etc.

Retina-Ready

Squarespace sites are retina-ready – images look good on high-resolution screens. And you know that Squarespace’s design is more or less based on attractive images.

Restaurant Menu

If you’re building a restaurant site with Squarespace, you’re in luck as they have a really functional and well-designed Restaurant Menu function. In fact, they carry one of the best Restaurant menu function in website builders today. What’s more, you can customize their restaurant menu even further (to suit your particular needs).

Audio Player

Squarespace has a really good audio player – one that’s capable of displaying single and album tracks. You can create a great music website with Squarespace’s platform.

Podcasts

Squarespace allows for podcasts through the use of Audio Block. It even lets you syndicate and submit music to iTunes.

Form Builder

We like Squarespace’s form builder functions. First off, forms are submitted quickly without the need for the current page to reload and go to another page. This process is good for SEO and gives a more pleasant user experience.

You can also integrate Google Docs and MailChimp to your Squarespace form builder. And it lets you design your form with up to 19 field options.

Languages

Languages are not one of Squarespace’s strongest points. While its built-in editor does support a lot of languages (English, Spanish, French, Italian, and Portuguese), you really can’t create a multilingual site with just Squarespace’s built-in tools.

Membership

While Squarespace doesn’t carry a membership function, you can still create a membership site with it. One of the third-party membership Companies that Squarespace supports is Memberspace. Simply integrate it with your Squarespace site to create a membership function of any kind.

Donations

If you want to include Donations as one of the features on your website, know that Squarespace has a really good donation system. Unlike other site builders that only give you the option to install a PayPal button and a standard acknowledgment e-mail, Squarespace comes with so much more.

Squarespace allows for the customization of receipts. You can even make suggestions as to the amount of contributions for the donation feature.

Monetization

You can make money from your Squarespace site in a lot of ways. But know this – a very simple website can earn via banner ads and Google Ads (Adsense).

Security

This is yet another Squarespace feature that we like. All domains (when built and hosted through Squarespace) automatically get free SSL certificates. This is important to all sites (and is one of Google’s ranking signals) but is particularly important if you’re running an e-Commerce website. You see, SSL works by encrypting data (such as credit card details) when these are processed on your site.

Note, too, that Squarespace has built-in security against malware and bugs. They also include DDos protection to safeguard your site from suspicious traffic.

Backup and Restore

Good news – Squarespace includes backups and restoration functions as one of its security features. However, note that you can only restore deleted pages (and posts) within 30 days of being deleted. In our opinion, 30 days is enough to retrieve lost files and data. Also, Squarespace’s system is reliable as they keep copies of your website in 2 or more servers as well as storage disks.

The only thing that’s lacking in their backup feature is their lack of an autosave feature on their page editor. So, do remember to save your work now and then while working on designing your website.

Scalability

You really should think (seriously) about growth even if you’re just starting out with your website. If not, you’ll only get nervous when your audience (and traffic) starts to grow. Such a situation should be good news (and anticipated) – not something that should worry you (ever).

Again, we like Squarespace’s scalability power. Right from the start, you already get unlimited storage and bandwidth even if you opt for their cheapest plan. It may be a little limited in features growth-wise (but it has enough to sustain you for a long time), but there really is no stopping you. Remember, you can always choose to upgrade at any time.

Now, if you get one of their e-Commerce plans, you’ll also get to sell unlimited products with no transaction fees. Their unlimited products feature is really important in this plan as you won’t run the risk of hitting a certain product limit as your business grows.

Yes, Squarespace is really good in the scalability area – however, we only recommend it for small businesses, not really for e-Commerce. For really large online stores, something with a dedicated e-Commerce platform (like Shopify) will probably do better.

Migration Policy

Squarespace allows for transfers to other platforms. You can export your content to other service providers if you want to.

Squarespace log in

Squarespace for Personal Use

As Squarespace templates are highly customizable and functional, they can meet the demands of users who want to use it for personal interests. However, like we always say – it’s best suitable for sites that require visual presentations. That’s why we think it would really function well for portfolio types of websites or those that deal with photography.

Squarespace for Blogging

Squarespace makes for a good choice in blogging. In fact, if you’re familiar with WordPress, we can say that it works in a very similar way (and that’s a good thing as WordPress has a fantastic blogging platform). Like WordPress, Squarespace also comes with a lot of blogging features such as the following:

  • Categories
  • Drafts
  • Scheduled posts
  • Comments
  • Moderation
  • Post tagging
  • Customizable URLs
  • User-friendly editor
  • Contributors with different roles
  • Multiple authors on a single post
  • AND MORE.

Because of Squarespace’s design, we particularly recommend it for blogs with a lot of images. Squarespace templates can really make your visual presentations stand out.

Squarespace for Business

Squarespace also makes for a good choice for businesses – you can start your business with it and you can grow your business with it. Their templates cover a wide range of industries from health to art to music and more. And as we always say, it’s a great platform for visuals.

Squarespace is more than appearances, mind you. It provides you with all the tools you need to build and sustain your business. You’ll have access to e-mail campaign tools, SEO features, e-Commerce functions, custom e-mail via G Suite, and payment integrations with the likes of PayPal.

Really, Squarespace is worth considering if you’re planning to use it for business purposes.

Squarespace for e-Commerce

Truth be told, we can say that Squarespace’s e-Commerce functions somehow fails in comparison with something as big and powerful (in the e-Commerce arena) as Shopify. However, that’s not to say that Squarespace fails miserably in this area. In fact, Squarespace can prove to be a tough competition for a reputable e-Commerce platform like Shopify.

Note that Squarespace comes with 2 e-Commerce plans. They’re both good for e-Commerce and other types of businesses with the more expensive plan having more features, of course. Here are just some of the features you can expect from their e-Commerce platform:

  • Inventory management – Easily monitor your product supplies on your account.
  • Abandoned cart – E-mail reminders can be automated for abandoned items in your customers’ carts.
  • Customizable e-mail receipts – You can have different e-mail content for customers (buyers) and donors (for donations). Your email receipts to your customers can even provide a way to upsell other products.
  • Donation system – Squarespace has a good presentation of asking for donations.
  • Customizable elements – You can customize every aspect of your online store via the style editor.
  • Suggested donations/ contributions – There’s an option to include specified amounts of recommended donations
  • Onsite checkout system – People will trust the donation page as it’s hosted on your own domain.
  • Digital products and services are included – Aside from physical products, you can also offer digital products and services to your customers.
  • Apple Pay and Stripe payment provider – Your customers can use Apple Pay when purchasing items from your online store. This increases your possible sales as many successful checkouts have been attributed to having the option to pay via Apple Pay.

Aside from all the e-Commerce functions mentioned above, we’d like to remind you again of Squarespace’s professionally designed templates. They can really make your products stand out and make them more appealing to your customers. They also have a user-friendly interface that allows your customers to fully understand what they’re buying before clicking on the purchase buttons (this lowers the risk for returns).

Squarespace customer support

Help and Support

Even if Squarespace is fairly easy to use and figure out, you know you’re going to need help and support about something in due time. Fortunately, Squarespace is known to have good customer support. You can reach them (to get help) through the following:

  • Live chat support (Monday to Friday 4 AM to 8 PM EST)
  • Social media support
  • Ticketing system/ e-mail support
  • Knowledge base of articles
  • Forums
  • Workshops
  • Webinars
  • Video tutorials

The only thing that Squarespace doesn’t have is phone support. But with all the other support mechanisms we listed above, you can see that it’s easy to get help from their support team.

Squarespace pricing websites

Pricing

Squarespace has 4 plans to choose from:

  1. Personal – $12/ month if paid annually, $16/ month if paid monthly.
  2. Business – $18/ month if paid annually, $26/ month if paid monthly.
  3. E-Commerce Basic Plan – $26/ month if paid annually, $30/ month if paid monthly.
  4. E-Commerce Advanced Plan – $40/ month if paid annually, $46/ month if paid monthly.

Notes:

  • All plans come with unlimited storage and bandwidth.
  • All plans come with free domain (1 year only) if paid annually.
  • All plans come with free SSL certificates.
  • All plans get 24/7 customer support.
  • You can sell unlimited products with the E-Commerce Basic plan and Advanced plan.
  • There are no transaction fees on the E-Commerce Basic and Advanced Plans.
  • More features come with the plans as their prices increase.

We’ll discuss each plan in detail below.

Personal Plan

The Personal plan is Squarespace’s cheapest plan intended for website building – so no, it doesn’t carry e-Commerce features. However, it gives you everything you need (tools and features) to put up a well-functioning website.

Squarespace’s starter plan is different from typical starter plans due to the fact that it already comes with unlimited storage and bandwidth. Therefore, you can create an unlimited number of websites with it. However, since it’s not really an e-Commerce plan, you can only sell one product should you decide to include an online store to your site’s design. You’ll also be charged a transaction fee of 3% on all your sales.

Do we recommend it? Yes, but only as a website – not an online store (it’s very limited for e-Commerce).

Business Plan

Squarespace’s Business plan obviously has more features than the Personal Plan. However, even though it’s also intended for websites rather than online stores, it does carry a lot of e-Commerce features. In fact, you can even sell an unlimited number of products with it. Still, like the Personal plan, all your sales will have a transaction fee of 3%.

Yes, we’d recommend the Business plan for small to medium scale businesses and online stores with only a few products.

E-Commerce Basic Plan

If you’re serious about selling online using Squarespace, it would be better to choose between their Basic and Advanced plans as they’re specifically designed for e-Commerce. The Basic Plan carries all the features embodied in the Business plan but it comes with even more e-Commerce features.

Also, for this plan, Squarespace is giving its customers the following:

  • No 3% transaction fee on sales
  • Inventory management
  • Label printing

You get value for your money when you choose this plan for your online store.

E-Commerce Advanced Plan

The Squarespace Advanced plan is its ultimate and most expensive plan. It carries all the features embodied in the Business and Basic plans plus a whole lot more of e-Commerce features including these:

  • Advanced shipping
  • Abandoned cart recovery
  • Discounts
  • Gift cards

So, if you want advanced e-Commerce features with your Squarespace package, this would make a fine choice.

Notes:

  • Squarespace doesn’t offer a free plan.
  • All plans have unlimited storage.
  • All plans have unlimited bandwidth.
  • All plans can have an unlimited number of pages.
  • There are no hidden limits.
  • More expensive plans mean more features.
  • Each plan comes with a 14-day money back guarantee.

Squarespace pricing online stores

Pros and Cons of Using Squarespace

Pros

  • High-quality templates
  • Fully loaded features for all plans
  • Unlimited everything on all plans
  • HTML/ CSS customizations are allowed
  • Very good SEO
  • Easy to use editor
  • All plans are ad-free
  • Money back guarantee (14 days)

Cons

  • No free plan
  • No phone support
  • Expensive pricing plans (especially e-Commerce)

Squarespace FAQs

FAQs

Q: What is Squarespace?

A: Squarespace is a website builder that also provides hosting. You can, therefore, build your website with it and immediately go live (on the internet) without needing anything else.

Q: Does Squarespace have a free plan?

A: No. Squarespace only has four paid plans. However, they do offer 14-day money back guarantees on all their plans.

Q: How much does it cost to get a Squarespace plan?

A: Currently, their premium plans are priced at $12, $18, $26, and $40 per month (based on annual subscriptions).

Q: Does Squarespace support different languages?

A: Right now, they support English, Spanish, French, Italian, German, and Portuguese.

Q: Can I use Squarespace for e-Commerce?

A: Yes, you can. They actually have 2 plans that are specially designed for e-Commerce.

Q: Is Squarespace good for SEO?

A: Yes, Squarespace has a lot of SEO features built in.

Q: Does Squarespace have a lot of templates?

A: As of this writing, Squarespace has less than a hundred templates. However, they always prioritize quality over quantity – so, ALL their templates are really REALLY good.

Q: Can I switch templates?

A: Yes, you can switch templates as often as you like without losing your content.

Q: Is Squarespace mobile-friendly?

A: Yes, all Squarespace templates are mobile-friendly.

Squarespace website

Should You Consider Squarespace?

We are really impressed with Squarespace. As you can see in the above review, it performs really well in a lot of areas.

While it takes a bit of patience to get used their editor, you’ll find that everything will get easier and easier as you spend more time with it. And believe us when we say that it’s all worth it.

In this day and age when images are very important in a site’s design and content, you’ll be glad to use Squarespace (as it’s one of its best features). All their templates are structured to show off photographs – so your website can really provide for a visual feast. Of course, content is also important – and each template’s structure is also designed to hold any particular category’s content well. Their built-in SEO features are just as good, to say the least.

We especially recommend Squarespace to artists, designers, musicians, restaurants, photographers and other similar fields. Their template formats are also good for e-Commerce as they can showcase products really well. Not being purely an e-Commerce platform, however, we can’t say that it can perform as well as e-Commerce giants like Shopify. But for business, personal sites, and blogs, Squarespace can do really good (better than most website builders out there).

We also like Squarespace’s customer support. Help articles and videos are available, and you can also get 24/7 support via e-mail (their response time is good too). They also have live chat support, which is really cool (available Monday to Fridays only).

All in all, we can say that Squarespace is a good website builder to consider for all your needs. We encourage you to check it out even if they don’t have a free plan. You can always ask for a refund anyway as they have a 14-day no-questions-asked money back guarantee.

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