Squarespace Review: A Beautiful Website Builder or a Waste of Time?

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Squarespace, an all-in-one website builder, seems to be everywhere; the company's advertising program means that it's tough to listen to a podcast without hearing one of the company's pitches.

They boast beautiful templates, easy-to-use editing interfaces, and great customer support. But do they deliver?

Is Squarespace for you if you have advanced development skills? If you're in the market for a new website, is Squarespace the one for you? Does its online store plans adequately support e-commerce?

This Squarespace review will answer these questions to help you assess if this website builder is right for your online store or site.

Squarespace Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Beautiful, professional templates
  • Easy-to-use editing interface
  • Good support materials
  • Offers e-commerce plans

Cons

  • Expensive
  • No uptime guarantee
  • Packages don't include email
  • Migrations to/from are difficult

Squarespace Pros

If you want to get up and running with a beautiful, professional-looking website as quickly as possible, it is hard to beat Squarespace.

Their templates are some of the best in the industry, and their intuitive, easy-to-use editing interface means that you can add and remove features with just a few clicks.

If you find yourself stuck, there are a lot of reference materials available to you.

Squarespace Cons

The drawback, however, is that the company relies heavily on text-based communications if you decide to reach out to the support team.

The main downside of Squarespace is its cost (not only are the base plans on the more expensive side, you'll have to pay for add-ons like email functionality or upgrade to a plan that includes them) and its lack of compatibility with other web hosting providers.

While no two hosts are 100% compatible when it comes to migrating sites to and from their servers, Squarespace's closed environment means there's a lot that you can't take with you if you leave.

About Squarespace

Squarespace is an American company (based in New York City) offering website building tools and web hosting services.

The company was founded in 2004 by Anthony Casalena and has since grown to employ almost 800 people.

Squarespace Homepage

Squarespace has over a decade of experience providing their customers with simple website building tools.

With each template including its own integrations, you won’t have to navigate app stores or install widgets and plugins. And, access for developers to add their own custom code allows for fully-customizable themes.

Currently, the company hosts over 1,000,000 websites.

Squarespace Hosting Plans

At Squarespace, your website will use the same infrastructure that powers other sites that receive millions of page views.

For hosting, Squarespace provides everything you need. Squarespace uses shared hosting, meaning that all of the websites they host share the same resources.

As a result, your website will use the same infrastructure that powers other sites that receive millions of page views, speaking to the reliability of their hosting. Performance is scaled automatically if you have more views.

Squarespace offers two options for those seeking websites. Both plans include web hosting — Squarespace is a website platform, not just a web hosting provider.

Below, we'll discuss the features that come with both plans.

What Kind of Hosting Plans Does Squarespace offer?

You have two plans to choose between for website building, the Personal and Business plan.

These plans give you unlimited pages, bandwidth, and storage, as well as SSL security to stamp your website with a security seal.

Squarespace's entry-level Personal plan gets you unlimited bandwidth and storage for your mobile-optimized website. You'll get a free domain name for the first year and access rights for two contributors.

Advantages of the Business Plan

Those who need more might consider the Business plan, which builds on the Personal plan with the following features:

  • Access to an unlimited number of contributors
  • Professional email services hosted by Google
  • Marketing credits
  • Promotional popups to collect information or drive traffic
  • E-commerce support (though with transaction fees levied)
  • Increased customization ability for your site.

The Personal plan is ideal for individuals. If you want to have full developer customization access or sell online, you will have to consider the Business plan.

Squarespace Pricing

If you're a blogger or entrepreneur who wants things to just work, Squarespace might be a great option for you.

Squarespace doesn't offer a free plan (and the company's refund policy isn't the most user-friendly around), but you can use the 14-day free trial to see if this website builder is a good match for your needs.

There's a lot that Squarespace brings to the table, and if you're a blogger or entrepreneur who wants things to just work, Squarespace might be a great option for you. For $12 per month, you don't have to do too much to get a functional, professional site online.

Those, however, who would prefer to do the heavy lifting on their own in favor of saving money would do well to look elsewhere.

Squarespace Features

When you're purchasing a package from Squarespace, you're getting web hosting and website building tools.

You'll also get features and functionality as discussed below.

Award-Winning Templates

Squarespace copywriters will tell you that its award-winning templates are “the most beautiful way to present your ideas online.”

And if design isn't your cup of tea and a designer isn't in your budget, this might be right up your alley.

Squarespace Template Tremont
Tremont is one of many professional templates available from Squarespace.

The layouts featured are fully customizable, and all templates are optimized for mobile use. There are tons to choose from, and you can select templates specific to your industry.

Ease of Use

Designing websites with Squarespace is easy. You start off by picking one of their responsive templates and then edit hundreds of customizable settings.

For example, you can change fonts, color schemes, and page layouts.

Each template is designed to support content such as blogs, galleries, and calendars. Switch between templates at any time without losing your content.

Beginners

Squarespace has starter layouts for different pages, such as About and Contact pages, which you can edit blocks on to create the look you want.

Their blocks include charts and graphs which can add attractive visual stimuli to your website. Squarespace supports the integration of video backgrounds on your website for adding some excitement to your page.

Developers

For developers who want even more control over the appearance of their site, Squarespace has a custom CSS editor on their dashboard.

Squarespace Blogging Features

Squarespace's blogging app allows for multiple authors to publish blog entries.

Squarespace provides features specifically for bloggers.

Blog entries can be populated by content blocks such as text, images, video, audio, and galleries. The CMS allows for multiple authors to publish blog entries which will be useful if you want to produce a lot of content and hire writers to help you out.

Blogging workflow can be organized, and posts can be scheduled to be published in the future.

The blogging platform also includes social sharing buttons and heart buttons at the bottom of each post, so readers can upvote your content.

You will be able to sort comments on your blog, flag them for spam, and moderate them before you allow them to go live.

Squarespace’s blog app will let you manage blog comments and entries from your smartphone. You can also download an app for viewing your Squarespace analytics from your phone. Keep track of page views and site traffic on the go.

Squarespace Features for Images and Audio

Squarespace includes simple image management features that will be useful for anyone showcasing art or photography. Use Adobe Image Editor to crop and resize images.

Squarespace’s image loader generates scaled versions of your pictures and selects the right one to load according to your visitor’s device.

Display your pictures full and browser-sized with Lightbox functionality. And, since Squarespace hosts with a CDN, all images will load faster for people all over the world.

For people who don’t have their own pictures to showcase, Squarespace partners with Getty Images giving you access to over 40 million pictures to purchase.

Create galleries with your images and select whichever form of presentation you like from slideshows to grid layouts. Implement hover and transitions for dynamic effects.

Squarespace allows you to upload music and albums to your website. Similarly, people running podcasts can use Audio blocks with iTunes tagging.

What's the Squarespace Control Panel Like?

Rather than offering a separate management area or a control panel the way many other companies do, Squarespace integrates such functionality throughout its interface.

The goal is to make the site building process simpler, so all related tasks are grouped together accordingly.

Video: You can manage your sites from the Squarespace account dashboard
Video: You can manage your sites from the Squarespace account dashboard.

Is Squarespace Good for Search Engine Optimization?

You won't have to install plugins in order to enable SEO features on your website. Squarespace creates automatic sitemaps, so Google can properly index your website.

The pages produced by Squarespace use a clean HTML markup and all pages have clean URLs to make them easily indexed by search engines. Add title tags, meta descriptions, and keywords to your website to increase search rankings.

Squarespace provides further resources for viewing analytics. From your dashboard, you can track visitor trends and find out where most of your website visitors are coming from to learn more about your audience.

Analytics can show you the top-performing content on your website, to guide your content production efforts.

Advanced Developer Tools

Squarespace’s more advanced developer tools will allow you to create custom websites by editing their templates to look however you like. You can work with a team via the Built-in Git to develop websites collaboratively.

Use your own preferred text editor to write code for your website. SFTP access allows you to access your template files to integrate them with text editors such as Sublime Text.

Developers will also be able to query any page as JSON which will give them API access to any website content.

Setting Up An Online Store with Squarespace

Both e-commerce plans allow you to sell an unlimited number of products without paying transaction fees to Squarespace.

In addition to the two website plans, Squarespace offers two online store plans, the Basic and Advanced plans.

Both options allow you to sell an unlimited number of products without paying transaction fees to Squarespace.

Your site and checkout are mobile-optimized, and you'll get a free custom domain with annual purchases, a SSL certificate, and support for an unlimited number of contributors.

The plans also come with other commerce features to facilitate sales, including:

  • Inventory management
  • Order tracking
  • Tax calculators
  • Support for coupons
  • Shipping and accounting integrations
  • Social media integrations.

To accept payments from your customers, Squarespace supports integrations with payment processors like Stripe and PayPal.

Domain Names

Annual subscribers will receive a free domain name as part of their purchase. Or, you can choose to purchase a domain separately if you prefer to subscribe on a monthly basis.

You can also connect domains that you purchased from third parties.

Customer Service and Technical Support

One of the great things about Squarespace is their customer support. Their support page offers articles and guides to answer any question you may have about using their services.

This guide is organized so you will be able to easily find the topics you need help with instead of having to search through lists of FAQs.

If you can’t find the answer you’re looking for there, you can email Squarespace’s 24/7 support at any time.

Their support team can be reached via live chat during regular business hours. You can also schedule an appointment to speak with an Onboarding Specialist.

Squarespace's preferred method of administering customer service and technical support is via text, and the company does not offer telephone-based assistance. If this sounds good, visit Squarespace now.

Refunds and Money Back Guarantees

You can cancel your Squarespace subscription at any time, but you will only receive a refund on annual plans within 14 days of purchase (and only if it is a new purchase, not a renewal).

User Ratings

If you're curious as to what readers have to say about Squarespace, check out the reviews written by actual users. Currently, there's only one review for Squarespace, but keep an eye out for more to come.

Squarespace vs Shopify

Shopify, like Squarespace, is an all-in-one platform where one purchase will get you both website building/store building tools and the web hosting you need to make your new site available to the internet.

Shopify Homepage

Both also come with modern, responsive templates and support for unlimited products.

The biggest differences, however, are the pricing structure and support for larger stores.

Squarespace boasts scalability, but its relatively low price point for its online store plans indicated to us that it is probably not an enterprise-grade product.

Shopify can support very large online stores. This comes with an increase in pricing, as well as charges on a per-transaction base by Shopify.

Furthermore, there is a large Shopify community available. While Squarespace maintains a fairly DIY environment, Shopify makes it easy for you to add third-party creations, such as integrations, to extend your site. Squarespace is trying to improve in this area, but it isn't where Shopify is now.

SquarespaceShopify
Lowest price$26$29 *
Payment optionsStripe
PayPal
Apple Pay
100 gateways
Transaction feesNone≥2%
* Shopify Lite is available for $9.00 if you're only selling on Facebook

Read our Shopify review for more on this ecommerce platform.

Squarespace vs Weebly

Shopify is great for those looking to launch an online store, but if you just want an all-in-one website building tool, consider Weebly if Squarespace isn't the company for you.

Both companies offer a robust library of templates that you can choose from, drag-and-drop editing interfaces, and support for third-party integrations. Weebly does, however, offer a free option, so you can try it out before you commit.

Get Special Squarespace Deal

Ready to get started with Squarespace? Use our link to receive a discount off your purchase with Squarespace. Visit Squarespace now.

Squarespace Review Summary

Squarespace doesn’t seem to specialize in any one area. Instead, they offer functional templates and customizable designs to any type of web user.

Whether you’re building a website as a hobby or creating an online store, Squarespace has features to help you easily create an attractive website.

Developers will have full design control through the addition of custom code if they’re willing to pay more for their business-level plan.

Squarespace is a strong player in the field of all-in-one website builders, but like we said, it can get expensive. You'll also have to deal with a complex migration process if you decide to leave Squarespace.

However, those who are looking for the easiest way to get started with a professional website would likely find it worthwhile to work with Squarespace, especially if basic e-commerce support is desired.

Ready to build a website or online store? Visit Squarespace now.

Your Review of Squarespace

Are you a current or past customer of Squarespace? Would you recommend them? Please leave your comments below and let our visitors know what you think of Squarespace's products and services.

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Contributing editor: Bronwynne Powell.

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