Squarespace Review

In a Nutshell

Squarespace is one of the most popular What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) website builders ever released.  It offers would-be web hosts a complete package for getting their website online, including use of the builder tool itself, a complementary domain name, and a 14-day money-back guarantee.

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Pros

  • Easy to use drag-and-drop interface

  • Template-based design system and automated recommendations

  • Established platform—has been in development since 2004

Cons

  • Less easy to customize than some other editors

  • The Ecommerce plans are relatively expensive

Who Should Use Squarespace?

Squarespace is a good choice for somebody looking for a WYSIWYG editor that is well-tested, robust, and offers good Ecommerce functionalities.

The ability to customize at the code level is limited, but Squarespace does give users good control over how they can configure widgets and elements to display, extending to the ability to add custom CSS to change the look and feel of the site.

Squarespace is also a good choice for users that are looking for a platform that provides good insights into the site’s SEO performance.

  • The analytics tab provides users with good visibility over both the quantity of traffic that their websites are receiving, as well as the traffic sources.

  • It can also integrate directly with Google Search Console, so that webmasters can make changes to how their site appears in search results.  

Ease of Use

Squarespace is an extremely easy-to-use platform and its attractive user interface (UI) guides the user every step of the way during the setup process. The first step users will be prompted to take is selecting a template that best matches their website. To help users speedily navigate this process, the system prompts them by asking what their intended purpose for the site is. Once this is provided, Squarespace’s Artifical Intelligence (AI) is able to make a recommendation that will be a good fit for the kind of online property that the user is hoping to develop.

Squarespace also makes it easy for users to administer multiple websites from the one account. In fact, by displaying websites and domains side-by-side, it even makes it easy for users to transfer a design onto a separate URL entirely. This is a great advantage for users that are responsible for migrating to a new domain but who want to avoid the process of having to handle replicating the design on a technical level.

Template Design Options

Squarespace has an extensive template library that allows users to quickly and easily develop websites based on pre-configured designs.

At the time of writing, the designer had templates spread over 14 different categories, ranging from weddings to CV websites.

Additionally, each template comes equipped with a guide that instructs users on what changes they are able to make.

How to Use Squarespace’s Tools

In order to use Squarespace, users should sign up for an account at Squarespace.com.

Once they have registered, the onboarding engine will guide them towards taking the steps necessary to get their first website up and running.

If users already own their domain, the platform provides complete instructions for transferring it in.

Note that this requires that the domain be unlocked. Additionally, domains purchased in the last 60 days cannot be transferred to the service.

Unique Features

Squarespace’s template library is regarded as among the best that any drag-and-drop website builder offers. Each one is designed specifically to match the needs and expectations of the industry that it is intended for.

Squarespace lets you tweak the CSS so that you can get the design you want—while still being able to enjoy the convenience of basing a site on a template.

It’s a complete package for those that want to run their own website. In addition to the builder, Squarespace throws in Google Adwords credit, a domain, and a year’s free G-Suite subscription (formerly Google Apps; Business plans and up).

Ecommerce

Squarespace offers a more expensive subscription package that is catered exactly to the needs of Ecommerce owners. It includes all the features needed to run an online store, so there’s no need to purchase a separate subscription to a third-party service such as Shopify.

Squarespace’s Ecommerce features include:

  • Unlimited product listings. Owners can create as many Stock Keeping Units (SKUs) as they wish.

  • The drag-and-drop interface allows owners to merchandise their inventory in the most visually appealing manner possible.

  • The builder allows owners to bring catalogue listings to life with embedded videos and multimedia content that drives sales through more engaging listings pages.

Blogging

If you’re hoping to set up a Squarespace-based site for a blog, then its builder is also a good choice for this purpose.

Users should first choose a template from the ‘Blogs’ category, which currently includes 6 different layouts that are optimized to display well as lists of posts. Like Wordpress, Squarespace divides blogs into “blog pages” and “blog posts.” So if users want to add a contact page in addition to the posts list, this is easily achieved.

Unlike Wordpress, users should be able to achieve everything they need to develop a great looking blog without having to install plugins or tweak theme files.

Once the post has been written, users are able to publish it immediately, assign it for an internal review, or schedule it to automatically publish at a date in the future. This makes it great for teams that want to work on the platform collaboratively.

Mobile

All Squarespace templates are responsive and designed to appear in the best possible fashion on mobile devices.

This means that they will feature both responsive design (the text will resize automatically according to the device the user is navigating the site from), and even have separate styles which change things like navigation menus to best accommodate the needs of a mobile user.

Squarespace features a Devices View which allows users to preview the site’s appearance from a mobile device. Users are able to choose between mobile preview mode and tablet preview mode, which is particularly helpful for webmasters that know that a sizable proportion of their traffic comes from either of these device classes.

How Much Does It Cost?

Squarespace’s current pricing is:

SERVICE

LEVEL

MONTHLY

ANNUALLY

General websites

Personal

$16

$12/month, billed annually

General websites

Business

$26

$18/month, billed annually

Online stores

Basic

$30

$26/month, billed annually

Online stores

Advanced

$46

$40/month, billed annually

On the websites tier, the business level adds (among other features):

  • Unlimited contributors

  • A G-Suite subscription (formerly Google Apps)

  • $100 Google Ads credit

  • Total customization with the ability to add custom CSS and JavaScript

On the online stores tier, the advanced level adds (among other features):

  • Advanced shipping

  • An API for programatically taking orders and notifying other services

  • Automatic abandoned card recovery

What Do You Get Free?

On both website tiers, users receive:

  • A free domain

  • An SSL certificate

  • A website metrics generation and reporting engine.

On the online stores plan, both service levels receive:

  • A free domain

  • An SSL certificate

Is It Safe?

Squarespace is an extremely reputable provider and has been in the website builder industry since 2004. All its plans are backed by a no questions asked 14-day money-back guarantee. On a technical level, the SSL certificate that all their packages come with provides basic cybersecurity by encrypting connections between the website and visitors’ computers.

Support

Squarespace provides support through an online knowledge base which contains in-depth tutorials and video guides to help users experiencing common difficulties. Additionally, there’s a support forum which is intended as a peer-to-peer community to facilitate users helping one another find solutions and “workarounds that lie outside of the scope of Squarespace support.” Email and Twitter-based support (by DM) is available on a 24/7 basis, and live chat support hours are posted on the website. The only support channel that Squarespace does not operate is telephone based support. So users will have to use one of the other channels to get help.

Bottom Line

Squarespace is a very well established and robust tool for drag-and-drop website creation. Its extensive template library has been carefully designed to meet the needs and expectations of the industries that it documents. It also offers some premium plans that include the ability to add custom snippets of CSS and Javascript. This makes it ideal for users that want to retain a high level of control over the appearance of their websites. The major con is that the Ecommerce features come at a substantial price. Many would prefer to simply subscribe to a third-party provider for this reason.

 

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