Launched more than 10 years ago, Squarespace is one of the oldest website builders out there.Since its launch, the company has grown from a single-person startup to a team of 503 employees serving millions of websites in 190 countries, and a Super Bowl star.
Who is it for? Squarespace targets all kinds of creative pros, small businesses and e-retailers. While it was initially geared towards non-coders, today it also offers an advanced editing solution with full HTML/CSS control called Developer platform.
In this review we will guide you through all major Squarespace features and discuss the pros and cons of using this platform.
#1 Ease of Use
As you might remember, the previous version of Squarespace had some pain points, most of which were of user experience variety. Based on user feedback, their UX designers tinkered and tailored the control panel to make it easier to use.
Squarespace has an easy to use editor comparing with previous one. You no longer need to jump between the editing area and the Preview window. These are now merged into one page, making the editing process faster and more effective.
Another excellent decision is user friendly, lightweight menu. The new menu has 6 sections, each hiding more options related to the chosen setting.
#2 Feature Set and Flexibility
Actually, this version of the platform is mainly about the new UX, not features. They’ve added some new options, but they are minor, nothing fundamental – at the core, it’s the same Squarespace you know. Luckily, Squarespace had no shortage of power before the overhaul.
As before, it offers a wealth of really cool features, some of the most remarkable include a feature-rich eCommerce platform, native blogging system, ability to add multiple contributors and also import/export features: Squarespace allows you to transport your blog to any other place.
Simply put, when selecting Squarespace you’re not risking to lose your precious work – in case you feel that the builder isn’t the best option for you, you can cancel your subscription and take your blog elsewhere anytime. I like this philosophy.
Speaking about eCommerce, Squarespace provides the following features: digital and physical goods, inventory tracking, shipping, taxes, coupons and more. Because Squarespace’s commerce is supported by Stripe, you’ll be charged 2.9% + 30¢ per successful transaction. Squarespace imposes no additional transaction fees.
You can also import an existing blog to Squarespace from WordPress, Tumblr, Blogger, Etsy and other services.
For all of us who love to get under the hood, there are Code blocks allowing for custom code injection, Custom CSS area and Developer platform where you can change everything from the opening doctype tag to the footer of your website. Developer access is limited to Professional and Business plans only.
Squarespace has an impressive collection of iOS and Android applications that allow to create and edit posts, take notes and monitor website performance on the fly. These are: Blog, Start, eCommerce and Note apps.
If you need to add features that aren’t available in Squarespace, you may want to integrate a third-party application. Squarespace partners with many companies that provide various integrations that can track specific data, display existing content from another source, add online booking, and more. Some of these include Disqus, Etsy, PayPal, BookingBug, MailChimp and Typekit, among others.
Squarespace is definitely one of the most influential trendsetters in the niche. Their templates are memorable, engaging and easy-to-navigate.
The platform comes with dozens of category-specific designs, some created in collaboration ‘with a few of the world’s most influential people’. They offer templates in 7 industry categories like Business, Musicians, Restaurants, Personal, Commerce and more, including one-page templates called Cover pages.
You can change the template any time if you feel that it doesn’t match your company/personality style. All templates are designed with mobile devices in mind.
Squarespace makes it possible to preview your site across a variety of screen sizes by offering Device view. The Device View feature gives you a general idea of how your site appears on a typical mobile browser.
To keep you focused on the creative process instead of finding images on the web, the new Squarespace cooperated with Getty images. Squarespace users can now access over 40 million high quality images for commercial use. Images cost $10 each.
#4 Customer Support
There’s 24/7 email support and also Live Chat support (weekdays from 11am to 7pm EST). There’s also an impressive knowledge base and a community-driven Q&A section.
#5 Pricing Policy
Squarespace is more expensive than the average website builder. There are three pricing options: Cover Pages – $7/mo, Websites (Personal or Business) – $16-$26/mo and Commerce (Basic or Advanced) – $30-$46/mo billed month-to-month. These are discounted to $5, $12-$18 and $26-$40 respectively if you pay annually. All annual plans include a one year of free domain registration.
Squarespace pricing comparison or which plan you need: if you’re looking to build a simple site containing up to 20 pages and you don’t feel like using the Developer platform, then you can be quite satisfied with the Personal Plan of Squarespace. As a bonus, you’ll get the ability to sell 1 product and accept donations.
But if your intent is to create a full-featured online shop, then you certainly need either the $26 or $46 plan, depending on how many products you have to sell online.
Regardless of the chosen plan, you can purchase email accounts via Google Apps email for your Squarespace domain at $5 per month.
Unlike the competition, Squarespace isn’t a freemium web service. You can enjoy it free for 14 days only.
Commerce is currently only available in the U.S., the U.K., Canada & Ireland. It’s more expensive compared to its competition. Many users report issues with adjusting for larger mobile screens.
Comparison with Competitors
The main Squarespace’s alternatives are Wix, Weebly and WordPress. Are they any better than Squarespace? It’s difficult to answer this question without specifying the user market. Read our in-depth comparison articles to find more information on this:
If you think there exists a better website builder than Squarespace, feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments below this post.
Squarespace Review: Conclusion
As I see it, the ideal customer for Squarespace is a creative professional, a blogger or an e-retailer who puts visual impression and style first. Squarespace is very flexible – you’re not limited to the feature set offered by the platform, but can extend your website using your own scripts.
Squarespace’s forte is elegant design, clear pricing policy and business philosophy. But it’s more complicated than its competition. If you expect a total drag-and-drop experience and much fun, Squarespace isn’t for you.
Have you ever tried this website builder? Share your experience in the comments!