Squarespace Website Builder
- Templates & Designs: A definite plus. Sophisticated, mobile device optimised templates are available although it must be understood that template quality will vary dependent upon the quality of images used. Replacing Squarespace images with yours will make your website look very different
- E-commerce capability: Those who have loyal website followers can easily add an e-commerce capability to serve as a Squarespace membership site with individual customer login
- Good support: When available (Mon-Fri - 3am-8pm Eastern Time) the live chat support is very responsive
- Website editor: Although this has been improved with V.7 it is still not the easiest or most exciting of editors to use
- Only 1 sub-navigation feature: Due to this limitation Squarespace is not suitable for those websites with a deep set of menu requirements
- NO Preview mode: Any site edits made are immediately visible to the public. This can be particularly inconvenient when large edits are required
- Squarespace SEO & Page Speed: A significant disadvantage is that you cannot edit page titles in Blog posts. Their templates also garner low rates in Googles Page Speed Tool tests. This can affect mobile user viewing experience and possibly affect your page ranking status
What is Squarespace all about?
The Squarespace website builder has been around for over 14 years now and certainly has its followers. It must also be said that opinion seems divided on where it really gives benefit over its competitors.
It should be noted we have had an influx of requests to review Squarespace website builderIn this Squarespace review we will give a comprehensive insight into its strengths and weakness.
Ease of use:
It must be said that the Squarespace website builder user interface is minimalistic. The problem is that it is not always self-explanatory and this can lead to confusion.
When learning how to use Squarespace you will find patience and assistance from the helpdesk support team are required in equal measures.
As your experience and Squarespace tutorial knowledge grows you will find that content can be edited on the fly and when you get into resizing the window this allows you to see exactly how it would look when viewed from mobile devices.
To compare Squarespace competitors ease of use please follow this link to review Weebly our leading Squarespace alternative for this score.
Features & Flexibility:
You will find a fair number of features and flexibility in this Squarespace review. Here are 12 for consideration:
Cover Page Builder:
When learning how to use Squarespace this is a feature which will be appreciated. It allows the creation of a single page design with little design experience required. It should also be noted that if you opt for the ‘Business’ Plan (details of pricing below). This is classed as the Developer Platform and those with HTML/CSS expertise can manage and control design as they wish.
Free of advertisements:
This feature exists on all plans which is certainly welcomed.
While the editor supports any language. The interface is only available in English. With this in mind it does not offer a good choice in terms of multilingual websites.
Existing domains can be pointed to your Squarespace website and annual or bi-annual subscriptions include a domain name for 1 year. After this, prices start at $20 annually. It must be said that there are better deals to be had from other domain registrars.
In terms of Squarespace website design you can go 1 level below the Squarespace website main navigation and set this up using ‘folders. There are also some templates which feature a secondary navigation below the main navigation.
There is a fair selection of add-on features available with the Squarespace website builder. These include: Gallery widgets, Social media add-on’s for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc. and tools that restaurant businesses will find useful. One minus in this regard is that the Squarespace website builder does not have an app store for any 3rdparty add-ons.
Those looking to derive additional income can add Google AdSense as well as other banner ads to their Squarespace website.
With limitations, e-commerce functionality is included in all plans. It is fairly easy to integrate a shopping cart as part of your blog. One plus is that a free SSL certificate is part of every plan regardless of whether the price package you take is e-commerce or not.
Included in the Squarespace website offer is an inbuilt analytical visitor tool showing some key statistics. You can also delve deeper through use of the “Squarespace Metrics App” and set up Google Analytics.
Contact form set-up:
This is fully customisable and the contact form builder offers a wide range of field options.
When looking at how to use Squarespace it needs to be understood that there is no actual newsletter tool available. Those using a Squarespace website who have an existing Mailchimp account can connect it, thus allowing collection of customer’s email addresses when they reach the checkout page.
This should be seen as a positive. There are no bandwidth or storage limitations.
Backups and Restore functionality:
Our Squarespace review sees this as an unnecessary negative. The backing up and restoration of Squarespace CMS and all other elements of your site is not supported by the platform. The only advice given by customer support on a highly important function is that you should copy and paste your content into a Google Doc. This is hardly an ideal solution.
Many will use Squarespace alternatives such as the ever popular, ever-efficient WordPress blog, but it is possible to create a blog using Squarespace with general blog features such as: Commenting, Trackbacks, Geolocation Tags, Reblogging etc.
Those who already have a blog, for example on WordPress, Tumblr, Blogger or Posterous can import this if desired. The Squarespace blogging feature also makes it possible to host podcasts that come complete with RSS feed as well as iTunes tagging.
To compare Squarespace competitors within features and flexibility please follow this link to review Weebly our leading Squarespace alternative.
Squarespace SEO features:
This is where our Squarespace review finds serious limitations for those producing blog posts as well as product pages. The issue is that the Squarespace website builder will always use either the blog headline or the product name as the SEO title.
You will also find that a general SEO site title is displayed on all pages. This certainly cannot be seen as being SEO-friendly. Indeed, to give an example of poor design capabilities there are even certain templates which combine the page banner section with your page title and meta descriptions.
To compare Squarespace competitors in the extremely important area relating to effective SEO practice please click here to review WordPress our leading Squarespace alternative for SEO.
Support and Resources:
It must be said that this is one of the stronger Squarespace website builder features, but still has a few ‘holes’ which may frustrate.
They offer a comprehensive knowledge base and FAQ section which is easily accessible. There is a 24/7 ticket system, a live chat function is available Mon-Fri 3am-8pm Eastern Time, and it is possible to ask questions via E-mail but response times vary. However, there is no telephone support available and no premium support for higher end price plan subscribers.
To compare Squarespace competitors in the extremely important area relating to effective Support please click here to review WordPress or Wix our leading Squarespace eCommerce alternatives for Support.
Squarespace pricing structure:
It is obviously of high importance for anyone considering which website building platform to implement that costs are fully understood.
Below we will give two indications of the Squarespace website cost. This should help you to clearly understand what is on offer, and then allow you to compare these costs with Squarespace competitors.
The first table shows simplified pricing and who each plan is generally best suited to. The 2ndtable gives a more comprehensive insight into what you get with each Squarespace pricing plan:
|Personal||Business||Online Stores (Basic)||Online Stores (Advanced)|
|Monthly prices and based on taking a 1-year contract paid in advance.||$12||$18||$26||$40|
|Domains included. 1 domain name in all yearly or bi-yearly plans (com, net, biz. org, info). After the first-year prices start at $20 annually (depending on the ending). There are much better deals available elsewhere. • Squarespace only allows new domain names to be registered. Any existing ones must be pointed to your Squarespace website from a different domain registrar.|
|Number of pages||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Bandwidth for traffic||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Contributors / Admins||2||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|E-Commerce||Unlimited products, 3% Sales Transaction Fee||Unlimited products, No Sales Transaction Fee||All Basic Features, Plus: Abandoned Checkout Autorecovery Real Time Carrier Shipping Checkout on your domain|
|Summary||This is seen as a good solution for those who do not need an online store.||This plan does include an online store but with a transaction fee of 3%||Allows you to sell online without any transaction fees.||Gives full range of advanced ecommerce features|
Further Squarespace pricing comments:
Our Squarespace review must emphasise details of the fairly simple pricing plan offered. It needs reiterating that the 3 plans offered: Personal, Business and 2 x Online stores (basis & advanced) are targeted at very specific groups:
Personal plan: The limitation here is that you will not get any e-commerce module. Those planning to launch an online store must go for a higher, more expensive plan.
Business plan: This should be viewed as the right fit for small to medium businesses. It will allow your Squarespace website to be built for a wide audience. An e-commerce system is included although transaction fees must be taken into account.
Online store plans: Undoubtedly these are the best 2 plans for those looking at e-commerce and selling online opportunities. Unlike the Business plan there is no transaction fee charges.
The online plans also allow you to sell physical and digital goods, both of which feature voucher management as well as inventory tracking. This makes these plans a good fit for SME’s with a wider range of products or services.
Still unsure which plan is best?
It is possible to take a free albeit short 14-day trial. During this trial you will benefit from all of the functionality offered from a “Business” plan subscription and for those wishing to understand how to use Squarespace it is certainly worthwhile giving it a “test drive”.
However, do bear in mind that if you decide to go with the platform on a subscription basis and drop back to the “Personal” plan then some of the features available during your trial period will not be available on this subscription (see chart above).
One other consideration for those who are hesitant is to start with the lowest priced “Personal” plan option and then upgrade as your needs grow. You will not be double-charged for upgrading.
While there will undoubtedly be interest in the above offers, those who are still unsure as to whether the Squarespace pricing plan structure will fit their immediate and future needs, it is recommended that you also review other ecommerce platforms to achieve a comprehensive understanding of what is out there.
In our opinion, Weebly is the strongest in this arena for eCommerce offering the best pricing and value with its plans.
Conclusion & Recommendation:
The Squarespace website builder is not as easy to get to grips with as other website builders out there. Fully understanding how to use Squarespace will take patience and regular contact with the customer support team in the early part of your set up.
The one big disadvantage we must point out and that which stops us from recommending it above some of the Squarespace competitors in terms of web-building and e-commerce functionality is the shortcomings of its SEO attributes. This we find particularly puzzling from a platform that is so expensive compared to its competitors.
If the number 1 concern of your business website is visual appeal then Squarespace certainly has many positives going for it.
In this respect the sleek, modern templates are a very good fit for businesses in certain business disciplines such as art & design, health & fitness, community & non-profit organisations, photography, travel and lifestyle sectors.
Indeed, judged on their templates alone it is clear that the Squarespace website builder caters for those business owners from the more creative side of life.
In general (unless you are willing to pay for the higher end price plans), the lower end of the price-plan scale will suffice for those looking at a straightforward web presence and non-complex e-commerce solution.
It will also suit those who have little need for specific website customisation and are comfortable with the design options the Squarespace website builder has to offer.
Finally we owe it to the readers of our Squarespace review; we must point out that there are better website builder deals available from the likes of Wix and Weebly. The latter is particularly strong if you are looking for an extremely flexible e-commerce platform from which to sell.
You may be interested in our related website builder, eCommerce platform review and comparison articles below;
That’s all for now:
We hope you have enjoyed this website builder review for Squarespace and have gleaned some useful information. Please do keep an eye out for our articles as we have lots of information relating to online services offered.
Being a veteran in the website building and eCommerce game definitely has its benefits. Richard has long been in the industry with more than 10 years of experience with building websites and constructing eCommerce platforms for clients. He’s also a bit of a whiskey connoisseur.