Squarespace Review

Brilliant, beautiful, but not the very best

4 stars

A brilliant builder of beautiful websites

Squarespace is a great website builder with some genuinely impressive templates to get you started with building a fantastic-looking website. A few small flaws prevent it from being the best website builder around, but it’s still a strong choice. Like most other website builders, Squarespace starts you off with a website template that you can customize using a simple drag-and-drop editing system. What sets Squarespace apart from its rivals, though, is the quality of its website templates - while there are only 91, they are all beautifully designed and mobile-responsive. Squarespace works brilliantly whether you’re looking for a website to run a blog, create a portfolio or an online business thanks to the flexibility of its templates and the wide range of features you can add to them.

4 stars

A brilliant builder of beautiful websites

Features

4 stars

Design Flexibility

4 stars

Value for Money

4 stars

Help & Support

4 stars

Ease of Use

4 stars
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Pros

  • Gorgeous templates
  • Adding custom code is easy
  • Good built-in ecommerce system

Cons

  • 14-day free trial, but no free plan
  • Can feel intimidating initially
  • Lack of apps

In this review:

What is Squarespace?

No one likes visiting poorly-designed websites. If that site is yours, it could stop you selling your products, or promoting your work, regardless of how good the work or product itself actually is. So, if you want a good-looking website, and you should, Squarespace is, quite simply, the easiest way to get one.

Squarespace claims that its award-winning templates will make you “Look like an expert”. That’s a handy support to have, especially if you’re not au fait with coding languages such as CSS or HTML. If you are a bit of a coding wizard, though, Squarespace keeps these options available to you.

The versatility of Squarespace also makes it great if you’re looking to start small, then expand your website further down the road. You can easily add product management tools necessary for ecommerce functions, or a blog if you want to connect with audience more, for example. So, if you need to get online quickly and in serious style, Squarespace is the way to go.

Create a Great-Looking Website with Squarespace Today

Squarespace: The Good

Without sounding like a stuck record, Squarespace’s templates are second-to-none. A lot of the good bits of the builder center around the templates, but there are other things to like about Squarespace.

Ecommerce

Setting up a Squarespace site to sell your products is incredibly easy. There are loads of templates designed to work as online shop fronts. And, if none of these templates takes your fancy, you can add a product matrix into any of the other templates.

Squarespace also has an intuitive product management system, which allows you to add products in bulk and edit the specifics of each one within the same window. PayPal, debit/credit card and Apple Pay payments are also baked-in on Squarespace, making it super easy to start accepting payments.

Squarespace for Blogging

Upon first glance, Squarespace’s blogging system looks a bit daunting. It has an unusual line-by-line system to enable you to add images, line breaks, headings and the like. But, once you’ve gotten the hang of it, the system becomes intuitive and straightforward.

Squarespace also works on a what-you-see-is-what-you-get basis, so the way your blog post looks in the editor is how it’ll look on the page when live. This gives it a great advantage over Wix, for example, which relies on you previewing changes to your site to really see how they look in practice.

Search Engine Optimization

The Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tools available on all Squarespace templates are incredibly simple to find and use. SEO is, essentially, the process of pushing your website and its pages further up the results pages on search engines (chiefly Google Search). Done right, this will get more people visiting your site, which will get more people buying your stuff, reading your blog, or requesting your work.

Some of the SEO features can be edited within the website editor sidebar, which will have a more passive, general improvement to your website in the eyes of search engines. There are also loads of helpful support and how-to guides which will turn you into an SEO expert in no time at all.

Squarespace Templates

Nearly every element on the your website’s template can be changed and edited. This means that, despite ‘only’ having 91 templates to choose from, your website can still look completely unique.

All of Squarespace’s templates are designed in-house, as well, rather than by third-party developers. This means that you can change between them quickly and easily. All your images, words, products, apps will move across with just a few clicks. And, should you ever want to change back, Squarespace keeps a record of your previous templates.

Squarespace: The Not-So-Good

We’re nitpicking here, rather than zeroing in on major flaws, but Squarespace isn’t perfect.

No Free Plan

We’ll go into more depth on the pricing in a moment, but it’s worth knowing that, unlike Wix or Weebly, there is no free Squarespace plan.

Instead, you get access to a 14-day trial, after which you have to pick a plan. It’s not ideal, but, considering Squarespace has more than one million websites signed up, it’s clear that its customers like the ongoing experience.

Initially Unintuitive

As we mentioned above, the actual page editor can occasionally feel unintuitive and unclear until you’ve got the hang of things.

It’s often tricky, at first, to work out which parts of the site can be edited using the side bar, and which are edited on the page itself. The menu navigation animations also take just that little bit too long, which makes the whole experience a touch irritating.

Navigating around the editor becomes clearer over time, and often you’ll find that the bit of the editor you want to find isn’t hidden away through poor design, but rather through the multitude of options you have to tweak and edit every element of the site.

One other thing to be aware of – a lot of Squarespace’s templates rely on big, high resolution images to make their templates really pop, and you can’t use any of the stock images they provide.

Lack of Apps

Squarespace, compared to some of its competition, has a serious paucity of first- or third-party apps. Wix and Weebly have extensive app stores, allowing you to add analytics tracking, booking forms, payment clients and lots more. Squarespace simply doesn’t offer you these options.

Some of these features are, fortunately, baked-in to the Squarespace website editor, such as the Zola ecommerce platform, Xero accounting software, or OpenTable booking forms. You might be able to add the apps you want via a code block, but frankly, it shouldn’t be quite that demanding.

Squarespace Pricing

As mentioned above, there’s a 14-day free trial for Squarespace and no free plan. Instead, Squarespace’s plans are split into two groups – The cheaper ‘Website’ plans or the ‘Commerce’ plans.

There are two further plans within the two groups. Website offers you ‘Personal’ or ‘Business’, while Commerce gives options for ‘Basic’ or ‘Advanced’.

Essentially, these are designed to separate those users who want to sell products on their sites (the Commerce plans) from those who don’t (the Website plans).

There’s a big price hike (an extra $14 per month) between the two Commerce plans, despite relative parity in features. The Basic Commerce plan is $26 per month, while the Advanced one is $40 per month. For that difference, all you really get is abandoned cart recovery, gift cards, flexible discounting and carrier shipping.

If you’re not looking to sell stuff, you’ll likely be fine with the Personal plan at $12 per month. And if you’re after making your website an online store – you’ll need the Basic Commerce plan for $26 per month.

How to Set Up Squarespace

The initial setup with Squarespace is very straightforward. Pick your template, create an account, choose your site name and create a description for it and that’s it – you’re straight into the drag-and-drop, grid-based editor.

The whole process can take less than five minutes, with the longest part often being the actual sign-up for an account. One neat feature is the ability to fully preview each template before you select it, giving you a much better idea of how it’ll work in practice on your site.

However, once you make it through to the actual page editor, things can feel a little more overwhelming. It can be slightly unclear whether you edit the page content using the sidebar, or using the icons that appear over the page elements as you hover over them. You will get used to how things work, but it might put more than a few beginners off Squarespace.

Squarespace: The Verdict

If a great design is of the utmost importance for your website, then Squarespace will be a perfect website builder for you. All of its templates are stunning, and they’ll look great whether you’re viewing it on desktop or mobile.

However, if you’re in a hurry to get online five minutes ago, then the in-depth and slightly clunky editor might not be ideal. But, make no mistake, Squarespace is a brilliant website builder, which will give you a truly stunning website.

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