Squarespace is a known name in the industry of website building. Although the solution is mostly catered to beginners’ unique needs and doesn’t demand any coding knowledge, it is ideal for setting up professional sites with the highest quality designs and features of the market, blogs, resumes, and photography sites. Furthermore, the selection of sales tools is also incredible, which makes it a preferable option for online business platforms.
Squarespace was originally founded as a simple blogging tool, yet it quickly evolved into a multi-purpose, all-in-one website-building solution that can be just the right choice for you. I will review all the company’s ins and outs to highlight the standout perks and game-changing downsides.
Squarespace Quick Summary
Squarespace was first introduced in the website-building market in January 2004 by Anthony Casalena. Today, the solution hosts around two and half million websites and ranks as the second most popular hosted solution.
The company has recently expanded its eCommerce functionality to draw even more clients. New features have been added, such as Stripe to accept credit card payments, the mobile version, and integration with Google Apps for Work.
Squarespace drastically differs from open-source website building solutions such as Magento or WooCommerce to construct a site with which you must church out lines of code. With Squarespace, any business can create a professional website using the drag-and-drop interface.
So, the key features of Squarespace are the diversity of design options, a rich and flexible image manager, blogging properties, robust tools for commerce, strong analytics, a series of connected services, strong SEO tools, completely ad-free site building capability, and quick responding customer support.
All these perks of the company make Squarespace an excellent choice for artists, photographers, and anyone who loves design and needs a website to show off their content perfectly. Meanwhile, the decent range of eCommerce tools makes it a good option for store owners who need a strong online presence.
Squarespace comes with four price tiers from $16 to $49 per month, provided that you choose the annual subscription or $23 to $65 if you prefer paying monthly installments. Aside from this, there’s a fourteen-day trial period to try the platform entirely risk-free.
I recommend starting with the Personal introductory plan that includes unlimited bandwidth and storage, is ad-free, offers a free custom domain for a year, and a whole bunch of basic features. This plan is great for individual use.
The most expensive Squarespace plan, meanwhile, is the Commerce Advanced. By choosing the annual subscription, you can save as much as 24% on the price, which will cost you only $49 per month. This plan will let you feel the full power of Squarespace, and you will be provided with advanced shipping & discounting, eCommerce and website analytics, etc. Whatever website you create within this plan will be fully mobile optimized, all Squarespace eCommerce features will come fully integrated, and absolutely no transaction fees will be deducted from your sales.
So, if you wonder whether Squarespace offers good value for money, I will definitely answer Yes. Besides, you won’t encounter any hidden costs. If you have a simple website in mind, go for either the Personal or the Business plans.
Building a Website on Squarespace
Building a website on Squarespace is no hustle since the platform helps you figure it out right from the beginning. It asks some questions, such as what your site is about, what interests you have, on which stage your website is, etc., and based on which variants you choose, the platform gives some great examples of how you start the journey and which templates will best meet your website vision. However, if you want to do everything manually, just slick SKIP.
After being done with the questionnaire of Squarespace, choose the most appropriate template based on your business niche or your website purpose. Create your account using a valid email and accurate personal data. In a few moments, Squarespace will redirect you to a new interface. The most important settings, involving Pages, Design, Marketing, Scheduling, etc., can be found on the left. Use them, name your site, upload a lego, apply the necessary functionality to bring your website to the perfect look, and optimize the site with SEO.
And finally, the last step is choosing the pricing plan to let your website go live. Note that the 14-day free trial period is only for testing the website builder and creating a website, not launching it.
The Squarespace interface looks clean but by no means simple. It is minimal and modern. And if you get frustrated from the first impression of a too-clean interface, you will soon discover the left-hand side menu holds everything necessary to configure the website. Once you know what every point in the menu stands for, editing the site becomes super easy.
Through the Page Section, you can add blocks, content, gallery, and other sections to the starting page, changing their style to fit your specific requirements. Note that this section is not common for all templates.
Additionally, Squarespace offers specially structured content for you. For instance, if you choose the Contact page, the system will give you not a form but multiple options concerning fields you might wish to enter and various designs to pick up from for the page creation.
As far as you have website designing in mind, Squarespace definitely excels. Overall, there are more than 113 professionally schemed themes (templates). Surely, this number doesn’t sound as impressive as those of other website builders, but Squarespace works for quality rather than quantity.
The suggested templates all have sleek, stylish, and modern designs. They are built to meet the standards of usability, great design, and performance. But above all, they come with specific features that differ from template to template.
So, in choosing the template, be guided by the categories. At Squarespace, such categories are introduced as Photography, Fashion, Local Business, Food, Health & Beauty, Home & Decor, etc. Besides, the system separates the templates into Portfolio, Blog, Online Store, Scheduling, Memberships, and One Page.
Whichever template you choose for your website is fully mobile responsive, so you needn’t worry about missing mobile visitors, which is highly crucial given the immense popularity of mobile sites nowadays (the stats show around 74% of users will be more likely to come back to mobile-friendly sites).
Squarespace Website Design
All the templates available at Squarespace are incredibly flexible, with no need for coding for customization. Replace the images, enter new text, add or remove any section, manage several pages simultaneously, etc. Both professional developers and no coders can customize colors, fonts, backgrounds, headings, images, and texts. The company aims to give its customers enough freedom to express their style through the chosen template.
The Squarespace editor allows dragging and dropping certain elements around. Creating collages, making images overlap, or changing the image layouts in any other way can be reformatted through the design settings. Generally, Squarespace has adopted a more structured editing process. It means you can’t drag elements wherever you want, like when working with WordPress or Wix. Instead, you have to work within the basic layout of the chosen template. On one hand, such a peculiarity won’t let an inexperienced person create a bad-looking site. But on the other hand, it strictly restricts creative users with specific website design in mind.
The Squarespace editor is of the WYSIWYG type. Accordingly, your website will look exactly as it appears in the editor, and whatever changes you apply will happen right in front of you.
I want to warn you that those large image blocks, which dominate in most templates of Squarespace, will look stunning only if you upload high-resolution photos. If you don’t have such, you can search through stock images. The array is vast with Getty and Unsplash integrations. Most of the offered stock images are free, while the paid variants cost around $10.
Whatever purpose you have when building a website, you should always improve its ranking in search results. That’s why always consider the SEO functionality of the website builder you are going to choose. For instance, Squarespace can’t boast premium SEO practices, but the available functionality is quite good.
The solution gives users a wide range of options such as adding keywords and alt text, managing titles, incorporating Sitemap.xml file, etc. The main advantages of Squarespace SEO include the following:
- Clean HTML markup: With Squarespace, websites create headings with HTML heading tags automatically.
- Uptime site loading: Being on top of the CMS page speed performance ranking, Squarespace guarantees your site won’t be penalized for being down often.
- Sitemap.xml file: Squarespace generates and links your sitemap with all image information and URLs automatically for perfect indexing.
- In-built mobile optimization: Another factor that Google considers when ranking a website is its mobile responsiveness. And since Squarespace automatically resizes the content and template of the site based on the mobile screen size used for launching the website, you get real chances for higher ranking.
However, Squarespace has certain downsides in terms of SEO. For instance, the 301 and 302 redirects are not automatic, though they are available for installation. Alt tags that let Google understand the picture are added a bit comprehensively, depending on the layout. And Squarespace offers no built-in tool for creating rich snippets – they must be created manually.
If you have absolutely no experience with SEO, Squarespace might appear intimidating. Look through the guides in the support pages of Squarespace to get an idea of what to do, or you may have to apply to a professional web developer.
Publishing a Website on Squarespace
Publishing a website on Squarespace is no hustle. However, first, make sure you have successfully committed to the following site creation phases:
- choosing the template
- adding the necessary content
- setting the navigation
- adding a logo
- styling the site with all the necessary design configurations.
Now you have reached the point of launching the site. Start by connecting your domain to Squarespace. All Squarespace users are provided with the free brand “squarespace.com” address. And yet, a custom domain name is also available. The latter is an even more preferable option. It is offered free for only one year after you purchase an annual Squarespace subscription. And yet, you can also buy a domain from a third-party platform, such as Network Solutions, Gandi, etc.
After you have connected your domain, you are technically ready to launch the website. Squarespace has such a useful tool as a pre-launch checklist with hints on what aspects are worth going through once more.
When you are done with it, publish your new site. By default, every new site gets password protection. To make the website publicly visible, you must remove the password. Do this from the Site Availability in the Settings section. Check the box for Public, and your website will now become available to anyone on the net.
I would like to remind you that to publish a website you must have purchased a Squarespace plan. The two-week trial is only for getting acquainted with the functionality of the website builder and doesn’t involve launching.
Squarespace Technical Support
Squarespace is a responsive website builder when it comes to customer support. Aside from the extensive Help Center with numerous articles and guides, the company also provides several means of getting in touch with its specialists. Particularly, such contact forms are available as:
- Live Chat – Use this contact form for real-time conversations with the company’s specialists and immediate answers. Live Chat is available only from Monday to Friday, 4 AM to 8 PM EST.
- Email Support – This type of support is available round the clock, yet answers don’t come instantly like in the case of Live Chat. Complete the form online and send it from the Squarespace Contact Us page.
- Twitter – Squarespace is on Twitter and interacts with its users through this social media platform, too.
What I like most about Squarespace is that the company affords all its clients the same high level of support within 24 hours, regardless of their plan.
Squarespace Review: Verdict
Squarespace is a premium website builder with amazing features and some of the best template designs in the market, although the quantity of themes is not large. The selection of SEO tools is rather decent, eCommerce features are of top quality, and the pricing is within the average.
Squarespace is strong all-arounded since it is appropriate for all types of websites, including businesses and stores, as long as they are of a small-to-medium size. Although the solution was initially introduced as a blogging platform, it gradually acquired more popularity in other spheres. And today, Squarespace is one of the leading names in the industry, supplying millions of customers worldwide.
I can wholeheartedly recommend Squarespace. Use the 14-day free offer to see how the editor works, what templates best represent your website vision, and how the service performs overall.