Squarespace website builder was launched in January 2004 by Anthony Casalena. Just like Weebly founders, Anthony could’t find an effective and elegant solution for building and publishing his personal website. So, he used his father’s $20 000 investment to develop an easy-to-use web publishing platform to help non-tech-savvy people create their own websites.
Since the launch of the system fifteen years ago, millions of users have chosen its templates for their websites. The platform keeps updating its themes and delivers a variety of templates that are adaptable to different purposes. Whether you need a solid company’s online representation or a digital store, the platform has something to offer.
Today, no list of top website builders would be complete without Squarespace. The website builder positions itself as a great tool for launching different types of websites, though, it mostly works great for blogs, professional portfolios and small digital stores. Some love it for its beautiful templates that set trends in the industry of site builders, others like its overall polished style and excellent customer care. Is it right for you? Below is our take on Squarespace seven, the latest version of Squarespace.
Ease of Use
Squarespace 7 is much easier than its previous version. It has a more intuitive interface. However, you should know that Squarespace doesn’t provide a complete drag-and-drop experience. New blocks and widgets are added through the control panel, not by dragging them to the page.
The control panel of Squarespace looks like a light version of WordPress that allows you to work in the What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get mode. This is what makes the system a nice choice for non-techies and proficient web designers. It should be mentioned, though, that first-time users may find the dashboard of the system a bit confusing and overwhelmed with options and tools. After the recent system update, its usability has notably improved. There is no longer the need to switch between the preview mode and the website editor, while working on the project development. All the changes are displayed on a screen, which surely simplifies the task. The only problem is the absence of the preview mode that doesn’t allow users to see all the edits they make at once. This means that, if you make any mistakes during the website editing process, they will be displayed at the website in the real-time mode and users will immediately see them. This demerit might pose problems for newbies.
The update of the website builder has also resulted in the introduction of the new Style Editor. It is somewhat complicated for inexperienced users, but you’ll quickly get used to it, while working on website development. The Style Editor allows adjusting the positions of sections and objects, when customizing website pages. If you need, you can resize and relocate some elements, but the scale of adjustment frequently depends upon the theme chosen. This is because some templates come with fixed positions for certain elements, which makes their relocation impossible. What’s more, the Style Editor grants access to multiple out-of-the-box options, including the choice of website pages. As of today, you are welcome to pick cover pages, product pages, galleries as well as blog, index and event pages. Have a look at the process of building a website with Squarespace:
Squarespace has a lot to offer. It has a great choice of in-house apps and also lets you easily integrate third-party programs and resources. Here are some key features:
- Blogging. Squarespace has a native blogging platform that lets you easily add a blog to your site. It allows for creating media-rich blog posts: you can add all Content Block types (text, image, gallery, audio, video, etc.), toggle geo-tagging and social sharing icons, schedule posts, add multiple authors, and more.
- eCommerce. Squarespace Commerce lets you sell digital and physical goods, including services. Other features include flexible product variants, post-checkout code injection, coupons, taxes, shipping and even 3D packing algorithms, among other options. Squarespace Commerce is currently available only in the U.S., the U.K., and Canada, with beta support in some other countries.
- Mobile. Squarespace is a mobile-friendly platform. Each template automatically includes a mobile version that matches the overall style of your site.
- Import and Export. You can easily import blog content from Blogger, WordPress, Tumblr, and other platforms. Merchants can import products from BigCartel and Shopify. What’s more, you can export your Squarespace site to WordPress.
- Code Access. Squarespace offers two plans that support full code access. The Squarespace Developer platform lets you use native development tools to create truly unique projects.
- Widgets and Add-Ons. The website builder grants access to multiple add-ons and widgets. The latter include social media buttons, widgets for photo and image galleries, eCommerce tools for web stores, cafes and restaurants, statistics tracking tools, integrated contact forms, Google Maps etc.
- Analytics System. Squarespace allows controlling your website statistics as well as user behaviour. Due to the availability of built-in Google Analytics tools, you can find out the most crucial website parameters like traffic amount and sources, conversion and abandonment rates, popular content, number of page visits and more. This will give you better understanding of your website functionality and popularity.
- Social Media Integration. With Squarespace, you can not only update the content of your website 24/7, but also share it in the social networks to make users aware of all the recent website updates and news. Among the social platforms you can pick for this purpose, it makes sense to mention Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, SoundCloud, Twitch, Behance, Tumblr and more.
- SSL Certification. All Squarespace-based websites are protected by the SSL Certificate, connection of which is absolutely free for all users and plans. The Certificate will help prevent scamming attacks on your website as well as the leak of personal confidential information.
- Email Marketing. The website builder now allows organizing and holding email marketing campaigns to boost your brand popularity. It offers multiple marketing tools to help you import the content from your website directly into email drafts in less than no time. You can integrate images, add links to any content you need, experiment with colors and styles, select customizable starter layouts, manage email marketing campaigns, review website performance reports etc. All these actions are made in the same dashboard for great convenience.
- Logo Maker. With Squarespace Logo Maker, you can personally create a unique website logo that ideally represents your brand and makes it stand out against niche competitors. You can either create a new logo directly at the website or upload the existing one.
- Commenting System. The website builder features an integrated commenting system and allows setting up its multiple parameters. This is where you can choose the option that sends all the submitted comments for moderation before making them available at the website. It is also possible to let users flag scamming comments, sort the submitted posts by different parameters, enable/disable access for anonymous commenters etc.
- Image Manager. Image editing is what Squarespace excels at. The system lets users add and organize images, adjust their positions, edit them with the Adobe Image Editor, access rich Getty Images collection etc. The system comes with the responsive image loader that lets you pick and drag images from the desktop to the browser, adjusting their sizes to make them fit various devices and screens.
- Multiple Contributors. Web design agencies will appreciate an opportunity to grant website access rights to multiple contributors at a time. It’s up to you to choose people to provide them with access data to the Website Manager. You can assign different statuses to your team members, including Content Editor, Administrator, Comment Moderator, Reporting, Billing, Store Manager and Trusted Commenter.
All annual plans include a free custom domain name for the first year. While under development, your website is published under a Squarespace subdomain. If you don’t have your own domain, you can purchase it either directly through Squarespace or from a third-party provider. You can connect multiple domains to your Squarespace account.
Squarespace lets you manage the basic SEO options (descriptions, titles and keywords for each single web page and entire website) and connect to Google Analytics. Additionally, you can use an in-house stats tool called Metrics. It is also available as a mobile application.
Squarespace has some of the most beautiful templates in the niche. These aren’t numerous, yet really effective. No matter which template you select, all Squarespace features are available to you. However, it’s important to note that some themes are better suited for wedding sites, stores, portfolios or blogs. Make sure you select the right theme from the start – this will save you a lot of effort.
All Squarespace templates are responsive by default and can be switched any time, if you face such a need. Squarespace lets you make use of the Cover Page Builder to create a unique cover page for your website out of multiple integrated blocks. Business Pan users can get access to code editing and may use their programming skills to create unique website design.
If you wish to give your website individual touch and personalized look, you can select and set video background into the template you have chosen for customization. What’s more, Squarespace has partnership relations with Typekit and lets users select versatile quality fonts at no cost at all. Finally, it is possible to browse the Google Fonts library absolutely for free to select unique fonts for your project.
Squarespace support team is available 24/7 either through the live chat or emails. They promise to reply every message in less than 1 hr, regardless of the time of day or night. They also hold regular one-on-one workshops in New York. The website builder additionally offers 24/7 ticketing system as well as an opportunity to join the webinars the service organizes on a regular basis. If you have any system-related questions, welcome to browse the FAQ section of the website builder, which covers the most widespread topics users are interested in.
Squarespace grants access to its powerful Help Center that includes lots of informative videos, tutorials and articles on how to get the most of using the service. Finally, there is an impressive Community Forum, where the system users can share their experience, ask and answer questions and discuss other service-related nuances. All in all, Squarespace Customer Support assistance is on a decent level.
Squarespace has no free version, but you can try it for free during the 14-day trial. Their prices are somewhat higher than on other platforms. But as for me, these are justified. Anyway, building a website independently from the comfort of your home with Squarespace will cost you less than hiring a developer. As of March 2019, Squarespace offers 2 types of paid packages: Website: including Personal and Business packages for $12/mo and $18/mo resp. and Commerce: including Basic and Advanced packages for $26/mo and $40/mo.
Possible drawbacks: It could be more intuitive. Commerce isn’t available in all countries. Preview feature is absent. Lack of SEO options. Decent marketing tools.
The strongest side: Beautiful templates, excellent customer care, great image editing tools.
Squarespace is one of my favorite website builders. This is partly because of their clear policy and customer care. Though a bit pricier than its competition, Squarespace is a great option for those who expect a robust, reliable CMS. Recently published Squarespace review at SuperbWebsiteBuilders also proves this fact.
The Squarespace team is constantly improving the feature set of the builder, so I think it’s definitely worth your attention. Some of those features are aimed at promoting your business online. For example, the new Customer Account feature makes it easy to increase the conversion rate in case you run a digital shop. Your visitors can create their accounts where they can save payments, check shipping details and track the record of their purchases.
This is not all! Squarespace cares about the results. For this reason, the platform has introduced its advanced analytic tools for mobile devices. From now, you can track your sales right from the smartphone. All you need is to download Squarespace analytic app available for Android and iOS.