Squarespace vs Format

Are you right about creating your own portfolio website? If so, then I’m here to help you pick the most suitable web design tool to do this. Actually, there are lots of platforms to help you get started with ease. Squarespace and Format, however, are among the most popular and trustworthy services.

Squarespace is an all-in-one DIY website builder that empowers individuals and businesses to create stunning websites without the need for coding. You can use it to develop any type of website. Portfolios are not an exception – Squarespace provides the tools to bring your creative ideas to life.

As opposed to Squarespace, Format is a niche portfolio website builder, which was created to help you showcase your artistic work in a captivating and professional manner. Tailored for photographers, designers, and other creatives, Format offers customizable themes and a set of niche-specific features you won’t find in other website builders.

While both systems are worth the attention of creatrives, they still differ in their initial implication, parameters, functionality, customizability and pricing. Thus, it is high time to review and compare the platforms to help you pick the one that works best for you.

Quick Summary

Squarespace comes as a multifaceted website builder applicable for various types of projects. It does not require any coding proficiency, preliminary web design expertise or special preparation to be used even by beginners. When it comes to portfolio creation, it grants access to a separate category of portfolio designs, eCommerce and blogging features, SEO tools and unique portfolio-related solutions. It guarantees a smooth, intuitive and polished portfolio creation experience.

Format differs from Squarespace by its strong portfolio creation focus. This is a creative platform developed with portfolio creation in mind only. No other types of websites can be published here. To meet the needs of creatives, Format grants access to customizable themes that highlight your visuals and make it possible to set up an impressive portfolio.

With features like client proofing, eCommerce integration, built-in blogging, niche portfolio themes and third-party extensions, Format provides a comprehensive platform for professional presenting your creative projects.

Whether you’re a freelancer or a professional artist, Format’s emphasis on visual storytelling makes it a go-to choice for a stunning online portfolio. At the same time, however, the system lacks features that are a must-have for any quality website. In this respect, Squarespace can get you covered.

Price

Squarespace and Format both make it possible to test their integrated functionality for free, offering the same trial – 14 days of free access to the entire feature set. Upon the end of the trial, however, you will have to make the decision regarding further use of this or that platform. If you are satisfied with their functionality, terms and cost, you will be offered a range of plans to upgrade to. Have a look at them now.

Squarespace subscriptions include:

  • Personal ($16/mo billed annually) – free custom domain, 24/7 customer support, SEO features, 30 minutes of video storage, unlimited bandwidth and storage, website metrics, SSL Security, 2 contributors, Squarespace extensions etc.;
  • Business ($23/mo billed annually) – unlimited contributors, CSS/JavaScript design customization, 3% transaction fees, premium blocks and integrations, advanced website analytics, professional email from Google, fully-integrated eCommerce etc.;
  • Basic Commerce ($27/mo billed annually) – high end integrated eCommerce analytics, 0% transaction fees, customer accounts, domain checkout feature, Instagram synchronization etc.;
  • Advanced Commerce ($49/mo billed annually) – abandoned shopping cart recovery, limited availability labels, gift cards, APIs for order and inventory, advanced shipping and discounts, etc.

Squarespace Pricing

All Squarespace subscriptions come with free domain name and hosting. If you have the one, though, the website builder allows transferring it from another host in several steps only.

Format offers 3 premium subscriptions to pick from, namely:

  • Basic ($10/mo billed annually) – 15 website pages, 100 high-res images, Lightroom and Capture One integration, copyright protection, SSL security, powerful SEO tools, social integration, email subscriber form, 10 client galleries, 2 GB file transfer, CRM Light, 24/7 customer support, professional branded email at $72/year, mobile optimization, free mobile app, limited Workflow professional tools, photography business masterclass (1 chapter);
  • Pro ($16/mo billed annually) – all themes, unlimited pages, 15% Format marketplace commission, free custom domain, custom code editor, 50 client galleries, 1500 high-res images, 100GB photo storage, 15 hosted video minutes, 15 products to sale, 5GB file transfer etc.;
  • Pro Plus ($26/mo billed annually) – priority support, unlimited high-res images, 5% Format marketplace commission, 1000 products, 250 client galleries, 120 hosted video minutes, 1TB photo storage, premium design features, email subscriber form, 10GB file transfers etc.

Format Price

If you wish to cancel the subscription, you can do that during 30 days after the purchase. By the way, credit card data is not required to sign up for the system.

Plans offered by Squarespace and Format are generally moderately-priced with similar rates. Squarespace, however, has a more extensive selection of subscriptions as opposed to Format. The features and tools included into these plans are more versatile as well, being suitable for all types of projects. Format plans include portfolio-focused features and tools only.

Creating a Website

Squarespace is the all-in-one website builder that makes it possible to set up all types of web projects, including portfolios. The sign up process doesn’t take much effort and time as the system provides a list of detailed guidelines to get started.

Due to the slight learning curve, it is easy and quick to work in the WYSIWYG editor, even if you are just a beginner. This feature appeals to portfolio creators who are not generally aware of the web design basics.

Squarespace Editor

To get started, you just need to pick a suitable theme from the list of suggested designs available in the portfolio category. The built-in drag-and-drop editor simplifies the website customization process, while the Style Editor grants access to deeper customization options. You can add/modify specific elements on a website, change colors,styles, backgrounds as well as crop and resize images.

Other actions are available here as well. These include an opportunity to embed videos from Vimeo or YouTube, for example, or upload your own content to showcase your presentations/video projects.

What’s more, you can create impressive image galleries, slideshows and photo presentations to display your services/works. Project analysis is possible here via the use of performance metrics, getting traffic/page views insights etc.

You may take a look at my handpicked Squarespace website examples collection: portfolio, best, ecommerce, artist and photography.

Format delivers quite an extensive set of features for professional portfolio creation. The system has an easy dashboard and a WYSIWYG editor that simplifies the website design process. No programming proficiency is required to set up a portfolio with the system.

As a simple website builder, Format aims at simplifying the website creation process for each and every user. Just follow its understandable 6-step checklist to set up and publish a full-featured project in almost no time.

Format Editor

What you should do to get started is to select a template, fill it with content, add media content (images, videos etc.) and adjust the suggested settings.

If you are interested in collaborating with other team members or partners, Format grants access to client proofing features. You can also get feedback from other people, share password-protected galleries and complete other portfolio- related actions.

Starting a website is quite simple both with Squarespace and Format. The systems offer intuitive guides on how to get started and do not require any programming awareness. Squarespace, however, is a more multifaceted system, which provides more opportunities for successful website creation and customization.

Interface

Squarespace offers a user-friendly and intuitive approach to quality website creation. Upon logging in, you find yourself in a centralized dashboard that serves as a control center. This is where you can access all aspects of your website – from design to content management.

Squarespace Dashboard

The navigation menu provides quick access to essential features like website pages, design settings, eCommerce etc. Intuitive icons and labels simplify navigation, even for non-techies.

The drag-and-drop editor of the system makes it possible to create and customize your portfolio layout by simply dragging content blocks into predefined places. Likewise, you can choose from a wide range of professionally designed themes, each of which can be tailored specifically to your brand. Customization of fonts, colors and styles will also help achieve the required project design.

When working on your portfolio customization, you will be able to modify content blocks (text, images, videos, buttons, forms etc.). Before going live with the project, you can preview the result to see how it displays on various devices – both desktop and mobile.

Along with these baseline features, the website builder grants access to page management features, support solutions and software configurations.

As far as Format is focused exclusively on portfolio creation, its interface is designed to provide creatives with a user-friendly and visually appealing platform to showcase their services/works.

The dashboard comprises the major sections where you can work on certain sides of your project. Thus, you can select a template for your portfolio in the specific category along with customization tools to give it the required look.

Format Dashboard

To organize and curate your creative projects and portfolio pieces in the same place, you can use the workspace. This is where you can also arrange your works into galleries and categories for a better-structured presentation.

The visual editor makes it possible to easily customize your project design and layout without the need for code editing. The system allows arranging the drag and drop elements, adjusting colors, fonts in the intuitive way, seamlessly integrating visual content from external sources like Instagram, Adobe Creative Cloud and other platforms.

Client proofing and eCommerce features are available to premium plan subscribers only, while Help and Support and Analytics and Insights sections are always accessible for everyone.

All in all, the Squarespace interface excels in its user-focused design, making portfolio creation accessible to all user categories. Its drag-and-drop editor, customizability and opportunity to integrate the major features ensure a seamless and pleasant web design experience. As a portfolio-focused system, Format prioritizes aesthetics and user experience yet lacks crucial functionality features.

Templates and Website Design

Squarespace notably stands out when it comes to template choice, versatility and customizability. The platform boasts an extensive and continuously expanding design gallery, currently offering over 100 themes.

A separate category is devoted to portfolio themes, all of which are responsive to seamlessly adapt to various screen sizes, be it mobile devices or desktop computers.

Squarespace Templates

For those seeking a truly unique website design, Squarespace provides the flexibility to edit website codes, granting creative freedom for more advanced customization. A distinctive advantage of the platform is its integrated Cover Page Builder that comes with over 30 pre-designed templates that can be selected for further personalization.

When it comes to design customization, Squarespace offers an intuitive drag-and-drop editor that simplifies the process of picking and adjusting website elements on a page. For deeper portfolio customization, you can access the Style Editor that ensures deeper control over all design aspects. This is where you can add, move, and modify the available portfolio elements, resize and crop images, set up backgrounds, colors, fonts as well as handle other crucial steps.

With Squarespace, you can switch to any other template, no matter what stage of the project creation process you are on. Importantly, any content that has been submitted before, remains intact.

Format’s template collection showcases a professional aesthetic combined with responsiveness and complimentary availability. While the range of options is a bit constrained here, currently standing at 92 designs, each template features quality and customizability.

Format Template

The templates are meticulously categorized based on gallery types, encompassing horizontal scroll, tiled, vertical scroll, and slideshow formats. Likewise, you can sort them by profession (architecture, art, design, fashion, illustration, marketing, model, photography, student, video, wedding, writing etc.) to pick the most preferable option. The “preview” feature comes as an invaluable tool, letting users examine the selected design prior to finalizing the choice.

Format grants access to multiple customization options. Users can seamlessly upload portfolio titles and logos, configure backgrounds, fonts, styles, add links to social media profiles, personalize website favicons, and even refine domain names. Integration of a code editing feature empowers users to craft distinctive portfolio designs that truly reflect their individuality.

In terms of design customization, Format enhances user experience by dividing customization options into three distinct sections: Pages, Design and Settings. Each section includes a unique set of tools and elements, facilitating efficient and intuitive customization. This approach is generally more preferable for newcomers, providing a gradual and accessible introduction to the customization process.

To sum it up, Squarespace and Format have almost the same number of templates in their collections. The quality of these themes, however, differs a lot. Squarespace designs are more refined, contemporary and professional, while Format themes are standard and sometimes even outdated.

SEO

Squarespace comes as a SEO-friendly website builder, offering a range of integrated tools and features for easy and quick portfolio optimization.

Squarespace SEO

The ability to customize meta titles and descriptions for individual pages, blog posts and products is one of the software highlights. It makes it possible to create compelling and concise snippets that accurately represent your content, ensuring higher click-through rates from search results.

The platform also supports structured data markup, which provides search engines with additional context about your content.

As a user-friendly system, Squarespace also extends its SEO features to image optimization tools that help reduce file sizes without compromising quality. This results in faster loading times and a smoother experience – factors that indirectly affect SEO rankings.

The platform automatically generates XML sitemaps, which makes the process of content indexing more efficient and convenient.

Finally, the system seamlessly integrates with Google Search Console. As a result, Squarespace users have an opportunity to monitor their portfolio performance, detect potential vulnerabilities and make data-driven optimizations to notably boost their SEO efforts.

Format offers SEO features and tools that are sufficient for quality portfolio promotion. All the settings are available in the separate dashboard section, which is divided into Content and Global SEO settings for greater convenience.

Format SEO

Thus, the website builder allows customizing meta titles and descriptions for individual portfolio pages as well as for an entire project. It also automatically generates the sitemap of your project and presents the percentage scale to let you see how well your portfolio is currently optimized for the search engines and what features exactly require improvement.

Format also includes tools for image optimization, integrates with Google Search Console and supports structured data markup.

In terms of SEO, Squarespace unveils more opportunities for effective portfolio optimization. It grants access to a more extensive range of SEO tools that help promote your project with greater efficacy.

Publishing a Website

Squarespace offers quite a seamless process of website publishing. Having picked a template, you may proceed to design customization, content uploading and integration of all the required features.

Next, connect a custom domain if you have one or pick a Squarespace subdomain (this, however, is not advisable for quality website promotion). By the way, the system also llows transferring a domain name from another host to its servers.

Then go ahead to adjust essential SEO settings to maximize your portfolio visibility in the search engine results. SSL security feature is automatically enabled so that you could ensure reliable protection of user data.

Is everything set? Then take advantage of Squarespace’s user-friendly interface and click the “Publish” button. Your website will instantly become accessible to visitors across the globe.

Make sure to regularly update your portfolio with fresh content, monitor analytics to gain insights into visitor’s behavior and promote your project through various channels to maximize its reach and impact.

Format actually provides a similar website publishing experience. You need to select and customize a portfolio template first. The tools and features available in the dashboard will be handy here, while the detailed guidelines generated by the system will help you get started with ease.

When you’re ready, connect your custom domain, set up SEO settings and preview the result on various devices to make sure the project displays well.

With your portfolio perfected, simply click the “Publish” button in Format’s intuitive interface. Your website will instantly go live, letting visitors explore and appreciate your creative approach. Managing and updating the project afterwards will also contribute to its popularity with the target audience.

When it tackles the website publication issue, the process is nearly the same in both website builders. Just make sure to watch all the instructions in order to smoothly complete all the steps.

Online Store

Squarespace comes with quite a powerful integrated eCommerce engine letting you monetize your services/products presented in the portfolio. Starting a small or a medium web store does not take much effort, time or programming awareness.

Firstly, the platform will offer you a variety of responsive (free and premium) templates specifically tailored for eCommerce. Additionally, it will grant access to customizable product pages (as well as tools) where you can showcase your products using high-quality images, detailed descriptions and even product variants.

Squarespace eCommerce

The eCommerce functionality of the service also extends to inventory management. You can easily add and manage products, track inventory levels and even set up automated notifications for low-stock items.

The platform supports flexible shipping options, letting you configure flat-rate, weight-based, and real-time carrier calculated shipping methods. Additionally, Squarespace integrates with popular payment gateways, ensuring secure transactions for you and your customers.

Likewise, the website builder allows scheduling appointments with online calendars and bookings, introducing latest company news via social channels, building mailing lists, embedding Google maps and online forms for more effective customer interaction etc.

Finally, Squarespace boasts a set of powerful marketing tools to help drive sales. You can create discount codes, run promo campaigns and even integrate with email marketing services to engage with your audience effectively. The platform provides in-depth analytics, letting you monitor sales, track customer behavior and gain insights into your web store performance.

Format also provides eCommerce functionality yet its web store-related features and tools lag behind those offered by Squarespace. This is no wonder as the system is mainly focused on portfolio development. The available eCommerce toolset is enough for selling products and services presented in the portfolio.

Format has a collection of portfolio themes with an opportunity of web store connection. This ensures that your online shop will maintain a cohesive and visually appealing look aligning with your overall brand and portfolio.

The platform provides a user-friendly product management system, allowing you to effortlessly upload product images, detailed descriptions and pricing information. Mind, however, that you will only be able to upload 3 products on a free plan here. For bulk item uploads, you will have to upgrade to one of premium subscriptions.

Format Add Product

Format’s eCommerce tools also aim at convenient inventory management, while the platform also supports various shipping methods, including flat-rate and calculated shipping options. Actually, you can independently set up shipping rates and pick the most suitable shipping methods based on multiple factors.These include weight, destination or order total.

Integration with shipping carriers like UPS, FedEx, or DHL enables real-time shipping calculations, label printing, and tracking updates. This boosts the efficacy of the shipping process and guarantees accurate shipping costs.

As mentioned above, Format lacks eCommerce functionality compared to Squarespace. Yes, starting a web store is possible with both systems but it makes sense to choose Squarespace, if you need advanced eCommerce presentation.

Blog

Squarespace excels at blogging, which means that you can connect your own blog to your portfolio. The website builder supports a post scheduling feature to let you plan your publications in advance. Likewise, it is possible to adjust geo tagging settings, customize blog post URLs and Google Author Rank (built into member profiles), enable commenting options and other blog-related features.

Squarespace Blog

There is a separate category of blog templates here. Whether you’re focusing on text-heavy articles, image-driven posts or a combination of both, Squarespace’s themes make sure your blog remains consistent and visually appealing.

Squarespace offers built-in social media integration, thus letting you easily share your blog posts across various platforms. In terms of SEO, the website builder provides customizable meta tags and URLs, helping improve your post discoverability in the search engine results.

Additionally, you can integrate Google Analytics, adjust blog post display parameters, multiple author support features along with show window options.

An important issue is that Squarespace allows for blog import. Thus, if you have blogs powered by WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, or Posterous, for example, you can move them to the system servers for further customization and management.

Format has a built-in blogging platform as well. This allows connecting a blog to your portfolio website with a few clicks. Just access the page settings button to edit and publish your first post.

Format Blog

The platform’s visual editor makes it possible to effortlessly add images, embed videos and format text to create engaging blog posts. Additionally, Format supports the organization of content through tagging and categorization, helping readers effectively navigate your blog.

Having customized your blog, don’t forget to adjust SEO parameters for its correct optimization. Follow the software guides to fill out meta tags, URLs and set up other SEO features to improve your blog promotion.

As to blogging, Squarespace definitely prevails over Format due to its extensive set of blog-related features and tools. Format also allows connecting a blog to your portfolio but it certainly lacks flexibility for further customization and management.

Third-Party Integrations

Squarespace is the website builder that will impress you with its integration solutions. Although you won’t find a built-in App Market here, it still allows for external integrations, offering a list of add-ons to choose from. These include Google Maps, add-ons for restaurants/cafes and wedding/event websites, social sharing buttons, contact forms, analytic tools and metrics etc. Just browse the drop-down menu to look for extensions available for integration.

Squarespace Integrations

Integration of social network buttons is possible here as well. This helps promote your portfolio content via popular media channels like Pinterest, SoundCloud, Behance, Google+, Dropbox, Dribbble, Twitch, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Yelp, Tumblr, Instagram etc.

When it comes to portfolio presentation and its further promotion, you will certainly appreciate an opportunity to create and integrate a unique brand logo. With Squarespace Logo Maker, this is done in a few moments. Just select your logo style, design elements and settings to get one.

Managing your portfolio will be simple and convenient with the Squarespace Scheduling feature. This is a handy way to manage appointments, schedule tasks, plans and upcoming work for proper business organization.

Opportunity for team collaboration is available here as well. Squarespace lets you add and manage several contributors to your account, assign different roles to each of them (Administrator, Billing, Reporting, Content Editor, Trusted Commenter, Comment Moderator and Store Manager) and control task completion.

When it tackles the portfolio presentation aspect, you will also appreciate the availability of the Unfold App. This is a powerful contemporary storytelling toolkit, which allows creating and sharing stories both in social networks and in Snapchat. Mind that you will need to download the App from the App Store or Google Play Store to start using it.

Professional portfolio creation is impossible without appealing and quality content presentation. This is where Squarespace Video Studio App will certainly be handy. It allows creating and sharing videos to reveal your creativity aspects and to show the features that make your services/products stand out from the crowd. As a result, this will have a positive impact upon your customer base/profit generation.

Format lacks integrable extensions, but you can integrate third-party widgets via code injection, if needed. It also integrates with Adobe Creative Cloud, letting users import and showcase their Adobe-created content like images and projects, directly on their Format portfolios.

As a portfolio software, Format grants access to multiple niche features. The system comes with integrated video hosting, which eliminates the need to upload files from YouTube and Vimeo. Instead, you can add videos directly to Format servers.

For selected plans, Format offers a client proofing feature, which enables users to share galleries with clients for further feedback and collaboration.

Capture One integration is possible as well. What’s more, if you face the need to move up to 10GB of photos, doing that with Format will be quite simple due to its large file transfer feature.

Cloud photo storage is also available here. This makes it possible to safely store your photos/videos for an unlimited period of time. Other security-related features that matter a lot for any portfolio owner include an opportunity to adjust client access rights, waterproof the uploaded images etc.

As seen from descriptions, Squarespace has notable prevalence over Format in terms of integrations and special features. It offers more widget integration options and it provides access to image/video sharing solutions, applications, Logo Maker, Unfold App and other system highlights. Formats definitely lacks such functionality, offering baseline features and code injection option only.

Technical Support

Squarespace tech support level is quite high as the website builder has several options to assist its clients in solving their problems. There is the live chat and email support realized in the form of the ticketing system.

If this is the first time you use the system and you just need to find out more about it, go ahead to reach the Help Center. This is where you can find video tutorials, how-to guides, blog posts, how-to guides and other resources that provide you with the required info.

To get in touch with other software users and to discuss your questions/problems with them, you can access the community forum. This is the place to place your inquiries, share experience and look for platform-related support.

Format’s support is based on the location factor so that users from across the globe could be able to access it 24/7. You can contact the support team via email or live chat.

Just like the majority of other website builders, Format also has an extensive Help Center with numerous tutorials, posts, instructions and guidelines that simplify the software use.

This, however, is all about the support features the website builder currently offers.

Squarespace is the winner, when it comes to customer support options. Its assistance solutions are more numerous and extensive as compared to Format that offers baseline options only.

The Winner

When you get the idea to set up an online portfolio, the first thing you do is choose a suitable web design tool. Squarespace and Format will certainly be among those systems included in your list. This is no wonder as both of them can be used for this very purpose.

As a portfolio-focused website builder, Format provides an ultimate set of tools and features to create this type of project. It has a collection of portfolio themes, design customization tools and plans that can fit any budget. And it does not require special web design preparation. At the same time, such functionality limited to portfolio creation only prevents users from extending their projects.

Squarespace is a far better solution in this respect. As an all-in-one website builder, it offers a broader spectrum of customizable templates, advanced eCommerce and blogging options along with handy applications to enhance your portfolio presentation. The ongoing Squarespace innovation, responsive customer support and integration capabilities solidify its position as an outstanding platform for individuals aiming at creating impactful portfolios.

Malcolm ThomasAuthor

For over 15 years, I've delved into the dynamic world of website builders and hosting. As a seasoned expert in web development, my passion for technology fuels my journey of exploration and analysis. Through meticulous reviews and comprehensive insights, I empower readers to navigate the digital landscape with confidence. With a commitment to staying abreast of the latest trends and innovations, I strive to offer practical advice and informed perspectives. Join me on this adventure as we uncover the best solutions and strategies for building and hosting your online presence.