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Squarespace Review – The Truth About This Website Builder

Table of Contents

① What is Squarespace?

Squarespace is a renowned website building platform designed to cater to the unique needs of beginners. With Squarespace, individuals new to website creation can establish a professional-looking site without the necessity of coding skills or the expense of hiring developers.

Anthony Casalena, the founder of the company, initially developed Squarespace as a straightforward blogging tool. Starting as a solo endeavor, the company experienced rapid growth, evolving into one of the most popular online website builders. Today, Squarespace offers users the ability to not only create blogs but also develop complete websites for businesses, including fully functional online stores.

The visual appeal of Squarespace.com is notable, characterized by a clean and simple design. The question that arises is whether this aesthetic impact translates to websites built using Squarespace. Let’s explore this further.

② Who needs to use Squarespace?

Squarespace is ideal for a variety of individuals and businesses:

  1. Entrepreneurs and Small Business Owners: Squarespace provides an accessible platform for individuals looking to establish an online presence for their small businesses. The intuitive design tools and pre-built templates make it easy to create a professional website without extensive technical knowledge.

  2. Creatives and Artists: Whether you’re a photographer, designer, writer, or artist, Squarespace offers visually appealing templates that showcase your work effectively. The platform’s emphasis on aesthetics and customization allows creatives to express their unique style.

  3. Bloggers and Content Creators: Squarespace’s origins as a blogging tool make it well-suited for bloggers and content creators. The platform supports dynamic content creation, allowing users to share their thoughts, stories, and multimedia content seamlessly.

  4. E-commerce Entrepreneurs: For those looking to sell products or services online, Squarespace provides robust e-commerce features. Users can set up online stores with ease, manage inventory, and process transactions securely.

  5. Event Organizers: Squarespace offers tools for creating event websites. Whether you’re organizing a wedding, conference, or any other event, you can use Squarespace to build a dedicated site with relevant information, RSVP capabilities, and more.

  6. Professionals and Consultants: Squarespace is suitable for professionals and consultants seeking to establish a polished online presence. The platform allows them to showcase their expertise, services, and client testimonials effectively.

In summary, Squarespace is a versatile platform that caters to a broad audience, making it a great choice for anyone looking to build and manage a stylish and functional website without extensive technical expertise.

③ Squarespace key features

  • Designs – dozens of modern and minimalistic templates that can be easily modified and tailored to your wishes.
  • Rich Image manager – add and organize images via drag & drop builder. Edit images with ease.
  • Blogging – design and manage your blog.
  • Commerce – sell your products through an online store (or use Point of Sale), manage subscriptions, and other business needs.
  • Analytics – detailed analytics where you can track traffic, popular content, sales, and more.
  • Connected services – extend Squarespace by connecting 3rd  party services.
  • SEO – no plugins needed. Squarespace gives you everything you need to have an SEO-ready site.
  • Ad-free – you don’t have to show ads unless you want to make money by placing your own.
  • Support – fast and friendly support.

④ Detailed Squarespace review

Ease of use

Despite its aesthetic appeal, navigating Squarespace’s platform can be somewhat challenging. The onboarding process post-sign-up may demand a substantial time investment. Upon template selection, users are directed to the configurator. The main menu, prominently displayed on the left side of the screen, catches your attention. In my quest for the Drag & Drop editor, which I had heard about previously, I spent several minutes scouring the menu. To my surprise, there was no direct link to the editor; instead, it was discreetly placed in the top-left corner of the screen, overshadowed by the menu. While not inherently problematic, I believe the presentation of the Drag & Drop editor could have been more intuitive.

A similar experience unfolded as I attempted to edit a blog post. Mastering the editor proved to be less straightforward than I initially assumed. Anticipate spending a few hours navigating around before becoming acclimated to the Squarespace platform. Initially, inserting something new into a post seemed daunting and somewhat frustrating.

However, once I located the elusive button and grasped the intricacies of editing blog posts, my initial struggles faded into the background. The chosen template lay before me, revealing the prowess of the Editor. Once you familiarize yourself with the platform’s layout and functionality, Squarespace transforms into a genuinely enjoyable tool to work with.

Templates

When embarking on your journey to create a website with Squarespace, themes, or templates, become one of the initial elements you encounter. Upon logging into my account, the prominent “Get Started” button caught my eye, conspicuously positioned in the corner of the screen (unlike the previously mentioned edit button). Clicking on “Get Started” unveils a showcase of Squarespace’s renowned templates, eagerly discussed by users.

Upon initial inspection, I encountered nearly thirty of their most popular templates (with over a hundred available in total). The designs exude cleanliness and modernity. Each template’s thumbnail provides a clear glimpse of the simplicity inherent in their design. Featuring a background image, sizable text in an elegant font, and a navigation menu either on top or at the side of the screen, each thumbnail exudes the Squarespace aesthetic.

While not every template resonated with my preferences, a majority boasted the polished and contemporary Squarespace look.

Choosing any of these templates ensures the creation of a sleek website, making it challenging to make a wrong decision. Moreover, if you have a specific niche in mind, Squarespace offers fifteen template categories for exploration. Whether you’re crafting a portfolio, photography site, blog, or anything else, the ideal template awaits.

All Squarespace templates have undergone recent updates, and there’s an option to access themes from an older version of Squarespace through a provided link. This flexibility allows users to delve deeper until they find a theme that resonates with their vision.

Selecting your template marks just the beginning of the website creation process. Keep in mind that once you’ve chosen a template, customization options are available to tailor it to your specific needs.

Design flexibility

All your design requirements are conveniently organized into individual sections. While this structure is not unique among website builders, Squarespace excels in ensuring these sections are user-friendly.

Editing the template proved to be a delightful experience. The sections are easily sortable, and modifying a component is just a click away. The process feels remarkably intuitive. For instance, when I aimed to change the default menu on the front page, a simple click brought it into focus, revealing all available options. Clicking on any of the words presented another smaller submenu, offering choices related to font changes. Adjusting links and formatting is similarly straightforward. The learning curve for customizing the template design is minimal, and I quickly mastered it.

An additional noteworthy feature is activated by clicking the plus sign that separates the sections. This action opens a new window, allowing users to add a new segment to a page. With over 20 premade sections, each with its own variations, users can swiftly incorporate elements such as galleries, videos, menus, pricing tables, forms, and more.

Combining the diverse templates with the section choices and the multitude of variants and options creates virtually limitless possibilities with Squarespace. Given that everything is managed through their visual editor, even if this is your first attempt at building a website, you can craft a stunning site effortlessly.

Domain options

When you commence the creation of your site, your domain initially takes a generic form, consisting of a combination of letters and numbers followed by the squarespace.com domain name. I discovered that within the menu, there exists a “Domains” section that facilitates the swift updating of your domain.

With Squarespace, you have the freedom to select any unique subdomain, referred to as a Built-in Domain, for your site at no cost. In testing, I endeavored to modify the domain to fsgdemosite.squarespace.com. Following an initial error message and a page reload, I was pleased to observe the successful change, accompanied by a confirmation email—an unexpected but welcome surprise.

While most users prefer to have their own distinct domain rather than a Built-in Domain, the same settings page offers the option to either transfer a domain you already own to your new site or acquire a new domain through Squarespace. Regardless of your preference for managing your site domain, Squarespace allows for quick and straightforward adjustments through the settings.

Mobile site optimization

While fine-tuning the design of your site, you’ll always find a smartphone icon conveniently situated in the top-right corner of the screen. Upon clicking it, Squarespace promptly loads your site in a mobile format, facilitating easy optimization. This eliminates the need for browser extensions or additional tools to ensure your site functions seamlessly for mobile users.

For users on the Business and Commerce plans, an extra feature is available. This setting enables the addition of a mobile information bar that appears at the bottom of the mobile website. This enhancement ensures that your visitors can effortlessly access directions to your store or your phone number, enhancing overall user experience.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

 

When it comes to search engine optimization, Squarespace has you covered. Let’s quickly review the features that contribute to positioning your site on Google and other search engines:

  1. Meta Titles and Descriptions: Customize the titles and descriptions of your pages and blog posts. These tags help define each page and post, providing additional information to search engines.

  2. AMP Support: Squarespace enables the creation of a lightweight version of your website, allowing it to load more quickly on smartphones and tablets. Enabling this feature is a straightforward process.

  3. Custom URLs: Generate your own URLs and incorporate keywords to enhance visibility.

  4. SSL (Secure Sockets Layer): An essential security signal that not only secures your website but also contributes positively to SEO.

  5. Sitemap: Accessing yourdomain.com/sitemap.xml provides a map of your site that can be submitted to Google and other search engines, enhancing discoverability.

  6. Alt Tag: Add additional text to your images, which displays in case the image cannot be loaded, contributing to accessibility and SEO.

  7. Hide from Search Results: Exercise control over which pages to show or hide from search results.

  8. Search Results Preview: Gain insight into what your blog post will look like on Google, allowing you to optimize its appearance.

These comprehensive features empower users to optimize their Squarespace websites effectively for search engine visibility.

Blogging functions

Whether you’re creating an independent blog or incorporating a blog into your website, the strength of blog features in your website builder is crucial. Squarespace evidently acknowledges the significance of this, as, with their service, a Blog isn’t just an embeddable section—it has a dedicated field.

Accessible under “Pages,” a blog can be swiftly added to any template or site in development. Various layouts are available, allowing you to choose the one that best suits your blog’s aesthetic.

Squarespace streamlines all blogging options, placing them just a click away. From altering the title, meta description, and SEO settings to managing social images for platforms like Facebook and Twitter, configuring the feed, and more, everything is easily accessible.

Once your blog is set up, adding, editing, or deleting posts is a straightforward process. You have granular control over nearly every aspect, from the overall style of your blog page to its width, spacing, image placements, and more.

Managing categories and tags is intuitive, and for those with coding expertise, incorporating extra code is a seamless task.

Your Squarespace template encompasses everything you need for effective blogging. However, be prepared for a learning curve, particularly with the abundance of blogging possibilities. Some options and settings may initially feel tucked away, necessitating additional time to locate them or a thorough exploration of the help documentation.

eCommerce integration

While Squarespace may not rival dedicated eCommerce platforms like Shopify, it undeniably provides robust features for those interested in establishing an online store. The combination of its powerful visual editor and comprehensive eCommerce functionalities positions Squarespace as a formidable choice for e-store development.

Upon accessing the Commerce menu item in the site editor, a myriad of options unfolds.

At the forefront of the options list, you can seamlessly review orders, manage inventory, and handle customer information. Tasks such as discount management, scheduling sales, and other eCommerce-related activities can be easily executed.

Squarespace goes the extra mile by offering the Squarespace Commerce mobile app, enabling Point of Sale (PoS) functionality. This feature allows users in the United States to effortlessly conduct in-person sales using the Square Reader and smartphone apps, providing flexibility in conducting business anywhere.

Shipping, tax management, accounting, and all the essential elements for running a successful business are conveniently accessible. The range of individual options available to you is contingent on the specific Squarespace pricing plan you have chosen.

⑤ Squarespace pricing and plans

You have the option to select from four pricing plans, each with applicable discounts if you opt for annual payment. Additionally, for every website you design with Squarespace, a 14-day free trial is offered.

Personal
  • $16 per month.

Perfect for small personal or business sites that do not sell anything online. You receive a custom domain, SSL security, and there’s unlimited bandwidth and storage.

Business
  • $23 per month.

Includes professional email from Google, premium integrations and blocks, and complete customization with CSS and JavaScript. Has basic Commerce features, with 3% transaction fee.

Basic Commerce
  • $27 per month.

No transaction fee, and extends the list of Commerce features that allow you to run a larger online store.

Advanced Commerce
  • $49 per month.

No transaction fee, and provides all of the advanced Commerce features such as working with subscriptions, advanced shipping options, discounts, and Commerce APIs for better integrations.

⑥ Squarespace pros and cons

Pros

  • Templates – there are more than one hundred beautiful templates to choose from, categorized by niches. All templates are easily customizable.
  • SEO – there are a number of SEO options that will help you manage your website.
  • Mobile apps – you can easily edit your website via their iOS application.
  • Commerce – there are a lot of options you’ll love when starting your online store. Their Point of Sale option is a game-changer.

Cons

  • Onboarding – it takes time to figure out how the editor works.
  • Documentation – although there are a lot of documents, the search field doesn’t work as expected. Some images didn’t show, and it’s easy to end up browsing help files from a previous version.

⑦ Conclusion

If you prefer not to deal with coding or delve into custom web design techniques but still desire a beautiful and modern website, Squarespace is an excellent choice.

Once you explore the attractive templates they provide and engage with their robust visual editor, giving you control over nearly every aspect of your site, you’ll likely develop a fondness for Squarespace.

While it may not offer the same level of extensive customization as WordPress, Squarespace provides a wealth of options at a reasonable price for crafting a polished website.

⑧ FAQ

Squarespace is a website builder platform that allows individuals and businesses to create and manage websites without extensive coding knowledge.

Squarespace offers various pricing plans, starting from $16 per month, with discounts available for annual payments.

Squarespace provides robust eCommerce features, including inventory management, order processing, and secure payment options.

Yes, Squarespace allows you to use your existing domain or purchase a new one directly through their platform.

Absolutely. Squarespace offers dedicated blogging features, allowing users to create and manage blog content seamlessly.

Squarespace includes built-in SEO tools, allowing users to customize meta titles, descriptions, and other elements to improve search engine visibility.

Yes, Squarespace allows users to switch templates without losing their content. However, some customization may be needed to fit the new template.

Yes, Squarespace offers customer support through various channels, including live chat, email, and extensive help documentation.

Yes, all Squarespace templates are designed to be responsive and mobile-friendly, ensuring a seamless experience for users on different devices.

Yes, you can cancel your Squarespace subscription at any time. However, depending on the plan, you may be eligible for a refund within a specific timeframe.

Lucian
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