Squarespace Site Builder Review – Is This the One to Use?
Squarespace is a very popular and well-known site builder, and a quick visit to their own homepage will show you why. They know how to build sites, and everything looks absolutely perfect. However, just because they can build their own site doesn’t mean they can also help you do the same. They claim that they are the best one out there for portfolio sites, blogs, and online stores, but can they live up to their own hype?
What I Liked about Squarespace
- It comes with truly exceptional designer templates that are eye-catching. The templates are sophisticated instead of tacky and they come with excellent cover pages as well.
- Squarespace offers fully responsive templates, so optimizing the viewing experiences of your customers becomes a breeze.
- The styling options are out of this world and far more extensive than what any other site builder can offer. You can easily customize your design, even if you have no knowledge of coding.
What I Didn’t Like about Squarespace
- Some people have found that there is a bit of lag and bug in dropping, dragging, and adding blocks. If, for instance, you want to move a block from the bottom to the top, the page won’t automatically scroll with you. This can make rearranging your content quite a time consuming job.
- While Squarespace has enabled users to customize the site even if they don’t know coding, the options that are out there are so vast that you may feel somewhat overwhelmed. You’re simply going to have to make all the changes you can implement and familiarize yourself with the system.
- It offers very limited support for third party extensions and apps. That being said, it does increase the quality of what is made available.
- Squarespace does not offer telephone live support.
Squarespace comes with a number of really cool features, including:
- The blog, which is one of the most user friendly blogs available in the online world. It features customizable urls, Disqus integration, comments and moderation features, categories, tagging, and more. Plus, it offers a beautiful post editor.
- Their eCommerce feature that comes with a robust tax system, checkout customization, customizable email receipts, digital products, and more. The setup is really easy, which is surprising because eCommerce is generally very complex. It uses Stripe as the payment gateway, which is an excellent option.
- The form builder, which includes Mailchimp and Google Docs integration, 19 individual form field options, custom post-submit HTML, and lightbox mode.
- iOS and Android apps, which are truly beautiful. The iOS commerce option is particularly extensive, including blog, metrics, and portfolio. The Android version is very similar.
- It is Retina ready, generating scaled version of each of the images you include, so that they can easily and quickly load on mobile and Retina devices.
- It comes with a newsletter, which integrates Mailchimp.
- You can include a membership system for your followers.
- It has a restaurant menu, which is out of this world. You can build your menu with a simple language and the system automatically styles it for you. As with all Squarespace features, you can also fully customize it.
- You can have a donations button, which is perfect for charitable organizations. You can create customized email receipts as well, so that your donors and your paying customers can receive different receipts. It is quite unique for Squarespace to understand this, as most other builders simply send the same one. On the donations area, you can also customize the checkout experience and you can include suggested donations.
- It comes with a beautiful audio player through which you can show single tracks or full albums.
- You can add, syndicate, and publish podcasts through the Audio Block, which can be fully customized to iTunes.
Since Squarespace updated to version 7, a number of additional features were included. These are:
- Google Apps for Work
- The Cover Page builder
- Getty images
The new update has also made the editor’s usability far better, enabling you to update and edit your content in real time, without having to switch between the two. Online editing is known to be both faster and less abstract.
The design templates offered by Squarespace are so good that even other site builders have to admit their struggle to compete. Those who have seen the templates all say that they are amazing, have a designer feel to them, and that they look expensive, high end, and very clean. Unlike other site builders, they don’t offer a near endless list of templates. Rather, they offer a smaller quantity but they are all designed with the greatest care and attention possible.
When you search through the available templates, you don’t have to sift through hundreds that are mediocre at best. Rather, each template is highly polished and fully fit for purpose. Clearly, Squarespace believes that quality is more important than quantity.
At present, there are around 40 templates to choose from. These address different types of industries, such as personal, weddings, restaurants, musicians, blogs, stores, portfolios, and businesses. Each of these templates is fully functional and can be used straight away. That being said, you can customize them to fit your needs. This is particularly true if you do know a little bit of code, as you can edit the CSS in order to style your site even more. Plus, you don’t have to worry about ruining the site, as you can easily reset the original CSS to the template.
Squarespace App Market
Squarespace, unfortunately, does not have any really good support for third party extensions and apps. However, in so doing, they have made sure that everything that is supported actually works. That being said, the likes of Shopify and Apple have a regulated system to make sure extensions are of high quality, something that Squarespace does not have. Instead, if a feature has to be rolled out, only Squarespace can do it. If you want a specific functionality to integrate in a seamless way, therefore, you may find it very difficult. You can, however, include Code Injection and it also comes with a toolset for developers. This means that you can add third party features if you know what you’re doing.
Squarespace has often been told that their ecommerce options are more flexible and comprehensive than those of any other site builder out there today. Those who want to use the platform to build an online store, therefore, can access a range of very powerful tools to enable them to do so. The options that are available are incredibly flexible as well. You can quite literally sell anything through the easy store management and flexible options that they offer.
The templates that Squarespace offers alone are well worth the price. They are professionally designed and you would have to pay a designer thousands of dollars for similar results. However, there is no free pricing plan with Squarespace at all, although you can access it for free for 14 days as a trial.
There are three different packages:
- The $7 per month Cover Page. The price is reduced to $5 per month if you sign up for a year. This is a single page website only, meaning you can’t add any extra pages at all.
- The $16 per month Personal Plan. The price is reduced to $12 per month if you sign up for a year.
- The $26 per month Business Plan. The price is reduced to $18 per month if you sign up for a year.
Besides these three pages, you can also sign up for a specific ecommerce package. These are slightly more expensive, ranging from $26 to $40. While you pay more per month for these, you won’t be charged for transaction fees, and you will be able to access various advanced ecommerce tools. If you sign up for a personal or business plan, you can also use it for ecommerce, but you will have to pay for transactions and you won’t have access to the additional tools and features.
The personal and business plans are within the ‘website’ category. This means you can build a full site, with a range of different pages. You can also usually add a cover page to the site.
Overall, Squarespace is slightly more expensive than other site builders, but the difference is negligible. Most people also feel that you pay for what you get, and Squarespace simply offers more for the money they charge. They have invested so much thought and time into designing the templates, for instance, that the prices they do charge feel like a steal! You can literally create a professional looking website without the expense of getting the services of a web designer and web developer.
You also have to consider that all Squarespace plans come with hosting and technical support. This again sets it apart from others and also means that the price is slightly distorted. For instance, hosting alone usually costs between $4 and $6 per month, which you won’t have to pay for with Squarespace, while also knowing that you will be properly hosted and supported.
Putting this into perspective, anyone who wants a functional, professional looking website should consider Squarespace. It isn’t expensive, particularly since they also offer 24/7 support and tremendous features and functions. Plus, the 14 day trial means that you can test the product completely risk free.
Through Squarespace, you can access 24/7 support, 365 days per year. You can do this through email tickets or through live chat. Furthermore, they have an extensive Knowledge Base that you can access as soon as you sign up for the services. Here, you will able to access guides, video walkthroughs, and more. The customer forum is also excellent and very well used. Unfortunately, no phone support is offered with Squarespace.
The Final Verdict
Through Squarespace, you can create websites that look as if they were built by professional designers. The sites are fully responsive, meaning they will work on any device. The templates are absolutely fantastic, having been created by real industry gurus. They come with a range of fantastic styling options so that you can still customize your site afterwards, allowing you to really make it your own. This can feel somewhat overwhelming at first, but you should quickly get the hang of it.
The workshop videos, forum, and knowledge base are fantastic. It is very easy to speak to experts or other users about any issue they may be facing. Furthermore, they offer round the clock support over email and chat to their customers. They even promise to get back to you within an hour, something that no other similar site does.
Of course, the system isn’t perfect, nothing is. If there was such a thing as perfection, there would be no need to actually review an item, after all, as it would be the only one out there. Overall, the site builder is perfect for restaurants, personal blogs and websites, online shops, boutique businesses, photography, and more, and you can also use it to use it as a stepping stone for more online stores.
Squarespace currently comes with a 14 day free trial, which means that you have nothing to lose by trying the system. If, after that time, you have not noticed any benefits, then you can simple cancel your subscription and move on.
Building a website can seem like an impossible task, particularly if you are not a coder, SEO expert, or even if you have never done this before. While websites such as WordPress are powerful and very affordable, they also have significant limitations. Sometimes, you simply have to pay for what you get, and Squarespace makes this possible. They have created fully responsive templates that are really easy to use even if you have never built a website yourself. With advanced ecommerce features and fantastic customer support, the company can be forgiven for making it slightly more expensive.