In this Squarespace review, I will take a closer look at this popular builder’s features, ease of use and pricing, and test its performance, in order to find out if this platform is really worth the praise.
Squarespace is known for being a website builder that offers impressive designs for many creatives, but it also advertises itself as a great eCommerce solution for entrepreneurs.
For a website builder to be able to provide solutions for nearly any specific niche is quite a huge task. Many website building platforms focus on one type of websites specifically and make it their strength – be it online store building, business websites, or portfolios.
Meanwhile, Squarespace claims to have a solution for nearly anything – a simple website, a portfolio, a gallery, a business website, and even an online store.
I wanted to test this claim and check if this Squarespace doesn’t end up being a jack of all trades but master of none.
And you know what?
I was pleasantly surprised. Not only Squarespace offers aesthetically pleasing designs that make it an eye-candy, but it also manages to back it up with a variety of in-house features that do not require manual integration.
The website building process with Squarespace is intuitive, pleasing for the eye, and completely stress-free. Its website builder was easy to use, and the platform itself has a feature-rich dashboard, where you can access numerous amount of in-house tools.
However, some features are polished more than the others. For example:
Squarespace technically bills itself as a drag-and-drop editor, but the reality is slightly different. While you can move your site’s components, it’s only possible within a fixed grid system.
The primary purpose of this tool is to change the basic order of the site, not fully customize its structure or appearance. Squarespace is therefore not a true drag-and-drop option.
The strength of Squarespace’s design lies in its highly functional templates and in-house tools. The majority of Squarespace’s internal tools are available from the main dashboard, so there is no need for further integration.
The image-heavy focus of some templates has led this platform to be a fan favorite with artists and photographers. With all plans including unlimited bandwidth and storage, building large websites is accessible for all Squarespace users.
The platform’s eCommerce features are also extremely extensive. You can manage stock, set-up payments, automate customer emails, and set alerts for inventory shortages.
It now also offers third-party integrations for added functionality. Every component of Squarespace’s eCommerce platform is available from the central dashboard. Additionally, the commerce plans at Squarespace don’t charge any commission rates on sales.
Overall, Squarespace is an impressive platform. Let’s dive into the finer details and explore its pricing, templates, eCommerce tools, performance, and more!
If you’re able to pay on an annual basis, Squarespace pricing ranges from $12 to $40 per month. For those paying month-to-month, Squarespace costs between $16 and $46 per month.
There are four subscription levels and a limited-access free trial is available to new users for 14 days.
It’s still plenty enough of time to try out different features that Squarespace offers, but note down that this builder’s trial affects every website you create separately.
Meaning that if you started one project earlier than another, it will deactivate earlier as well. So in the end, you’re stuck with 14 free days to publish your website or you’ll be left with the deactivated project in the end.
Now let’s take a closer look at paid plans and what they offer, so you would know which plan is worth subscribing to.
Unfortunately, you won’t be able to test Squarespace’s premium features with the platform’s free trial. You need to upgrade to a more advanced subscription level to access these elements of the platform.
While you’ll still see the eCommerce, email marketing, and other premium features within the ‘Personal’ interface, it will prompt you to upgrade if you try to access it.
While Squarespace doesn’t offer the same drag-and-drop tools you find in other popular web builders, one of the platform’s primary benefits is its ease of use.
From the moment you sign up, Squarespace guides you through selecting a template and building your website. Also, users have access to extensive customization tools within the builder’s main editor.
So let’s check if building a website with Squarespace is really that easy.
Starting your first website on Squarespace is very straightforward. When you sign up from the ‘Get Started’ tab on the home page, you will be directed to choose a template and website category before you sign up for an account.
When you enter your personal details, Squarespace will automatically register you for a 14-day free trial of its ‘Personal’ plan.
While this won’t give you access to the full suite of Squarespace features, it will allow you to play with the system and get a feel for its tools and features.
Personally, while writing this Squarespace review, I found the trial period allows you to test all the core design features included in the system – if you want to get a feeling for its ease-of-use, this is all you will need.
After selecting your first template and signing up for an account, you can start building your site.
Squarespace doesn’t offer you the same level of flexibility that you’ll find in other drag-and-drop web builders. Unfortunately, you can’t make major changes to the layout of your template. I found this quite frustrating when I was trying to change the core components of my test site.
But don’t worry, your hands are not completely tied. You can change the basic layout of a template by dragging significant components to other areas of the site. While it is a very rigid system, it still allows for some flexibility.
This reliance on template structure may prove to be frustrating for some web designers, though. While the template options are extensive and aesthetic, if pixel-perfect customization is a major priority to you, this may not be the right platform.
Some users might believe that site editor can be challenging to use, however, after testing it for this Squarespace review, I found the interface to be fairly intuitive.
For example, the left-hand side of the dashboard links to various sub-sections of Squarespace’s platform. So it’s easy to upload a new blog, manage inventory, and influence the design of your site.
I didn’t have any problems managing the core components of my test site once my design was finalized.
As with most web builders, Squarespace may take a couple of days to get used to. When you first start editing or building your site, it can be hard to navigate through the various pages in your template.
Fortunately, if you head to the ‘Pages’ tab and scroll down, you’ll find an index map that shows you the various components of each page.
Adding new pages and products is exceptionally straightforward. After you click the ‘Pages’ tab on your dashboard, you’ll find an ‘Add Page’ tab under the ‘Secondary Navigation’ menu.
Here, you can choose to add a blog, event, gallery, product, or any other type of page. It only takes a matter of seconds to upload your text or imagery and publish your page.
This process makes it extremely easy to add eCommerce products to your website. Once you select the type of product you wish to upload, you’ll be prompted to enter its details, images, pricing, restrictions, and more. If you have a new product you want to release, you can have it live on your site within minutes.
Squarespace users also benefit from a comprehensive Apple and Android app that allows mobile editing.
If you want to upload blogs, change products, or manage other components of your site, you can access most elements directly through the app. The app is extremely intuitive, and it’s easy to find all core components on the homepage.
The Squarespace mobile app has exceptionally positive reviews from users, and it’s easy to see why.
When I first opened the app, I found options to edit pages, add blogs, edit settings, alter share buttons, and more. You can even set up a menu of ‘Quick Actions’ if you need to perform the same task frequently.
In addition to the editing and management features within the app, you can use it to contact Squarespace’s support team. Users have access to a ‘support ticket’ portal where they can lodge requests or questions.
Your site’s daily visitors and performance stats are also hosted on the homepage of the mobile app, and you can keep tabs on the pulse of your website from anywhere in the world.
If you want to build your website, Squarespace’s desktop editor is still the most powerful option. I wouldn’t recommend building an entire site using Squarespace’s mobile app. If you’re running an online store, you’ll need the desktop editor to access your full range of integrations, add-ons, and capabilities.
It always takes time to get used to a new platform. If you’re finding yourself confused when you first start using Squarespace, the platform offers extensive support resources to users that need help with any aspect of website building.
All plans come with 24/7 support that puts you in touch with a live customer service representative. You can access email support around the clock and live chat support within certain weekday hours. Unfortunately, though, there’s no option for phone support at Squarespace.
When you first begin building a new site on Squarespace, informational pop-ups will help you navigate the system and its core components. Still, these pop-ups are relatively basic and don’t provide users with an extensive amount of help.
Fortunately, Squarespace’s knowledge center provides you with comprehensive tutorials and explanation articles to help you understand every component of the site.
Out of all the web builder knowledge bases I’ve seen, this is certainly one of the most extensive. Squarespace also does an excellent job of uploading video tutorials that help explain a wide range of its platform’s functions and features. It’s safe to say that Squarespace does an excellent job of simplifying its product.
Squarespace users benefit from a library of over 90 unique templates. Because the platform doesn’t offer a pixel-perfect customizable drag-and-drop tool, Squarespace’s templates are a critical component of its design process.
Users can easily switch between templates at any time without changing the content of their site.
When you first set up a Squarespace site, you’ll be directed to enter the purpose of your website. Squarespace will then suggest relevant templates that apply to your particular niche or website type. For example, if you write ‘blog’ in the search field, Squarespace will provide images of templates that are specifically designed for blogs.
There’s no doubt that Squarespace templates are sleek and well-designed. If you’re looking for minimalist designs that take advantage of impressive graphics, imagery and white spate – Squarespace is one of the best options.
This being said, with just over 90 templates to choose from, you don’t have as many options as you would with a platform like Wix.
It’s important to remember that many Squarespace templates rely on impressive imagery and photos. If you don’t have any professional images to fill these spaces, you may end up creating a site that looks inferior to the original template example.
Fortunately, you can access high-quality photos on Squarespace through Getty images. While many of the premium images require you to pay a small fee for image rights, it’s typically well worth the cost if you can find the right photo.
There are also online services that provide custom Squarespace templates. If you’re looking for templates outside of the standard selection, you can pay a service for access to its custom options.
While many of Squarespace’s users are bloggers and small eCommerce shops, some of the world’s largest brands also trust the platform to build their sites.
You can find a range of leading websites that use Squarespace templates and web building features. Below, take a look at how UberEats used Squarespace to build its site.
Customers using Squarespace to build or promote a business benefit from a range of specialized features. Whether you’re looking to build an eCommerce platform, or you want to start an email marketing campaign, Squarespace has integrated tools included in all of its eCommerce plans. You can also integrate your site with third-party platforms.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the business features available to Squarespace users.
In recent years, Squarespace has shifted a lot of attention towards promoting its eCommerce tools. So, is it easy to build an extensive eCommerce website using this platform?
When you click on the ‘Commerce’ tab in your design dashboard, you’ll be redirected to a menu of eCommerce features. Here you can control orders, inventory, payments, automated emails, third-party apps, and other eCommerce elements.
Under the ‘Orders’ tab, you’ll have access to a full dashboard view of all your current and past orders. You can search these using different classifications and export the data to your computer.
In the ‘Inventory’ section, you can view your current stock levels and set custom notifications to alert you when you’re running low on key items.
Under the ‘Payments’ tab, you can configure your payment system to suit your needs. Users can set the ‘store currency’ and link Stripe or Paypal to accept payments online.
If you’re planning on offering a seasonal promotion, you can schedule discounts for your eCommerce store. This feature makes it easy to offer creative rewards to your customers. For those who want more control over how they connect with customers, it is possible to create customer accounts and notifications that help track consumer habits.
Squarespace makes it easy to automate your customer interactions. You can set up emails that automatically send to customers in specific instances. For example, eCommerce stores can send automated emails when a customer signs up for an account, completes an order, or leaves a cart abandoned.
Squarespace has recently added an ‘Apps’ section that provides third-party eCommerce integrations. Users benefit from a wide range of external platforms and services that can do anything from automating sales taxes to shipping fulfillment.
Overall, it’s easy to see why Squarespace is so excited about its eCommerce options. You’ll have plenty of tools at your disposal if you try and build an online store using this platform.
Instead of manually linking your updates to various social media channels, you can integrate your site with your profiles. There is no limit on the number of social media accounts you can connect to your Squarespace site.
So, how do you benefit from connecting your accounts to your website? You can automate content sharing, which will instantly distribute new posts to all of your channels. You’ll be able to integrate with leading social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.
Squarespace claims its templates are built to work seamlessly with search engine queries. The platform offers an excellent ‘SEO Checklist’ that helps you optimize your site for leading search engines.
Adding site titles, site tags, and other critical SEO elements is essential if you want your website to perform well in search results.
While you will need to enter most of the SEO-related components manually, it’s not hard to access in the Squarespace editor. Under the marketing tab in your design portal, you’ll find the SEO section, which provides you direct access to all search engine-related controls. Here, you can directly view your search engine appearances and input your site descriptions.
However, Squarespace allows you to put in SEO-related descriptions only to the pages of your website.
When it comes to your blog posts, Squarespace will automatically take a chunk off your article and put it in as a meta description. This is not the greatest option, especially, if you’re willing to climb high on search engine result pages (SERPs).
Yet you still can work your way around with keyword density. Squarespace also allows you to view which keywords direct the most traffic to your website. By verifying your site with Google Search Console, you’ll gain access to comprehensive search data that can help you focus on the right keywords. This feature can also help you better understand your SEO shortcomings.
If you want to communicate in a professional capacity, it’s critical to have business emails that utilize your website’s domain name. While many web builders charge extra for access to professional email, Squarespace includes free premium email for a year in all plans aside from ‘Personal.’
Squarespace uses Google as its email platform. You’ll have access to your emails and related files on any device. Additionally, you can take advantage of G Suite to collaborate with staff using your business email address. If you plan on using Google Docs or Google Suite in your workplace, this is always an excellent benefit.
Several web development agencies have started using web builders to create sites for their clients. This is only likely if you have a platform that offers multiple sites per account and multiple contributors per site. Fortunately, Squarespace offers both features.
All Squarespace plans, aside from Personal, offer unlimited contributor accounts. This means that you can set up staff accounts for designers on your team. Multiple people will be able to contribute to the same project.
Squarespace has a new platform named Squarespace Circle that is built specifically for web design agencies. Circle provides users with access to a host of benefits that can enable better client services. You can offer discounted Squarespace rates and longer trial periods to your customers.
Squarespace Circle also offers a wide range of resources to assist the design process. However, you need at least three websites attached to your Squarespace account to be eligible for this program.
Unfortunately, at this time, you cannot add any exclusive branding to Squarespace’s backend platform. This means that you won’t be able to give clients access to a personalized portal or control center for your agency. There are other competitors, such as Sitejet, which currently offer more flexibility in this department.
While we’ve already taken a look at the personal and business email services you can access on Squarespace, the platform also has extensive email marketing options.
If you’re looking to create a comprehensive email campaign to connect with potential customers, Squarespace allows you to build a list and automate the marketing process.
One of the primary benefits associated with Squarespace’s email marketing platform is the design element. Users are able to produce emails that contain designs corresponding with their Squarespace templates and themes.
Unfortunately, you’ll need to pay a bit extra to access the email marketing campaigns at Squarespace. Email campaign pricing ranges from $5 to $48 per month, depending on the volume you need. There are four email marketing tiers available.
All eCommerce-based plans also include three free email campaigns, and you can try the platform before making any financial commitments.
The email marketing portal within your Squarespace web builder will also list key metrics involved in previous campaigns. It’s easy to keep track of past campaign performance, useful for adjusting future campaign strategies. Users can even access who clicked their email content and view if there are specific ‘unfollow’ requests from current subscribers.
In addition to traditional web building and eCommerce features, you’ll find a few additional elements inside this platform. Squarespace’s popularity as a service has driven it to offer a broad range of industry-specific tools that can help you provide more to your visitors.
Let’s take a look at some of the platform’s other useful tools and features.
While Squarespace is primarily a web building platform, it also has an extensive logo design tool that can help you generate custom logos in a matter of minutes.
Users can combine text with a range of in-house graphics. You can customize colors, layout, and sizing, making this tool entirely drag-and-drop.
While this tool isn’t nearly as extensive as some ‘paid-for’ logo-making alternatives, it still helps you generate professional logos without any previous design experience and helps you save on the graphic designer.
You don’t actually need a Squarespace account to use this logo maker. If you head to the portal and design a logo, you can download the image free of charge.
It’s not the best solution around but still good enough if you’re just starting a business and want to have an alternative. Before paying hundreds of dollars for a professional, you can create a basic image for your brand.
Squarespace does much more than offer SSL certificates to keep clients’ websites secure. You can also access Google ReCAPTCHA if you want to prevent contact form spam on your site.
Leaving your contact form unprotected may result in your site being overrun by bot activity. By using Google ReCAPTCHA to verify the legitimacy of someone using the contact form, you can avoid wasting time sifting through automated contact form submissions.
No matter what type of site you’re building, it’s essential to understand your audience. Squarespace’s analytics portal provides easy-to-digest analytics data that contains information about your visitors and traffic sources. You can use this tool to determine which content or products draw the most attention.
You can view your daily traffic numbers, as well as information about the geography of your website’s hits. You’ll also be able to view whether your traffic is generated from desktop computers or mobile devices.
Alternatively, you can use your Google Analytics account to track the reporting data on your site. If you already have a Google Analytics account, you can connect it to your profile under the ‘Analytics’ tab.
Before writing this Squarespace review, I had some high hopes for this platform’s performance. But is this really the case?
I built my own Squarespace site and put it to the test to determine if it lives up to my expectations. Unfortunately, the test results were a bit of a mixed bag.
My Squarespace site scored a D on the ‘PageSpeed’ test. This is an extremely concerning result that indicates poor performance. On the other hand, my test on YSlow yielded a next to perfect rating – an A+. While this second test score is promising, there are web builders that offer better performance figures.
In addition to the above tests, I ran a page responsiveness test to further gauge my Squarespace site’s performance. As you can see below, the response times (blue) remained fairly consistent, even during large visitor volume (green).
I also decided to test page responsiveness from a non-US server. Below, you’ll find a LoadImpact test that utilizes South Korean servers.
As you can see, the performance was relatively similar. There was no significant variation in responsiveness, regardless of the number of visitors to the site.
My Squarespace review revealed the platform’s various strengths and weaknesses. It’s easy to see how Squarespace has become one of the most famous website builders in the industry. With attractive templates and a full host of customization options, users can build extensive websites without any previous coding experience.
While it doesn’t offer an effective ‘drag-and-drop’ tool, it’s easy to change the outline of your Squarespace template. High-definition images look particularly good with many of this platform’s designs. You can also edit and manage most components of your site with Squarespace’s mobile app.
Squarespace’s eCommerce options make it easy to build online stores. You can upload new products in a matter of minutes. For those who want to reach out to prospective clients or customers, the email marketing platform at Squarespace is hard to beat. You can even retain your website’s template branding within your marketing emails.
However, if performance is your primary selling point, you may want to look at other providers.
While Squarespace offers its users access to a ton of excellent web building features, there are other options available. With so many web builders entering the market, it can be hard to choose the one that’s perfect for your site. Below, my Squarespace review will take a look at four potential alternatives.
Wix is another leading platform with an acute focus on ease of use. Unlike Squarespace, Wix offers its users access to a drag-and-drop editor. It’s easy to build visual sites and create custom templates. With over 500 initial template options, it’s one of the best platforms on the market for customization.
Wix also has an extensive application store that allows you to integrate additional features with your website. At present, the company has over 250 applications that can assist with anything from advertisements to shipping.
Unfortunately, Wix isn’t known for its performance features. If you’re looking for a visual site that also loads quickly, you may have to look at other web builders. It also appears that Wix sites with video components often perform worse in speed tests (when compared to sites with no videos).
Weebly is another popular platform that has been gaining significant traction in recent years. As with many of the other web builders on this list, users at Weebly have access to a drag-and-drop tool that makes customizing a site extremely easy. You can also input your own code if you want to change core components of your website.
Unfortunately, while Weebly’s drag-and-drop tool is easy to use, it doesn’t offer as much functionality as other industry leaders. Because templates are built using a ‘grid’ system, you can only drag elements of your site within specific parameters. You don’t have the same level of freedom that you find in other drag-and-drop tools.
Another positive aspect of Weebly is its performance. Sites built using this platform are incredibly responsive.
Bandzoogle is a web building platform built exclusively for the music industry. If you’re a band or solo artist seeking to build an online platform, this might be the right one for you. Bandzoogle offers its users the ability to host and sell music, sell merchandise, sell tickets, distribute download codes, and perform other music-related tasks.
Squarespace also offers its users access to music-specific tools. You can host albums on your site, sell downloads, and set up a merchandise store. Still, Bandzoogle is exceptionally easy to use and offers a full drag-and-drop editor. You also have access to download codes and other niche features that you won’t find at Squarespace.
This alternative is only applicable if you need a website built explicitly for the music industry.
Sitejet is a German-based web builder that offers a drag-and-drop editor with over 100 templates. It’s specifically designed for web development agencies that have multiple staff members. The system offers an internal workflow optimization tool that allows managers to assign tasks, provide feedback, and track billable hours on projects.
While Squarespace allows multiple contributors and has tools for agencies, it doesn’t have the same workflow management features you find at Sitejet. Also, Sitejet allows you to personally brand the backend of your web building platform to offer a personal portal for your clients and staff.
Sitejet does have a drag-and-drop element associated with its design tool, but it can feel a bit clumsy. If you’re looking for a seamless drag-and-drop tool, this might not be the right option. Moving components of your site can often result in formatting issues that may take considerable time to fix.