DESCRIPTION

If you want some seriously slick web design, Squarespace is the site builder for. All you need to do is to invest some time in this platform. Squarespace can help you build a truly stylish and elegant blog or online store but keep in mind that the good things take time.

It is true, when browsing Squarespace reviews you’d rarely see how easy it is to use. Not that it is extremely complicated, but when compared to other website builders the Squarespace interface looks a bit cumbersome.

Interface is not everything, though. Right off the bat, Squarespace puts in your hands some of the best design solutions out there. Their templates incorporate many advanced web design principles, which can give your site an unforgettably attractive outlook.

To put things in context, occasionally throughout this review I am comparing Squarespace vs Wix and Squarespace vs WordPress. For me, Squarespace falls somewhere in-between Wix and WordPress in terms of functionality and ease of use, which is why such comparison helps in creating a better understanding.

Ease of use

The latest iteration of the Squarespace site builder has a rather functional interface. Previously, many Squarespace user reviews were full of complaints about the disjointed navigation and convoluted settings. It seems that the Squarespace team have been paying attention all this time.

Despite the improvements, which have streamlined the design process to a degree, page editing still seems much less direct compared to the likes of Wix.

When discussing other site builders, I always advise people to play around and explore them freely and only then to check out documentation and video tutorials. With Squarespace I would warrant the opposite.

Better spend some time studying the platform before diving in, as the interface options could be frustrating for people with no previous experience.

Dragging and dropping items is possible but limited.

Editing various elements of the theme can happen only at the top level. In other words, you cannot have a part of the text in green colour and another in crimson. All pieces of text are considered to be equal, hence they would sport the same colour throughout. The same goes for menu buttons, headlines, links, etc.

Truth be told, this makes a lot of sense in terms of design, but it does take some creative power away from your hands.

Themes and designs

This is where Squarespace truly shines. It may not have as many themes as Wix or WordPress, but the ones you can use are top-notch.

Designing a website is much more than creating the right navigation tools and adding pictures. Various principles govern the subtle correlations between different elements. Through proper application, they enhance the user experience, leaving a pleasant memory and a lasting impression.

Understanding those principles and learning how to weave them into the structure of your website is an arduous task and it is probably not for everyone. Squarespace gives you the themes ready to use. All the same, you can insert your own CSS code.

The downside of these finely-tuned designs is that you have to thread carefully when customizing them. Breaking the immersion and ruining the balance on the page can happen easily enough without some creative thought and effort.

Interactivity and responsiveness

All Squarespace themes are optimized for mobile users. There is no need to tweak them much once the main design is complete.

Now, I mentioned how great their designs are and it is true: they are very good looking and very functional. But their speed is somewhat lacking. On average, speed analytic tools tend to rank Squarespace sites in the medium bracket, which is why Squarespace is bad for mobile users.

Of course, there is room for optimization but the performance cannot be boosted infinitely so do not expect wonders there.

Applications

Squarespace is highly suitable for blogging and for ecommerce. In fact, only WordPress provides more possibilities for potential bloggers, but it is also much more difficult to use without technical background.

You can integrate easily videos, sound, comment sections, archive and many other features in your Squarespace site. Unlike WordPress, the initial setup is very simple. Adding the necessary elements doesn’t take much effort either.

The same goes for creating an online shop. Every Squarespace plan provides a shopping cart with pretty good functionality.

Squarespace does not have nearly as many external applications as WordPress but all available apps are very useful and very easy to install. Generally, their functionality and ease of use fully compensate the somewhat small number.

SEO features

Squarespace has a handful of Search Engine Optimization options, but they are by no means complete. All themes are optimized by default but there are a few things to be done manually.

You can insert a description of the site for the search engine crawlers to read, add individual descriptions and custom names to pages, create alt-text for images, tag your blog posts and list your physical address. All these features are good to have but there is nothing really advanced there to help you boost your rankings to the top results. Add to that the relatively longer response times of Squarespace websites and your ranking could suffer severely.

To offset this, all Squarespace subscriptions include a free SSL. Google loves sites with SSL.

Packages

Squarespace comes with a free 14-day trial but after that all plans are paid. There are 4 of them in total.

The cheaper two – at $12 and $18 per month when paid annually – are aimed to suit blogging and business websites. Even though they do come with integrated ecommerce platform, the other two plans are the ones tailored for online shops.

Their monthly fees come at $26 and $40 when prepaid for a full year. This price could seem a bit steep but the included features really cover everything you might need to run a successful store online: accounting, marketing tools, analytics, etc.

Support

Squarespace provides exclusively online support: chat during the week, email and Twitter 24/7. There is no phone support for the time being, but the support centre documentation is really comprehensive. Pretty much anything that comes to mind is covered there.

Final verdict

Squarespace covers a specific niche in the website builder market. It attempts to automatize the role of the web designer and, to a certain extent, succeeds in doing so. You can get really awesome templates without the need to negotiate and argue with a real designer.

This approach has its benefits, but it also has some inherent flaws.

Pros:

  • Fantastic templates, excellent design
  • A reasonable amount of functional applications; their number is not overwhelming, making the choice easier
  • Easy setup for a blog
  • Excellent documentation and support centre

Cons :

  • The interface could be more intuitive
  • Performance is somewhat slow, optimizing the site speed is difficult
  • Limited SEO options when compared to WordPress
  • Pricy plans
  • No phone support

When doing Squarespace reviews I am always cautious in recommending it. If you know what you are doing and you like the templates, go for it. If you want more creative freedom, easier time learning the basics and the possibility to customize everything according to your taste, there are better and much cheaper options.

FAQ

1Q: Is Squarespace free?

A: No. You can check it out through a 14-day trial but all plans are paid.

2Q: Does Squarespace provide a domain name?

A: Yes, if you prepay your plan for 1 year.

3Q: Can I export my Squarespace site to another platform?

A: Yes, to WordPress.

4Q: Can I switch templates while my site is live?

A: Yes, you can change themes, customize them and adjust them as much as you want before pushing them onto the live site. No downtime is expected.

Video

Support

Reviews

4.1
20 ratings
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    Milan Bender

    I’ve been using Squarespace for about five years now. Our current website gets compliments all the time and was fairly simple to build and easy to upsate. As the reviewer mentions there is a learning curve and watching the tutorials will be very helpful! All in all the review is pretty accurate although I’ve never used Wix or WordPress…. Di the free trial and use your 14 days to see what you think!

    Anna

    I really liked Squarespace, but I didn’t use it for that long, and the only reason I stopped using it was because I’m starting to learn web development and wanted to be able to code my own site. I think Squarespace is easy to use, it’s well designed and relatively more fool-proof than other “drag and drop” web hosting out there. It’s hard to make a bad website with Squarespace. Their customer service is also pretty amazing.

    Anna

    I really like Squarespace, but I didn’t use it for that long, and the only reason I stopped using it was because I’m starting to learn web development and wanted to be able to code my own site. I think Squarespace is easy to use, it’s well designed and relatively more fool-proof than other “drag and drop” web hosting out there. It’s hard to make a bad website with Squarespace. Their customer service is also pretty amazing.

    Stephen Wershing

    To be honest, my experience with Squarespace has been mixed. When I first got set up with my own site, it was an easy way to do it. I have not wanted some of the new options in subsequent versions and wanted to retain some of the things that you did away with in my version. So I kept what I had (Version 5). However, I have since been told that you no longer support my version, so all those promotions about “24-hour service” ring hollow for me. I know if I have a problem that represents a bug in the system it will not be fixed. Given what has developed in website technology in the past 5 years, with all the new platforms available, I am no longer recommending Squarespace. I have set up two other sites since, and have chosen other systems.

    Casey Dorman

    I’ve used Squarespace for about 8 years and I’ve been very happy with its ease of posting new material, of importing media and the notifications it sends me when people respond to my website. My website functioned as an online literary journal of most of those years and I posted new material (short stories, film and book reviews, poetry, social commentary) every three months. All the material was archived by title and date and remained easily accessible to readers. In the last year it has functioned more as a blog with political commentary and guest film and book reviews. I have also used WordPress for other websites and have found Squarespace to be easier to navigate for a non-techie, such as me.

    Camen Andrea

    I’m starting to better know Squarespace. It’s well designed, easy to use (with “drag and drop” function) and has a fast a fast-responding customer service. I can recommend it

    Sabrina Hill

    When I started using Squarespace, I was thrilled with how easy it was to create a great looking website. I recommended Squarespace to everyone. However, over the years, as the software was changed and upgraded, I found it increasingly difficult to use. For example: In the beginning, you could change templates and see how your site would look in a different format. Now, if you try to change it, it doesn’t convert things. It also used to be very easy to format the page, now it is just more fiddlely.

    About a year ago, I wanted to revamp the whole site, after a month of tearing out my hair with templates that just didn’t work, I moved to FASO. I don;t like it better, but it is easier to use.

    Walter

    Really good service, almost too good. Lots to customize and great details on web analysis in regards to traffic, and details like that.

    Charles DiCarlo

    I do a lot of work with databases and i found that Squarespace provides an easy way of embedding my code into pages easily. This allows me the ability to focus my efforts on defining my data, database structure, alerts and notifications and when ready, simply insert them into my Squarespace pages.

    Also, they provide a lot of great examples. It’s easy to install and test out a new template ot see how it works with your current forms. Support has been very good.

    For me, if they had an easier way to connect their forms to a database, I would have rated this a five as that would resolve all my issues, but I understand that is not there model. Still, I find it more useful to develop the pages I want with the database access I need using Squarespace.

    Thanks,

    Charlie

    Melissa

    I have been using the squarespace website for 7 years. I built it myself and had no prior knowledge of how to do so. I have had a really good experience with it. When I have questions or need help, the support team is quick to get back to me and make sure that we resolve the problem to my satisfaction. It has been easy to use and keep up with.

    Roger Lee

    Best builder I have ever used

    Patrick Hanson

    I have used WIX and WordPress in the past but Squarespace is by far the easiest website builder to use. While all three platforms are user friendly, Squarespace allows for much more drag and drop and is cleaner for someone who is new to building a website. You really do end up with a professional looking webpage without much work or headache.

    I have experienced a few buggy things on Squarespace but opening a ticket with the help desk gets it resolved fast and easily. The tutorial videos are also great and an easy way to learn the ropes.

    Corey

    Overall very user friendly – like that the interface is right on the web – don’t need a desktop app, go to a different domain, etc. Easy to use/understand. Sometimes it is difficult to make things look just right – which is not unique to this tool –

    Pier-Philippe Rioux

    + Easy and intuitive CMS
    + Beautiful template that fit portfolio needs
    + Great builder and lots of font
    – Limited: the design will apply to all pages.

    Keep on rolling Squarespace!

    bridget Scala

    I have almost No computer skills, and was able to build a site using squarespace easily.I think its easy to use, and had good customer support.

    Kirsty Ethynes

    I’m not a web builder just a user of apps and I found squarespace built a professional looking/working website with comparative ease. The Help was actually helpful and enabled me to work the tools provided. Best of all we get people making enquirires to our site, afterall it’s no use building a site people can’t find.

    Ingrid Daujoti

    i wish more templates had a wider choice of features, such as Bedford – wish it had a banner option inside the page etc. instead of creating it and then realising that i have to use css.

    Artur Madej

    It’s easy to use. Templates are beautiful. Functionality covers almost everything. Customer support is very good. Most templates do great job on smartphones. That’s are pros but you will get some cons also. If you want to build portfolio you need to be smart uploading images – If you upload high res pics – squarespace templates will do nothing about it forcing your customers to download megabytes of data. Also CMS is not optimised to handle big galleries. UX of managing gallery over 30 images is bad.

    Althea

    I work in animation and need a portfolio website. I got a squarespace website a few years back after several years of thinking I needed to hire someone to do the coding (or somehow get around to learning code myself.) I was very delighted to find Squarespace. I’m especially pleased that the templates also work well on mobile devices. I also really love that I can embed my social media streams as well, a feature I unfortunately didn’t discover until very recently!
    My only complaint is that when there are many images in a gallery, sometimes it takes a while for thumbnails to load. And sometimes I try to rearrange the order of the images but it doesn’t at all when I preview the page or it rearranges them not in the order that I want. It’s usually remedied by a refresh and me trying again. I could chalk it up to poor internet connection so I didn’t deduct any points there. The other thing I noticed was that previewing my galleries in slideshow/lightbox mode has a bit of a lag loading the next image. Again, not sure if this is due to poor internet connection.
    Tech support are also fantastic and get back to me with a solution very promptly and professionally, despite some of my questions being elementary.
    Whilst the templates do have their limitations for some people, for me it’s all I need (and more.)
    I always recommend Squarespace to anyone who mentions they need a website.

    Heather

    We have found Squarespace easy to use and foolproof, ideal for a beginner.

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