What is Squarespace?
Squarespace was launched in 2004 as a blog hosting service and is currently based in New York City. For the first two years, the founder and CEO, Anthony Casalena, was the only member of staff, and he worked out of his dorm room at the University of Maryland.
Squarespace’s revenue had hit $1 million by the time he graduated, so Anthony moved to New York City and started hiring. He received venture capital funding and continued to expand, averaging 266% revenue growth from 2009-2012. By 2015 Squarespace had 550 employees and $100 million in revenue.
Squarespace has had its fair share of celebrity endorsements, the likes of Ru Paul, Dolly Parton and Key and Peel being just a few. For five years running, they ran adverts during the Superbowl, and in 2017 the New York Knicks added the Squarespace logo to their uniforms as part of a sponsorship deal.
The advertising paid off and Squarespace now has 3.79 million subscribers and a $754.2 million annual turnover. No wonder it is one of the better-known web builders.
Squarespace’s website builder is aimed at small businesses, sole traders and bloggers. It lets you create a site in a web browser and easily edit it with a simple-to-use content management system, providing you with a template to customise using the editor.
They market it for personal use as well as for business and e-commerce, and these categories are reflected in their price plans.
While some web builders on the market are an offshoot of marketing companies, Squarespace is a web builder that has added various marketing features. This is evident in the fact they don’t use an AI builder, although it is still template-driven site design.
This company is undoubtedly high-profile, but what is their website builder like to use?
In this Squarespace review, I’ll take you through the user interface, features, pricing plans and customer service to help you figure out if this website builder will fit your needs.
Ease of Use
How Easy is Squarespace to Use?
To begin with, the builder will ask you a series of questions about your site and what your aims are. It will then provide you with a list of templates that you can filter by type or topic, ‘favorite’ to make a shortlist or just get started should you see one that immediately appeals. You can then start adding content and pictures and editing details such as font and background colour.
The first time you use the Squarespace editor, you will probably find yourself clicking around a bit to find what you’re looking for, but the more you use it, the easier it becomes. Once you know your way around, you can add or take away elements pretty quickly.
You add content by clicking on the boxes provided and typing your text, and adding images are also pretty straightforward. However, you won’t be able to drag and drop at will, and you are somewhat restricted to where you can add content. Nevertheless, you are given many options over page layout, so personalisation is not hard to achieve.
On the left of the screen is the home panel, where you can find all your content management tools, while most of the screen is taken up by your site. You can see the boxes for your pictures and content, and you can add or take sections away intuitively.
The Squarespace editor shows you precisely what your website will look like as you edit, so you can see how your changes affect the result in real-time and not have to switch back and forth. In addition, you can edit your site whenever you want to, and as more layout options become available, you can update it as you see fit.
Tools and Features
What Are The Features Of Squarespace?
Squarespace has been continuously improving over the years to make it easier to use and give you more options for customisation. For example, they have a Design panel that allows you to make site-wide changes, which helps keep your site themes cohesive. You can also create custom layouts that you can add to any page.
It allows you to sync with over 20 social media platforms to streamline your marketing operations and help your customers keep up to date with your business. You can also sync with Dropbox for access to photo collections.
In addition, its cross-media capabilities mean that you can host podcasts on your site and then publish them to Spotify and Apple Podcasts.
While Squarespace has good Search Engine Optimisation, it is not particularly beginner-friendly, so it can feel a little bit daunting. However, all the information is available as there are guides to help you on their support pages. It can feel overwhelming to begin with but is well worth reading through it.
They also offer built-in marketing tools and features, including email marketing which can integrate MailChimp or be accessed through their all-in-one platform called Email Campaigns.
They have also integrated with Google to create Google Workspace, which gives you access to Google Calendar, Google Drive and the ability to create email addresses for your custom domain. Google Workspace is included in most of the price plans, but only for a year.
Squarespace has an app store called Squarespace Extensions that offer add-ons for shipping, finance, inventory and sales. You will have to pay extra for some of the apps, but you can pick and choose the ones that will help you achieve your website goals.
The features available depend on how much you pay. The mid-range plan upwards integrates industry-specific apps, such as OpenTable, which allows your customers to make a reservation, or ChowNow, where they can order online. Their more expensive plans now offer Square an electronic pay point so that you can accept card payments in person.
Plans and Pricing
How Much Does Squarespace Cost?
Squarespace has four different pricing plans in the UK, and they give you a 14-day free trial so you can try them on for size.
You can choose whether to pay monthly or annually, but you’ll save up to 30% and get a free domain for a year if you pay for the whole year upfront. Unfortunately, the free year’s domain name is not offered if you choose to pay monthly, even on the most expensive packages.
Domain registry with Squarespace is around £16 a year, although if you’re willing to have a Squarespace sub-domain, you can have a URL for free.
The cheapest plan they offer is the Personal plan, which is £13 per month or £120 annually. This package provides the core features of SSL security, unlimited bandwidth and storage, SEO features, mobile optimisation, up to 2 contributors, 24/7 customer service, basic website metrics and access to their app store.
They also offer two commerce packages, the Basic and the Advanced. The basic comes in at £24 per month or £240 a year and the Advanced at £37 monthly and £360 annually. You are not charged transaction fees and they provide a point of sale (so you can accept payments in person) as well as an online checkout.
You can also offer customer accounts and get access to marketing and analytics tools. The main difference between these two packages is that you get a few more marketing tools with the advanced, such as abandoned cart recovery, in addition to advanced shipping and discount options.
Squarespace Pay Monthly Website Plans
|Basic Website Metrics||✔︎||✔︎||✔︎||✔︎|
|Free SSL Certificate||✔︎||✔︎||✔︎||✔︎|
|Fully Integrated E-Commerce||✖︎||✔︎||✔︎||✔︎|
|Customer Care||24/7 Support||24/7 Support||24/7 Support||24/7 Support|
Help & Support
How Good is Squarespace Support?
Squarespace prides itself in its customer service, and back in 2013, they even won an American Business Award for Customer Service Department of the Year. But, like most web builders nowadays, they don’t want you to contact them unless necessary.
They have a community section that is full of articles to help you build your site. There is also an online forum to ask questions and even receive feedback on your site.
There are articles, video tutorials and webinars, so it is more than likely you’ll be able to find help without contacting them at all. However, if you want support and don’t want to wade through the vast knowledge database on offer, they have a chatbot to help with common issues.
Should you try and get in contact with a support agent, you are asked a series of questions and then presented with links to articles that may help you before giving you the options on how to get in touch.
Although you can’t contact them by telephone, they offer live chat from Monday to Friday 4 am – 8 pm EST (that’s 9 am-1 am in the UK) and support via email and Twitter. You can even save your live chat for future reference by clicking the bottom right-hand corner of the discussion and emailing yourself the transcript.
All the customer service operatives are highly knowledgeable, friendly and will offer you excellent support for any issues without coming across as condescending.
Pros & Cons
What We Like & Dislike About Squarespace
It can be more expensive than other web builders – Even though you can choose monthly payments, they clearly discourage it.
No telephone support – While this is understandable, and you can still live chat, it is nice to have the option to speak to someone.
Custom coding is kind of frowned upon! – While you can add custom code, the site states that some changes may conflict with the underlying code, creating issues. If you have added code and then have a problem, you will be asked to remove it before troubleshooting other issues.
What Are The Alternatives To Squarespace?
Do We Recommend Squarespace?
Overall I’d say that while it does take some time to figure out the navigation, this builder is simple and effective. You could quickly build a sleek website in a few hours or take your time to make it more personal without having any technical knowledge.
Squarespace’s interface is defiantly user-friendly and the templates offered are appealing and modern. You could say it’s not as easy as some that have an AI builder, but it does give you more control over choosing the initial template. Whether this is a plus or a minus is entirely personal.
They seem to have balanced website design elements with marketing features without leaning too heavily on either, and their e-commerce plans have a lot of great features if you’re selling physical products.
I would say they do offer a lot for a wide range of customers. If you’re after a personal website or a small company that wants an online presence, then the personal plan has you covered.
At the other end of the scale, if you’re going to create an extensive online shop that can integrate with your retail premises, then you should undoubtedly go for one of Squarespace’s commerce plans.
Although their plans are reasonably priced for what they are, they are definitely at the higher end of the price range. So my advice is that if you’re unsure and their plans are within your budget, try out their 14-day free trial and see if they fit your needs.
Editor & User Ratings
Squarespace is great for creating professional websites. With some of the best website designs and features on the market!
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