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Squarespace has been one of my favorites for a while, and writing this review has done nothing to change that. It’s not the cheapest option out there, but if you’re ready to build a site and even make some money off it, then I’d say go for Squarespace. It has plans both for personal sites and business users, and with a long list of interesting features, these plans definitely provide good value for your money.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll probably be aware of Squarespace’s reputation as the go-to website builder for visually striking and minimalist designs. Squarespace is famous, no doubt about that. But I wanted to know if it was worth its fame or if its marketing team is just due a raise.
After carefully testing its complete offering, I can honestly say that Squarespace delivers precisely what it promises, giving you the tools to create striking and elegant designs. If you’re looking to create a professional portfolio, a site for your business, or just want something eye-catching, Squarespace won’t disappoint.
However, I wouldn’t call it the builder for everyone. You’ll probably find it somewhat restrictive if you’re a professional designer looking for full control over your site. It can also get pretty pricy. Even if it comes with the quality to match, it’s not the cheapest builder.
Squarespace is available in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish. Is it a wise investment for you, or should you start looking elsewhere? Read on to find out.
Professionally Designed, Varied, and Striking
If you check out any Squarespace reviews, you’re bound to come across a paragraph or two about its templates. Squarespace’s templates are one of its main selling points – and I can’t deny it. They arereally, really good.
Each one of the 150+ templates incorporates a particular design sensitivity that gives them a stylish and minimalistic look. Also, the fact that templates are divided between 19 categories (which refers to the site’s style like “photography,” “entertainment,” or “fitness”) and 7 “types” (which refers to a site’s function like blogging, e-commerce, or portfolio) makes it pleasantly easy to find the specific template that fits your needs.
You’ll probably hear the word “minimalistic” a lot. So it’s worth taking a moment to clarify what that means exactly. Squarespace’s templates don’t rely on an overabundance of design elements to look good. In fact, most keep them to a minimum (hence the word). However, the combination of font choices, color palettes, images, and smart use of negative space makes for an effective set of templates, drawing your eyes to the essential parts of the page.
Squarespace’s templates are quite customizable too, and since they all share the same framework, you’re free to experiment. If you checked out its gallery in the past and liked what you saw, you can also choose to create your site with any template from Squarespace’s previous version. Your site wouldn’t be as customizable, but maybe you just like one of the previous designs more.
Even in the (unlikely) scenario where you don’t like any of the available templates, you could design your site from the ground up with Squarespace Blueprint, which gives you the tools to create your own custom template to match your needs (more on that below).
While all of this might sound great, there is one small disadvantage to Squarespace’s over-emphasis on template design. The “every element works together to create something striking” philosophy makes for some beautiful sites. However, throwing off that delicate balance can be easy without an eye for design.
I’d categorize this editor as sort of semi-drag-and-drop. When you edit a page, you start the process by adding “sections” or “content blocks,” which are just that: sections of page layout or site functionality, pre-configured for easy use.
These range from simple text blocks to food menus to contact forms to “About The Team” image galleries. More complex blocks include social media icons, RSS feeds, Twitter feeds, all-the-other-social-media feeds, charts, Amazon products, appointment scheduling forms, calendars, e-commerce products and more.
Once you’ve chosen the content block you need, the drag-and-drop stuff begins. You can drag elements around to fit the layout you like, within given parameters. Each element you add is confined to a grid arrangement which is designed to keep your site looking consistent and properly spaced.
That said, there’s still a lot you can do, layout-wise. You can find the pre-set content blocks that give you the layout you want and tweak them. Or, you can add a blank content block and build a basic layout yourself by adding columns, spacing, and content as you see fit.
If you’re worried about mobile responsiveness, don’t be. Not only is every one of Squarespace’s templates mobile-responsive, but you can also switch to mobile view from the editor itself at any moment. Squarespace lets you change your mobile site separately from its desktop counterpart, so you can fine-tune the mobile experience as much as you want.
All the Features a New (or Semi-Pro) Designer Might Need
Like most of the better-known site builders, Squarespace strives for a balance between giving new website owners an easy way to build what they need, and giving more experienced designers/developers a place to build whatever they want. In this case, that balance is clearly weighted toward beginners.
It’s easy to add what you need, even on the Personal plan. Want a calendar? Appointment bookings? A store? Just click a button or two, and you’ll have it. You can even create an extra set of pages and make a multilingual site with minimal effort.
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If you want to use custom templates or any custom code, on the other hand, you’ll have to shell out some cash for one of the more expensive plans. This is true of almost every site builder, so it’s not out of the ordinary.
Create Your Own Template With Squarespace Blueprint
The relative restrictiveness of its templates is one of the biggest cons I’ve found on old Squarespace reviews. That was back when Squarespace was on its 7.0 version, where most templates used different frameworks. That meant almost every template included at least one element you could not change (like the header or footer design).
The process is very straightforward. All you have to do is go to the template menu and click on the Build your own template button. After that, you’ll be able to choose which sections you want on your homepage (“Intro,” “About us,” “Featured products,” etc).
If you want to change the initial layout of these sections, all you have to do is hover over them and choose from various options. You’ll then be able to select which additional pages you wish to add to your site, choose your font combination and color scheme, and you’ll be good to go.
Unlike traditional templates, your site won’t resemble a finished product, but that’s the point. Since you’re building your own template, what you’ll get at the end will be the ideal structure to build your site over.
E-commerce Is Kind of a Big Deal
We’re going to spend a long minute or two on e-commerce, because Squarespace’s store functionality is actually one of its biggest selling points. Adding a store to your site is literally as simple as clicking a couple buttons, answering a couple questions, and letting Squarespace do the work.
Well, I’m talking mostly about the design work. Actually adding products is up to you. If you have an existing store elsewhere on the internet, you can save time and import your products via a .CSV file.
Other features included allow you to:
Accept payments in a variety of ways (PayPal, Stripe, Square)
Get automatic tax calculation
Sell both digital and physical products
Offer discounts and sales
Sell gift cards
Create mailing lists
Send abandoned cart recovery emails
Sell via social media
Get an automatic shipping fee calculation (via Fedex and UPS, but only for the U.S.)
Create shipping zones
Schedule in-store pickup
On the front end, the store takes on the same general style and feel as the rest of your site. You can change the layout of the store page, but your options are somewhat limited, due to the nature of online stores. You can also change how individual product pages look, again with limits on the layout.
The UI (User Interface) for managing your products is detailed but still simple to learn. Give it a whirl, and soon you’ll be adding images, different pricing for variations of the same product, and forms to collect customer information. You can even change the “Add to Cart” text to something more ambitious if you want.
If you also sell on online marketplaces, Squarespace allows you to connect directly to your Amazon storefront. Doing so will allow you to manage sales on both ends without complications and even let Amazon handle shipping for you.
The only “downside” is that you specifically have to pay for one of Squarespace’s Business plans to use the store functionality at all, and these plans aren’t cheap. Considering that they include the tools to successfully run and market your e-commerce business, it’s a worthwhile investment.
Blogging Is Pretty Solid
Squarespace isn’t my favorite blogging platform by any stretch, but it’s still pretty good. The blog module can save drafts, schedule posts, add tags, and categorize them to your liking. You can set posts to be reviewed by colleagues before publishing, choose whether or not to show the author’s name and profile, and even change fonts and colors for individual posts.
My favorite feature, by far, is the actual editor. While many site builders have a separate interface for writing blog posts, Squarespace lets you edit them the same way you edit any other page: right there on the page itself. What you see is exactly what you get.
Now, you can’t do complex layouts like you can with a regular page, but it’s still pretty great. You can add image galleries, slideshows, videos (of course), audio, tag clouds, charts, and more.
Like any other page, blogs posts also have all the basic SEO options and social sharing tools you might want. You can set meta titles and descriptions for search engines, set up how your blog post will be previewed on social media sites, and even send blog posts out as newsletters when you publish them.
There Are Add-ons and Third-Party Integrations Galore
If you’re looking to expand the functionality of your site, Squarespace offers a full suite of add-ons and third-party integrations to let you do just that. If you have a significant social presence, Squarespace gives you all the tools you need to integrate with other platforms, like promoting your blogs on social media or embedding your YouTube videos directly to your site.
You can also do a lot with Squarespace’s integrations, like schedule appointments, create premium member-only areas, or even send out powerful marketing campaigns. Thanks to this expansive collection of apps, space really is the limit of what you can do with your site.
Ease of use
The User Interface May Be Flat, But It Still Has a Learning Curve
I found Squarespace simple, intuitive, and generally easy on my eyes and brain. It took me almost no time to begin customizing my website, and the same goes for any changes I wanted to make in the backend. Though there is a bit of a learning curve, especially if you’ve never experimented with site-building before, it’s not a particularly steep one.
However, I’d be remiss not to admit that the user interface (UI) has some kinks that need ironing out. Though building my site(s) was a mostly intuitive process, switching back and forth between the site editor and the Site Styles menu to change colors got annoying quickly. And layering elements on top of one another can be a bit of a pain.
Still, if you need help, you’ll get it.
You can start by reading all about how to use Squarespace, or you can jump right in. As soon as you begin, a starter questionnaire of sorts will ask you what kind of site you want to build. Once you actually start editing your website, there are tutorials and tips built right into the interface to explain everything.
The blog offers a wealth of design advice in various aspects, along with Squarespace webinars and an extensive array of help guides available in the knowledge base. Given the site builder’s long-standing presence, the support team has had ample time to curate a comprehensive set of guides, ensuring the coverage of nearly all the essential information you might require.
Built-In Marketing, SEO, and Scheduling Tools
Naturally, the goal isn’t just to build your site on Squarespace. The goal is to make your site/business wildly successful. To that end, there are several built-in tools designed to help you market and promote yourself with minimal effort.
There’s a slew of marketing tools, including social share buttons, Pinterest buttons, Instagram stories, Facebook ads, and (horror of horrors) promotional pop-ups. Besides its proprietary tool for creating email campaigns, Squarespace also offers full Mailchimp integration.
Squarespace also has a basic but effective set of search engine optimization (SEO) features to help make your site (and individual pieces of content) easier to find via Google and other search engines. If you’re willing to pay extra, you can even hire a “Squarespace SEO Expert.” The SEO expert can give you actionable advice to help you improve your search engine listings.
Thanks to its integrated Analytics, you can get a closer view of which search terms drive the most traffic to your site. You can also discover a wealth of useful information, like where in the world your main traffic is coming from and which pages receive the most traffic.
You can also take advantage of the previously mentioned scheduling tool. If your business depends on in-person appointments, you can use this functionality to take appointments, manage your available time, send automatic reminders to customers (so they’ll be more likely to show up), create intake forms, and more.
Create Localized Versions of Your Site With Ease
What if you want to reach an international audience? Squarespace gives you the tools to localize the default text, date, and currency settings. All you have to do is head over to your account dashboard, open the Language & region panel, and choose a language. Besides the available languages for the editor, Squarespace allows for localization into Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Norwegian, and Swedish.
Though this tool isn’t an automatic translator (which means you’ll need a third-party extension like Weglot to translate custom text), it’s still handy for making your site easier to reach in different parts of the world. When you localize your website, Squarespace also translates important metatext, which can help you rank higher in international search engines.
The Support Team Is Prompt and Helpful
When you need help, Squarespace’s team is there. I mean, they are on top of things. The main support channels include a combined email/ticket system, live chat, and a community forum. I tested all three channels to see if I would get prompt, professional assistance.
Oh, they also do offer help on their Twitter account, but I didn’t test that one. Here’s what I did test:
Since I was working on my Ultimate Guide to Choosing Domain Names and I had domains on my mind, I sent in a ticket asking if it would be possible to buy a domain on Squarespace (like mywebsite.com), make a subdomain (like server.mywebsite.com), and then point that subdomain elsewhere on the internet. Like, to a private server, perhaps.
A member of the team responded in about six hours and said yes, I could do exactly that. They provided very helpful, specific guidance in their response.
Since I was pulling an all-nighter anyway, I was able to access their live chat support. Live chat is available Monday to Friday, 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Time, and my schedule usually doesn’t match theirs, but this time they responded in mere minutes.
I asked, “I’ve noticed that Squarespace has lots of SEO features, but what if I want to discourage search engines from crawling my site, or portions of it? Is there any way to do that?” Turns out you can absolutely do that. If for some reason, you want people, but not Google, to find your stuff, the development team has thought of this.
Technically, the support team isn’t responsible for answering questions here. Nonetheless, I got a fairly quick response from a fellow Squarespace user with the information I needed. I asked if there’s any way to build a site on this platform without using cookies on the front end. Apparently, there isn’t.
Also, the story in the screenshot is entirely true.
Not the Cheapest, but a Fair Price
With no free plan at all, Squarespace isn’t the cheapest site builder on the market, especially if you pay per month. Seriously, paying for an annual plan will save you a ton, but there are still cheaper options. Even so, I honestly believe that for the quality of the service provided, these prices are fair.
All plans include a free domain for the first year. If you’re looking for more advanced tools to market yourself, the Business plan includes a professional email and Workspace account from Google, more content blocks, advanced analytics, and the ability to accept donations.
If you choose to upgrade more, you obtain the capacity to sell items, allow users to create their own accounts on your site, view more detailed statistics, and much more. Actually, a large number of the advanced features relate to online sales. If you’re thinking about setting up an online shop, jot down the features you require and verify which plan offers them all.
Though they don’t offer a free plan, if you purchase any plan annually, you’ll get a 14-day refund window. The refund process is quick and stress-free. So yeah, you have two weeks to be really, really sure that you like the product. I figure that’s fair.
There’s a good reason why Squarespace has been one of my favorites for a while. Its attractive templates, easy editor, and robust e-commerce tools make it one of the best builders for anyone trying to establish a professional identity online.
Thanks to its elegant design emphasis, you’re guaranteed to get a site that will capture your visitors’ attention. It’s not the cheapest builder out there, but it’s a worthwhile investment if you’re a professional looking to step up your online game.
Is Squarespace worth it in 2023?
Squarespace is by far one of the most flexible and powerful website builders out there. Thanks to constant updates and innovations, few other builders adapt to the more modern design trends like Squarespace.
It’s not the builder for everyone. Professional designers would probably be better off looking for something more powerful, and it’s not the cheapest option. However, Squarespace is the go-to website builder for elegant, visually striking sites if you’re willing to make the investment.
Are Squarespace websites mobile responsive?
Yes. Not only are all Squarespace websites mobile responsive, but you also get the option to make separate changes directly to the mobile version of your site.
That means you can create your desktop site and let Squarespace handle the rest if that’s what you want. If you want specific control over how the mobile version of your site looks and feels, you can also do that.
What is the best Squarespace plan for me?
The best Squarespace plan for you will change entirely depending on your needs. If you’re looking for an elegant site to serve as your portfolio or online CV, then the personal plan will serve you just fine. However, if you’re looking to handle an online storefront and sell on marketplaces (for example), you’ll need one of the specialized e-commerce plans.
If you’re interested in Squarespace and want to learn more about which plan is right for you, feel free to check out my thoughts on Squarespace pricing.
Can Squarespace handle high traffic?
Yes, with an asterisk. Squarespace excels on site performance speeds and can handle exceptionally large amounts of traffic for a website builder. However, if you plan on receiving millions of visitors monthly, you’ll have to look for a separate hosting option.
If you’re interested, check out our expertly-curated list of the best hosting services in 2023.
We rank vendors based on rigorous testing and research, but also take into account your feedback and our commercial agreements with providers. This page contains affiliate links. Advertising Disclosure
Ezequiel Bruni is biologically Canadian, legally Mexican, and self identifies as a total nerd. He’s been a web and experience designer off and on since he was a teenager, and loves sharing the kind of beginner’s advice he really wishes he’d had when he first started. He also loves video games, tacos, open source software, video games, sci-fi and fantasy in all their forms, and video games. He does not love writing in the third person.
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Suitable for beginners
I recommend this service to those who do not know how to create websites! Here everything is quite simply arranged and it will not be difficult for you to create a pleasant and functional website. For the money, everything is tolerable here, in general, I think it's worth the money.
Squarespace Commerce is a subpar selling platform, woefully short of basic features. No product review or ratings possible, limited payment options and no offline payments, frozen checkout process with no customization (even thank you page can't be customized), unhelpful customer service that either point you to already published material that you would already have seen or otherwise to the forum. Good looking design alone cannot make up for below average features. Give it a miss if you are serious about selling. I speak from a really frustrating experience building a store on Squarespace.
Without any doubt, I can say that creating a site here is very simple. I don't have much experience in this area, this is one of my first projects that achieved some success. With uncomplicated algorithms and simple movements, you get very concise and pleasant-looking web-sites. I will try to develop skills, however, on this site as such, the skill is not necessary: everything is clear on an intuitive level
Beautiful and intuitive but not great for e-commerce
I have no experience at all of the website building but successfully built two very pretty sites without too much difficulty and using all the features mentioned. However, do not be fooled by e-commerce offerings. There are so many annoying glitches that I feel that I am being forced to look elsewhere or to design another site. I'm a UK customer and despite paying a hefty price for a premium membership, there are no effective UK shipping options. If you are selling an item made up of multiples (cases of 6) you can only advertise one price which leads to confusion - especially as you can't advertise the single item price. There is a huge glitch in the Categories that haven't yet been fixed, making them unusable. You cannot add text to a product page. Other ways of displaying products are impractical and not suitable for many businesses (including mine). The site looks amazing but really doesn't meet the slightly nerdier requirements of a shop based site. There is quite a lot of difficulty in fully integrating various platforms such as mailchimp - and their own marketing section is very very basic. You can't, for example, ask for a customer's first and last names on the pop up subscribe function. It's great that it's there but serves no real purpose. Feels like they left lots of loose ends littered around the e-commerce part of it and launched before these were tied up. I am desperate for them to fix these issues (and several more) but response time is slow. Responses usually involve complex 'workarounds' and referrals back to videos I've already seen. Anyway, I say this in the spirit of really really wishing it would improve rather than just a general slating as for everything else it is way ahead of its competitors for sheer style and ease of use.
Bad Bad Bad No response website does't work even after you sign up and pay major rip off.Tried to get in contact no way to do it over and over again when we fist tried it worked then it never worked.We emailed we tried to ask for help no response . Bad bad bad left out to dry.
I quote from your review "Squarespace is the best most intuitive, cleanest website builder. I use it for every client" and yet within the site you built with it you recommend WIX as best website builder...???