Reviews and expert opinion SquareSpace

Ranked 9th from 215 Website Builders
4.7
3 0
Templates
4.7
Ease of Use
4.7
Features
4.7
Pricing
4.6
Support
4.7
Based on 3 reviews in 2 languages
Pricing
Personal $16
Business $26
Online Store $30
Jackie Goldstein
Jackie Goldstein
Website Development Expert
Squarespace is an incredibly polished, yet easy to use website builder with functions and features appealing to a very broad audience. However, the best value is offered to those looking to build e-commerce functionality into their website - an area where Squarespace is a market leader.

Overview

SquareSpace

An effective and easy way to create a professional website

Squarespace is an incredibly polished, yet easy to use website builder with functions and features appealing to a very broad audience. However, the best value is offered to those looking to build e-commerce functionality into their website – an area where Squarespace is a market leader. Squarespace’s e-commerce offering is powerful not only in its own right but also through integrations with other platforms which compound its strength. Partnership and integration seem to be a key theme – from their image library (courtesy of Getty Images) to their accounting integration with Xero (the online accounting software).

Despite the depth of the offer from Squarespace, it maintains an impressive level of accessibility, certainly living up to its reputation for intuitiveness and ease of use, with its drag-and-drop interface and easy to understand menus. The level of complexity really depends on the skills and priorities of the user – whatever your skill level, you will be able to produce a good quality website. The extensive template library makes sure of this- offering so much depth that they match closely with almost any user’s needs.

Squarespace might be priced slightly higher than some competitors, but with good reason – it really is at the top of the range as a website builder. The features, ease of use, and integrations mean Squarespace offers real value for money.

Templates

4.7
SquareSpace

A Comprehensive and Clearly Thought-Out Template Collection

Squarespace’s template offer is perhaps one of the most extensive I have come across in a website builder – they offer more than 80 individual templates, each with a different recommended function and potential demographic. At set-up, the vast array of options are presented, and while they can seem overwhelming at first, a list runs alongside, to the left of the page, with different categories to allow you to narrow your search down. These include “online stores,” “art & design,” and “community & not-for-profit.” The templates break down into fourteen categories, each with an array of options.

I was building a site to showcase some writing services and so the logical category for me was “professional services.” Within this category, there are no less than twenty-two template options, each optimized for a particular demographic regarding product type or business model. I chose a template called “Ready” which had been designed using financial advisory services as the default. The slick interface from Squarespace allows you to preview all of the templates instantly, without having to first load and pre-populate a site. In this preview mode, you can navigate to any part of the template site so you can see clearly in advance what you are getting. This may seem a small feature, but it adds a great deal to the feeling of control, allowing you to quickly and easily assess your options. Many other website builders showcase only the home page, and it isn’t until you’ve gone through a number of other steps that you get a clear view of the entire site.

The ease of use mentioned above means adapting and improving on your template is very straightforward. It is entirely up to the user how much their end-product resembles the original template. You can choose to keep the layout and adapt the content, or just use the initial design as a base for you to construct a very different final product.

Features

4.7
SquareSpace

Squarespace Has an Impressive Range of Features

Website Analytics

Squarespace’s analytics offer is very extensive and breaks down information on how visitors are reaching and interacting with your site along a number of insightful lines. These include total visits, unique visitors, how visitors are finding your site, and from where in the world your visitors are coming. One very valuable tool they provide is the search engine query analytics metric, which allows you to monitor which search terms visitors entered into search engines in order to arrive at your site. This, of course, has very positive implications for getting your site up to speed with Search Engine Optimization.

The analytics panels are laid out in a very accessible and easy to understand format. This makes the powerful analytics offer available to people of all levels of ability and knowledge. If you have an existing Google Analytics account, or if you wish to sign up for this added insight, Google Analytics integrates very easily with your Squarespace account.

Depending on which plan you choose (see prices section) there are some very insightful e-commerce analytics tools available. Most notable is the Purchase Funnel Analytics. This breaks down the journey of product/service purchasers on your site to give you insight into various elements of how they interact with the site. The main idea of Purchase Funnel Analytics is to determine how many visitors to your site make purchases and at what stage in the purchase process do potential buyers drop off. For example, if you find that a very significant number of visitors add items to their basket but don’t go through with their purchase, you can look at streamlining the process between adding to the cart and actually buying. This analytic will also help to track the effect that changes to your website have on sales.

Built-in SEO Offer

Squarespace’s offer comes with many elements of Search Engine Optimisation built into the design. As part of template generation, your site will receive a properly formatted sitemap. These are important as they help search engines index your web pages- Google, for example, will rank web pages rather than just sites, making this an important addition. Your site will come with a clean HTML markup meaning that there’s no need for additional coding on your part and all images are automatically tagged for easy indexing. The Squarespace support pages offer a very in-depth walk-through of how to make the best use of their SEO capabilities.

Image Library

The power of the available image library on Squarespace comes from their partnership with Getty Images, which is perhaps the most prominent stock image provider. The range of available images is seemingly limitless. I needed education-related pictures for my own website, and the degree of choice was incredible. However niche your subject area and however specific a picture you need, if the image library on Squarespace does not have it, it’s safe to say it’s unlikely any other site builders will.

Free SSL Certificates

Squarespace offers free Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificates for all Squarespace domains and third-party domains. SSL is essentially a technology that secures the connection between a site you are visiting and your browser. It is an important offer for security, privacy, and ensuring the authenticity of a site. As well as being an important criterion for savvy web users, it has positive implications for SEO, as Google has announced that sites holding these certificates could be in line for a rankings boost.

Ease of use

4.7
SquareSpace

Fast Set-Up

Getting set up with a template to begin building your website can take less than five minutes. The user creates an account, picks out a template, adds a website name and tagline, and a fully editable site is available in seconds. Each of the pages on your new site is made up of text blocks, images and similar features, which you only need hover the mouse over to be given options for editing content and design or for delving into more-detailed settings. The settings option is handily broken down into varying options, based on your level of knowledge, including an advanced tab, which has coding options for the more advanced users.

Simple and Responsive Editing Process

When your website is first presented, it is laid out with a quick access menu along the left-hand side, breaking down into key sections. At the top are “Pages” and “Design”- the only two options related to actively editing content. This may seem like a stripped down set of editing options, but this is because the hands-on process of editing is so thorough and responsive, as you easily navigate the pages and move content at the click of a button. In addition, the Design menu option breaks down into incredible detail for each of your pages. As you make changes, for example adjusting position and color of your page header, you can preview the results in real-time, allowing you to explore your options at will, rather than having to save each time to see the result.

In-Depth Style Editor

Squarespace’s style editor allows for some of the most impressive customization options I have seen in a website builder. The reason I have highlighted this as part of the ease of use is that despite being so advanced, the options are laid out in such a way that the user doesn’t have to navigate a very complex set of menus, all the adjustments can be achieved from the same menu list. For example, the style editor allows you to adjust elements like font and color on a site-wide basis, using a single list with eight options, including text colors and color options for various headings.

SquareSpace

Support

4.7
SquareSpace

A Wide Range of Support Options Available 24/7

Squarespace offers extensive support and includes a huge library of articles and walkthroughs on common issues, a forum, a 24-hour email contact service, and live chat within U.S. working hours.

I wanted to test out the 24-hour email service, since I am not based in the U.S., and I would need to make use of this service in future. I was having difficulty placing a logo in the right position on the home page, so submitted a query with a very brief run-down of the problem. Inside 90 minutes, I received a response from an individual on their service desk who explained this was a limitation of the template I was using – and then recommended the closest template in style terms that would allow me to place the logo where I wanted. They provided links to walkthroughs on how to switch templates and a how-to guide for the two alternative templates suggested. This was the fastest response I have received from a builder’s help desk to date and was as helpful as I could have hoped. My query was resolved in under two hours.

Most users won’t need to make use of this service, however, as the support center is so comprehensive. The first element is the collection of articles. I found guides to every aspect of the building process with the most popular guides appearing in a separate box at the top of the page for ease of access. There is also a series of headings appearing below, divided by main topic areas, each breaking out into a number of very in-depth guides. The center offers over one hundred walkthrough videos, as well as full-length webinars. For those lucky enough to live in New York, there are even live workshops. There is also the forum, where you can submit your question and have it answered by any number of fellow users.

Pricing

4.6

Value Offered at All Levels

Before you part with any money, Squarespace offers a free trial for each website you create, which lasts for fourteen days, after which point the site is listed as expired and not published. This means that you will need to commit to one of their pricing plans in order to get up and running again. While this may seem more restrictive than other website builders, I have yet to find a builder with who I would publish a functional website using their free offer and expect it to be a success. Whichever builder I use I will upgrade to a paid plan if I am serious about having a website that works.

The Squarespace price points are higher than prominent competitors, but right from the first level, I believe I’m getting better value for my money, not just regarding the quality of the product but also regarding the features that are included within the plans. Squarespace pricing is split into four incremental options. These are divided between website plans and online store plans. The first option is the Personal package that comes with unlimited bandwidth and storage, which is a generous offer in a first level plan –  many website builders only offer a limited storage plan in their first level. Alongside this, your site will be fully mobile-optimized, will have analytics, a free domain, and 24-hour customer support.

The next step up is the Business package, about a third gain of the cost of the Personal plan. Already by this point, the offer is fairly unprecedented, in my experience, regarding what you get as part of the package. On top of what is included in the Personal plan, some of the additions as part of the Business package are a professional Gmail account (free for the first year), $100 in Google AdWords Credits, and fully integrated e-commerce functionality. The plan also offers elements that will help drive traffic and make the site highly customizable, including promotional pop-ups and announcement bars to highlight sales and other limited time events.

The next two price points fall under the online store category and are ideally suited to businesses that need stores capable of processing a high volume of orders while tracking and monitoring sales and other performance metrics.  The first of these is “Basic” which should be more than ample for most small businesses just starting out. The package comes with in-depth commerce analytics allowing the user to track performance. You can do all of your inventory and product management centrally through your Squarespace website, as well as managing all of your customer orders. The “Basic” package allows you to calculate tax and can be linked up with a Shipstation account to manage shipping orders and label printing.

The highest priced package is clearly designed for established, successful businesses. “Advanced” offers everything that “Basic” does, but with additional features aimed at the more engaged customer demographic, such as flexible discounts and gift cards. The package comes with auto-recovery for abandoned shopping carts – customers who don’t complete their order will receive an automated email reminding them. The package even includes real-time shipping calculations and package size pricing.

Squarespace’s pricing structure is certainly not a tokenistic price ladder with low-value extras thrown in as the price increases. Each package is very clearly aimed at a target audience, and as you pay more you clearly get more – value for money is offered at every package level.

Personal

$16
/ Month
  • Hosting Storage: Unlimited
  • Number of Pages for Site: Unlimited
  • Custom Domain
  • Free Image Gallery
Get Started

Business

$26
/ Month
  • Hosting Storage: Unlimited
  • Number of Pages for Site: Unlimited
  • Number of Email Addresses: 1
  • Custom Domain
  • Free Image Gallery
  • Shopping Cart
Get Started

Online Store

$30
/ Month
  • Hosting Storage: Unlimited
  • Number of Pages for Site: Unlimited
  • Number of Email Addresses: 1
  • Custom Domain
  • Free Image Gallery
  • Shopping Cart
Get Started

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4
Stefano
USA
4
SquareSpace Review

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...???

avatar
4
arielle
USA
4
SquareSpace Review

Squarespace is the best most intuitive, cleanest website builder. I use it for every client.

Bottom line on SquareSpace

Wherever I hear Squarespace advertised I hear about its “intuitive” set up and the “drag and drop interface.” Describing the builder as intuitive is no idle boast – it is genuinely intuitive to anybody familiar with your average interactive website. You certainly do not need any specialist knowledge or coding abilities – all coding is built-in, and the user is only required to interact with text blocks, images, and similar straightforward formatting tools. If you can put together a passable set of PowerPoint slides, you can build a good website with Squarespace – even if you can’t, the learning curve is not too steep.

While Squarespace is appropriate and approachable for users at all levels, it will be most valuable to those in need of an e-commerce-focused website. The comprehensive choice of templates, along with their extensive customization options, allows you to easily get the exact look and feel that you are looking for. The available features and integrations truly set Squarespace apart from most competitors. All this is easily accessible using their intuitive user interface. A comprehensive support package rounds out a powerful offer from this market leader.

Jackie Goldstein
Jackie Goldstein
Jackie is the Site Manager for Website Planet. He is responsible for the overall development and operation of the website, that serves the website development community. His experience includes both software development and online marketing.

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