Insights, Web Development

Squarespace Review – What’s So Unique About The Platform

Detailed review of Squarespace highlighting the platform’s unique features and what you need to consider.

In our eCommerce article, we discussed in detail the importance of choosing the right platform for your eCommerce business. In this Squarespace review we will discuss why Squarespace is amongst the most preferred ones. We will take a tour of the platform’s advantages and disadvantages in order to find out who is Squarespace ideal for.

Squarespace Review: Quick Overview

What is Squarespace?

Squarespace is a hosted beginner-friendly solution with powerful business tools. It offers an extremely clean interface as well as the cleanest selection of modern customizable themes. Another bonus is it has a WP blog import option.

Many businesses prefer the much smaller Squarespace next to more powerful platforms like WordPress Woocommerce or Shopify. One of the biggest reasons is the user interface and experience which many describe as minimal, modern-looking and promising for creating beautiful websites.

The platform could be a good solution for bloggers and small businesses who have absolutely no experience in front-end development yet want to create a professional-looking blog or online shop.

We already highlighted the quality of the templates which isn’t a coincidence. In fact, Squarespace is perfect for artists, designers, and photographers who want to showcase and sell their artwork and want their website to match their artistic preferences. This where presentation is most crucial and requires a platform that prioritizes that.

Why you should use Squarespace (advantages)

🎨 Templates

Squarespace sports a limited, but a highest-quality collection of customizable templates with a clean and modern look. Most templates heavily rely on photography which makes them easier to customize.

📱 Responsiveness

All websites made by Squarespace are responsive.

📊 Analytics

Analytics are included in the platform.

🏠 Hosting

Self-hosted solution. Just like Shopify, you won’t need to worry about finding a hosting or taking care of maintaining and updating your software. Squarespace’s subscription comes with the site, security, hosting and redundancies.

📖 Learning curve

Intuitive admin panel navigation. The platform is very easy to use and beginner-friendly to learn.

👁️ Visual editing

WYSIWYG editor with drag&drop.

📞 Support

Adequate 24/7 customer support via live chat and email tickets.

📝 Blog

Amazing blogging experience. If your business requires a blog, the platform offers a blogging feature with everything you could think of, from rich commenting capabilities to scheduling posts, AMP support and etc.

Why you should not use Squarespace (disadvantages)

⚙️ Functionality

Squarespace offers the basic built-in functionalities but aside from that you can’t install third-party plugins or add extensions like in other platforms.

💸 Pricing

There is no free plan. However, during a trial, you have full access to Developer Mode. Trial sites with Developer Mode enabled don’t expire, giving you as much time as you need to build your custom Squarespace site.

💨 Speed

Low rating page speed. In some cases, this might lead to poorer user experience on mobile devices and therefore perform badly on search engines.

🌐 Multilanguage

Creating multilingual websites can be challenging.

📋 Navigation

The platform offers only one sub-navigation which makes it not suitable for bigger businesses with larger eCommerce websites.

💾 Backup

The platform doesn’t provide backup solutions. You can only export product and blog data.

📞 Support

Squarespace doesn’t offer phone support in case of urgent questions.

👑 Other disadvantages
  • Lacks advances marketing tools.
  • No autosave.

What is Unique About Squarespace?

📋 Menu Content Block

One of the hardest formats to style for web pages are restaurant menus, this is usually why so many restaurants prefer to simply add a link to a PDF menu. The Squarespace Menu Content Block, however, offers a ready to go formatted menu with customization option such ads changing colors and fonts, or adding/removing borders.

🎧 Podcast Syndication

Not many businesses need podcasts, however, if your services require such practices, this is indeed a valuable feature. You can create and manage podcasts. Not just embed them in an audio player like on other platforms, but actually, syndicate them. The built-in RSS feed will let you publish them to Apple Podcasts, Spotify and other subscription services. Meanwhile, your viewers (listeners) can easily browse through archived episodes and find more information about the podcast.

🤲 Donation System

If you’re building a non-profit site instead, Shopify allows you to add a Donation Block to help you reach your goals in terms of fundraising. The feature then appears as a Donate button that redirects to a page where your users can submit a donation amount. The blocks are customizable and you can also add custom forms depending on what information you’ll need to be filled by the donators. Custom email receipts, contribution suggestions, and custom checkouts are all covered by this system. The system is useful in other ways, for example, if you have a wedding website and wish to add a customized cash gift registry.

Consider this

🔒 Type

Squarespace is not an open-source platform and its core data is controlled by its developing team. 

⚙️ Customization

As we already mentioned, the templates are Squarespace’s core strengths. The platform regularly improves existing templates and adds new ones. All templates are responsive, customizable and some have special features. You can also control the HTML/CSS, however many of the options for adding code are only available with the Business and Commerce Plans.

👁️ Visual Editing

WYSIWYG handles the big portion of the content editing. The popup allows you to modify your content without using HTML and see the changes you make at the very time you make them. The editor offers formatting options similar to any text-editing software, as well as inserting images, videos, check, redo/undo.

🏠 Hosting

The platform is a completely hosted solution, so hosting your service isn’t required.

💡 Intuitive Experience 

The platform doesn’t offer such a palette of features that would complicate the page building. This makes it fairly easy to use and its simplicity allows beginners to quickly find their way into the builder and write and publish their content. Similar to WooCommerce, the platform allows you to add image, audio and video files easily and to customize templates via a visual editor.

🛠️ Tools

Squarespace has a limited layout control unless you know how to code it yourself. The features are also basic and limit the possibility to build different types of websites.

Also, the tools depend on the Squarespace plan you get. The higher you purchase, the more tools you’ll have in your arsenal.

📈 SEO Performance

Squarespace SEO performance is higher than many might think. The only issue would be it requires you to invest some time in getting familiar with the tools and even add code yourself in order to boost your website’s ranking. Other than requiring advanced knowledge in SEO, the platform also doesn’t offer SEO plugins. It also slips some quirks such as displaying SEO information on the website when using some of the templates.

💲 Pricing 

Personal $12/month, Business $18/month, Basic Store $26/month, Advanced Store $40/month. 

📞 Support

The builder offers 24/7 support, handled by a dedicated team who will take care of your issues and quickly resolve them. This is due to the fact that all tools are built by their developers who can easily take ownership of the issues and fix them. In this regard, Squarespace has better user support than WooCommerce. The only issue is the lack of phone support.

What does it cost?

Both eCommerce plans (for Basic Online Store and Advanced Online Store) include an unlimited number of pages, bandwidth for traffic, storage and admins.  They also offer appointment scheduling, MailChimp integration, promo pop-ups, and others.

The Basic Online Store plan is enough for smaller businesses, while the Advanced- for growing larger businesses. The latter includes all basic features, abandoned check-out auto-recovery as well as real-time carrier shipping.

Unfortunately, there is no free plan, however, all plans offer a 14-day free trial.  This way you could try our and see if you and Squarespace could be a match.

Will you need to hire a developer?

Squarespace is meant to help you create websites without the need for coding knowledge. As intended, every time you add or customize a block to the page, you add the new HTML/CSS/JavaScript without altering the code yourself. Sure enough, if the built-in styles aren’t enough and you need to customize further, custom code is inevitable.

This will appear challenging to users without coding experience since some of the changes may be in conflict with the default code of the template. Such conflicts will cause issues to their website when the platform pushes new updates.

Many of the options for editing the code are only available in the Business and Commerce plans since these are premium features to the platform. Since this is an advanced modification, we would recommend you consult a developer with experience with Squarespace. This is especially important since the platform customer support doesn’t include custom code modifications.

Definitely use Squarespace

Squarespace is a trusted brand that focuses on the modern and beautiful look for websites built on its platform. It’s ideal for artists, designers or photographers who require their online business site to match their work. The back-end is fairly intuitive and easy to use and the fact that Squarespace is a hosted all-in-one solution makes things even easier.

The platform, however, isn’t suited for larger and growing businesses that require constant and specific functionalities, more complex navigation and powerful SEO.

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