The Comprehensive Squarespace Review: What You Need to Know in 2021
Squarespace started as a drag-and-drop hosting platform in 2004, January. It was founded by Anthony Casalena, a college student at the University of Maryland, who developed the platform originally for personal use. For a long time, he was the only employee of the company and he worked in his dorm room, up until 2007 when Squarespace hit $1 million in annual revenue.
Then, Casalena moved to New York and by the year 2010, the company had 30 employees.
Squarespace experienced explosive growth, which was noticed by venture capitalists, who gave more than $38 million in the company’s first round of funding.
Earlier this year, Squarespace received $300 million in funding from outside investors and existing shareholders, and in May, the company went public on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), with a valuation of $6.6 billion.
They have over 3.5 million active subscribers and Squarespace is considered a popular option when it comes to website building tools.
We explored the platform and here are our thoughts.
Overall Rating: 3.9/5
Squarespace has a fairly extensive template library. There are 100+ of them available and all of them are made by award-winning designers. The templates are divided into different categories such as Photography, Online Stores, Portfolios, and so forth.
All of the templates are free and you can change them any time you wish.
The templates are fully responsive and mobile-optimized, however, they seem to rely on large, high-resolution images, which can lead to slower loading times, and if you try using low-resolution pictures, the templates won’t be as visually attractive.
Either way, you get to choose from more than 100, professionally made, niche-specific templates.
The editor is the core of Squarespace. The interface itself is clean, minimalistic and the navigation is straightforward: you’ll see everything on your left.
It is unique in the sense that is it section-based, which means you won’t have full control over your site, you’ll only be to editor certain parts of it.
This may seem restrictive at first glance and if you want to go in-depth when it comes to customizing your website, you’ll be better off choosing a web builder like Wix or Weblflow. That being said, for beginners, the editor will work just fine.
Squarespace comes with quite a few blogging features. Here they are:
multiple authors support
editable blog post layouts
RSS blocks & syndication
full AMP integration
custom categories and tags
converting posts into email campaigns
With Squarespace, you can sell:
downloadable, digital products
Also, there are built-in cross-selling features like Related Products, which display recommended products at the checkout page encouraging customers to buy more.
Point of Sale (POS)
Similar to other major website builders, such as Wix and Shopify, Squarespace has a Point of Sale system.
It allows you to sell your products in person by using the Commerce App.
To start, you have to:
download the Commerce App (available for both Android and iOS)
create a Square account
get a reader, so you can process payments
After you’ve done all the steps, the App will sync with your Squarespace account, enabling you to manage the inventory from your phone. You can also offer special in-person discounts to your customers.
When it comes to processing payments, Squarespace is in partnership with Square, and that’s the only payment gateway you can use for POS. The fees you’ll be charged with are standard, and Squarespace won’t take anything additional.
POS doesn’t cost any extra, either: it is included in the Basic and Advanced Commerce plans, and the Commerce App is entirely free – all you have to pay for is the reader.
Sidenote: Square and Squarespace are separate companies, there aren’t subsidiaries of one another. Squarespace was founded by Anthony Casalena in 2004 and Square, Inc was founded by Jack Dorsey and Jim Mckelvey in 2009.
There is an email marketing tool/newsletter editor inside Squarespace called Squarespace Email Campaigns.
You can do a lot with it:
design emails with a drag and drop editor
include products in your emails
reformat blog posts into email campaigns
build segments, create custom audiences
measure your performance
send out automated emails
and a lot more
The Email Campaigns panel can be accessed no matter which plans are you using. There is a free version available that allows you to build email lists and send a limited number of campaigns.
Premium plans start from $5 a month, which gives you 500 a month and unlimited subscribers.
Additionally, if you’re already using a 3rd party email marketing service provider, you can connect that to Squarespace, as well.
The Members Area is a relatively new feature, that gives you the ability to create member-only pages and charge recurring fees.
It is entirely free to test. To enable it, go to “Settings” in the home menu and click on “Members Area”.
You have to subscribe to a paid plan afterward, but if you decide in favor of Members Area, you’ll be able to create:
password protected Member Areas
a custom checkout page on your domain
special discounts on membership fees
The donation system, unsurprisingly, lets you collect donations by using ‘Donation Blocks’, which are ‘Donate’ buttons that appear on your website.
Here are a few things you need to be aware of:
Squarespace will charge transaction fees
you can’t accept donations on a recurring basis
the emails donors get after the donation is fully customizable
donation forms will ask donors for an email address and a phone number
Squarespace describes Circle as a “program designed to support, inspire, and engage the community of creatives, developers, and designers who use Squarespace to build beautiful for themselves and their clients”.
It is quite similar to Shopify Partners: the program is entirely free, and any customer who built or contributed to at least three Squarespace websites is eligible to join.
If you get approved, you’ll get these benefits as a Circle Member:
six month trial periods for new websites
20% off annual website and online store subscriptions
20% off annual Scheduling subscriptions
dedicated Circle community forum
access to beta tests
Circle sponsored events
Squarespace Circle Badge, which you can use for branding
When it comes down to it, Circle is aimed at those who are already using the platform, building websites for clients, and planning to stick with Squarespace.
Squarespace is a subscription-based service with four pricing tiers. When choosing a plan, you have the option to pay either monthly or annually – the annual plans typically cost less.
If you are looking for custom solutions, you’ll have to reach out to the Enterprise Support Team and ask for a personalized plan.
Additionally, you can try out the platform for 14 days without any credit card information and if you’re a college student, you’ll get 50% off of your plan for one year.
Every plan comes with:
Free domain name
24/7 customer support
Basic website metrics
Now, let’s see the details.
Everything we mentioned previously
Up to 2 contributors
Everything in Personal
Free Google Workspace account
Premium integrations and blocks
Advanced website analytics
Up to $100 Google Ads credits
Promotional pop-ups and banners
Fully integrated ecommerce
3% transaction fees
Everything in Business
0% transaction fees
Point of Sale
Custom checkout page
Limited availability labels
Everything in Basic Ecommerce
0% transaction fees
Abandoned cart recovery
The ability to sell subscriptions
Limited availability labels
When it comes to customer support, you’ll have three options: using the email ticket system, live chat, or asking a question on the forum – we’ll cover each of them.
Squarespace provides 24/7 assistance regardless of which plan you’re currently on.
Although users on more expensive plans tend to be the priority, you can expect a response within one business day – all you have to do is send an email.
The live chat process is pretty straightforward: you’ll be matched with a customer service agent, who will ask you to describe your issue. After that, they will either ask further questions and provide specific guidance or direct you to a how-to article.
The chat window is open from Monday to Friday from 4:00 AM to 8:00 PM EDT.
Since the forum is community-based, the customer care team doesn’t pay too much attention to the question asked here, and typically, other users will be the ones helping you.
The response time varies, sometimes it’s no more than a few hours, on other occasions, it could take days to get a concise answer.
Top Squarespace Competitors & Alternatives
Wix is considered to be Squarespace’s biggest competitor: they are in the same price range offering similar features.
Here are 4 reasons to choose Wix over Squarespace:
the editor gives you greater control and flexibility
unlike Squarespace, Wix backs up your site automatically, allowing you to revert to a previous version
the templates are outright stunning, and there are hundreds of options you can choose from
the pricing is noticeable lower, plus there is a completely free version
We’ve reviewed the platform before, so if you want to know more about it, click on this link.
Webflow is meant to be used by advanced users with prior experience such as web designers and developers.
Needless to say, the interface of the platform is going to be more complex and less beginner-friendly.
With that said, Webflow offers an Adobe-esque visual editor with front-end customization options, there are myriad e-commerce features, and it has a built-in CMS for blogs.
The platform is all about responsiveness, and page speed optimization. The Amazon Web Service (AWS) hosting ensures that your website can handle vast amounts of traffic while retaining a 99.99% uptime.
If you are looking for something robust and enhanced, Webflow will be a great choice.
You can sign up for the free forever plan and start experimenting with the platform or get a subscription that starts at $12 a month.
Today, more than 30% of websites on the internet are powered by WordPress, it is such a popular option.
WordPress isn’t your conventional website builder: it is an open-source, content management system (CMS).
A CMS allows you and other contributors on your website to create, manage, and publish web content. The reason they are so popular because it gives users full control over their website.
And that’s exactly what WordPress does: it enables you to create any website you can imagine.
With more than 3000+ themes and 50000+ plugins, the possibilities are endless.
WordPress is particularly good for bloggers and websites that rely on their content.
It is certainly not the most easy-to-use or budget-friendly solution.
Here are all the possible costs:
web hosting: this is a must-have, otherwise your site isn’t going to function. The cost of it varies, it ranges from $3 to several hundreds of dollars.
plugins: plugins are extensions meant to expand the functionality of a WordPress website. Most of them offer a free version, but if you are looking for premium options, the costs add up pretty quickly.
additional: this can include web designers, developers, email marketing software, and other tools needed to create the website you want.
The bottom line is, WordPress is trusted by millions, and if you have the knowledge and know what you are doing, you can’t go wrong with it.
Shopify, the e-commerce behemoth, is the go-to option when it comes to building online stores.
Squarespace has some built-in e-commerce features as well, but it doesn’t come close to Shopify.
The entire platform is designed for online selling, which means it’s equipped with all the features you need to create that store.
If you are a blogger putting out content regularly, stay away from Shopify – you’ll be much better off with Squarespace.
There is a standard, two-week trial period for first-time users. After that, the cheapest plan will cost you $26 a month.
Sidenote: if you want to know how to build a Shopify store in less than an hour, click here.
The templates are visually appealing, which makes Squarespace perfect for creating perfect photography and design-oriented sites.
At the same time, the platform is quite limiting and it takes time to learn how to use it. You want to be able to edit and customize everything, so if you’re looking for full control, Squarespace isn’t the right one for you.
The e-commerce capabilities are promising and the platform offers some unique features such as podcast hosting.
To summarize, Squarespace is ideal for those who want to have a professionally-made website and spend little time on it.
We swear by WordPress. Which website builder do you use?
The links you see here are affiliate links. This is how we support our site. Each time you click on our link and make a purchase, we receive a small percentage at no extra cost to you.
A beginner-friendly, drag-and-drop tool that makes graphic design a piece of cake - plus, it's completely free.
Create complex visual layouts and professional websites in seconds using the Elementor webpage builder plugin.
A complex email marketing tool that allows you to create unlimited opt-in forms and landing pages for free.
A marketing calendar and a social media scheduling tool combined. Try CoSchedule risk-free for 14 days.