What is Squarespace? Everything You Need to Know

What is Squarespace? The Ultimate Guide

You don’t need to be a professional website designer to have heard of a tool like Squarespace before. Everyone from influencers looking to develop a bigger online presence, to ecommerce store owners have discussed the pros and cons of a solution like Squarespace in the past. However, there are very few resources out there that cover all of the essentials about what this service does, and how it’s beneficial to your business.

If you’ve been considering building your own website for a while now, or you’re just looking for a website building alternative to tools like Wix and WordPress, then this guide to Squarespace will help you to decide once and for all whether it’s the right software for you.

Let’s get started.

What is Squarespace? Table of Contents:

What is Squarespace? An Overview

squarespace homepage

Simply put, Squarespace is a website builder designed to help creative minds and website owners build incredible sites. With Squarespace, you don’t need any coding knowledge whatsoever. All it takes is a little time, and you’ll have a beautiful website, complete with things like built-in eCommerce checkout tools, a custom domain name, and even SSL certificate protection.

The Squarespace company launched in 2003, in Maryland within the United States. It started off as nothing but a blog hosting service, but it eventually evolved into something much bigger. By 2006, it had already achieved $1 million in revenue.

While anyone can use Squarespace to design a website, the solution is designed first-and-foremost for designers, artists, photographers, and others in the creative space.

To get started, all you need to do is create an account, choose a template for your website, and you can start editing it to suit your requirements. The beautiful design options available through Squarespace is part of what has made this website builder into one of the most popular options in the eCommerce and selling space.

If you want an example of how great a Squarespace website can look, just take a look at Keanu Reeve’s business site or the site created by fashion designer Sadie Williams. The Squarespace technology thrives at offering a website builder that’s not just good for SEO (search engine optimization), but also great at making your small business stand out from the crowd.

Features include:

  • Award-winning website templates
  • Website analytics and reports
  • Connected services and experts
  • Ecommerce templates
  • Appointment tools
  • Checkout payment and taxes tools
  • Point of Sale extensions
  • Email marketing tools
  • Domain name registration
  • Search engine (Google) and SEO solutions
  • Social media integrations
  • Drag-and-drop website editing and design

In other words, it’s an all-in-one system for building a comprehensive online store for your small business. So, how much does Squarespace cost?

What is Squarespace: Pricing and Value for Money

squarespace - pricing

Squarespace might be a feature-rich and flexible solution for website design, but when you’re shopping for a product among a sea of competitors like Shopify, Weebly, and WordPress, budget is likely to be a crucial consideration.

The good news is that you can enjoy a pretty great range of packages from Squarespace. Like with most website building tools, you’ll save a lot more in the long-term if you can pay annually instead of buying your website building services on a monthly basis. There’s a discount on every package purchased annually.

All of the plans offered in the Squarespace site also come with benefits like unlimited storage and bandwidth options, a custom free domain and SSL security built into your back-end. As you upgrade your membership, you can access new features, like integrations with tools for blogging and email marketing, enhanced ecommerce features, and even promotional pop-ups.

The prices for Squarespace start with the personal plan, which you can get at $12 per month paid annually, or $16 per month paid monthly. This solution comes with a website and CSS backend customization, but it doesn’t feature any advanced eCommerce tools. The cheapest package for those who want an online store is the $26 per month eCommerce Basic plan, ($30 paid monthly), which comes with unlimited products, no transaction fees, and even custom label printing.

Let’s take a closer look at the plans.

Squarespace Website Building Pricng Plans

Squarespace offers two plans dedicated to just website building, rather than designing an online store. The Personal plan ($16 per month paid monthly), which we mentioned above, gives you everything you need to set up a comprehensive website, including blogging, and various other back end tools. You can even integrate with things like Mailchimp for email marketing and browse through a wide selection of template designs too.

The Business Plan, which is slightly more expensive at $18 per month paid annually ($26 per month paid monthly), comes with a huge selection of extra features, including promotional pop-ups, code customization, unlimited product support, and so much more. If you don’t need an eCommerce store, but you do need a business website, then this could be the package for you.

The Business plan might also be useful if you already have an alternative way of selling your products, such as using Amazon, eBay or Etsy alongside your website.

Squarespace Ecommerce Pricing Plans

If you need to add ecommerce functionalities to your Squarespace site, then you’ll need to upgrade to one of Squarespace’s eCommerce plans. These have been designed specially for building online stores, and although they’re a little more expensive, you do get what you pay for.

The Basic Commerce plan, available for $26 per month paid anually ($30 per month paid monthly) is the cheapest option for those who want to set up an online store. It comes with all the features of the business plan but removes any transaction fees. What’s more, there’s access to more than just web-design in your ecommerce plans. You can also unlock things like PayPal and Stripe payments, label printing, and inventory management.

If you need a more advanced plan with additional e-Commerce features, then the Advanced Commerce plan is the one for you. Although it’s more expensive at $40 per month paid anually ($46 per month paid monthly), it also has more features, including things like abandoned cart recovery, advanced shipping, gift card creation and flexible discounts.

Squarespace Features: Site Building

First and foremost, Squarespace is a site-building service.

It makes sense that we’d take a look at the e-commerce features that it offers for web design first.

The great thing about Squarespace is that it puts quality template designs first and foremost for its customers. Unlike with Shopify and WordPress, you don’t get access to hundreds of templates, there’s actually just over 60 options to choose from.

However, this also means that every template is custom made to suit the highest standards. The sleek and modern designs of the Squarespace website builder means that you get quality over quantity. What’s more, all templates are created for excellent usability and performance too.

Since all businesses are different, Squarespace also gives you a lot of freedom to customize how your site looks and feels too. Although the website builder isn’t pure drag-and-drop, there is the option to drag various features and elements around. You can also reformat sections, add and remove components, manage multiple pages at the same time, and replace images too.

One point that is worth mentioning about Squarespace and its template designs, is that the company expects Squarespace Users to have a lot of high-resolution photos. You need those images to fill the various blocks throughout the templates. If you don’t have a lot of pictures, you might struggle a little.

The good news is that Squarespace does have a unique partnership with Getty Images, so you can find both free and premium images to use there. If you have a little extra skill with HTML and CSS, don’t forget that you can customize everything from your blog pages to your shopping cart with different fonts, colors and backgrounds too.

Other Design Elements Included with Squarespace

One of the other things that makes Squarespace interesting, is that it doesn’t focus exclusively on design for your homepage and other website pages. You can also tap into other features to create other visual components of your online presence too.

For instance, some of the Squarespace pricing options come with access to the Squarespace logo designing app.

Obviously, you are a little limited in the kind of logos that you can create with this application. However, there’s a wide range of texts, graphics, and symbols to choose from to get you started.

If you’re looking for a solution that will help you to design an inexpensive place-holder logo when you’re figuring out what kind of image you want to develop for your site, then Squarespace’s logo app can definitely help with that. Just remember that you can’t upload any images to the tool, so you’re limited to what’s available out of the box.

On the plus side, you don’t even need to be a Squarespace user to create your logo. You can create a design and simply download what you need for $10.

Aside from logos and other pages, you can also use the content blocks and drag-and-drop functionality of Squarespace to create cover pages too. These are basically one-page websites that business leaders can access to create welcome pages or landing pages for campaigns.

The cover pages available from Squarespace look fantastic, thanks in part to the company’s excellent focus on design. However, they’re not as excellent as they could be for some advertising campaigns because they don’t allow you to implement email marketing tools. These code blocks are vital if you want to capture things like email address and information.

The lack of code blocks means that Squarespace cover pages are better for showcasing content and highlighting things in a personal portfolio. They won’t accomplish much as a lead capturing tool.

Squarespace Domains and Security

While you’re using Squarespace to build your website, you’ll need to remember that there’s a lot more for business owners to consider than just ease of use, or how your site will look on mobile devices. You also need to consider the domains that you’re going to have access to.

Your domain name is the address that people use to find you on the web. If you buy your domain with Squarespace, you should get access to a free domain for up to a year if you choose an annual plan. This freebie is only available for your first year, then you need to renew it at a standard rate.

On the plus side, registering your domain name with Squarespace is very simple.

All you need to do is search for the domain that you want and add it to your cart. Remember that the price of your domain may vary depending on what you want for your site. Specific options like hair.salon are more expensive than basic domains like website.com.

As well as giving you your domain name for free for the first year, Squarespace also gives you a free SSL certificate to start with too. SSL stands for secure sockets layer, and it encrypts any information entered in your website. This makes it a lot more important for accessing sites that process payments, like online stores.

Squarespace also has other ways to protect your website too. Although your options are limited on free plan and demo options, you will have access to DDoS protection and other tools to fight against malicious traffic if you have a paid package with Squarespace.

What’s more, Squarespace also comes with solutions built-in to keep you safe if anything goes wrong with your site. You can restore deleted blogger posts and pages up to 30 days after they’ve been accidentally deleted. Squarespace will automatically make backup copies of your website for you and store them on both primary and secondary servers. There’s also the option to store website files in physical off-site storage disks too.

Squarespace Ecommerce Features

If you’re interested specifically in Squarespace as a solution for your eCommerce website or online store, then it’s good to know that this product comes with plenty of great capabilities. Some of the available “sales” features included with Squarespace include:

  • Product variant options: Flexible product variants are ideal for a lot of business owners, particularly if you want to sell products in different sizes and colors. Squarespace’s ecommerce packages allow you to add product variants easily, and you can even show your customers miniature versions of variations too.
  • Unlimited product support: With unlimited products, there’s no limit on the number of items that you can sell on Squarespace, you can allow your business to grow as much as you like and reach endless new customers as a result.
  • Inventory management: Since Squarespace grants you access to endless numbers of products that you can sell online; it also makes sure that you can manage your inventory too. You can organize any products that you sell by things like name, price, or even number of items left in stock.
  • Selling digital products: Aside from the obvious selling of online products, Squarespace makes it easy to sell digital products too, such as software, eBooks, music, and even downloads. You can also sell services instead of products.
  • Sales tax configuration: With sales tax features, you can implement automatic rules for things like tax codes in countries, states, and different providences. This makes it easier to keep yourself compliant.

One downside is that Squarespace doesn’t have its own app store like Shopify and WordPress. This means that you’re more reliant on the existing features and built-in integrations that are already available.

The good news is that one of these integrations includes a link to Square which means that you can sell products offline and take card payments using the Square Point of Sale System. This basically means that you can instantly start selling products offline if you want to.

Squarespace Features: Marketing Tools

Okay, so we’ve looked at what you can accomplish from a website building perspective with Squarespace. However, if you’re comparing this tool to other options like Weebly and Wix, you’ll want to make sure that you’re also getting marketing features built-in too.

The good news is that Squarespace comes with a host of marketing options.

From a social media perspective, Squarespace allows you to link accounts from over 20 different platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. You can even add things like Twitter cards to a cover page on your website.

Thanks to in-depth social media integrations, you can make it easier to share social content in one place, and even track things like social feeds and comments in the same environment. All you need to do is add your accounts to your site settings page, and Squarespace will handle the rest for you.

Adding custom buttons to your website so that your customers can share what they find on your blog or highlight the recent products that they’ve purchased is a breeze too. That makes it much more compelling for business owners to add interactive elements to their Squarespace Site.

Squarespace SEO

We’ve already mentioned above that Squarespace offers a lot of great integrations with tools for marketing on your back end. This includes solutions for blogging, Mailchimp email marketing, and even pop-ups to improve your chances of conversions on your website.

One thing that Squarespace does quite well, is SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. Since all business owners need to focus on getting their websites as high as possible in the search engine result pages, Squarespace ensures that good SEO strategies are built right into the back-end. Additionally, all of the pages that you create will follow SEO best practices. You can add keywords to alt-text, manage blogging titles, and more.

Sites built with Squarespace keep Google happy with things like clean HTML markup, mobile friendly design, and responsive web pages. Tests have also proven that your Squarespace site should be able to load pretty quickly too. This is important in an age where Google is giving more preference to fast—loading pages.

Since SquareSpace also comes with the option to enable SSL on your website for free, you’re also giving your customers the security they need to feel comfortable browsing your site. Google is increasingly showing preference towards sites that promise safe searching for their clients.

The biggest problem that Squarespace has from an SEO perspective is based around how the website builder allows users to manage their alt tags. Search engines use alt tags as part of the website indexing process, which makes them very important.

However, if you want to add an alt-tag to Squarespace, the process is very clunky. You need to add an image to your page, give the image a caption, and select the choice not to display the caption.

Additionally, as valuable as Squarespace is for things like back-end SEO enhancement, it doesn’t come with any plugins or tools that can help you to automatically check your blogging and back-end for problems.

While things like PayPal and Stripe integrations are available, there’s no Yoast-style solution similar to WordPress. However, you could always use a third-party SEO checking tool if you wanted to.

Squarespace Email and Lead Nurturing

There’s a good chance that at least part of your business plan revolves around email campaigns, and the ability to nurture customers over time. Squarespace recently added a new functionality to the platform with the addition of its unique Email Campaigns feature.

Although you do need to pay extra to use the email campaigns option, it’s definitely worth considering if you’re looking for a good way to nurture your potential clients. For an extra fee, you’ll be able to capture email addresses and send dedicated newsletters to them straight from within your Squarespace interface. This gives Squarespace a very similar functionality to Wix.

There are four pricing options available for email campaigns, which include the:

  • Starter plan: $7 per month with the option to send up to 3 email newsletters and 500 messages every month.
  • Core plan: $14 per month with support for up to 5 newsletters and 5000 messages.
  • The Pro plan: $30 per month for up to 20 newsletters and 50,000 messages
  • The Max plan: $68 per month for an unlimited amount of newsletters and up to 250,000 messages per month.

When it comes to other email marketing products like Mailchimp the Starter and core plan are pretty compelling. They’re actually quite a bit cheaper than what you might get from the likes of companies like GetReponse and AWeber. Additionally, they allow you to start capturing data and connecting to customers without blowing your budget.

Additionally, the built-in email campaigns from Squarespace means that you can manage your eCommerce platform and email strategy from the same place. This means that it’s much easier to keep things like branding consistent across all channels.

Additionally, the email templates are very well designed, which is probably what you would expect from Squarespace. They come with an easy-to-use drag and drop interface. If you’re looking to automate some of your marketing strategy, then there’s even basic autoresponder technology included in the email campaigns. Although the automation is quite basic, it might be a good option or beginners who don’t want to max out their credit card.

Squarespace email campaigns even pushes users to adopt the double opt-in approach for subscribers. Although this can make it harder to build an email list at first, many Squarespace review and testimonials out there say that this actually leads to a cleaner list, as it means you’re less likely to have people who don’t want to hear from you and spambots on your list.

Squarespace Help and Support

squarespace help center

Finally, while it’s important to look into things like e-Commerce functionality, an affordable personal plan, and the ability to create gift cards when you’re designing an effective website, it’s crucial not to overlook the importance of good support.

When you’re struggling with an aspect of Squarespace design, then the best website builder will be brimming with customer support options to choose from.

While a lot of website builders restrict high level support to customers who pay the most, that isn’t the case with Squarespace. Although your support options are a little limited, with no phone support, there are a lot of things to choose from, including:

  • Email support
  • Social media support via twitter
  • A robust knowledge base
  • Video tutorials
  • A community forum
  • Live chat through the week

Even though you don’t get a phone support option, there’s still likely to be something available from the site that will help you to answer any questions that you might have about things like functionality. What’s more, the Squarespace knowledge base is more than enough for most people to learn how to make the most of their Squarespace site on their own.

The Squarespace knowledge base comes packed full of articles, guides, video tutorials and more, making it one of the most trustworthy and thorough options for DIY support around. You might find that you never even need to use the email or live chat support options.

Who Will Benefit Most from Squarespace?

With so many benefits to consider, from a lack of transaction fees for ecommerce plans, to integrations with G Suite, there’s bound to be plenty of companies out there that consider Squarespace to be the best website builder on the planet. However, it’s worth noting that this solution, just like many of the others on the market today, can be particularly useful for some companies more than others.

For instance, Squarespace is particularly useful if you think that the best website is one that’s built around a lot of blogging and visual content. If your site is attached to a portfolio, or you plan on doing a lot of content marketing, Squarespace will help you to share your voice in style.

When it comes to sharing content, Squarespace can even help you to create a visually stunning blog that supports multiple contributors. You’ll have the option to sync and share with various social media add-ons, and you can use the Squarespace blog app to manage your website from your mobile too.

Squarespace is also particularly useful for business owners – specifically those with small but growing businesses. You can find a wide range of great companies online that already use Squarespace to power their sites.

If you’re looking for plenty of ecommerce functionality, as well as options to take transactions with credit cards, Stripe, PayPal, gift cards, and more, Squarespace is the tool for you. There’s even integrations with G-Suite to help your team collaborate more effectively together when running your business.

Although any kind of business can thrive quite well on Squarespace, the website builder is particularly well-suited to creative ecommerce companies that want to show off their attractive products online. Not only will the visual website designs from Squarespace help you to capture audience attention, but tools like inventory management will ensure that you delight your customers with good service too.

If you need to, Squarespace can even support you in selling products offline too. That’s thanks to the fact that Squarespace recently partnered with Square for point of Sale systems. With the Squarespace app for commerce, and a Square POS card reader, you can take your payments on the move, and the sales that you make will be recorded with your online inventory too. You can even offer discounts, collect email addresses, and more to build relationships with your clients.

You could even benefit from using Squarespace to build your website if you just want a personal place to show off your skills and develop a professional portfolio. Squarespace has templates to support all kinds of companies, from photography entrepreneurs, to musicians.

What is Squarespace: Finishing Thoughts

At this point, you should have a pretty good idea of what a tool like Squarespace can do for your business, or your personal brand. With a rapidly increasing selection of tools to choose from, as well as stunning designs that help you to launch your business fast, Squarespace is one of the most popular website builders on the market for a reason.

Clearly, this leading website builder is ideal for companies and individuals of all shapes and sizes, with dozens of tools to explore for customizing your website, connecting with customers, and generating plenty of lucrative sales too. You can also integrate your Squarespace experience with many of the other leading tools on the market, from PayPal to G-Suite.

Squarespace gives beginners in the business landscape the tools that they need to create stunning websites and incredible opportunities, without every having to learn any code. It’s the closest you can come to tapping into a designer-made website without paying the huge price tag. Additionally, it gives you the scalability to grow when you need to as well.

However, Squarespace won’t be for everyone. Beginners may still struggle to get to grips with this builder, and there are people out there that will need features that Squarespace simply can’t provide, such as enhanced landing pages for capturing and converting leads.

We’d recommend Squarespace to anyone who wants a visually stunning website that packs a punch with things like security features, excellent support, and various expanding features.

Squarespace FAQ:

What is Squarespace used for?

Squarespace is a website design and web building tool, used to give companies a quick and simple way to develop an online presence. You can use Squarespace to build a portfolio for your personal brand, create an eCommerce website, and more. Squarespace also has tools for things like email marketing, logo design, and cover page creation. With the Square integration, you can even use your Squarespace site with an offline selling strategy too.

What is better Wix or Squarespace

Only you can decide which website building tool is right for you. Wix has a lot of flexibility to offer, and a very low cost for people who don’t have a lot of money to spend. However, Squarespace stands out for its luxurious high-quality templates and blogging features. Thanks to built-in email marketing tools, Squarespace is also now competing more aggressively with Wix. However, Wix does have a free version where Squarespace doesn’t.

What language is Squarespace written in?

Squarespace primarily uses Java on its backend. However, it also has a custom website application on top of the TopCat, Oracle Coherence, and MS SqlServer solutions required to cluster the Squarespace web servers together. Isilon is used for storage purposes.

Is Squarespace any good?

If you’re looking for beautiful templates, user-friendly performance and a reliable all-around design, then Squarespace could be just the website building platform for you. It’s an excellent platform with lots of great features to discover. You can even create an offline store with Squarespace thanks to its Square integration.

Is Squarespace free?

Unfortunately, although there is a 14-day free trial for Squarespace, it’s not free to use. There’s no free plan, unlike Wix or Weebly. However, you can try out all of the features for fourteen days without paying anything. That might be a good option if you’re not sure whether Squarespace is right for you yet.

Squarespace
Rating: 4.0 - Review by