Squarespace Review — The Key Pros and Cons of a Leading Site Builder

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Squarespace review (image of the Squarespace logo on a notebook)

In this Squarespace review, I look at all the key pros and cons of one of the best-known website builders available. Is Squarespace right for your web design project — or should you use an alternative platform?

Let’s find out.


In this in-depth look at Squarespace, I’m going to give you:

  • an overview of what Squarespace is, and how it works
  • an evaluation of its templates and key features
  • a list of all the main pros and cons of Squarespace
  • a good idea of the best Squarespace plan for you
  • a list of the best alternative website builders

By the end of the review, you’ll have a much clearer idea as to whether the platform is right for you.

But first…


What is Squarespace? And how many people use it?

Squarespace is a website builder tool that is aimed mainly at small business owners and ‘solopreneurs.’

Founded in 2004 as a solution to let people without development skills build and manage their own website, Squarespace now powers millions of websites worldwide.

Although Squarespace initially started life as a straightforward website building tool, the product has evolved over recent years into one which offers built-in e-commerce and marketing features too — as you’ll see later on the review, the platform can now be used to host an online store and run email marketing campaigns.

Squarespace
Squarespace now focuses as much on e-commerce and marketing tools as it does website building.

Internet statistic company Builtwith.com estimates that there is a total of 2.8 million live Squarespace sites, making the platform one of the most popular website builders currently available. Around 1,100 people work for the company.


How does Squarespace work?

Squarespace is a ‘hosted’ solution. This means that it runs on its own servers and you don’t have to install software on your own computer to use it.

It lets you create a website in a web browser without coding, and edit it easily thanks to a user-friendly content management system (CMS).

Squarepace's 'Devoe' template
Squarepace’s ‘Devoe’ template

In other words, rather than loading Dreamweaver or a similar web design package and churning out lines of code to construct a site, you do it all online using Squarespace’s templates and style editor. All you need to work on your site is access to a web browser and the internet.

You pick a template, click on the bits of the design you want to tweak, and then adjust controllers in the style editor to change them. 

For example, you can click on some text and apply a new typeface; click on a background and change its color; and so on.

But in general, Squarespace is not really a website builder that is designed for those who want to edit their design extensively — it is a platform that encourages you to pick a template, make a few design tweaks, add some content and hit the ‘go’ button.

Squarespace is a ‘software as a service’ (SaaS) tool — this means that you don’t own a copy of the product, but instead pay a monthly fee to use it.

And speaking of fees…


Squarespace plans and pricing

There are four Squarespace plans available:

  • Personal — $16 per month

  • Business — $26 per month

  • Basic Commerce — $35 per month

  • Advanced Commerce — $54 per month

If you pay upfront for a year, discounts of 25% to 30% are applied to the above fees, depending on plan.

(Two other plans— ‘Select’ and ‘Enterprise’ — are also available. These give you access to priority support and consultancy services, but are very expensive — ‘Select’ costs $4900 per year and ‘Enterprise’ pricing is negotiable).

Squarespace pricing (monthly fees, correct at time of writing).

If you want to try Squarespace out before buying, a two-week trial is available, which you can access here.

Key differences between the Squarespace plans

When it comes to the key differences between Squarespace plans, some of the main things to look out for are:

E-commerce features

The ‘Personal’ Squarespace plan is the only one which doesn’t allow you to sell online — e-commerce functionality is not provided on this plan at all.

All the other plans allow you to sell an unlimited number of products on your online store — but the commerce functionality you get depends on the plan.

For example, a key e-commerce feature, abandoned cart autorecovery — a way of identifying and automatically emailing users who put items in their carts but don’t complete a purchase — is only available on the most expensive plan, ‘Advanced Commerce.’

Other important online store features, including advanced discounts, subscriptions, real-time carrier shipping and access to the Squarespace API are restricted to the ‘Advanced Commerce’ plan too.

Transaction fees

You can avoid transaction fees on the ‘Basic Commerce’ and ‘Advanced Commerce’ plans. If you opt for the ‘Business’ plan, however, Squarespace will take a 3% cut of all the transactions made via your online store.

Depending on the volume of sales involved, this may make the ‘Basic Commerce’ or ‘Advanced Commerce’ plans more cost-effective than the ‘Business’ one quite quickly.

Whether or not you can add CSS and scripts to your site

The ‘Personal’ Squarespace plan doesn’t let you style your website with your own CSS.

CSS is the code used to style a template — and it can be useful to have access to this if you want to have 100% control over the design of your site.

The ‘Personal’ plan also prevents you from adding JavaScript to the header of your website. Doing so is often necessary for integrating other apps and services with your site, or adding bespoke features.

The number of website contributors you can have

The ‘Personal’ plan restricts the number of contributors to your website to 2 (there’s no cap on contributors on the other plans).

Third-party integrations

You can only make use of Squarespace’s ‘premium blocks and integrations’ if you’re on a ‘Business’ plan or higher. These allow you to connect your website to third party apps and services like Opentable, Amazon and Mailchimp.

Promotional pop-ups / mobile information bars

On the $35 per month ‘Business’ plan or higher you can use Squarespace’s promotional pop-ups and banners. These allow you to highlight particular offers on your website, or ask users to sign up to mailing lists.

You can also add ‘mobile information bars’ on these plans (pictured below). These make it easier for mobile users to call, email or locate your business quickly.

The mobile information bar
Squarespace’s mobile information bar makes it easier for users to access key information about your business on a smartphone.

Buying a domain name with Squarespace

To incentivize you to pay upfront for a year’s service, Squarespace gives anyone taking out an annual plan a free domain name for their first year of using the platform. This means that you can avail of your own custom domain name, www.yoursite.com etc.

Not every custom domain is catered for — several extensions will only be available with a dedicated domain name provider, but the main ones (.com, .net, .info etc.) are catered for, as are some country extensions.

The only thing to remember here is that by using Squarespace to purchase your domain name, you are placing both your website AND your domain name in the same basket — i.e., if you ever lost access to your Squarespace account, you’d lose access to your domain name too.

Now that we’ve looked at some of the key differences between pricing plans, it’s time to take a look at a particularly important aspect of Squarespace: the visuals.


Squarespace templates and design features

Quality of templates

You can choose from around 140 Squarespace templates; all are very attractive and have a slick, contemporary look and feel — in my view outclassing the offering from many other similar hosted website building tools.

In terms of how this selection stacks up against the free template offering from other website builders, it makes Squarespace more generous than Shopify or BigCommerce (which both only offer a few free templates), but less generous than Wix (which offers 800+) and WordPress (for which thousands are available).

The 'Paloma' template.
The ‘Paloma’ Squarespace template.

One thing I’d say about Squarespace templates is that the majority of them work best if professional, eye-catching photography is used.

So, if you are considering using Squarespace, it makes sense to invest some thought and time in getting some great pictures for your site before you start building it.

And speaking of which…

Stock images in Squarespace

One of the really great things about Squarespace is that it provides you with access to all of Unsplash’s image library out of the box — meaning that you get access to a large number of royalty free images that you can add directly to your website.

Adding free stock photography in Squarespace
Adding free stock photography in Squarespace

When adding an image to a page, you just click a ‘search for image’ option and you can choose a picture from Unsplash to insert into it.

And, if the quality of the Unsplash library doesn’t appeal, Squarespace offers you the option to buy images directly from Getty — these images cost $10 each, which is not unreasonable.

As with the Unsplash integration, it’s very easy to insert Getty images into your site — it’s simply a case of searching for a stock image using a keyword, trying it out and paying for the picture if you think it works in context.

I’ve found both the Unsplash and Getty options extremely useful when building Squarespace websites for clients who don’t have any images to hand.

In some cases, the stock photography feature has contributed positively to the overall corporate design of my clients’ sites — and has been particularly helpful when a client has not given any thought to the branding or imagery end of things at all (something that happens rather more than I’d like!).

Typeface selection

A huge range of web fonts — 1,000 from Adobe and over 600 from Google — is included with Squarespace.

This is far more than provided by most competing website building platforms, and usually makes it easier to match your website’s branding with those used in your offline marketing materials.

How do Squarespace websites look on a mobile?

All Squarespace templates are fully responsive, meaning that your site design will adjust itself automatically so that it appears correctly on tablets, mobile devices and desktop computers.

Not only does this make your site more accessible to a wider range of users, it can provide some SEO benefits too.

All of Squarespace’s templates are fully-responsive.
All of Squarespace’s templates are fully-responsive.

Additionally, you can enable AMP — Accelerated Mobile Pages — on Squarespace websites. AMP is a Google-backed project which aims to speed up the delivery of content on mobile devices through the use of stripped down code. Using it can provide some user experience and SEO benefits.

Enabling AMP in Squarespace is extremely easy (it’s just a case of ticking a box in your site settings), but it’s important to note that currently, you can only use it with blog posts.

It would be better however if you could enable AMP for products too; this is something you can do with competing products Shopify (via an add-on app) and BigCommerce (out of the box).

Editing the template design

It’s generally easy to configure a Squarespace template design to your liking. You can use a menu of styling options on the right hand side of the screen to adjust how components — displayed on the left — appear.

You can adjust things like fonts, colors, website width and so on with a minimum of fuss.

Editing the fonts on a Squarespace website
Editing the fonts on a Squarespace website

One important thing worth noting about the latest version of Squarespace (7.1) is that it doesn’t allow you to switch templates once you’ve selected one.

This is frustrating — but less of a big deal than it sounds at first, as all the 7.1 templates work the same way, and you can achieve the same look and feel as another template by tweaking your site fonts and colors.

However, it would be much better to offer the option to switch to another template design with the click of a button, rather than forcing users to manually change a load of settings.

Customizing your Squarespace template

So long as you’re on a ‘Business’ or higher plan, you can add your own custom CSS to your website — code that allows you to change the appearance of it. This is useful when you really want to make a change to your website’s appearance that Squarespace’s design controls just don’t permit.

You won’t be able to see the full CSS stylesheet in Squarespace, but you can add your own CSS rules to change the appearance of certain items on your website.

However, it’s important to note that if you do add your own CSS, Squarespace’s customer support team reserves the right to limit the kind of support they give you. 

Many competing products are better than Squarespace when it comes to providing full control over the templates — Shopify and BigCommerce, for example, provide you with complete access to your site’s CSS and HTML on all plans.

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Video backgrounds

Squarespace provides a cool video backgrounds feature — this can turn an already nice-looking Squarespace template into a stunning one.

This feature lets you use a Youtube or Vimeo URL to create a looped video background for your Squarespace site; you can also apply a range of filters to this, and speed up or slow it down.

(If using Vimeo, note that you’ll need to be on a Vimeo Plus plan to remove the Vimeo logo from your videos).

You can also upload videos to be used as backgrounds, so long as they are under 500MB in size and no longer than 60 seconds in length.

However, it would be good to be able to display videos with sound — or give visitors an option to do this. (Fortunately, there’s a nice workaround available for this which you can pick up from our Squaresplace plugins page — a third-party Squarespace background video controls plugin).

Squarespace 7.0 vs Squarespace 7.1

There are actually two versions of Squarespace available at the moment: 7.0 and 7.1. This review is focussing on the default version, Squarespace 7.1, but technically you can still opt to build a site on Squarespace 7.0 if preferred. Doing so will give you access to a different set of templates, and a few features that were removed in version 7.1, including:

  • parallax scrolling
  • cover pages (landing or ‘intro’ pages for your site)
  • the ability to tweak the mobile version of your site more extensively
  • access to a Squarespace developer platform (which can be used to code bespoke Squarespace sites).

Using Squarespace 7.1 gives you a more sophisticated layout engine that provides access to more page layouts and lets you make use of both ‘content blocks’ and ‘content sections.’ It’s also likely to be better supported by Squarespace going forward, and it’s the version of the platform into which new features will be introduced.

Finally, in my tests, I’ve found Squarespace 7.1 is generally faster than 7.0, too — and page speed is important for SEO.

So overall, my advice would be to go for a 7.1 plan rather than 7.0 one — you can browse Squarespace 7.1 templates here.

Designing logos with Squarespace

A useful feature included with Squarespace is a logo designing app.

A selection of symbols and typefaces are provided in the app which you can use to create your logo.

You drop your text and symbols onto a grid, move things about a bit and, when you’re happy with the results, you can download a hi-res version of your logo which can be used either on your site or on printed material.

It’s pretty basic, so won’t be right for all users, but it has its uses. The main thing I’d like to see added to it are more typefaces — the selection available is very limited, especially by comparison to Squarespace’s main site builder.

A logo created using the Squarespace logo app
A logo created using the Squarespace logo app

Content management in Squarespace

There is a LOT to like about Squarespace’s approach to content management. Let’s go through some of the good stuff first.

Content sections

Squarespace’s ‘layout engine’ is very simple to use and lets you drag and drop ‘content sections’ anywhere on your site (images, text, forms, videos, code snippets etc.).

This makes for very flexible, attractive presentation of content — in my view, it’s one of the best website builder interfaces available.

When you set up a page, you can choose from a range of pre-defined page layouts — for example contact pages, about pages, team pages etc. — which can further speed things up.

Adding content sections in Squarespace.
Adding content sections in Squarespace.

These are extremely helpful to website-building novices who are not terribly familiar with the best ways to lay out content.

Once you’ve got your page, you can add ‘content sections’ to it. These include:

  • text

  • images

  • audio

  • galleries (in slideshow, grid, carousel, or stack format)

  • restaurant menus

  • event listings

  • content summaries

  • calendars

  • maps

  • code

  • markdown

…and that’s just a few examples really.

It’s also really easy to change the position of your content sections; it’s simply a case of grabbing an element and dragging it to another location on the page.

It’s easy to place elements within content sections too — you simply add ‘content blocks’ (pictured below). As with Squarespace’s content sections, these can be positioned around the page easily.

The selection of Squarespace content blocks
Squarespace content blocks.

All in all, the content management system is excellent, gives you a great range of design options, and is one of the strongest arguments for using Squarespace over a competing tool.

(Interestingly, WordPress — one of the main alternatives to Squarespace — recently introduced a new drag and drop editor, Gutenberg, that bears more than a passing resemblance to Squarespace’s drag-and-drop builder).

Squarespace free trial

Images 

The way Squarespace lets you work with images is another key plus point of the platform — its image manipulation and management tools are really strong.

You can resize, crop or rotate any image you add to your website with ease in Squarespace. You can also pick a ‘focal point’ in images; this helps ensure that no matter which device a user is viewing your site on, the part of the image you care the most about is always on display.

In this era of responsive websites, where images are resized according to device, this can be a bit of a design lifesaver, ensuring that your images always ‘make sense’ regardless of the device you’re using.

Setting an image's 'focal point'
Setting an image’s ‘focal point’ in Squarespace.

In terms of using galleries and slideshows, Squarespace offers you several different presentation options — including slideshows, carousels and grids — and all look excellent.

This wide range of gallery features makes Squarespace a particularly good option for photographers who need a website to showcase their portfolio.

As discussed earlier, another nice aspect of working with images in Squarespace is that you can browse Unsplash and Getty images directly within Squarespace and insert them really easily into your website.

So all in all, a really big thumbs-up for image management in Squarespace.

Blogging features

What is Squarespace like as a blogging platform?

Well, first the good stuff:

  • Unlike some competing platforms, you can have as many blogs as you like on your Squarespace website. This is useful, because you can create different blogs for different types of content (news, reviews, tutorials and so on). Or, alternatively, you can stick with one blog and use categories and tags to split out your posts in various ways.

  • You can create really stylish summary blocks of your blog and drop them into any page of your website, and filter these so that the most relevant posts for a particular context are displayed. Anyone who is interested in creating a magazine style layout for their site will love this.

  • Whereas many competing website builder tools restrict you to using tags only, you can use categories and tags in Squarespace — this means you can present your content in a more flexible way (and gives your readers more options on how they filter it).

  • As discussed earlier, you can enable AMP on your blog posts, which means that they will load very quickly (something that can help you rank higher in search results).

There are however, some flaws in Squarespace’s blogging setup that definitely need to be pointed out:

  • There’s no autosave. This is a big omission and it can lead to lost content (for example if your browser crashes mid-sentence, or you accidentally delete part of a blog post).

  • There’s no revision history (i.e., an archive of older versions of posts).

  • If you want to update an existing blog post, you can’t work on a draft version and publish it when you’re ready; you have to update the live version.

The bottom line with blogging in Squarespace is that it’s fine for most users — but if you’re a professional blogger, or intending to run a large publication, there are better options available to you, not least WordPress.

Importing and exporting content and products

Imports

It’s easy enough to get content and products into Squarespace. Helpful ‘wizards’ are provided to help you import pages, blog posts and other content from WordPress, Blogger and Tumblr.

One thing to note however is that you need to be on one of the more expensive ‘Commerce’ plans in order to import products. These plans let you import up to 10,000 products via CSV or, using an import tool, from Shopify, Etsy or Big Cartel.

Squarespace free trial

Exports

You can export certain content from Squarespace into a WordPress-format XML file — not everything exports, but the type of content that you can get out of the platform includes key items like pages, posts and galleries.

There are limitations to watch out for when it comes to products however — only physical products can be exported, and you can only export up to 10,000 products (with each variant counting as a product).

Charts — but no tables

An unusual but potentially useful feature in Squarespace is its ‘charting’ functionality — this lets you drop some data into Squarespace and use it to create a pie chart, line chart or bar chart.

These look good and are a handy way to include a visualization of your data in your site content.

Creating charts
Creating charts in Squarespace

A related feature that’s sadly missing however is the ability to insert tables into Squarespace pages and posts.

I routinely get requests from clients to add tables into Squarespace websites and it’s always a pain to do; it involves either coding and styling something manually, or creating JPG versions of tables.

Navigation limitations

As things stand Squarespace is not really a suitable tool for creating websites with ‘multi-level’ navigation systems.

Whilst all Squarespace plans allow you to create up to 1,000 static pages (and an unlimited number of blog posts), limits apply to how you organize them.

In practice, the platform only permits you to create very ‘flat’ websites, with a maximum of two levels of navigation.

In a way this is a good thing, because your site will end up being easy to navigate; but some businesses — particularly those offering a wide or complex range of services — may require a deeper website hierarchy and a suitable navigation system to facilitate this.

Version history

Unlike WordPress, Squarespace doesn’t automatically keep a history of changes to your website. This means that if you accidentally mess up a page (or worse, permanently delete it!), you can’t restore an earlier version.

That’s not to say that Squarespace doesn’t back up your website — the company says that it keeps copies of its customers’ content in multiple locations and that your data is safe with the company.

But the fact that the Squarespace help page on troubleshooting lost content encourages you to try to retrieve accidentally deleted content by searching an internet archive (the Wayback Machine) or visiting a Google-cached version of a page doesn’t really inspire confidence…

Creating multiple language versions of a Squarespace website

Users who wish to use Squarespace to create a website for a company operating in many different locations or languages may also be disappointed — Squarespace is not really designed to let you create a network of multiple sites using the same design.

Out of the box, for example, you can’t really use Squarespace to host a full UK version of your site at www.yoursite.com/uk/ and a full German version at www.yoursite.com/de/.

WordPress Multilingual or WordPress Multisite would be a better bet for applications like that [note: you can find out more about our WordPress development services here].

If you’re determined to use Squarespace to host a multi-lingual website however, you could considering investing in a third-party tool like Weglot, which automatically creates a multi-lingual version of your site for you.

File management

Although Squarespace doesn’t yet provide a standalone WordPress-style media library, its new image re-use feature goes some way towards providing a media library of sorts, in that it allows you to search for and re-use images you’ve already imported to the platform.

Mobile apps

If you’d like to manage your Squarespace site on the go, there are three apps to help you do this:

  • ‘Squarespace’
  • ‘Schedule Admin’
  • ‘Scheduling Client’

All three are available for both iOS and Android.

The ‘Squarespace’ app is the main one you’ll need to manage your Squarespace site using a smartphone — it lets you edit pages and posts, view analytics and manage orders.

The Squarespace scheduling apps are designed to let you manage appointments that your clients have booked through your Squarespace site.

The ‘Schedule Client’ app allows people to book and change appointments, and the ‘Scheduling Admin’ app lets you manage them.

In terms of user reviews, the Squarespace app has been rated 4.8 out of 5 and 4.4 out of 5 on the iOS and Google Play app stores respectively.


Integrations with other apps

Built-in integrations

Squarespace offers several built-in integrations with key web applications — you can incorporate apps like Mailchimp, Dropbox, Google Drive, Pinterest (and quite a few others) into your website in various useful ways.

You will need to be on a ‘Business’ plan or higher though to get full access to these, however.

Squarespace extensions

Squarespace recently introduced ‘extensions’ for its platform — a range of paid-for add-ons that add functionality to your website.

The number of extensions is currently small — at time of writing, there are only 27 add-ons available — but you can use them to hook your site up to several key admin apps including Quickbooks and Xero, or print shipping labels.

The extensions available are useful, but a bit pricey by comparison to offerings in other platforms’ app stores.

Squarespace extensions.
Squarespace extensions.

Squarespace-Zapier integration

If a built-in integration or extension isn’t available to help you get Squarespace talking to a particular app, then you might find the Squarespace-Zapier integration a good option.

This allows you to send data captured via forms in Squarespace to a wide range of third party applications. Zapier is an ‘if this, then that’ (IFTT) tool that allows you to create rules as to what should happen with data from one application when it’s sent to another.

You will usually need a premium Zapier plan to get the most out of this, though ($29.99 per month).

Squarespace plugins

There’s also the option of buying ‘code snippets’ to enhance the functionality of your Squarespace website from various providers.

These snippets are increasingly referred to as ‘Squarespace plugins’ — and although these add-ons are not quite as easy to install as their WordPress equivalents, they nonetheless allow you to significantly extend the functionality of your Squarespace site.

Plugins exist for a variety of applications — for example, enhancing video backgrounds, adding sidebars, creating bespoke lightboxes…and much else besides.

Integration with social media

Connecting Squarespace to social media accounts is very straightforward — you simply add your accounts in your website settings, and Squarespace takes care of the relevant icons and feeds (pushing content automatically to selected social networks if requested).

All the most popular social media networks are catered for in Squarespace, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

A way to save money on Squarespace

If you’re interested in using Squarespace, the company is currently offering 10% off its plans. This can amount to quite a saving, especially if you opt for one of its ‘commerce’ plans.

This discount is available for a limited time only – to avail of it,

1. Grab a free trial on the Squarespace website using this link.
2. Enter the code PARTNER10 when purchasing a plan.


Data capture and forms

Data capture is one of the most important features of any website, especially in this era of inbound marketing.

A robust approach to data capture is absolutely vital to generating leads and clients, and if you don’t get it right, you will hamper the growth of your online business.

Accordingly, I’m going to drill down into this area in quite a lot of depth.

So how does Squarespace stack up in the data capture department?

Well, there are two ways to approach data capture in Squarespace. The first is to simply use code blocks to integrate an email marketing service of your choice (GetResponse, AWeber, Mailchimp etc.).

This gives you a lot of flexibility — but means adding HTML forms to your Squarespace website and styling them using CSS so that they match the rest of it. This is perfectly doable, but won’t be for everyone.

The other way to capture data is via Squarespace’s built-in data capture options: the ‘form block’ or the ‘newsletter block’. These both allow you to construct bespoke forms easily.

Both the form block and the newsletter block allow you to send the data captured to 

  • an email address
  • Mailchimp

  • Zapier

  • Google Sheets

  • Squarespace’s Email Campaigns tool (more on this below)

The good news first: the forms are really easy to set up and use and they look great — if you are happy to send your data to Google Sheets and Mailchimp, or set up a ‘zap’ to another application via Zapier, you’ll love them.

There are some improvements that I’d love to see being made however.

First, although the Zapier integration is very useful, opening up Squarespace’s data capture functionality to users of well-known email marketing products such as GetResponse, Campaign Monitor and AWeber, it still makes life more complicated (and expensive) for these users than it should be.

It would be better if direct integrations were available for users of other email marketing products.

The form block
Creating a contact form in Squarespace.

Another improvement I’d like to see to Squarespace forms would be file uploading functionality — as things stand, you can’t let users attach any files to form submissions in Squarespace.

The other thing I’d love to see is conditional logic being added to Squarespace forms, so that you can display additional fields based on user action, or send data to particular people (or storage options) based on what the user submitted.

And finally, you can’t create one form in Squarespace that you then drop into pages as you please — you have to create a new form for every page.

If your data capture needs are simple, you’ll be absolutely fine with Squarespace; but if you need to use conditional logic or facilitate file uploads as part of your data capture process, you will probably end up having to invest in a third party forms app like Wufoo Forms or Jotform, or using custom code to connect your forms to your email marketing app.

Email marketing functionality – ‘Squarespace Email Campaigns’

Squarespace recently added significant new functionality to its platform with the introduction of its ‘Email Campaigns’ feature.

For an extra monthly fee, this allows you to capture email addresses and send newsletters to them directly within the Squarespace user interface.

This brings it into line with key competitor Wix, which has offered this sort of functionality for some time, via its ‘Ascend’ feature.

Squarespace offers you four email marketing options:

  • Starter — $7 per month to send up to 3 e-newsletters and 500 messages per month

  • Core — $14 per month for 5 e-newsletters / 5,000 messages

  • Pro — $34 per month for 20 e-newsletters / 50,000 messages

  • Max — $68 per month for an unlimited number of newsletters / 250,000 messages

(These rates are reduced if you pay for Squarespace Email Campaigns on an annual basis).

In terms of how this pricing stacks up against other email marketing products, the Starter and Core plans are cheap by comparison to the entry-level plans available from the likes of AWeber and Mailchimp; they allow you to start capturing data and creating newsletters without spending too much.

In fact, you can technically host an unlimited number of email addresses with Squarespace Email campaigns, which is very generous.

Squarespace Email Campaigns
Squarespace Email Campaigns

Another important benefit of using Squarespace’s Email Campaigns is that you can manage your website AND mailing list — probably the two most important online assets of any business — in one place, and keep the branding reasonably consistent across both.

On top of that, the email templates — as you’d expect from Squarespace — are very attractive and mobile-friendly. They are easy to edit too, as the Email Campaigns feature provides a drag-and-drop user interface that is quite similar to Squarespace’s web page editor.

Some autoresponder functionality is included with Email Campaigns — however, the automation provided is currently very basic by comparison to that provided by dedicated email marketing tools like Mailchimp or GetResponse.

Furthermore, you can’t can’t segment data or split test your mailouts using Squarespace Email Campaigns. So ‘power users’ of email marketing needing more sophisticated options will probably better off using another email marketing solution.


Editing HTML and CSS on a Squarespace website

HTML — adding widgets and code blocks

Unlike competing platforms like WordPress or Shopify, in Squarespace you can’t really toggle between a WYSIWYG (‘what you see is what you get’) editor and HTML mode on pages and posts. 

It is, however, possible to add ‘HTML code blocks’ to a Squarespace website, so you can incorporate a third-party form / widget etc. into proceedings easily.

CSS — styling your website

You can add custom CSS to your Squarespace website (if you’re on the ‘Business’ plan or higher), but it’s not entirely encouraged: you are warned when doing so that 1) adding lines of CSS can break your design, and 2) you might not be able to avail of full support if you add CSS.

That said, if you know what you’re doing with CSS, the freedom to add bespoke visual improvements to your site is welcome.

Code injection

If you’d like to add scripts to the header section of a Squarespace website, you can do this via a code injection section (on the ‘Business’ plan or higher).


How good is Squarespace SEO?

Squarespace websites do quite a lot of things that Google likes:

  • they are secure
  • they automatically generate a sitemap.xml file
  • they create clean HTML markup
  • they use responsive design, making them mobile friendly (Google prioritizes websites that appear quickly and display correctly on mobile devices)
  • they provide some AMP features.

Squarespace lets you tweak most of the key search engine optimization elements easily enough — page title tags, headings, meta descriptions etc.

Additionally, Squarespace allows users to enable free SSL on their sites (and very easily too). This is important, because sites using SSL certificates can be treated preferentially by Google in search

However, there are a few things Squarespace could do better when it comes to SEO:

  • Performance: Google now places more of an emphasis on site performance (thanks to its new ‘Core Web Vitals‘ targets that focus on speed and stability). Sites that perform particularly well against these targets with slightly higher search rankings; and things stand, Squarespace could do better on this front. That said, the company is aware of these issues, and is gradually rolling out the necessary performance improvements.
  • Alt text — adding it involves a quite fiddly process of creating and then hiding image captions.
  • 301 URL redirects — creating them is a bit of a manual process (and unlike some competing products, you are not automatically prompted to do so whenever you change a page URL).
  • Clean URLs — whilst not a major issue, if you write a blog post on Squarespace, you can’t change the URL so that it doesn’t include a prefix (‘/blog/’ etc.). There are SEO arguments for keeping URLs ‘clean’ — made by Google no less — by avoiding unnecessary parameters like this.

Note: if you’re interested in finding out more about optimising your Squarespace website for a search engine, do check out our Squarespace SEO resource. And don’t forget that built-in SEO features are only one part of the picture when it comes to SEO; you’ll need to think about keyword research tools too.


E-commerce in Squarespace

The e-commerce functionality in Squarespace is pretty strong. It’s easy to create, edit and manage products and product catalogues. You can definitely create an attractive online store with the platform — and one that’s easy to manage.

Adding products to a Squarespace store.
Adding products to a Squarespace store.

Key features include

  • a user-friendly shopping cart system

  • the ability to sell an unlimited number of products

  • the ability to sell physical goods, digital goods, services and subscriptions

  • a 0% transaction fee (on ‘Commerce’ plans)

  • automatic abandoned cart recovery (on ‘Commerce Advanced’ plan)

  • gift cards and discount codes

  • customer accounts (‘Commerce’ plans only)
  • point-of-sale functionality (US only)

    .

I particularly like the way Squarespace handles product images. Unlike some competing platforms, Squarespace allows you to automatically apply image ratios to all the products in your online store — a huge timesaver for larger e-commerce projects.

It’s worth flagging up the subscription functionality as another strong feature of Squarespace — the platform makes it really easy for you to accept recurring payments for goods or services.

Selecting which types of product to sell
Selecting which types of product to sell in Squarespace Commerce.

An interesting aspect of Squarespace e-commerce is its new ‘members area’ feature. This lets you charge users for access to a private area of your website, allowing you to sell courses, exclusive content and more to your audience.

Although this requires an additional fee (ranging from $9 to $40 depending on how many members areas you want to set up), it’s a great way to monetize your website and your site traffic. The video below contains an overview of this feature.

Squarespace’s new members’ area feature

Free trial of Squarespace (use PARTNER10 code to avail of 10% discount).

There are a couple of areas in the e-commerce department where Squarespace needs some improvement, however.

  • It doesn’t facilitate multi-currency transactions. This won’t be a showstopper for anyone who wants to use the platform to sell products locally, but if your sights are set on selling goods all over the world, then platforms like BigCommerce or Shopify are a better bet, as they allow you to show product prices and facilitate checkout in local currencies (BigCommerce being a particularly good option for this).

  • Point-of-sale functionality — which allows you to sell your products in physical locations using your online store to process payment and track inventory — could be a bit better too; it’s currently limited to the USA, only iPhones are supported, and the hardware you can use is limited to a card reader (i.e., no barcode scanners or cash registers can be used).

  • The dropshipping options are a bit limited too: you can only use Printful, Printique or Spocket as dropshipping providers. If dropshipping is going to be a key part of your business, you may be better off with Shopify

    , which offers a huge range of dropshipping options.
  • Currently, automatic tax calculations are restricted to the US.

  • Payment gateway options are restricted to Stripe and Paypal. The most significant upshot of this is that Google Pay is not supported by Squarespace (Apple Pay is, however).

    Competing e-commerce platforms typically give you a lot more choice when it comes to payment methods.

Overall, I really like the Squarespace e-commerce features, and they’re great for any small business that needs a simple online store and doesn’t mind selling in just one currency.

Merchants who have more advanced requirements however would be better off looking at a more dedicated e-commerce platform like BigCommerce or Shopify.

Shopify trial information

Interface and ease-of-use

Squarespace is a very user-friendly product.

As mentioned before, the layout options are extensive and can provide you with gorgeous, ‘magazine-style’ presentation of content.

In fact, I’ve yet to use a hosted website building platform that feels quite as slick and as straightforward to use as Squarespace.

Whenever I build a website in Squarespace and hand it over to a client for them to edit themselves, there are rarely any problems — we are not talking about a steep learning curve here at all.

The main criticism I have about Squarespace in the ease-of-use department is that in the latest version of the product (version 7.1), you can’t switch templates.

This means that if you want to recreate the look and feel of another template, you’ll have to rejig all your design settings. This is doable, but it can be very time consuming.

That issue aside, I think Squarespace provides one of the easiest-to-use and most intuitive content management systems out there, and the quality of the interface is probably one of the strongest arguments for using it.


Customer support

Squarespace provides customer support via email or live chat only — no phone support is available.

In terms of the customer service that is available, whilst the staff on Squarespace’s support desk are very friendly and provide reasonably quick answers to queries (with the live chat option being quickest), they tend to only deal effectively with pretty simple issues.

In essence, if you want to add some functionality or design aspects to your Squarespace website that are not provided ‘out of the box’ you won’t necessarily get much help from Squarespace.

Often you will just be told that what you are trying to achieve is not possible (even if actually, with a bit of perseverance, research or simple coding it actually IS) and directed to read the Squarespace blog religiously in case the functionality you’re trying to add to your website gets added as an official feature down the line.

And, as mentioned briefly above, if you add custom CSS to your site, you may not be able to get full support from Squarespace.

All that said, I have had some very positive experiences with the Squarespace support team — it’s just that it has sometimes required a bit more perseverance from my side than I might like.

One final thing to be aware of is that while Squarespace email support is available in six languages (English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish), chat support is English-only.

The Squarespace knowledge base

In addition to phone and live chat support, you can also make use of Squarespace’s ‘knowledge base‘ to help you solve problems.

The knowledge base is a searchable online manual containing videos and articles to help you understand how Squarespace works.

It’s usually pretty good for getting a sense of the basics, but there will still be the odd occasion when you’ll need to get in touch with Squarespace’s customer service team for help.


How GDPR-compliant is Squarespace?

In the era of GDPR — General Data Protection Regulation — it’s important to get privacy and data protection issues right, as the fines for not doing so are considerable.

It’s easy enough to sort out some of the GDPR basics with Squarespace; the data security is robust, and you can add privacy policy, website terms of use and cookie notice documents to a site without difficulty.

However, when it comes to compliance in the area of cookie consent, Squarespace presents some fairly big challenges to prospective users.

GDPR requires website owners to follow 5 key rules with regard to cookie consent:

  • Let site visitors know that cookies are being used.

  • Explain how cookies are being used, and why.

  • Provide visitors with a means to consent to ‘non-essential’ cookies being used BEFORE they are run (non-essential cookies include Facebook pixels, Google Analytic, Adsense etc.).

  • Log consent of cookie usage.

  • Allow users to withdraw that consent (i.e., switch cookies they’ve previously activated off).

Whilst you can meet the first two requirements with a Squarespace website easily, it’s not straightforward to meet the other three.

To do so you will usually need to use a third-party paid-for tool (we generally use CookieYes) to create a GDPR-compliant banner that gives users 100% control over the cookies used on a Squarespace site.

Creating a GDPR-compliant cookie banner in Squarespace.
Creating a GDPR-compliant cookie banner in Squarespace is not as straightforward as it could be.

Ultimately it’s a ‘could do better’ here for Squarespace, because you can’t use key business tools like Google Analytics, Adwords or Facebook ads without dropping cookies.

To be fair, the product is not the only hosted solution that could provide a better solution for meeting these GDPR rules, but Squarespace could be much more proactive about helping its users deal with this problem — even if that simply meant pointing people in the direction of tools that can be used to solve it.

Of the products I’ve tested to date, Shopify and BigCommerce provide more options when it comes to making a hosted e-commerce solution GDPR-compliant.

In the case of Shopify, there are (paid-for) apps available which sort out the cookie banner and other GDPR issues; and in the case of BigCommerce, the platform has some built-in tools that let you manage cookie dropping and capture consent adequately.

It would be great to see Squarespace following suit.


Squarespace review conclusion

Overall, Squarespace is a very strong website builder for individuals and small businesses. It’s particularly good for two applications: running a brochure website or hosting a portfolio site – you can set yourself up with a very contemporary-looking site or image-focused website really quickly with it.

If you are an artist, photographer or a musician — or building a website for a one-off event like a wedding — Squarespace is also a very good, mobile-friendly platform for you (and one that is very easy to use on an ongoing basis). It’s also a great platform for restaurants — dishes and menus can look fantastic in the context of a well-chosen Squarespace template.

Thanks to its easy-to-use e-commerce features, businesses needing a simple online store or shopping cart system may also find Squarespace a good solution — and because it’s a hosted solution, using Squarespace doesn’t require you to worry about things like server updates or security (other than taking the usual precautions around passwords). This brings a LOT of peace of mind to proceedings.

Squarespace does require some improvements to its e-commerce functionality however — the lack of multi-currency selling and limited point of sale functionality would probably nudge me in the direction of a using a more dedicated e-commerce platform like Shopify if I needed to build an complex online store.

GDPR is another one of my key concerns — although you can make a Squarespace website GDPR compliant, it involves more work than you might like.

The good thing is that — as with a lot of hosted solutions — you can try Squarespace out before committing to it. Accordingly, I’d strongly advise making the most of its free trial. Check every feature out thoroughly to ensure the platform meets your requirements.

So, I hope this Squarespace review has helped you make your mind up on the platform! Below you will find a summary of the key pros and cons of the platform.


Pros and cons of Squarespace

Pros of using Squarespace

  • Its templates are contemporary and beautifully designed — and thanks to a responsive design, websites and online stores created using the platform will look great not just on desktop computers but on tablets and mobile devices too.

  • Its user interface is fantastic — I’d argue that Squarespace has one of the most user-friendly content management systems available.

  • Its image management options are excellent.

  • It provides a good range of import tools for importing content from other platforms.

  • There are no transaction fees (so long as you are on one of its ‘Commerce’ plans).

  • It allows you to work with a very large range of web fonts.

  • It integrates nicely out of the box with many well-known third-party tools, including Google Workspace, Opentable and Mailchimp; it also lets you push content to social media networks easily.

  • A Zapier integration is available that allows you to connect your Squarespace website to a large number of other web applications.

  • It comes with a pretty usable and reasonably-priced built-in email marketing tool.

  • You can use its logo designing app to create a simple but professional-looking logo.

  • A two-week free trial is available.

Cons of using Squarespace

  • There’s no multi-currency selling functionality — if you’re hoping to create an online store that caters for a global audience, there are better alternatives available (see below).
  • GDPR compliance is poor in the area of cookie consent — you’ll need to invest in a third-party tool to make your Squarespace website fully compliant.

  • Automatic tax calculations are currently limited to the US.
  • Payment gateway options are quite limited.

  • Although support for Apple Pay is provided, there’s no equivalent support for Google Pay.

  • No version history functionality is available.

  • There’s no autosave for pages and posts.

  • Although Squarespace websites can be optimized successfully for search engines, there are definitely some improvements that could be made to its SEO

    setup — particularly where site speed and performance are concerned.
  • Point-of-sale is only available in the US, and is quite basic — only a card reader can be used when selling in physical locations (other platforms let you use a wider range of hardware, like barcode scanners, tills, receipt printers etc.).

  • The customer support team can be contacted by email or live chat only — no phone support is available.

  • Live chat support is available in English only.
  • The app store for Squarespace (its ‘Extensions’ directory) isn’t currently very well stocked.

  • Unlike some some of its competitors, Squarespace doesn’t offer a free plan. However, there is an extendable 14 day free trial available.

Our overall rating: 4/5

Free trial / special offer

If you’re interested in using Squarespace, the company is currently offering 10% off its plans. This can amount to quite a saving, especially if you opt for one of its ‘commerce’ plans.

This discount is available for a limited time only — to avail of it,

1. Grab a free trial on the Squarespace website using this link.
2. Enter the code ‘PARTNER10’ when purchasing a plan.


Squarespace alternatives

There are quite a few similar website builder products on the market, including Wix, Big Cartel, Jimdo, Moonfruit and Weebly. Like Squarespace, these are all ‘hosted’ solutions that involve an ongoing fee, and are products that are chiefly aimed at users who are starting a brand new business but lacking in technical web design skills.

If content management is a key concern, then self-hosted WordPress is an obvious alternative to Squarespace; but the two platforms are rather different beasts.

Self-hosted WordPress is a much more powerful tool, but one which usually involves a more manual setup and customzation of elements — Squarespace is more of a ‘click and point to change something’ style solution (and, unless you engage a developer or agency to help you, you won’t have a support team at your disposal to help you with any queries about your website). I’d suggest reading our Squarespace vs WordPress article to get an in-depth comparison of these two platforms.

You could also look at hosted WordPress, which is a site builder that works in a similar way to Squarespace (i.e., it’s hosted on a server and doesn’t involve much in the way of manual configuration). However, it delivers more sophisticated options when it comes to blogging (not least an autosave feature!).

As far as selling online goes, the best hosted e-commerce solutions I’ve tried out to date are Shopify and BigCommerce. Although the Squarespace template designs are arguably better than the ones you get with both of these tools, the Shopify / Bigcommerce e-commerce functionality is a lot stronger. For more information check out our Shopify vs Squarespace post post and our Squarespace vs BigCommerce comparison.

Using an existing online marketplace like Amazon or Etsy as your e-commerce solution is also an option — this involves a different method of selling than using a hosted solution like Squarespace, but because so many people use these platforms, it offers a ready-made customer base to tap into. Check out our Shopify vs Amazon post and our Shopify vs Etsy comparison for more thoughts on this way of selling.

Another thing you could do is use Squarespace to host your content, but install a plug-in like Ecwid or the Shopify Buy Button to add a shopping cart.

And then of course, there’s WordPress again, which so long as you happy to spend time configuring, can be used effectively with various e-commerce plugins such as WooCommerce, Ecwid or Shopp to sell goods.

And finally, Wix is worth a look — the product provides a similar e-commerce feature set to Squarespace.

A free Wix plan is also available (it’s very basic, but good for some applications). Check out our Wix review, our Wix vs Shopify comparison, or Wix vs Squarespace comparison and our Wix vs WordPress post for more details.

Squarespace review FAQs

Is Squarespace good for beginners?

In general, yes. Squarespace is a ‘do it yourself’ website builder, which means that it’s aimed at people without coding or web design skills. Like all similar products, there is learning curve involved, but of the website builders we’ve tested, it’s definitely one of the easiest to use.

What are the main pros and cons of Squarespace?

The main advantages of using Squarespace are its beautiful templates; its intuitive interface; its easy-to-use selling tools and its lack of transaction fees. The main disadvantages are the fact that it doesn’t facilitate multi-currency selling; its lack of revision history features; and its inadequate approach to providing GDRP-compliant cookie banners.

Which is better, Squarespace 7.0 or 7.1?

Although Squarespace 7.0 does contain a few features not found in 7.1 (key ones being parallax scrolling, landing pages and the ability to switch templates), in general Squarespace 7.1 is the better option, because you can create faster sites with it, it contains better e-commerce features and it’s the version that’s going to be developed and supported by Squarespace in the long term.

Is there a free trial available from Squarespace?

Yes. You can try the product free for 14 days. If after that time you haven’t quite finished building your site, you can avail of a 7-day extension to this trial.

Are there any discounts available for Squarespace?

Yes. By paying upfront for a year, you can avail of a 25%-30% discount (depending on plan). You can also avail of an additional 10% discount by starting a free trial and entering the PARTNER10 code when upgrading to a paid plan.

Examples of Squarespace websites we’ve built for our clients

You can get in touch about a Squarespace website project here.

Did you know? This article is now available in French. Check out our “Squarespace Avis” post on the new Style Factory France website.

Now..over to you!

Thank you for reading our Squarespace review! If you’ve got any thoughts or queries on the platform, please do scroll down and leave a comment on this post. We read all comments, and will do our best to answer any questions you may have.

Comments (97)

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Excellent reviews here Chris, thanks for the introductory overviews which I find helpful. Do you know of a robust way to get around squarespace’s flat navigational limitation? Say, to allow three or four levels of nesting/depth?

Thanks Wilf! You can get around this through the addition of custom code – it’s quite fiddly though so you’d probably need to commission a developer to sort it out for you.

The reviewer has gently pointed out Squarespace shortcomings in the area of ecommerce. I would like to be less gentle. Anyone serious about selling should avoid Squarespace Commerce. If you are an international seller , even more so. I speak from the frustrating experiences of having tried to build an ecommerce site on Squarespace.– Payment options limited to PayPal, Stripe and Square (US only). No offline options, so if you are looking to take payments via bank transfers or in store, forget it.– No reviews or ratings on product page. They seem to think that SEO is based on how good looking a site is, and not on how feature rich it is.– Squarespace does not trust you with your business. They know better than you. Want to customise the Thank You page, forget it. Not possible. Not supported. Any custom code/css injection, no support or advice from them, totally disowned.– Poor customer service. Live Chat available US hours only (why they even bother selling their platform in other longitudes, I don’t know). Chat seems to be manned by non-techies who seem to be only capable of pointing you to their already published material. If you are someone who has already seen that, and yet has a technical question, good luck on getting help. Anything outside what is already published is disowned. You are pointed to the forum. Just read the forum to see the countless unanswered posts, or frustrated customers. Squarespace winning customer strategy is to say on the forum "issues with your site – contact customer service – we do not respond to questions on the forum" and when with customer service "sorry, can’t help you, go to the forum"

Squarespace Commerce is truly the lipstick on …

Thanks for the comments James. I agree with you that e-commerce is one of the weaker links in Squarespace’s feature set – then again, I suppose it is one of the more recent ones. For me it works fine if you are happy to sell in one territory and e-commerce is not the main purpose of your site. But there are definitely other platforms that offer more functionality when it comes to online selling – Bigcommerce and Shopify for example (see our comparison review at https://www.stylefactoryproductions.com/blog/bigcommerce-vs-shopify for our thoughts on those).

I always find your blog very useful. I just wanted to say that I have a website on a personal plan and I seem to be able to add custom CSS.

Thanks Chloe! I think you’re probably on a legacy Squarespace personal plan — from memory the old version of it wasn’t as restrictive as the new one (you could edit CSS, sell products etc.).

I left Squarespace in 2016 for the following reasons:– Limited social media options (can’t add LiveJournal, DeviantArt, Steam, & other sites to social media block)– Can’t customize certain parts of the design (content border, for example)– Suddenly removed image borders that I had been using, meaning I could no longer make new thumbnails match the old ones– Anything over 20 images in a single gallery can cause all images to load incredibly slowly– Hard limit of 250 images per gallery– You can’t display all images with a given tag from across multiple galleries. You can do this with the "Summary" block, but it’s limited to 30 items.– Certain templates lacked full gallery functionality– Swapping templates required redoing all of my customizationI finally got fed up with it all & moved to WordPress. I agree that Squarespace works well for a very simple and small website, with limited customization. It will NOT work for someone who plans to host a lot of content, or wants total control over their site’s appearance. With WordPress, if there’s functionality I need, I can download plugins to get it. With Squarespace.. what they offer is what you get. And what they offer is very limited.

Thanks Kelly – to be fair to the platform, it has come on a long way since 2016, and Squarespace 7.1, the latest version, addresses several of the points you raise. Additionally, there are workarounds, involving custom code, that provide workarounds to the problems you describe.

That said, Squarespace does indeed take a ‘walled garden’ approach to web design and it is, as you point out, best suited to businesses with modest requirements who are happy to use the templates and functionality provided.

Question for you – Can you set up a staff list, then write blogs as a member of that staff and have their 3 most recent blogs show up on that staff members page (just headlines that are links to the full blog post)?

Hi Dave, yes you can set up a staff list in Squarespace, and write blogs using individual author names. You can also display a list of posts by particular authors – see https://support.squarespace.com/hc/en-us/articles/221530967-Managing-blog-post-authors#toc-filter-posts-by-author. However, to display the three most recent posts by a particular author, you’d need to use a summary block. Although technically, summary blocks DON’T let you filter by author, there’s a workaround available – you add a tag to a post with the author’s name, and then filter by that in your summary block. Hope that makes sense!

Really bad business form that Square Space offers a $100 Adwords credit if you upgrade to a business plan, but only in the fine print does it say that the offer is only available in the US and Canada. That’s false advertising.

Good general review, though as a Squarespace site owner for 5+ years my biggest issue with Squarespace is the limited functionality of Event Pages which your review didn’t cover.

I run a series of date based events so use the Events Pages in Squarespace extensively. The most annoying aspect of the events functionality is to not be able to do– re-occurring events– weekly events, so every Tuesday for 5 weeks– Adding a price to the Event listing in the metadata– Having to use products function to sell event tickets– Not being able to automatically update availability of tickets left– Not being able to export my events into a CSV file– Not being able to synchronise Outlook or Google Calendar on mass with event data.

I could go on….. I have worked out how to work around the many limitations of Squarespace Events but it does mean a lot of long manual processed to maintain and manage and I would have expected more major improvements to Events than we have seen (Just Duplicate Event Added) in the last five years,

Thanks Alan – good point. Will try to address the events functionality in more depth in a future update!

I have had my site with Squarespace since 2009 and I’ve loved it–until now. My site is down and their email-only customer service tells me it will be DAYS until I can expect a response. DAYS. My business website, upon which I depend for my livelihood, will be down for DAYS. If your site is just for fun, then by all means. But think twice if you’re serious. Their front-line customer service people have quick, friendly answers to easy questions that appear in their knowledgbase. But when it comes to something really going wrong, their "experts" are shockingly overwhelmed. They claim that they take downtime seriously, but in reality they don’t have the staff to do so.

Thanks for taking the time to post your thoughts on Squarespace. The most serious problem I’ve found with Squarespace is the lack of backup for users. When I mentioned this to Support they suggested that hosting would be much more expensive with backup, but I told them how eApps hosting offered 10GBytes of backup plus the software to manage it for $10/mo. I would gladly pay that! I suggested they offer this to developers, who could apply it across all the sites they were developing. They seemed to like the idea and said they would pass it up to Engineering. That was December 2017.

So… not a lot of useful information.

Q1. What are my rights as far as IP in the source code?Q2. How easily does the site propagate to various hosting alternatives?

I really can’t import and export product data? No stock level or lead time bulk updates ? This seems like a deal breaker.

I agree with Mario. This is the best (and most useful) review of Squarespace I’ve come across. I have pretty simple requirements for setting up a site and I really love the aesthetic of Squarespace templates but was slightly concerned about future-proofing. Your article helped me figure out which features were important and what I need to bear in mind moving forwards. Thanks so much!

Many Jo – glad you liked our Squarespace review! Appreciate you taking the time to comment and really glad you found it useful 🙂

One of the best Squarespace reviews I’ve read thus far. I appreciate the amount of detail that went into it… and all from an objective point of view. My general outlook on the product is that it’s a strong solution for simple websites. It’s also powerful enough to handle large projects but only in specific use cases. Great job!

Thanks a million Mario for the kind words on our Squarespace review – I agree with your outlook!

This article says it was posted on April 6, 2017, but the comments go back 4 years. I am assuming this is an updated review of squarespace 7? Is that correct?

Hi Dan, thanks for reading our Squarespace review. It actually started life as a Squarespace 6 review, but it’s evolved over time and as things stand, it’s a review of the latest version of Squarespace (as correct as possible at the time of publication). Thanks again for your interest. Hope not too confusing!

SquareSpace has been interesting to say the least. Like most WYSIWYG editors, it tries to make it as simple as possible. And when you search (ironically) for any issue, you usually get a good batch of answers from the beginning to intermediate level of solutions. However, for anything advanced, there’s very little available. Recently, we had to deal with a url mapping issue and why I’m here today (since I was searching for more advanced solutions), but so far (after clicking through to a good handful), I still have no answer. Basically, despite remapping to a new url, the website doesn’t redirect even though it does for all the others. Odd…

I’ve practicing SEO since 2012 and designed a site on Squarespace. It came out quite well but took a lot of CSS to get there. You can visit the Hangout – https://www.thehangoutrestaurant.com – any comments or feedback is appreciated. The peeps on Squarespace Answers have been great. I’ve solved some issues.

As for the platform, it’s pretty stagnate. They take suggestions but they go into a black hole. There’s no transparency. It’s like be being in court and the judge says "your objection has been noted but your overruled." So if you’re hoping for them to address these, you’ll be disappointed.

SEO wise, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. They do some improper things such as keyword stuffing with alt tags for images. For a custom 404 page, it goes into the xml sitemap as their developers did not take that into account. Internal links is kind of crazy. Do in "dev mode", you can remove some of the HREFs to cut down. be advised that any update are not pushed and no corrections are published. Crazy is the new normal.

As for support, they use to be helpful. It’s really gone down hill. You’ll have go to go thru the cookie cutter first responders and then work the chain. This can be exhausting and time consuming. I has to correct them on the forward slash issue in the XML sitemap. It was like pulling teeth. They did not seem to appreciate that. The reality is that issue was adversely effecting a lot of people; not just me. I always try to be respectful but after a while, it went beyond frustration. Things have become really strained. They suspended support without even telling me. I’ve never used foul language or been abusive. Evidently they don’t see it that way.

This platform does a descent job with SEO. I’d give it a B+ but it’s far from perfect. I think it’s ideal for small business and has a lot of features built in. If I can be of help to anyone, feel free.

Nicholashttps://verbatimagency.com/seo/seo-expert-los-angeles/

I have had NOTHING but awful interactions with Squarespace. Not only is the layout super unintuitive, it took me FIVE TIMES longer to create ONE PAGE with Squarespace as compared with WIx. On top of that, add TERRIBLE customer service (they LOVE TO BLAME THE CUSTOMER) and I don’t know why you would even consider giving this company money. They are awful from every angle.

Great article! I manage a website for a non-profit and I’m looking for alternatives. Our current site was developed on Drupal and I need something that allows me to be more hands on. I have graphics background, but not website development so I need something that is at least reasonably easy to use. As much as I love the designs available through Squarespace, is there an alternative you could recommend?

Thanks for the info. I changed over to Squarespace about 18 months ago from Wordpress. My one very real frustration has been getting the site to look the way I want it on a mobile device. I’ve used Device View, etc. Just not happy. I’m using Five as my template.

Thanks for your comment on our Squarespace review Scott. Agree re: the mobile side of things, it’d be great if Squarespace users could make specific tweaks to the layout rather than Squarespace automatically determining the changes for you. You could consider using CSS to do this but this would require some coding knowledge.

Thank you for the article!You can definitely choose from 60 templates, but is it going to be something that truly represents your company’s uniqueness? Before choosing a website builder I would recommend to check all possible options. Choose the platform that can offer personalized and professional looking website for your business. For this purpose, open source website builders are the best choice. With them, you can create a website that is customized according to your needs. Wiredelta, for example, has more themes than two of the market leading close sourced website builders together! https://blog.wiredelta.com/wiredelta-has-more-themes-than-squarespace-and-weebly/

Hi Phyllis, thanks for your comments on our review. We’ve now updated it so that it references the addition of Paypal – it’s certainly a welcome development which I think will make people more inclined to use Squarespace. VAT is not terribly difficult to add, but setting things up to accomodate VAT MOSS will be a time consuming process for most users.

What a useful review – thank you for posting this! I’ve built a few Squarespace sites over the past couple of years, and mostly love it. My biggest recent gripe is how difficult it is to choose a template for a project – there’s only images, no list of features or USPs! Thanks for the tip about Five, it sounds ideal for my next project.

Nice review, nice site and nice font, I’ve used the same in the Squarespace site I built for my partner.

I’m about to launch a blog myself and love the idea of using SS but the SEO issues along with a few other bits, I find slightly worrying. I definitely can’t be bothered with Wordpress though, it always seems too much bother and despite me being pretty savvy, it gets me switching off!

Cheers.Mike

Amazing and well written review, indeed! The best on Squarespace I have read to the date. You have nailed all the pros and cons in detail here. Just subscribed.

I’ve a question for you as an expert. You mention in your review that sometimes switching to another template at a later date is a real struggle because it basically requires to build your site all over again. Furthermore, speaking of meta description you mention this: ”problem here is that several of the templates will actually display this text as part of the design” and this:” at the very least there should at least be consistency with regard to the controls that are available across templates: as mentioned earlier, some Squarespace templates allow you to tweak most elements and with others you can’t even change certain font colours”.

So I’m very interested into your opinion on which templates you consider to be more flexible/better and which is to better be avoided? I understand that it depends on the product/business/personal preferences, but that aside- which templates you consider to be more tweakable, more flexible and just more customizable?

Hi Kris! Many thanks for the kind words about our Squarespace review and sorry for the delay in response – was away.

The most flexible Squarespace template from a design point of view is probably ‘Five’ (others are more aesthetically pleasing however). This template gies you quite a lot of ‘granular’ control over all the design elements, and it doesn’t make meta data a huge part of the design.

Switching templates is annoying, yes, but not an insurmountable challenge. Switching between certain Squarespace templates is easier than others. But best to start out with a template you really like to begin with if you can 🙂

I hope this helped? Thanks for subscribing to the mailing list!

It seems feature limitations are holding back SquareSpace – I found out about them when setting up my wedding website, and saw that they offer eCommerce. However it’s a world away from Shopify (have a read of http://www.smallbusinesswebdesigns.net.au/squarespace-review-vs-shopify.html and the Safari issue that Emily above mentions makes me glad I shuttered the wedding website and migrated to Shopify when I did!

Great review. I’ve spent several months, working on several squarespace sites and this article hits all of the major pros and cons. Probably the biggest concern I have you hit in point 8 in regards to SEO.

I’m able to reconcile most if not all of the layout/design/functionality restrictions from template to template knowing that as an out of the box, semi-customizable theme-based website platform, squarespace offers a pretty darn solid service for a select niche of customers.

For whatever reason SEO seems to trail in the product roadmap and play second fiddle to slick design. This is unfortunate because IMO this is one of the bigger hurdles for SS to position themselves as a more serious solution for businesses. The packaging of functionality for banner overlay text as the same CMS field that populates meta descriptions is odd. WAY odd as well as the constraints around blog post as you mentioned above.

Do happen to have a workaround for page meta descriptions that allow for adding a (hidden) description to a page that doesn’t overlay a banner image but does show up as the meta description in SERPs?

Yeah, Squarespace, has really amazing themes and templates. However, it appeared to be way to complicated for me. Especially when it began to require some coding… I mean, shouldn’t it be a way to create your own website if you do not have any special knowledge? After that I have tried a few website builders that were much easier to navigate and the one I stayed complitely satisfied with is Site.Pro http://site.pro/. So if you’re looking for smth cheaper and easier, this decision might suite you 🙂

Many of the reviews on Squarespace talk about the beauty of the web sites. A beautiful website as I understand it has little to do with the performance of the site. I tested a number of Squarespace websites using Google PageSpeed Insights and their performance was dismal in terms of page loading times as the author points out. Google is paying more and more attention to mobile page loading times and Squarespace’s performance was very poor.

When I contacted support I was given a scripted answer with a whole bunch of work for me to do rather than for them to do. One of the reasons given for poor loading times was distance from the server. I would suggest that such a response might have been appropriate ten years ago! Squarespace markets itself as a solution for the non-technical types. So don’t give me a whole bunch of technical solutions. It defeats the purpose of using it in the first place. I wish that reviewers would focus on how these website builders help me build my business not on how I help them build their business.

Even doing just some minimal testing would reveal that if you want a website that performs well by website performance metrics, you are compelled to do the work which always leads back to WordPress. Having said that, it would seem that between Wix, Weebly and Squarespace, Weebly on balance performs pretty well. But my experience with their support has been mixed. The support people often don’t answer the question. I am not sure why this happens, but it’s annoying. I think that the support people are non-technical often responding with scripted answers. If you are working off of a script, you can’t answer an outside the script question. But it seems that they are all the same in this regard.

As the expression goes, if you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime. If you can’t invest time in your website development and are looking for quick solid solutions, they are not out there. You will have to make compromises. But you should never compromise your main objective, finding a platform that improves your business.

I SIGNED UP FOR SQUARESPACE UNDER THE GUISE THAT THEIR PRODUCTS WORKED CORRECTLY AND I THOUGHT SQUARESPACE CARED ABOUT BEAUTY AND QUALITY BUT I WAS WRONG. I SPENT 4 MONTHS BUILDING MY WEBSITE TO FIND OUT THAT SEVERAL KEY FEATURES OF SQUARESPACE DID NOT WORK PROPERLY AND THERE WAS NO CUSTOMIZATION OF BUTTONS.. THEY HAVE NO WORKING PHONE AND THEIR CUSTOMER SERVICE IS THE WORST ON PLANET EARTH. I CHATTED WITH A RUDE REP NAMED SANDY B..SHE CANCELLED MY ACCOUNT WITHOUT GIVING ME A REFUND AFTER I COMPLAINED ABOUT THE PRODUCTS NOT WORKING. SQUARESPACE BELITTLED ME VIA CHAT AND THEY DID NOTHING TO HELP MY SITUATION. ALL SQUARESPACE SAID WHEN I COMPLAINED ABOUT MY MEDIA/VIDEOS NOT PLAYING RIGHT IS "WE HAVE NO TIME FRAME TO FIX BUGS IN YOUR WEBSITE, KEEP PAYING UNTIL ONE DAY WHEN WE FIGURE IT OUT AND MAYBE YOU CAN USE YOUR WEBSITE". THIS WAS MY WORST NIGHTMARE, IMAGINE BEING UNDER A DEADLINE, PROMISING CUSTOMERS AND INVESTORS THAT YOU WOULD DELIVER BY A CERTAIN DATE AND SQUARESPACE TELLING YOU THAT THEY HAVE NO TIME FRAME WHEN YOUR WEBSITE WILL BE FUNCTIONAL DUE TO BUGS ON THIER END AND YOU MUST CONTINUE TO PAY FOR THEIR MISTAKE UNTIL THEY DECIDE TO FIX IT. LEARN FROM MY MISTAKE AND DO NOT USE SQUARESPACE..TRUST ME YOU WILL REGRET IT! THE COMPANY SCAMMED ME AND SQUARESPACE WILL SCAM YOU OUT OF YOUR HARD EARNED MONEY!! ALSO THEIR WEBSITES ARE VERY SLOW AND BUGGY.. ALSO READ THIER TERMS AND CONDITIONS, THEY CAN STEAL YOUR MONEY AND CANCEL YOUR ACCOUNT FOR NO REASON..SAME THING THEY DID TO MY ACCOUNT..

Hey there…the Paypal thing is super easy to get around with the tools that Paypal supplies…you don’t HAVE to use Stripe at all. Cheers!

Hi Chris, Wondering if you will soon do a review of Squarespace 7. I’m interested to learn whether they restored some of the V5 functionality in V7.

January 4, 2015 I was curious to see how Squarespace compared to 1and1.com for a photography website. I started out with their trial account and uploaded one of my photos and the pic had a green cast overall so I opened up the original to make sure it didn’t look like this and it did not. So for my tog website I will stick with 1an1.com for the time being.

Hi Mike, it should depend on the colour profile your photo is saved out with. The web is designed for sRGB colour profiles, so if you image is saved with an sRGB colour profile there should be no colour cast. If you’ve saved it with some other colour profile then you should expect some sort of colour cast. Probably, and I’m guessing here, 1and1 automatically converts any images to sRGB whereas with Squarespace you’ll have to convert before you upload. It’s fairly straigtforward to change any photos colour profile to sRGB with any basic photo editing software.

Hi, As a newbie using SquareSpace to build out my portfolio website I have to say its been really challenging. Within the first week of using I found most of my images (~20) disappeared even the ones that I bought from Getty. Essentially my website has been on hold while the developers figure out how to resolve the disappearance of my images. Plus its really hard to resize images. So if you are a designer and visual is essential to your website I’m not sure I would use SquareSpace. I originally fell in love with SquareSpace and love the idea however was greatly disappointed once I started building.

Thank you for the review! I just started using SquareSpace to test it out and it’s hard to beat for the price; definitely beats Wix! Having said that, the sites don’t look all that great on mobile devices and can be hard to read. That’s pretty important considering how many people check out sites on their phones. I think your recommendation of WordPress as an alternative is spot on. The setup is definitely more involved, but the end result is worth it. I’d say for newbies, it’s helpful to have someone like SetMySite if you don’t want to go it alone with WordPress. And as for the ecommerce, I like the Shopify recommendation. All in all, a great review! Thank you!

Signing up for squarespace must have been the biggest mistake I have made recently. In all honesty, I thought squarespace does a great job in providing tools that would allow me to build about 70% of my site, with 30% to be coded through the developer mode.

It all went downhill when I upgraded to their professional account, as advised by customer support. As soon as that happened, I NEVER get responses from customer support regarding any questions I ask. I have emailed them 4 TIMES asking 2-3 questions about modifying the shopping cart and the content to my order confirmation email, and it has been about 10 days, and I have not heard back. They did respond within an hour or two before I signed up. Now that I have upgraded, they never respond. I feel like I have been cheated, and advise people to not count on this site in case you launch your business onto it.

I love how their templates look on a computer monitor, but it’s 2014 (at the time of this post) and in this day and age, many people pull up your website on smartphones.

On a smartphone, the text is extremely tiny, the home page is zoomed out and even on the website, the images are zoomed to distortion. Even their tech support couldn’t help, but they continuously send me surveys that I have to opt out of.

This isn’t good and as much as I wanted to stick with it because of their beautiful samples, having given it two tries, it’s just not working for me. I’m returning to Krop which is very inferior in all ways except the smartphone and actual ratio view. Krop is dated and overpriced for its limited templates, but my content isn’t stretched and on my iPhone, my Krop site looks like a nicely designed app.

Squarespace is pretty up front – really, it’s very nice. But it has an extremely limited back end of the eCommerce site. Below, Rob Krause mentioned a few limitations.

Coupons are also very limited. We wanted to give free shipping over $75, which you can do with a coupon, but won’t process automatically (ie. without the coupon). We wanted free shipping for everybody over $75, plus active duty miltary discount or Earth Day discount. Can’t do it.

You can’t track who received an email that was generated on their eCommerce site.

And crucially for us, they only allow one one inventory count. We have inventory in 5 countries. If we run out of a color in Australia, we can’t restrict sales there, but permit them in Canada and Germany.

But these are, admittedly, pretty advanced eComm needs. SS is great for most people, I imagine.

BEWAREI am just getting started with Squarespace after being with GoDaddy.There are 3 huge ecommerce problems with Squarespace.

NO CARRIER CALCULATED SHIPPING.They do not offer calculated shipping based on published rates for UPS or FedEx. To get that feature you have to sign up for an extra service called "Ship Station" that costs $25/month, which is more than the whole website package itself. Ship Station comes with a bunch of other features, but if you use QuickBooks for your business, you’ll never use them. $24 for the website. $25 more to offer UPS shipping.

NO PAYPALPayPal is not available as a standard payment option for ecommerce.

NO MERCHANT SERVICE OPTIONSAlready have a merchant services account for credit card payments? Too bad. You can’t use it. They only allow credit payment through "Stripe" which is similar to the "Square" payment set up.

Hi Chris, great review. I’ve been using Squarespace for several months now, and I’m a fan overall but page load times seems to be a real issue with Squarespace pages. I ran stylefactoryproductions.com through Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool and your site’s load times are unfortunately similar to mine (http://www.chinabiohacker.com) with the same recommendation by Google being "Eliminate render-blocking JavaScript and CSS in above-the-fold content". Have you had a chance to look into load time issues and, more importantly, any solutions here? Thanks!

Hi Randy, thanks for your comments. Yes, I’ve noticed they can be a bit slow alright. No solution comes to mind really, sorry, other than to badger Squarespace themselves 😉

Are their any limitations that exist or negative elements when using squarespace and SEO content? I know when accessing the sites source code, it uses "static.squarespace.com/static" whenever its pulling data; would this have a negative impact on your site?

My earlier comment about compatibility with IE can still be an issue but, I had been using a site called Netrender to see how things look: bad idea. I have since been turned onto Browserstack by the nice people at Squarespace and the results are encouraging. The red flag is Windows XP – the results are not great. With 30% of the market (aprox) that’s allot of potential viewers. Anything after XP looks and operated pretty good.

Good review, and I agree with your points. For me Squarespace was a fantastic tool at the right time but there’s been a little love lost recently. First, the tech support – super nice people but not always knowledgeable even about basic functionality of templates. I had two different support people helping me and telling me something wasn’t possible only to find it was one click away in the style editor – they should know this. Second, and this is huge for me, the compatibility issue with I.E. is brutal. I assumed all templates would work decently from version 9.0 and up – they don’t. I’m not talking about some of the fancy HTML 5 stuff, I’m talking about basic presentation and legibility. As a designer, I’ve had to steer three clients away from them now. If I was Squarespace, I’d be concerned.

MIchael www.muttdesign.ca

Hello Chris. First, let me just say that this was a top-notch review!!

I’ve done two sites using SS6, only becoming aware of this company last fall. With a background of using iWeb and Rapidweaver, I wanted a modern, easy to use wysiwyg environment that was FLEXIBLE and still provided access to CSS and HTML. I was also impressed with the design aesthetic behind their templates and mobile responsiveness — which, yes, you need to account for when laying stuff out. But I prefer this to how other CMSes like Weebly and Jimdo totally ignored all my tweaking when rendering for mobile! Like, I’m talking PLAIN JANE.

While SS6 isn’t as true a wysiwyg as SS promotes it — and as we’d all like — I have been able to beat it into submission. I also found the style editor to be flexible enough for my needs. But man, I totally wondered why they didn’t have online image management! Lo and behold, they yanked it from SS5!

Here are the two sites I did (the second is still in progress):http://www.bramptonconcertband.squarespace.comhttp://shawn-sadaqat.squarespace.com

While not too crazy about the second site’s logo, it is a minor update of their original logo (which was awful). I’m utilizing another saas for this client’s booking system.

Anyway, I knew that SS6 didn’t go back very far with IE support but didn’t know what the last version of IE can run on XP. So, does this mean that, by only going back to IE9, SS has effectively dumped XP support??. Sure, XP is dead in several weeks but that doesn’t mean everybody is going to stop using it! Like another reader posted, a current client of mine deals with governments, large resource corporations and aboriginal groups. That mix of clients, in this case, scares me right off of SS6! So, thanks for the link to SS5. While I’ve tried Weebly, Jimdo and a couple of others over the past week, they all fell short of my desires in one (or two…or three) ways or another. So I’d like to stay on the SS bandwagon but, for this client, it’ll have to be v.5. At least going this way I can herd that v.5 site of his to SS6 when the time is right out there.

Again, awesome review!

Hi, I am about to embark on my first website design for a small business that wants e commerce capabilities in the future. This article was very helpful, and I wanted to check on recent developments within the Squarespace platform. I have minimal CSS experience but want a professional looking and relatively intuitive product. Any thoughts? Thanks

I’ve not used SS’s eCommerce tools but they’re well received. Also, SS’s SEO capabilities are super strong and Google analytics easy to implement. These are crucial for eCommerce.

I noticed that SS updated to layout engine 2 today. From a quick look I don’t see too many major changes. Would like to here your comments on this and anyone else’s.

Excellent review by the way. Thanks for this.

On December 16/17 2013, Squarespace experienced two consecutive distributed denial of service attacks (DDoS). Read the rolling list of complaints posted by unhappy Squarespace customers, including yours truly.

http://www.isitdownrightnow.com/squarespace.com.html

Thank you for what appears to be an impartial, professional and apparently impartial review of a DIY Website Design site. I currently have a site up with GoDaddy using their DIY templates but now want to move up to a professional looking site with key pieces of functionality. I have been considering the possibility of using Squarespace but based not just on your review but also the supporting comments of the many people who have commented on it I believe it wise to keep looking. I am an international consultant, a one-man show, and the one thing I do not want to do is set myself up so that it takes weeks of work and alot of hassle and frustration to first get the site up and then many hours every week to maintain and make changes to the site. I had given the green light to a website designer overseas but after a few months found out they were not actually working on the site and that the business was downsizing and not interested in doing sites of the type I want representing my business, thus I returned to the idea of a DIY site.

So Thank You again for your professional review and the comments of your readers.

Mark

Hi Mark – thanks for your comments. Although there are some negative aspects to Squarespace 6, my overall feeling is that it is still one of the better DIY website building tools out there, so long as you can live with the Internet Explorer problems. Don’t forget Squarespace 5 either: you can register at http://five.squarespace.com/?signup=true – it works fine in all versions of IE and it is an excellent builder.

I was happy to read your review, mainly to learn that I’m not alone with my problems. I using Squarespace 6 and the FIVE template since January 2013, and my frustration grows from month to month. The main issues I have:1. Entering and formatting text is fiddly. This sounds crazy, but I add and remove bold and italics, switch on and off bullet points, copy-paste text, and it gets all messed up. Sometimes I have to copy the text to notepad, clean it up, delete the page, create a new one, enter the text, and make the formatting from top to bottom.2. How things look in the editor has very little connection to how it will look like in real life. I have a browser window open on a second screen, and publish in the editor and hit refresh in the viewer-browser to see how it would look like. Doing this on a single screen (like my laptop on the go), makes it a really slow process.3. Positioning blocks in a page is very fiddly. When I type the text in to a new blog article, and I want to add an image to the top of the page, I have click-drag-scroll several times until I arrive finally to the top of the page.4. When typing text, Home, End, Ctrl/Shift combinations of these don’t work as it supposed to work. Pressing home skyrockets the cursor to the first caracter position in the top-most block, instead of just jumping it to the beginning of the line.5. The analytics tool cannot exclude page views coming from my own machine when using the custom domain (www.mywebsite.com). So, if I want to test my website without logging in as an administrator, and using the real life domain, it litters up the statistics. 6. I thought it would easy and straightforward to use, but it’s not, I really had to watch the tutorial videos, and in the end I decided to buy a book on how to use Squarespace 6.

This is a great review. It even prompted me to write to squarespace and to ask them to reconsider their decision not to perfect and add functionality in 5, because 6 is useless to me for many of the reasons you so eloquently state in your review. I’m a 5 user and I like it, but the writing is on the wall if they don’t change. Sadly, squarespace does not seem to understand that. Yes, I sent them your review and I’m getting obtuse responses in return. I fear I see the future for squarespace and unless they change, it ain’t good.

Thanks for a very honest review of Squarespace. Especially from a long time user. Too bad they didn’t just keep the best part of version 5 and add on new better features.

Thanks so much for your great review! I just built a site for a film project using SS6 and totally agree with everything you’ve written here. As a non-coder I found it incredibly helpful – but also frustrating. Any idea if there’s hope on the horizon for an update than enables more design functionality and speeds it up a bit?

Hi Chris – Great review. I typically design with rapid weaver, and have been really happy so far. However, as you mentioned in your posts – I would like to find a quick, and inexpensive solution to create sites at low cost. At the moment I do all custom design…I’ve been looking into squarespace, but I have no idea what I should charge for a template design that a customer can so easily do themselves? Do you have a pricing scale that you have found to be fair?

I’m really glad I found this as I was considering moving from 5 to 6. I don’t need that headache and will keep what I have for now! Thanks!

Wondering how slow or fast would be the page I have made, if hosting is done in the USA (as I understand), but most of the visitors are from Latvia, for example.

Thank you all for the great feedback. I have built a few websites in Wix and wanting to do more for clients. Any thoughts?I was also looking at Dreamweaver CS6. Glad I found this thread before switching to Squarespace. Anyone working with the Developer Beta?Eddie

This is very helpful as I am now being forced to upgrade from v5 to v6 so we can use the commerce tool. I see that all the hours spent customizing the existing sites css are all lost and many more hours will be needed to figure out how to make everything look the same in squarespace 6. Ughhh!! I can’t believe there is no option to transfer everything to look/work the same as it already is now? I had no idea to simply add the commerce options I would need to completely redo the existing site. If I am missing something please let me know. Any tips are appreciated.

-Rima

Hi Rima, thanks for your comment and sorry to hear you are having a headache with V6. It’s so annoying, I want to like version 6, I really do…but there are just so many niggles, as you’re finding out! Anyway, as far as I know they’re not planning to add the commerce tools to version 5. Annoyingly you can’t use them at all in the UK! If you have to reinvent the wheel though, Shopify – http://www.shopify.com – might be worth a look? I’m planning on using it for a client’s site soon.

I’ve had the same headaches with Squarespace 6. So annoying. Just took a look at Shopify and saw that they’re running the Liquid layout engine (which is really easy to use and understand). And they expose all the code for you for your site to mess with (essentially what SQ6 developer beta has been trying to go towards, but it’s really confusing).

Frankly, I think Shopify would be a good CMS even if you didn’t own a store. If only they had Git or FTP integration

What really brought home how far back 6 went from 5 was editing text. It looks TOTALLY different while editing than it does when you view it as an active page. While editing, there are huge spacing gaps between each line of texxt, like double or triple spaced, then when you view it normally, it compresses down to regular spacing. ABSOLUTELY not anywhere close to WYSIWYG. You have to guess how it looks. Plus if I want to have a page that is broken into sections, the links for every other page all show up everywhere. I can’t have, for example, a main page, then 2 or more sections with their own dedicated subpages. All the pages have the same links, unless I missed something in how to set it up.

Arg, I completely dropped them and won’t be going back after what they did to 6.

I agree. I’m having a hell of a time making things look professional. Spacing is off here or there and makes everything look amateurish. Not to mention the page looks completely different in IE than Chrome or Firefox. The photos are all awkwardly sized but only on IE. AGHHH.

Thanks for great post–was scouring the web for 5/6 reviews and comparisons with WP, etc. and this was by far the most helpful. Currently on an SS5 and about to do a full revamp of site–so it’s never going to be any easier to switch for us than right now. BUMMED that SS6 is not what I imagined and hoped for–super slick, platform agnostic, drag/drop/plug/play with all the SEO and social elements baked right in–with that slug of capital these guys got, I kind of figured that was table stakes for this release???

Any recs on WP or other options–same business requirements as the SS value prop–just need it to actually work!

Jimdo possibly worth a look – although my experience to date is that the templates are a little bit dated-looking! Thanks for your comments Jamie.

Hi Chris

I’ve found the same thing with v6. Have you found (or are you looking at) any alternatives?

I really wanted the new styles of the web which ss6 looked to have but I agree that its painful to try and customize sites the way you could in ss5 and I DONT want to have to learn the developers side.

Its a great idea to let developers add on to what ss6, which I ran into as a problem with ss5 but not if the whole benefit of the site (ie out of the box you can do a lot and not need to program) is comprimised.

thanksJames

Thanks for your comment James. Agree with what you have to say! I’ve noticed a few improvements in version 6 of late – the ALT tags in particular are working better. But still not convinced. Most obvious alternative I’ve seen so far appears to be Jimdo, but I’ve yet to try it out in depth. Might do so for my next client.

Alischa WunschGreat review Chris and spot on with all the issues. I trialled Squarespace 5 about 6 months ago and was quite impressed with it’s easy functionality. Have recently returned to trial Squarespace 6 and have found it very frustrating. I don’t find it intuitive at all – it’s a big back step in terms of user experience for new users. Also spot on that it is useful for blogs or portfolio sites but fairly useless for small business websites which is what I was looking to use it for. Have to admit I am really disappointed that Squarespace has gone in this direction with this update. Sadly I have to cross it off my list now. Thanks again for highlighting all the key issues – helps to have a regular user outline what has changed.

I read this with great interest as I’m trying to make the transition from V5 to V6 and am about ready to tear my hair out. V5 was perfect for me when I needed to do a smaller site and not give half my budget on paying my programmer to code a WP site. It really feels like they missed the mark here. V6 in combination with the infamous wall of product silence and the "That’s an advanced modification and not supported" line parroted by the help desk has me to the point that I’m looking for other platforms.

Cheers for your comments Eric – I agree that it is incredibly frustrating. Hopefully Squarespace will restore some of the missing functionality – it’s crazy when an effective ‘upgrade’ results in the elimination of lots of great features / functionality.

Hey Chris,

Alex from Squarespace here. I wanted to thank you for your review of Squarespace 6 on 1/27 (http://stylefactoryproductions.com/blog/2013/1/27/squarespace-6-review) and let you know that we’ve made improvements to make image ALT tags show up more consistently.

Squarespace 6 takes an image’s title as its ALT tag, including in slideshows. If the image doesn’t have a title, then Squarespace will use the description / caption or, as a last resort, the image file name.

You can see image ALT tags on Squarespace sites by right-clicking over the image and selecting View Source. If you’re using a Chrome browser, select Inspect Element and you can see the image ALT tag in the Inspector.

Hopefully that clears up any confusion!

For more on ALT tags and Squarespace image handling in general, please visit this article from our Support Team. http://help.squarespace.com/customer/portal/articles/537177-using-the-image-block

Thanks!

Alex

Alex PatriquinMarketing ManagerSquarespace

Thanks for the update Alex. Appreciate you taking the time to post here. If there is any news on the other issues raised in the review (especially the minimal depth of navigation and the way that Google Adwords tracking code cannot be added to thank-you pages of forms) that would be great. As several other commentators here point out, Squarespace 6 is pretty useless for business websites without a lot of the V5 functionality that you have removed being reinstated. Cheers, ChrisPS now getting MAJOR headaches with how my site renders, full stop, in IE8 – that’s very poor.

Thanks for your comments guys. I get what you’re saying regarding the Developer platform and I am currently exploring using it to build client sites – however, many small businesses owners I know who would like to build their own site simply want something that works out of the box, without getting bogged down in the Developer platform. Squarespace 5 delivered that; Squarespace 6 doesn’t. Hopefully situation will change though!

Yea I understand what you mean. What are you running into with V6 that you didn’t run into with V5? So far I’m finding the exact opposite. V5 was incredibly difficult for any business owner to build with. In most cases, if a small business owner attempted to build a site in V5 themselves, it looked pretty terrible because they would be using the drag/drop sliders to just change sizes and colors, maybe a background image here and there. Overall it was usually a pretty bad result. V6 seems to offer more tools for the non-technical users to work with, like LayoutEngine blocks.

If you’re referring to business owners who know a bit of HTML/CSS, then I could see how V5 would be more flexible but that seems like it would be something a more advanced user would run into.

The feedback for V6 seems to be that the default templates are a bit too restrictive for advanced designers who were used to V5’s flexible markup structure and code injection points, which I definitely agree with. The Developer Platform solves all of these issues with one drawback–there’s a learning curve and a whole new box of tools to use.

Either way, I hope Squarespace delivers more flexible default templates that solves the issues you’re seeing!

Hey Jason, cheers for the comment – I guess what I’m getting at is that small businesses will not be able to do 4 really important things with Squarespace 6:

– use more than 2 levels of navigation– use Adwords properly– recover deleted items easily– change the style of the templates much

Squarespace 5 was admittedly quite restrictive with the layout of templates (i.e,. there was no layout engine to play with) but in every other respect it seemed to work more as an ‘off the shelf’ solution for businesses. Yes, you can go and do a lot of stuff with the V6 developer platform…but I guess the problem there is the learning curve and time commitment. Most small business owners will not be bothered with that.

For me the 2 levels of navigation limit and lack of a place to put in Adwords tracking code after a form are dealbreakers for using the regular version of Squarespace 6 to build a small business site…

Interested to see if they make any improvements though!

Great Post Chris! I’m with you on a lot of this stuff. I would love if they add back permissions especially. That’s missing. I’m generally designing half and half right now. 50% V5 and 50% V6. It really depends on the project and the requirements mainly. I ask a lot of questions up front to figure this out. I really hope they don’t ditch V5. I’d agree with Jason as well. SqSpace is adding a lot of features weekly with v6. There are a lot of hidden gems they are letting us devs know about. I’m really looking forward to what’s ahead with V6.

Hey Chris, great in-depth analysis of Squarespace! Much of what you said is very true for the default templates on Squarespace, but keep in mind the Developer platform solves many of the issues and is definitely what I would call the "pro" version of Squarespace. The developer platform offers a ton of flexibility to build your clients’ sites how you want. While there are many features that are missing, Squarespace is constantly adding new stuff every few weeks that solves problems so I’m confident that many features we need for our clients will make it into the platform soon.