I’ve seen Squarespace described as “the Apple of website builders” – that is very high praise! So off I went searching to see if there is anything to counter the high praise. Please do not get me wrong, I absolutely love a success story, but also want to ensure the success is true before I put my name on the line too. Truth is, Squarespace does seem to be one of those beautiful success stories of a company from humble beginnings in the dorm of a university, specifically Maryland University and the founder is Anthony Casalena. That was back in 2004, since then Squarespace has grown to a staff complement of almost 1000, won numerous awards, has great offices in New York. So far, Squarespace looks like an option well worth consideration. Let’s not jump to any conclusions though, stay with me whilst we dig in and find the answers to What Is Squarespace Website Builder?
Squarespace At A Glance:
Squarespace Review 2019
Introduction and Summary
Squarespace is an intuitive drag and drop website builder. This website building platform is perfect for newbies with no coding experience, and it showcases some of the best themes available on the market. The features offered by Squarespace are great, you can expect a really favorable experience when working with Squarespace.
Looking at the featured customers detailed by Squarespace, it seems to me that their customer base is very heavily weighted towards the arts, here is a list of the featured customers (you’ll recognize some of the names no doubt):
- Hirabeth Fashion Designers
- Keanu Reeves (yes, the Keanu Reeves) motorcycle brand, Arch Motorcycle
- Adrienne Requel, Photographer and Art Director
- Daniel Arsham, Artist
- Sadie Williams, Fashion Designer
- Danny Bowlen, Chef & Co-Founder of Mission Chinese Food
- Fran Tirado, Writer, Activist and Podcast Host
- Yi-Mei Truxes, Fashion Business Owner
- John Malkovich, Actor & Fashion Designer
- Leon Bridges, Musician,
- Sarah Levey, Co-Founder of Y7 Hip Hop Yoga Studio
- Tom Delavan, Interior Designer
- Craig Ward, Graphic Designer
- Idris Elba, Actor, DJ and Fashion Designer
As you can see, some big names and the only one not strictly artistic is Arch Motorcycle – a glimpse at their website however, will persuade you that motorcycles are indeed an art form. Just beautiful!
The designs I’ve showcased above are from their Popular Designs category. Squarespace also have designs recommended for a range of different fields:
- Online Stores
- Professional Services
- Community & Non Profits
- Music & Entertainment
- Health & Fitness
- Travel & Tourism
- Personal & CV
At the bottom of the list is a cute little heart which is an indicator of which themes you like, you have the option to click the heart on any of the designs which tickle your fancy, and because of the favourites’ heart, you have easy access to the ones you “hearted”.
I have to say that the designs I have looked at are sophisticated and so beautiful, I would be hard-pressed to choose just one!
I am quite keen to give their offerings a whirl, let’s do a little “show and tell” as part of the review.
The set up of their website is also very clever, you get to see the themes before signing up with them, once you select a theme that you would like to try out, (in my case it is called “Ready”), you get to sign up with Squarespace.
Before we do that, have a look at the design I’ve selected – the name “Ready” grabbed my attention, it felt like “ready, set, go!”. the text also appealed to me – “Get Ready to take control of your finances. And “Vivid headlines and bright pops of colour promote your services.” These speak of success to me.
You have the opportunity to view the site – which I did, and have to say it is gorgeous, lots of beautiful white space and gorgeous imagery. Just enough of everything for your eye to fall on what is important and enjoy the journey there. Then, as mentioned above, we get the sign in, you can see below, “View Demo Site” and “Start With This Design”. Very classy:
And you’re welcomed into the system after filling in all of your details.
Extremely easy to use technology pops up on your screen. As you can see below, “Site Title” is in green prompting you with a place to start. If you click on “Your Site Title” in the right-hand side, the left “flashes” to let you know that is where you need to go. So along the left-hand side you get to enter all the information you would like to see on your site:
I really am enjoying this process, it’s intuitive and shows you where to go. Not only that, where you are required to upload a logo, there is an option to create a logo too. Let’s give it a go!
Really simple so far. That is what appears next and prompts you to enter your company name and then search for a symbol. Mine was simple of course, “Late Bloomer Loves To Travel” and then I searched for travel symbols:
Below you you have my new logo. I love the font, it’s just simple and uncomplicated. The symbol I chose because it indicates traveling the world, I particularly love flying and really appreciate the movement in that symbol too. Pretty cool stuff! Easily made, stylish and simple. What do you think?
Very clever system, you get to download your logo for free so long as you Login or Create Account to download. you also need to accept the T&C’s of both Squarespace and The Noun Project. Let’s see what that means:
For some reason there appeared to be a glitch in the system on sign up here. It kept taking me back to the same place despite the fact that I had entered my information and signed up. At least that was how I saw it. So I exited creating my own website for demonstration purposes and set out with the task at hand. Creating a review for you, my valuable reader.
Overview: Squarespace At A Glance:
The Good & The Bad
Pro #1 The very broad range of breathtakingly beautiful templates
Pro #2 Squarespace offers a great range of tools for importing content from other platforms
Pro #3 Squarespace offer excellent image managements solutions
Pro #4 You have access to an enormous range of web fonts
Pro #5 The feature for video backgrounds really can assist you in creating exceptionally eye-catching sites
Pro #6 A wide range of options for content layout
Pro #7 You have the ability to create really beautiful sites in a very short space of time
Pro #8 Integration with the well-known third party tools such as Google Apps, Xero and Mailchimp is seamless
Pro #9 There is a Zapier integration available too. This enables you to connect your Squarespace website to a wide range of other apps
Pro #10 SSL is a cinch (That is the all important Site Security we are talking about – Google penalizes sites who do not have it)
Pro #11 As you saw, the logo design was even simpler than simple and the result was great
Pro #12 All the options are mobile compliant
Pro #13 No need to fork out for an email marketing system as the Squarespace email campaigns feature enables you to do it all under their umbrella
Con #1 I was frustrated by the glitch I encountered in my little “show and tell”. I did receive a welcome email from Squarespace letting me know that I had a 14-day free trial and could upgrade at any stage. This could be the reason I encountered the challenge. A clever sales tactic to get me to upgrade before my 14 days are up.
Con #2 You will need to invest in a tool to ensure your site is GDPR compliant – this is an essential item specifically in regard to cookie consent.
Con #3 Great range of tools for importing content from other platforms
Con #4 No autosave is available for pages and posts – that would be a nightmare for me
Con #5 Squarespace ultimately has control of your website due to their “acceptable use policy”, that means you do not have ultimate control
Con #6 The templates can be limiting, there is a limit to what you can and cannot change
Con #7 Editing rich snippets is challenging in Squarespace
Con #8 If you are an affiliate marketer (which I am) you will have to work with Squarespace’s email option or rely on a Zapier integration to have access to other email automation platforms (Mailchimp is not affiliate marketer friendly).
Who is Squarespace For?
Squarespace is tailored for a variety of industries, as you have seen from the list of designs recommended per business type. To save you scrolling up and down, here is the list again:
- Online Stores
- Professional Services
- Community & Non Profits
- Music & Entertainment
- Health & Fitness
- Travel & Tourism
- Personal & CV
Notably, Squarespace have addressed a challenge faced by many restaurants. It can be challenging for restaurant owners to create the format they are seeking for their menu, which is the reason for many restaurants creating their menus in PDF format and then link from the site to the PDF. Squarespace have resolved this issue by creating functionality that can assist restaurant owners and managers in creating their menus with ease. Very smart. This is done with the use of simple markup language which is not only clever but also intuitive, making life so much easier.
When it comes to who is working on the website, the Squarespace technology makes it easy for a complete newbie to create a beautiful website. not only create, but edit it too. Should you be an experienced webmaster, you will appreciate the simplicity offered by Squarespace, the list side bar is a list of options for your website, you simply scroll through to find the gorgeous options which suit you. There is a lot to choose from – well worth the journey.
Squarespace Tools & Training
Squarespace is clever and intuitive in its design. As mentioned above, you have lists of options for your website which are easy to find through the sidebar.
Not only that, Squarespace makes it even simpler for you by enabling you to click a specific area on your website to reveal the options available for that area. Very quick and easy process to follow. No major training required.
The tools and integrations offered at Squarespace are substantial. All the integrations are built into the Squarespace platform, this means you are saved from searching for and adding integrations or apps to set them up.
Though there are substantial integrations available, some are paid for services, these include
- G Suite by Google
- and certain Mailchimp plans
- Marketing Tools
The promise is that you get to “Grow Your Audience. Drive Traffic To Your Site & Measure Success With Powerful Marketing & Analytics Tools”. You can create Email Campaigns using a very easy to follow but stunningly beautiful format, it is literally a case of select, drag and drop and style with your products and colours.
- Built In SEO Tools
Squarespace offer some great SEO features as a part of the package, their promise states: “Every Squarespace website or online store comes with a suite of integrated features and useful guides that help maximize prominence among search results.” These are the built in SEO tools included with the Squarespace sites:
- Site map – the platform generates and links your sitemap.xml, you do not have to be involved at all. I like this functionality, though I also enjoy being able to do my own.
- SSL Certificates This is a vital part of your website, Google penalizes sites that do not have their SSL certificates in place. SSL is all about ensuring your site is secure, and Squarespace has you covered, all of their domains and third-party domains include free SSL when connected and pointed to Squarespace.
- HTML Markup Squarespace pages are produced with clean HTML markup and this can be indexed by the search engines. What this means is that there is no need for you to add in the different tags (H1, H2, H3 etc) in HTML. All you need to do is select a Heading style, and the tags are created for you. Great for a newbie, could frustrate a seasoned hand.
- Automatic tagging – Images need to contain alt and title tags which improve search engine indexing. Squarespace does this all for you, including meta tags and link tags. Image descriptions are created as alt tags on your behalf.
- Clean URLs are created for you by Squarespace, no need to be concerned about this – not for your site nor your pages or posts.
- Automatic Redirects – in the event that you have multiple domains, Squarespace redirects users and search engines to the primary domain on your behalf.
- Search engine and page descriptions – Fields are included for editing your site’s search engine and page descriptions.
- AMP(Accelerated Mobile Pages) – ensures that your site is optimized for different devices making the web pages load more quickly on a mobile device.
- Google rich image search for products – Product information is structured in such a way by Squarespace that Google can display even more information. These search results can include things like the product name, image, description, pricing, availability and the page URL.
- Built-in Mobile Optimization – As google recently did an update to their technology which gives optimized sites higher priority, Squarespace ensured that all of their templates have been tested and passed the test too.
- Built-in meta tags – being a very important part of a site’s code (as this help the search engines identify what they need to know about your site) Squarespace takes this challenge off your hands and an automatic process adds the necessary meta tags to your site. These meta tags are taken from the SEO settings as follows:
- Seo Titles – creating meta title tags for the different pages
- SEO Descriptions – meta description tags for the different pages
- Site Title – this is the title tag for your entire website
- SEO Site Description – Squarespace automatically creates the meta description tag for your home page
- Google Search Keywords Analytics – Squarespace will guide you through the process of having your site verified with Google Search Console, from there you are able to check the Google Search keywords panel and see which search terms are attracting traffic to your website via Google. This is a very important part of building your website – understanding keywords that is. I have a beautiful FREE Keyword Research Tool for you too!
- Squarespace’s SEO Friendly Tools – not only are templates created with clean indexing in mind, but Squarespace also offers more information on how you can increase your site’s visibility to search engines. However, they do display a disclaimer: “Note: SEO strategy falls outside of the scope of Squarespace support. Because search engines have complex, frequently changing technology, and everyone’s marketing needs are unique, we are unable to provide specific SEO advice to our customers” If you are looking for that kind of support, I suggest you have a look at my Number 1 Recommendation which can be viewed at the bottom of this article.
My one concern would be Page Speed, this is something that Google tests for ranking purposes. Not only Google, also Bing and Yahoo. Squarespace themselves have been known to say that the page speed on their platform is SEO compliant, however, Squarespace is a hosted solution and you have not control over the hosting company involved.
- Social Media Tools
“Squarespace has integrations with all of the leading social platforms so your customers can keep up-to-date with the latest from your website and even buy your products directly from Instagram.” Words from Squarespace. Let’s examine this a little more closely
Connecting your Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and LinkedIn pages is a cinch, even if it wasn’t, making use of a plugin would make it easy for you of course. Squarespace have preempted that, no need for you to install a plugin to connect with your social media pages.
Have a look at the video below to see just how easy it is to connect your site to social media platforms:
- Non Social Media Integrations
Squarespace have a very wide range of integrations available (though not as many as Weebly or Wix – which are the closest competitor from what I can see). Squarespace also offers the integrations in the more expensive plans whilst Wix and Weebly include them in their cheaper options.
Integrations offered by Squarespace however, do tend to integrate well with Squarespace (this may not always be the case with Weebly or Wix). Here are the integrations on offer with Squarespace:
Connected Social Accounts: These automatically push your content and encourage visitors to share your content.
- Foursquare Swarm
- Google Search Console
- Adobe fonts are included in Site Styles, plus you can also add custom Adobe Fonts
- Google Fonts are also included in Site Styles
- Squaspace Logos with are provided by The Noun Project (as we saw in my demo)
Domains and email
- GoDaddy integration connect your domain in a few steps, you do not even need to edit DNSsettings
- G Suite offers the custom email addresses for your domain
- Google Domains connects your Google Domain, again without editing DNS settings
- Namecheap connects a Namecheap domain simply, without the editing of DNS settings
- Squarespace offer connection to almost any third party domain, so long as your provider offers access to DNS settings.
- Zapier connects Form & Newsletter Blocks and Cover Page Forms to more than 1000 apps. Form submissions are able to trigger additional Zapier integrations if you need, integrations like Slack, Trello, ConvertKit, and Salesforce, just for example.
- Dropbox syncs your images to a Gallery Page
- Getty Images provides the opportunity for you to add stock images for a fee per image
- Unsplash give you access to free stock images
- Amazon affiliate tracking is available via the Amazon Block
- Facebook Pixel tracks the visitor activity on your site, this helps Facebook understand and target users for adverts
- Google Ads offers $100 credit to customers of Square space who spend $25 or more
- Google Analytics integrations adds your tracking ID without the use of code
- Mailchimp integration builds your subscriber list through Form Blocks, Newsletter Blocks and RSS-to-Email campaigns. Keep in mind that Mailchimp is not Affiliate friendly though
- Share buttons are available and then drive visitors to share your content to their social platforms
- ChowNow integrations adds a page to your site which enables your visitors to order food online for pick up or delivery – all without leaving your website.
- OpenTable is available through Squarespace for online restaurant bookings
- Acuity Scheduling is also available for online bookings
The following are available in the Video Blocks and Galleries
- Animoto embeds
- Vimeo embeds, also Cover Pages
- Wisita embeds
- YouTube embeds, and Cover Pages
There are a hosts more on offer from Squarespace which I’m struggling to categorize under headings or titles, these are as follows:
- Amazon – Affiliate tracking
- Tyopekit, for your Webfonts
- Google Fonts, more web fonts for you
- G Suite, as a Business plan member you get a free GSuite account for a year
- Disqus for blog comments
- Bandsintown, a handy tour dates listing
- 500px for photo gralleries
- Instagram, feed for your photos
- Zola, wedding registeries
- Apply Pay, pay with Touch ID
- Xero Account, handy accounting software
- ShipStation for printing of shipping labels
I think you will agree that Squarespace offers a very broad amount of everything. the tings to keep in mind is that Squarespace aims at (and succeeds!) providing you with a facility to build your own website without having to concern yourself with any coding. That is an awesome offer. It can, however, become a hindrance if you every decide that you want to style your own site with your own CSS.
Training within Squarespace
Squarespace offers the training that you would need to make use of their facilities. At this point in time, they are not offering training which will assist you in building your online business, that you will need to either bring with you or find elsewhere.
In terms of the training offered for their facilities, you have access to:
- Squarespace Help where you have a search bar and look for anything you may be challenged with.
- Squarespace Guides – which are articles and videos on everything to do with the platform, Squarespace
- Video workshops – designed to get you started to assist you with the finishing touches
- Community Forum – where you can as the community for assistance with the more advanced customizing you may be looking to do. This includes what Squarespace call the “ForumHire a DesignerWibinarsBlog and API DocsCircleDeveloper Platform”
- Webinars – these are interactive sessions with a Squarespace expert taking you through all the basics
- Squarespace also offers assistance by connecting their members with advisers
Squarespace Pricing – Find One That Fits Your Budget
14-day free trial.
As the pricing increases, so too do the features and the integrations with third parties.
Squarespace offers 4 price points and options, these are as follows:
Personal: $12 per month*
Business: $18 per month*
Basic Commerce: $26 per month*
Advanced Commerce: $40 per month*
* these price are available on the annual payment plan
As can be expected, there are different features offered with the different levels, the Advanced Commerce option offering the most. Let’s look at what that means:
Personal Option Features Include:
- SSL Security
- Unlimited Bandwidth and Storage
- SEO Features for Site Visibility
- Templates to Fit Every Need from Blogs to Porfolios
- 2 Contributors
- Mobuile Optimized Websites
- 24/7 Customer Support
- Basic Website
Business Option Features Include:
- All of those listed above for Personal plus:
- Professional Email from Google
- Premium integrations and Blocks
- Marketing features:
- Advanced Website Analytics
- $100 Google Adwords Credits
- Promotional Pop Ups and Banners
- Commerce features:
- Full integrated E-Commerce
- Transaction Fees @ 3%
- Accept Donations
- Sell Unlimited Products
Basic Commerce Options Features Include:
- All those listed above for Personal and Business plus:
- Commerce features:
- Customer Accounts
- Checkout on your domain
- Powerful E-Commerce Analytics
- Products on Instagram
- label Printing and Shipstation
- Integrating Accounting via Xero
Advanced Commerce Options Features Include:
- All those listed above for Personal, Business and Basic Commerce plus:
- Abandoned Cart Recovery
- Gift Cards
- Sell Subscriptions
- Advanced Shipping
- Advanced Discounts
- APIs for Orders and Inventory
- Limited Availability Labels
Overview: Squarespace At A Glance:
My Final Opinion of Squarespace
I really like Squarespace, their templates are absolutely gorgeous, they certainly cannot be faulted on that score! So, in terms of aesthetics, Squarespace certainly have earned their praise as “the Apple of website builders”.
I think we have answered the question “What Is Squarespace Website Builder?” If you are looking to build a serious online business, Squarespace certainly appear to offer everything that you need. The pricing and features offered are competitive when it comes to the market place. You can compare this review with those I’ve written on Weebly, Wix and SimpleSite.
When it comes to having access to a community of successful online entrepreneurs who are exceptionally generous with their knowledge, and the training that it requires to get your online business off the ground and keep it highly competitive in the market place, I believe 100% in My Number One Recommendation.
You can sign up for a FREE Starter Plan and stay at that level for as long as you desire. Should you decide to level up, there is only one level up which is highly competitive price-wise and in terms of everything the platform offers in training, website themes, hosting, support and more!
Before you love and leave me – I would love to know what you think about Squarespace and any other similar website building platforms available online – pop me a comment in the section below, I promise to read and respond to you.