Squarespace leans towards perfecting the design. The designers' concept templates make Squarespace stand out from other competitors. With the new dimension of an editor, it makes the customization process smoother and naturally, all the templates will look great across devices. Despite all drawbacks, Squarespace is a highly beginner-friendly platform and suitable for those who are looking for out of the box templates.
In the past few years, we’ve seen a fair share of visual website builders that make it easy for non-developers. They always follow a pattern when it comes to functionality, design, and usability.
After spending a few hours on Squarespace, I’m quite convinced that it’s one of the perfect exemplars of what site builders should be.
Right off the bat, it will help you get everything started from scratch — from registering a new domain and integrating a theme into your website.
Here is a quick glance at Squarespace’s features:
1. Managing visual assets is easy
Since the design is one of the high points of Squarespace, it comes with a drag-and-drop Image Manager. This can help you organize, expand, and optimize your library of visual assets without a hassle.
Below are some of the things you can do with Squarespace's Image Manager:
Access to 40 million images If you need a unique featured image for a brand new blog post, you can leverage the Squarespace Getty Images Integration. It gives you access to over 40 million images that you can use for a fair price.
Faster website performance To ensure the peak performance of your website, Squarespace provides a free CDN — short for Content Delivery Network. It works by distributing the load of transmitting content to a network of globally-distributed data centers.
Responsive image loader Whenever you upload an image file, SquareSpace automatically generates a set of the image in different scales. The appropriately-sized image is then loaded depending on the user’s display.
Showcase your visual assets To show off your visual assets, you can create “Gallery Blocks” that can be placed anywhere on your site. You can also include videos as well as apply display efts to make your gallery stand out.
2. New dimensions of control
The Squarespace site editor provides users with new and easy customization control.
With the “LayoutEngine 2“, you're always presented with settings on the left panel and a live preview to the right. Unlike platforms like WordPress.org that rely on trial and error, Squarespace makes it easy to achieve the exact design you want.
You can also directly modify every element on the page by selecting them in the preview window.
When it comes to editing content, you can quickly add page elements such as buttons, slideshows, calendars, and code snippets. Just click the plus (+) button in the lower-right corner of the post editor.
Of course, each element comes with their own comprehensive settings page. This is useful for users who have big ideas but lack the necessary technical skills to make them happen.
For example, if you click on a newly-added button, you can easily modify its appearance, interaction, and positioning.
3. Blogging made easy
Regardless of your niche and goals, a blog section is undeniably one of the most important features of your site. It can help you drive recurring traffic, establish your credibility as an expert, and improve SEO.
In Squarespace, blog posts are the building blocks of a website's structure. You can modify them through the floating editor, which resembles a primary word processing application.
It may look simple, but the Squarespace editor packs only the bare essentials when it comes to publishing blog posts. You can organize them into categories, apply tags, enable comments, and more. Navigating to “Options” can also help you optimize crucial aspects of your post, from the excerpt to the thumbnail image.
You can organize them into categories, apply tags, enable comments, and more. Navigating to “Options” can also help you optimize crucial aspects of your post, from the excerpt to the thumbnail image.
Podcast You can create “Audio Blocks” to publish interviews, recorded webinars, and other forms of podcasts. It supports iTunes tagging, which allows you to promote your podcast channel to more users.
Multiple authors Squarespace makes it possible to work with content contributors. As the site's owner, you can modify their access privileges, such as adding new posts and changing the site's theme.
Social sharing With Squarespace, it's easy to insert social sharing buttons into your blog posts. Some of the supported networks include Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.
4. Sell products from your website
If you aspire to sell products straight from your website, you can use Squarespace’s built-in eCommerce features. You can track orders, manage your inventory, and keep track of customers — all in the unified “Commerce” section.
You can track orders, manage your inventory, and keep track of customers — all in the unified “Commerce” section.
Squarespace also allows you to create discount promos that can stimulate more sales. They can be offered as automatic discounts that run for a specific period, or via exclusive promo codes.
There may be plenty of site builders that offer dozens of professional-looking themes, but Squarespace's collection is simply visually stunning.
Squarespace currently has over 40 designers templates that are segmented across a variety of categories, including but not limited to online stores, health, music, and photography.
Merely browsing Squarespace's official template collection can have you hooked for a while:
Despite the high-resolution imagery, these themes employ a minimalistic and flat approach everywhere else. This means your would-be site will load quickly and perform fluidly once it goes live.
All Squarespace templates are also built to be mobile-responsive right out of the box, making sure the user experience remains consistent across multiple platforms. It also allows changes to CSS to further tweak your templates.
To extend your website's power across the web, Squarespace supports a handful of apps integrations.
These integrations can help to expand the functionality of your website. Some of the popular apps include G Suite, Xero, Facebook, Disqus, Google Analytics, and email marketing platforms.
Squarespace offers complete website analytics that will help you in making SEO decisions.
You can rely on the built-in Squarespace analytics to improve the performance of your website over time. It covers metrics like traffic sources, site search queries, popular content, and the total number of unique visitors.
More About Squarespace (FAQ)
Is Squarespace free?
No. Squarespace doesn't offer a free plan, unlike others such as Wix and Weebly. But, Squarespace does offer a 14-day free trial, so that you can test-drive Squarespace without any cost.
Do you get a free domain with Squarespace?
You can register one domain for free when you sign up with an annual billing plan. The free domain is valid for one year. This means after the first year, you need to pay the standard domain renewal fee at $20 per year.
How much does Squarespace charge per transaction?
For eCommerce, Squarespace includes 2 types of transaction fees – a payment gateway fee ($0.30 + 2.9%) and a Squarespace transaction fee for the Business plan (3%). No Squarespace transaction fees included for eCommerce plans.
How much are Squarespace websites?
Squarespace has 4 plans – 2 for website and 2 for eCommerce: 1) Personal plan – $12 per month, 2) Business plan – $18 per month, 3) Basic Commerce plan – $26 per month, 4) Advanced Commerce plan – $40 per month
Do you need hosting for Squarespace?
No. You don't need a hosting to use Squarespace. Your website will be hosted in their fully-managed cloud hosting. Although Squarespace doesn't impose resources limits for the packages, you have to follow their usage policy.
Squarespace Review: Our Verdict
Going back to the question, is Squarespace, the easiest site builder to date? Probably yes, but not by too much when compared to other easy-to-use platforms like Weebly and Wix.
All in all, Squarespace is a highly beginner-friendly platform. With its set of features, it can help you create a competitive website in less than an hour. Although the learning curve is there, anyone can learn their way around rather quickly.
How to begin
Whether you're a beginner or an experienced content marketer, Squarespace has everything you'll ever need. It even features a 14-day free trial — enabling you to give the platform a little test drive.
LayoutEngine 2 – the new dimension of editor
Access to stock images from Getty Images and Unsplash
Timothy Shim is a writer, editor, and tech geek. Starting his career in the field of Information Technology, he rapidly found his way into print and has since worked with International, regional and domestic media titles including ComputerWorld, PC.com, Business Today, and The Asian Banker. His expertise lies in the field of technology from both consumer as well as enterprise points of view.