Should you use Squarespace to build your website? Is it worth it? Read on to discover the pros and cons.
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Updated Jan 2 2023 | By Steve Benjamins
What is Squarespace?
Squarespace is my #1 rated website builder and one of only two website builders I've given a perfect 5 rating to. It's also the website builder I most often choose for personal projects.
As a website builder, Squarespace is a drag and drop tool that includes all the functionality you’d need for building a website in one package— including hosting.
What to like about Squarespace:
Squarespace has outstanding templates.
Beauty is subjective but in my opinion no other website builder matches Squarespace’s clean, modern templates.
Squarespace templates definitely have a look: bold typography, white space and plenty of room to showcase photography.
Templates are 100% responsive— which means they fit the size of the browser: so they are desktop, mobile and tablet friendly.
Squarespace has lots of features. The only website builder with a comparable amount of features is Wix.
Some website builders advertise features that they only “sort of” support. Not Squarespace. They have best in class blogging, ecommerce, donation, podcasting and more.
Squarespace is intuitive, curated and thoughtfully designed.
You’ll be fine with Squarespace if you’re comfortable in Microsoft Word or Google Docs.
The interface is calm and never overwhelming. This is rare in website builders— as our example of Wix vs Squarespace demonstrates.
An Ecosystem Of Companion Tools
Squarespace is building out an integrated ecosystem of companion products to it’s website builder. This includes:
- Email marketing
- Social media tools
- Membership system
- Appointment scheduling
The upside of using Squarespace for each of these products is that everything just works together seamlessly.
What might be challenging about Squarespace:
Can Have A Learning Curve
Squarespace can have a learning curve.
Occasionally you’ll have to discover the “Squarespace way” of doing something. It’s opinionated software.
That being said: you’ll be fine with Squarespace if you’re comfortable in Microsoft Word or Google Docs— it’s just not dead simple like some website builders. (Squarespace is much more powerful than those website builders.)
Squarespace has outstanding templates.
Beauty is subjective but in my opinion no other website builder matches Squarespace’s clean, modern templates:
A few important notes about templates:
- Templates are responsive — Which means they fit the size of the browser: so they are desktop, mobile and tablet friendly.
- Templates have a recognizable look and feel — Squarespace templates have a look: bold typography, white space and plenty of room to showcase photography.
- Photos will elevate your template — Squarespace templates are designed to showcase photography. Even basic stock photos will enhance the look of a Squarespace website.
- You can’t switch templates — Templates are starting points in Squarespace as of 7.1. Every template is part of the same family and has the same features and style options.
Squarespace's Fluid Engine (launched July 2022) lets you drag and drop blocks anywhere in a section:
Blocks snap to an underlying grid. This grid size can be customized:
Overall, Fluid Engine is intuitive. It feels natural to drag-and-drop blocks around a section.
My One Concern With Fluid Engine
I've found Fluid Engine can lead to differences between the mobile and desktop versions of the website — so you'll want to keep an eye out.
For example: this image is above the text on desktop. But it is below the text on mobile. Not ideal.
This means you may have to design twice: once on desktop, then again on mobile. That's not ideal. Ideally everything should *just work*.
My One Concern With Fluid Engine
Many people will want to compare Wix and Squarespace so it's important to note that Fluid Engine is different than Wix's website editor.
Wix's website editor allows you to drag any element to any place on a page — which I've argued can lead to buggy behavior.
Fluid Engine is not nearly as permissive. You can only drag-and-drop blocks within a section. This may frustrate you at first but long-term I think it saves you from the buggy behavior that Wix's website editor leads to.
Squarespace covers the basics of websites— but here are some features that go beyond that:
In 2020 Squarespace announced Members Area which allows you to create and manage paid content for registered users.
It does cost extra (plans start at $9 / month) and there is a transaction fee but it let’s you:
- Create classes and training packages
- Charge recurring or one-time fees (or free)
- Lock content
- Integrates with Squarespace email marketing
Squarespace let’s you create email campaigns. This costs an additional fee but you’d be paying an additional fee anyways if you used a 3rd party provider like Mailchimp or Constant Contact.
With Squarespace you can send one-time email campaigns or automated email campaigns.
The biggest reason to use Squarespace for your email is that integrates with Squarespace features like ecommerce and membership areas.
Appointment Scheduling allows your visitors to book and pay for appointments.
- Multiple calendars and teammates
- Calendar syncing
- Automatic SMS and email reminders
- Gift certificates
Note: Scheduling has an additional monthly fee and plans start at $14 / month.
The Squarespace iOS and Android app let's you manage and edit your website on the go.
Among other things, I primarily use the app to:
- Edit website content
- Manage ecommerce orders
- Check analytics
Excellent. Squarespace is the only website builder that competes with Wordpress on blogging. If you’re a blogger and you want to use a website builder— definitely check out Squarespace.
There’s a long list of features:
- Markdown support
- Podcast support
- RSS feeds
- Google Amp
- Multiple contributors
- … And more
Squarespace has always been popular with artists and photographers— in part because of their beautiful photo galleries.
- Masonry galleries
- Easy focal point editing
- Click-through URLs on images
Squarespace has the best donation system of any website builder and it’s not even close.
Other website builders say they have a donation but it’s often just a crummy Paypal button or a donation product within an online store (which never works right).
Squarespace actually did the work to create a donation system that covers the fundamentals:
- Custom email receipts
- Suggested contributions
- Custom checkout for non-profits
Squarespace lets you syndicate a podcast. Syndicating is required to submit your podcast to Spotify and Apple Podcasts which is critical.
Note: Other website builders say they host podcasts but often that only means you can embed your podcast in an audio player. Make sure that they let you syndicate like Squarespace does.
My one complaint? Squarespace doesn’t store your submissions by default— you have to connect it to a source. Why can’t they just store submissions by default?
Otherwise they support a wide range of features:
- Google Docs and Mailchimp integrations
- 19 different form field options
- Custom post-submit HTML and lightbox mode
While you can always add Google Analytics, Squarespace also includes their own Analytics. I find myself often using Squarespace's Analytics because it automatically collects data for all Squarespace products— from appointment scheduling, to ecommerce to the website. Which is helpful for things like:
- Purchase funnels & abanadoned carts
- Form and button conversions
- Seeing which newsletter subscribers make purchases
There are two types of website builders:
- Website Builders — For any type of website: blogs, ecommerce, small business, non-profits and more. Examples: Squarespace, Wix.
- Ecommerce Website Builders — Just for ecommerce websites. Examples: Shopify, WooCommerce.
Because ecommerce website builders are purely focussed on ecommerce they usually have more sophisticated features.
That being said there are still times to use a website builder like Squarespace for ecommerce.
In my opinion the best website builder is Squarespace and the best ecommerce website builder is Shopify.
So when is the right time to use Shopify or Squarespace?
Reasons To Use Squarespace:
- Easier To Use — For example: customizing your theme with Shopify will likely require you to edit CSS code— Squarespace does not.
- Drag and Drop — Squarespace has a drag-and-drop page editor. Shopify does not.
Reasons To Use Shopify:
- Powerful — For example: Shopify has an app store with 3,000+ 3rd party apps that extend your store features. There are 24 Squarespace extensions.
- A More Mature Ecommerce Platform — Shopify already powers many large, unique ecommerce stores. For example All Birds, Kylie’s Cosmetics and MVMT.
For more, read my in-depth Squarespace vs Shopify comparison.
Squarespace Ecommerce Features
Here are some of the more sophisticated ecommerce features Squarespace offers:
- Subscriptions — You can sell subscription products that charge on a recurring basis. Ecommerce website builders are able to do this but I don’t know of a single website builder that does.
- Customizable Email Receipts — This is a feature way too most website builders ignore. Squarespace lets you customize the email receipts sent to customers following a purchase. Email receipts are a great opportunity to thank or upsell customers.
- Excellent Product Variations — You can create multiple product variations with unique pricing.
- Digital Products and Services — You don’t have to use Squarespace for just physical products. You can also sell digital products or let customers pay you for services.
- ShipStation Integration — ShipStation is a popular tool for printing shipping labels.
- Apple Pay Integration — Squarespace lets you use Stripe as a payment provider— which allows customers to pay you with Apple Pay. Apple Pay has been shown to increase successful checkouts on mobile (it lets customer authorize payments with only Touch ID).
- Point of Sale — In November 2019, Squarespace launched a Point of Sale system that integrates with Square’s credit card reader and Squarespace’s Commerce app.
- SSL Certificate** — Included in every website. (Typical for most website builders.)
Squarespace offers four plans— here is what they cost on an annual term:
A good starter plan for most websites.
There are a few reasons to upgrade to Business:
- Third party integrations and widgets (example: Mailchimp).
- Unlocks advanced metrics.
- Unlocks some marketing tools (example: Announcement Bars and Pop-ups).
- Some ecommerce features (though it does have a transaction fee).
This is the plan you'll want if you are starting an online store.
It includes gift cards, 0% transaction fees, customer accounts and analytics in addition to all the basic ecommerce functionality you need.
Here are reasons to upgrade to Advanced Commerce:
- Lets you sell subscription products.
- Has abandoned shopping cart tools.
- More powerful discounting.
Domains & Email Addresses
Like most website builders, Squarespace provides a free custom domain name on annual plans for one year. Following that, it costs $20 / year.
Domain Name Privacy
Squarespace includes free whois privacy with your domain name. This basically anonymizes the personal information of whoever is registering the domain name. I appreciate this, as website builders such as Wix charge you for whois privacy.
Squarespace offers the standard G Suite pricing, which costs $5 / month.
You can setup email addresses for your domain names (example: email@example.com) using Google’s G Suite integration on all the plans except for Personal. I highly recommend G Suite, it basically provides the Gmail interface for your custom domain name email address.
Is Squarespace expensive?
Squarespace has a similar price to many of its competitors.
Compare the cheapest one year plan (with no-ads) of the top website builders in the below chart. Notice how Squarespace costs the same (or cheaper) than most competitors?
- Squarespace is honest and transparent with pricing. I bought and cancelled it with my own credit card and it was very easy to do.
- Squarespace gives students 50% off their first full year.
- I’ve written a more in-depth look at Squarespace pricing here.
Real-Life Squarespace Examples
Examples of real-life websites powered by Squarespace:
Here is how Squarespace differs from it's main competitors:
- Shopify — Shopify is an outstanding ecommerce website builder. It's not as easy to use as Squarespace but it is more powerful. Read our Shopify vs Squarespace comparison.
- Wordpress — Squarespace is an all-in-one package website builder. Everything just works. Wordpress is a CMS— not a website builder. It's not an all-in-one package— which makes it more flexible but will require more technical understanding and configuration. Read our Wordpress vs Squarespace comparison.
- Wix — Wix and Squarespace are the two most popular website builders. The biggest difference is in the editor— Wix has a blank canvas editor that lets you move any element anywhere on your website. This has an upside (freedom) but can be buggy. Read our Wix vs Squarespace comparison for more info.
- GoDaddy — Squarespace is overall a much better website builder than GoDaddy. GoDaddy is oftentimes too simple. Read our GoDady vs Squarespace comparison.
Is Squarespace any good?
Squarespace is excellent. I recommend it more than any other website builder.
Is Squarespace good for beginners?
Squarespace is user friendly but it may have a slight learning curve for beginners. It's not as easy to use as Weebly (but it is more flexible).
Is Squarespace bad for SEO?
No. Squarespace provides the tools you'll need for technical SEO: alt tags, meta title and description customization, SSL, AMP support and more. One knock against Squarespace (and most website builders) is that page speed performance (as measured by Google Lighthouse) can be on the low side.
Is Wix better than Squarespace?
I think Squarespace is better than Wix— though they are strong competitors and you can make a convincing case either way. Read our Wix vs Squarespace comparison for more on this.
Is Webflow better than Squarespace?
Comparing Webflow and Squarespace is comparing apples and oranges— they are totally different tools. Read our Webflow Review to get a sense of how Webflow differs from Squarespace.
Is Squarespace free?
No. Squarespace does not offer free plans.
Does Squarespace have a free trial?
Yes. Squarespace offers a 14-day free trial.
Does Squarespace own my domain?
No, you own your domain name— Squarespace (and any domain name provider) just helps you register your domain name.
Is Squarespace 7.1 better?
I think 7.1 is better than 7.0. Among other features, Squarespace 7.1 introduced Sections which really elevate designs.
Is Squarespace or WordPress better?
It totally depends on your needs— WordPress and Squarespace are completely different types of tools. Squarespace is an all-in-one tool and Wordpress is a CMS that you extend with themes and plugins. Read our Squarespace vs Wordpress comparison for more info.
Is Squarespace better than GoDaddy?
Yes. Though GoDaddy is not a bad website builder— Squarespace is just excellent. Read our Squarespace vs GoDaddy comparison for more info.
Is Squarespace owned by Square?
No! They are both completely separate companies.
What's a good tutorial for building a Squarespace website?
Our How To Make A Website tutorial walks through the basics of creating your first Squarespace.
Does Squarespace include social media tools?
Squarespace acquired Unfold in 2019— it's a separate app for creating beautiful Instagram stories.
What kind of customer support does Squarespace provide?
Squarespace provides 24/7 email support and live chat support 4am to 8pm Eastern Time, Monday through Friday. All of their customer support workers work out of their New York, Portland or Dublin headquarters. Unfortunately Squarespace does not offer phone support.