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Squarespace Review 5 0

Packed with features and beautiful themes. Highly recommended.

5.0

By Steve BenjaminsLast Updated May 26 2016

Squarespace Review Updates

We update all our reviews within 9 months.

  • Feb 15 2016 — New review published.
  • May 26 2016 — Review was brought up to date with minor revisions and changes.

User Experience Info

Steve Jobs often told a story about how his father— a carpenter— would care as much about the back of a cabinet as the front. Jobs said this where he learned the importance of craftsmanship and attention to detail. This story reminds me of Squarespace. Everything in Squarespace is polished. Nothing ever feels half-baked. Simply put: Squarespace crafts the back of cabinets.

Image cropping is a great example of how Squarespace pays attention to details. Photo galleries need to crop images to present them in a perfect grid. Most website builders crop the images automatically— but Squarespace gives you the option of setting a focal point on photos to crop around— it’s a small, easy to use feature that can really make your thumbnails pop.

Dragging this icon sets an image focal point.

Right: Dragging this icon sets an image focal point.

Content Blocks make up pages and footers. There’s a huge amount of blocks to choose from— all of which are polished and fully featured. There’s even a handy search that lets you drill down quickly and find the block you’re looking for. Handy.

Content Blocks

Right: Content Blocks

The Menu block is a great example of the care and polish Squarespace puts into blocks. To use it Squarespace invented a simple markup language (sounds more intimidating than it is) that lets you design stylish menus. It’s an elegant solution to a hard problem.

Creating a restaurant menu using a simple markup language.

Right: Creating a restaurant menu using a simple markup language.

I do have a minor complaint about the page editor: it was sometimes difficult to keep track of all the hover menus in the website editor. Moving my mouse along the page would sometimes reveal hidden menus that popped out of me— this minesweeper gesture can feel a bit unintuitive.

Three menus appearing at once.

Right: Three menus appearing at once.

Minor complaints aside, Squarespace is incredibly well designed. It’s clear that there is a thoughtful team that pores over the details of this website builder.

Features Info

  • Blog

    Squarespace has the best blog of any website builder I’ve seen. Hands down. It supports a long list of blog features: tagging, categories, drafts, comments (with powerful moderation features), Disqus integration, customizable urls and more. And to top it all off the post editor is beautiful.  Show Screenshot

  • Ecommerce

    Squarespace’s Commerce is the best ecommerce of any website builder (Weebly is second best). They include so much: digital products, customizable email receipts, checkout customization, a robust tax system and more. But it’s not just about the features, they also make it relatively simple to setup (and setting up ecommerce is never simple). One note: The only payment gateway Commerce supports is Stripe (which is an excellent payment gateway).  Show Screenshot

  • Form Builder

    Full form builder packed with everything you’ll need: 19 different form field options, Google Docs and Mailchimp integrations, lightbox mode (a handy way of creating a button that can open the form in a lightbox) and custom post-submit HTML. The only missing option I’d like to see included is the ability to send forms to custom URLs.  Show Screenshot

  • iOS & Android Apps

    There are a suite of beautiful apps: Commerce lets you manage your store. Blog (iOS) lets you compose blog posts and manage your blog. Metrics (iOS) gives you website analytics. Portfolio (iOS) lets you manage photos and galleries. They also have an Android app that is similar to their iOS Blog app. Having a suite of apps is great— rather than stuff everything into one app, they’re able to make a beautiful interface for each use case.  

  • Retina Ready

    Squarespace generates several scaled versions of every image so that they look perfect (and load quickly) on retina and mobile devices.  

  • Newsletter

    Beautiful newsletter signup box that integrates with Mailchimp.  Show Screenshot

  • Membership System

     

  • Restaurant Menu

    The best restaurant menu builder I’ve seen in any website builder. Menus are created using a simple markup language and styled automatically (but of course you have the option of customizing the style as well).  Show Screenshot

  • Donations

    Squarespace includes a strong donation system (I hate to be repeatedly effusive but it’s the best donation system I’ve seen in any website builder). You can customize email receipts— which is important, donors shouldn’t receive the same email as an ecommerce customer (a detail too many website builders over look). You can also set suggested contributions and customize the donation checkout.  

  • Audio Player

    Beautiful (seriously, take a look at the screenshot) audio player that’s well suited for showcasing albums and single tracks.  Show Screenshot

  • Podcasts

    You can publish and syndicate a podcast using the Audio Block. (Syndicating lets you submit to iTunes.)  

Themes Info

Squarespace has always had excellent themes. Each theme is sleek and minimal. They are designed for big photos and strong typography. (And there are no cheesy small business templates.)

Example Theme

Right: Example Theme

All themes work are responsive and work wonderfully on tablets and mobile devises. This is worth emphasizing because sometimes other website builders will have responsive themes that break when it comes to elements such as photo galleries. But not Squarespace— Squarespace's themes are fully responsive.

Example Theme

Right: Example Theme

Squarespace’s style editor is the best style editor I’ve seen in any website builder. It’s really intuitive and lets you make an impressive amount of style changes— fonts, border colors, heading sizes, banner sizes, padding, navigation and more.

Style Editor

Right: Style Editor

Good Billing Practices


I was able to pay and cancel my Squarespace account with ease.

Examples Real, live example sites

Pricing


Plan Term Domain Name Total info
    • Personal $16.00 / month $20.00 / year. $17.11 per month Total: $616.00
    • Personal $144.00 / year First year free, then $20.00 / year. $13.11 per month Total: $472.00
    • Basic Commerce $30.00 / month $20.00 / year. $31.11 per month Total: $1,120.00
    • Basic Commerce $312.00 / year First year free, then $20.00 / year. $27.11 per month Total: $976.00
    • Advanced Commerce $46.00 / month $20.00 / year. $47.11 per month Total: $1,696.00
    • Advanced Commerce $480.00 / year First year free, then $20.00 / year. $41.11 per month Total: $1,480.00
    • Business $26.00 / month $20.00 / year. $27.11 per month Total: $976.00
    • Business $216.00 / year First year free, then $20.00 / year. $19.11 per month Total: $688.00

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Steve Benjamins I founded Site Builder Report in 2012 in order to help people choose the right website builder. I also make music (you should check it out!). You can also follow me on Twitter here.