Having a personal website is imperative for freelancers: the more you can show your clients and potential leads, the better your business will be. Aside from word of mouth, freelancers these days mostly work because they are visible online, and they have something tangible to show to their clients.
You don’t need to be a developer to create your website, and you don’t even need to hire a developer: use one of the many website builders out there, and your website will be ready (almost) instantly.
Squarespace is one of the most chosen alternatives when it comes to website builders: more than 2 million people pay to keep using Squarespace after its free 14-day trial, and this may mean something. In this article, you will find a Squarespace review that will help you choose for the best.
In this Squarespace review, you’ll find everything you need to know about this website builder: how it works, how much it costs, if it’s worth it or not, pros and cons. If you’re wondering whether to go for Squarespace or not, keep reading my in-depth article.
Table of Contents
What is Squarespace?
Squarespace is a website builder, a tool that simplifies web design and website creation by providing features and step-by-step instructions to create a new site. Launched in 2004, Squarespace is now one of the hottest website builders, especially targeting people looking for a visually enticing webspace to show off their skills.
The system works efficiently: you sign up to Squarespace, and you can then choose among 100+ carefully crafted website themes that you can customize to make sure your website reflects your personality and style. The customization is easy and quick: you only need to follow the instructions, and your website will be ready in minutes.
Who is Squarespace Good For?
Certainly, Squarespace is the right solution for all the freelancers struggling with hiring a designer or with time. Squarespace is relatively affordable, easy to use, quick to learn, and it allows people to get a new website in a matter of hours without the need to involve developers or designers.
Squarespace’s visual designs are perfect for photographers and artists in need of showing what they can do for their clients.
Who is Squarespace Not Good For?
If you’re looking for a more flexible solution, you want to customize your website the more you can, and you don’t want to pay a monthly fee to get your site up and running, then Squarespace is not for you. If you are a developer or a designer or even a content person, Squarespace is not the best solution for you: with your resources, you can create something unique, more personal, and more flexible.
How does Squarespace work?
Squarespace is a sort of drag-and-drop website builder, meaning that you can add content sections based on the way you want to design your site. Content blocks are also available and are easy to insert and can be positioned around the page quickly. You can also adjust things like fonts, colors, website width, and so on. Images are easy to work with: you can edit them as much as you want, and the process to do it it’s easy and quick. You can browse Unsplash and Getty images directly within Squarespace and insert them into your website for free or paying a small fee.
Squarespace is a What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) editor, meaning that you edit, and you can see the changes while editing: there’s no draft or stage, both for editing pages and content already published.
You don’t need to know a single line of code to use Squarespace, and that’s the reason why so many people avail of this tool.
How to Use Squarespace Step by Step
If you have decided to opt for Squarespace, these are the basic steps you need to follow to use it at its best, and without wasting too much time.
1. Sign up
Squarespace offers a 14-day Free Trial and to start it, just click Start A Free Trial in the center or Create A Site on the top right.
2. Select a theme
Squarespace offers a good number of templates that you can choose and customise based on your needs and your business. You can either scan the Top Categories on the left hand side or use the search engine to look exactly for what you need (e.g. Restaurant website).
3. Add a domain
To make sure your website reflects what you do, it needs a name. Your website will be auto assigned a Squarespace URL that looks something like this:
You can change the prefix for free, but you’ll still be stuck with .squarespace.com. Professionals need to have a professional domain name and that’s why Squarespace offers the opportunity to buy a new domain directly from the admin panel, under the Domain section; if you already have your own domain name, just add it.
4. Add and edit pages
Once all of these are done, it’s time to start adding pages to your website. To add pages, click the ‘+’ on the Pages section on the left side home panel and start customising it adding content blocks and elements by clicking the ‘+’ in the top right. If you are happy with the pages your theme provides, you can simply edit them: change the name and give them a different order, if you think it’s best for your business.
Squarespace isn’t the fastest builder around, but with a little patience you’ll soon be building like a pro. Jump in and give it a go!
5. Design your website
Once the pages are ready, you need to design them: add fonts, texts, and visuals to make them more appealing and aligned with your brand. Images are quite important for a website, and Squarespace manages this aspect extremely well: you can either upload an image, or search for a stock photo. Stock photos are available for free or, if you’re looking for premium images, for a fee of $10 from Getty. Make sure you explore all the design options to get the best out of your new template.
6. Integrate marketing tools
Marketing tools are all the “plugin” you may need to make sure your site can convert: a newsletter, a social media sharing button, and more. To avail of the tools you need to be at least on the Business Plan and you can upgrade directly via the Upgrade Now button at the foot of every page during your free trial. You may not need these tools on your website, so make sure you know what you want and need before embarking in this website creation.
7. Add e-commerce features
If you plan on selling things, you need to integrate e-commerce features after having created a Products page. Once again, you can add e.commerce features only if you’re at least on the Business plan, but for a more accurate set of tools I recommend you switch to the Commerce plan.
These are the features you can integrate:
- Online orders
- Inventory management
- View your customers
- Add discounts
You can also integrate Stripe to accept payment online, by simply adding a paid feature. Square will retain part of your fee when someone will buy something on your website. There are no Squarespace transaction fees for Squarespace Commerce plans (Basic and Advanced).
8. Publish your Squarespace website
As explained above, Squarespace doesn’t create Drafts meaning that once you’ve started your trial the website will go immediately live and you will work on it live the whole time. This means that you don’t have to hit a Publish button when you are ready to publish your new website. Trial sites don’t appear on search engines and if people arrive at your site, they need to enter a CAPTCHA. The CAPTCHA can be removed only by upgrading to a paid plan that will also allow the website to be indexed.
9. Choose a price plan
- Personal ($16/€15 per month)
- Business ($26/€24 per month)
- E-commerce Basic ($30/€28 per month)
- E-commerce Advanced ($46/€42 per month)
You can save between 13% and 25% if you sign up for an annual plan.
How much does Squarespace cost?
Squarespace offers 4 different paid plans:
- Personal ($16/€15 per month)
- Business ($26/€24 per month)
- E-commerce Basic ($30/€28 per month)
- E-commerce Advanced ($46/€42 per month)
The personal website hosting plan includes the following features:
- Unlimited pages, galleries, and blogs
- Unlimited bandwidth and storage
- 2 contributors
- Mobile-optimized website
- Website metrics
- Free custom domain (with the annual plan)
- SSL security and WHOIS privacy
- 24/7 customer support
The business plan includes the following features:
- Professional email from Google
- $100 Google Ads credit
- Promotional Pop-Ups
- Fully integrated e-commerce
- Sell Unlimited Products, Accept Unlimited Donations
- 3% Transaction Fee
- Mobile Information Bar
- Premium Blocks/Integration
- Announcement Bar
Personal vs Business Squarespace Plan:
The Commerce plans include the following features, based on the type of plan you choose:
You can save between 13% and 25% if you sign up for an annual plan: this is the best choice if you have already made up your mind and ready to commit for a long time.
All plans come with 24/7 customer support, and you can change or cancel your plan at any time. When upgrading or downgrading your website plan, you will receive either a pro-rated charge or refund, depending on the cost of your new plan. The company doesn’t offer refunds at all for monthly plans. They also don’t offer refunds for renewal payments.
If you commit to the yearly plan, you will also receive one year off of new domain registration.
Common Questions About Squarespace
These are some of the most common questions about Squarespace that you may have.
1. What are the benefits of using Squarespace?
Squarespace is easy to use and quick: once you’ve got a grasp on its features and its mechanic, building a website is handy and fast.
Working with images in Squarespace is fantastic for beginners and amateurs: the editor is easy to use, you can upload your photos or use the ones provided for free or for a fee, and create a website that reflects your business.
One cool feature included with Squarespace is a logo designing app that will allow creating a customized logo to use on your website if you don’t have one already.
2. What are the cons of using Squarespace?
Squarespace doesn’t allow you to switch templates once you’ve selected one, meaning that you have to stick to the one you’ve chosen no matter what. If you’re on the ‘Business’ or higher plan, you can add your custom CSS to your website to change the appearance of it; otherwise, you won’t have access to the CSS stylesheet. Overall, Squarespace is not that flexible.
3. Is Squarespace useful as a blogging platform?
Squarespace is also easy to use as a blogging platform, and you can have as many blogs as you like on your Squarespace website.
Blogs in Squarespace are organized in two parts: Blog Pages and individual blog posts.
The Blog Page is your blog’s landing page. It displays multiple posts in a list or grid, depending on your site. Clicking a post title or thumbnail image opens the individual blog post on its own page. You can have multiple Blog Pages on your site.
Blog posts are sub-pages of a Blog Page. Each blog post has its own page and dedicated URL. You can add as many blog posts to a Blog Page as you’d like.
The biggest problem with Squarespace for blogging is that there’s no autosave and that you have to update the live version if you want to update an existing blog post. Also, there’s no backup of older versions of posts.
I honestly think that Squarespace is limited, and it doesn’t give you that flexibility you may need and get with another CMS. But it’s the perfect solution if you’re looking for an easy-to-use platform that you can use almost immediately to showcase your abilities.
4. Is Squarespace free?
5. Is Squarespace good value for money?
Squarespace is not the cheapest website builder and it’s not even the most intuitive, at least at the beginning. But it gives you a lot of incredible templates and professionally designed visuals, so that no matter what’s your business your website will look incredible.
6. Is Squarespace bad for SEO?
There is no reason to think that Squarespace is bad for SEO because it mostly depends on how you configure your website. For sure, WordPress is more SEO-friendly than any other website builder, including Squarespace. Still, the way you customize and implement your SEO elements within Squarespace can make the difference when it comes to ranking.
Learn more about SEO with these online courses:
- Complete SEO training with expert Peter Kent
- SEO Training for your website
- SEO Specialization to become an expert
Read Also: How to Become and SEO Consultant
7. Is Squarespace good for e-commerce?
Squarespace is not specialized in e-commerce like Shopify, but it includes a lot of features that can help you sell online. These features include a shopping cart, unlimited products, and the ability to sell physical, digital, and service-based products. You can avail of these features and sell online, but you won’t have access to a whole range of tools like you can with other providers.
8. Does Squarespace take ownership of my content?
No, what you upload it is and remains yours so you need to be aware that you’re responsible for the content you publish on Squarespace. Squarespace reserves the right to use visuals and content to promote their service or your business, always quoting you. The terms of service explain this better than me:
“When you provide User Content via the Services, you grant Squarespace (including our third party hosting providers acting on our behalf) a non-exclusive, worldwide, perpetual, irrevocable, royalty-free, sublicensable, transferable right and license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works of (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that User Content works better with the Services), communicate, publish, publicly display, publicly perform and distribute User Content for the limited purposes of allowing us to provide, improve, promote and protect the Services”.
9. How do I cancel a Squarespace subscription?
You can cancel your active website subscription at any time by choosing one of these two methods:
- Cancel your subscription and immediately take your site offline
- Disable auto-renew and let your site expire
10. Can I buy my domain name with Squarespace?
All Squarespace accounts with annual billing terms include one custom domain for a year. You can also register your domain name regardless to the plan you’ve chosen: the cost is between $20 and $70 per year. Pricing depends on the domain’s TLD. As long as you have a credit card on file, you can purchase a domain name(s) from Squarespace.
A few things you need to know when registering a domain with Squarespace:
- You can’t register a domain name that’s already registered by someone else;
- You can’t register a domain without a Squarespace account;
- You can’t register premium domains with Squarespace;
- A Squarespace domain can’t have the word “squarespace” or “sqsp” in it.
- All Squarespace domains come with full DNS control.
11. What happens if I leave Squarespace?
When you cancel a subscription to Squarespace, your site is put on the canceled mode. After your website is canceled, its content is marked for permanent deletion after 30 days; you will be able to recover your content within 30 days after canceling.
12. If I cancel my Squarespace subscription, what happens to my domain name?
Your domain name remains your and active, and you can choose how to manage it:
For domains you registered through Squarespace, you have a few options:
- Continue managing your domain through Squarespace and keep it on an expired site;
- Move your domain to another Squarespace site;
- Transfer your domain to a new provider.
If you connected a domain you purchased elsewhere, disconnect it from your Squarespace site before cancelling and get in touch with your provider or your new hosting for more help.
13. Is Squarespace better than WordPress?
A comparison between Squarespace and WordPress isn’t a fair one. Squarespace is a website builder, and it’s managed, WordPress requires technical effort, and it aims at a different target. You can’t compare renting a house with buying and building one.
With WordPress, you have more flexibility and way more features to add to your site, while Squarespace comes with a limited set of features and tools that you can add and use to customize your website. WordPress requires quite a lot of maintenance, Squarespace doesn’t.
14. Does Squarespace provide support?
Yes, when you need help the Squarespace’s team is available to help. The main support channels include a combined email/ticket system, live chat, and a community forum.
15. Can I get a refund if I change my mind?
Squarespace only offers refunds for plans that have been paid for on an annual basis, and only within the first 14 days of the first payment.
Do you recommend Squarespace?
Squarespace is not for everyone, especially not for people interested in buying a fully functional and complete website. The choice of whether to go for Squarespace or a different approach, like WordPress, is personal: Squarespace is easy to set up and takes way less time than WordPress and other CMS.
Is Squarespace worth the money? Yes and no. If you have a small business and want to create a website by yourself quickly but have no idea how websites work, then Squarespace is a no-brainer.
Squarespace Review: the bottom line
Based on the considerations above, it’s clear that Squarespace is a useful tool that has its limits, and that has to be used and chosen in specific cases. If you want to build your website quickly, don’t want to spend too much on designing and developing, don’t want to think about maintenance, then Squarespace is the right website builder for you. If you have resources, time, and most of all, you want a flexible and customized solution, then it’s better to look for a different website creation platform, specifically WordPress.
If you want to go for a more customized solution for your blog/website, these are some of the resources and tools that I recommend:
- NameCheap or Domain.com: to register your domain name;
- BlueHost: to host your blog (it comes with WordPress installed);
- WpEngine: another hosting, and in this case you can go for the managed or the unmanaged one;
- Premium WordPress Themes: you can choose one for your blog;
- Weebly: if you want to use a ready-to-go platform and just focus on content.
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