Squarespace Review – More Illusion Than Reality?
You can say what you want, but Squarespace’s homepage is a visually impressing masterpiece. Among all website builders we’ve tested, no other company understands how to stage its product with such perfection. Everything looks so cool, fresh and impeccable. Let’s find out if the website builder works the same way.
Squarespace’s latest version 7 introduced some new features like a Cover Page builder, Google Apps for Work and Getty Images. However, the most important aspect is the editor’s usability. Now it’s possible to edit content live without switching back and forth between the site manager and preview mode. We are big fans of inline editing as it makes things not only less abstract but also faster.
Squarespace positions themselves as THE website builder for blogs, portfolio sites or online stores. This review will give you an overview of the most important aspects of the revised version.
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Squarespace in detail
|Ease of use||The user interface has a very minimalistic design. Unfortunately, it’s not always very self-explanatory. Content can be edited on the fly. When you resize the window, you see directly how it looks on your mobile devices.|
|Choice and flexibility of design (templates)||The designs look very artistic and state-of-the-art. The Cover Page builder allows you to create an impressive single page design. Pros can control the HTML/ CSS in the “Professional Plan” (Developer Platform).|
|Advertisement-free||yes||All plans are ad-free.|
|Languages||Editor supports any language, but interface in English only. Does not provide a good way to create multilingual websites.|
|Your own domain name (e.g. .com or .net)||yes||Yearly and bi-yearly subscriptions include a domain name (.com, .net, .org, .biz, and .info are available). Existing domains can be pointed to Squarespace.|
|Depth of navigation||One level below the main navigation. You can set it up using folders as they call it. Some templates feature a secondary navigation underneath the main navigation.|
|Widgets (small tools to add extra functionality)||Fantastic choice of add-on features: gallery widgets, social media widgets (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.), tools for restaurants and much more.|
|Monetization||yes||Using Google AdSense or other banner ads.|
|E-Commerce||Included in every plan (with limitations). You can easily integrate a shopping cart into your blog. Read more in our detailed e-commerce review.|
|Search Engine Optimization (SEO)||As good as it gets: editable page titles, meta description, and custom URLs. Even 301 redirects are possible.|
|Blog||The only real alternative to a WordPress blog; has all the usual blogging features (commenting, trackbacks) and more (geolocation tags, reblogging). If you already have a blog on WordPress, Tumblr, Posterous or Blogger, you can even import it. You can even host your own podcast on Squarespace, complete with RSS feed and iTunes tagging.|
|Visitor statistics||The inbuilt visitor analytics tool shows you some key stats. You can check your stats also with the “Squarespace Metrics App.” For more details, you can set up Google Analytics.|
|Contact form||yes||Fully customizable contact form builder with lots of field options.|
|Password protection||yes||You can either protect the entire site or individual pages. More details here.|
|Newsletter tool||no||They allow you to connect an existing Mailchimp account. This way you can collect your customers email addresses on the checkout page.|
|Add HTML code||yes||Enables other widgets and tools to be added.|
|Storage space||Unlimited||No bandwidth and storage limit.|
|Forum||no||You can use muud or tal.ki.|
|Support||yes||24/7 ticket system, live chat - The knowledge base is comprehensive. Their support is top of its class. Video tutorials are also available.|
|Fun Factor||Figuring out how the system works can take a while in the beginning but it's well worth it.|
|Although not quite as easy to use as other website builders, it sets new standards for blogging, ecommerce and customization.|
The rather complicated editing interface used to be a pain point for many in the past. Fortunately, this has improved tremendously in version 7. Creating a Squarespace website has never been easier because the site builder now allows for real point and click interaction. This speeds up your website building efforts and lets you avoid unpleasant surprises.
However, sometimes it feels a little too minimalistic, which can require a decent amount of trial and error until you are completely familiar with the editor. Some of the page elements are limited to an icon and don’t reveal their purpose immediately. Luckily, Squarespace provides many great tutorials that explain all the tools.
Each yearly plan contains a domain name and even the “Personal” plan allows you to sell one product. The plans “Professional” and “Business” remove the page limit and give pros more control over their website and add handy eCommerce features. Find our pricing comparison here.
Our tests have shown that Squarespace is a reliable website builder; however, its page speed could be a bit faster. Squarespace is not perfect, but we agree with their slogan: “Better websites for all,” especially from an aesthetic point of view.
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FAQ about Squarespace
Is Squarespace secure? How much traffic does it support?
Squarespace uses SSL encryption in editing mode – a feature that sets it apart from most other tools. Both their Unlimited and Business plans support unlimited traffic and can handle tremendous amounts of concurrent website visitors. If you have used WordPress in the past you will probably appreciate this.
Will my Squarespace site work on an iPad or iPhone?
Yes, their layouts are responsive and will adapt to the screensize of your visitor’s device. They also offer mobile apps for the iPhone, iPad and Android that allow you to edit your site on the go.
Does Squarespace include email accounts?
Can I create a members-only area?
You can set up password-protected pages on your website, although only a password is used (without a login name). More details.
Does Squarespace support 301 redirects?
Yes, you can set up URL mapping. If you are moving your site over from a previous system, you can redirect old URLs that would otherwise lead to an error page.
Can I use Disqus for comments on my blog?
Yes, Squarespace has a direct integration with Disqus.
Can I import my existing website or blog into Squarespace?
Yes, Squarespace supports imports from. WordPress, Tumblr, Squarespace 6, Blogger, Shopify, and Big Cartel. Squarespace also allows you to export your website.
Is there a discount available through Squarespace?
Absolutely! Save 10% using Squarespace’s official discount voucher: get it here.
11 Sep 2015 – User reviews section added
04 May 2015 – The “Personal” plan has no bandwidth and storage limit any longer
02 Dec 2014 – New video review added
21 Nov 2014 – Overall review update (V7), New rating 4.4 Stars (before 4.1)
28 Mai 2014 – Information on podcast hosting added.
31 Jan 2014 – Online store is available in all three plans.
20 Aug 2013 – The online store is now also available in the UK.
30 Mar 2013 – Video review of the online store added.
13 Feb 2013 – We added information about password protection.
20 Feb 2013 – Squarespace adds a shopping cart with their Business plan.
10 Oct 2012 – We’ve created a list of shopping cart options for Squarespace.
06 Aug 2012 – Initial tests of version 6.
Last updated: 11 Sep 2015 | Robert Brandl