Squarespace Review 2023: Crucial Things You Need to Know

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll probably be aware of Squarespace’s reputation as the go-to website builder for visually striking and minimalist designs. Squarespace is famous, no doubt about that. But I wanted to know if it was worth its fame or if its marketing team is just due a raise.

After carefully testing its complete offering, I can honestly say that Squarespace delivers precisely what it promises, giving you the tools to create striking and elegant designs. If you’re looking to create a professional portfolio, a site for your business, or just want something eye-catching, Squarespace won’t disappoint.

However, I wouldn’t call it the builder for everyone. You’ll probably find it somewhat restrictive if you’re a professional designer looking for full control over your site. It can also get pretty pricy. Even if it comes with the quality to match, it’s not the cheapest builder.

Squarespace is available in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish. Is it a wise investment for you, or should you start looking elsewhere? Read on to find out.

Professionally Designed, Varied, and Striking

Squarespace review Squarespace Templates optimage2

If you check out any Squarespace reviews, you’re bound to come across a paragraph or two about its templates. Squarespace’s templates are one of its main selling points – and I can’t deny it. They are really, really good.

Each one of the 150+ templates incorporates a particular design sensitivity that gives them a stylish and minimalistic look. Also, the fact that templates are divided between 19 categories (which refers to the site’s style like “photography,” “entertainment,” or “fitness”) and 7 “types” (which refers to a site’s function like blogging, e-commerce, or portfolio) makes it pleasantly easy to find the specific template that fits your needs.

You’ll probably hear the word “minimalistic” a lot. So it’s worth taking a moment to clarify what that means exactly. Squarespace’s templates don’t rely on an overabundance of design elements to look good. In fact, most keep them to a minimum (hence the word). However, the combination of font choices, color palettes, images, and smart use of negative space makes for an effective set of templates, drawing your eyes to the essential parts of the page.

Squarespace’s templates are quite customizable too, and since they all share the same framework, you’re free to experiment. If you checked out its gallery in the past and liked what you saw, you can also choose to create your site with any template from Squarespace’s previous version. Your site wouldn’t be as customizable, but maybe you just like one of the previous designs more.

Even in the (unlikely) scenario where you don’t like any of the available templates, you could design your site from the ground up with Squarespace Blueprint, which gives you the tools to create your own custom template to match your needs (more on that below).

While all of this might sound great, there is one small disadvantage to Squarespace’s over-emphasis on template design. The “every element works together to create something striking” philosophy makes for some beautiful sites. However, throwing off that delicate balance can be easy without an eye for design.

Design and Customization

I’d categorize this editor as sort of semi-drag-and-drop. When you edit a page, you start the process by adding “sections” or “content blocks,” which are just that: sections of page layout or site functionality, pre-configured for easy use.

These range from simple text blocks to food menus to contact forms to “About The Team” image galleries. More complex blocks include social media icons, RSS feeds, Twitter feeds, all-the-other-social-media feeds, charts, Amazon products, appointment scheduling forms, calendars, e-commerce products and more.

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Once you’ve chosen the content block you need, the drag-and-drop stuff begins. You can drag elements around to fit the layout you like, within given parameters. Each element you add is confined to a grid arrangement which is designed to keep your site looking consistent and properly spaced.

That said, there’s still a lot you can do, layout-wise. You can find the pre-set content blocks that give you the layout you want and tweak them. Or, you can add a blank content block and build a basic layout yourself by adding columns, spacing, and content as you see fit.

If you’re worried about mobile responsiveness, don’t be. Not only is every one of Squarespace’s templates mobile-responsive, but you can also switch to mobile view from the editor itself at any moment. Squarespace lets you change your mobile site separately from its desktop counterpart, so you can fine-tune the mobile experience as much as you want.

All the Features a New (or Semi-Pro) Designer Might Need

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Like most of the better-known site builders, Squarespace strives for a balance between giving new website owners an easy way to build what they need, and giving more experienced designers/developers a place to build whatever they want. In this case, that balance is clearly weighted toward beginners.

It’s easy to add what you need, even on the Personal plan. Want a calendar? Appointment bookings? A store? Just click a button or two, and you’ll have it. You can even create an extra set of pages and make a multilingual site with minimal effort.

If you want to use custom templates or any custom code, on the other hand, you’ll have to shell out some cash for one of the more expensive plans. This is true of almost every site builder, so it’s not out of the ordinary.

There’s also a free logo maker, which I have reviewed separately. Yeah, it’s pretty basic, but it’s not bad.

Create Your Own Template With Squarespace Blueprint

The relative restrictiveness of its templates is one of the biggest cons I’ve found on old Squarespace reviews. That was back when Squarespace was on its 7.0 version, where most templates used different frameworks. That meant almost every template included at least one element you could not change (like the header or footer design).

Squarespace improved on this in its 7.1 version, which made each template part of the same framework. As if that wasn’t enough, you can now create your own templates using Squarespace Blueprint.

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The process is very straightforward. All you have to do is go to the template menu and click on the Build your own template button. After that, you’ll be able to choose which sections you want on your homepage (“Intro,” “About us,” “Featured products,” etc).

If you want to change the initial layout of these sections, all you have to do is hover over them and choose from various options. You’ll then be able to select which additional pages you wish to add to your site, choose your font combination and color scheme, and you’ll be good to go.

Unlike traditional templates, your site won’t resemble a finished product, but that’s the point. Since you’re building your own template, what you’ll get at the end will be the ideal structure to build your site over.

E-commerce Is Kind of a Big Deal

We’re going to spend a long minute or two on e-commerce, because Squarespace’s store functionality is actually one of its biggest selling points. Adding a store to your site is literally as simple as clicking a couple buttons, answering a couple questions, and letting Squarespace do the work.

Well, I’m talking mostly about the design work. Actually adding products is up to you. If you have an existing store elsewhere on the internet, you can save time and import your products via a .CSV file.

Other features included allow you to:

  • Accept payments in a variety of ways (PayPal, Stripe, Square)
  • Get automatic tax calculation
  • Sell both digital and physical products
  • Offer discounts and sales
  • Sell gift cards
  • Create mailing lists
  • Send abandoned cart recovery emails
  • Sell subscriptions
  • Sell via social media
  • Get an automatic shipping fee calculation (via Fedex and UPS, but only for the U.S.)
  • Create shipping zones
  • Schedule in-store pickup

On the front end, the store takes on the same general style and feel as the rest of your site. You can change the layout of the store page, but your options are somewhat limited, due to the nature of online stores. You can also change how individual product pages look, again with limits on the layout.

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The UI (User Interface) for managing your products is detailed but still simple to learn. Give it a whirl, and soon you’ll be adding images, different pricing for variations of the same product, and forms to collect customer information. You can even change the “Add to Cart” text to something more ambitious if you want.

If you also sell on online marketplaces, Squarespace allows you to connect directly to your Amazon storefront. Doing so will allow you to manage sales on both ends without complications and even let Amazon handle shipping for you.

The only “downside” is that you specifically have to pay for one of Squarespace’s Business plans to use the store functionality at all, and these plans aren’t cheap. Considering that they include the tools to successfully run and market your e-commerce business, it’s a worthwhile investment.

Blogging Is Pretty Solid

Squarespace isn’t my favorite blogging platform by any stretch, but it’s still pretty good. The blog module can save drafts, schedule posts, add tags, and categorize them to your liking. You can set posts to be reviewed by colleagues before publishing, choose whether or not to show the author’s name and profile, and even change fonts and colors for individual posts.

My favorite feature, by far, is the actual editor. While many site builders have a separate interface for writing blog posts, Squarespace lets you edit them the same way you edit any other page: right there on the page itself. What you see is exactly what you get.

Now, you can’t do complex layouts like you can with a regular page, but it’s still pretty great. You can add image galleries, slideshows, videos (of course), audio, tag clouds, charts, and more.

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Like any other page, blogs posts also have all the basic SEO options and social sharing tools you might want. You can set meta titles and descriptions for search engines, set up how your blog post will be previewed on social media sites, and even send blog posts out as newsletters when you publish them.

There Are Add-ons and Third-Party Integrations Galore

If you’re looking to expand the functionality of your site, Squarespace offers a full suite of add-ons and third-party integrations to let you do just that. If you have a significant social presence, Squarespace gives you all the tools you need to integrate with other platforms, like promoting your blogs on social media or embedding your YouTube videos directly to your site.

You can also do a lot with Squarespace’s integrations, like schedule appointments, create premium member-only areas, or even send out powerful marketing campaigns. Thanks to this expansive collection of apps, space really is the limit of what you can do with your site.

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The Support Team Is Prompt and Helpful

When you need help, Squarespace’s team is thereI mean, they are on top of things. The main support channels include a combined email/ticket system, live chat, and a community forum. I tested all three channels to see if I would get prompt, professional assistance.

Oh, they also do offer help on their Twitter account, but I didn’t test that one. Here’s what I did test:

Email/Ticket System

Since I was working on my Ultimate Guide to Choosing Domain Names and I had domains on my mind, I sent in a ticket asking if it would be possible to buy a domain on Squarespace (like mywebsite.com), make a subdomain (like server.mywebsite.com), and then point that subdomain elsewhere on the internet. Like, to a private server, perhaps.

A member of the team responded in about six hours and said yes, I could do exactly that. They provided very helpful, specific guidance in their response.

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Not the Cheapest, but a Fair Price

With no free plan at all, Squarespace isn’t the cheapest site builder on the market, especially if you pay per month. Seriously, paying for an annual plan will save you a ton, but there are still cheaper options. Even so, I honestly believe that for the quality of the service provided, these prices are fair.

All plans include a free domain for the first year. If you’re looking for more advanced tools to market yourself, the Business plan includes a professional email and Workspace account from Google, more content blocks, advanced analytics, and the ability to accept donations.

Upgrade further, and you get the ability to sell products, let users register for their own accounts on your site, access more advanced analytics, and more. In fact, most of the advanced features are e-commerce-related. If you plan to build an online store, make a list of the features you need, and check to see which plan includes them all.

Though they don’t offer a free plan, if you purchase any plan annually, you’ll get a 14-day refund window. The refund process is quick and stress-free. So yeah, you have two weeks to be really, really sure that you like the product. I figure that’s fair.

2 thoughts on “Squarespace Review 2023: Crucial Things You Need to Know”

  1. Wow, fantastic weblog layout! How lengthy have you ever been running a blog for?
    you make blogging glance easy. The overall glance
    of your website is excellent, let alone the content!

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