Website building services make it very easy to create a website without knowing how to code. One of the pioneers in this field is Squarespace, founded in 2004 and has grown to become one of the most prominent and popular site-building and hosting services providers.
Squarespace provides you with a wide variety of tools so you can start creating the site you want. If you create a website, choose a template and start customizing it by adding the desired images and text. If you are a visual artist, you can use their portfolio designs. If you are a blogger, there are various blogging tools for creating a blog.
You are provided with a fourteen-day free trial without any payment details when you register. Then, after the trial expires and you want to continue, pick a pricing plan that suits your needs.
One complaint about the Squarespace interface is that the editor is too minimal, and you may have to spend time exploring to find all the functions and elements you can customize on your site.
Hence, it would be better to watch some instructional videos first rather than just jumping in and trying to make a site as soon as you sign in. However, once you become familiar with the user interface, constructing your website should not be that difficult.
The interface includes a What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) editor. This means you can preview the site as you create it. As a result, making changes is easier because you don't have to preview it before publishing.
Squarespace offers a wide range of features. Here are some of the key ones organized by category.
Every Squarespace template supports all significant types of content, including blogs, galleries, pages, and commerce. In addition, you can customize the template using the style editor, which provides hundreds of options, including page configurations, fonts, and colors. Each template also has a built-in mobile site that displays well on any device and still reflects your website’s style. You can even install several templates on your site and simultaneously work on multiple designs.
When you upload your chosen image files, Squarespace creates multiple scaled versions and determines which size is appropriate for particular screen size and device type. The drag-and-drop interface allows you to directly drag images from the browser window from your desktop for editing using the built-in Image Editor. You can also enable Lightbox presentation for your images to present them in the best possible light.
You can add galleries anywhere on your site with hundreds of presentation options available such as grid layouts, sliders, and slideshows. You can also choose from multiple transitions and lightweight hover display effects. In addition, every gallery block supports mixed media presentations so that you can add audio and video content in addition to images.
You can upload music or other audio files to your site and use the integrated player to share them. Information about audio tracks, such as title and artist, will be automatically populated since your site recognizes the audio file's metadata, and the player will even display your album art.
You can link your website to your social media accounts and your Google Play and iTunes store. You can also display profile links to your accounts so that visitors can follow you.
If you are posting content to your social media profiles, your Squarespace site will authenticate with them so you can auto-post to Facebook, Tumbler, or Twitter. In addition, all images and post entries will be optimized and adequately tagged, ensuring that titles and descriptions will be appropriately referenced. You can also pull in content from Flickr, Twitter, and Instagram directly onto your site’s footer, sidebar, and header.
Form Blocks and Newsletter Blocks make it easy to create customized signup forms so you can collect information from your site visitors. Submitted forms can be saved to MailChimp, Google Docs, and email. You can also build a mailing list of prospects by integrating your Form Block with MailChimp.
You can add an Announcement Bar to your homepage to alert site visitors of important news or promotions. For those accessing your site on a mobile device, you can add a Mobile Information Bar to provide them with your contact information.
The integrated style editor allows you to determine the feel and look of your site. You can insert custom CSS into any of the Squarespace templates. You can also insert custom code of the footer and header on individual pages and blog entries to create links for custom sharing.
Password protection features allow you to lock specific collections to create private areas or lock down the whole site while still constructing it.
When you work with other people on your site, you can restrict access based on their permissions. Multiple access levels are available, including Content Editor, Administrator, and Comment Manager.
Cover Page templates let you collect information from your visitors by having them sign up for a mailing list or fill up a form and link to other pages. You also can easily switch the templates of your landing page.
The Squarespace blogging platform makes your workflow easier by allowing you to organize blog entries using categories such as Draft, Needs Review, Scheduled, or Published. Each blog post has its unique permalink with an appropriately labeled customizable, clean URL slug. In addition, if your blog has guest contributors, you can have multiple author attribution for blog entries.
If you have content from an existing blog on platforms such as WordPress or Blogger, you can import it to your Squarespace blog. You can also export content to a WordPress site.
To encourage interaction with your readers, you can add a heart button that lets them upvote content that they like anonymously. It will also help you determine the types of popular posts to create more of them.
You can add a share button to each blog post that you can configure to allow readers to share your content on social media platforms such as Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, or Reddit. In addition, you can use RSS to syndicate your blog posts on readers such as Feedly and Flipboard. You can also add a Subscribe button anywhere on the site to make it easier for your readers to subscribe.
The platform also offers complete support for podcasts. For example, Squarespace Blog modules support custom tags for iTunes, while Audio Blocks enable iTunes tagging.
The commenting system supports threaded comments and an individual like counts for every comment. You can manage comments by having them sent to a queue for review by a moderator before they are published. You can also enable or disable anonymous comments and set a cut-off date for disabling comments.
You are provided with thirty templates for your email marketing that you can easily customize with drag-and-drop sections. You are also offered editing tools to add clickable buttons and images and link to relevant content.
After collecting email addresses, you can customize mailing lists to ensure subscribers get the information they want. And emails are laid out using responsive designs to ensure that they will display appropriately on either laptop or mobile devices.
You can set up your online store using optimized templates with features that provide shoppers with the best experience. For example, you can manage your inventory using drag-and-drop features like categories, sorting tools, and tags. You can also market products on your content by using Product Blocks to pull selected items from your inventory.
You can use the Squarespace Commerce app to sell directly by creating a Point of Sale. It allows you to accept online payments and sync directly with your online store to synchronize inventory, customers, and sales analytics.
Various third-party tools allow you to perform eCommerce functions such as accounting and bookkeeping, fulfilling orders and managing returns, managing inventory, offering new products, and incentivizing shoppers by promoting your products across multiple selling channels.
No additional plug-ins are needed to ensure SEO's best practices. Google sitemaps are automatically generated to ensure perfect indexing. Squarespace pages have clean HTML markup that search engines can easily index. Your site also has clean URLs that are easily read and indexed.
You can use the Squarespace Logo design tool to generate a basic logo for your project or business. Once you’re done, you can preview the logo as it looks in contexts such as business cards and t-shirts. Finally, you can download your logo as a full color, black on white, or white on black file.
You can monitor your site’s performance using various tools. You can generate statistics on which sources (i.e., devices, browsers, products) generate the most site traffic and identify the top-performing content.
You can track key sales performance metrics such as orders, units sold, and revenue over time to see how they change. You can also determine how your sales funnel is doing through conversion statistics, such as how many visits result in sales and at which point customers are leaving.
This feature is available for iOS and Android too.
If you don’t have your domain yet, you can purchase one from Squarespace. Each domain has free WHOIS privacy and an attractive landing page. If you already have a domain name from a third-party provider, you can easily connect it to your Squarespace site.
Squarespace has a proprietary search engine that provides accurate results. It works on your site and Website Manager. In addition, it is updated in real-time.
Squarespace offers third-party extensions in four categories – shipping and fulfillment, inventory and product, finance and marketing, and sales. These extensions are designed to help facilitate your eCommerce functions.
Besides, the platform also supports integrations with a wide variety of services across the net. For instance, your eCommerce site can integrate with PayPal, FedEx, Apple Pay, and UPS. In addition, you can use Apple Fonts or Google Fonts on your website and images from Getty Images or Unsplash. You can also use domains from GoDaddy, Namecheap, and Google Domains. You can even add a ChowNow page that allows visitors to order food from your site without leaving it.
Squarespace has over 100 templates that you can choose from, arranged into categories to make it easy to find the one that best suits your needs. These categories include Online Stores, Portfolios, Events, Blogs and Podcasts, and Professional Services, which share their unique style options and special features. In addition, certain templates may appear in more than one category since they can be modified for multiple purposes.
You also can have the Squarespace platform create a template for your site. Then, all you have to do is to specify your layout, font, and imagery preferences.
Occasionally, Squarespace will discontinue a template. If this happens, you can continue to use the template, and support for it will still be provided.
Squarespace offers a wide variety of ways to get the help you need. Its support space features written guides and brief video tutorials on some of the most frequently asked topics. You can also sign up for a free interactive webinar delivered by Squarespace experts to take you through the basics of creating a site.
If you have more advanced questions on customizations, you can log on to the community forums to get help. You can also contact the Squarespace support team through live chat from Monday to Friday and 24/7 via Twitter and email. However, support through a phone is not available.
Squarespace has four price packages:
The Personal plan costs $16 a month, although if you pay annually, the monthly cost falls to $12. It is intended for personal websites, so you cannot sell online, but you have access to most other features.
The Business plan costs $26 a month or $18 a month if you pay annually. This plan is intended for businesses that want a site that allows them to sell products online. You are charged a 3% transaction fee on total sales. This is the ideal choice if you are a small to medium business.
The Basic Commerce plan costs $30 a month or $26 if you pay annually. It gives you a full-featured online store with no transaction fees. In addition, you are provided with specific eCommerce tools such as integrated accounts and mobile-optimized checkouts. This is a good choice for new businesses.
The Advanced Commerce plan costs $46 a month or $40 if you pay annually. In addition, your online store includes advanced features such as gift cards, abandoned cart recovery, selling on Instagram, selling subscriptions, and Advanced Shipping and Discounts. These features make it ideal for larger businesses or those who are expanding.
All plans have standard features such as SSL security, unlimited storage and bandwidth, basic site metrics, and Squarespace extensions. Every site is also mobile-optimized and has a free custom domain for one year, after which you can renew the domain starting at $20 a year for common domain extensions such as .com and .net. Custom extensions such as .media or .graphics are available at a higher rate. You can also buy a domain before you make your site.
You can accept payments through Stripe, which accepts credit card payments and credits them to your account. In addition, your checkout can accept more payment solutions, including PayPal and Apple Pay.
Although Squarespace prices may seem a little steep compared with competitors like Wix and Weebly, you are also getting a lot in terms of features.
It is a website publishing platform that allows you to create a professional-looking site. You simply use the content management system, designed to be user-friendly. Although the software was initially designed as a blog builder, by 2013, it had added eCommerce features.
Founder Anthony Casalena developed the software for his personal use while he was a student at the University of Maryland. He launched the business with a $30,000 loan from his father, and by 2006 its revenue had reached $1 million. As of 2016, Squarespace was hosting more than one million sites.
If you want to build a website, Squarespace should undoubtedly be one of your first, if not your only, options. Their platform makes site creation relatively simple, and their prices are reasonable. Once you've mastered their interface, you'll be able to create a site in a matter of hours.
Their sites are also known for the quality of their visual appearance. This makes them ideal for users with high-grade images, such as photographers and painters, that they want to show off.
Of course, there are certain limitations that you will have to deal with. For instance, having only one sub-navigation means your site cannot be multi-lingual. But for most users, this will not be an issue.
Overall, Squarespace will provide a more than satisfactory experience for most people looking to create their website.
If you are not sold on Squarespace, one alternative you can explore is Wix. One advantage over Squarespace is that it has a free plan to create a site without paying a monthly fee, although your website will display ads.
It also has multiple pricing packages to choose a plan that best meets your needs and budget. Also, it has hundreds of templates, more than any other website builder.
However, unlike Squarespace, Wix sites are not completely mobile-friendly. So, you will have to use the mobile editor to make some changes to ensure your site displays properly on mobile devices.
Wix also has a free plan with three price plans whose monthly prices range from $6 to $26. However, the number of templates is limited compared with Squarespace or Wix. Their templates are also very rigid, so you don’t have as much design flexibility.
Weebly sites' advantage is that they allow for multiple levels of submenus and sub-navigation. So, it will let you have more significant sites with many more user-friendly pages.