SquareSpace Review: Great Layouts Now With Greater Flexibility

As a website builder, SquareSpace has always had its strengths, notably a great user interface, great business and eCommerce features, and a fantastic set of professional-grade templates. It was arguably the first website builder that allowed almost anyone to build an attractive and easy to navigate site.

However, SquareSpace also had its weaknesses. Where the likes of Wix or Weebly were packed with templates and customization features, SquareSpace could feel restrictive, as if the only way to ensure you’re maintaining a good design is to give yourself very little leeway to do anything different.

This changed with the release of SquareSpace 7.1 last year with the new Fluid Engine; a block-based drag-and-drop editor based on a 24-column grid. With this, you could finally add the components you want to a page, move them at will, and even overlap them, with snap-to-grid features that make it easy to keep everything aligned and consistent from page to page. SquareSpace now offers more freedom to create any site you want, without straying too far from the rails of good design.

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SquareSpace review: What do you get for the money?

SquareSpace has never been cheap and still isn’t today. Prices start at £12 per month if you pay annually, rising to £16 per month if you want an ongoing contract. To make up for it, even this basic personal plan includes a custom domain with free domain registration.

However, SquareSpace’s real market is commercial sites and online stores. The Business plan, at £17 per month (£24/month on an ongoing contract), gives you built-in ecommerce and website analytics features, albeit with a 3% transaction fee per sale. To get rid of that, you need to upgrade to the £23/month Commerce (Basic) package (£28/rolling month), while the £35 Commerce (Advanced) package (£43/rolling month) includes more advanced shopping features. analysis plus additional functions for discounts and shipping.

You probably don’t need the advanced features if you only sell small amounts online, but it’s nice to have the options there if your online business grows.

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SquareSpace review: How easy is it to set up?

SquareSpace is incredibly easy to use. You don’t even need to sign up to start building your website, although you’ll need to before you can go further than selecting a template to work with.

Start by selecting what your site is about (you can add your own description if it’s not covered by the presets), then select one or more objectives, which can be selling online services or courses, marketing your business, or publishing a blog. Then select where you are now in the process—for example, turning a hobby into a business or replacing an existing site—then select one of the templates SquareSpace provides as a starting point.

After this, there is a 14-day free trial, during which you can build your site for free and test it out. Signing Up will allow you to sign up for your own domain name or connect to an existing URL, at which point you’ll be ready to go public.

SquareSpace Review: What’s It Like to Use?

Powered by Fluid Engine, SquareSpace strikes a good balance between flexibility and drag-and-drop control. The user interface is consistent, with the links or buttons to add or edit elements appearing in the same place, and the modular system makes it easy to add a new component to a page or move it around, with the grid at hand to help you get everything done. aligned. It doesn’t always work (changing featured images in blog posts turned out to be a bit tricky), but, in most cases, you can tweak page layouts to your heart’s content while creating attractive pages.

More global style changes can be handled via the Site Styles sidebar, accessible with one click from most editing and options screens. Here you’ll find settings for tweaking layouts, formatting, fonts, and color palettes with some nifty tricks, like the ability to create custom palettes from, say, your background image. You can also animate elements with just a few clicks or create your own custom buttons. There’s a lot of creative power on offer, but you don’t have to be a design genius or CSS expert to take full advantage of it.

SquareSpace also has some cool text features, including a button that pastes any copied text as plain text, a feature that some professional content management systems I’ve used might have worked, and an animated highlighter feature that you can apply to underline. or emphasize specific words. or phrases.

Even with these features, SquareSpace is still not as good for content-heavy sites as more specialized blogging tools or a dedicated CMS. However, it has everything you need to add regular posts or make static text look good, along with handy options for adding graphics, accordions (vertically stacked menu items that expand when clicked), photo galleries, and more. images and audio and video content. Most of this material is intuitive enough that you won’t need to consult any online help, but when you do, you’ll often find links to instructions embedded within setup menus. It’s also nice to see options to schedule posts for later publication.

SquareSpace uses a responsive design to handle desktop and mobile styles, and overall works very well, with pages reformatted to work better for a taller, vertically scrolling phone screen. Occasionally I found headers to drift off the page or just split awkwardly, but this is better handled by shortening the headers than trying to fix it by tweaking the layout.

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SquareSpace Review: Is It Good for Ecommerce?

SquareSpace has historically been one of the best website builders for ecommerce and business, and that’s still true today. It makes it easy to add a product catalog, track stock, and adjust prices, and many of the features show that the SquareSpace team understands what budding store developers really need.

This means that, for example, if you sell a product in different sizes or with different options, you can add it once and then add the variants afterwards, with your store tracking the stock and price of each one, instead of having to add one. entry for each variant. You can also initiate sales and set sales discounts or import an existing product catalog from an Etsy shop.

In fact, SquareSpace comes packed with useful integrations with other services. You can sell customizable products on your site through Printful, or sync your store with Facebook and Instagram to shop there, if you have a Commerce plan. If you sell services or courses online, you can also create memberships and subscriptions, or use SquareSpace Scheduling to schedule and manage sessions or appointments.

Also, there are some pretty advanced tools out there for tracking customers and your interactions with them. SquareSpace works directly with Stripe and Paypal to receive payments and fulfill orders, making it relatively easy to start an online store.

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SquareSpace Review: What Other Features Does It Have?

In addition to the website development bits, SquareSpace has a rich set of marketing features, including some helpful guides to help you grow your audience through email and subscription features. There’s also help with social media promotions via Instagram stories and meta ads, though these are only available on the Business and Commerce plans. Their SEO optimization tools aren’t as accessible and newbie-friendly as they are on Wix or GoDaddy SiteBuilder. However, you do get a helpful checklist and analytics via Google Search Console so you can determine which keywords to focus on. Add in full analytics dashboards for sales and traffic, and there’s the potential to reach and sell to a much larger audience.

SquareSpace’s approach to stock art and photos is also effective. Other website builders offer a limited selection, but SquareSpace works with Unsplash to give you a vast library of images in just a couple of clicks. Anytime I needed something to set up a sample page, I could find it pretty quickly.

SquareSpace Review: Is There Anything You Could Do Better?

SquareSpace doesn’t give you near-instant site creation or the accessibility of website builders like Wix or GoDaddy SiteBuilder. It’s pretty easy to use but, for best results, you really need to spend some time digging into the settings and tweaking your layouts and content.

This means that it’s not the ideal choice for those who just want to get something basic up and running quickly, but it also means that more design-oriented users can get great results without having to master a more complex set of tools.

And while the same variety of templates and styles aren’t offered at Wix or Weebly, you do get a handpicked selection that should help you score well. In fact, I’d say go as far as saying that it’s hard to create something ugly using SquareSpace. This is a good thing, since the biggest problem with this website builder is that he can’t just change the templates like he does with other builders; you can only modify the one you have.

SquareSpace Review: Should You Sign Up?

As long as you’re working on a hefty budget, yes. SquareSpace is a great platform for a business or e-commerce site, and even the basic Business plan gives you a solid set of features. It can also work well for personal websites, but it will cost you more than a basic plan from GoDaddy, Wix, or Weebly.

Above all, it’s a great website builder for anyone looking to create a sleek, responsive and modern website, and it comes with the controls to maintain consistency and good design, but with the flexibility to customize your site.

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