Squarespace Review & How-To Guide for Small Businesses


Beautiful templates, great e-commerce functions—is there anything Squarespace can't do?

Best for Small Stores
4.7 out of overall
Price starting at $18/month
Easy-to-use interface
Gorgeous blog, store, and page designs
Mixed customer reviews

Want a website builder that gets you a professional-looking site with all the functionality you need for your blog, online store, or brick-and-mortar business? Squarespace delivers—and with minimal time and effort on your part.

Squarespace customers get a whole lot of bang for their buck. In terms of pricing, Squarespace is certainly one of the cheaper website building options. Plus, the platform offers an easy-to-use, user-friendly interface; includes tons of free perks; and features stunning designs on each of its templates.

Of course, you don’t have to simply take our word for it. Our Squarespace review is based on our actual, real-life experience using this website builder, which we detailed below recorded so you can see our testing process.

What is Squarespace?

Squarespace is one of the best website builders on the market. It lets you build e-commerce stores, full-feature blogs, and more without breaking a sweat.

Squarespace is best for business owners who want it done fast

Of all the website builders we tested, Squarespace is one of the easiest to use.

We loved that the platform offered such well-designed, free templates. It makes it easy for anyone to build beautiful online stores, menus, contact pages, and more—no custom coding required. That’s a huge perk when you’re a small-business owner looking to get back to the day-to-day of running your company as quickly as possible.

When we were testing Squarespace, it felt a bit like dating a good-looking doctor or lawyer—and we figured no website building platform could be easy to use, beautifully designed, and offer full functionality where it counts. But we were delightfully surprised to find that, actually, Squarespace was the full package.

That’s not to say, of course, that everything about Squarespace was hearts and roses. Even though the drag-and-drop interface was fairly easy to use, there was a bit of a learning curve. It took us a while, for instance, to realize that unless you use the platform’s pre-built content blocks, your site won’t be optimized for customers on mobile devices.

It also took us a while to figure out how to take advantage of Squarespace’s full range of customization options, which is understandable when you consider most customization features are on a completely separate sidebar menu from the main editor.

Still, our experience with Squarespace was positive enough that it outweighed the minor inconveniences and missteps we experienced during our build. And honestly, with how great our content looked after just a few hours (and how little the platform costs), we recommend at least considering Squarespace before trying any other website builder—regardless of whether you run a mommy blog, own a taco stand, or just want to sell vacuum parts online.

Pros
  • Easy-to-use platform
  • Beautiful designs for sites
  • Great functionality to support your store and blog
Cons
  • Bit of a learning curve
  • So-so search engine optimization
  • Functionality sometimes hidden by tabs and sidebar menu

How Squarespace stacks up

It wouldn’t be a proper Squarespace review if we didn’t tell you how the platform measures up to other website builders. So here we go:

Usability score: 4/5

Squarespace isn’t a perfect service, but we feel like it comes pretty close. The one area where we’d say it needs improvement is in its general usability.

Don’t get us wrong: Squarespace’s drag-and-drop editor allows you to easily upload and update your site’s content. You can get exactly the look you need with minimal work.

Where Squarespace falls short is in its organization. The platform offers tons of customization options, and there are a lot of features at your disposal. But sometimes that functionality is buried beneath tabs, sidebar menus, and section editors.

When using a pre-built section on our home page, we added our content via the section editor. But when we wanted to change the size and font of the text in our section, we had to save, exit the section editor, and backtrack through sidebar menus until we found the Design section that would allow us to make the additional changes we needed. The process would have been a lot more user-friendly if all our customization options had been accessible in one place.

Similarly, social sharing and other features are hidden behind tabs when you add a new product. Shopify offers a product editor that includes everything in one spot, so Squarespace falls a bit behind other options there.

Still, once you get used to the platform and its eccentricities, it is remarkably easy to get everything you need from Squarespace.

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Design score: 5/5

Just a quick look at Squarespace reviews from former customers confirms that design is one of the major selling points for the platform. And for good reason.

Squarespace doesn’t charge extra for high-quality templates, so Squarespace users get access to the best designs regardless of their plan. Squarespace also uses pre-built content blocks as part of its drag-and-drop editor. These content blocks are optimized for both desktop and mobile viewing, so they look great across all your customers’ devices.

Long story short: Squarespace puts design front and center in its website builder, so if you’re looking for a professional-looking website, Squarespace won’t disappoint.

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Customization score: 5/5

Squarespace allows for a lot of customization, though you may have to go digging to find it all.

One of the hardest but most rewarding parts of our Squarespace build was realizing that the content blocks we thought were un-customizable were actually customizable. Once we realized that we could edit the font, colors, and sizes of our content blocks, we were able to piece together a better-looking site in a lot less time.

The only catch? We had to go through a lot of trial and error before we figured that out.

Squarespace puts design front and center in its website builder, but you may have to dig to find all your customization options.

The Squarespace platform allows you to customize some aspects of your pages in one spot and other aspects in another spot. That makes it easy to miss a lot of the customization options available to you. So there’s a definite learning curve in figuring out exactly what and how much you can customize on your site.

Still, Squarespace gets major points for rolling so many customization features into the existing service. While other website builders make you download apps and plug-ins to get all the customization options, Squarespace already includes most (if not all) of the features you need to make your site exactly what you want.

That’s another time-saver for busy business owners, who may or may not have the hours to crawl through a huge app store looking for the features they need. And bonus! No need to learn custom coding.

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Feature comparison

Again, Squarespace accounts automatically include tons of features that other website builders offer only via plug-ins. It’s pretty similar to Wix in that regard.

On the whole, we feel like Wix might come out a bit ahead of Squarespace in terms of features, but it’s close. On the one hand, Wix doesn’t charge transaction fees, which is a huge win for business owners with e-commerce stores. But on the other, Squarespace offers 24/7 support.

Both services offer unlimited product listings and unlimited storage, plus SSL certificates (which basically certify that your site has the necessary encryption to keep your customers’ data safe while they’re on your site). And while Wix offers more apps and themes, Squarespace tends to offer less because it includes more integrated features.

Here’s the complete breakdown of the features available with the Wix and Squarespace website builders.

Squarespace vs Wix features
FeatureSquarespaceWix
Online store
Blog
Product limitUnlimitedUnlimited
Credit card payments
SSL security
Mobile-friendly templates
Discounts and coupons
Gift cardsWith app
Shipping quotes
Transaction fees on third-party appsSelect plans
24/7 customer support
Themes28500+
AppsAbout 30About 250

Squarespace plans by price

Now for the big question: How much does it actually cost to use Squarespace?

As far as website builders go, Squarespace stacks up pretty nicely. It isn’t the cheapest one available, but its starting prices are about average. Its premium business plans, though . . . not too shabby considering the excellent design and user experience you get on the platform.

Here’s what you can realistically expect to pay:

Squarespace plan costs
PlanPriceTransaction fees for online credit card paymentsThemeAppsLearn more
Business$18/mo.3%$0$0Get Started
Basic$26/mo.0%$0$0Get Started
Advanced$40/mo.0%$0$0Get Started

When it comes to pricing, Squarespace is one of the best options on the market. Squarespace plans include pre-designed themes, so you don’t have to pay extra there. Plus, Squarespace users on a Business plan or higher don’t have to pay for premium apps (like OpenTable or Acuity).

Squarespace also offers a free trial and a 25% discount if you sign up for annual billing instead of monthly.

Squarespace plans and pricing
PlanAnnual costMonth-to-month costLearn more
Business$13.50/mo.$18/mo.Get Started
Basic$19.50/mo.$26/mo.Get Started
Advanced$30/mo.$40/mo.Get Started

Word to the wise, though: while you can use the Business plan to set up an online store, it isn’t meant for large-scale e-commerce sites (hence the 3% transaction fee). So if you’re looking to set up an online store with thousands of items, you’ll definitely want to choose a Basic or Advanced subscription.

So why does the Advanced plan cost more than the Basic plan? As you’d expect, each package tier offers more features and perks.

Squarespace plan features
FeatureBusinessBasicAdvanced
Free domain*
Free web hosting
Professional email from Google**
Unlimited storage and bandwidth
Unlimited contributors
Fully integrated e-commerce
Donations setup
Promotional pop-ups
Announcement bar
Premium blocks and integrations
Mobile-optimized website
Mobile-optimized checkout
Mobile information bar
CSS and JavaScript customization
Advanced website metrics
$100 Google Ads credit
Checkout on your domain
Products on Instagram
Coupons
Customer accounts
Inventory and order tracking
Label printing
Integrated accounting
Commerce metrics
Gift cards
Subscriptions
Abandoned cart autorecovery
Advanced shipping
Flexible discounts
Orders API
View PlanView PlanView Plan
*For first year with annual billing.
**Includes G Suite's Basic plan (5 users).

That’s quite a hefty list, so let’s break it down.

Every Squarespace plan offers a free domain for the first year—provided you sign up for annual billing. Every plan includes unlimited storage, unlimited site contributors, up to five free email addresses for your domain, and some basic business site features like announcement bars and promotional pop-ups. You also get mobile optimization (always important for a business owner) and website metrics via your search console.

From there, the Basic plan gives you more ways to optimize your online store. You get a checkout system right on your domain, as well as the ability to track customers via their accounts, print off labels, and administer coupons to your loyal customers. You also get more advanced metrics to help you grow your online store, as well as integrated e-commerce features like inventory tracking and label printing.

Finally, the Advanced plan gets you full functionality with all the features Squarespace has to offer. We love the abandoned cart autorecovery feature because it helps make your customer’s experience a whole lot smoother (and boost your sales). And with the Orders API feature, you can integrate your Squarespace account with other third-party apps—just in case Squarespace doesn’t offer something you need.

Squarespace themes, apps, and other costs

As we’ve already mentioned, Squarespace is all about integrating features into your plan so you don’t have to pay extra. So there are no extra fees for your apps, themes, or web hosting—just the cost of your plan.

However, you will have to cover the cost of your domain in addition to the cost of using the Squarespace platform. Like a lot of other website builders, Squarespace lets you register your domain for free for the first year—but only if you pay for a year’s worth of service up front.

That’s a much better deal than most domain registrars offer, but if you’re not sure whether you’ll need a full year’s worth of service, you may want to consider paying for your domain and getting a month-to-month plan.

Reminder

Even if you’re an online-only business, you’ll still need a business license and an employer identification number (EIN). If you’re starting a new business, don’t forget to factor in the cost of your license!

Build your custom site today Customize your website with an easy-to-use site builder that’ll make your brand look professional and polished in no time. Start Building

Other important features

We wouldn’t be doing our due diligence on this Squarespace review if we didn’t go over a few of the other perks you get on this platform.

SEO

Search engine optimization (or SEO) is vital for businesses that want to be found online. SEO helps search engines know what your site is all about—and makes your site easier for users to find in a Google search. The more users who see your page in search results, the more business you get.

When it comes to SEO, Squarespace is just okay.

When it comes to SEO, Squarespace is just okay. You can customize your meta descriptions (the title and description of your page that show up in search results), but only on certain types of pages. You can also customize your URLs and header tags, but you’re limited in terms of what types of header tags you can use.

Fortunately, you can track a lot of your site and store metrics via your search console. That way, you can see how people are arriving at your site, what they’re clicking once they’re there, and how soon they leave. That can all help you better customize your site to meet your users’ needs and improve your rankings on search engines.

Customer support

Squarespace does offer 24/7 support, which is a plus. However, only email support is available around the clock—not live chat.

If you want real-time help, you have to send a live chat query sometime between 4:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. ET. That’s a pretty big window, so we’re guessing that most business owners won’t have trouble getting the support they need.

Squarespace also offers a full-fledged help section, complete with webinars, workshops, and community forums. So if you ever get stuck, you have a whole community of other Squarespace users and experts who can help you out.

Finally, if you want to take advantage of every bit of functionality the Squarespace platform has to offer, you can hire a Squarespace expert. These experts specialize in everything from setup and coding to design and photography, and prices start at $45 an hour.

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Customer Reviews

Squarespace reviews are kind of a mixed bag. On the one hand, 37% of reviewers on Trustpilot rate Squarespace as “Excellent” (5 stars). On the other hand, 45% of reviewers rate the platform as “Bad” (1 star). And there’s not a whole lot of reviews in between.

A lot of the negative reviews of Squarespace center on the platform’s customer support. Many people express frustration that they can’t get real-time help around the clock. And apparently, Squarespace’s email support doesn’t always get back to customers in a timely manner.

That tracks with what we found on the Better Business Bureau website,1 where Squarespace has a D- rating, largely due to the fact that it’s failed to respond to six different customer complaints against it. So clearly, follow-up is not a strong suit for this website builder.

Still, with a nearly equal number of positive reviews to negative reviews, we think Squarespace isn’t all bad, especially for business owners like Mark, Jess, and Kylan:

“I chose Squarespace because I wanted something with little assembly required. . . . Squarespace, with its ready-to-go templates, was the quickest way to establish a strong web presence.”
“Squarespace really does make it easy to find your way around and customize your site. I had prior experience with web design, but even if I hadn’t, there are really helpful guides and how-tos that are available with Squarespace.”
Jess Legge, founder of Sifted
“Squarespace has a slightly different user interface than other website builders, which means it had a slight learning curve. . . . The platform is responsive and easy to navigate once you learn the interface. It just takes a bit of experience to become comfortable. . . . Squarespace enabled me to cook up a great website. I would recommend it as a fresh, sharp platform to unleash your creativity.”

The Squarespace website builder

We gave Squarespace a pretty good overall rating, but what exactly does a Squarespace build look like? We’ve got you covered: we’ll take you through our step-by-step account.

The basic website

All in all, it’s pretty easy to use the Squarespace website builder.

Squarespace customers start by choosing a template and the types of pages they want. So if you need a contact page, you can select that from the start and get your template pre-customized with a contact page. All you have to do is put the right words in the right spots.

In addition, you get a pretty comprehensive list of on-page content blocks and features. So if you want a section of your home page to feature side-by-side images and columns of text, you simply select that content block and drag it into place.

Told you it was easy.

We did hit a bit of a roadblock when it came to mobile optimization, though.

Squarespace features a nifty viewing tool, which allows you to see how your site looks on mobile devices. We found that when we tried to build elements on our page from scratch (instead of using the pre-built content blocks), it made our mobile site look all kinds of wonky.

 

Translation: you pretty much have to use the content blocks Squarespace gives you. And if you can’t find a content block that matches what you want, be prepared for your site to misbehave on smaller screens.

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The blog

We were really impressed by all the functionality that’s rolled in with your Squarespace account.

With most website builders, you have to visit the app store and download at least a couple of plug-ins before you get all the features you want for your blog. But with Squarespace, you get every feature the platform has to offer—all pre-baked into your site.

This made it really, ridiculously easy to publish our blog posts. We were able to copy and paste all of our content into the post editor, and it kept all of our formatting and headers intact so we didn’t have to waste time redoing the work we’d already done.

We also loved the social media integration, which basically let us share and promote our new blog posts via our social media channels. And we didn’t even have to open a new tab in our browser.

Best of all, the finished blog looked amazing. We felt like we’d created something on par with what we’d get if we hired a website designer, which is always what you’re aiming for when promoting your small business.

The online store

When we first started our Squarespace review, we expected beautiful design and a user-friendly interface. But realistically, we didn’t think Squarespace would hold a candle to e-commerce site builders like BigCommerce and Shopify—at least not when it came to e-commerce features.

But in the course of building our website, Squarespace’s integrated features completely won us over.

Our online store was easy to build, and it included features like customer tracking and discounts. Those are features that Shopify offers only via extra plug-ins, so having them all rolled into the Squarespace interface was a breath of fresh air—even if some features were only available on premium plans.

Our one criticism of Squarespace’s e-commerce features was that they were sometimes difficult to find. The product editor is tabbed, so if you forget to visit every tab, you might not remember to share your new products on social media, for example.

Still, if you’re a business owner who’s short on time, you’re sure to appreciate not having to paw through thousands of apps to get the functionality you need for your online store.

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Our Squarespace review: The takeaway

Best Website Builders
Wix
Squarespace
Weebly
GoDaddy
WordPress

We think that Squarespace is one of the best website builders available for business owners. It features integrated applications, low prices, and absolutely gorgeous design that doesn’t sacrifice functionality.

Still, business owners should be aware that while the platform is mostly easy to use, it does come with a bit of a learning curve that could slow you down a bit. But honestly, considering how great our finished site looked and how inexpensive the service is, we’d say it’s worth it.

Do you have experience using Squarespace? If you think we missed anything, let us know in the comments!

Disclaimer

At Business.org, our research is meant to offer general product and service recommendations. We don’t guarantee that our suggestions will work best for each individual or business, so consider your unique needs when choosing products and services.

Sources
1. Better Business Bureau, “Squarespace, Inc.