As a business owner, it’s no secret you have a 17-mile long to-do list that seemingly gets longer as the week goes on. From forming an LLC to staying on top of business insurance and taxes, the idea of spending months on a custom website is a hard pass.
And I don’t blame you!
But, having a professional online store gives your business that sense of legitimacy and makes it easier for potential customers/clients to find you when they need you. So, what to do you?
If the idea of spending thousands of dollars to hire a professional web designer seems outlandish, you’re in the right place. And the good news is… you certainly don’t have to. The Squarespace platform is a drag-and-drop website builder designed with non-designers in mind.
So, you can rest easy knowing you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars or thousands of hours building a professional and beautiful website you’re proud to call your digital home. Plus, you can finally check “create a website” off your 17-mile long to-do list.
In this review, I cover the things I like about Squarespace, the things I don’t like, how much it costs, the different pricing plans, and a deep dive into their industry reputation.
Let’s dive in!
Summary: High-Level Pros and Cons of the Squarespace Online Store Builder
I’ve built several websites using the Squarespace site builder and put together a list of everything I like about the platform, as well as the things I don’t like. So, here’s an overview of my experience in a nutshell (in case you don’t want to read the full review – you do you!).
What I like (AKA the good stuff):
- Very simple pricing plans
- 100+ professional (and customizable) Squarespace templates
- A free domain name for the first year ($20 value)
- Free G Suite account for the first year ($72 value)
- Mobile app for editing and blogging on the go
- Top-notch blog editor
What I don’t like (AKA the not-so-good stuff):
- Less-than-perfect industry reputation
- No free plan (only a free trial)
- The page editor isn’t as intuitive as it could be
- Not truly drag-and-drop
Squarespace offers over 100 different professional templates you can use to get started as well as a free domain name AND a free G Suite account for the first year (if you choose an annual plan).
Furthermore, their page builder features a top-notch blogging suite as well as a mobile version for editing, managing comments, blogging, etc. on the go. But (there’s always a but), they don’t have a free plan and the site editor takes a while to get used to.
However, once you have the hang of it, you’ll be creating beautiful pages in no time.
What I Like about Squarespace
The Squarespace platform is packed full of fantastic features and tools to make your life as a website designer who isn’t actually a web designer… easy. On top of that, there are several other gold nuggets I appreciate about Squarespace.
So, I want to walk through the features that make Squarespace great and talk about why they matter to business owners (like you) interested in DIYing their first (or next) website.
1. Very Simple Pricing Plans
We’ll talk more in detail about Squarespace’s pricing plans later but I particularly appreciate the simplicity. They make it incredibly easy to decide which plan is perfect for your new Squarespace website without having to guess or fumble through hundreds of features you don’t understand.
Their pricing page clearly displays what’s included with each plan with an in-depth explanation of what each feature is if you aren’t sure. Plus, they use everyday language and don’t take up space for the sake of taking up space (or making their plans look better than they actually are).
Furthermore, each plan is built with a specific type of business in mind, so you don’t have to pay for any features you aren’t going to use.
2. 100+ Beautiful Templates
Squarespace is famous for its minimalist design and a massive library of FREE well-designed website templates that look great straight out of the box. While this may not seem like a lot compared to Wix’s library of over 500 templates, Squarespace’s templates look better.
Each template is professionally designed so you can:
- Install it in one click
- Replace dummy text with your own
- Add your own colors and fonts
- Upload your own images
- Launch your website
All in a matter of hours (rather than days or weeks). You can also add new sections, delete sections, reorder them, or add extra content to existing sections. So, while each template looks great from the start, you can customize them to add your own touch.
3. A Free Domain Name for the First Year ($20 Value)
If you already own a domain name, transferring it to Squarespace is easy (although not as easy as buying one through Squarespace). If you don’t have one, you don’t have to worry.
Squarespace gives you a domain name for free for the first year (on annual plans). After that, it automatically renews each year at $20/year. As a business owner, you understand the need to save money, even if it’s only twenty bucks.
But this feature also saves you a ton of time and potential headaches because you won’t have to fuss with transferring an existing domain to Squarespace. It’s not hard to do but it can get tricky, especially if you’ve never done it before.
Furthermore, with Squarespace domains, you also get:
- Free SSL certificate (extra website security)
- Free WHOIS privacy (keeps your personal info out of public record)
- Spam-free parking page (this is what appears at your URL before publishing your site)
- Easy DNS management (easily connect other services to your domain)
4. Free G Suite Account for the First Year ($72 Value)
Squarespace partners with Google to provide this service. So, you also get access to all the features that come with a G Suite account. Some of these features include:
- Google Sheets/Docs/Slides for easy collaboration and document creation
- Google Drive for your entire team to store and share files
- Gmail so you can manage, receive, and send emails with your domain email address
- Google Calendar so you can easily schedule and share meetings and other events
After your first year, you’ll pay $6/month to continue using your G Suite account.
5. Mobile App for Editing and Blogging on the Go
Squarespace has a suite of mobile apps that make updating your site, blogging, and editing from your phone or tablet a breeze. So, if you don’t have access to a laptop or don’t want to carry your laptop around with you, you can still access your Squarespace dashboard.
The Squarespace app is available for both iOS and Android devices. Furthermore, their mobile apps give you the power to:
- Create a new site
- Add or update pages
- Add or edit blog posts
- Make style changes (i.e., fonts, colors, spacing, etc.)
- Upload images
- Edit basic settings
- Look at your analytics
- Manage orders and inventory
It’s important to note you can’t do everything from a mobile device. But it’s getting pretty close. And the Squarespace team is continuously working on updating their mobile apps to improve this experience.
6. Top-Notch Blog Editor
If you don’t plan on blogging for your new website, you should seriously reconsider. It’s one of the best ways to attract new potential customers while helping them solve their biggest challenges.
In fact, it’s one of the best low-cost ways to market your business. The good news is… Squarespace makes blogging easy. Writing and publishing a blog post is similar to building a page. So, you don’t have to learn the technical knowledge of how to code or do anything fancy to create beautiful posts.
Once you understand how to create and design pages, you know how to create and design blog posts as well. This means you don’t have to learn anything new and your blog posts will be just as well-designed as the rest of your website.
If you’re familiar with self-hosted WordPress, the Squarespace blog editor is like Gutenberg on steroids. It’s quick and easy to use. Plus, it lets you see exactly what your post looks like without having to save and refresh over and over again.
It’s truly a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) experience.
What I Don’t Like About Squarespace
I’m a huge fan of Squarespace. But that doesn’t mean the platform comes without its fair share of downfalls (if you can really call them that). So, I want to walk through the things I don’t like about Squarespace and talk about what they mean for you.
1. Less-Than-Perfect Industry Reputation
My experience as a paying Squarespace customer has always been five-stars. However, it’s hard to ignore hundreds of one-star reviews mentioning things like:
- No phone support
- Unhelpful customer support (when you actually get through)
- Being refused a refund
- Inability to cancel
Personally, I’ve had no problem getting through to the support team, and they’ve always been helpful (despite making me remove custom CSS code from my site before offering support). I don’t pay for priority support or anything like that, either.
However, it’s hard to believe that these are one-off incidents’ when there are hundreds of negative reviews talking about the same problems. You would think Squarespace would take action after several years of similar complaints.
But that doesn’t seem to be the case. Hopefully, they make major improvements in the future.
2. No Free Plan (Only a Free Trial)
With most other website builders, you have the option to build a test site before paying anything. But that’s not how Squarespace rolls. You only have 14 days to try it out for free and decide if it’s the right platform for your next website.
For some people, that’s not near enough time to go through all the features. So, this can be extremely limiting, especially if you’ve never built a website before.
With that being said, you can automatically add seven more days to your free trial by following the directions here. The help page also says you can contact customer support to request even more time if you need it.
3. The Page Editor Isn’t as Intuitive as it Could Be
Even if you’re familiar with other page builders, Squarespace’s editor will still probably throw you for a loop. It’s not super user-friendly right off the bat, and it does take some time getting comfortable with. However, after building a few pages, you should get the hang of it pretty quickly.
Furthermore, Squarespace uses sections which can get confusing. You can add and remove elements within a section or add a new section altogether. It sounds a bit confusing because it isn’t as intuitive as it could be.
But once you get the hang of it, you’ll have no trouble navigating around and building your new website. Plus, they have countless tutorials and training videos you can watch to get comfortable using their editor.
4. Not Truly Drag-and-Drop
With Wix, you can literally drag and drop elements wherever you want them on the page. But that’s not the case with Squarespace. They use a 12 column layout so each element on the page has to align with those columns.
With that being said, this is one of those things that could be considered a good thing if you’re looking for a site builder that’s simple and easy to use. Plus, you can still easily create beautiful and unique layouts using Squarespace (despite the lack of true drag-and-drop capabilities).
In fact, the high level of customization makes Wix much more difficult to learn with a lot more bells and whistles to figure out. Squarespace, on the other hand, is much more intuitive and easy to use.
Squarespace Plans & Pricing
Squarespace has four pricing plans plus a custom premium plan for enterprises and other large brands. Their plans are very straightforward and it’s easy to tell which plan is right for your business based on what you need your website to do.
So, you only pay for the features you actually need without being bombarded with a bunch of stuff you’re never going to use. Plus, you can get a discount if you pay annually rather than paying every month.
Tier 4: Personal — $12/month
This is the most affordable Squarespace pricing plan. But, I typically don’t recommend this for business websites unless you don’t need advanced options (like embedding code or adding custom CSS) or a domain email address.
However, the basic plan may work fine if you’re interested in a very basic website and already have an email address set up. Otherwise, you’ll have to pay an extra $6/month for G Suite to have a domain email.
So at the end of the day, you’ll end up paying just as much as the Business plan ($18/month), but you won’t get the additional features that come with it or a free G Suite account for the first year. Which… is why I generally don’t recommend it.
This plan includes:
- Free custom domain (annual plan)
- SSL security
- Unlimited bandwidth and storage
- SEO capabilities to help being found with search engines
- 100s of different templates to choose from
- 2 contributors
- Mobile optimization
- Live chat hours are between 8 am-8 pm, Monday-Friday
- 24×7 email support
- Basic analytics
- Squarespace extensions
Tier 3: Business Plan — $18/month
The Business plan is great for small businesses that don’t plan on having an online shop. While it does include some basic eCommerce functions, it doesn’t include the full set of tools you’ll need to quickly sell products online.
So, if you don’t want to have an online shop, this is the perfect plan for you. It includes everything in the Personal plan plus:
- Unlimited contributors
- Free G-Suite for the first year
- Premium integrations and design blocks
- Advanced analytics
- $100 ad credit (but you have to spend at least $25 first)
- Promotional popups and banners
- Basic eCommerce suite
- 3% transaction fees
- Unlimited products
- Accept donations
- Gift cards
There are basic eCommerce features here, but there are a lot of important things missing in this plan if you hope to sell anything online. Plus, you’ll lose 3% of every sale you make. So, if you want to have an online shop, I recommend upgrading to the Basic Commerce plan.
Tier 2: Basic e-Commerce — $26/month
This plan is perfect for most businesses hoping to sell their products online. This is the cheapest plan with 0% transaction fees, and a full suite of eCommerce features your customers expect to see when they buy something online.
The Basic Commerce plan includes everything in the Business plan plus:
- 0% transaction fees
- Point of sale system (for the US only)
- Your customers can create their own accounts
- Advanced eCommerce analytics
- Powerful merchandising capabilities
- Connect your shop and sell products on Instagram
- Unlimited storage
- Limited availability labels
Tier 1: Advanced Commerce — $40/month
If you’re interested in more advanced eCommerce features like abandoned shopping cart emails, subscription services, and advanced shipping options, this is the plan for you. It includes everything in the Basic Commerce plan plus:
- Abandoned cart recovery
- Subscriptions and recurring payments
- Advanced shipping options including real-time rates
- Advanced discount capabilities
- Custom third-party apps and integrations
Enterprise Level: Squarespace Select — Varies
This is a premium level custom plan that includes all of Squarespace’s advanced features plus dedicated support and other features, including consultations and a dedicated account manager.
It’s perfect for large businesses and enterprises looking for a custom plan that fits their needs if none of the standard plans do the trick.
Squarespace Select includes everything we’ve talked about so far plus:
- Dedicated account manager
- Personalized onboarding and training
- Priority support and technical consultations
- Consultations with Search Engine Optimization experts
- Help from in-house design specialists
- Set contributor/role permissions
- Custom payment methods
- Custom contracts
- Bulk accounts/sites
Is Using Squarespace as Easy as it Sounds?
Although Squarespace isn’t the easiest site builder to use, it’s not hard to learn. After a few hours, you’ll have the skills you need to build and design a website you can be proud of. Plus, Squarespace offers countless tutorials and training videos to help you get comfortable.
You can add new pages in just a few clicks, and they have pre-designed page templates you can use, so you don’t have to start with a blank page (unless you want to). Aside from that, you can easily add content blocks and adjust design options for different sections of your site without changing global settings.
So, you have a massive level of customization without the complexity of complete customization capabilities. This makes Squarespace the perfect middle ground for anyone interested in creating a beautiful, custom website without spending weeks or months to figure it out.
Adding new page sections and content blocks are as easy as clicking a plus sign. You can change the width and height of each section. And adding new elements within a section is as easy as hovering and clicking where you want to put it.
Everything updates in real-time as you make changes, so you know exactly what your page looks like without having to refresh and preview it over and over again. Which… is a great time (and headache) saver built into the Squarespace platform.
Plus, you can add multiple blogs (if you want to) and build blog posts the same way you build pages. So, once you master building pages, you know how to do everything else as well.
Exploring Squarespace’s Reputation
Squarespace has been in the game since 2004. They’re not accredited by the Better Business Bureau, but they do have an impressive A+ rating. With that being said, it’s important to note that they’ve had 70+ complaints filed against them in the past three years.
Most of these complaints mention how hard it is to cancel an account and poor customer service. With that being said, Squarespace answered or resolved all complaints filed against them within a few days. You can see a full list of these complaints here.
Squarespace Reviews: BBB
Squarespace has an average of one-star out of 15 reviews with the Better Business Bureau. Only two reviews are recent (in 2020), with the rest being from 2017 – 2019. That said, I couldn’t find any positive reviews.
The two recent Squarespace user reviews mention a paid account being suspended and being unable to cancel their free trial or receive a refund. You can see a complete list of BBB reviews, here.
Here’s one of the most recent reviews:
“AVOID at all costs! they will NOT cancel your Free trial and bill you without refunding your money. SCAMMERS!!!! I am calling my bank to block them from taking money in the future. no phone number terrible customer service. Typical New York scammers.” – Diane V (January 10, 2020)
Note: you don’t have to enter your credit card information for a Squarespace free trial. So, this review is a bit confusing to me since it mentions not being able to cancel a free trial and subsequently getting billed for it.
Squarespace Reviews: TrustPilot
On TrustPilot, Squarespace has an average of 1.9 stars out of 429 reviews. This is slightly better than their rating on BBB (barely). However, 31% of their reviews on TrustPilot rate Squarespace better than average.
With that said, the most recent reviews are a mixed bag.
Most of the recent negative reviews mention awful customer service and support, as well as platform bugs and other issues after the release of Squarespace 7.1.
On the flip side, the positive reviews say Squarespace customer support is fantastic, and they’ve had no issues with the new page builder at all. So, take these reviews with a grain of salt. In my experience, their customer support is a bit slow, but it’s certainly not terrible.
You can read a full list of TrustPilot reviews, here or check out what some of their recent customers have to say about their experiences:
“Squarespace is a convenient way to make a decent looking site if you do not have expertise in code. Make sure you need to make minimal changes to any template before signing up, though. The customer service is one of the worst I’ve encountered. They always dodge all questions by saying you have custom code on your site. For example, the sites are built in blocks, so I asked if blocks can be lengthened? I expected a pretty direct yes or no answer, but instead, they told me they cannot answer that til I remove all custom code, which had no effect whatsoever on the question I was asking. Overall, if you use Squarespace be prepared, their customer service is non-existent and you will need to have an extra budget to ask a developer any questions you may have.” – JLP (June 7, 2020)
“I absolutely LOVE Squarespace. I moved after getting sick and tired of WIX having to manually move site elements in desktop AND mobile view. I ended up soooo frustrated and wasted so much time because it was so slow!! Squarespace took some time to learn and get familiar with but once I did oh my god, life savior, quick, easy, intuitive, fabulous! I dread to think of having to go back to Wix again. I even tried Weebly as its a cheaper but had the same issues as Wix, time-consuming, and slow! The peace of mind I got from Squarespace is totally worth the extra pennies, and ofc the website looks professional and fabulous. Very Happy!” – Akanksha Kalra (May 1, 2020)
TLDR: Squarespace Reviews Overview
Squarespace has a mixed reputation online with most negative reviews mentioning awful (or non-existent) customer service. However, the positive reviews rave about excellent customer service and how easy the platform is to use.
Although my personal experience with Squarespace is positive overall, it’s hard to ignore the massive sea of negative reviews. Hopefully, Squarespace starts listening to their unhappy customers, takes action, and works to improve customer service in the near future.
Final Thoughts on Squarespace’s Page Builder
If you’re interested in building a professional website or e-commerce site that looks great regardless of the device your visitors are on, Squarespace is a smart choice. With over 100+ professionally designed templates to choose from, you can launch your new website in hours rather than weeks.
Squarespace offers a free 14-day trial (with the option to extend it if you need to), and their paid plans are simple, straightforward, and easy to understand. So, you won’t be stuck paying for features and complicated tools you’re never going to use.
Whether you want a simple but beautiful website or a full-fledged eCommerce store, Squarespace is an affordable and easy-to-use solution.
The WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) user interface is designed to help you launch a beautiful and professional website as quickly as possible without developing a severe headache OR staring at lines of code.
But it’s important to keep in mind that Squarespace’s customer support may be a bit lacking (based on numerous recent user reviews). That said, my experience with their customer service team was smooth.
Click here to start your free 14-day trial and take Squarespace for a test drive today!