Freelancer reviews: Squarespace
Don't build a website with Squarespace before you read our review
What is Squarespace?
If you've ever listened to a podcast, you've heard about Squarespace. Despite still feeling like a fresh face in the website building market, Squarespace has been around since 2004. From its humble origins, Squarespace's popularity grew modestly over the years following its launch, before skyrocketing in February 2014 after the first of many successful Super Bowl campaigns.
Today, the sleek, drag-and-drop website builder is one of the most popular choices for budding website designers, overtaking Weebly, and creating a real challenge for its market-leading competitor Wix. But is Squarespace worth all the talk? Or is your favorite podcast host just another paid crony? The answer to both questions is almost certainly, yes.
Quick verdict: Superior template design with limits
For more advanced website designers, the design limits set by Squarespace could be a dealbreaker. But it's precisely those limits and Squarespace's superior template selection that make it one of the best options for beginners, bloggers, and anyone who wants to build a website without putting too much thought into design and SEO.
What we like:
- Modern and stylish templates: This is subjective, but we believe Squarespace has the cleanest templates in town. There aren't as many options as Wix (which boasts roughly 400 templates) but, overall, the quality is superior. There's no glut on Squarespace; they carefully vet every template to fit with contemporary design trends.
- SEO friendly for new users: Like its structured editor, Squarespace places boundaries on what you can do with SEO. There are still many advanced SEO options for experienced users, but it won't allow you to mess up some basic SEO principles (like forgetting heading tags).
- Great audio player and podcast features: If you're a budding musician (or just building a website for one), Squarespace has a clean, easy-to-use, audio player tool. But it's even better for podcasters. Squarespace includes an in-built RSS feed, so you can publish, and submit your podcast to services like iTunes, all on the one platform.
What could be better:
- Premium pricing: Overall, Squarespace's plan pricing is a little higher than other popular website builders. Granted, you get a lot more bang for your buck if you're comparing like-for-like pricing tiers from other providers, but if budget is your number one consideration, you might want to save a buck or two elsewhere. There's also no free option. There is a 90-day free trial, but once your trial is up, you move to a paid plan.
- UI can be a little clunky: In many ways, Squarespace sports one of the cleanest user interfaces on the market, but its quest for a clean builder sometimes has the opposite effect, making it difficult to find and execute straightforward tasks. This mostly comes down to its front-end editor approach, where the user hovers over the section they would like to edit. But as your page grows, the builder can become a little cluttered, making it challenging to select the feature/component you want to modify. Anyone familiar with a more traditional CMS might find themselves at odds with the Squarespace approach.
- Won't suit designers who don't like strict structure: Similarly, the Squarespace approach to rigid grids and website layout won't jive with designers who want "pixel perfect" control over the site's design. The structure imposed by the Squarespace editor will save beginners a lot of time and effort, but more advanced designers (and picky clients) might want to break free of Squarespace's constraints.
Squarespace pricing and cost
- Personal: $12/mth
- Business: $18/mth
- Basic: $26/mth
- Advanced: $40/mth
*Prices above are billed annually
Many users view Squarespace as the premium website builder choice. Our pricing score above only considers the equivalent monthly price if you pay for an annual subscription (paying monthly isn't as economical). What that score doesn't take into consideration, is all the features you get for Squarespace's pricier plans.
Unlike most website builders, Squarespace's cheaper plans don't put any limits on your bandwidth, storage, or SEO features, and even the cheapest option includes a free custom domain. Plan for plan, Squarespace's cheaper options give you a lot more bang for your buck. We believe Squarespace's slightly inflated pricing is justified when you consider what it gets you.