Squarespace - Features, Pricing, Alternatives, and More
You need a website. In fact, you need it yesterday. It must look both professional and impressive, but you're not a designer and you have a limited budget. Whether your website is meant for showing off a personal portfolio or selling knick knacks, Squarespace gives you a one-stop shop for building, customizing, hosting, and maintaining your website, all with grace and beauty in mind.
What makes Squarespace different from other web hosting and building tools is that it offers templates and integrations that can help with a wide variety of use cases. If you need a website for your restaurant, for example, Squarespace offers an integration with OpenTable, as well as special tools for sharing daily menus letting customers order food online. Squarespace also has templates and integrations designed for artists, musicians, online retailers, and other businesses and personalities.
There are two main account options: Website and Online Store. The Website plans costs less and don't support eCommerce. The Online Store plans cost more and include tools for selling items, collecting payment, managing inventory, and so forth.
To get started with Squarespace, you first choose a template. Squarespace's sleek, contemporary templates have always been its main draw. Their suggested layouts, typefaces, and other elements steer you toward creating a website that isn't cluttered and highlights whatever product, service, or information you want your visitors to see. You can explore different templates by category for Creative Services, Online Store, Photography, Wedding, and others. Most categories contain at least ten options.
Once you've chosen a template, you customize it so that your final website will look how you want and do what you need. There are three areas in the app for this purpose: Pages, Design, and Commerce. You see them at the left after you've settled on a template.
The Pages tab brings you to the editor, which is as well designed as the templates themselves. A clear interface provides an overview of the site and all its pages at left, and a preview of the selected page at center. Pages that you haven't customized yet are marked Demo. Choose one, and Squarespace lets you replace all the dummy elements, one-by-one, with your real content.
As you work to turn the template into your own website, Squarespace shows you a live preview. The WYSIWYG ("what you see is what you get") editor shows you exactly how each page will look as you edit it. There's no need to fiddle with code or to wait for page refreshes to see what how your changes will look on the live website. From this same view, you can access Settings to change some of the behind-the-scenes information, such as the page title and page description.
Because Squarespace's templates are pristinely designed, it's usually in your best interest to not alter them too much. To preserve their aesthetic, you should stick to replacing the dummy content with similar content, meaning images with similar dimensions and text that's roughly equal in length. Squarespace gives you options for tweaking the design further, and for adding your own CSS if you're so inclined, but if you came Squarespace for its expertise in design, you're best off following the suggestions in the template.
Squarespace offers more features, too, such as Form Blocks for creating web forms, logo designing tools, and analytics for tracking site traffic and online sales data. The logo design feature lets anyone, with or without a Squarespace account, create a logo. Similar to building a website in Squarespace using a template, the logo creation process guides you toward an attractive and current design. If you are a paying Squarespace member, you can download high-resolution files of your final logo. Otherwise, you can download the high-resolution files for $10.
While some tools for building and hosting a website cost less, Squarespace's visually arresting templates and easy-to-use editing tools offer great value if you want a faster way to make a modern site. You can't make a Squarespace site for free, but it does have a 15-day free trial, no credit card required, which lets you explore the tools for building your site and running your business. That's a great way to try it out and then only pay when you're ready to publish your site online.
Do More With Squarespace
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- Build and publish a beautiful website using templates to guide your design
- Choose a template created for your specific use case, such as online retail, restaurant, or artist portfolio
- Design a logo with easy-to-use designer tools
- Collect and analyze data about visitors to your website
- Run an online store
- Android and iOS apps available for publishing blog content and managing your store
- $16/month Personal Website plan for one website with 2 contributors, mobile optimization, and metrics
- $26/month Business Website plan for everything in Personal plus integrated eCommerce with 3% transaction fee, advanced metrics, promotional pop-ups, and announcement bar
- $30/month Basic Online Store plan for everything in Business Website plan, but no transaction fees, plus commerce metrics, inventory tools, and an integrated accounting option
- $46/month Advanced Online Store plan with everything included in Basic Online Store plus abandoned cart autorecovery, real-time carrier shipping, automatic discounts, gift cards, and orders API
$12, $18, $26, $40/month, respectively, when paid annually. Annual plans include a custom domain.