We ran our WordPress review a short while back, so let’s move on to another popular content platform: Squarespace. I’m sure you’ve heard of them. The slick, modern site platform came onto the scene recently and has risen in popularity. And for good reason: they stand by making stunning design easy and affordable–something many small businesses and startups appreciate. So let’s get to our Squarespace review!
What do we really think? This post will give a review of Squarespace and how it stacks up against other popular platforms helping you make the right decision for your blog.
Squarespace has the same prodigious story of many successful startups. Founded by a lone-wolf CEO in his dorm room and now, over 10 years later, is an immense success. That’s a bit tongue-in cheek and this is not to knock their success in the least. If you say you’re not impressed then you’re lying; or jealous. Squarespace took what WordPress did to make website building mainstream and went niche with a focus on elegance and design (hey we’ve talked about how going niche helps…).
WordPress pretty much commands the CMS market, but Squarespace occupies the corner of the market that is obsessed with sleek and modern design. And they’ve become pretty darn successful at it with over 1M paid users and more coming each year.
So let’s get into the meat and potatoes of the post–what is our verdict?
First and foremost Squarespace cares about design. They believe in simple, clean, elegant sites for the common man. Gone are the days where you’d have to shell out $50/hr to a developer to build you a parallax site, now you can have one in a matter of hours or minutes. With out-of-the-box templates that are beautiful to say the least, builing a stunning website or blog is easy.
Coming from a company who’s office looks like this would we expect anything less?
We ran a post on minimalism a while back as far as design trends are concerned. If you’re looking for a premier product on a minimalist design, Squarespace may be the one for you.
Extensive styling options
With an emphasis on design comes an expansive array of styling tools. Squarespace offers well-designed templates up front (as opposed to crappy half-baked sites that need to be tweaked) allowing you to get a head start on creating a premier blog or site. From there you can use their drag-and-drop functionality to change the look and feel of your blog, which allows you to add sections and pieces of content where need be. What’s more, you can alter the colors and images to perfect your brand. If your blog is design-oriented, Squarespace makes it easy and stupidly simple.
Remember though, much of what makes these tempaltes look so good is high-quality photographs. If you have grainy or low-quality images they will bring your site’s design down and negate the effect of premier templates.
Ease of use
One knock on platforms like WordPress is the steep learning curve. Squarespace stands in stark contrast presenting a platform that is easy to navigate and user friendly.
Squarespace offers a fully code-free platform if need be, giving you a rich design experience with a low barrier to entry. Want to dive in a bit deeper though? You can modify the CSS of your site and revert back to the original settings giving you a bit of flexibility to give your blog a unique twist. For the newbie blogger who really just wants a pretty site and focus on the writing aspect, Squarespace has a lot to offer and makes designing and cultivating your brand hassle-free.
Limited access to code
Then again if you’re just a blogger, that really doesn’t matter much so at the end it’s a bit of a wash. If having access to the code isn’t a big dealbreaker then by all means go for it. However if you want to make custom modifications Squarespace may not be the best option.
You definitely get what you pay for. If you want premium design at minimal effort then you’ll have to pay a bit more. Squarespace charges $12/month for up to 20 site pages. This is already more expensive than WordPress (around $80/year with unlimited pages) but that’s the beginning. Squarespace offers a business plan at $18/month which translates to $216/year. Not egrigious but it can add additional costs for the ease of use.
The prices increase if you use their E-Commerce solutions as a basic store adds $26/month while an advanced option tacks on $40/month. This can get quite expensive if you want a large site, as you can easily spend upwards of $50/month just to maintain and run your site compared to other cheaper and more affordable options.
For a large and already-successful blog (or someone with money to burn), Squarespace is a great investment. For a smaller blog though, you’ll burn through your cash pretty quickly.
There is a lot to like about Squarespace. Sleek and modern design becomes highly accessible on their platform allowing bloggers to showcase their work in a stunning display. In minutes you can have a premier design to showcase your work, giving yourself time for a much-deserved pat on the back. That said, be prepared for the higher cost than WordPress, as well as a limited access to make drastic or noticeable changes to the template’s structure. For the newbie blogger or someone who wants to pick a design and forget it, Squarespace is a great option. For bloggers on a budget, or who are looking for more of a challenge going elsewhere may be best.
Overall I give Squarespace a B+. It’s simple and beautiful, but leaves a bit to still be desired.