There are a lot of tradeoffs for using an all-inclusive website builder. Squarespace may have more customization and functionality compared to other builders it is also still subpar to owning your own site outright weather you design the site yourself or hire someone when it comes to customizations.
And as far as site builders go it is not the best all-in-one if your site’s main focus is eCommerce. Other all-in-one builders are more for eCommerce. Here are a few other reasons I urge you not to use a site builder even if you don’t hire me or any designer for that matter.
One of the toughest parts of shopping for a website solution is looking at the price based on value. Everything is relative to your goals, budget and specific feature set. Here is what Squarespace is offering in September 2019 for each plan. The main issue for Squarespace’s pricing versus non-all-inclusive solutions is their caps. Their plans are limited to a single website. Their lower tier plans cap the number of pages and products.
Squarespace allows Stripe, Paypal and Apple Pay.
In comparison to WordPress’ payment gateways, that’s a tiny list. You miss out on WordPress’ huge third-party opensource plugin ecosystem. There are tons of eCommerce-focused plugins, so you’re losing a ton of functionality here.
Unless you upgrade to the more expensive eCommerce plans (starting at $30 per month), Squarespace charges a 2-3% transaction fee on top of credit card processing fees. So if you want to run an eCommerce store on Squarespace and avoid transaction fees, you’re looking at $312 per year minimum. The cheapest plan starts at $96 per year (or $16 per month) and the most expensive eCommerce plan costs $480 per year (or $46 per month)
The templates all claim to be responsive but when you start replacing the template with your own content like images, for instance, you will need to check the responsiveness for each device screen size. Custom mobile design can be done, but you must get familiar with developer mode to make it respond correctly to the changes in device size.
Advanced Marketing Tools
“If you build it they will come” doesn’t apply to websites. You have to actively market your site many ways to get an organic ranking. There are thousands of marketing & advertising channels, some worse than others, if done right these tools should give your site an advantage over your competitors.
Squarespace has all the basics like share buttons, and a few advanced ones like URL redirect options overall though, there are lots of marketing features that Squarespace either doesn’t have. Or you have to know how to code to use a workaround someone has figured out to get the right metadata in the right place.
Squarespace now has cart recovery emails but it is lacking the complete automation you can set up on your own site, for instance, if you use WordPress there are many open-source third-party plug-ins that will set up all the emails to customers including but not limited to a Welcome Series, Post Purchase Follow up, Re-engagement Prompts, Upsell offers, Educational Content, Relevant Updates an Information, and Sale and Promotions.
Their support for Twitter Cards and Facebook Open Graph is touch and go. A/B Testing is not integrated. Integration for Google Analytics, Google Search Console, Facebook retargeting and other options are buried in Advanced Settings and they have to be added and tested through the Code Injector tool. It is hard to deny that Squarespace is set up more for design over functionality and marketability that a serious business will eventually require.
Squarespace eCommerce Addendum
Squarespace’s eCommerce is a nice bit of functionality, but I’d hate to call what Squarespace offers the full-fledged eCommerce capabilities that online store platforms will require in little to no time. It’s great for websites that are primarily lead-generation, informational, etc but also want to sell a few products. Think a mechanic that wants to sell t-shirts and hats.
You can’t get the very detailed reports from your store that you would if you were designing your own site. Here is an example of just one reporting service that you can integrate right into your sites’s backend for easy viewing.
Squarespace has 65 carefully selected themes that all look pretty good honestly. They are broken down into seven main categories:
If you just want to create a simple website as easily as possible and don’t care about flexibility or content ownership, Squarespace is a decent option. But the vast majority of web site owners would be better suited using WordPress. Yes, the openness of WordPress necessitates a slightly higher learning curve, as well as a heightened focus on security, performance, and maintenance but there are plug-ins to manage all of those so you can benefit from the functionality of using WordPress and not even worry about that aspect.
The WordPress core team and community have made huge strides in turning WordPress into an accessible tool for beginners. And just because Squarespace is easier doesn’t mean WordPress isn’t easy and if you are going to have a learning curve regardless why not go with the full functionality of WordPress?Questions?