Product Name: Squarespace
Price: $8-$24 monthly
Free Trial: Yes
Guided Tour: No
Support: 24 hour
Squarespace is a popular website builder for those who want to create an online storefront. It offers some nice features. Unfortunately it also has several very serious problems with basic requirements like support, updates and bugs.
What I Liked
Squarespace makes it a point to focus on the things that other website and store builders forget. They offer many of the same things that their competitors offer, but in many areas they do it better. Below are some examples of that.
A front end editor, like the one offered at Squarespace allows for easy customization on the fly. Often site builders are operated from an admin panel, or ‘backend’. The problem with these types of builders, is the time it takes switching from the backend to see your most recent changes.
Squarespace frontend editor allows you to customize design options like colors, fonts and background images. But it also allows you to change the layout by moving sidebars, content blocks and images.
Adding a Blog
Adding a blog and blog posts to your Squarespace store is simple. Squarespace keeps the blog editor displayed at the top of the backend menu for easy access. Just click on the big “a” then start writing your title and body content.
This is another feature that not many other store builders offer. And it’s one that can help make the difference in your store’s success. Other builders that include blogs are Bigcommerce and Shopify.
Part of the main Squarespace navigation is “Stats”. This area allows you to see how your store is performing in all the important areas. You can see how many visitors you’re getting, how they’re finding your store and what the most popular items are.
Normally, this type of feature would require third party software that you’d have to access outside of your admin panel. Having this information right inside your store’s dashboard will save you lots of time.
What I Didn't Like
As you’ll read below, the things I found to be wrong with Squarespace are major. The problems they have with their platform are simply unforgivable, for any product, but even more so for a website builder.
Unresolved Support Issues
Although Squarespace boasts 24 hour support, the reality is much different. It seems you will get a response within 24 hours but answers will likely take much longer, if they come at all.
It is Squarespace policy to handle only “simple issues”.
There are lots of reports of bugs causing unexplained design glitches, security issues and crashes. Some even report wait times of 3 to 4 weeks.
This seems to be a big problem for Squarespace that might ultimately lead to their demise. These types of support problems are unacceptable, especially with all the competition Squarespace has.
One thing I noticed about Squarespace is, they never claim to be “easy to use”. On the homepage, where most builders boast about ease of use, Squarespace does not. This struck me as being a little odd, until I started using it.
The learning curve for Squarespace is higher than I expected. And although I’m glad to know they they don’t make false claims about being easy to use, I’m still shocked by how difficult it was.
Squarespace uses an editor that isn’t very intuitive. When you want to do something like add a blog post with a picture, you need to go through three different screens.
One is the main areas (the dashboard), the other is the post editor, the next is modules for adding the image. Then when you’re done you have to add another “content block” to continue writing your post. If you forget to add an image and try to do it after you’ve written your post, you’re screwed.
It’s very confusing and, if you ask me, it’s too much. You’d need to go through all this every time you want to add something to a post such as, social sharing buttons, videos and images.
Not So Mobile Friendly
Squarespace automatically generates a mobile site for you. This sounds like a good deal at first, especially if you don’t know how to create a mobile site yourself. The problem is you have no control over what the mobile version of your site looks like.
A mobile friendly website is one of the most important factors in creating a successful online store. Without it, you will lose a lot of customers.
What Makes Squarespace Different?
Very few website builders seek out to give small business owners an opportunity to display their products and services online with total customization. Squarespace does. They’ve tried to combine great design and serious customization in an easy-to-use manner for those who have limited time. Although they haven’t succeeded, the future might still hold some promise for them.
Who Is Squarespace For?
Squarespace seems to be suited for small business owners. Often small businesses need a quick and easy way to add a product, a portfolio and a few articles. The Squarespace options and features seem to focus on those needs directly. But honestly, I think most people looking to start an ecommerce site would be better off with one of my top 3 picks.
Do You Need Squarespace For Affiliate Marketing?
Squarespace offers nothing more than a way to build an online store. It’s a tool, and a very broken one at that. It requires a lot from you and gives next to nothing in return. In my opinion, Squarespace requires an established business, like a local photographer, comedian, or personal brand on social media.
I do affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketers sell products for other stores like Walmart and Amazon. You never have to touch the products, so you never have to worry about shipping or storage. Affiliate marketing is the simplest way to start a business if you don't already have one. Learn how to do affiliate marketing here.