2019 Squarespace Review - The Pros And Cons For Small Businesses + SEO
Last updated 6 June 2019.
Squarespace has become one of the main options for creating a small business website, and you may have heard a lot of business owners rave about it. But, is it actually that good?
In short, yes it is, but it does have some minor pitfalls which are important to understand before you jump on the Squarespace party train!
Squarespace Review: The Time-Saving Website For Small Businesses
Squarespace is among the main website Content Management Systems (CMS) that entrepreneurs and small to medium business owners use to create websites and are among the ranks of Wordpress, Joomla and Wix.
CMS is basically a fancy word for a framework that your website is created on, so that you, the user, can update information and upload blog posts or pages without using code.
But first off, we need to make it clear that Squarespace is not just a CMS (like Wordpress).
It's also a website builder, host, security manager, website maintenance, social media plugin, domain name registrar, SSL certificate and email list builder all in one! (Amazing? Yes!)
What are the main limitations of Squarespace?
If you need a lot of functions for your website, like a huge, multi-function, membership-based online website business, Squarespace is not the right CMS for you. Compared to Wordpress, which has thousands of plugins and themes that give amazing functions, Squarespace has relatively few.
For email list building, only Mailchimp and Squarespace’s built-in email list provider is offered. (Although there are alternatives if you use code).
The other aspect that we are not crazy about is the inability to separately backup your website manually, so if anything goes terribly wrong, you still have a copy of it on your own hard drive. Thankfully, Squarespace are always adding more features, so we hope it’s in the pipeline.
Squarespace’s eCommerce for digital products
Paypal, Square and Stripe are the built-in eCommerce options, so Afterpay is not currently one of them. Boo!
This is why for a purely ecommerce store, Shopify may be best for you. However, if you want to have a blog (which is a great idea) you may find Squarespace is still best for you.
There are also limitations on how you can setup your ecommerce shop.
If you are selling stock photos online, we definitely do not recommend Squarespace, because you can't bulk upload photos. To upload 100 images you would literally be at it all day!
If you are focusing on selling various online courses or access to quizzes or other online goods, the limitations are that you customer will only receive one standard email after they purchase a service, product or digital product. This means you can’t customize the email to include special instructions, etc specific to that particular digital product.
Squarespace also integrates with only some 3rd-party providers. If you want to create a members-only subscription area in your website, you only have the option of a handful of plugins that will help you do this, unlike the dazzling array of plugins that Wordpress offers.
Having said that, for most functions you need, there is usually a plugin, custom coding or a workaround that will do the trick.
And what we love about Squarespace, is that we think it looks better than all the other options. :)
Squarespace is easy to use....kind of!
Squarespace is touted as easy to use and create a website, but in reality it has a steep learning curve for most people to setup and design a website.
Many small business owners struggle to create a finished website and find it very frustrating to use at first. But we can assure you, once you’ve completed a training session or some online courses, the website is so easy to update.
Quite a few business owners find they can't finish their website completely and get help for their Squarespace website, which is thankfully not difficult to organize.
Other business owners that are fairly tech-savvy find they can easily finish their business website, but don’t have time to correctly set up their SEO which can negatively impact their organic traffic. However, this is the same for any kind of website, whether it’s Wordpress, Joomla or Squarespace.
It can be worthwhile to get a Squarespace designer to set it up the SEO settings for you, or to get a Squarespace specialist to check your website and make sure it’s set up correctly and make any necessary design tweaks to optimize your website traffic.
Contrary to what many Wordpress website designers may say, Squarespace’s SEO is absolutely fine for the average user and does not negatively affect SEO at all! In fact, some say it’s easier to optimize.
It’s primarily when users don’t know how to set up SEO settings in Squarespace that you won’t get the same results as a Wordpress website.
Some default settings and layouts are not particularly good for SEO, (although recent changes to SEO titles has given more control here) so it can be a good idea to get a professional Squarespace SEO to help to set it up for you, and perhaps run a tutorial for you to make sure you are optimizing your website for search engines.
Some advanced SEO settings aren’t available to tweak for Squarespace users, such as schema markup. But for the average small to medium sized business this is not something they would need to be concerned with.
The ultimate no-maintenance website
Once setup, Squarespace truly comes into its own as an incredibly easy-to-use website.
If it's one thing that small business owners are short on, it's time and money and in terms of running a website yourself, Squarespace can really solve both of these problems.
Wordpress requires ongoing maintenance, security updates and frequent trouble shooting from your IT/web developer, so considering Squarespace includes all of this in your monthly cost, it truly great value and worth every penny!
Many small business owners don't realize the amount of work and maintenance a Wordpress or Joomla website requires. Wordpress websites have the highest rate of being hacked into among all other CMS...
Domain name, hosting and web builder in one
You can also register your domain name through Squarespace, lessening the amount of accounts you need to have, not to mention your hosting are all in the one place. You can also register your email through Squarespace through their 3rd party provider Gsuite.
I don't know about you, but as a small business owner myself, I have over 100 password logins and accounts for various things, so anything to make my life simpler is appreciated!
One little hiccup is if you are in Australia and you want a .com.au URL you need to register your domain name outside of Squarespace, (legal domain name reasons) using a domain name registrar such as GoDaddy.
Who is Squarespace best for?
If you are a serviced-based business or brick-and-mortar business, Squarespace is your match made in heaven.
For an online-based business who needs a lot of advanced website functions like online membership, Afterpay, complicated product variations, a forum, or if you want to do very specific online marketing, Squarespace can be difficult to work with and Wordpress or Shopify could work best.
However, if you really like the look and usability of Squarespace, it can be worthwhile to explore plugins and coding with a developer to make it work for you.
With no need to pay for monthly maintenance through a web developer (like Wordpress), Squarespace is a perfect for saving time and money, which is why we recommend Squarespace to the vast majority of our small and medium sized business clients.
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