With so many website building tools out there, it’s tough to know which is the best solution for creating your website. Which offers you the most customization as a designer but is also easy to use? Let’s first dive into what Squarespace is, the pros and cons, and when it’s the best solution to use for creating your website.
Squarespace is an all-in-one solution to create a website and online presence. They are most known for their beautifully designed templates. While they are more targeted toward creative professionals like artists, photographers, and designers, you can use their templates to create a personal, business, or an eCommerce website for anyone. The company was founded in 2003 but has since risen in popularity over the past decade as a go-to for creating a simple yet beautiful website quickly.
What sets Squarespace apart from other competitors like Wix are its well-designed templates. If all you need is a simple website to update with your content, you can’t go wrong with any one of their templates. Just install and you’re ready to go.
They offer you categories to browse through to help narrow down the type of template that works best for your needs. Any one of them can have a blog or store added. When you signup for an account, you have access to a 14-day trial to get your website set up and ready to go live before you have to pay. If you need more time, there’s an option to extend the trial period.
Squarespace templates have been carefully designed and tested to work on any device. Whether someone is viewing your website on a mobile device, tablet, or a large desktop screen, the website design will adapt seamlessly to the device format. In today’s online browsing experience, more than two-thirds of all browsing is from a mobile device, it’s important to make sure your website works well and looks great when scaled down to a small screen. They also give you the option to toggle between each breaking point so you can preview how your site will look in real-time.
If you need to get a website up and running quickly to start generating business or send out a portfolio for work, you can do that in just a few hours with Squarespace. You don’t need any prior knowledge of how to design or code a website when using their tool, it’s designed for the novice in mind with no previous technical experience. While it can be challenging for someone to figure out how to make small updates to their site for the first time, there are plenty of online resources from Squarespace to help eliminate any confusion. You can also reach out to their customer support team for more in-depth help
Another strong selling point for Squarespace is their 24/7 customer support. Especially when you’re new to creating websites, it can be a huge asset to have a large company like Squarespace behind your back offering you solutions if something goes wrong with your website or if you need a little help along the way. Just submit a request and someone gets back to you usually within a day or two.
Squarespace makes it easy to either upload or export your website content. You can upload an .XML file exported from WordPress and upload it to Squarespace to transfer blog posts, blog pages, categories, comments, individual images, attachments, site pages, and tags. On the other hand, if you ever decide to switch away from Squarespace, you can just as easily export your content to upload to the next platform.
A useful feature, which may be necessary when moving your site content from a platform like WordPress to Squarespace, is how easy it is to create URL redirects. You can create URL redirects to forward visitors away from pages that don’t exist to active pages. This can be used for permanent changes (301 redirects) or temporary changes (302 redirects). To do this, just go into the advanced features to copy and paste a line of code for the new redirect.
Squarespace aims to be an all-in-one solution for creating an online presence. Whether it’s buying a domain, creating a simple type logo, SEO tools, using analytics to track your site, blogging tools, marketing with email, or eCommerce features and integrations for your online shop, Squarespace helps you connect all these services and features to launch an online presence for your business’s website. They’re also constantly working on adding new features that become available to you at no extra cost, depending on which subscription level you’re currently paying.
With Squarespace, you pay for a monthly or yearly subscription to use their tool to create and maintain a website. A personal website starts at $12 per month but it quickly adds up to $18, $26, or $40 as your website requires more advanced eCommerce features such as zero transaction fees, abandoned cart recovery, advanced shipping, and discounts, to name a few. This can add up to a lot of money over time so make sure you’re using the best plan for your needs to avoid paying for features you don’t actually use. If all you need is a simple portfolio website, don’t waste your money on the Business or Commerce plan. Luckily, Squarespace allows you to upgrade or downgrade your plan at any stage, even if you already pay for a yearly plan.
While you do have the option to customize the code of a Squarespace website, it can be challenging to create a truly customized website experience from the ground up with Squarespace if you don’t have a solid understanding of code. As a designer, you may find it extremely frustrating when you want to add custom design features. If that’s the case, you may want to check out a tool like Webflow so you have more control over the design.
It can be difficult to find what you’re looking for when you want to customize something as simple as the typography or font color. It takes quite a few clicks into different menus which can be cumbersome to navigate through. Also, be sure to save whatever changes you make. Squarespace doesn’t autosave so make sure you click the Save button often.
Squarespace only offers one navigation system. If the website you’re designing requires a deep menu hierarchy or even support for multiple languages, Squarespace isn’t the best solution.
Most website builder tools, Squarespace, Wix, and WordPress included, create bloated unnecessary coat on the backend which causes your website to load slowly. The longer your site takes to load, the higher your chances are of losing a potential customer.
Now that we’ve gone through the pros and cons of Squarespace, who is it really best suited for? If you’re creating a portfolio website to show of your design work or the creative work of a client then Squarespace is an excellent solution. If someone is looking for a do-it-yourself solution and just to get a website up fast and might need a little support here and there, Squarespace is the right solution. But if you’re looking to design a custom website to solve your client’s business goals and charge higher rates for your design work in the process, then you might want to learn more about what Webflow has to offer.
Webflow is a visual no-code website builder tool. But it’s not just a web design tool, it’s also a CMS and hosting platform. The Webflow editor empowers designers to build professional, custom websites in a completely visual way. Essentially, you get the best of both worlds. You get the advantages of using a visual editor with the added flexibility of creating a completely custom website from the ground up.
Check out this video for an explanation from Ran on when Webflow is a better solution compared to Squarespace.
Here are a few reasons to use Webflow for creating your client’s website, including a few advantages over other tools like Squarespace.
There’s no longer a disconnect between visual design and coding. For years, the visual process of web design is often separate from the actual building of the site. As a web designer, you created wireframes, mock-up the UI, and handoff assets to a developer. Then you would have to deal with the back and forth communication, making sure the developer executes your design vision. But with Webflow, it doesn’t have to be a divided process. You can now design and build a website all within one tool.
With Webflow you can easily preview and adjust layouts for a wide array of modern devices. Just click on any of the breakpoints to see adjust how your design transitions from desktop to tablet to mobile and so forth. Use Flexbox to solve common responsive web design problems with ease.
Webflow offers a simple on-page editing interface with a minimal dashboard UI, showing you only what you need.
Webflow gives you quick and easy access to all the on-page SEO settings you need. For CMS content, meta titles and descriptions are automatically created based on fields you create and define. All Webflow websites receive free SSL.
While Squarespace does offer 24/7 customer support, Webflow also offers a host of support options and ways to learn the tool. For example, there’s Webflow University, the Webflow blog, forum, community, and most importantly a great customer support team to answer any questions you have. And of course, the Flux YouTube channel also offers helpful tutorials.
If you need more convincing, check out this video where Ran shows you 5 inspiring website designs all made with Webflow.
After learning more about Webflow you may be convinced it’s the best solution for designing custom websites from scratch for your web design client and you want to give it a try. What’s next, where should you start?
Webflow offers a “free until you’re ready to launch” plan. You can get started with Webflow, play around with the tool, and learn how to build your first website on your own
We have hundreds of design tutorial videos and we publish fresh new videos weekly. We have a playlist just on Webflow Tutorials alone.
Check out this video where Ran walks you through how to get started with Webflow as a beginner.
If you’re committed, you want a mentor to walk you through the process, and you’re ready to get started then check out the Webflow Masterclass. It’s the only course that teaches you, from start to finish, how to develop highly customized websites using Webflow. Even if you’ve never used the tool, you’ll learn the basics as well as advanced animations and interactions. You’ll also be part of our private community including expert support, peer critiques, networking, and more.
Start growing your business today with Ran’s High-Value Web Designer Secrets email course that teaches you the three most significant things he’s learned as a freelancer.