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    Squarespace

    Founded in 2003, Squarespace is a website builder that stands out from the pack for its elegant, award-winning designs and feature-rich editor. Geared towards users who want to create blogs, portfolio sites and online stores, millions of websites around the globe are hosted through Squarespace. It offers users greater flexibility to customize their websites, insert HTML code and integrate dozens of 3rd-party services (from Eventbrite to Disqus to Paypal). Great for users with all levels of sitebuilding experience, Squarespace is both beginner-friendly while allowing more advanced users to insert HTML code and further customize their sites.

    Recently Squarespace announced a new partnership with point-of-sale (POS) leader Square. The POS company’s payment processing software and hardware will now be integrated to the Squarespace’s Commerce app.

    Squarespace in detail

    -In the great game of templates, no site builder has more beautiful, functional designs than Squarespace.

    -Design flexibility is another strong suit – their editor allows for more modification than that of most builders.

    -Reliable support around the clock, with live chat and rapid 1-hour email responses.

    Thumbs Up

    • Stunning, mobile-optimized templates
    • Easily customized
    • 24/7 support team with 1 hour email response times
    • Point of Sale in the Squarespace Commerce app
    • Many features and services integrated into the builder

    Thumbs Down

    • Limited app store
    • Ecommerce options are pricey
    • No free plan
    • No mobile editor

    User experience

    As is the case with most highly-ranked website builders, you won’t need coding experience to create a website using Squarespace. You can crank out a site in less than a minute, then get into the editing and customization process. Squarespace’s editor is drag-and-drop, but is organized by section – each section adds something new to your page (for example, a contact form, image or purchase button). Click on the elements of each section to alter layout or content.

    In Squarespace’s Design menu, you’ll find the Style Editor. This is where you can upload graphics and media elements to use on your site. Uploaded media can then be edited simply, using the customization options on the left-hand sidebar. Squarespace’s customization tools are great and easy to use, but it’s a good idea to watch some of the many tutorial videos provided on their YouTube channel. Some pass as legitimate entertainment, complete with Hollywood stars, case studies and short movies!

    Premium options

    Squarespace doesn’t offer free plans, but it does give users a two-week free trial (no payment information needed) – and offers users a one week extension if the initial two weren’t enough to get a feel for the platform. This means that you can build your site, see how it will look and add features and content – all before putting down any money.

    Point of Sale is available with a Squarespace Commerce Basic or Commerce Advanced plan. You take payments at the standard rate charged by the payment processor, Square. Squarespace does not charge any additional transaction fees.

    Squarespace offers four plans for regular sites and online stores, each with unlimited bandwidth and storage, and a custom domain:

    Website – Personal Plan: Squarespace charges $16/month if you pay monthly or $12/month if you pay annually. The Personal plan, best for portfolio sites or blogs, comes with 2 site contributors, 24/7 support from the Customer Care Team, SSL security, mobile optimization and website metrics.

    Website – Business Plan: At $26/month with an annual subscription, you’ll get an integrated eCommerce website with all of the features of the Personal plan plus unlimited contributors, $100 in Google Ad credit, inventory management, a G-Suite email account for a year, integrated accounting, advanced metrics, an unlimited product inventory, promotional pop-ups and more. Squarespace does charge a 3% transaction fee – to eliminate transaction fees, upgrade to one of the online store plans.

    Online Store – Basic Plan: When billed monthly, the price tag is $30/month – annual billing gets you $26/month. This plan includes all features from the Business Plan, but with no transaction fees, mobile-optimized checkout, ecommerce metrics, customer accounts, checkout on your domain, inventory management with coupons and tax and shipping controls – and more. If you want an online store, it makes sense to choose this plan rather than the Business Plan, for the same final price.

    Online Store – Premium Plan: For $40/month with annual billing, you’ll get all of the features in the online store Basic Plan, plus abandoned cart recovery, subscriptions, gift cards and advanced shipping options (amongst other features).

    Characteristics & Tools

    Squarespace is jam-packed with great features – here’s a list of some of the highlights:

    Style Editor: Use this drag-and-drop editor to customize the text, colors, fonts and sizes on your page. There are hundreds of settings to choose from, so you won’t have any trouble making your page stand out from the rest.

    Mobile Optimization: Any competitive website builder offers templates that are adaptable to mobile use, and Squarespace is no exception! Online shops include fully optimized shopping and checkout for mobile, which is the fastest-growing segment of ecommerce. And we would be remiss to not mention the Mobile Information Bar, which floats at the bottom of the page and provides important contact information like address, hours and phone number.

    SEO Integrated: There are no plugins necessary to manage SEO tasks on Squarespace, and the builder is optimized and updated for current best practices. It produces pages with clean URLS and HTML markup that are easily searchable, automatic tagging, the capability to edit image tags and page titles, plus automatic Google sitemaps generation and Facebook Open Graph support (for when links are shared on social media). Overall Squarespace offers a complete set of SEO features for your small business or personal website.

    Custom CSS: CSS is a style sheet language that describes the style of an HTML webpage. For those with more advanced coding experience who want to make design changes or add features to their website, it’s important to have access to CSS. While Squarespace doesn’t allow you to design a site from scratch, you can access the CSS of any template to make alterations.

    Image Manager: You can drag and drop images from your desktop directly onto Squarespace, and when the platform uploads them, it creates several scaled versions of each image uploaded – that way it looks great on devices of all sizes. You can edit your images directly on Squarespace (crop, resize, rotate, adjust contrast and brightness, etc.) using the Adobe Image Editor. It also ensures that images at the top of a page load before those at the bottom, for the best possible first impression.

    Point of Sale in the Squarespace Commerce app: The recent partnership with Square will allow businesses to bring their online and offline operations into sync. The users will be able to accept payments using Square’s payment terminals and card readers. Additionally, you’ll be able to collect customer email addresses and offer bespoke discounts to help you build a rapport with any real life customers you attract. POS is currently supported in the Squarespace Commerce app for iPhone and is available in the United States. iPad and Android support are coming soon.

    Templates

    If you’re looking to make a beautiful website, you’ve come to the right builder. Squarespace has around 70 modern, state of the art templates that range from minimal, open and polished to bold and dynamic with full-screen images and special scrolling effects. Templates are organized by categories that cover a significant swath of industries like Online Stores, Art & Design, Community & Non-Profit, Music, Photography, Food & Drink and more. All templates are fully customizable, and for those who want to get into the nitty-gritty of coding, you’ll have access to HTML and CSS editing. And you can work simultaneously in multiple templates to see how your site will look in each – switching templates is a breeze, and unlike other builders, it’s automatic so you won’t have to input content each time.

    Overall

    In the wild world of website builders, Squarespace offers perhaps one of the most spectacular outputs. Beautiful sites with highly interactive, unique templates are their trademark, and you don’t have to be a coder to build one. (But if you are, Squarespace gives you the possibility to tailor layout and design as much as you’d like.) It can take as little as a few minutes to create a site, but between learning how to use the editor and other Squarespace tools and features there could be a bit more of a time investment. Luckily, their support team has your back, and their large library of videos and tutorials will help resolve any questions you might have.

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