When I have time, I will do a more detailed commentary on Squarespace but here are some initial observations based upon websites I have built (ex., Homeowners at Quail and Quail Men’s Golf Association).
The biggest advantages of Squarespace are:
- With their wide-ranging set of templates to choose from, it is easy to build a very professional and great looking website. It is easy to get started (pick a template and go), easy to set up your domain name, easy to add features such as Google Analytics and so forth.
- There is NO maintenance required. As a WordPress developer, I spend a lot of non-productive time updating WordPress software and associated theme and plug-ins updates. With updates come problems such as incompatibilities… With Squarespace, the focus is on updating content and periodically making website design/layout changes.
- Cost at $18 per month without e-commerce is very reasonable, especially when you consider that you get virtually unlimited storage. This is important if you have a site that you want to post a lot of photos.
- There is good integration with third-party software such as YouTube, Google Maps et al.
The biggest disadvantages of Squarespace are:
- There are significant limits to the degree of customization that can be done to either the design or functionality of your website. Elaborate… no databases, css styling override, generated content and id names (ex. image names) for CDN
- My biggest complaint is that the online editor is often slow to the point of not responding or occasionally being down – so you just have to wait to try again. There are a bunch of annoying items with the editor itself. Some examples:
- Inserting links requires following extra steps that if you miss one you have to repeat the process: upload file, select file (why? WordPress automatically selects the file), save and apply (why do you need to apply since you already saved it?)
- Lack of precision in placing images in split columns – you have to drag the image around with your mouse until it takes correctly which often requires several attempts
- Changing font color for a few words or paragraphs is awkward. You can’t just highlight; select font color; and hit enter. You have to work through the color palette; add your custom color; and then select.
- Entering a time field (ex. an event) uses a slider instead of a simple drop-down or input field. It’s harder to get the exact time you want as you are dragging the mouse left or right (again a precision issue with the online editor)
- There are other limitations of Squarespace
- Downloading images in their original size is not easily doable. The images that appear on the page are size-optimized by Squarespace (which means smaller) and the image names bear no resemblance to the original name.
Bottom line – Squarespace is great for making beautiful websites where few customizations to either the design, functionality or content is required.