The Ultimate Squarespace Review
You've heard about it, but haven't really gotten around to looking it up. Maybe you've tried the trial, but just didn't seem to find enough reason to migrate from your current platform to Squarespace. Whatever your reservations, I completely understand. After all, I was in the same position three months ago, when I seriously started considering moving everything to Squarespace.
If you're truly considering the move, I suggest you keep reading, 'cause I will be detailing my reasons for moving and staying with Squarespace as much as I can. Basically, here are some points I'll be covering for this series:
Why I got to trying Squarespace in the first place
What's so enticing about Squarespace
How much you'll be spending every month
Why Squarespace is (or isn't) worth the money
Analytics, Ads, & SEO
Is Squarespace as user-friendly as it says it is
So, buckle up and let's dig in.
Squarespace - beauty and ease in one. I first came to discover this platform around 5-6 years ago, when blogging was just beginning to boom. At that time, I was already on Blogger and was quite content under a subdomain and your standard HTML themes (which I often tweaked to make my blog look more personal).
Wordpress wasn't making much noise back then, but I viewed it as excessive for my needs, and under a price which I couldn't pay for, being a student and all. Fast forward 6 years later and you've got plenty more places to blog on. Wordpress has become the go-to CMS, with every other platform having their own specialty in terms of content. What's great about all this is that each CMS is selling you their services, trying to offer more than the competition.
What took me so long to try out Squarespace?
Thing is, I was a broke-ass kid. Even before, Squarespace was the premium CMS everyone wanted to be on, but very few could afford. Aside from financial implications, I swore by Blogger, and was quite content with everything. Sans all the explanation, I really had no money to afford being on Squarespace.
Why did I decide to finally try it out?
One, I finally had the budget. Two, I wanted to test the waters (and what I was possibly missing) on the premium part of town. Three, I became really attracted to minimalism and photo-centric themes. Four, I noticed so many great reviews about Squarespace that I couldn't stay away. I've been blogging on Blogspot since 2009 and have tried Tumblr & Wordpress while at it. Honestly speaking, I was kinda getting pretty bored.
The First Month
The most exciting part about trying out something new is discovering what features are available. I spent a good one and a half weeks getting used to the settings, features, themes, and blogging system (which I am now incredibly fond of). As I did, I began formulating the brand I'd be giving this probable new site, its contents, and how I want it to look like.
Since Squarespace gives every potential customer a 14-day free trial, I was really able to test and simulate a regular "blogging session" under it. I must say, at the end of that period, I was no longer really struggling about whether I wanted to make a home here.
The only other problem was the cost. For the basic, personal tier, it'll cost you $12 (paid annually, totalling $144 for one year) or $16 (paid monthly). Those figures go up quite higher if you want to go for a business or online store package, with more features for larger-scale companies.
That doesn't include a custom email, which costs $5 more (under G Suite). It also doesn't include your domain, which costs $20 for one year of registration. Taking all that into consideration, you'll have to pay a total of $37 for the first month, then $17 for the succeeding months. In peso, that's Php 1,837 for the first month, then Php 844/month afterwards, way more expensive than just getting your domain & hosting from a provider like GoDaddy or iPage.
Of course, if budget isn't an issue, I'd say stop reading this blog and go right ahead. I highly recommend Squarespace if money isn't an issue for you. If you still haven't decided, please keep reading. :)
The Satisfaction Level
The first month, I didn't really feel like it was worth it, but since I already invested for the domain, hosting, email, and researching about new articles I wanted on here, I really had no choice. It would all go to waste if I decided to quit after a month. So, I just closed my eyes and kept paying for everything.
The Third Month
Fast forward two months later and I am so thrilled and happy I didn't decide to quit. Sure, it's very costly to maintain, but I've managed to find ways (side jobs) to earn additional money via this blog. I've started using it as a portfolio for online writing gigs, and it's paid-off.
My satisfaction level has increased, especially after I decided to look into the Analytics Squarespace has built-in. I've also taken advantage of the apps they have on the App Store to help you manage posts and see statistics on your iPad.
An Observation on Ads
Now, I've gotten used to Wordpress and Blogger, and how easy it is to add plugins or added functionalities to personalize my blog. That includes placing ads on your blog and making money out of it.
I've figured out that Squarespace isn't as ad-friendly as I expected it to be, and there are also complications when it comes to injecting 3rd-party codes. I guess that's just because Squarespace was designed to be (and look) premium, and that means no ads, no other intrusive codes that will junk up its blueprint, and any other functions that might clutter your blog.
I haven't been a fan of placing ads on my blogs, even when I was on another platform ( I still am keeping a personal blog with its own domain on Blogger). So it really wasn't such a huge deal for me when I couldn't add advertisements on my blog. If it is for you though, be prepared to do a little research for help in setting up ads (which aren't 100% guaranteed to work).
Posts, Photos, & other Content
I truly, truly love how Squarespace deals with the content. They've updated recently and added additional settings for photos, as well as the others. In Squarespace, content can be placed via Content Blocks, each layout tailored for the specific type of post. Here is a list of content blocks you can insert into your blog post and pages.
If you look at the image on the right, you'll see they've got almost everything you really need to compose your post or layout your page. As I said previously, they've updated the image section with Image Layouts, a pretty nice addition to an already nice toolbox.
I can equate this set of features to Wordpress' plugin library. You've got features to insert music, customize how it looks, insert a summary of posts (either by category or other filters), add newsletter/sign-up forms within the post with very little effort, add menus, product views, maps, calendars - just everything really that would have been quite complicated under other blogging platforms.
Squarespace's content blocks have really made me aware of what content I can place into my posts. It's also really cool that each content block follows your theme's aesthetics. This means a uniform, polished look across your whole site. No more need for tweaking 3rd-party apps to fit your theme. Squarespace has made it easy to achieve an elegant look for all your pages and posts.
Drag & Drop (WYSIWYG)
I know Wordpress has this feature as a plugin that is either free or that you pay for, and it's sweet that Squarespace has made it really easy. If you want to rearrange your post exactly how you want it, you just drag the block around and place it where you want. You can resize blocks, too, by dragging its edges.
(I'm really trying to sell Squarespace to you, aren't I? Haha. Well, I'm just sharing my joy over being on Squarespace.)
Whew, that was a long-ass post right there. If you've got any questions you'd like to ask to help you decide, please leave a comment and I'll get back to you as soon as I'm able. Let me know how I can help make the move easier for you if ever and you know, just general support.
If you need more sections added to this little guide/review, tell me and I'll write about it. 'Til then, have fun!