Squarespace is a popular way to create and host a website, but it’s far from perfect.
Did you hear about Squarespace on a Podcast, or an advertisement somewhere? They have some great ads, that point out all the pros of using Squarespace, but there are also some downsides to take into account when you’re trying to decide whether you should use Squarespace, or one of the many Squarespace Alternatives out there.
In this article, we’re going to go over the basics about Squarespace, the pros and cons of using it, and then we’ll introduce you to some other options that are out there. Many of the other options are somewhat similar to Squarespace, one of them being a bit higher end, another being lower, but generally they’re similar offerings.
You don’t need to use Squarespace to make an online shop, or any other type of website. For some people, it might be the right choice, but for most people, especially those who want total ownership of their sites, and want to spend less money for a better service, we’ve got you covered with a better option to fit the bill. You can skip right to our top choice at the end of this page, or keep reading to learn about some other options, too.
What is Squarespace?
Squarespace is a proprietary platform for building a website and managing your website’s content, that also hosts your site.
Unlike something like WordPress, where the content management system is separate from the host, and you’re free to move web hosts whenever you want and you can bring your site with you, with Squarespace, you’re tied to them. You can’t build your site there then move it to another hosting company with any kind of ease, and in general you have a lot less flexibility and control.
That’s a very major downside, especially when your business depends on its website. That’s a lot of power to put in someone else’s hands, especially when there are options out there that allow you to keep control.
On the plus side, having a closed-off system like this probably does help a bit with performance, since they’re able to perfectly optimize the servers they’re using to store your side, and makes things a little bit easier to get setup initially, but you pay a big premium for that, and the downsides we’ve already mention just make it a really tough proposition.
It used to be a lot harder to setup your own website from scratch, which is when it made a lot of sense to use something like SquareSpace if you didn’t want to spend an hour or two learning how to set things up. But now, hosting companies have made it SO EASY to get started in just a few minutes, that it’s becoming less and less compelling to lean on SquareSpace or some of their very similar alternatives, but we’ve got a much better option for you coming up, so let’s go over some of the most popular options you’ll come across while looking for something difference.
Squarespace Plans and Packages
They recently hired Keanu Reeves for a really cool set of advertisements, which is awesome to see, but it also shows where some of those really high subscription costs are going to. It takes a little digging to find their prices, and that’s probably because it starts at $16 per Month for their Most Basic plan, and if you want to run an online store, it’s going to cost you at least $30 per month, and those are just their most basic plans. If you want a full-featured store, you’re looking at $46 per month.
You don’t need to pay SquareSpace a fortune to get all of the features you need to run your store.
With a regular hosting plan, like one you can get from Bluehost (Which we’ll be featuring at the end of the post as our top pick), you can pay a much smaller monthly fee, and get all setup and ready to go very quickly. If you need a little help, Bluehost’s support staff is super helpful, or you can even hire a web developer for a relatively small one-time fee, as opposed to paying a similar amount every single month.
In any case, by the end of this post, we’re confidant you’ll know everything you need to know in order to choose the best option for your unique needs and situation.
The best pick for one person might not be the best for someone else, which is why our goal is simply to lay out all of the options on the table, to tell you the things that these companies might not be too eager to tell you (Like the fact that you’re completely tied into their platforms for the life of your site, with no ability to move elsewhere – another area where Bluehost wins, by giving you complete freedom over your site and full ownership over your files.)
Having said that, SquareSpace does have a nice, albeit limited, collection of templates to choose from.
There will be tons of other stores and sites out there that are using the same templates as yours, as customization is limited and so is selection. With their most expensive packages, you also get some useful features like help tracking taxes, buying trends, and so on.
Also, you can export your website into a spreadsheet and there are tools to move it over to WordPress, but it can be a HUGE pain, and it’s just the raw data, not any of the actual template or design that gets moved over, so you’ve still got to design your new site from scratch, and also make sure it’s all compatible. It’s a headache, to say the least.
We’re not here to say that Squarespace is awful or anything, it’s just kind of over-hyped due to these huge marketing campaigns, when we’d much rather see them charge less to their customers instead of spending millions on Superbowl ads and celebrity endorsements. At the end of the day, you’ve got a business to run, does it really matter if Keanu Reeves, as great of a guy that he is, uses Squarespace?
Here’s the Top SquareSpace Alternatives of 2018:
What Bluehost offers is a bit different. And a LOT better.
With Bluehost, you can build your site with WordPress, and then install WooCommerce if you want to add eCommerce to your site. If you just want to have a blog, that’s easy as pie, and so is turning your WordPress site into an actual online store. WordPress is free, massively popular, and grants you the ability to make all sorts of edits and modifications, and upgrades, that simply aren’t possible on those other platforms.
Along with WordPress, Bluehost allows you to install countless other platforms for creating your site. If you want a forum, that’s easy. If you want a simple shop with a cart, but not using WordPress, they have options for those too. All of these different apps come with super simple installers, and Bluehost even offers the ability to have WordPress automatically installed for you – all you have to do is choose a few options, like how you want your site to look.
The major difference is that with the other platforms (including Shopify & Wix seen below), you’re using their enclosed content management systems and you’re tied-in to using them as your web host, too. With Bluehost, they’re simply your host, and then you can use whatever software to create your site that you want.
You aren’t locked-in the same way. In fact, you can easily move your WordPress (or whatever you decide to use, but we recommend WordPress, more on that in a minute!) site to another host, and many hosting companies will even make the move for you for free.
Your exact site can be moved to any other host, not just a spreadsheet with the bare minimum, but the entire design, template, and all of the content. That’s a big part of what we were talking about when it comes to have more control over your site as a whole.
In addition to WordPress being an open-source platform that fixed all of the issues we have with SquareSpace and those other alternatives, it’s also quite a bit less expensive.
Wix is another website building platform that costs at least $17 per month if you want a store, and goes up to $25 per month.
We’re not going to spend a ton of time on them either, we want to cut right to the chase so you can get your new site up and running ASAP.
Even Wix’s most expensive plan is cheaper than Squarespace’s most basic plan for online stores.
Having said that, Wix doesn’t have the same slickness or elegance in their designs that you’ll see with the other two options we’ve looked at so far, it really does feel kind of like a “budget” option – and not just in price, but in performance and aesthetics as well.
It feels like a lesser version, and has many of the same flaws without fixing them, and quite frankly there’s a much better option than the 3 we’ve glossed over, let’s check that out next…
Shopify is a pretty decent alternative to Squarespace, they have over 500,000 people using their platform, and it’s all much more focused on shopping and eCommerce sites than Squarespace, which people use for a lot of different things.
Shopify has an app store where software developers can be compensated for creating add-ons to enhance Shopify’s functionality.
Overall, it’s a pretty clean and straightforward platform, the major drawback is that the monthly prices are higher than other options on this list, making it a tougher option for small businesses. Having said that, Shopify offers enterprise-level options as well, which are used by brands like MVMT, Nestle, and Kylie Jenner.
Also, if you use Shopify to process your payments, the fee is 0%, so you can save money in transaction fees if your store is popular enough. If you’ve got a HUGE store to run, then cost shouldn’t really be the deciding factor.
Why WordPress hosted with Bluehost?
Bluehost has a great relationship with WordPress and their support staff are super familiar with it, and can help you get up and running.
On top of that, the account setup process takes about 5 minutes.
If you’re running a store, you’ll need an SSL certificate to ensure your site is secure, and Bluehost makes that super easy too.
From beginning to end, the setup process of your new site couldn’t be any easier, and WordPress is one of the most popular ways to make a site, and there’s a ton of support out there, and custom add-ons and plugins (both free and paid) that are designed to help you add any extra functionality that you could possibly imagine.
While there are some nice aspects to using Squarespace, Shopify, and Wix to a lesser degree, when you lay it all out on the table, it’s just a no-brainer to use WordPress instead, and to go with an excellent hosting provider like Bluehost.