Squarespace is the new kid on the block that everyone is all excited about. It offers beautiful themes, an (reasonably) easy to use editor so you don’t need to know HTML (although it’s always handy to know the language you’re working with.) And the most enticing thing is that they have partnered with Stripe for payment processing to offer eCommerce all in one place (kind of).
HOWEVER! There are a few HUGE drawbacks to using this particular website builder, hosting, eCommerce all-in-one platform however!
1. You cannot edit the core code without breaking your beautiful theme.
Unlike most other website builders (such as WordPress) you cannot get to or edit the code. Which means you are stuck with the theme attributes as they are set. If you want the logo to appear a little larger, or move it slightly – no dice. It is where it is and there is no changing it unless you are willing to break your theme. All kinds of unknown things can then go wrong with your site since squarespace sites are meant to be handled by the squarespace themes only. So you are confined to the layout and other un-editable aspects of any given theme you decide to go with.
2. You cannot back up your site. Ever.
That’s right – no back ups. (I know you will probably have to research that yourself since it is so insane, but it is true.) There is absolutely no way to back up your site. There are a few things that are very important in this case of no backing up. First, if you wreck something you can’t get it back from a back up. All horrible mistakes are set in stone when you make them. If you delete something by accident there is no way to recover it – even if you contact the company. Second, you can never migrate away from squarespace without re-creating your whole site from scratch. The themes are for squarespace sites only, and barring breaking your theme and copy and pasting every single page of code in to notepad to save it (which still wouldn’t work because you need the database and theme files as well) there is no way to transfer this website out of squarespace if you want to use something more exciting, with hundreds of plugins, and carts, and functionality (like WordPress for instance.)
3. The all-in-one eCommerce solution is actually the same as all other eCommerce solutions.
It seems like you are getting an easier eCommerce solution, but it operates exactly the same as any other eCommerce solution. You have your cart (products and buttons etc), your payment processor (credit card processor – in this case it is Stripe), and your bank. If you wanted to use a different eCommerce credit card processor because it has cheaper merchant fees – no dice. Squarespace sites are only built to use their credit card processor, Stripe. They cannot integrate with any other cart, or processor.
So, to sum it up – squarespace has beautiful themes, and appears on the surface to be easier to use and set up eCommerce with. However, once you are with them these 3 setbacks may eventually cause you to have to move away from them – which will mean building an entirely new site (that appears just like you old squarespace site) and possibly thousands of dollars paid to a web designer to get that all done.
I for one would rather build it once, and have it forever. I would also like to always have backups and be able to edit the core files so I can truly make my site exactly how I want it.
Are you using squarespace now? Have you used it in the past? What have your experiences been? Please comment below.