You want to build your own website and it looks like Squarespace fits the bill.
But before you dive in and invest hours/days/weeks of your life creating the web presence of your dreams, you’re being a wise old owl and checking out the best alternatives to Squarespace first - good shout my friend.
Integrated do it yourself website builders (where your hosting and design are all in one place) have made DIY website builds achievable for just about everyone, and there’s a wealth of options to choose from.
Before I dish out a list of platforms to review, let’s take a moment to reflect on what is you and your business needs.
10 Key Features To Consider In Squarespace Alternatives
The easiest way to discover whether to go with your original choice, or pick a Squarespace competitor instead, is to write up a list of what you need from the platform.
Here’s some features you need to consider:
1. Handling Payments Online
Which payment processors do you need to integrate with? Paypal, Apple Pay? If you’re not taking online payments now, will you be wanting to do so in the future?
2. Advertising Revenue
If your website is primarily to host a blog, are you planning on displaying advertising as a way of generating revenue? Will the platform allow you to display Adsense ads? Will the platform display its own ads on your site and share the revenue?
Can you use your own domain name? Will the platform keep its own branding on your site? This is usually the case until you take a premium subscription plan.
4. Mobile Access
A nice-to-have rather than essential feature. You wouldn’t want to build a whole website using your phone, but it’s handy if you can access the platform on your phone to make small changes (like typo corrections).
5. Statistics Reporting
I have Google Analytics installed on this website. It lets me see which pages my visitors love, which pages are not so popular, and plenty more numbers that help inspire me to improve my blog. In the early days, when your only visitors are you and your parents, you may not feel statistics are all that important. But they will be. Be sure to check what reporting capabilities your platform offers before you commit.
6. What’s It Really Going To Cost You?
Look beyond the ‘free’ price tag, or the low monthly subscription cost. Are there any other fees you need to take into account - especially transaction fees or hosting fees.
7. Template Library
Don’t be swayed by the number of templates alone. Consider only the templates that are mobile responsive and would be suitable for your business - then decide which platform has the best selection on offer.
Also, find out how easy it is to switch templates. Something which you love now may fall out of favour in a few months time (just look at all those shoes you don’t wear). Some platforms make switching templates much harder than others.
8. Integrating With Other Business Tools
Do you need your website to play nicely with any other tools? For example an email marketing provider like Mailchimp or Convertkit.
Or a clever pop-up like the FOMO bubble that should be appearing in the bottom left-hand corner of your screen soon.
Or an online inventory.
Or invoicing system.
9. How Much Help Is Available?
Does the platform provide any help, training or resources to get your started? Also look further afield to the community of people who already use this platform. Are there YouTube videos available to help you? Or experts you can pay to help you out if you get stuck?
10. Can You Backup Your Website?
This is the number one thing you need to consider. How likely are they to be around in 1, 2, 5 years time and what happens if they go bust? Are you able to take your own backups of your website so that if anything happens, you can pack up and take your website elsewhere and get it live again asap without having to build it from scratch?
If you can’t figure out the answer to this question by looking at their features list or FAQs, contact the helpdesk and ask them directly - it’s too important to gloss over.
Best Alternatives To Squarespace
Below you will find a list of Squarespace competitors - other integrated website builders that do fairly much the same thing in the same way.
I’ve listed the big players first - these will be the DIY website builders you’re most familiar with. But don’t immediately discount the little dudes - they’re worth checking out as they may have just what you’re looking for.
I haven’t included a summary of their features. These platforms get updated so frequently that my comments would be out of date before the I’d so much as shared this post on Facebook. Better for you to arm yourself with the list of features you need, click on the links, and go on your own fact-finding mission.
I did ask my business contacts for feedback on their experience of using Squarespace and the alternative platforms, and I’ve included their comments (plus links to their websites) below. You can see that the majority had opted for Squarespace. But equally those on other platforms were very happy too.
Love For Squarespace
“ I use Squarespace. It's all-in-one, offering templates that I can use and easily switch between, configured to help with SEO, includes a free SSL certificate (which Google likes). It offers better support and was easier to work with.
We decided against WordPress because templates kept breaking with updates on WordPress. Yes, it's more individualized, but WordPress requires some coding. Wix and Weebly didn't feel professional or secure enough. Squarespace offers lots of support, I don't worry about things going wacky with updates. It's easy to drag and drop and maneuver (and if you accidentally delete a page, you can recover it!)” - Beth Dolar - www.speechspark.com (Beth writes her website content and blog posts with help from the Worditude Academy).
“I use and absolutely love Squarespace! I used WordPress for a few years but I always had to worry about security, hack attempts, constant updates… Squarespace brought me peace of mind, I don't have to worry about the technical stuff and security anymore. And the templates are so beautiful, I can't imagine not finding what I need within Squarespace!” Marie-Helene Di Benedetto - http://www.nofluffsocialmedia.com (Also a member of the Worditude Academy)
More love for Squarespace, squished into these hidden boxes
“Squarespace… I was short on time and wanted it to look visually very professional. It's really easy and you can put together a really well put together website in no time. It is more expensive but it does everything for you. I love how easy it is to make new opt in pages, grow my list ect.” Ceri Gillett - www.cerigillet.com
“I built mine on Squarespace - only took 1 day! I used to be on custom domain Blogger (because it was free!) but I was so frustrated with trying to hack the html to make landing pages and the url formats for blog posts were not at all SEO. I didn’t want to spend weeks on a wordpress site, so squarespace was ideal.” Karen Oliver – www.beyondthebathroomscale.co.uk
“I use Squarespace all the time now, used it for my second business and now actually design websites for other people using it. The reason I used it for myself and why I use it to design others, is the freedom to be able to edit it as you wish after the main layout has been designed. No need to have to wait for designers to change a word or add a product for you.” - Amy Caiger
“ I built mine on Squarespace.:) I had wordpress before but switched. I was getting lost in technical details while with Squarespace I can focus on creating valuable content!” Nicoletta Mura - https://www.poisetoshine.com
“I built mine on Squarespace as I knew a lot of people with gorgeous websites who had used it. Took a bit of time to learn how to get my website to look the way I want it but now I love it and it’s SO easy and convenient to use.” Julia Day - www.easyasvat.com
“I use Squarespace to build my personal and client websites in the wellness industry because they provide eye-catching, easy to use templates that are perfect for the business of wellbeing.” Meagan Mae - www.wellunite.com
Love For Wix
“I used Wix because it is very intuitive - drag and drop so can build - simple websites very quickly and has good support.” Patricia Roper - https://www.mathsmoves.co.uk
“I use WIX… I chose it because I didn't know which one to choose! - it's sometimes a bit restrictive on what it can do but I love that I can change and update it when I need to ie: adding new products to my shop.” Kathy Fearn-Webster - www.dottydogart.co.uk
Love For Shopify
“Diaper Dabbler uses Shopify. Nice because of all the commerce features data. Works well from that aspect, function. Looks like a professional site (I think) Shopify requires plugins and coding to tweak it just right, it isn't as drag and drop to customize it as I'd love. There's quirks that are annoying. I don't love the blog, though there's some newer templates that are better, do that will be better when it's time to update/revise.” Beth Dolar - https://www.diaperdabbler.com/
Love For Weebly
“Weebly! I found WordPress too clunky to do myself and found someone to do it for me, but she’s booked until Feb so I built it myself and I bloody love it! “ Janette Miller - https://www.janettedmiller.com (P.S. Janette wrote her website content with the help of The Ultimate Website Content Planner).
“I built my own Weebly website as I love how user friendly and quick it is! - I bought my domain name and built my website in just 2 evenings! I also love their ability to try out different themes on your website whenever you want to.” Jenny Ryan - www.womenrockingbusiness.co.uk
Love For Jimdo
“I choose Jimdo because it was recommended to me by a friend. It is really easy to use, also when you aren't that gifted in things like building a website 😉 And the support is very helpful and extremely fast. I think it's a good option for building your first website when you don't have advanced knowledge yet.” Julia Leifheit - www.ergophilista.de
Love For Showit
- For photographers
“I love showit because it’s a drag and drop design system (So no having the learn code!) and you can design your desktop site at the same time as your mobile site and view them side by side. They also have a wordpress theme which makes it easy to match your website design to your blog. Big 👍 from me!” Kerrie Measor - www.kerriemitchell.co.uk
Less Famous Squarespace competitors
Whichever website builder you choose, it would be helpful to have the words ready. Building a website without the content is hard work.
Get started with these copywriting courses for entrepreneurs (there’s a free one there) so you’ve got the filling ready when you’re website framework is complete.
Plus this website checklist will help you see the key ingredients that go into creating your website.
And I’d love for you to join my free Facebook group for business-builders who want to write their own website content.