6 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Use Squarespace

In 6 Reasons Why Squarespace is an Excellent Choice, I begin by telling you that Squarespace isn’t designed to be a platform for everyone.

If you're a Squarespace designer, you may run into snags where a client wants styling or a feature that isn't easily doable in Squarespace. This list will help you to form questions to ask every potential client and make sure you're designing on the best platform for your client.

6 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Use Squarespace

You need more customization than Squarespace offers.

There is a lot you can do with Squarespace. The platform allows you to add CSS and JavaScript to your websites so that you can change styles and add new functionality.

But (and it's a big but), Squarespace won't help you troubleshoot a website until you remove those customizations. They don't provide support for your customizations and it's not always easy to make things look just so.

If you aren't completely happy with the customization options in the Style Editor, you may end up needing a developer to overwrite the Squarespace template to create a new style.

You need to add features.

Brine is a solid Squarespace template and one of the most popular ones for designers right now. But it doesn't have a back-to-top button, which is a heavily requested feature.

That means finding code or having a developer add a back-to-top button for you.

You may also want the ability to:

  • add more SEO options
  • change how the Squarespace forms work
  • automatically optimize your images
  • show your pages in another language
  • add more cookie banner options
  • filter your blog posts

These aren't things you can do with the basic Squarespace platform. Instead, you'll need to add custom code or even change platforms to get access to some of these features.

You want to run a membership website.

There are a couple of Squarespace plugins/integrations you can use to add membership functionality to your website, but they mean keeping your content on another site entirely to keep those files secure. Squarespace doesn't make for a very good membership site right out of the box.

If you need to securely restrict content access to members only, Squarespace might not be for you.

Update: Squarespace now offers built-in membership functionality for an additional price (plus it takes transaction fees for every membership you sell). It's a basic membership that isn't fully customizable (see Reason #1), but it's pretty decent if you need a simple membership structure.

You don't like unexpected changes.

Squarespace updates their code and changes how their user interface works all the time. The upside is that we get access to new features and updates that generally make things better without having to spend time installing these new updates on a regular basis. The downside is that you (or your clients) may be confused and have to relearn how to do things all over again.

For example, a while back, Squarespace changed the cookie banner code not once, but twice in a row with very little notice. Developers and designers were sent scrambling to fix their cookie banner code across the websites they maintained. Many designers find that they have to update their Squarespace training videos more regularly than they would like to keep up with the changes. And often these designers don't find out there was a change until a client comes to them looking for answers.

I do appreciate the effort Squarespace puts into making the platform the best it can be, but I wish they'd communicate a little more frequently about upcoming changes so we can all be prepared.

You want access to hosting options.

Squarespace is an excellent all-in-one platform where you can get a domain, hosting, simple analytics, email, newsletter campaigns, and a beautiful template for your website.

But if you want more hosting options (perhaps a hosting service made for high-traffic websites), you'll need to look elsewhere.

You want a multilingual e-commerce experience.

Multiple languages isn’t a feature offered by Squarespace, though it’s possible to add support for other languages with custom code.

But if you run a store? The Squarespace payment page only has one language option (your default site-wide language). No code currently can touch that page, so you're left directing your multi-language audience to the same page.

What to do if Squarespace isn't a good fit

Don't panic! Squarespace is great for beautiful and simple websites, but you will run into clients who could use a different platform.

For example, WordPress and Shopify are both great and have their own list of pros and cons.

If you're a Squarespace designer, you have a few options available to you:

  • learn how to design on a new platform
  • create a referral network with designers that specialize in those platforms
  • team up with a developer who can develop on the platform of your choice

You want to work with awesome clients and you want to provide them with the best platform possible for their needs. Sometimes that's Squarespace, and sometimes that's another platform entirely. Consider branching out and trying a different platform. Maybe you'll find a new favorite or maybe you'll remember why you love Squarespace just the way it is.

Update: When I originally wrote this in 2018, I was still supporting Squarespace designers. I have since moved on to working primarily on the Shopify platform. If you'd like to learn more about Shopify theme development, sign up for my newsletter. New content coming soon!