Squarespace and Square have similar-sounding names, but they are two completely different eCommerce solutions.
Squarespace is a website builder that offers domains and strong SEO tools to help you run a successful website or online store. Square Online is a free eCommerce platform with tools to help you start selling your products online right away.
In this guide, we’ll compare these two powerful eCommerce website builders to give you a better idea of which one is right for you.
I have spent over nine hours researching and comparing the core features of each platform, including ease of use, design and customization, eCommerce capabilities, blogging tools, SEO, pricing, support, and more.
Read on to learn more so you can make a better-informed decision.
1. Ease of Use
Ease of use is a crucial factor when choosing the best eCommerce site builder. It directly affects your ability to build a well-structured, full-featured website.
Fortunately, both Squarespace and Square make it extremely easy for you to create professional websites with good layouts and simple navigation even with no prior experience.
Squarespace is an all-in-one platform with tools to build and market your website. You can use it to create a full-scope website from scratch, or you can pick a Squarespace template to serve as a foundation for your new site.
Using a template will help to speed things up, and there are many to choose from in different categories and industries.
The Squarespace editor is a bit more complicated than Square’s and therefore has a slightly longer learning curve. But, once you get the hang of it, you’ll find it refreshingly simple to create even complex designs with the drag-and-drop editor.
All the tools are laid out neatly in categories on your dashboard. No tech skills are required to put together high-quality, mobile-ready, and optimized websites.
Summary of Squarespace’s Ease of Use Features:
- All-in-one website-building platform
- Free, unlimited website hosting
- In-depth tutorials for getting started
- Intuitive drag-and-drop design system
- Integrated website management tools, no third-party plugins necessary
Square, the payment processing giant, was acquired by Weebly back in 2018. The merging of the two companies resulted in Square Online, an online store builder with powerful eCommerce features.
From onboarding and setup to store management and customer engagement, Square makes everything easy.
Once you sign up, you get access to a beginner-friendly dashboard with all the tools you need right at your fingertips. Square also provides a setup guide and helpful prompts to help you build your website.
Compared to Squarespace, the platform is more intuitive when navigating the user interface. On the dashboard, you’ll find a collection of video tutorials and step-by-step guides to help you build single-page or multipage stores. The Square dashboard also connects to other Square products for your convenience.
All in all, the entire website-building process on Square is simple and straightforward, which means anyone can do it regardless of their technical skills.
Summary of Square’s Ease of Use Features:
- Pre-made layouts for online store
- Intuitive drag-and-drop website editor
- Third-party marketing integrations
- Multilingual support
- Built-in security and compliance features
Square is much easier to use than Squarespace. It offers a selection of beautiful free website themes that you can use to get started. The main menu sidebar is neatly organized and collapsible which makes things easier for beginners.
It has nestled subcategories and stays present across all pages, unlike the Squarespace menu which, when clicked, opens up a new page so you no longer see the main menu.
2. Design and Customization
Square and Squarespace both focus on making the site-building process as simple as possible so you can create a great site with no technical knowledge required. But which one has better design and customization features?
With regard to design and customization, Squarespace is about as easy as it gets for beginners. Most of the templates are designed to work right out of the box, which means once you swap out the placeholder content for your own, you are ready to publish your fully functional website.
You’ll be able to customize a clean, visually appealing page with just a few clicks. Even when adding new pages to your website, you never have to start from scratch (unless you want to). Simply choose the template you like best, and add it to your website with a click.
Squarespace also has an image editing tool that helps you create striking visuals for your website. You can add filters, and adjust things like the image brightness, saturation, contrast, etc. You can do all of this on the Squarespace interface without having to jump to third-party tools like Canva.
In addition to the Squarespace templates and themes, advanced users can also add HTML/CSS, but only on the higher-tier plans.
Summary of Squarespace’s Design and Customization Features:
- Modern, clean, and aesthetically pleasing layouts
- Built-in product pages to display your items
- Fully responsive website designs
- Access to CSS and HTML
- Fluid Engine for complete control over mobile and desktop versions
The entire process of building a website is easy but limited. No technical or coding skills are required to create a simple yet professional-looking Square website.
Square has dozens of website templates to choose from. You’ll find templates in different categories, including retail, restaurant, and service templates, but there isn’t much variation between them.
With that said, the templates will get the job done if you want to build a simple business website. They are extremely easy to edit, and you’ll be able to quickly add your company logo and customize colors and forms to match your brand.
Square does have some more sophisticated website design features, but most of them are only available in the premium plans.
The free plan comes with a website builder and only a few basic site layouts. You also get basic design controls for your home page, item pages, header/footer, etc. You can edit each section’s alignment, spacing, and sizing – but that’s about it.
If you want additional website design functionality, you’ll have to upgrade to one of the premium plans.
This will allow you to remove the Square branding, add custom fonts, and a favicon, and access advanced site layouts to further differentiate your brand’s online presence. You’ll also be able to customize things like buttons, badges, page width, icons, and other site elements.
For an enhanced branded experience and high engagement, add parallax, animations, and media with custom code embed. You can also access thousands of images in the free media library.
Summary of Square’s Design and Customization Features:
- Free and premium website templates
- Built-in marketing features
- Simple drag-and-drop editing tool
- App Marketplace for additional third-party apps
- Free library with copyright-free media
With regard to design and customization, Squarespace offers a much stronger site builder and a more intuitive design process. This means you’ll be able to build attractive, full-featured websites with more unique functionality.
Squarespace is ideal for creators, artists, online courses, memberships, and building fully functional business websites. Square, on the other hand, is ideal for new or small brick-and-mortar stores, food-based businesses, and businesses on a budget.
The software’s ease of use comes at the cost of design flexibility. If you want more customization options, then Squarespace is the better option to choose.
3. eCommerce Capabilities
The best eCommerce platforms make it easy for you to sell your products online. They provide you with all the tools required to list your products and accept payments without having to integrate third-party tools.
Let’s see how these two eCommerce builders compare in this regard.
Squarespace provides you with all the basics you need to start and grow your online store.
The eCommerce integrations on the platform include a wide range of online store templates to help you build unique storefronts. The visual store builder lets you customize your product pages quickly and easily.
You also get secure payments integrated right into the platform, allowing you to instantly start selling your products and services globally.
Squarespace allows you to add sophisticated web forms to your products so you can ask for additional information before customers checkout.
There’s also an advanced inventory management system, as well as built-in tools for shipping and automatic tax calculation.
Summary of Squarespace’s eCommerce Capabilities:
- Beautiful online store templates are available
- Faster speed for an enhanced online shopping experience
- Sell physical and digital products, services, and subscriptions
- Add web forms to your products
- Sell on Facebook and Instagram
Square is one of the leading free eCommerce solutions currently out there. The platform allows you to build a beautiful Square Online store with integrated payment links.
You can add checkout to your existing website, and like Squarespace, Square allows you to sell on Facebook and Instagram.
Another standout feature of the eCommerce platform is the mobile POS (point-of-sale) system. You also get both in-store collection and local delivery features. Compared to Squarespace, Square has more sales channels.
The only downside to using Square Online is that you can’t integrate a third-party payment processor. You have to use Square Payments, the built-in payment provider.
But, it’s worth noting that you get the best merchant services, allowing you to process payments everywhere – in-store, online, on virtual terminals, mobile, invoices, and even through QR codes.
This can be a good option to consider if you have not yet made a decision on which payment provider to use for your business.
Summary of Square’s eCommerce Capabilities:
- Built-in payment provider
- Multiple payment gateway options (Square, PayPal, Google Pay, and Apple Pay)
- No transaction fees
- Built-in point-of-sale system
- Integrated product and order management features
Square wins this category because it has so much more to offer. It has a built-in POS solution and powerful inventory features. You get a lot of eCommerce tools even on the free plan, including the ability to sell on social media.
You can use the Order with Google feature to help customers discover your website through search by connecting your Google Business Profile. You can also manage multiple websites and locations and there’s even an age verification pop-up that comes in handy if you sell age-restricted items on your website.
4. Blogging Tools
Depending on the type of website or online store you want to build, you may want to add a blog. If so, you need a site builder that offers built-in blogging features that make it easy for you to publish content regularly so you can promote your brand and widen your audience.
Let’s see how these two site builders stack up.
Squarespace has better blogging tools than Square. In addition to all the basic blogging features like user roles, categories, tagging, drafts, and comments, you get advanced features like Google AMP support.
You also get additional SEO features like URL, title, description, and social sharing tools designed to make it easier for you to share your blog content on social media.
There are endless design options to give life to your vision. Choose from dozens of flexible blog layouts and custom color schemes to create a one-of-a-kind blog that appeals to your target audience.
There’s a free library of stock images that you can use, as well as an image editing tool to enhance your blog visuals.
Summary of Squarespace’s Blogging Features:
- User-friendly blogging and content management system
- Cloud hosting for your blog
- Built-in SEO features for online visibility
- Easy social media sharing tools
- Free stock images and image editing tool
Square is unsuitable for building a serious blog. Its main focus is on eCommerce, and it’s not very good when it comes to publishing blog content.
To create a blog using Square Online, you must first set up your online store and then create a “Stories” page that will operate as your blog.
This is a free add-on that is easy to use but doesn’t offer much in terms of blogging functionality. In the Stories Overview section on your dashboard, you’ll be able to customize the page, add new blog posts, or edit existing ones.
You can change page settings to allow your blog to be accessed via social media. The social media integration lets you grow your audience on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.
There are also built-in tools to help you promote your new blog, including email marketing tools that you can use to share your latest blog posts with existing customers in a weekly or monthly newsletter.
Once your blog is set up, you can get insight into its performance by viewing the metrics in the analytics tab on your dashboard. You’ll be able to see the number of new visitors, how long they stayed on each page, which pages they exited on, and so on.
Summary of Square’s Blogging Tools:
- Fast blog setup
- Easy-to-use blog editor
- Built-in blogging analytics
- Integrated blog promotion tools
- Share blog on social media
Squarespace makes it to the top of many lists for the best website builders and the best blogging platform for small businesses. Square, on the other hand, is great for product sales but doesn’t offer much in terms of content creation and management.
Of course, you can integrate a third-party blogging tool like DropinBlog if you want a more powerful blogging engine. But, in terms of built-in blogging functionality, Squarespace takes the cup.
5. Search Engine Optimization Tools
Whether you’re building a business website, blog, or online store, you need a website builder with built-in SEO tools to increase your chances of ranking high in Google search results.
Let’s see what type of SEO functionality Square and Squarespace have to offer.
Squarespace offers robust SEO capabilities. There’s no need to be an SEO guru to make it work. The platform has several built-in features that are designed to simplify the process of making your new site SEO-friendly.
You get auto-generated sitemaps, built-in SSL security, and social image-sharing control. All templates are fully mobile responsive to enhance your SEO.
You also have access to more advanced SEO features like 301 redirects from your dashboard, and you can also integrate Google Search Console to gain valuable visitor data to help you make improvements to your website.
Summary of Squarespace’s Search Engine Optimization Tools:
- SEO checklist for best practices
- Powerful built-in SEO features for pages and items
- Social image-sharing control
- Mobile-optimized websites to enhance SEO
- Google Search Console integration for in-depth visitor data
Square Online gives you access to basic search engine optimization tools that are enough to get your pages indexed on Google.
You can edit site pages, item permalinks, titles, page descriptions, etc. within your page details. You can also set up SEO headers and descriptions for each of your product pages. Like its competitor, Square has 301 redirect capabilities which you can set up in your dashboard under the “Website” section.
All Square websites are mobile responsive by default, which is another essential factor for Google ranking.
Summary of Square’s Search Engine Optimization Tools:
- The product editor covers all basic SEO details
- Mobile responsive websites
- Easily alter the headers and descriptions for products
- 301 redirect capabilities
- The free plan includes built-in SEO tools
Both website builders provide you with tools to boost your website’s search engine visibility, but Squarespace has stronger search engine optimization tools to make it easier for you to market and sell your stuff online.
6. Community and Support
Community and support are important in the website builder. You need the peace of mind of knowing that you can get assistance whenever you need it.
Both site builders offer support through various channels. Let’s take a look.
Squarespace has a number of customer support channels through which you can get assistance from the support team.
In addition to the 24/7 live chat and email support, there’s an active customer forum where you can ask questions and get specific answers.
You can also find solutions in the website’s knowledge base which is filled with how-to guides, video tutorials, and resources to help you make the most of the website-building platform.
If you need to talk to someone to help resolve your concerns, you can do so via the live chat on the website which is available Monday through Friday.
Square offers support Monday through Friday via phone. You also get 24/7 support via email and social media. The platform doesn’t offer live chat, but there’s automated chat support which is handy for pointing you toward the right resources to help you save time.
Square also has a well-stocked resource library and you can join the seller community to connect with like-minded Square online users. The Square community has an active forum for customers where you can get answers to your questions.
If you prefer a more hands-on approach, you can search through the vast library of curated articles using questions, keywords, or topics to filter answers. Signing in to your account will get you expedited support
Both platforms offer superb help centers but differ in the types of support they provide. Square offers phone support which Squarespace does not. This can be a dealbreaker for some.
But, Squarespace has live chat that connects you to the stellar support team. Square, on the other hand, has chatbot assistance which is quite robotic and not at all like live chat. It links to articles from its knowledge base which you could easily accomplish yourself by doing a quick search.
Pricing should not be your only consideration when choosing an online store builder, but it’s still something you should think about so you can pick a solution that is affordable.
Squarespace has 4 growth-focused plans to suit different needs. You can sign up for a free 14-day trial on the website.
Premium plans are as follows:
- Personal Plan: $16/Month: This is Squarespace’s foundational plan. It gives you access to best-in-class templates with which you can build a mobile-optimized website. You can choose from dozens of templates designed to fit your business or personal goals. You also get a free domain for one year on which you can create your new website.
- Basic Commerce Plan: $27/Month: This plan has all the features in the Business plan, as well as advanced selling tools to help you grow your business. There are no transaction fees, and you get powerful merchandising tools built-in to help you boost sales, including the ability to display related products, drive urgency with low-stock alerts, and offer product wait lists.
- Advanced Commerce Plan: $49/Month: This plan includes all the features in the Basic Commerce plan. It also comes with tools for advanced sellers, including advanced shipping, advanced discounting, and the ability to sell subscriptions. You also get the abandoned cart recovery tool and commerce APIs to help you build custom integrations to third-party systems in your back end.
Square has a free plan and two premium plans to help you start selling and booking appointments online.
Here’s what each plan offers:
- Free Plan: $0/Month: Square’s free plan has all the tools you need to turn your business into an online business. It’s an ad-supported plan with no transaction fees, and you get instant access to the website builder with SEO tools, social selling, and multiple payment types. You can sync with Square POS, and the plan also comes with pickup, local delivery, and shipping options.
- Plus Plan: $29/Month: This plan has everything in the Free Square plan, as well as additional features to drive growth and automate your operations. You can connect a custom domain, upload custom forms, and embed custom widgets to expand your website customization. The Plus plan also comes with customer accounts, personalized ordering, and advanced item settings including time-based categories, scheduled product drops, and item badges.
- Premium Plan: $79/Month: This plan is designed to provide you with the best rates and advanced features so you can scale your business and streamline your operations. It has all the Plus plan features, and you also get lower processing rates and premium customer support. There’s a feature for waiving in-house delivery fees, and you get real-time shipping rates allowing you to display the most accurate rates at checkout based on factors like weight, destination, and carrier.
Square’s free-forever eCommerce plan is an absolute game changer. It comes with a range of features that are premium on Squarespace and other eCommerce builders.
Squarespace offers a free 14-day trial to test out the platform’s core features, after which you’ll have to upgrade to one of the premium plans. On Square, you can use the free plan and only upgrade when you need to unlock more features and resources for your online store.
In the Square vs. Squarespace comparison, the final verdict is that both platforms have everything you need to build a store and start selling your products and services online. Where they differ is in ease, convenience, and customization.
Here are my recommendations based on my evaluation of the two platforms:
Choose Squarespace if: You have a business that focuses on content production and want to sell products on the side. Squarespace has tools to build a business website, blog, and eCommerce store so you can optimize your online presence. You also get built-in marketing tools that make it easier for you to promote your products and services online.
Check out how Squarespace compares to other site builders:
Choose Square if: You want to build a simple and beautiful storefront to start selling your products right away. The customization features on the Square Online page editor are quite limited, but the preconfigured templates are super convenient for non-tech-savvy users. All you have to do is pick one and use a drag-and-drop editor to customize it to match your brand, and you’re ready to sell right away. There is even a free plan that you can use to start selling your products risk-free.