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Why Squarespace Sucks (IMO)

Holy cow, I remember when Squarespace came out. It was at its peak popularity when I was graduating college. My Senior final was to produce my professional portfolio (No, this doesn’t date me, I am young and fabulous).

Everything built with Squarespace was spacious and m i n i m a l as hell. Which, at the time, was essentially the ~only~ good way to make a website. Bootstrap standard style was IN, baby. IN.

So, I, of course, bought my own Squarespace subscription and set up what I thought was the most stunning and awe-inspiring personal design portfolio one could ever make. After all, I wanted to be a web designer and this would be a reflection of that (ha).

So why the title of this blog then?

Because I’ve grown, Linda. That’s why.

It’s been five years since I built that portfolio and while it got me my first two jobs in the industry I actually studied, a millennial pipe dream, Squarespace is now one of the web building platforms I hate the most. It SUCKS, imo. And here’s why:


Squarespace is insanely difficult to customize

The Squarespace interface is great for those who want a quick and easy way to create their own website without having to learn how to code or hire someone else with coding skills. Squarespace even touts that their templates are easily customizable but, gentle reader, this is where semantics come into play. Site builders like Squarespace actually use the word customizable as a lite version of itself. When they say easily customizable, they essentially limit that to being able to freely change text, images, and some colors within their site templates. It is not fully customizable and the more customization you want, the further the word “easy” slips from one’s grasp.

This is because Squarespace treats their pre-made templates as King and expects most users to stick within its confines and only customize images and information. This is fine for so many people, but anyone wanting something set apart from the norm should be worried about this level of restriction.


Squarespace rejects custom code it doesn’t like

You may have read the last section and thought, “Aren’t I on a web design agency’s website? Don’t they like - know custom code to override everything?” Yes. And also no.

Squarespace has sections for custom code, but you have to play by Squarespace’s rules. It doesn’t love some custom javascript and css, which are pretty much the two biggest players in getting a site customized and styled in a unique way. Squarespace can sometimes even strip certain code blocks from the page and give you zero reason as to why. What’s worse is its just kind of something you have to deal with if you want to use a Squarespace site. The way the code block crumbles, if you will. I am a web designer who hates making something that already looks like something, so naturally, I hate Squarespace for this.


You can’t even buy custom templates!

Seriously. Squarespace may serve their own white label web design service, but they don’t even let people create their own templates like so many CMS’s do. I don’t understand it, honestly. If I still cared about them I’d be infuriated, but we are never getting back together, so again, I don’t care.

A “custom Squarespace template” from a third party might sound like the way to go, but these are actually just a “design kit.” This is usually a PDF of screenshots walking you through how to manipulate a page in a way a designer already has, again, within the confines of Squarespace’s templates. Not really custom. It’s like buying permission to do all of the leg work someone else has done. Paying to cheat off someone’s paper. A good friend would just let you, so another reason why Squarespace sucks.


So there you have it- my top reasons why Squarespace sucks (IMO). If you’re still on the fence about whether or not to use them, lets chat about what would be better suited for you. I know I won’t be using Squarespace for any of my future projects if I can help it - there are just so many more versatile platforms out there.

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