Squarespace

Squarespace allows anyone to create their own web site with powerful eCommerce, blogging and appointment scheduling features. All you need is a regular web browser (Chrome, Firefox, Edge/Internet Explorer, etc.) and an Internet connection.

No programming skills are required and there is no software to download. You don't need to sign up for any additional services in order to create a web site. You can use a domain name (e.g. mydomain.com) you already own or register a new one using Squarespace. (A free domain name is provided for anyone who pays for a year of service in advance. Your free domain name can be redeemed within that year so there's no need to come up with a name right away).

You can create an original design or select a pre-made template and swap out the default text and images with your own content.

The Squarespace web site designer is like a really elaborate word processor. In addition to basic formatting options like bold, underline, etc, you can also control borders, shadows, layers, and even the amount of space between letters (kerning).

However, there are so many design features/buttons/menus, it can be overwhelming (especially if just want to make simple chages to your site). Alas, a simpler tool would be more limited. So there's a tradeoff.

Squarespace offers a 14-day free trial so you can play around with the service and create a fully functional web site that people can actually visit. No credit card required.

Stock Photos

Squarespace provides a library of royalty-free stock images you can include on your site. You can browse images by category or search by keyboard (e.g. bird, sky, house, etc.).

Appointment Scheduling (formerly "Acuity")

An online apointment manager called "Acuity" was one of the most popular add-ons for Squarespace, but it was owned and operated a separate company--so Squarespace bought the company. Now Acuity's features are built into Squarespace.

Anyone book an appointment using your web site. You can offer one or many services. Each service can get its own web page or you can bundle a group of services on one page. Potential clients will be given a list of available time slots (based on paramters you define). They can book free apppointments or pay a fee using PayPal, a credit card (or some other payment option).

You can offer apointments for all sorts of things: tutoring, consulting, contracting, trainning/tutoring, etc. Maybe you have an office or work space that your clients visit or maybe you travel to them. Squarespace's appointment scheduler accomodates a wide range of needs.

Availability

Define the hours and days that you are available to provide a particular service (classes, sessions, home viewings, whatever). You can define a day of the way (e.g. monday, tuesday, etc.) and/or a particular date (e.g. June 11, 2022).

Intervals / Time Slots

Based on your hours of availability, you can list time slots based on an interview of time. For example, let's say you are available between 12PM and 5PM. And you want the duration of each slot to be 30 minutes. So your time slots would look like 12PM - 12:30PM, 12:30PM - 1PM, etc.

Interval Buffer

If you need to prepare and/or travel for your next appointment, you can add a buffer to your time slots. For example, let's say an appointment will last no longer than 30 minutes, but you want to wait 10 minutes before seeing another client. Adding a 10 minute buffer to a schedule with 30 intervals will result in time slots that look something like this...

12PM - 12:30PM, 12:40PM - 1:10PM, 1:20PM - 1:50PM

Recurring Sessions

You can offer one-time appointments (e.g. a real estate agent offering a tour of a house) or you can allow clients to see you on an ongoing basis (e.g. a personal trainer offering regular sessions for a particular client every week).

Pay to play

You can allow anyone to book an appointment for free or you can charge a fee via credit card.

Intake Questions

Create a questionaire for clients to fill out when making an appointment. That way you can gather specific information that you require for your particular business.

Rescheduling & Cancellations

If, for whatever reason, you need to reschedule an appoint, you can alert your client (via text or email) and ask for confirmation of the new appointment. Or you can just cancel the appointment altogether and notify the client.

E-Mail/Text Message Reminders

You and your clients can be reminded of upcoming appointment via e-mail and/or text message. Also, when a client makes an initial booking, you (and others your designate) can alerted via text and email.

Third-paty Calendar Integration (iCloud, Google Calendar, Outlook)

Your appointments can appear in your favorite calendar app with the click of a button (actually it may take a few clicks, but it's pretty straight-forward).

Blogging

(WordPress is synonymous with blogging, but Squarespace's blog add-on is easier to use.)

  • Organize blog posts using your own categories and tags.

  • Disable/enable user comments on specific posts.

  • Write a post now and schedule it to appear on your site later. (This is a great feature for anyone who wants to write a bunch of content in advance without publishing it all at once.)

  • Sharing/social media buttons (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) can be automatically added to your posts so its easier for readers to help share your content.

  • Customize the url slug for blog posts. The "slug" is the part URL that represents a particular page on a site. For example: a post titled "10 You Need To Know" would automatically have a URL that looks like example.com/blog/10-things-you-need-to-know. But you can customize the slug so it looks like example.com/blog/10-things or example.com/blog/whatever-you-want (as long long as the slug you entered is not already in use).

  • Search engine optimization (SEO). You can customize the title and description that shows up for a particlar blog post on Google (or Bing or whatever).

eCommerce

  • Display mulitple images on a product page.

  • Allow visitors to zoom-in on photos by clicking (or hovering over) an image.

  • Issue virtual gift cards and discount codes (with expiration dates).

  • Offer product variations (e.g. selling a t-shirt in different colours and sizes).

  • Add an unlimited number of products. There is no need to worry about bandwidth/number of customers visiting your site.

  • Manage inventory by setting the number of units available for each product in your store; automatically display a notice to visitors when you are sold out.

  • Provide shipping calculator to customers so they can get customized shipping rates based on shipping carrier, destination and package weight & dimensions.

  • Your Squarespace store is automatically SSL-protected and PCI Compliant/PCI Certified (This is a security requirement for procesing online payments. There's nothing to set up; It's all done for you.)

  • If you interact with customers in-person, you can use your Squarespace as a POS (point of sale) system to enter an order and accept payment. (A great solution for anyone who run's a store or performs contact work like landscaping or plumbing.)

Note: Unlike Shopify, Squarespace does NOT offer built-in support for customer product reviews.

Conclusion

Squarespace is great for anyone who lacks web site programming knowledge while possessing an eye for design and strong opinions about what their web site should look like.

Wix has a more fragmented menu structure and comparable features.

Shopify is the easiest platform for creating a web site, but its designer is very limited. Shopify is meant for creating online stores (and its very good at it).