This is the last of a three part series in which I have set up a test website on different platforms to see how they compare.
- Part 1 considered self-hosted WordPress and WordPress.com
- Part 2 looked at Weebly.
- In this final post I describe how I set up another site, with the same specifications as before, using Squarespace.
Squarespace could be a good choice if you want plenty of control over the way your website looks and works, but don’t want the responsibility of maintaining it yourself. It doesn’t seem to have quite the power of WordPress, but it’s pretty good and a bit easier to use.
There is no free option for Squarespace, but I was able to set up a 14 day free trial. After the trial period, a Personal account would start at $8 per month (if I paid for a year in advance, or $12 paying monthly).
There’s a useful help section with guides and videos.
I clicked the “Get Started” button and was asked to choose a template, which I would be able to change later. There are only around 40 templates but they all look great, are responsive and can be customised, so I don’t see that as a problem.
I followed the online instructions and my site appeared with the theme I had chosen and some demo content. There was a “Read Me” page with some instructions about how to customise the theme.
Adding a Logo
This was straightforward and any changes I made to the design could be seen straight away on the right hand side of the screen.
Pages can be dragged into position to change their order in the menu.
To create a drop down menu, I needed to add a folder (so “About” is a folder not a page). This seems less intuitive than the method used by WordPress and Weebly.
Disappointingly, you cannot have nested folders to allow more than one level of drop down menu, which is more restrictive than both WordPress and Weebly.
It was easy enough to add a gallery block, set to display as a slideshow, to my homepage. I chose an existing gallery that I had already set up, or could have made a new gallery. I could edit the gallery to change the settings.
The gallery photos seemed a bit too big, so I added two spacers to the page and moved them to the left and right of the gallery to insert some extra space.
Pages can be added by clicking the plus sign in the Pages section. A Personal Squarespace account allows you to add up to 20 pages.
Pages are built with blocks which can be dragged into place.
It’s easy to add a form with the form block and to include various different types of input field.
I mentioned the gallery block above, as a way to insert a slideshow. But this block also gave me several other ways to display my photos, including as a grid.
All I needed to do to start a blog was to add a new page and choose blog.
Blog posts can be given both categories and tags and can have thumbnails (similar to WordPress’s featured images).
I wasn’t able to add a portfolio in the way that I could in WordPress. However, it would be possible to use summary blocks to show blog posts in certain categories on separate pages.
Links and a Search Box
There is a search block that can be added to pages, sidebars or the footer.
I used a code block to put links to my other websites in the footer.
I (eventually) managed to connect my Squarespace account to my Facebook and Google+ pages – although it took a few attempts to connect to my business pages rather than my personal ones.
Fonts, Colour Scheme and Background
Squarespace allows fine control over most aspects of the design. There are plenty of fonts to choose from, colours can be changed, background images can be uploaded and spacing can be adjusted.
If all of that is not enough, then there is an area to add custom CSS code. Any changes are displayed immediately so it is easy to see how you are affecting the appearance of the site.
This is a screen print of the resulting website homepage.
Here are some links to other blog posts on this subject: