Why Squarespace sucks and will never be a WordPress killer

When I started the new year I was hoping for a fresh start with blogging, namely by using a platform that would take care of all the technical craziness of hosting, design and otherwise maintaining a a stable blogging platform for me, that way I could finally focus all my energy on my true craft:  writing and annoying people.

I thought Squarespace would be that blogging platform, where things would just… WORK, ya know?  No more manual SEO analysis and weird optimization hacks or fighting with bloated plugins, or chasing down threads in WordPress forums to fix a bug, or reintroducing code into my theme that the WP developers decided we didn’t need that of course I desperately needed.

I would spend days and weeks tinkering under the hood just to keep my blog functional and online, and when I finally had things just right (at least in the 5 minutes of peace I enjoyed before WP released another update that broke everything), I had no energy left to blog.  I was a zombie.

Squarespace gave me hope by offering an all in one solution, starting with taking care of all the hosting backend (and thus ensuring that I’ll never have to deal with frantic emails from my host claiming I’m using too many resources because one of my plugins basically blew up their server.)  Then secondly by allowing me to design my own theme, albeit one that would be limited to the rigid structure of their templates.  They had a small selection too, but fortunately their tumblelog template was aesthetically pleasing enough and had most of what I needed (with some moderate custom CSS tweaking involved.)  Finally their posting editor provided a few clear advantages over WordPress’s editor, namely with their use of blocks.  Each block has a unique trait (from simple text to video and image blocks) that could be resized and aligned effortlessly.  No having to switch back and forth between HTML and WYSIWYG to get things juuuuust right like I had to do with WordPress.  Images in a post were a breeze to add and edit, and not just images, but blocks of almost every flavor that could be added and adjusted in almost every imaginable way.

This was it, baby.  Sure there were some limits (such as their editor offering no way to change your font colors) but these were limits I could deal with.  I was content to live in a walled garden so long as everything worked properly and made sense.  I could at long last, write in peace.

And that’s when the wheels started to fall off.

Squarespace errors

Oh here we go again with this crap…

That was the kind of error I’d receive when I simply wanted to delete a post.  Wait, it gets better.

I was starting to notice other annoyances too.  Things I always took for granted in WordPress but were conspicuously absent in Squarespace.  Like the lack of a Preview button.  The way it was designed, I couldn’t even right click on a post in my dashboard and open it up in a new tab so I could at least go back and forth between editing and then checking the changes.  Really?

There was also no “edit” link on individual posts either.  If I wanted to edit a post, instead of clicking on a simple link available on the same page like I could in WordPress, I had to go back to my Squarespace dashboard and do a KEYWORD SEARCH FOR THE SAME POST.  And there’s no sorting or filtering option available.  At all.

?????????????????????

You can’t even batch edit or delete posts, so God help you if you have a category of 100 or so posts you want to get rid of.   You’re gonna have to delete them one at a time, using keyword searches.

Oh, and if you decide you want to undelete a post, forget it.  No trash can here.  You delete it, you ain’t getting it back.  Ever.

Even more grating, if you use a custom domain, the little Squarespace widget overlayed on your site where you can make changes to your design or click to access your dashboard doesn’t show up.  As a result of this I was perpetually surfing between my domain and *.squarespace.com in clumsy and awkward fashion.  And also, if you happen to use Disqus for your comments, comments don’t show up in Squarespace’s native domain either.  (I could not for the life of me figure out why I couldn’t find a particular Disqus comment until I realized I was surfing the wrong domain.  Oy.)

Oh by the way, SS’s native comments will not export to Disqus (or vice versa), so if you ever decide to switch from one to the other, they go bye bye.

Even changing/adding meta data in a post was getting irksome (like setting tags and categories.)  I would add a category, and yet once I was done the popup window to add categories still wouldn’t go away.  Because there’s no dropdown menu I had to remember to click away to some other part of the screen to get rid of these popups.  And it didn’t always work either.  Sometimes it STAYED there, blocking part of my writing screen, to which the only thing I could do was save the post, leave the page, and then come back again.  FAIL.

Squarespace provides social sharing options which I thought would be great, except they don’t stay switched on when you want to use them.  You have to manually switch them on, every single time you write a post.  Every… single… time…

Even worse, the Tumblr sharing core dumps your ENTIRE post onto your Tumblr page.  There’s no option to have Squarespace simply push a link of the post (and maybe an excerpt) to your Tumblr site.  Seriously?

Oh, and here’s another minor and yet BAFFLING omission: you can’t customize your links to include nofollow tags, or set them to open in new windows either.  Well… you could,  but it requires placing most of your content inside a CODE block, which of course strips out all styling and formatting, so you’re now required to brush up on your HTML and re-add all the formatting you need, by hand.  Yes, really.

There were also certain things about their image formatting that really made no sense from an SEO perspective, especially given their market is supposedly heavily geared towards artists and visual designers.  Specifically I’m referring to their practice of consolidating captions with ALT tags.  When I captioned a photo for example, I usually made commentary that doesn’t always describe what the photo is all about (which is part of the point of why you’d use an ALT tag instead.)  And yet SS consolidates the two.

Let me explain to you why that sucks: In order to ensure my images get the best possible ranking in Google Image searches, my captions now have to be written as an accurate description of what’s in an image, instead of just being able to write any old thing I wanted.  For example, I post a picture of a tree.  I now have to write in the caption:

“This is a picture of a tree.”

Now, the reader sees that and he’s thinking, “I’m not blind moron, I know it’s a picture of a tree.”

BUT, if I had the ability to edit the caption and ALT separately (like I could always do in WordPress,) I could instead post the same picture, and write in the caption:

“This is one of my favorite places on earth!”

And then for the ALT tag (which the reader never sees, unless he’s disabled showing images in his browser for some reason) I can write an accurate description of the picture, which a Googlebot will then happily gobble up and give me a nice warm cuddle of search engine wubs.

It’s a little thing, and yet it achieves so much.  Captions allow me to tell the reader what I’m thinking or provide commentary that the image inspires, while ALT allows me to give the search engines what they need to properly index these images.

And yet Squarespace combines the two.  Why?  Because shut up, that’s why.

Then there’s the iPad/iPhone app.  Which at first glance seems polished and simple enough, until you decide you want to add photos, and you realize you can’t add them inline; they can only be added to the end of a post.  If I had 5 photos I wanted to add, I couldn’t place them anywhere I pleased like I could with my Blogsy app (and even WordPress’s own subpar iOS apps.)  So I’d write this post on my iPad, and all the 5 photos would show up in an awkward column after the content, and no, I can’t even caption them either.

??????????????????????

Oh and that reminds me, they’ve also completely dropped all MetaBlogAPI support too.  In other words, you cannot use any third party client to access your SS content, period.  It’s their dashboard and their apps or the highway.  Which I might have been fine with, if the quality of their interface didn’t already suck the mooseballs of rancid death to begin with.

The last straw though had to be the bookmarklet.  At first it was the saving grace: Anywhere I surfed, with one click I could immediately comment on an article I was reading, upload images and type quick and dirty posts straight to my Squarespace blog.  It was faster and easier to use than WordPress’s Press This bookmarklet, and for me it was the solution I needed:  Let it all be about blogging rather than trying to fix everything that was wrong with my site.   Sure, SS had a LOT of flaws, but they weren’t things I could control anyway, so let me just focus on blogging and maybe who knows, the rest will take care of itself.

And then my bookmarklet broke.

Suddenly, every time I clicked on it, all I’d get was a blank window.

… … … …

Now, if there was ONE thing I absolutely NEEDED Squarespace to deliver on, it would be to spare me the agony of diving into WordPress forums for hours, days and maybe even weeks on end, hoping I’d find some kind hearted WP guru to help me fix something that had gone horribly wrong with my blog.

Instead, I knew if something went wrong on Squarespace, they HAD to fix it, since it does after all affect ALL their customers, and they’d lose business if they didn’t.

I opened up a support ticket, and to their credit they answered in minutes and let me know they were aware of the issue and that the developers were working on it.

I sat back and breathed a sigh of relief, knowing for once I didn’t have to bear the burden of fixing something that goes wrong with my site, and that it was merely just a matter of waiting until Squarespace addressed and fixed the problem.  They’ve got top men working on it after all.  Top.  Men.

THREE WEEKS.  IT TOOK THEM THREE WEEKS TO FIX THIS $%&@*(@ BOOKMARKLET.

This bookmarklet played such a huge role in reducing my blogging workflow that I was blogging on almost a daily basis… and then it breaks, and STAYS broken for WEEKS.

So what happened?  Of course I didn’t blog for weeks either.   Just kind of threw my hands up in defeat and went on a Netflix marathon binge so I could forget about the world for a while.

But eventually, they finally fix it right?  Except it breaks, AGAIN, not TWO DAYS LATER after they fix it.  As far as I know at the time of this writing it’s probably STILL broken.

My Lord, what did I get myself into?

It made me think, if they let something like that languish for weeks without a fix, what else was broken that I DIDN’T know about?

Reading from their little known service update blog (now defunct, likely so people won’t notice how buggy their platform really is), I would venture to say, A LOT.

The hard truth was that I had given up too much control over my site and I wasn’t getting back enough in return.  They get a lot of feedback in their forums, but because there’s no roadmap it’s anyone’s guess if they’re even bothering to listen to what their customers are saying.  I’ve sent feedback to support myself, which they always respond along the lines of “We’ll send this to our developers for consideration.”  Which pretty much means, “We’ll fix or address this issue sometime between now and never.”

So… it was back to WordPress.  My long lost love.  Only this time I took great care to minimize my plugin usage and go with a professionally designed theme framework that I could get support on if I had issues.  And you know what?  It’s SO much better now.  It really is.  I feel like I’ve finally become a man and can at long last write like one too.

While scribbling naughty things about Squarespace on bathroom walls that is.

Oh, and here’s some irony for you: when I went to delete my website entirely from Squarespace after I moved everything back to WordPress, of course the dashboard crashed yet again with another error message.  It was almost… poetic.

So long Squarespace.  May our paths NEVER cross again.

, ,

103 Responses to Why Squarespace sucks and will never be a WordPress killer

  1. Julie G April 12, 2013 at 8:58 AM #

    Thanks for sharing your experience. I’m thinking of switching from WP to SS because all I ever seem to do on WP is try to figure out how to fix things that are broken. Plus it runs super slow – both my admin panel and my blog. I need something really easy and fast so I can focus on creating new content. But I have the same concerns about SS as you, so I’d like to know who designs “professionally designed theme framework that I could get support on if I had issues”? It would be great to have a recommendation for a system (template, plug-ins, support). Thanks!

    • Frank Swift April 12, 2013 at 1:51 PM #

      If you want to stick with WordPress I’ve had good experience using WooThemes: http://www.woothemes.com Their support is pretty responsive too.

      If you want to chance chucking WP altogether, I’d suggest trying out Virb at http://virb.com/

      They are one of the competitors to Virb but with are more respectful of their user base’s input and feedback, and offer a 10 day free trial. Hope this helps!

    • Jo Bo May 3, 2015 at 1:15 AM #

      CAN SQUARESPACE HELP ME ? I HAVE BEEN FOLLOWING YOUR DIRECTIONS AND I STILL CAN NOT RE-SET PASSWORD. 24/7/365 ? OVER A WEEK AND NO HELP. WHY CAN I NOT RE-SET PASSWORD? THANKS ? PLEASE ALLOW TELEPHONE CALLS.

    • Frank Swift May 3, 2015 at 2:01 AM #

      Sorry, this isn’t the tech support for SS. You’ll have to contact them directly here: http://help.squarespace.com/ask-a-person/

  2. kati June 3, 2013 at 3:30 PM #

    having the WORST time with ss myself… found this post while waiting for someone to email me back about why it takes a million tries to get my blog photos from the little uploader screen to the draft screen. doesn’t seem so hard. my free blogger handled uploading photos just fine (and blogger isn’t even as good as wordpress). super disappointed…

    • Frank Swift June 3, 2013 at 4:17 PM #

      Yeah, I had high hopes for it too, but the platform was just too poorly designed, with little room for innovation and inability to emulate some of WordPress’s best features. In the end a clean and stable WordPress installation with carefully selected and well supported plugins is the best way to go.

  3. Jason Barone July 12, 2013 at 1:54 PM #

    [Editor note: Users should be aware that this commenter is a former Squarespace employee who builds Squarespace sites for clients.]

    To Squarespace’s credit, most of what you mention here are things that have been solved months ago. Some of your frustrations with missing features are certainly credible but to say the entire platform sucks is a bit sensationalist. Your opinion is that WordPress is better for your website. My opinion is Squarespace is far better in almost every way, and there’s no way I would think of moving back to WordPress.

    In fact, now that Squarespace is becoming more well-known, I’m getting users asking me to convert their site from WordPress to Squarespace all the time now, and the results are far better than WordPress. So it depends on what you’re using the website for.

    It’s not that common for me to speak to a business owner or entrepreneur that likes WordPress’ interface. They find it confusing, they don’t understand half of the features in the backend, and they run into all sorts of problem. Squarespace did an amazing job of building an unprecedented development platform that allows me to build a site with an incredible developer workflow, tailor the experience, and “plug in” to the highest quality of hosting/support you’ll find. And after you’re finished, it’s relatively bulletproof and requires no maintenance. You can’t really say that for WordPress. You’ll always have broken themes when major updates release, software updates, plug updates and maintenance, etc. Hell, In order to smoothen out that process, companies like WPEngine and Page.ly popped up to create “managed WordPress.org installations”, and they charge for it.

    Squarespace has always been about creating an all-in-one experience, and they’ve done that really well. This new platform has only been released to the wild for ONE YEAR. Albeit I wish there was a number of additional features implemented, but I’ve still stuck with them because everything they’re doing is a breath of fresh air for development (and for my clients). They’re on the verge of becoming the ultimate all-in-one website system. I’m not sure if you seen it yet, but their Commerce is just a handful of features away from rivaling Shopify, one of the top ecommerce apps in the world.

    I know this platform as well as anyone outside the company possibly could, and they have the framework in place to be the ultimate publishing platform. So I wouldn’t write it off completely because of some bad experiences. it’s been a work in progress since last year, but damn is it a solid platform.

    • Frank Swift July 12, 2013 at 2:14 PM #

      I can only speak to my own experiences, and I think the ultimate deal breaker is that when something breaks, you have to wait for support to fix it. The core feature (the bookmarklet) was literally broken for 3 weeks before they finally got around to it, leaving me to twiddle my thumbs in the meantime. What you gain in convenience you lose in autonomy.

      I can understand why this would work for a designer who has multiple clients though. Squarespace can save you a HUGE amount of time in grief and coding, and since time is money, this would definitely present an advantage.

      I found that WordPress gets an unfairly bad rap, and particularly was a bad experience for me because I was trying to do too MUCH with it. There are certain guidelines that need to be followed to minimize frustration with WordPress, and I found once I followed them, it became the best blogging platform to use. These guidelines would be:

      – Don’t use more than 10 plugins, MAXIMUM.
      – Make sure such plugins are actively maintained and updated
      – Use a professional theme (or framework) by a reputable company

      Following these simple guidelines now makes WordPress a pleasure to use. There are things I can do now with this platform that are simply impossible to do with Squarespace (such as auto publishing to Pinterest and Google+), using IFTTT to automate certain tasks, developing highly versatile social media optimization via Yoast’s SEO plugin, using superior third party apps such as Poster to upload images to my blog via my iPhone, etc, etc.

      So for the individual blogger, I’d have to say WordPress is the far better solution, whereas for designers who have to manage dozens of different installations, the path of least resistance (Squarespace) would probably be the better choice.

    • hacker S November 12, 2013 at 1:00 PM #

      Jason, Thank you for this. I too am a Squarespace developer, v5 & v6. and I love the platform. I know we individually may experience some challenges with any new software, or app, but that’s normal, ……

      ….and imagine what they’re developers must be going through to make it so you (Frank) don’t have to go about clamoring with your negative advertising, just because a few little somethings didn’t go your way.

      Squarespace has been a great tool for me to go out on my own helping small-mid businesses gain a web presence. particularly with those who aren’t as web savvy nor do they have the time.

      …may the movement continue.

      –hackerhipsterhustler

      here are some sites i’ve built for customers using the SS6platform:

      [Frank: {links deleted} take your spamming elsewhere]

    • Frank Swift November 12, 2013 at 1:09 PM #

      WordPress can also be intuitive for those who aren’t web savvy if the developer takes the time to make it so. Just because some developers are too intellectually lazy to bother and resort to SquareSpace as a means to cut corners and time doesn’t necessarily make it the best platform to use. To each their own.

    • Lisa November 12, 2013 at 1:24 PM #

      One more thing, I was using the SquareSpace app for my Android phone and it wouldn’t work. You can check out your stats, but they’re not 100% accurate from the phone. You can draft blog posts but they don’t save and they disappear completely. I thought maybe my iPhone would give me better results, but that’s not the case. Just check out the app reviews–they all say the same thing. Since I’m always on my phone and not in front of my laptop, this is a huge pain in the ass. The WordPress app, on the other hand, works fine.

    • KD February 22, 2015 at 10:44 PM #

      Consulting = scumbag

      Open Source = always wins online

      Controlling the software, the hosting and the domain is a terrible amount of power for one company to have. You always want to build an app you can host with another company you trust and register your domain elsewhere. As far as hosting goes just get unmanaged ssd hosting like linode or digitalocean. Find someone to set up the site for you and scale the hosting as needed. It’s much cheaper and faster.

    • Sydney August 12, 2016 at 10:25 AM #

      I know I am late to the game on this thread here but yeah, Squarespace hatin’ heavily right now. I googled, “Why does Squarespace suck so much?” and found this post….I have no WordPress experience – just the ridiculously easy and user-friendly (in my opinion) ABC-level Wix, but read scathing reviews of Wix with good points made so I decided to start this new website on Squarespace. So this is kind of a comparison of “what you see is what you get” site editors. It IS more beautiful and elegant, I think, though I could probably just re-create it in Wix, but the little bugs in this platform are astonishing.

      FOR EXAMPLE: Small changes that were requested by the person I am making this site for (i.e., ‘make those images run in one single column, centered, with bigger font in the captions, and not a tile-style design’) would have taken me approx. 3 minutes in Wix. It has taken me a few HOURS to 1) re-size all images so that SS doesn’t make each image enormous, into the whole width of the page; 2) since caption fonts will not re-size anywhere, sans a code that I found that did not work anyway, re-create all of those in text blocks. Take out the formatting of text, re-format all text. 3) move EACH image to a new place on the page which are NOT connected to those text blocks — whereupon, the text blocks MERGED AUTOMATICALLY with the text block it was now in proximity to by chance of rearranging said image. 4) re-format and re-create stupidly merged text blocks because why the F are they merged now?! They were separate for a reason!! 5) failing to see the changes updated consistently as they were made, constantly Save and Refresh page to make SURE these were updated. Still not done with that one stupid page. Let alone the many other oddities I have come across (ie., how on earth do you simply add a new “Details” item to a details page as they only offer 3…? But with no automatic option to add on more uniform items? Huh? I am sure there’s a way but they sure don’t make it easy).

      This sh*t is shocking …. SS has such a great rep but it feels like it is a BRAND above all else, and the strategy of the brand is to impose itself on each user’s site so that these sites LOOK and FEEL like a SS site above all else [ie., always changing the URL to .squarespace.com…. marketing right there]. Not always a bad thing when it works nicely (and i said, it is certainly beautiful) but definitely not cool when you want to make basic custom changes that will add a bit of uniqueness and identity to your site.. it is not nearly as flexible as I thought it would be, and while it will work for what I need at the moment, I have changed my mind about using SS for my upcoming blog which would be a much more creative endeavor and clearly SS cannot manage that.

      I’ll battle my way through WordPress or glide on through Wix, but no more flashy Squarespace that is like that aloof Manic Pixie Dream Girl who is super pretty and seems to live in some strange and wonderful world but turns out to be a total self-absorbed and shallow jerk who ditches you when you need her the most and has no good excuse for it. Byyyyeeeee Squarespace.

    • Frank Swift August 12, 2016 at 8:00 PM #

      Thanks for sharing! Yes it really does seem to lock you in. If you don’t mind the proprietary look I’m sure it might work for some people, but even mild changes to the layout can cause a nervous breakdown. It just isn’t suited to that end. Hope you find another solution that is far better!

    • M Kwan September 12, 2016 at 8:16 AM #

      I am writing this in September 2016. This is most horrible platform I have ever come across – I have used Adobe Business Catalyst, WordPress, Joomla, Dudamobile to build/update websites for clients. It simply is a total waste of time. I have just spent the last hour trying to upload some pictures and add a new page – for heaven’s sake, nothing will update. I am not even talking about how limited it is. Can you imagine allowing only one email address for email notification? That’s absurd! And the way it scales photos – another absurdity! I read somewhere that they have invested hundreds of millions of dollars to promote this platform – what a waste of money!

    • Frank Swift September 12, 2016 at 10:42 AM #

      Thanks for your comment, funny how even now some users have been appalled by how bad the platform has been. 😳

  4. Lisa August 12, 2013 at 12:47 PM #

    I use Squarespace simply because the design is something I could never do on WP. Partly because most WP themes look so similar and partly because I don’t want to learn how to do that. However, I use WP for my blogs and love blogging on WP. The plugins make blogging worthwhile and I’ve always done well with SEO on WP. SEO isn’t doing well on Squarespace, though I need to add more content to really compare the two.

    I agree with you, though. There are a lot of bugs on Squarespace and I HATE the fact that when I share a post or have it auto-post to social media, my custom domain changes to mydomain.squarespace.com. WTF? I reached out to Squarespace about this and they said you CAN share manually but who has time for that? Bloggers need tools that are efficient, not more time consuming. I almost cancelled my Squarespace account a few times due to bugs. I still have certain pages showing up with mismatched text even though I’ve done everything correctly. Fixing it manually doesn’t work until the third of fourth try. Hopefully they fix these things because I love the templates.

    • Frank Swift August 12, 2013 at 12:54 PM #

      Yeah that’s the thing, once a bug presents itself you lose all autonomy and have to rely on support to address it, if they ever do. I didn’t realize the social sharing doesn’t even use your own domain though. Yikes. Seriously?

      Things like that is why I went back to WordPress, but this time using a different approach, which was to cap plugins at 10 (harder than I thought), make sure I only used plugins that are well supported or commercial, and use a professionally made theme (WooThemes in this case). The irony is due to the flexibility of the Canvas theme I use I was able to use one of the Squarespace templates as inspiration to create a similar looking theme. Have to say I’m pretty happy with the site now, only needs minimal upkeep, and I can now focus most of my energy on blogging. :-)

  5. Toni August 15, 2013 at 8:14 AM #

    I tried Square Space and well It did not live up to my expectations over the Drag and Drop’ thing

    I expected that I cold place images and text ANYWHERE within a given template and not CSS savvy I couldn’t adjust. So what to do. I a am looking at WP BUT I want a Static landing page and operation very much like a web site. ( I don not like the WP template based on a Blog vertical scrolling and I do not like the landing pages that have ‘a bit’ at the bottom!) I am am Artist and Designer so I wish to exhibit work from a Gallery type Opt Full screen space. I have considered weebly and wiki??… the latter however is close BUT they can use ones Own Content if they choose. Thats no way. So still debating. (of course design my one is an option..)

    • Mollie Morrissette September 18, 2013 at 10:00 PM #

      I feel your pain – I really do. I have searched for daaaaaaaayys for a well designed theme strictly for artists and designers that were well coded, loaded fast and weren’t bloated with all kinds of crap (think Themeforest).

      Anyway, I finally found someone! Trouble is she’s German and she’s not terribly active in the U.S. (not a big contributor to the WP ecosystem – forums n’ stuff), but her designs are AMAZING. Take a look at Elma Studio (http://www.elmastudio.de/en/themes/) I think you will fall in love. I am partial to the Oita theme.

      Yeah and I feel Frank’s pain too. I was teetering on the WP SS fence for the same reasons, but after reading about Frank’s sucky experience – I think I’ll get off that fence. It’s that damned grass – you swear it always looks better on the other side. It’s just an illusion.

      (I have absolutely no relationship with Elma Studio, btw)

    • Frank Swift September 18, 2013 at 11:05 PM #

      Those themes DO look nice! I’ve been pretty happy with Woothemes though, in the end the functionality of their Canvas theme pretty much included every possible feature I could ask for, with enough autonomy for me to adapt it to a look and feel I could be happy with. I’m so in love with my blog now, lolz.

  6. Lisa August 19, 2013 at 10:11 PM #

    I agree, Frank. I’m a self-taught WPer, so I like having control of my site. I love that I just installed a WP plugin to automatically pull in all my Instagram photos into WP posts–Squarespace doesn’t have that capability. I finally went to a StudioPress/Genesis theme on my other site, mycultlife.com and love the theme’s capabilities.

    • Frank Swift August 20, 2013 at 1:02 AM #

      Nice, I hear awesome things about Genesis 2.0 as well, but I’ve been pretty happy with the Canvas theme by WooThemes. I can’t express enough how important it is just to have a theme framework that’s professionally done and well supported. I think that alone would resolve 50% of the problems people experience with WP (the other 50% being plugins, heh).

  7. Jason P August 20, 2013 at 2:15 PM #

    Frank, I am using Square Space right now and I love it and hate it. I know nothing about WP and I am not sure if I want to devote the time to learning a new trade or spend the time writing. Could Blogger be a viable alternative to WP?

    • Frank Swift August 20, 2013 at 2:23 PM #

      Been a long time since I used Blogger, and while they offer enticing features, it’s still a closed platform run at the whim of Google, who could literally at any point decide to end the service just like they did with Google Reader.

      If your intention is to find a blogging platform for personal use, I’d definitely recommend WordPress.COM (not ORG, the self hosted version).

      http://wordpress.com

      Great way to just dive into the WordPress platform and get a blog up and running right away. It’ll help you familiarize yourself with the interface and perhaps become comfortable enough with it to install a stand alone installation of WordPress on your own down the road (very easy to migrate from their network to your own blog). Hope this helps.

  8. Kyle Clegg August 23, 2013 at 6:16 PM #

    You forgot one thing. Commenters can’t edit or delete their comments!!!

    • Frank Swift August 23, 2013 at 6:18 PM #

      Well to be fair, WordPress doesn’t have that ability either unless you use a plugin or third party commenting system like Disqus. :-)

    • da bishop October 29, 2015 at 6:46 AM #

      muut.com

  9. Batmandela October 2, 2013 at 4:37 AM #

    Hi Frank,

    Felt like I could have written that post… I have been running a website on SS6 for the past few months, and have had personal phone calls from SS developers, since apparently my site is one of their top 2 or 3…

    I gave them a bucket list of things that needed to be fixed, some of which you mentioned – but I haven’t noticed any significant action on any of them.

    The deal-killer for me is trying to insert code from advertisers. Obviously not having access to the HTML means you have to rely on code injection to put ad content in every post. Which hasn’t worked for me at all.

    I’m now trying to migrate to WP (which I know pretty well) – but obviously formatting, featured images, authors, categories and more importantly, URLs are all screwed up.

    I wonder if you had any tips on moving?

    Limited to the .xml file that SS offers when “Exporting Site”.

    Anyhow – I agree with your summary. SquareSpace is great until you want to customize something. Or streamline things.

    I often get the feeling that their developers don’t actually know what it is like to run their own blogs. It’s a pity. I know SS6 has only been around for a year – but I think the “closed environment” paradigm is flawed.

    Which is why I have jailbroken my Apple devices. Unfortunately jail breaking Squarespace is not an option.

    Thanks for the post.

    Cheers

    • Frank Swift October 2, 2013 at 3:42 PM #

      Batmandela, I was lucky in that I didn’t have much in the way of content to migrate over. From what I remember, it did export the images within posts easily enough, but my comments were as good as gone. Goes without saying that the more the content the bigger the aggravation it’s going to be. You coould check this guy out for a ppossible conversion service, but not sure he’s still offering it.

      Don’t even get me started on Apple. They exemplified the kind of walled garden I was perfectly content with UNTIL iOS 7. Now I may do what I never thought I’d ever need to do: jailbreak my phone as well. Sigh. If they mutilate OS X the same way though…

  10. Brian Martin October 25, 2013 at 6:14 PM #

    just use joomla or wordpress.

  11. Toby November 22, 2013 at 12:14 AM #

    Awesome responses Frank, I really enjoyed that! (WordPress Developer dealing with Clients that need to migrate from SquareSpace to WordPress – painful).

    • Frank Swift November 22, 2013 at 1:14 AM #

      Ouch, good luck with that. O_O

    • da bishop October 29, 2015 at 6:48 AM #

      It’s actually easy.

      You can export WordPress archive XML.

      That’s the native Squarespace export format.

  12. Liz Jamieson November 30, 2013 at 4:55 AM #

    Nice post Frank. I use Genesis myself and teach people to use that theme framework and take people who were in your position of having a bad theme and too many poorly coded plugins to where you are now. A nice stable WordPress environment and total control based on understanding enough about the tools to work within some well-defined guidelines.

    As you now know WordPress can deliver big-time when you take a just a little care of it.

    • Frank Swift November 30, 2013 at 1:32 PM #

      I agree, a poorly coded theme can completely ruin the WordPress experience, leading those to incorrectly blame the WP platform when really they need to be more cautious in what themes and plugins they use. I may use Genesis myself one day, but I’ve been very happy with the quasi-theme framework Canvas by WooThemes (as well as their good support).

  13. bhavesh December 19, 2013 at 5:54 PM #

    My loading speed on squarespace is horrendously slow both in editing mode and user mode. They are waaaay slower than my facebook, linkedin and other social media sites which are loaded with high def images. Something horribly wrong at their end. Are they going out of business?

    They are not responding to people complaining about this on their support site. Are they not responding due to incompetence, arrogance or indifference? I wish moving to wordpress was easier than it is. I have a lot invested and the move will be quite taxing on my time. But if it remains this slow, I will be looking for professionals to help me move.

    • Frank Swift December 19, 2013 at 6:27 PM #

      Good luck, it wasn’t slow when I used it, so I had that going for me at least, but the lack of full export support to other platforms like WordPress is a major concern to think about. It’s very close to burning your bridges when opting for a SquareSpace solution.

    • Elizabeth Jamieson December 19, 2013 at 6:40 PM #

      We’ll help you move. If you want to make the move to a proper WordPress theme and have a good experience at theme end of it all.

  14. Al Borrelli (@AlBorrelli) January 31, 2014 at 3:28 AM #

    I’ve switched to SS recently (alborrelli.com) and don’t have any of the technical issues you guys seem to have. Yes, some of the features I’d love aren’t there, but it’s not broken by any means (for me). Though I did seem to take an SEO hit right away.. maybe I just need a bit of patience!

    • Frank Swift January 31, 2014 at 11:28 AM #

      If you have Google Webmaster Tools keep an eye on the search impressions. The domain may be the same but since it’s now pointing to SS servers the changeover may not be as foolhardy as you’d like. SS uses this weird mechanism for custom domains that results in your site actually having two different domains (the custom and the squarespace.com), effectively resulting in a duplicate site for all your content. Whether this impacts SEO or not I’m not sure, but it was one of my concerns when I used the service.

    • Jason Barone February 16, 2014 at 2:31 AM #

      Hey Frank, I haven’t seen this at all in my experience. I’ve launched a metric ton of Squarespace websites and my SEO results are often better on Squarespace than the previous platform we came from. This may or may not be a problem is how the person configured their domain name. When setup correctly the .squarespace.com URL usually doesn’t appear in Google.

      [Editor’s Note: This commenter is exploiting the phrase “Squarespace sucks” in Google searches (by creating a misleading landing page with those same keywords) in an attempt to direct people to his site and solicit their business in developing Squarespace powered platforms. Pretty tacky.]

    • Frank Swift February 16, 2014 at 12:03 PM #

      Good to know, the split up in domain still always seemed rather clunky to me. Do you know if they improved image placements so captions can be customized separately from the ALT tags? That was another SEO issue that annoyed me at the time.

  15. lifeonmygayisland February 8, 2014 at 6:01 AM #

    I tried a trial of Squarespace once and didn’t like it but also didn’t spend much time with it. In fact I never wrote a single blog…just peaked around and never had time to go back before my trial expired. Tonight I signed up for another trial and tried writing a blog.
    I posted a blog that I had posted using my WordPress site and, after trying to get things just right god only knows how many times, totally hosed up the layout (pictures were involved and I wanted them just so!) and just said screw it!
    I thought things were going well with SS but it never would show up in real life how it looked when I was editing it. And I hated everything about it! So I’m thinking, “this is going to suck just as bad.” But then I found you. After reading this post I’m just saying the hell with SS!
    Thanks, but I’m going to check out your other stuff! I like to annoy people, too!

    • Christina Trout February 2, 2015 at 10:30 PM #

      …website when I get it onto WP:) these words could have been mine….yea, the lag time to see my edits was annoying me so I googled ‘how long to load in squarespace…something, something’ and your blog popped up. Laughing out loud funny. enjoyed that bit of honesty and give a sh*& attitude. So refreshing as the big boys talk over us. Content is coming back I hear.

  16. Linda Sherman Gordon (@LindaSherman) February 13, 2014 at 8:55 PM #

    Thanks. Tweeted. Just saw a SquareSpace ad on TV and that concerned me. Many of us were severely inconvenienced when Posterous was removed after Twitter bought it. I had three years of “casual blogging” on one of them. Finally getting AskLindaSherman.com relaunched this week. WordPress is not just the best platform, it is important to choose a platform that will be there in the future.

    • Frank Swift February 14, 2014 at 12:34 PM #

      I’ve seen those ads as well, lol. I’m hoping if there’s enough pushback from customers dissatisfied with the quality of their service they’ll start taking steps to make some dramatic improvements. I don’t think given the nature of their platform that it will ever be as autonomous as WordPress is, so whatever limitations exist would be something users would have to live with. Ultimately I had a better experience using a professionally supported theme and keeping WP’s plugin usage limited to 10 well coded plugins.

  17. Christin McLeod February 25, 2014 at 2:00 AM #

    I’m really grateful I ran across this post. You just saved me buckets of time and many brain cells! I literally just signed up for the SS trial about 30 minutes ago and started getting suspicious of the platform when I couldn’t even browse themes due to the snail’s pace load time (all other websites I visit are just fine at the moment). I’m pretty new to blogging and have very limited experience with WP, but think I’ll expand on that knowledge and stick to what’s tried and true. Thanks for saving me the heartache!!! *breathes a giant sigh of relief*

    • Frank Swift February 25, 2014 at 12:09 PM #

      You’re welcome!

  18. golowerlisa April 1, 2014 at 1:59 PM #

    I’m just trying to persuade a client that WordPress is more flexible than anything else out there. I’m really surprised to see you using a Woo theme though, if you like good customer service then Woo is not the place to get it. Never, ever again as long as I live will I be using any of their themes or plugins.

    • Frank Swift April 1, 2014 at 2:04 PM #

      I never really had a problem with their customer service, in fact the owner himself once responded to a ticket request and hand coded a solution for me. Have you used their Canvas theme? I made a point of only using themes that are regularly updated or part of their flagship product, which is what Canvas is.

      Their upgrade process still needs a ton of work though. You don’t even get email notification for when a theme has been updated.

  19. DJ April 3, 2014 at 4:48 PM #

    Hmm, you can do most of those things in SS (I’m a convert, I only use WP when I *have* to now, and I find it completely unpleasant and inefficient), but if you’re dealing with enormous amounts of content, or a newspaper or magazine site, SS is not your answer.

    BUT – a lot of your complaints ARE doable, but SS lacks a real centralized community. I walk people who SWEAR they will never understand it occasionally (last night I even did it over the PHONE), and within 2 hours they are SO PUMPED.

    It’s a deceptively smart solution. I’m a designer and I’m fairly strong at code and it irritates me when I read summations of the two turn into “SS is for people afraid of code who want pretty, fast web sites.” That’s not the case at all. I’d argue coding for SS is more challenging actually because the backend is strange and you have to McGyver around your solutions.

    Quirks aside, I choose SS any day of the week. I’m starting to get to the point where I won’t even take on WP contracts anymore. I’m setting up a Google hangout for SS support and tips, the demand has boomed since the SuperBowl commercials, and there’s very few “experts” on the platform.

    • Frank Swift April 3, 2014 at 5:54 PM #

      Are you using their developer platform? http://developers.squarespace.com/

      This seems to be were the most autonomous possibilities are, but ironically it falls outside of the purview of many WordPress users who are more comfortable with expanding their site’s power via the use of plugins you can set and forget.

  20. Dynac April 23, 2014 at 3:05 AM #

    This feedback gave me a good laugh. Thanks. Right now however, SS is almost perfect for me and the have the developers mode which allows you to edit the html directly. All in all, I wish I had someone like you writing on my site.

    • Frank Swift April 23, 2014 at 12:45 PM #

      Thanks, I rather enjoy writing even though I suck at it. I understand the developer mode is very powerful, so for those who can access and use it directly, it definitely provides more versatility than a standard setup. Hope it works well for you.

  21. captaincake8 May 18, 2014 at 2:56 PM #

    [trollish comment deleted by editor, next time learn to read before making idiotic comments]

  22. Chel July 14, 2014 at 2:22 PM #

    Yeah #$%^ you Squarespace.

  23. pejman sabet August 9, 2014 at 2:38 AM #

    Thank you for this feedback – I have been using SP for clients and have found some pros and cons as well. I love the framework and the ease to make pages and content but the only drawback that is major in my opinion, is you have to give them your social media logins as opposed to just adding a link to your social account within WP. So you never know what they are doing with your social media accounts. Although the usability from the cms seems great, there is still major customization and there’s a lot of limitations in regards to UX and conversion work flow process. What I also found is if you use a theme and suddenly you want to change a layout, you can run into limitations and feedback from customer service saying “sorry this theme does not allow that” and then you have to start over from scratch using a separate theme, and you have no way knowing how your content or creatives will look on their new theme. I think SP may be great for a simple landing page or blog but for SEO purposes, not link your domain to their server. If you browse actual sites and try looking for a search term in google, I don’t see a lot of SQ sites ranking for those terms.

    • Frank Swift August 9, 2014 at 9:37 AM #

      Thanks for your comment pejman. I found SquareSpace required too much loss of control for the sake of convenience, so for the amount of autonomy I wanted WordPress proved to be the better solution.

  24. vuang September 5, 2014 at 11:19 AM #

    I hate SS too… even tho there are some nice looking site built on SS, the CMS of SS is just so buggie… I have experience many similar situation as the people describe here, I am just happy to find that I am not the only one :)

  25. HalGal October 31, 2014 at 8:50 AM #

    So I found this site by googling “squarespace sucks”. Indeed it does suck, to me at least.

    I have built sites on WordPress and Wix, and have done ecommerce on Big Cartel and Shopify. Wix is my fave, I love it. It is not devoid of issues, but I find that what I sacrifice in rare frustrations is compensated by how incredibly easy it is to work with. Now I would not recommend Wix for a blog, ever. However if an artist just wants a site to showcase their work, Wix does a great job. Squarespace? That’s a resounding NOPE.

    My blog is on WordPress too, it seems to fit the bill mostly. For just ease of use, I find Wix to be extremely easy to hand over to a client. Yes it is static but I’m fine with that and honestly most clients are too. I’ve talked to several artist friends of mine and they are all surprisingly going to Wix as well.

    Squarespace this morning has just about made me pull my hair out. I’m working on my sister’s site as a favor for her. Generally I can get on a platform and just go. Usually, if the company markets it that way, you should be able to do that. I feel like a Neanderthal in Squarespace. I can’t even locate the preview mode, to change a font, which they tell me is required to even change one. I go into help and search “access preview mode”, and I come up with nothing. I google “change font in squarespace” and squarespace tells me to “go to preview mode” and access “typography”. WHERE THE HELL IS PREVIEW MODE SS?! Sigh….

    IT SHOULD NOT BE THIS HARD AND I AM NOT THIS SLOW! I swear!!

    So yes, I recommended to sis that she needs to move to either WordPress or Wix, and be done with it.

    • HalGal October 31, 2014 at 9:00 AM #

      My only big complaint with Wix is really load times. I don’t like paying for bandwidth, but I can see why they do it. It’s all a give and take. Again it’s cheap, if you want the most basic plan you can pay a very low price for a site monthly to remove the banner. It may take a freaking minute to load at the lowest plan, depending on the resolution of your photos, which I dont like. HOWEVER, they do some pretty decent sales so you can purchase a year for even cheaper than that, which is what I did for the highest paid plan, I got it during a totally random one night 70% off thing, and my site loads just fine. My personal site is on Wix for my services.

    • Frank Swift October 31, 2014 at 5:00 PM #

      It’s a paradox, it automates some of the design building and maintenance process but its UI is completely counterintuitive. In the end the issues I had with it were beyond the ability to fix since it was a closed platform then. So glad I went back to WordPress. :D

    • Alexandra Ryan January 27, 2015 at 10:24 PM #

      THANK YOU! I swear I am not usually this stupid but SS has been making me question things. I’m leaving!

    • Frank Swift January 27, 2015 at 11:09 PM #

      Surprised that even now there seems to be problems with the platform. Guess they’re not learning.

    • da bishop October 29, 2015 at 6:50 AM #

      Umm…

      I take it you’re not trying to do 3d graphics in a element then.

  26. Alexandra Ryan January 27, 2015 at 10:20 PM #

    Thanks for this post. I started trying SS yesterday as I found some good reviews, but am finding it pretty frustrating already and going to trial a couple of other places first.

    I am simply trying to build a basic website, but am finding navigation is not very user-friendly… like it’s not obvious what you need to click in or go to to achieve what you’re after. The trial format is particularly annoying. I spent about 45 minutes yesterday writing part of my home page and come back today and it’s just gone. Completeley. I feel like I’ve just written a high school essay forgot to hit save, or something. Except that I did save it. The finished sites look pretty but I don’t know if I can be bothered with this. If it’s supposed to be a platform that anyone with a decent amount of computer savvy can use, it shouldn’t be so difficult to use.

  27. Hugh January 31, 2015 at 9:54 PM #

    Hi there, Some very useful advice in this thread that I wish I’d read sooner. I would just add from my recent experience that if you are a web design dummy like myself and are looking for an easy to use template driven web builder, I would go with Wix rather than Squarespace.

    I got most of the way through putting together a site using an (albeit really nice looking) SS template only to find a bunch of really annoying things (which I wont bore you with) about the template that you simply cant change. I’m redoing it with wix now and the builder seems to give a vast amount more control.

    • Frank Swift January 31, 2015 at 9:57 PM #

      Glad Wix seems to be working better for you!

  28. Kelly February 20, 2015 at 6:51 PM #

    I was doing some extra research on Squarspace after playing with a trial. I hit this post. I have no interest in using personally, Im a designer so I wanted to learn it. I see its a bit older post but, so relevant still!

    Oh my how limited it is and I didn’t even dive into it enough to find the Real limits like you. Its more limiting than I thought after reading this!

    WordPress is So robust, nothing compares if you want maximum control. I always try and talk any client into it but we know how it goes… ha ha.

    Trick is with WordPress is always buy a quality theme that offers support. Buy a theme with good bells and whistles and you wont have to use much for plugins. Also try to always used a trusted plugin if you use one. I always find good themes and plugins at Themeforest.

    Anyways, I enjoyed this post! :)

    • Frank Swift February 20, 2015 at 8:11 PM #

      Thanks for visiting Kelly! My understanding is that Squarespace’s target base are designers who want to mass develop and maintain sites for many clients with minimal fuss. Whether it achieves that successfully is probably a hit or miss proposition, but you do lose a LOT in the tradeoffs with the notable lack of autonomy and the frustrating bugs that others have shared here.

  29. Sed February 24, 2015 at 4:23 AM #

    This post is awesome…

    As the creator of a new blogging platform… I love reading this post and all of it’s comments over and over again to remind myself what users value most in a blogging platform.

    Thank you!

  30. jessica March 3, 2015 at 2:17 PM #

    I have a client that uses SS and I have to maintain 1 page of it, just one. Every time I use it I end up googling “I hate Squarespace”. There are so many things wrong with it I could write a book. It took me 3 hours to log in when I first started using it because the login and password are (or were) in a pop-up window. Anyway, it’s nice to know I’m not alone that SS is awful. I with they’d fix their document upload. Every time I try to add a PDF to link to, I have to add it by way of the link icon, then go back and do it again because it never works the first time. Horrible, horrible software.

    • Frank Swift March 3, 2015 at 11:19 PM #

      Thanks for visiting, and nope you’re definitely not the only one!

  31. bumersindo April 20, 2015 at 3:23 PM #

    I had to do some SS for work, but i´m hating it!!
    Feels like Apple philosophy: “we´ll do it for you, and we´ll do it OUR way”.
    I totally hate it. I´ll stay on WordPress!!

  32. Michael April 28, 2015 at 5:39 PM #

    RIP VIrb, you were good to us! All hail GoDaddy slaughterer or Virb

  33. Olivia April 30, 2015 at 11:45 AM #

    I’ve had squarespace since Oct. 2013 and it’s improved dramatically. Almost everything you listed can be done easily. I have used WP, wix, weebly, and blogger, and I must say, squarespace is definitely my favorite.

    http://www.ochristine.com

  34. Rebecca May 14, 2015 at 4:45 PM #

    Just stumbled upon this as I’m debating whether to move my blog over to my shiny new SS site. Keeping my fingers crossed that the site doesn’t end up as buggy and frustrating for me as it has been for you. I so do not have time to comb through forums and dig through code!

    • Frank Swift May 14, 2015 at 4:47 PM #

      Good luck, hope you don’t have any issues with the new setup!

  35. Nancy Crowley May 18, 2015 at 7:55 PM #

    Well I am glad I did one final look-see at the folks are saying about SS. Frankly, Frank, I don’t think I will go ahead with the handing over my visa now. But I am also at a loss for what to do about my workpress site.

    You wrote: Squarespace gave me hope by offering an all in one solution, starting with taking care of all the hosting backend (and thus ensuring that I’ll never have to deal with frantic emails from my host claiming I’m using too many resources because one of my plugins basically blew up their server.)

    This is what I am up against, and I am ‘just’ a blogger. I am lucky if i get 10 hits a month on my blog, but I love writing it. I’m with InMotion Hosting, and they just keep sending me these automated emails, with info on what’s wrong, but it’s all greek to me. None of the plugins they mention are installed.

    So I am going to weed through each post now, and re-look at my plugins, and try to resize every picture. I will have a look at Woothemes as well. Do they provide hosting service as well?

    thanks
    Nancy

    • Kelly May 19, 2015 at 7:35 AM #

      Nancy, They may just be sending emails alerting there are issues with those plugins, they send them to all WordPress users they have using their hosting. They are just letting you know there may be an issue. Its good they let you know said plugin may cause issues.

      I have them from my host time to time too even though Im not using said plugin either.

      I would not worry if you are not using any of those plugins. Biggest thing with any plugin/theme is keep up with updates when it prompts you to update. :)

      Less is more with plugins as they can cause issues and bloat dragging your site down. Finding a great theme can help eliminate heavy plugin use because the theme is filled with its own features.

      Im running only eight plugins aside from what I need to use Woo/my theme. My theme has all the features I need already. :)

      Hope that helps you.

    • Frank Swift May 19, 2015 at 11:37 AM #

      Nancy, if you really like WordPress, one possible option is to use WordPress.com as an all in one solution so you can move away from the headache of trying to manage the backend of your site. You won’t be able to use plugins, but WP.com contains a litany of features (including those that come with Jetpack’s plugin) so the platform should provide nearly everything you need. You may have to go with a different theme though, so the look of your site will likely change.

      There’s also Weebly.com, you can find a comparison between that and WordPress (self hosted) here just to give you a sense of the difference:

      http://www.wpbeginner.com/opinion/wordpress-vs-weebly-which-one-is-better-comparison/

      Good luck!

    • Sed May 23, 2015 at 2:10 PM #

      Maybe SunSed.com is for you! Try it for free, I promise that you are going to love it.

      + Revolutionary editor designed for writers. (try @ sunsed.com without sign up!)

      + Super fast!

      + live search that let’s your viewers find every character

      + Automatic image size optimization

      + Fully managed and hosted on Google Cloud.

      Happy blogging

      Sed, CoFounder of SunSed ;)

  36. jordan June 29, 2015 at 2:37 PM #

    I don’t know if has been mentioned already. I’m not about to read all the comments, but I am using squaresoace and have my own issues which is how i found your site, but you mention that you had trouble with the lack of the…

    “little Squarespace widget overlayed on your site where you can make changes to your design or click to access your dashboard doesn’t show up.

    When accessing your site from your own domain without the squarespace part, you can just press the escape button and a little icon will show in the top left corner which initiates the menu you are used to as long as you are logged in. This works for all squarespace sites. even the ones that aren’t yours. when I suspect a site was made with SS due to their limited templates, i always give the esc a go and am mostly proven correct in my assumptions. I’m liking the site btw.

    thanks.

    Jordan.

  37. bumersindo July 16, 2015 at 3:55 PM #

    Squarespace is trying to force me to link my facebook in order to display a socialmedia icon… WTF?!

    This is a client site, it’s not related at all with MY accounts.

    And why on earth do they need to link accounts just to display a link to a facebook page.

    I HATE SQUARESPACE!!!!!

  38. da bishop October 29, 2015 at 6:41 AM #

    Pretty much every single gripe you’ve got can be fixed using squarespace’s developer mode combined with GitHub.

    For me, Squarespace isn’t a wordpress killer. I wouldn’t use wordpress even at gunpoint. Not Joomla!. Not Drupal.

    No PHP. Not proper software.

    C++, Python, Java, those are programming languages with some sort of efficiency and security in mind.

    PHP is a festering pit of scripting language creeping featuritis.

    _____

    Thing about Squarespace is that once you learn how it’s all built, you learn that it’s in terms of technology and general good quality design, it’s built to a high caliber, so it doesn’t explode when you try to customise it.

    Of course, it does basically force your choice of technology. You’ll be using LESS. You’ll be using JSON. However, nobody should be complaining about these choices.

  39. Erica October 29, 2015 at 7:37 PM #

    I have SO many pet peeves with Squarespace that it makes me miss WordPress VERY dearly. The Squarespace app for starters is IMPOSSIBLE. The WordPress app made instant blogging from my phone a seamless process. Even when I was blogging on Tumblr, I experienced a much more fluid, blogging experience than Squarespace.

    Another important item that baffles me is that Sqarespace does not have any tool to EXPORT METRICS. That is just crazy to me. I can find a tool to export my instagram metrics, but nothing for my actual site!

    It also drives me crazy how long it can take for Squarespace to upload a photo or piece of media. I fell in love with Squarespace because of the clean layouts, and I think mainly the lovely cover page I have. Anyway, I just needed somewhere to vent about Squarespace because I frankly believe it is overrated. I am so anxious but cautious to return to WordPress.

    Oh and yes – it makes it VERY trick to preview a post.

  40. Kellie Sue December 12, 2015 at 7:53 PM #

    Hi Frank,

    I really, really appreciate your article, shared experience, as well as the commenters on your blog who weren’t current SS employees, developers, etc. I have been so frustrated with my WordPress this week and when I shared my woes with my friend, she suggested that I try SS. It much more expensive for us to use them though because I already have my site up and use a Cpanel with email and stuff through GoDaddy where I have my hosting. I love GoDaddy because they have 24/7 people available to walk me through stuff like setting up my domaines, installing wordpress, etc. I don’t work for them, by the way, or anything.
    I have been using The7 Theme that I bought on Envato under Themeforest. I have had a great experience with them doing frequent updates and also all of the plugins being up to date regularly that comes with the theme. I am a pretty novice tech person, so their Visual Composer (which I’m currently having an issue with as it’s not showing up on my Portfolio pages — although it is on the rest of the site, so I have a tech support ticket in with them. They usually get back to me within 24 hours, but they haven’t yet and it’s been about 36. I know that they will though. I have had them fix a couple of things that were buggy before… I have found that the more sales that a theme has, the better the chances are that it will be well-maintained, updated, supported, etc.
    I’m still feeling frustrated with WordPress, but since I have 3 sites I’m working on right now, the cost of paying for all of them on SS is pretty steep and if it’s not a better — significantly better — option, then I’m gonna stay where I am.
    Thank you again for writing this and for maintaining your blog and moderating your comments so thoroughly. I really appreciate the resource and the honesty. I know that Wix can also be wicked about letting people grab their domaine names back if you choose to go elsewhere, but I don’t have much experience with them either.

    Happy holidays!

    -Kellie Sue

    • Frank Swift December 13, 2015 at 9:49 AM #

      Hey Kellie Sue,

      Glad you’re finding good support to work out some of the technical glitches! As I mentioned earlier, I think the best way to run WordPress is with as few plugins as possible (and those plugins being well supported) and a professional theme. Ever since I finally had the good sense to go that route WordPress has been a champ. Now I just have to find my muse again so I can return to being a prolific blogger. ;-)

  41. Jim Camomile January 7, 2016 at 1:15 PM #

    Hi Frank,

    I am currently trying to migrate my client’s site from WordPress to SS. To the credit of Squarespace, a lot of the issues you mention in your post a few years ago have been solved. Unfortunately I have found a whole new crop of issues trying to migrate this website and have it hold together. I think there are just too many use cases for something like SS to ever be able to please any users unless their hopes and needs fall within a narrow span.

    • Frank Swift January 7, 2016 at 1:20 PM #

      I’ve heard it before, in that SS’s value seems to be based on being able to mass-scale and build a large number of websites with blog components in a relatively quick period of time. I don’t know if that’s still true though as there are probably designers now who have been able to perfect scaling WordPress powered sites with the right tools and approach.

  42. Dylan Robertson April 13, 2016 at 10:16 AM #

    Hi Frank,

    I was very close to migrating from WP to SS, but decided to Google “I hate SquareSpace” and found your article.

    WP is costing me an arm and leg what with wpEngine, wpCurve, premium plugins, etc. – it all adds up.

    But, the issues you highlighted are unacceptable to me, and so I cannot move to SS.

    Also, there has been some negative press about racism within the company, which was a turn off.
    https://medium.com/@amelielamont/not-a-black-chair-8a8e7e2b9140
    http://techcrunch.com/2016/03/15/squarespace-former-employee-alleges-overt-racism/

    So, for now, I’m going to make the best of WP. Version 4.5 just came out and I’ve upgraded without any issues.

    I’m not a techie, but with the combination of full-service hosting (wpEngine), on-demand support (wpCurve), and being very selective about my theme (Array Themes), and plugins, things have generally been working themselves out.

    People like to say how WP is dated, but it’s constantly innovating.

    What happens if SquareSpace’s CEO gets hit by a bus? Will the company implode?

    WP is so decentralized that even if Automattic vanished tomorrow, it would somehow continue. That’s the beauty of open source.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing your opinions and experiences.

    I highly respect what SS has achieved and that they have created a stylish and well-thought-out product, but I just can’t see how they can out-innovate the entire WP ecosystem.

    With WP, for every single little detail, I can find competing plugins and choose the best. The possibilities are unlimited and I’m looking forward to the future and what it may bring.

    • Frank Swift April 13, 2016 at 10:35 AM #

      Thanks for your thoughts! I think the important thing I learned was to simplify WP as much as I reasonably. I don’t think most people need the bells and whistles of services like WPEngine, it’s just a matter of picking a well supported theme and using no more than 10 plugins (all of which should be well supported and regularly maintained by their developers, which looks like that’s what you’ve basically done too.

      I realized most of my problems stemmed from using bloated free WordPress themes that were basically abandonware and installing crazy amounts of plugins just because they seemed cool. At one time I had over 100 plugins installed and trying to get more like I was addicted to crack. Good times. 😳

      Much happier now, especially with WP’s auto-updates that ensures my site practically runs itself. 😎

  43. Alan Snake April 20, 2016 at 3:56 AM #

    Hmmm… Actually, many people are blind and it is a common courtesy in 2016 for designers to put a short description of what is in the image in the caption. This simply makes the online world make basic sense to a blind person. Maybe the Squarespace designers actually work in an office with people with disabilities. Maybe they decided that this would help SEO too, so why not make it “just the way things are done,” since it’s both nice (er… read what real human beings do) and effective.

  44. Szilvia July 2, 2016 at 8:02 PM #

    I concur. I’m glad I only signed up to a month after the 14 day trial ended and didn’t register a domain name through them. I don’t like it at all.
    1. The share buttons don’t work properly on most of their templates.
    2. What’s with uploading the same image 3 times if you want it to appear in 3 places (eg. in a gallery, as a featured image and your cover page for example). At least with WordPress you only have to upload it once.
    3. The only thing you can “drag and drop” is the order of your pages so they appear in a different order on the menu. Ummm you can do that with WordPress too.
    4. Lightboxes don’t work properly on half the themes. You can’t even use the arrow buttons on the keyboard to move from one image to the next. Are they joking? Are the photography bloggers and photography youtubers who are encouraging people to use Squarespace joking?
    5. Blog categories, archives, recent post lists – good luck achieving any of that using Squarespace.
    6. Sometimes you can click on the edit page content option and other times you can’t.

    Overall, I get the impression that the e-commerce on it is their saving grace, but that’s just an impression. I haven’t actually tried to set up the shop yet because my immediate goal is just to set up a photography portfolio with my best work (as opposed to my Flickr and Facebook pages where I’ve shared a lot more than just the ones I’m personally happiest with).

    However, I also had multiple issues with WordPress.org which is why I gave up and haven’t set up a portfolio or blogged in years. I spent a lot of time with WordPress in 2014 but most of it was time messing around with different free templates and plugins and not liking most of them (and at one stage having to email my web hosting service because I pasted in some code and it turned my whole site white so I couldn’t see a thing and therefore couldn’t fix it myself, so they just reverted it back to the most recent backup they had).

    Looking back I probably should have been more active on WordPress forums (instead of just Googling what had already been written) and asked for help finding the right paid theme with WooCommerce built in. I also partly gave up because I couldn’t get themes with a photo grid on the home page to do what I wanted it to do. ie. they would link to blog posts with a featured image, but not to gallery pages with a featured image. I suspect that’s what the newer “portfolio” functionality built into WordPress is supposed to do, but I also couldn’t get that working properly and couldn’t find any instructions.

    • Frank Swift July 3, 2016 at 3:00 PM #

      Thanks for sharing! I basically struggled with WordPress as well until I finally realized I was trying to do too much with it. Things got much better once I accepted some of its limitations and avoided using themes/plugins that weren’t well supported, even if that means paying a bit more. Ever since it’s been smooth sailing. (knock on wood)

  45. alvaro August 15, 2016 at 12:55 PM #

    If you are thinking on using Squarespace DON´T DO IT!!! It is terrible!!!

    For me the problems it is there are a lot of inconstancies around the service, bugs, sometimes the servers shutdown, and a lot of moronic ideas on how squarespace implemented design customisations.

    Each template works different, so you have to study the template to understand how it works, because when you add content to a template will render completely different according on the template you are working. That makes you lost a lot of time. It is frustrating, a NIGHTMARE, because in the end you have to accept that your site will look how they want it to, not how you like.

    Spacing, color, adding content, you name it, there is always something that makes all your effort gone wasted because it can´t be implemented. In the end you can´t use your design and you have to return to the drawing board and adapt (if you can) your design to the possibilities on the template and the system.

    So you have to live with the limitations of each template. In the end you choose the least bad option, and tolerate all the design mistakes the builders did when they programmed the platform.

    If you can live with the template as it is and don´t change anything maybe can be a partial solution. But in the end there are a lot of other problems that makes everything a terrible experience

    For example they compress by default all the images you upload, independently on the size and dimensions of the file, that causes an image look soft, it lost quality. If you up load a logo with little details forget about it, those details are gone. So prepare yourself to change your logo if it has little details.

    There is an option of uploading a file and store it on sqaurespace servers, but please don´t use something bigger than 10 mb. Yes, you hear well, 10 mb!!!

    And I can go on and on, but I can´t waste more time with this, I needed to take this out of my system and tell to the world what you can have if you use this service. I hope they read this and fix something one day.

    I thought it would be a great tool that will make me save time and money, but I think it is the other way around.

  46. YaBoiAdamits October 2, 2016 at 1:25 AM #

    This is coming from a developer who has mostly built web applications without the use of platforms like WordPress and SquareSpace, but I have had the opposite experience. I find wordpress to be a headache wherein the design patterns make development extremely tedious and difficult, and slowness inevitable when you scale your website. Basically, if there is not an existing plugin for what you want to do on WordPress, you either invest a massive amount of time for a simple feature, or deem it impossible.

    SquareSpace is easy to hit the ground running, easy to deploy, and the fact that you are just rendering JSON makes it very easy to develop on if your needs are simple, like a blog, or small e-commerce shop. Also, it seems that the themes developed for it are generally less buggy.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The September Round-Up | Little Outdoor Kylie - October 1, 2013

    […] This article is a bit of guilty pleasure, but I found it at the height of my Squarespace rage after typing “Squarespace sucks” into Google. Seems that the chap who wrote it was experiencing similar frustrating issues with the too-good-to-be-true blogging platform. […]

  2. Happy 2014 and Happy One Year Anniversary to my Blog! - A Geek in the Wilderness - January 1, 2014

    […] simplicity and emphasis on writing in mind, I started out using the Squarespace platform, albeit with less than agreeable results.  I had used WordPress for my old blog before, which had given me all sorts of grief over the […]

  3. 8 Reasons Why Free Websites Are Bad for Business | Sudden Impact Web Design - June 20, 2016

    […] Weebly, WordPress.com, SquareSpace, and literally thousands of other DIY services exist online offering free websites for the small […]

  4. Friday Introductions | INNER LIFE GOALS: Astrology + Career Advice - September 16, 2016

    […] and money because of the convenience of their prettily designed templates and drag-and-drop editor. Frank Swift has a detailed post on the agony involved with a platform that doesn’t work as it […]

  5. Wordpress vs Squarespace - Webly Alfred | Helping You Slay Your Tech Monsters! - February 28, 2017

    […] whatever reason Squarespace goes down (remember when Blogger went down? plus read this used to be Squarespace lover nightmare!), your website goes down with […]

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes

Clicky