“It costs how much to build a website from scratch!?” Most inquiries into Squarespace pricing plans start the same way: a shocking revelation that almost no young companies can afford to create and host websites on their own, so they look into more cost-effective alternatives. Their search typically leads them to Squarespace (or its main competitor Wix).
But what are your options when it comes to Squarespace pricing and are the extra features worth it? How much can you expect to pay—or save—by choosing Squarespace? If you’ve already looked into how to design a website with Squarespace and you like its usability, the only remaining obstacle is the price. So in this guide, we explain the differences in the Squarespace pricing plans, as well as extra costs, so you can make an informed decision that’s best for your budget.
Overview of Squarespace pricing and features
For one thing, Squarespace doesn’t have many add-ons or plugins (which they call “extensions”), and the ones they do have are mostly for integrating external tools like QuickBooks or Xero. There are also “Premium integrations,” more sophisticated add-ons for features like reservation booking, but for the most part, Squarespace users have everything they need right out of the box.
That simplifies the pricing because you don’t have to tack-on the expenses of additional apps. However, if you need a particular feature on your site, you have to check to see if it’s available in one of the Squarespace pricing plans before you sign up.
Moreover, many of the “additional features” that other builders charge extra for are available as part of the normal Squarespace plans. All of their plans, even the most basic, offer:
- Unlimited bandwidth and storage
- Custom domain name
- SSL certificate
- 24/7 customer support
This makes it much easier to budget for a Squarespace website: all you have to do is choose the right plan for you out of the four options: Personal, Business, Basic Commerce and Advanced Commerce. However, the four Squarespace pricing plans are all very different, so let’s take a closer look at what they each bring to the table.
Squarespace pricing plans
In a nutshell, here are the monthly costs of the Squarespace pricing plans, when paid annually:
The names of the plans say it all, but let’s take a closer look at the features and drawbacks you can expect from each, as well as whom they’re recommended for.
The Personal plan is the most basic, with the least features but the lowest cost. It’s aimed at more casual websites, as opposed to serious company websites that expect high traffic.
The cheapest of the Squarespace pricing plans offers only the essentials, but as we explained above, that’s still pretty generous (hosting, domain, unlimited storage, etc.). The Personal plan is more about what you don’t get—for example, you can’t access the Premium features. Here’s a list of features that are not available on the Personal plan:
- ecommerce functionality
- professional email
- innate marketing tools
- Premium features
- certain design options, which Squarespace calls “blocks”
It’s also worth mentioning that the Personal plan only allows two contributors, whereas the other plans have no limit. Also, the analytics you get with the Personal plan is pretty lackluster—you have to buy a higher tier to access the “Advanced Analytics.”
- portfolio sites
- personal blogs
- landing pages
- passion projects
- business sites on a super-strict budget that can’t afford the other plans
The Business plan is when things get serious. For starters, you can start accepting payments with this plan, but there’s plenty of other features to make it worth the money:
- advanced analytics like traffic alerts, abandoned cart statistics and form/button conversions
- professional email (one free year of G Suite when you register with a domain)
- promotional pop-ups and banners
- Premium integrations and blocks
- $100 worth of credit in Google Adwords
In fact, the Business plan has everything most companies need from their website. The only feature it falls short on is ecommerce—although you can still sell unlimited products with the Business plan, Squarespace charges a 3% transactions fee. Additionally, you have to use external checkouts, which means customers have to leave your site and go to a third-party gateway when it’s time to pay.
If you plan on selling a lot through your site, you’re better off with one of the Commerce plans, which dont have transaction fees at all.
- websites for established businesses
- new businesses who want a website to build awareness
- companies/individuals who want to sell a small amount of merchandise (such as musicians or artists)
- high-end portfolios
The simplest of the Squarespace pricing plans for ecommerce, the Basic Commerce plan has more and better features for selling than the Business plan, but not quite as many as the Advanced Commerce plan.
The most significant improvement upon the Business plan is that the Basic Commerce plan has no transaction fees. If you plan on using your site for ecommerce, paying extra for the Basic Commerce plan could actually save you money compared to the Business plan with its 3% transaction fee.
Aside from that, you get everything in the Business plan, plus:
- customer accounts
- checkout on your domain
- special ecommerce design features
- Display Related Products
- Product Waitlists
- Spreadsheet Bulk Editing (for inventories)
- ecommerce analytics
- integration with Instagram and Facebook’s Product Catalog
- limited availability labels (small text that displays how many items are left in stock, to incentive sales)
- Point of Sale capabilities (U.S. only)
The Basic Commerce plan has all the essentials for a budding online store, and then some. The only features it lacks are top-of-the-line, reserved for the Advanced Commerce plan.
- small-scale online stores
- new ecommerce brands starting out
- business sites that sell a lot of merchandise
Last, we have the most expensive of the Squarespace pricing plans: Advanced Commerce, for high-end ecommerce sites. This plan offers all of the features we’ve mentioned before, plus of few extra perks just for this tier—like carrier-calculated shipping, which posts the “real-time rates” for shipping costs on your page based on the user’s address and the item’s weight and dimensions:
- subscription payments (for recurring sales like subscription boxes)
- abandoned cart email reminders
- more control over promotions
- automatically applied discounts
- limiting discount usage (per discount or per customer)
- carrier-calculated shipping (for FedEx, UPS and USPS)
- Commerce APIs for custom integrations
This is truly the no-holds-barred Squarespace pricing plan, but most companies won’t have use of its features. Unless you’re a serious ecommerce brand, it’s hard to justify the cost.
- large-scale online stores
- subscription-based ecommerce brands
- meticulous ecommerce owners that prefer to micromanage
Squarespace pricing: external costs
While the Squarespace pricing plans make budgeting easier with their inclusive packages, most users can expect to pay more than the base cost. Even if your plan has everything you need, there’s still plenty of costs outside of Squarespace’s purview that you need to budget for when you’re setting up a website for your business.
Digital marketing and advertising
Average budget for small businesses: 1% of revenue; recurring fee
Every business, online or off, has to budget for marketing. It’s not enough to start a company—your potential clientele has to know you’ve started a company.
For online businesses, you’re looking mostly at digital marketing and advertising, which includes anything from social media ads to promoted content on popular blogs. The good news is that your digital marketing budget is rather flexible, so you only have to spend what you can afford. But don’t misinterpret that—if you’re looking to cut costs, that doesn’t mean you should skimp on marketing.
Rather, you can use cost-effective digital marketing campaigns. Pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns let you pay only when your ads are clicked on, which helps soften the blow to your budget. If you’re on a shoe-string budget, you can lean more on free marketing like social media and content creation—but for these, you’ll have to invest time rather than cash.
Average cost of a freelance web designer: $500 – $5,000, one-time fee
When you compare website builders, you see a lot of differences based on usability and style… but all of them suffer from the same flaw: template builders tend to produce generic-looking sites.
The only way to give your site an original look with personal flair is to veer away from templates and use a unique design. If you’re not a designer yourself, you can easily hire one to create it for you. Squarespace is actually partnered with 99designs to help match their clients with expert designers.
Working with a freelance professional designer is easier—and cheaper—than most people think. You’ll provide the designer with all the details of what kind of site you’re looking for, even down to the colors or layout (or you can leave those choices up to the designer). Take a look at how you can get a professionally-designed Squarespace site here.
Average cost of a logo design: $300 – $800 (basic quality); one-time fee
Outside of the website itself, you’ll still need to design your branding assets: merchandise, swag, social media flair, custom ads, product packaging, etc. Even if you’re on a bare-bones budget, you still need a logo to go on your website at the very least.
Visual choices in your branding materials can influence how your brand comes across. Using the psychology of color, you can choose the colors that best represent the traits of your brand, whether you’re formal and professional or young and silly.
The imagery you choose also reflects on your brand personality, so pay attention to style when choosing photography or illustrations for your site or ads. For example, if you want to come across as a happy family brand and appeal to happy families, you should use photographs of happy families—not brooding, black-and-white artistic photographs.
If it seems too overwhelming to you, you can always hire a professional designer to handle those design decisions for you. On the other hand, if you don’t have the money to afford any designer, you can always take your chances designing your brand assets yourself. Take a look at our free logo design ebook to learn the ropes of branding design.
Average cost per web page: $150 – $400; one-time fee
Aside from images, your website will also need words. Lots and lots of words. But not just any words. You need the right words.
Your website copy directly influences how your brand comes across, especially to new customers. It shapes your brand’s voice, which determines whom it appeals to. Is your brand fun and casual, or more serious and professional? The way in which your site copy is written will influence which side of the spectrum your brand falls into.
Not only that, but good site copy can also increase the amount of visitors you get through SEO. Sure, Squarespace gives you all the SEO help it can from behind the scenes, but considering how important search engines are to customer acquisition and driving traffic, every little bit counts.
If you have the budget to spare, it’s worth it to hire a professional copywriter to work your SEO keywords into your site copy naturally, and in a way that ticks all the boxes of the search engine algorithm. You can even take this a step further by hiring a professional blogger or two—blogs are excellent for SEO.
Squarespace Email Campaigns
Last, Squarespace itself offers an email marketing service, though not exactly for free. Their Email Campaigns tool handles everything a business needs for email marketing, including automation, contact management, real-time analytics and above all a design editor so you can personalize the look of your emails (not to mention they’re responsively designed for mobile devices). Think of it like Squarespace’s native answer to MailChimp.
Squarespace Email Campaigns comes in four different pricing plans, depending on the amount of emails you want to send or campaigns you want to run (prices listed are when paying annually):
- Starter ($5/month) – 3 campaigns and 500 emails per month
- Core ($10/month) – 5 campaigns and 5,000 emails per month
- Pro ($24/month) – 20 campaigns and 50,000 emails per month
- Max ($48/month) – unlimited campaigns and 250,000 emails per month
Obviously, your choice depends on how important email marketing is to your business model. Still, it’s beneficial to have at least some kind of email marketing campaign, although you can always use a third-party app (like the aforementioned MailChimp) and still host your site at Squarespace.
Squarespace pricing: final tally
True, your estimated budget will be very different from your actual budget. Maybe you don’t sell as much as you’d hope, or maybe you sell more than you’d hoped. Regardless, planning out your Squarespace pricing ahead of time ultimately leads to less surprises later, and gives you a more realistic foundation to build on. That’s why we recommend estimating your Squarespace budget early on—at the very least, you can determine which of the Squarespace pricing plans fits you best.
And if you want a more personal touch to set you apart from the generic, cookie-cutter sites, pair up with a professional designer for a sensational-looking site.