Kentico vs Squarespace - Website Builder Comparison

6 min read


Kentico vs Squarespace Website Comparison

If you’ve been watching videos on YouTube there’s a decent chance one of them was sponsored by Squarespace. And that’s not a surprise as many popular YouTubers use Squarespace to create and host their website. Other than the money they receive for promoting the brand, they often praise Squarespace for providing them with a website they love that has a straightforward process. 

If you’ve never heard of Squarespace journeying your way through YouTube, or you’ve seen it but had no idea what Oscar the Grouch has to do with it, or the name is completely foreign to you - this article aims to fill you in. Are we all being fooled by their clever, impactful marketing? Or is it true that if you take what you do seriously and want to start a business, then Squarespace is how you do it?

What is Squarespace?

Squarespace is a website builder aimed at creatives without any coding experience who wish to establish an online presence. It’s a digital tool that enables them to deliver online web-based content and allows them to display products to their audience, fan base, followers and the general public. Squarespace makes it relatively easy for the everyday person to quickly launch a website by utilising one of their many templates as a base. You can then customise elements like font, colours and layout (slightly) through the simple and user-friendly drag-and-drop interface. In addition, they provide you with nice features including metrics of your sales and visitors, third-party tools such as MailChimp, AMP & PayPal, and 24/7 support all for a low monthly fee, and even offer you a 14-day trial to test the service out.

While this all sounds great for the individual podcaster, blogger, artist and maybe small business (depending on the success and growth plan you have in place). We couldn’t go without mentioning that it is an unrealistic solution for larger organisations that need to provide users more than basic information, services and resources. Squarespace simply cannot provide a deep hierarchy that provides a large amount of varying content, flexible options for enhancing your SEO, or an advanced portal that allows users to be more than just customers. A more complex, digital focussed business typically looks for a long term, scalable, dedicated content management system (CMS). This would give them the ability to integrate their web content management, e-commerce and online marketing tools all on the one systems, and most importantly, the ability to develop their website further to fit exactly how they need it to be.

Squarespace Compared to Kentico Cloud Based CMS.

So, you’re now thinking if you are ‘just a small start-up’ then Squarespace is okay for you – well this might not even be the case. Simply book a free meeting with our team, we’ll review what you want to do and recommend the best fit – for free! We’ll give you the pros and cons, and you can decide, no fine print and no catch, just honest advice. Below are some of the headaches you might experience after you’ve spent hours setting up your new site, and how something more robust, such as Kentico, might be worth looking into first.


The problems with using Squarespace for your website

You can’t create a page hierarchy that is larger than two levels deep on Squarespace.

With Squarespace, you can use folders to create a drop-down menu, and one additional level after that. Unfortunately, that’s it, you can only do this once, as nested folders are currently not supported. Imagine sorting to only 2 levels, it doesn’t take long before content becomes hard to organise which in turn makes your website hard to navigate. Kentico has no limit to the number of nested levels you can have, and offers no restrictions on the content you want to place there.

SEO is restricted for your pages.

It’s 2020 if you have a website and aren’t switched on the to the SEO game we should talk asap. Using SEO to boost your rankings on search engines like Google’ (where you’re positioned on the search page) is hard and lacking with Squarespace. There are frustrating limitations that will prevent you from optimising your site to the full.

Warning; SEO is a complex topic and we will try to make it simple here but by no means are giving it the full justice it deserves, book a meeting with our digital specialists to dig deeper.

With Squarespace, design templates differ considerably, and in turn, differ in what they provide for implementing your SEO. With Google preferencing text over images as providing a better user experience, templates that focus heavily on photography and artwork to captivate tend to perform poorly if not set up correctly. Having to choose between appearing higher up in search or a beautiful design with lovely images is not a decision you should be forced to make, or make unknowingly.

Google also values a logical heading structure, that is, the most significant heading (referred to as the page’s H1), to the least. The number of headings varies with the content that exists on the page. Some pages have little body text or perhaps multiple H1’s, and sometimes you don’t know which ones you are using. Some templates don’t allow you to set a H1 as the headline of a page, and Squarespace only offers the choice to use H1 to H3 (when you could have additional styles and heading types on a custom developed site). By utilising premade quirky web designs, key technical elements that make your website do more than look pretty - end up overlooked or misused.

These shortcomings, along with not being able to provide suitable summaries or meta descriptions for your products and being forced to use captions as alt text, demonstrate why choosing Squarespace to showcase your business might not be the best idea.

With Kentico CMS you can avoid these irritating issues. You can design your own striking page templates avoiding the confinement of a rigid template that might appease you one way but frustrate you another. You have the freedom to add and order every heading on the page you want with the text editor. You can use the built-in or custom banners for an editable H1 headline of the page, enter short descriptions, descriptions and meta descriptions for your products and the ability to separate image captions from their alt text. If you want the flexibility and freedom to modify your site and your SEO the way you want, Kentico is a better option.

Squarespace doesn’t offer a customer portal where website users are more than merely customers.

It wasn’t until recently that Squarespace introduced Customer Accounts which allows customers to sign up for an account, save their information (like payment details) and view purchase history, for a quicker and convenient checkout experience. All of these are features of the most basic online marketplaces nowadays. If you had content that needed to be only viewable by certain guests, previously you were only able to password-protect pages. As time went on, third-party tools and plugins became available that simulated a member area, but only to a very basic degree. 

The Customer Accounts feature is fine if you have a niche set of users that are only looking to buy products from your site. Password protected pages still have security risks and third-party options are a hassle to implement yourself (and can slow your site speed down). These do the job if your administrators need to add or edit basic content, like blog posts or images, or access privileged areas. However, if you want your website to do more than just display products and share simple text based information, and are actually looking to enable users and employees the ability to interact with the site in more intricate ways, not only is it not viable with Squarespace, it is not possible.

Should you use Squarespace for your next website?

A reminder that Squarespace is a website builder, not a content management systems (CMS). If your business needs to:

  • Display and manage events
  • Manage eCommerce purchases with unique customer experiences
  • Enable upsell opportunities and leverage user persona’s
  • Integrate with internal software
  • Import, extract and process data across multiple platforms
  • Assign security or user permissions to specific areas on the site
  • Have a strong grasp on content management opportunities and SEO management

This is very much out of Squarespace’s league, and very much in Kentico’s. With Kentico, you can do all of this. Despite all the commendations and high acclaim that Squarespace receives, you need to be aware that there are many areas where Squarespace is lacking.

The site you require may not be affected by its pitfalls and it may be the perfect solution for those that are promoting it as such, but YouTubers do not know your business like you do. If you need a customised solution that needs to be extensive and powerful enough to handle your many unique business requirements, or creates new opportunities to support growth, book a free consultation with us to determine the best course of action.

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