The Pros & Cons of Custom Squarespace Templates

27-02-2022
Web Design
Small Business
Marketing
SEO
Squarespace

Squarespace is a great tool for a lot of young businesses, allowing complete control over content and editing of your site whenever and wherever you need. However, their template and functionality options are limited and can leave users feeling underwhelmed. Custom Squarespace templates and plugins can be the ideal solution to these issues, allowing a more customised, creative approach and ensuring your website works in the all the ways you need it to. So what are the pros and cons of these custom tools?

flat lay photo of a laptop workspace including magazine and cactus

PROS

1. Greater control over the aesthetic and functionality of the site

As mentioned above, the key draw of these custom templates is the higher level of creativity and control over functionality. It’s important that your website looks like it belong to your business - that is, properly branded and in an appropriate design style. This can be tricky to achieve using the out-of-the-box template options with their limited features, so opting for a professionally designed custom template can be a perfect solution.

2. Still possible to edit and manage as you see fit

Using a custom Squarespace template still allows you the freedom and ease of the editing system. This means, whether you’re a seasoned Squarespace user or brand new to the platform, it’s an easy enough learning curve. While there may be elements that work slightly differently than the platforms usual, any good template creator will provide you with educational assets and how-to videos so you won’t get too stuck.

3. Many template creators will offer a support package

With Squarespace moving into version 7.1, plug-and-go templates are unfortunately a thing of the past. This means that the set up of newer templates can be a tricky business - particularly if you don’t consider yourself particularly technical. Not to worry though, most good template creators provide extensive documentation and resources to help you get set up with ease. Double check what’s included with each package before purchase. In some cases creators may even offer extended support packages for an even more seamless transition to your new look site.

4. Squarespace offers plenty of high quality tutorials

Any Squarespace user will be familiar with the extensive library of support videos for every possible element. Thankfully, installing a custom theme to your site will not override these elements so the support videos will still be relevant to your site. This makes things much easier when it comes to populating your content into your shiny new site.

5. It’s simple to incorporate your own branding and visual style

As mentioned earlier, it’s crucial that a customer knows your website belongs to you immediately once landing on your page. Branding elements like logos, colour schemes and typefaces are crucial for bringing your unique look to your site, and Squarespace templates make it super easy to incorporate all these elements. The new Squarespace 7.1 even lets you load multiple colour palettes, so you can change the whole look of your site in a simple click.

Dark photo showing a laptop with complicated code on the screen

CONS

1. Customising can be intensive with more technical elements

While Squarespace makes creating and editing your own website much easier than building with code, the editing system can still be complex. Using a custom theme can add even more complexity to the CMS (content management system) so editing sessions can be intensive and time consuming. You will usually have help documents to hand, but prepare to spend a lot of time and brain power on your new site.

2. DIY-ing a website is a huge time sink for entrepreneurs

It’s very easy for smaller businesses to fall into the trap of doing everything themselves. This can be great in the early stages when you’re trying to keep outgoings as low as possible, but once there’s money coming in and you’re building your customer list - is a DIY site really a great use of your time? It can take anywhere from 4-6 weeks to get a new Squarespace site built (for a non-technical biz owner) and then several hours a week maintaining each week. How much more money could you be making for your business in that timeframe if you allowed an expert to take over?

3. Squarespace templates are code heavy which impacts SEO

This is something we talk about A LOT. One of the biggest factors of a strong SEO rating is loading speed, and thanks to the bulky CMS and database options of Squarespace - speed is one thing it does not do well. If you’re looking for a well-ranking site that isn’t frequently penalised by search engines, we would recommend avoiding template-builder options altogether if possible. Opting for a custom coded site is lighter on load times and a far better option for SEO optimising.

4. They’re not always the cheap option

The average custom Squarespace template is likely to set you back anywhere from £200 - £400, often with an additional fee if you opt for the higher support package. Once you factor in the hours and days and weeks of your time that you’ll spend creating and populating the site, it’s rare that they become the real cheaper option.

5. You may have to dabble in a teeny amount of CSS

I can already sense the worried looks, but unfortunately it is likely that in order to have a fully editable custom template you will have to dip your toes into the world of code (but just a tiny bit). Again, you will most likely be supported through these areas with the support documents, so it’s not to be worried about too much. However, it is something to bear in mind if you have a specific look or style in mind and don’t feel comfortable getting stuck into a bit of CSS.

Woman working on a Squarespace site on her laptop

So there we have it, all the pros and cons of working with a custom Squarespace template. I hope this post has provided you with a bit more information to get you started on your web design journey.

If you don’t feel the Squarespace template route is right for you,

get in touch

to learn more about our custom web design packages. Professionally designed, custom coded and SEO optimised, they’re a perfect fit for businesses of any size - and even better, you don’t have to do any of the hard work! Leaving you to focus on the projects you’re actually passionate about and that make you money.