There comes a time in every creative’s life when they think "I want to share my work with the world". This might come in the form of social media or an art-sharing website like Behance but for artists wanting more control over the presentation of their work with a custom domain, website builders are the best way to go. SmugMug and Format offer simple portfolio-building tools with eCommerce capabilities whereas Weebly and Squarespace offer more comprehensive website-building tools and marketing capabilities.
To get a clearer idea of which package is best for you, check out our expertly curated list at our best website builders for photographers guide.
Squarespace is one of the simplest drag-and-drop website builders around. Themes, templates, and content can be quickly customized and inserted, making the whole process of creating a website fun and enjoyable. Its interface is clean and intuitive yet offers a depth of functionality that puts it at the forefront of the sector. The fact that the initial package costs only $16 / £12 per month and will be fine for most creatives is impressive, to say the least.
Squarespace: Who is it for?
Squarespace is a fantastic solution for any creative wanting to display their work to the public. This includes photographers, videographers and graphic designers. The process of adding media to projects and then displaying them on Portfolio based pages is incredibly easy and intuitive. Once your work is ready to present, the process of uploading it and creating the page will take as little as 5 to 10 minutes.
Squarespace offers four plans ranging from $16-49 / £12-35 per month (when paid annually). The Personal package at $16 / £12 per month will suit any creative who wants to present their work in beautiful customisable galleries.
If you're wanting to market yourself more proactively and engage your customers in buying your prints and products then you'll need to upgrade to either the Business package for $23 / £17 per month or the Commerce package for $27 / £25 per month. The latter offers more merchandising capabilities so if that's not what you're after then I would settle for either the Personal or the Business packages.
Squarespace: Key Features
Squarespace has pretty much every single feature that you could want. Creatives are given all the tools required to present, market, and sell their work with a range of easy-to-use tools. This website builder heavyweight has even introduced new AI features recently for designing your website and writing its content.
Gallery layouts – Squarespace offers six layout types for presenting images, with three devoted to grid styles and three to slideshows. Grid options include simple, strip, and masonry which provide a nice variety of presentation choices. Once the layout has been chosen it is then also possible to customize the grids and either increase or decrease the number of columns and rows with properties for spacing also available. Even though Squarespace could offer more layouts I never found myself lacking variety.
Marketing – Squarespace offers some rudimentary marketing tools as part of its website builder including pop-ups and announcement bars. These are great ways to get a viewer's attention and point them towards the latest project or deal. These are all easily customizable in terms of text and styling.
eCommerce – I really like the simplicity of Squarespace's commercial tools with the process of setting up a shop super straightforward. It is possible to sell both physical and digital products as well as selling courses - a great option for creatives who want to pass on their knowledge and experience for a fee. Squarespace handles it all.
Squarespace: Design & Ease of Use
There is no easier-to-use website builder on the market than Squarespace. Weebly comes the closest in terms of usability but I still find Squarespace to be slightly easier to navigate around and get projects up and running quickly.
Squarespace's interface is really clean, making it easy to build even the most complex of websites with dozens of pages. Page and content icons are perfectly designed to simplify the creation process and remove any unnecessary text from the interface. Squarespace is also quick. Moving between pages, adding content, and adding media all happen almost instantaneously.
The portfolio tools are equally straightforward and intuitive. Projects can be added really quickly, with a range of media types supported. Image gallery sections can be dropped onto any page and be linked to projects which themselves contain the media. Images can also be uploaded when creating these gallery sections which means you don't always have to go back into the projects.
Your website can be previewed both in desktop or mobile formats which makes it easy to see how different users will experience your creation. The responsiveness between the two is not always the most intuitive and something that looks good on desktop doesn't always look great on mobile, unfortunately. To overcome this, it is possible to create your website in desktop mode and then make adjustments in the mobile mode.
I absolutely loved the website I created with Squarespace. The choice of themes meant I got exactly the look I wanted and being able to customize fonts and colors of texts was a nice extra touch. The gallery types meant I could display all my projects in beautiful layouts and vary them from project to project. The whole process of creating the website was enjoyable and easy with very few hiccoughs experienced along the way.
Squarespace sits firmly alongside the likes of Weebly and Wix Studio. All three are comprehensive website builders that have marketing and ECommerce tools on top of the standard web-building capabilities. Creatives who want portfolio builders that are more tailored to photographers could look at SmugMug and Format.