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We’ve got a lot of ground to cover in this article, so feel free to use the table of contents to help find exactly what you are looking for.
- Key Features
- How to Get Started With Squarespace
- How Squarespace Makes It Easy To Create an Online Presence
- What are Squarespace Templates?
- 10 Squarespace Features for the Canadian Market
- Effective Post Purchase Follow-Up Tools
- Squarespace & SEO
Squarespace Canada Overview
If you’re a Canadian trying to choose which website building and hosting platform is right for you, there are a ton of options to choose from such as WordPress, Wix, Weebly, GoDaddy, Squarespace and more.
We’ll focus on Squarespace as our platform of choice.
Not only does Squarespace have beautiful mobile-friendly templates, the websites are easy to manage and come with 24/7 support.
Squarespace is a hosted solution, meaning unlike WordPress, you do not have to have separate website hosting to install and use the app.
Squarespace offers both plans for both those looking to build just a website without e-commerce capabilities and those looking to start an online store.
If you’re a Canadian e-commerce site, you may be looking beyond a beautiful frontend.
You need a platform that can help you manage your orders and scale your sales as you grow.
As a Canadian company, you know you need solutions that will work for you, whether that’s the ability to adjust to local currency, or ship via local services, like Canada Post.
If you’re wondering what Squarespace offers Canadians, here’s a simple yet comprehensive guide on everything you need to know.
Here’s a summary of the most popular questions Canadians ask before building a website with Squarespace:
- Can I use a .ca domain name? YES
- Can I display details in metric terms? YES
- Can I ensure compliance with Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation with Squarespace emails?YES
- Can I run my store in Canadian currency? YES
- Can I add retail sales tax like HST/GST/QST/PST? YES
- Can I control sales tax by province? YES
- Can I automate emails after purchase if I’m using Canada Post? YES
How to Get Started With Squarespace
Starting with Squarespace is easy.
Visit the official site to get the ball rolling with your subscription.
Squarespace offers you a comprehensive content management system (CMS), giving professionally designed layouts and templates, along with customer support around-the-clock, and a web builder for creation of distinctive forms and landing pages.
1. Start with a Free Trial
When visiting the site, you have the option of starting right away, even if you don’t have a budget.
Squarespace offers you a free two-week trial of the platform, and you don’t have to enter any credit card details.
During the trial period, you get full access to the Squarespace platform, including all the tools you need to design, build, and market your blog, eCommerce store, or information site.
When starting your free trial, you select a free template and start uploading your content.
Your template comes with demo content to show you what it looks like as a finished product, giving you insight into what you can expect in the final look of your site.
You remove the demo content and repopulate the template with your custom content.
When it’s time to start building your website, you utilize the Pages panel in your Home Menu, giving you access to the page creation tool.
Add pages and sections, and rearrange the template to create a custom layout that suits your needs.
It’s important to note that your website does not go live until you decide to select a subscription plan and commit to the platform.
2. Signing Up for Squarespace
Choose from a range of custom billing plans, whether you’re launching an eCommerce business or starting a blog.
When you’re ready to commit to Squarespace, you have a variety of subscription plans available to you, differing between informational and e-Commerce sites.
All the Squarespace subscriptions come with monthly or annual billing options.
Going with a yearly option creates savings you can use to reduce your expenses in the early stages of business.
You also have the option of registering a free custom domain for a year, and that saves you a few more bucks.
Upgrading to a subscription allows you to publish your site and go live.
If you decide you need more time in the design stage, you have the option of hiding your site behind a password or an under-construction page.
3. Look through the Squarespace Site Resources
After signing up with Squarespace and taking your preferred subscription plan, take some time to view the site resources.
You have plenty of guides as well as options to help you troubleshoot any problems you experience when building and launching your site.
Some of the helpful resource categories include the following.
- Website Templates
- Website Design
- Domain Name Searches
- Online Stores
- Website Marketing
There are plenty of guides and video tutorials, teaching you how to use every aspect of the platform.
If you’re struggling with the resources, Squarespace offers you the option of attending a live webinar to help you understand Squarespace features and functions.
You also have the option of getting advice from the community forum, or you can hire a Squarespace expert to show you around.
How Squarespace Makes It Easy To Create an Online Presence
From beginning to end, Squarespace makes it easier for Canadian e-commerce businesses to reach more clients online.
With beautiful templates and drag and drop capabilities, it’s never been simpler to set up a site.
And now, with so many integrations for Canadian owned businesses, it’s even easier to do business online – and to keep in touch with clients – so your valued customers come back to purchase again and again.
To learn more about Squarespace or to get started with your e-commerce store, visit their site.
What are Squarespace Templates?
A template forms the backbone of your new website.
The template comprises the design components and theme of your site, allowing you to select a design setup that suits your industry, content, and marketing goals.
Squarespace offers you more than 110 templates in a range of categories.
The categories help you choose a template that’s popular for your niche.
However, you don’t have to go with the platform’s suggestions.
Squarespace offers you the following 14 template categories.
- Online Stores
- Professional Services
- Community and Non-Profits
- Music and Entertainment
- Health and Fitness
- Travel and Tourism
- Personal and CV
Squarespace is adding categories and templates all the time, so make sure you spend some time going through them to find a good fit for your needs.
Be clear on what the goal of your website is before searching for a template and find one that fits that goal.
Do I Need A Professional Squarespace Template?
If you want a customized template option, you can go outside of Squarespace to find an even wider selection of professionally-designed templates for your site.
The template controls your site’s layout and overall look, providing a framework for the other elements, components, and modules.
There are dozens of designers offering custom Squarespace template designs for your site.
If you’re looking for a way to create a unique look for your pages, then a custom template might be the right option for your site.
Since you get a range of free templates included with your subscription, why would you consider spending more money on your startup costs with a professional template?
Free templates might look fantastic, but they are a generic design.
There could be thousands of sites out there using the same template.
Therefore, if you’re trying to create a unique brand identity, it’s challenging to do so when you’re using a template your prospects see on other sites.
A professionally-designed premium template for your Squarespace site can be customized to fit your needs exactly.
How Do Squarespace Templates Work?
After selecting the right template, it’s time to apply it to your site and start the design process.
Before you begin, we recommend going to your control panel on the back end to switch on your “under construction” page.
Log into your Squarespace site, and navigate your cursor to the “Design” tab in the ribbon. Under the drop-down menu, select “Template.”
After opening the template tab, select “Install New Template.” Click the button, and it opens a new window allowing you to import the source file for the new template.
After loading and installing your template, check for developer updates.
You then have to drag-and-drop all your content into the template using the drag-and-drop tools included.
If you’re changing your template to a new design, you’ll have to pull across all your old content.
To start adding pages to the new template, delete the demo content from your “Main Navigation” and not from the “Linked headings.”
After deleting the demo content, drag your website content pages under your Main Navigation.
The pages display as the main navigation.
Leave pages you don’t need in your Not Linked section.
Top Considerations Before Choosing Your Squarespace Template
Keep the following in mind when choosing a standard or custom template for your Squarespace site.
- There Is No Such Thing as the Perfect Template
- Don’t Overthink Your Decision
- Make a List of Functions You Need
- Keep an Overall Design in Mind
Where Can I Get a Squarespace Template?
Squarespace Pricing Canada
|Personal||Business||Basic Commerce||Advanced Commerce|
(USD per month)
(USD per month)
No matter which tier you choose, you have the opportunity to choose between either annual or monthly billing.
The upside to annual, of course, is a lower overall cost and the ability register a free custom domain for a year.
Note that Squarespace pricing is in USD and Squarespace does not bill in Canadian dollars, so you will be billed in USD.
Alternatively they also accept EUR, GDP and AUD however that isn’t very helpful to Canadians.
Squarespace currently offers 4 different plans:
- Basic Commerce
- Advanced Commerce
The first 2 focusing on users looking to build a website, and the later 2 focusing on those that are looking to sell online.
Personal vs Business Website Builder Tiers
If you’re looking for a great website builder to start your online presence, Squarespace may be a good fit.
The Personal plan is a great starting point, offering unlimited bandwidth and storage, SSL security, a wide array of templates to choose from and a custom domain.
The Business plan offers all of the features you need to get started but also has the capability to add on e-commerce functionality.
In this tier, you’re charged a 3% transaction fee, so it may be suitable if your primary focus isn’t online selling.
If your primary focus is e-commerce, there are 2 e-commerce plans outlined below which Squarespace offers.
In addition to the basic features, the Business plan offers:
- Professional Email from Google
- Premium Integrations
- Advanced Website Analytics
- Integrated e-commerce functionality
- $100 in Google AdWords credits for new accounts
A full list of features can be seen on the Squarespace site.
Basic vs Advanced Commerce Tiers
If you’re looking to set up an online store using Squarespace you have two choices for e-commerce: Basic and Advanced.
The Basic plan is perfect for small businesses who may not need more advanced shipping and marketing integrations.
Basic offers, among other things:
- Checkout on your domain
- Customer accounts
- Local and regional shipping
- No Squarespace transaction fees
Whereas the Advanced plan is more suited for larger e-commerce stores that fill many orders and may need more robust marketing and shipping integrations. Advanced offers:
- Gift cards
- Automatic discounts
- Abandoned cart recovery
- Subscription products
Both commerce plans offer $100 in Google AdWords credits for new accounts!
Once you’ve decided on your plan, you’ll be pleased by all the Canadian-specific features Squarespace offers to Canadian e-commerce vendors.
10 Squarespace Features for the Canadian Market
Here’s 10 examples of how Squarespace gives Canadian-focused companies the exact tools they need to do business online in Canada:
1. Use a .ca Domain with Squarespace
You can register a .com or .ca domain name through Squarespace, you can register through a third-party provider, such as NameCheap, or you can use an existing domain you own and connect it to your site using domain mapping.
Once completed, your domain will stay registered with the host, but will connect to your Squarespace site.
Of course, if you prefer, you can choose from 200+ TLD’s (including .com, .biz. mobi and more) right on Squarespace.
2. Go Metric with Ease
Changing to the metric system is easy on Squarespace.
This allows your customers to see product details like weight or size dimensions in metric terms (kilograms, centimetres, etc.).
This is easily accessed in the Home Menu. Under Settings, click Language and Region, scroll to Measurement Standard and select Metric from the drop-down.
3. Ensure Compliance with Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation
Canada has tough anti-spam laws, so if you are based in Canada, and you have a newsletter subscribe option at the point of checkout, you will need to check that you do not automatically enable customers into your email communications.
This ensures you are in compliance with Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation.
The permissions are easy enough to adjust, by going to Checkout settings and scrolling down to Newsletter.
Simply uncheck Enable mailing list opt-in by default.
4. Adjust Your Store Currency
Squarespace supports Canadian currency, which makes it easy to show your pricing in Canadian dollars for your Canadian clients.
Simply connect Commerce to your payment processor which is linked to a Canadian bank account.
If you happen to sell to an international audience, you can easily select a different currency from the drop-down menu.
5. Add Federal and Provincial Taxes to Orders
Squarespace allows you to ensure you are charging the correct amount of tax according to each province.
You can find tax details by clicking from the Home menu to Commerce, and then Taxes.
To change tax for each province, hover over the Country and click on Add Province.
You can choose each province from the drop-down menu, then enter and save the tax rate.
You can even opt to show tax-inclusive pricing, meaning the price your customers see will already include the tax, and the customers will pay the listed price at checkout.
Once again, from the Home menu, simply click on Commerce, Taxes, and check the Tax is Included in Product Prices box before hitting save.
6. Connect via Stripe and/or PayPal
That means you can accept payment methods from anywhere in the world, so long as they are supported on either or both of these platforms, making it easier for you to reach an international audience, and process payments related to their purchases.
Note that it isn’t possible to set up recurring payments on PayPal (for example, if you have a subscription model), but you can do this via Stripe on the Squarespace platform.
Both Stripe and PayPal are available to Canadian residents.
7. Easily Setup Shipping Options
Squarespace has multiple ways to set up shipping rates.
You can choose between flat rate, weight-based, or free shipping options.
Each comes with its own pros and cons.
However, to apply any one of these to specific locations (such as cities, provinces, etc.), you’ll want to create shipping zones.
8. Ship within Canada and Beyond
Shipping zones allow you to limit where your product ships to, and allows you to set your fees based on the delivery location.
Once you’ve set up shipping zones, your customers will be able to see their shipping options when they enter their shipping address.
For each shipping option you choose, you’ll also need to choose one or more shipping zones.
This sounds complicated, but think of it like this: if you choose flat rate, and want to charge $5 to ship anywhere in Canada, and $10 anywhere else in the world, you’ll want to create two shipping zones:
- One flat-rate option for shipping zones set to Canada
- One flat-rate option set to the rest of the world
9. Create Regional or Local Shipping Zones and Shipping Options
In a service that’s only available to Canadian and US vendors, you can limit shipping to specific states or provinces.
To limit the provinces (or states) you ship to, go to Edit Flat Rate and, next to Canada select Edit.
Uncheck all the provinces shipping won’t be available to.
When you select a province, the shipping zone will apply to all postal codes within the province automatically, but this can be adjusted to ship to only specific postal codes within the province.
This can only be done, however, if you are on the Squarespace Commerce Advanced Plan.
For Flat Rate or Depending on Shipping, remember to click on Shipping Zones to limit where you ship orders, or create location-based shipping fees.
In the Commerce Panel, shipping rates will display in the order you add them.
However, for your customer, shipping rates will display in ascending order, according to price, giving them the cheapest option first.
You can add new shipping options to your store by simply clicking Home > Commerce > Shipping and then clicking Add Shipping Option.
From here, you have the option to choose Flat Rate or Depending on Weight.
Carrier Calculated is unfortunately not available to Canadians at this time, it is only available for domestic shipments within the United States with USPS, UPS and FedEx.
10. Seamlessly Fulfill Pending Orders
Once an order has been placed, your business will need to fulfill it.
Squarespace allows you to print labels for your orders via their integration with Shipstation.
You can fulfill orders in three different ways, depending on the product:
- Physical Products can be marked as fulfilled, with the option to send a fulfillment notification including a tracking number.
- Service Products can be marked as fulfilled, with the option to send a fulfillment notification.
- Digital Products or Gift Cards are fulfilled automatically
When you’re ready to ship a physical product, select Pending Orders from the Home > Commerce > Orders menu.
In the Order Summary, once you’ve shipped, you can send an Order Fulfilled email via the Send Order Fulfilled Notification (if it is checked).
You can also add a tracking number in the Tracking Number box.
This allows you to add tracking numbers with your shipping notification email, so that your customers can track their package once it’s been shipped.
You can even add a Canada Post tracking number to the email easily, as it is a recognized carrier, alongside DHL, FedEx, UPS, and USPS.
Because Canada Post is a recognized carrier, your customer will get a clickable link that allows them to track their package with ease.
Effective Post Purchase Follow-Up Tools
Customize Order Emails
Once your customer has purchased a product from your store, they’ll receive a customized order email, alerting them to details relating to their order.
This is easily customized, allowing for your brand identity to shine through in the email header and footer.
Subject line, title, and message can also all be customized.
The tracking number will appear in the Order Fulfilled notification, so your customer will be able to see, for example, the shipping option chosen (whether its DHL, Canada Post, or another recognized shipping company) and click through to track their order (so long as it’s from a recognized carrier).
Automating Emails After Purchase
If your customers opted into email correspondence, you can continue to follow up with them to announce upcoming sales, special offers, or other product news.
Squarespace allows you to automate campaigns known as “triggered sends”.
There are two types of email automation possible through Squarespace:
- Subscriber Activity: sent once someone subscribes to your mailing list via a form on your site
- Commerce Automations: sent once someone purchases a product from your site
To create a draft and set up a campaign, go to your Campaigns dashboard and click Automations.
You can set up rules to automate the emails you create according to both action and timing.
For example, once a customer purchases any 2 items (action), the system will send them a follow up email one day later (timing).
You can track your progress as well, by clicking on any automation to see how many people have received, opened, unsubscribed, or clicked a link as well.
Squarespace and Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
There’s no point in having a functional site with the best products and a gorgeous template – if you don’t get any traffic.
Traffic is the lifeblood of your business, and you need as much of it as possible.
Many newcomers to the market struggle with SEO, and they put more concentration into producing content, but what good is top-quality content if no-one ever sees it?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a vital part of your online marketing strategy.
On-page SEO strategies help you optimize your website, giving your site a bunch of advantages.
SEO is the process of optimizing your site to achieve better placements in the search engines in an effort to improve your traffic.
SEO strategies help you raise your SERP and search rankings, increasing your site’s visibility.
As a result, you start to see more daily visitors arriving at your site.
With the right SEO practices, you see accelerated results in your marketing efforts, helping you achieve your business goals faster.
Is Squarespace the Best Choice for SEO?
Squarespace is a great choice for beginners that don’t have in-depth knowledge about SEO or how to build a strategy.
You get a user-friendly interface, with powerful SEO features built into the platform for easy access.
Use the tools to complete tasks like changing product and content title tags, URLs, and meta descriptions, without the need to go out of your dashboard or do any coding.
Squarespace might not offer the comprehensive SEO functionality and plugins you get with WordPress, but it gives you a starter kit with all the functionality you need to optimize your website.
What Can You do to Improve your SEO?
SEO is not only about the functionality offered by the platform.
Here are some thoughts to move you in the right direction towards optimizing your site.
1. Complete Your Keyword Research
Many newcomers to e-Commerce don’t spend any time completing keyword research.
The number 1 task you’ll need to complete is figuring out which keywords you are targeting.
This step is independent of which platform you use, if you’re targeting the wrong keywords it doesn’t matter what platform or SEO features you use.
By identifying what your customer is searching for, you can add those search terms and keywords into your on-page SEO strategy.
Use the keywords in your meta tags, product descriptions, and blog posts to help the search bots understand what your site is focusing on.
2. Offer High-Quality Compelling Content
Your content strategy needs to offer compelling, exciting, and interesting content people want to consume and share.
As they say, content is king.
When the search algorithms detect your content is unique, and people are getting value from it, they promote your site by moving it up in the search rankings, making it visible to your audience.
3. Crucial Components of an SEO Strategy
a. Optimize Title Tags
Add your keywords into your title tags and make sure you’re not duplicating any terms.
b. Feature Keywords in Meta Descriptions and Headings
This helps the bots identify content and products your audience is searching for online.
c. Search Friendly URLs
Descriptive URLs is a priority task. Don’t use SKU numbers or model numbers as your product page URL. Add your main keyword in your URL whenever possible.
d. Enhance Images and Video
Make sure your video and images are of top-quality. Use compression tools to reduce file sizes before uploading them to the platform.
e. No Duplicate Content
Duplicate content does not perform at all in search engines, so be sure to not repost content word for word from other sources.
f. Use a SSL Certificate
Trusted sites running SSL encryption on all transactions and data transfer is an important factor these days.
g. Optimize Page Loading Speeds
Make sure your pages load fast. Slow loading times can damage your search ranking results.
Is Squarespace free?
Unfortunately Squarespace does not offer a free subscription. You can however take them up on their Free 14 Day Trial.
Can I use a .ca domain name with Squarespace
Yes, you can use .ca domain names with Canada. You can register the domain name at Squarespace itself when you start your online subscription or you can map an existing domain you own registered elsewhere and point it to your Squarespace store.
Does Squarespace offer real-time shipping quotes for Canada?
Unfortunately no, at this time they do not have real-time shipping quotes capability for Canada. This capability does exist in the US, so we may see it in upcoming releases.
Are there any hidden costs with Squarespace?
No, your monthly plan cost covers all costs related to hosting and operating your website. The only other related cost is your annual domain renewal, which is around $10.
Should I use WordPress instead of Squarespace?
WordPress is also a viable option to build your presence online. While the WordPress platform is free to use, you will need to set up website hosting to do so. If you choose that route, our list of Canadian web hosts may come in handy to register your domain and add hosting, after which you can install WordPress for free and add a free or purchased theme.
Is Squarespace better than WordPress?
WordPress is the world’s leading CMS. However, it requires some coding knowledge and design expertise to build and launch your site yourself. With WordPress you have the capability to custom develop pretty much any functionality you would like, however you’ll need the expertise to do so. Squarespace offers a user-friendly set up for beginners, with no coding or SEO experience needed to launch and market your site.
Is Squarespace good for beginners?
Yes, Squarespace is a great choice for beginners launching a blog, portfolio or eCommerce site. You get a comprehensive website builder and all the tools you need to create a functional, attractive site. As a result, you get to launch your site faster, reducing your time to market. That in turn means you get to start earning money faster and with fewer startup costs than creating a custom built solution.
Is Squarespace expensive?
No, Squarespace is not expensive, it is reasonably priced among competitors. If you take an annual subscription upfront, you’ll see some good savings, allowing you to use the few hundred dollars saved elsewhere in your business. Here is a refresher on the Squarespace subscription rates. (USD)
Personal – $16 monthly or the equivalent of $12 per month if you pay annually upfront (save 25%)
Business – $26 monthly or the equivalent of $18 per month if you pay annually upfront (save 30%)
Commerce – $30 monthly or the equivalent of $26 per month if you pay annually upfront (save 13%)
Advanced Commerce – $46 monthly or the equivalent of $40 per month if you pay annually upfront (save 13%)
Can you upgrade Squarespace at any time?
Yes, Squarespace can scale with your business as you grow. The platform offers you full access to 24-hour support and a knowledgeable team of experts that can help you migrate your subscription without altering anything on your site.
Does Squarespace charge transaction fees?
There are no transaction fees if you’re using the Commerce or Advanced Commerce plans. However, there’s a 3% transaction fee for users on the Business and Personal Plans. Upgrading to a Commerce package removes the transaction fees immediately.
While it’s not Canadian specific, there are a ton of people on Reddit discussing Squarespace, so if you’re looking for the answer to a particular question or want to see the depth of the community that exists around this platform, take a quick look!