Squarespace vs Google Sites (2020): Where Should You Build A Website?

Squarespace and Google Sites are familiar names in website building, although for different — perhaps even contrasting — reasons.

Squarespace’s reputation is largely due to its expansive catalogue of professionally-designed templates. The subscription-only platform also includes e-commerce solutions and a number of third-party integrations. Google Sites, on the other hand, is the handy free website builder from the world’s largest search engine. Enjoying support and hosting from Google itself, Sites is a decent management tool that allows users to launch a website even without coding knowledge.

But with both platforms at seemingly opposite ends of the spectrum, which one should you choose? Here, we compare the two website builders and see how their features add up.

Squarespace vs Google Sites Comparison Chart

NameSquarespaceGoogle Sites
 
PriceCheck Squarespace PricingCheck G-Suite Pricing
Known ForHighly customizable and professional website templatesFree to use, straightforward website building platform
Templates60+15+
Custom DomainsYesYes
SSL CertificateYesYes
E-Commerce FeaturesAdvanced, built-in tools as well as third-party integrationsLimited and available only through third-party extensions
Drag and DropYesYes
Website AnalyticsYesYes
Mobile ResponsiveYesYes
Built-In CSS EditorYesNo
SEO ToolsAdvancedLimited
Customer SupportEmail, phone, live chat, help center, community answersHelp center, community answers

Website Builder

With Squarespace and Google Sites, you can launch a website even without design skills or programming experience.

Squarespace uses a section-based approach to building your website.

Squarespace

Don’t let the professional-looking templates fool you as building a website on Squarespace isn’t as daunting as it seems. The platform takes care of all the basics: hosting, SSL security, and even SEO optimization. You don’t even need to install a software to update your site. However, it’s the drag-and-drop interface that truly makes Squarespace as it is. For non-designers and developers, this is the closest you’ll feel to being behind the wheels of starting a website.

Unlike similar drag-and-drop website builders, Squarespace follows a section-based approach. But as a result, you do get a clean and uncluttered interface. Content blocks are also fairly easy to rearrange and resize, so long as you’re working on the same page. And since Squarespace is a What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) editor, changes are easier to track and preview. This makes the whole process of creating your site simpler.

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Googles Sites makes it easy for anyone to start their own website.

Google Sites

Just like Squarespace, Google Sites was made with the non-developer in mind. You certainly don’t need coding knowledge here. Simply log in using your Google account, go to Sites, choose a template, and start editing. Note that Google Site’s website editor isn’t as sophisticated-looking as Squarespace’s, but it does get the job done. Moreover, you can actually move most sections wherever you wish. It’s similarly easy to rearrange or resize these content blocks.

But since Google Sites is free, the default URL you get isn’t the most appealing. However, if you want to personalize it, you can link to a custom domain. Security shouldn’t be an issue with the platform, too. Google Sites relies on the robust infrastructure of Google, and is supported by the company’s own team of IT security professionals.

Design

Squarespace offers more customization features compared with Google Sites.

Both Squarespace and Google Sites allow standard customization features.

Google Sites is customizable but the design features are limited. Currently, you only have over 15 templates to choose from. They are, however, categorized according to a specific purpose. Each template can also be edited using the same drag-and-drop interface, and can be further customized through a selection of themes. Moreover, these themes come with multiple color options along with a set of font styles.

In terms of branding, the most you can do is add a logo and update your image header. Other than that, you’re bound to follow the structure of whatever Google Sites offers. So no matter how much you customize it, it’s always going to look like it’s made with Google Sites.

Squarespace is definitely more versatile compared to Google Sites. Its users have over 60 templates to choose from, each offering high-levels of customization. The platform’s style editor, for instance, includes hundreds of customizable settings for fonts, colors, and page configurations. Meanwhile, instead of an image header, you can opt for a video background to give your site visitors a more immersive experience.

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But perhaps the best part is the fact that templates are switchable. So in case you get tired of your current site’s appearance, you can easily choose a new one without worrying about losing your existing content.

Features

Squarespace comes with an impressive index of features while Google Sites relies mostly on G-Suite integration.

If you want to build an online store, Squarespace has all the tools you need.

Squarespace doesn’t just give you a platform to start a site, it also equips you with the resources to grow it. Aside from the core design features, you also get an impressive index of tools—from e-commerce to blogging, search engine optimization to analytics. Some of these are built-in, including Squarespace’s extensive array of social media integrations. Others are offered through third-party support, like G-Suite and Dropbox.

But a favorite would definitely be the marketing tools. As an out-of-the-box solution, Squarespace comes with its own email marketing platform. The feature allows users to create fully integrated email campaigns that include mailing lists and subscriber segments without leaving the site. It definitely makes things simpler if you’re not fond of connecting to third-party platforms like MailChimp or ActiveCampaign.

Google Sites’ list of features is more modest. In fact, most of it comes from G-Suite Integrations. If you or your organization rely a lot on G-Suite, you’ll appreciate how easy it is to import content from the likes of YouTube, Google Drive, or Google Maps to your website. However, e-commerce tools are not included in the platform. If you want to add a payment method, for instance, you’ll have to manually configure it. There are some e-commerce extensions you can use like Ecwid and POWr, but don’t expect it to be as extensive as Squarespace.

Pricing

Google Sites is completely free while Squarespace follows a subscription-based pricing scheme.

Although Google Sites is free, you do get some pretty nifty features like embedding location via Google Maps.

Squarespace, however, is not for free. You can set up a 14-day trial but you won’t be able to access its premium features, including most e-commerce tools. To make the most out of the platform, you’ll need to subscribe to one of its four plans: Personal ($16/mo), Business ($26/mo), Basic Commerce ($30/mo), and Advanced Commerce ($46/mo). If you want to save money, you can get up to a 30% discount if you opt for an annual subscription, but actually savings will depend on your chosen plan.

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In contrast, Google Sites is free. You don’t have to pay for hosting, security, or the use of any template. However, you can incur indirect expenses from domain fees if you’re using a custom domain or payment for e-commerce plugins. Plus, if you want additional account permissions and regular product updates, you’ll only get it through a G-Suite subscription. G-Suite editions come in a Basic ($4.20/mo), Business ($9.6), or Enterprise ($25/mo) plan.

Verdict

If you can afford it, start on Squarespace. But if you need a simple website for the short-term, Google Sites will do.

Squarespace

Best for professional websites

Google Sites

Best for startup or short-term projects

Comparing website builders can be difficult because no single platform is the best. Often, the choice lies in a user or an organization’s needs, budget, and goals. That being said, Squarespace does offer more features to make a professional-looking website compared with Google Sites. The platform also includes a plethora of tools designed to make your site stand out, gain traffic, and grow. However, these features aren’t free, making Squarespace ideal for smaller businesses and midsize enterprises who can afford them.

If you’re a casual user, student, or even startup organization with limited resources, Google Sites is a respectable option. Yes, it’s not going to give you advanced customization features. And yes, unless you use a custom domain name, your Google Site will come across as “cheap”. But you can do enough given its limited features to launch a pretty decent website. In fact, it’s probably a good platform to try out drag-and-drop website editors, and familiarize yourself with some standard design features. But if you’re long-term goal is to scale, then it’s better to start with a more equipped platform like Squarespace or through a free account in Wix.

FAQs

📌 What’s the key difference between Squarespace and Google Sites?

Squarespace is a subscription-based What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) website editor while Google Sites is a free tool for website building.

📌 Are Google Sites websites mobile optimized?

Yes, sites made using Google Sites are automatically optimized across all devices.

📌 Does the Personal Plan in Squarespace include e-commerce tools?

E-commerce features are only available on Squarespace’s Basic and Commerce plans.

📌 Can I sell products on Squarespace?

Absolutely. Squarespace comes with dedicated templates for online stores. In addition, you can have access to e-commerce tools like inventory and order management, alongside shipping rate calculations to mention a few.