Before You Begin
Many website builders make it very easy to create a website from scratch in a matter of minutes. But, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do a little planning first. Before you start building, consider what you need your site to do and which features of a website builder you deem most important for your small business. As a digital payments company, for instance, Square equips its website builder with a strong set of ecommerce features.
The Square website builder’s main feature is a digital payments system, which it provides for a fee of 2.9 percent of your sales plus 30 cents per transaction. (Note: You can get a slight discount on that percentage if you purchase Square’s highest-tier plan.)
Square also designed many of its website builder’s basic features specifically for hybrid in-person/online businesses. Even its free plan allows for a fairly full-featured online store while its higher-tier plans include more advanced features. This guide will help you decide if Square has a plan that meets all your business website’s needs.
Getting Started With the Square Free Plan
Square offers some basic, website-building features in its Square Free plan with no monthly fees. While this plan is somewhat limited, it’s a good way to test this simple website builder to see if you like using it. You might even find that the free version includes enough features for your needs.
- Support for Multiple Store Websites (With Limits and Square Branding): You can operate multiple online stores from one account with the Square Free plan, but you can’t use a custom domain name and Square will put ads for its services on your website. Those ads might make your business seem less professional to customers. Your site(s) also will have a limit of 500 megabytes (MB) of storage and bandwidth.
- Integration with Social Media: Your website may not need a custom domain if you intend to make most of your sales on social media platforms. Square lets you connect your online store to Facebook and Instagram so you can sell through your feed of choice. You also can embed your instagram feed on your website.
- A Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificate for Website Security: Square automatically installs an SSL certificate on all user websites. This technology is important for ecommerce stores because it encrypts your website data, allowing Square to safely handle your online transactions. It also displays a “Padlock” icon before your site’s URL in web browsers so customers know it’s safe to visit.
- Blog Features: Square’s built-in blogging tool, “Stories,” allows you to interact with customers through individually categorized and shareable blog posts that can support reader comments.
- Facebook and Google Ads: This plan enables you to create and manage Facebook and Google ads for your website as well as individual products or product categories.
- Integration With Square POS and Card Reader Hardware: If you already use Square to handle in-person transactions, you can manage both your in-person and online orders in one place with the Square Free plan.
- Acceptance of Multiple Payment Methods: Square allows you to accept payments via major credit cards, Google Pay, Apple Pay, the Cash App, and, of course, Square Pay.
- Shipping and Pickup Support: You can automatically generate shipping labels, offer shipping discounts, mark orders for in-person pickup, and even integrate with third-party couriers.
- Order Management Tools: You can set Square’s ordering system to operate only during certain hours, include prep or delivery times, and require minimum and maximum purchase amounts. You also can offer custom coupon codes to your customers.
If you conduct most of your business in person or via social media, you may not need a flashy website with a custom domain name — and you might not mind the Square ads on your site. But, details like these can help make your business appear more professional and trustworthy. Moreover, you’ll need to upgrade to a paid Square plan if you intend to grow your business beyond social media.
Here’s a high-level view of Square’s plan tiers:
The Square Professional Plan
The Square Professional plan provides the basic features included in the Square Free plan, but allows for more customization on your website so your business can appear as professional and reliable as possible.
- Square website builder and hosting features are fairly straightforward. They primarily focus on tools tailored to ecommerce, retail, and restaurant businesses.
- A Custom Domain Name: This plan enables you to use a custom domain name without “square.com” in the URL, which’ll make your business seem more legitimate and trustworthy to your customers. You get a free year of domain registration with all Square paid plans.
- No Square Ads: You won’t have to include Square’s ads on your website with this plan, which also will help bolster your business’s professional appearance online.
- Custom Fonts: This plan enables you to import custom fonts to use on your Square website so your brand will have a consistent appearance across your entire user experience.
- Password-Protected Pages: This plan allows you to create pages on your website that require users to provide a password in order to access. This can prove helpful if you need to keep certain products or test pages private.
- Limited Site Statistics: All Square paid plans provide limited site analytics, including visitor volume and page view statistics.
The Square Professional plan costs $12 per month when billed annually for a yearly total of $144. Square also charges users of this plan a 2.9 percent transaction fee on their sales plus 30 cents per transaction.
Ideal Users of This Plan
The Square Professional plan is ideal for Square’s main clientele: restaurants and retail stores whose ecommerce business is secondary to their in-person business.
Compared to introductory plans from other website builders, the Square Professional plan’s ecommerce features are fairly comprehensive, straightforward, and easy to use. But, you may want the advanced features offered by one of Square’s higher-tier plans if ecommerce is the main focus of your small business.
This plan also includes all of the non-ecommerce, website-building features Square offers. Square may not allow for much creativity and customization, but its templates are very easy to use and Square’s popularity means many customers are already accustomed to using Square websites.
To see some examples of what your Square business website can do, check out our list of top Square website exampless.
The Square Performance Plan
The Square Performance plan provides all the same core offerings as the Square Professional plan plus a few handy features tailored more toward ecommerce businesses.
This plan includes some features that are less important to brick-and-mortar businesses, but might appeal to ecommerce-focused companies.
- Product Reviews: With this plan, a built-in system will automatically request product reviews from your customers and post them on your website.
- Advanced Ecommerce Analytics: Square’s ecommerce statistics allow you to monitor overall sales trends, product performance, and even voucher usage.
- Abandoned Cart Recovery: Automated abandoned cart recovery can help you convert online visitors into customers. With this plan, your website will have the ability to email a visitor if they don’t complete a purchase after adding items to their cart.
- Gifting Options: With this plan, you can allow your online customers to add a gift message and gift receipt to their order or even pay extra for gift wrapping.
- Acceptance of PayPal Payments: At this pricing tier and above, your online store can accept PayPal payments.
The Square Performance plan costs $26 per month when billed annually for a yearly total of $312. Square also charges users of this plan a 2.9 percent transaction fee on their sales plus 30 cents per transaction.
Ideal Users of This Plan
Most small to medium-sized ecommerce businesses will find the Square Performance plan offers a good balance of affordability and features. It’s especially convenient for businesses that need to sell products or services both online and in a brick-and-mortar retail location or restaurant.
That said, as with all of Square’s website-building plans, it doesn’t offer the most flexible website builder, and its templates and designs might leave you feeling underwhelmed.
Check out the Square Performance plan for $26 per month.
The Square Premium Plan
The Square Premium plan provides all the core offerings included in Square’s other plan tiers along with real-time shipping and a discount on transaction fees.
This plan allows you to give your customers more shipping options while you pay a lower transaction fee.
- Real-time Shipping: With this plan, your online store will use variable shipping rates based on item weight and destination as well as offer different delivery carriers.
- Discounted Transaction Fee: With the Square Premium plan, you’ll enjoy a lower transaction fee of 2.6 percent of sales plus 30 cents per transaction. That may sound like a small discount, but this plan’s increased monthly cost may be worth it as your business grows.
The Square Premium plan costs $72 per month when billed annually for a yearly total of $864. Square also charges users of this plan a 2.6 percent transaction fee on their sales plus 30 cents per transaction.
Ideal Users of This Plan
The Square Premium plan suits high-volume ecommerce businesses. It’s higher cost — $46 more per month than the Square Performance plan — might seem steep, but a little math can help you decide if this plan is worth it for your business. If the amount you’d save with transaction fees of 2.6 percent plus 30 cents per transaction (vs. 2.9 percent plus 30 cents per transaction) is more than $46 per month, this is the plan for you.
Because this plan’s fee reduction only affects the overall sales percentage fee and not the flat per-transaction fee, the Square Premium plan might be more appealing if you sell mostly high-value items.
Check out the Square Premium plan for $72 per month.
Now that you know what each Square website builder plan can offer your business, you can move forward and create a professional and accessible ecommerce website.
For additional guidance as you do some initial planning for your website, check out these related articles:
Square offers a variety of plans for small to large ecommerce businesses.
Square’s ecommerce solutions and website builder make generating sales, accepting payments, and fulfilling orders simple and straightforward. Try out Square’s website builder today.