Moving to Squarespace 6: should I stay or should I go?
Also check out my other post which lists the main benefits of Squarespace 6. Many of my clients are still using the older version of Squarespace, so I thought I'd outline the pros and cons to moving onto the newer version, and answer some common questions.
Squarespace 6 has been around for a couple of years now, so most of the bugs that the system had in the early days have been worked out, and new features are being added all the time, so if you have not yet seriously considered moving your site, the time is right to take stock and make plans accordingly.
How can I tell which Squarespace version I am using?
If you edit your web pages by clicking an Edit Page button when viewing the page, or if you have a black band at the top of your screen that looks like the below image, then you are using Squarespace Version 5 (aka V5).
I thought all Squarespace upgrades happened automatically in the background. Has this changed?
Until the release of Version 6 (V6), Squarespace automatically applied small, incremental updates to the system, so you were always guaranteed to be using the latest version of the system, without having to do anything - much like a building maintenance company would come in and touch up paint, polish the floors, or install a new elevator in a shared apartment building. However, the change from Squarespace V5 to V6 is a major, fundamental change to pretty much everything. It's like Squarespace have purchased an entirely new building, so you'll need to physically move in order to access the new property. And once you move to the new version, all incremental upgrades to V6 will happen automatically in the background, just like before.
Is it necessary for me to move to Squarespace 6?
No, you can stay on V5 indefinitely, but they will not be applying any new feature upgrades there. All their focus is on V6, and all the exciting developments will happen there moving forward. If you are on an older subscription plan, you will need to switch to a newer version of the plan when your account is next up for renewal, but you can still use V5 and keep your site as it is, even on a newer plan. All you will do is adjust the price/name of your subscription; nothing else will change.
Is Squarespace 6 more expensive than Squarespace 5?
If you are on an older subscription plan such as the Pro or Advanced package, you will probably find it works out to be cheaper when you move to V6. If you are on a Standard or Unlimited plan, the costs will stay the same for the new equivalent plans (Personal and Professional) if you pay monthly, but will go down by 20% if you decide to pay annually.
What are the main reasons I should move my site?
Once you've finished reading this article, have a read through my list of the top 10 reasons why Squarespace 6 is better than 5 (clicking opens the article in a new window, or you can use the button at the end of this article).
Is it complicated to move my site?
Unfortunately, you can't transfer your site exactly as-is from V5 to V6. The new Squarespace templates do not have like-for-like matches to the old templates, so you can't just switch and have your site look the same on the new system. But, although you can't move your template, you can export your site content directly to the new system. So, just like when you move apartments, you can move all of your belongings to the new building, but there's a bit of packing and unpacking. And the new apartment rooms will be a different size and shape than your old rooms, so it won't be an exact swap; there's some work involved in making it all fit and laying it out the way you want it. However, you do have a chance to apply some new paint and spruce things up at the same time.
If you work with a designer/consultant like me, then I would do all of the work in migrating your site for you, and creating a new template to match your design wishes. The learning curve for you would be in learning how to manage your site in the new V6 system, which is quite different from the V5 way of doing things. Of course, I would provide training, just like I always do for clients. You can have this in-person, or through a series of custom videos.
Will it be expensive to move the site?
The answer here depends on your current site arrangement, any changes you may want to make, and how far those deviate from the 'blank canvas' that's available as a starting point for building sites in V6. Some clients have asked to have their site design, structure and layout copied as closely as possible, while others want to take advantage of the new designs possible with Squarespace V6 templates. Neither of these options is necessarily cheaper or more expensive: it really depends on your individual site. For example, if you have a simple site with a few basic pages, and you are happy with a design that is very close to one of the standard V6 templates, then it won't cost very much. If you have a complex site with lots of pages and functions, and/or you want a highly customised design with lots of tailoring, then it will cost more. Either way, you will need to budget for the financial cost of the move, but also for your own time, too. Even if you hire someone to do the moving and building, you will need to allow time to answer questions and provide input, as well as for training.
How difficult is it to learn the new Squarespace 6 system?
I will say that using V6 is a little more complicated than V5, but you get a lot more control and power. With the new system, you can have total control over each page's layout, having multiple columns or highlights of other pages, and a lot more. You can also have more content types, such as slideshows, audio files, different types of forms, Twitter feeds... the list goes on and on. I'd say it's a bit like learning to drive a stick-shift manual transmission car, when you've learned to drive an automatic. There are many similarities, but you have more controls to operate in exchange for being more in control.
So, should I do it or not?
This really depends on three things:
- How important the new V6 features are to you (see the reasons list to find out more)
- Whether you can budget for a site refresh
- Whether you are ready to learn how to use a different system for managing your site
Before deciding, I suggest you read the following article to help firm up the reasons and your decision: