If you’ve been considering a SquareSpace site, you may have noticed some talk about SquareSpace “7.0” and SquareSpace “7.1”. OR perhaps you have already tried to DIY a SquareSpace website only to realize a ton of the available information on SquareSpace sites is for “7.0” and not “7.1”. OR finally, you may already have a “7.0” site and are wondering if you need to switch to “7.1”.
This is because SquareSpace released it’s newest version “7.1” at the beginning of 2020.
What is Squarespace 7.1?
This new version is actually completely different from 7.0, which has been around for quite awhile. Oddly, the previous version before 7.0 was 6.0, so I’m a little confused about their naming system. Oh well.
It’s actually in an “early access” phase so users can choose whether or not they want to use 7.0 or 7.1. So, which one is right for you?
What is new in SquareSpace 7.1?
POSITIVE FEATURES OF SQUARESPACE 7.1
SquareSpace 7.1 uses only one template
While you will still see “templates” when you sign up to build a 7.1 website, all of them have the same features and allow for you to add the same sections.
In Squarespace 7.0, your template dictates what you can and cannot do because not all of them have the same features. The fact that 7.1 no longer has these differences between templates means that this choice is much less important. This is a plus in my book because there is nothing worse than building out most of your site and then realizing a certain functionality you want only exists in another template.
Sections have replaced indexes in SquareSpace 7.1
You may have seen a number of SquareSpace designers talking about how the Brine template family (7.0) is the best. One of the main reasons for this is because of the use of index sections that allow you to create different full width sections on the same page. In 7.0 this feature is pretty much only available in the Brine template family.
In SquareSpace 7.1 all of the templates utilize sections – not indexes – but this gives you the same functionality. You can also add sections to each page using their design tool, allowing for the easy creation of more diverse pages.
NEGATIVE FEATURES OF SQUARESPACE 7.1
There are drawbacks to the design interface.
While some things are easier in 7.1, a lot of things are clunkier. They also did away with a lot of features that long-time SquareSpace users have come to love and depend on, like gallery pages, gallery page summary blocks, parallax scrolling and secondary navigation. While the simplicity of the new design interface is nice, I feel like SquareSpace is trying a little too hard to be like Wix – which makes it easier to do simple things, but harder to create complex, polished designs.
Renaming of CSS labels.
For those of you with basic website skills looking for something super easy, this won’t affect you. But for those of you who like to search around and figure out how to create a certain effect, it’s now much harder to do that. For years, 7.0 designers have been customizing SquareSpace 7.0 templates using CSS code, and often sharing that code on their blogs and in other forums. Most of this is open source, and with a little trial and error, you can make changes to your website using this code. Now, that code is basically obsolete because it will not work in SquareSpace 7.1 since sections and elements have different labels.
Bad user experience.
I’ve experienced a lot of glitches when working in 7.1 – hopefully this will be worked out as they continue to develop it.
So, which should you choose —Squarespace 7.0 or 7.1?
If you currently have a Squarespace 7.0 site:
There is no need to switch from SquareSpace 7.1 to 7.1. The majority of SquareSpace websites are still built on 7.0 and the company has promised to support them indefinitely. (Sidenote: I am a little worried that ‘indefinitely’ may not exactly be forever, but I figure we can cross that bridge when we get to it).
Besides which, there is currently no good way to transfer your website from 7.0 to 7.1. There is an import/export feature, but a lot gets lost in translation, so in order to effectively transfer your site, you actually need to rebuild it. Thankfully, blog posts should now (as of August 2020) transfer OK.
If you’re building a new site:
If you’re familiar with SquareSpace 7.0, this is a tough decision. In my book, you’ll be able to do more and certainly customize more in SquareSpace 7.0. That said, I do worry about 7.0 actually being around forever, so you may risk having to transfer to 7.1 eventually. It’s up to you whether you want to have the best possible design, or website longevity.
If you’re a SquareSpace newbie and you’re OK with a pretty simple website, then 7.1 is likely sufficient!
P.S. I offer tutorials for building and customizing SquareSpace websites in both 7.0 and 7.1 over on SkillShare. You can view my available courses here.