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1. Understanding Etsy and Squarespace

Etsy vs. Squarespace: Which is right for your online business?

Are you thinking about starting an online business but can't decide between Etsy and Squarespace? Don't worry; you're not alone! With so many options out there, it can be overwhelming to choose the right platform for your needs. In this article, we'll break down everything you need to know about Etsy and Squarespace to help you make an informed decision.

Main takeaways from this article:

  • Etsy is a marketplace primarily for handmade and vintage items, providing a ready-made audience for your products. However, it has limited customization options, charges listing and transaction fees, and can be highly competitive.

  • Squarespace is a website-building platform that offers high levels of customization, allowing you to create a unique online store or portfolio site. It comes with comprehensive features like SEO tools and third-party integrations but has a steeper learning curve and potentially higher costs.

  • Etsy charges a $0.20 listing fee per item for four months and a 6.5% commission on each sale. Extra fees apply for each product variation, which can significantly increase costs for sellers with diverse product ranges.

  • Squarespace has different pricing plans starting at $16 per month, including hosting. It does not involve transaction fees, which can be beneficial for businesses with a high volume of sales or those selling high-priced items.

  • Gelato offers print on demand solutions that can integrate with your Etsy or Squarespace store, enabling you to sell products worldwide and produce locally. Using Gelato is free, but for more advanced features, you can opt for one of their subscription plans: Gelato+ and Gelato+Gold.

Understanding Etsy and Squarespace

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty details, let's take a moment to understand what Etsy and Squarespace are all about.

Etsy and Squarespace are two popular platforms that cater to different needs in the online marketplace. While Etsy focuses on connecting buyers and sellers of handmade and vintage items, Squarespace provides a comprehensive solution for building and hosting websites.

What is Etsy?

02_What is Etsy

Etsy is an online marketplace that primarily focuses on handmade and vintage items. It has grown exponentially over the years and is now home to millions of sellers and buyers worldwide.

Etsy was founded in 2005 with the aim of providing a platform for independent artists, crafters, and collectors to sell their unique creations. Today, the Etsy marketplace has become a go-to destination for people looking for one-of-a-kind products, like custom wall art or personalized apparel that can't be found in traditional brick-and-mortar stores.

What is Squarespace?

03_What is Squarespace

Squarespace, on the other hand, is a platform that allows you to build and host your own website. It provides you with the tools you need to create a professional-looking online store or portfolio site without any coding knowledge.

With Squarespace, you don't have to worry about the technical aspects of building a website. The platform takes care of everything, from domain registration to web hosting, so you can focus on designing and customizing your site to reflect your brand and style.

Comparing Etsy and Squarespace

Now that we know what Etsy and Squarespace are, let's compare their key features to help you understand which platform aligns better with your business goals.

User interface and experience

Etsy boasts a user-friendly interface that is easy to navigate. It has a well-established community with built-in marketing tools, making it easier for sellers to reach potential buyers. The platform's intuitive layout allows sellers to quickly set up their shops and start selling their products. Additionally, Etsy provides sellers with analytics and insights to help them understand their customers better and make data-driven decisions to improve their businesses.

Squarespace, on the other hand, offers a more robust website-building experience. It provides a wide range of design templates and customization options for a unique and personalized website. With Squarespace, you can choose from a variety of beautifully designed themes that are optimized for mobile devices. The platform also offers advanced SEO tools to help you improve your website's visibility in search engine results.

Customization options

Etsy, although limited in terms of customization options, provides a consistent and cohesive experience for sellers and buyers alike. The platform focuses on maintaining a visually appealing and user-friendly interface across all shops, ensuring a seamless browsing and shopping experience for customers. While you may not have as much control over the design of your Etsy shop, the platform's simplicity allows you to focus more on your products and customer interactions.

When it comes to customization, Squarespace takes the lead. It offers a drag-and-drop website builder that allows you to customize every aspect of your website. From fonts and colors to layouts and navigation menus, Squarespace gives you full control over the design of your site. With its flexible design options, you can create a website that perfectly reflects your brand identity and stands out from the competition.

Ecommerce features

If you're looking for a dedicated ecommerce platform, Etsy is the way to go. It offers a range of features tailored specifically for selling products, such as inventory management, shipping options, and payment processing. With Etsy, you can easily manage your inventory, track sales, and communicate with customers through the platform's messaging system. The platform also provides tools for promoting your products, including the option to create coupons and run sales events.

Squarespace, while it does have ecommerce capabilities, is primarily built as a website-building platform with additional ecommerce features. With Squarespace, you can integrate an online store into your website and sell physical or digital products. The platform offers features like inventory tracking, order management, and secure payment processing. Squarespace also provides tools for creating promotional campaigns and managing customer relationships, allowing you to run your online business smoothly.

Pricing: Etsy vs. Squarespace

Now, let's talk about pricing. Understanding the cost involved is crucial in determining which platform is the best fit for your business.

Etsy pricing structure
  • Etsy operates on a listing fee and commission-based model.

  • The cost to list an item for four months is $0.20.

  • Etsy applies a 6.5% commission fee on each sale.

  • The listing period for each item on Etsy is four months. If an item doesn't sell within four months, it needs to be relisted, incurring an additional $0.20 fee.

  • Etsy charges an extra $0.20 fee for each product variation (e.g., different colors or sizes).

Squarespace pricing structure
  • Squarespace offers different pricing plans, starting at $16 per month for a basic website and $27 per month for an online store.

  • The monthly fee with Squarespace includes hosting, removing the need for a separate hosting provider and additional costs.

  • Squarespace's pricing structure does not involve transaction fees, unlike platforms like Etsy.

  • The level of customization and control Squarespace offers can help create a unique and memorable online presence, which is important for attracting and retaining customers.

Pros and cons of using Etsy for your business

04_Pros and cons of using Etsy for your business

Etsy, a popular online marketplace for handmade and vintage items, offers almost all the features that can help entrepreneurs establish their brands and reach a wider customer base. However, like any platform, it also has its drawbacks. Let's dive into the pros and cons of using Etsy for your business.


Established marketplace and built-in community

With millions of active buyers and sellers, Etsy provides a ready-made audience for your products. By joining this vibrant community, you can tap into a larger customer base and make money without much effort.

Marketing and promotional tools

From featured listings to social media integration, you can leverage these tools to increase your brand exposure and attract more customers. Moreover, Etsy's robust search engine optimization (SEO) capabilities can help your products appear higher in search results, increasing the likelihood of making sales.

Trust and credibility

The platform is known for its strict guidelines and policies, ensuring a safe and secure environment for both buyers and sellers. This level of trust can significantly benefit your business, especially if you are just starting out and building your reputation.


Platform fees

Etsy charges a listing fee for each item you post, as well as a transaction fee for every sale. These fees can eat into your profits, especially if you have a high volume of sales or sell higher-priced items.

Limited customization

Etsy sellers have limited control over the look and feel of their shops. All shops on Etsy have a similar layout and design, which means you may struggle to differentiate your brand from competitors. While you can customize certain elements, such as your shop banner and logo, you are still confined to the overall structure and template provided by the platform.

High competition

With millions of sellers vying for attention, standing out from the crowd can be challenging. It requires a combination of unique products, compelling branding, and effective marketing strategies to gain visibility and attract customers.

Pros and cons of using Squarespace for your business

05_Pros and cons of using Squarespace for your business

Now, let's explore the pros and cons of using Squarespace for your online business.


Customizable templates

Squarespace's customizable templates and drag-and-drop builder allow you to create a unique website that aligns with your brand. With Squarespace, you have the freedom to choose from a wide range of professionally designed templates, each offering a different aesthetic and layout. Whether you're a photographer looking for a sleek and minimalist design or a fashion blogger wanting a vibrant and eye-catching website, Squarespace has a template for you.


Squarespace offers seamless integration with various third-party services, like Gelato. Whether you want to incorporate an email marketing tool, set up an online store with payment gateways, or connect your website to your social media accounts, Squarespace makes it easy to integrate these services into your site. This integration allows you to streamline your business operations and provide a seamless experience for your customers.

SEO capabilities

Squarespace has robust SEO capabilities, helping your website rank higher in search engine results. It provides built-in tools for optimizing your site's metadata, generating XML sitemaps, and creating clean URLs. With Squarespace's SEO features, you can increase your website's visibility and attract more organic traffic, ultimately boosting your online presence and driving growth for your business.


Steep learning curve

While Squarespace offers numerous advantages, it may not be as intuitive for beginners. The platform has a learning curve, and it may take some time to get familiar with its features and functionalities. However, Squarespace provides extensive documentation and tutorials to guide you through the process. With a little patience and practice, you can quickly become proficient in using Squarespace to create a stunning website for your business.


Compared to other website-building platforms, Squarespace can be slightly more expensive. However, it's important to consider the value you're getting for your investment. Squarespace offers a comprehensive package that includes hosting, security, customer support, and a range of features to help you build and grow your online business. Ultimately, the pricing is a trade-off for the convenience and professional quality that Squarespace provides.

Making the decision: Etsy or Squarespace?

Consider the type of products you sell, the level of customization you desire, and your budget. Think about whether you prioritize accessing an established marketplace or building your own ecommerce website.

Ultimately, the best platform for your business depends on your specific goals and preferences. If you're looking for a straightforward way to sell products and connect with a large audience, Etsy may be the right choice for you. However, if you value customization and want full control over your brand's online presence, Squarespace might be a better fit.

Take your Etsy or Squarespace store to the next level with Gelato

06_Take your Etsy or Squarespace store to the next level with Gelato

Looking to enhance your Etsy or Squarespace store? Gelato offers robust print on demand solutions that can be easily integrated into your existing Etsy or Squarespace platform. As the world’s largest local print on demand service, Gelato enables creators, entrepreneurs, and global brands to sell products worldwide while producing locally in 34 countries. This global reach opens up a potential market of up to five billion consumers.

Using Gelato is free — you only pay for the products your customers order. However, for more advanced features and benefits, you can opt for one of our subscription plans: Gelato+ and Gelato+Gold. 

Our mission is to support a diverse group of creators and entrepreneurs, enabling them to bring their creativity to life and into the business realm. As a flexible, fast, and sustainable production and distribution platform, Gelato is proud to be a vital part of the creator economy. We strive to assist creators in turning their dreams into reality and want Gelato to be synonymous with the global ecommerce entrepreneurship movement.

Ready to start your journey with Gelato and elevate your Etsy or Squarespace store to new heights? Sign up for Gelato today!


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