Why is it that companies like Squarespace are a rare find? The ease of use and the clean templates seem like a no brainer for other companies to copy it. What you do you think? Do you think there are similar competitors like Squarespace?
Any type of hosted website service just needs to be approached for what it is: a potential solution for the problem of needing a professional-looking website.
The question about why something good is a rare find is certainly at the top of my list of existential questions: Where are the books that fit my tastes? The church that fits the way I view God? The friends who get me? The political candidates who I can trust? The software that doesn't violate my privacy and or that isn't bloated with features I never wanted in the first place? The government that respects my desire to choose what milk I drink and whether or not I want to subscribe to health insurance? Yeah... I think you get my point.
Why does Etsy stand out? Why does FitBit stand out? It's the same thing. If it's fitting the need and doing it elegantly, it stands out.
I haven't used Squarespace. I don't know anyone who is using it. So I don't know if it's great or not. My opinions about it are limited to the advice I'd giving anyone who is looking for website solutions:
1) WRITE DOWN what you're trying to accomplish. Then research and list what features and functionality you need to achieve your goals.
1.a) FIND some websites that are excelling at what you want to do. Use them as inspiration. This will help you make your list of features and can be used as an example when you're asking someone if they can provide what you need.
2) INVESTIGATE possible solutions and compare them. Who has the features you need? What are the costs?
3) DECIDE which option fits your current budget and requirements.
4) TAKE THE LEAP. It may take a few false starts before you find what works for you. The cheapest options are often full of hidden costs. But nowadays there are more ways than ever to provide proof-of-concept to potential customers and raise funds for starting up a business or launching a project. Whether you're ready to pay someone a monthly fee for ecommerce or you start with simple PayPal buttons, there's a path forward.
That said, pretty templates can go a long way towards a professional appearance. As long as they're mobile responsive, load quickly, and easy to manage on the backend, you save yourself a ton of money (and/or time) that you'd otherwise need to spend on a designer.
Amazing answer Teddi. I didn't ask the question but you hit the nail on the head with your 2nd paragraph!