WordPress vs Squarespace
Which is better?
Many of my clients are confused about why I push them towards a self-hosted WordPress website instead of Squarespace, Wix, or any of its other competitors. In this guide, I am going to compare WordPress and Squarespace specifically. I am going to cover this from a beginners DIY standpoint. When you hire a developer things get easier and more costly. I’ll cover how easy it is to use each platform, the costs involved, the design capabilities, integrations, eCommerce abilities, and data portability. Already know who is the best and want to learn more about the winner? Check out this post! Let’s jump into the first thing, ease of use.
Which platform is the easiest to use?
Many DIY web designers don’t have experience in HTML or CSS, so having a building platform that makes it easy to create pages or blog posts is a crucial thing. They want to be able to build without the help of a developer. So how do our two contestants stand up to this? Let’s check it out.
How easy is WordPress to use?
WordPress is one of the top choices when creating a DIY website. It has an intuitive interface and allows you to build pages with their block editor. Although it does have an intuitive interface, there is a slight learning curve. I have found that when first starting out, clients have a hard time understanding the terminology that WordPress uses. They get confused as to what a post is versus a page and why they would use either or what is a category versus a tag. After you get the hang of the terms though, WordPress is super easy to use and create what you want.
How easy is Squarespace to use?
There are not many choices when building Squarespace pages so creating content is super easy, even for the absolute beginner. They have a block editor similar to WordPress and allow you to customize your pages and theme from a visual builder. However, the customizations you can make are limited.
The title of easiest to use goes to…
Well, when it comes to the absolute beginner’s ease of use SquareSpace is ahead by a smidge. For the small business owner or a regular beginner, WordPress has better customization options and is more flexible. There are also plugins you can add for drag and drop builders.
How much do they cost?
Knowing how much your website is going to cost is an essential thing. Let’s see how Squarespace and WordPress stack up.
The cost of WordPress
WordPress itself is an open-source CMS system. This means it is entirely free to use and build on. There are other costs associated with having a WordPress site though. You will have to purchase a domain and chose a hosting provider. Domains are relatively cheap, and you can buy them from places like godaddy.com or even google.com. Hosting varies depending on whom you decided to go with and what type of hosting you need. You can find hosting starting at around $2/month. Typically, I refer my clients to Flywheel for WordPress Hosting. Their plans are a little more expensive, but you get more features. Their tiny plans run around $14 a month, but you get free support, SSL Certificate, plenty of bandwidth to keep your site running, and automatic backups. While there is hosting for cheaper, I have found that Flywheel is a great place to host your WordPress site. Beyond these fees, there isn’t much cost wise that goes into a WordPress website, which is one reason why it is so popular.
The cost of Squarespace
The personal plans on Squarespace are $12/month if billed annually or $16/month month to month. This plan limits you severely. You cannot sell products, you can only have two contributors, and you only get basic analytics. They have another plan that is $18/month if billed annually or $26/month month to month. This plan gives you unlimited contributors, advanced analytics, and the ability to sell products at a 3% transaction fee. They also offer online store plans starting at $26/month that have no transaction fees.
Who wins when it comes to cost?
When it comes to pricing, WordPress is a shoe in. It is cheaper to host and buy your domain than it would be to create a website on Squarespace, and you will get all the features out of the gate.
Which platform has the best design capabilities?
Both our competitors have ready-made templates and design tools that make it easy to customize your website. I wonder who will win this round.
WordPress has thousands of free and paid themes available. These themes usually come in a variety of colors and allow you to upload your logo, images, colors, and more. Many of them come with multiple layouts, drag and drop builders, sliders, photo galleries, and tons of other features. If you don’t like any of them, you can use a builder like Divi to create a custom theme for your website.
When you log into Squarespace and look at their themes, you will find many themes neatly organized into different categories. However, this is where Squarespace seriously fails. You are limited on your ability to customize these themes to fit your look and feel. They come with a limited number of layout choices, but you can still select your basic colors, fonts, logo, and other things. These themes are nowhere near as customizable as WordPress themes.
And the winner for best design capabilities?
I think we can all agree; WordPress is obviously the winner here. You have full customization capabilities, the ability to have extra features like sliders, photo galleries, and tons more. Squarespace offers a limited number of templates and features but does have great looking templates.
Which platform has the best integrations?
Having the ability to add functionality or integrate 3rd party plugins may not be a thing on your priority list now, but it may be in the future. Let’s look and see how our competitors fair when it comes to integrations.
WordPress’s real power comes from its plugins. There are tons of plugins that add features, integrate your 3rd party apps, or even change behaviors on your site. WordPress has over 54,673 plugins, some being free while others are premium plugins. Any feature you can think of, there is probably a plugin for that. Our top choices for plugins are Yoast SEO, WooCommerce, Amelia, and the Divi Builder.
Squarespace has nowhere near the plugins that WordPress has. It is possible to add 3rd party integrations and customizations, but Squarespace doesn’t have a robust API allowing developers to build plugins. For eCommerce, if you use the built-in platform, you can’t build on it at all.
So who has the best integrations?
Ding ding ding, Round 4 is over, and WordPress is the winner. With thousands of plugins, WordPress gives you the ability to customize your website; however you see fit. Squarespace has a limited number of plugins, and many of them are very limited.
Which platform has the best eCommerce platform?
If you are a store and looking to extend your products to the online world, you need eCommerce capabilities. WordPress and Squarespace both have eCommerce capabilities but let’s pit ‘em against each other.
WordPress has many plugins that allow you to accept payments online including Stripe, PayPal, and Google Checkout. They also have plenty of eCommerce plugins; one of the most common is WooCommerce. It has its own add-ons and thousands of ready-made themes. I tend to steer my clients who are wanting eCommerce websites toward WooCommerce. There is no limit to how many items you can sell; you can customize your product pages, and how you sell them. You can also add affiliate plugins and grow your inbound marketing strategy.
Squarespace severely limits what you can do on their eCommerce platform. You can only accept payments from PayPal and Stripe, which don’t work in some countries. If you want to sell products, you have to have at least a business plan, even if you only sell 1 product. That’s more expensive than a WordPress site on Flywheel. Don’t even get me started on 3rd party integrations for things like affiliate programs. They limit you on these fronts as well.
And the winner is?
WordPress definitely surpasses Squarespace when it comes to eCommerce abilities. WordPress you will get a better product for a better price, and won’t be limited on your payment methods or your ability to add an affiliate program.
Who has the best data portability?
What happens if you aren’t happy with your CMS platform? Do you have to start over? This is what data portability is about. You shouldn’t have to restart from the beginning if you aren’t happy with your platform. How do WordPress and Squarespace fair in this category?
WordPress comes with built-in tools to export all your data. This includes all your content and images, themes, plugins, and even your database. You can also use a backup solution like Updraft to back up your entire website. This also gives you the ability to switch hosting providers if you aren’t happy with your host.
Here we go again. Squarespace’s ability to export your data is minimal. You can only export your pages, galleries, and one blog page with all its posts. You can export your products in a CSV file. This does not include your product images, album pages, text, audio, and video blocks.
So, who is the winner?
WordPress is the obvious winner when it comes to data portability as well. They allow you to export all of your data, not just your pages, galleries, text, audio, and video.
So which is the best, Squarespace or WordPress?
WordPress is by far the superior platform, but there are some good sides to Squarespace. Squarespace is super easy to use, has a polished experience, and is easy to set up. These few good things do not surpass the bad though. If you use Squarespace, you will be severely limited on your data portability, plugins, eCommerce ability, and design customization. WordPress will give you the ability to scale your website, add features in the future, and pay less for it. If you want to learn more about WordPress, view my Beginner’s Guide to WordPress.
If you are interested in starting either of these types of websites and want help doing it instead of tackling it on your own, I would be more than happy to help you build your site to your specifications in WordPress or Squarespace if you wish. Contact me today for your free consultation and proposal and see how much it will cost you to have me build your site for you.
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