SquareSpace vs Wordpress

Website Builder Comparison

Squarespace vs WordPress is one of the most relevant questions when starting a website. Both platforms are well known and can help you create a powerful and appealing website, but each tool has its own unique strengths. Depending on your business needs, either Squarespace or WordPress will likely work well for you.


WordPress was conceived as a content management system, or CMS, primarily focused on helping users create and manage blogs. It is widely used, powering over 35 percent of the websites on the Internet. Recently, website builders have been offering increasingly user-friendly tools for creating websites. One of the best of these is Squarespace.


Squarespace allows users to easily and quickly create a new website with a professional appearance, features and hosting. A powerful, drag-and-drop website editor combined with high-quality templates helps users create a website quickly and easily. The core difference between Squarespace or WordPress boils down to this: Squarespace is an all-in-one service for creating and hosting websites while WordPress is a component that you can use to create a website yourself and does not include hosting.


Imagine it this way, using Squarespace is like hiring a company to design, build and host your website. They offer you a selection of templates they think might fit your needs and walk you through the process of setting up your content and customizing your color choices and fonts. Then they get your site up and running on the Net and take care of all the maintenance and updates to keep your site secure and running smoothly. Now, you don't actually get a personal designer working for you but Squarespace's software will perform that role to a reasonable degree and help you work with the portfolio of options the company has created. The Squarespace education program is also  an incredible feature for those on a student budget and are wanting to utilize Squarespace for their personal and work needs.


With WordPress, on the other hand, you're really building your website yourself. It provides a powerful toolset, but ultimately, you are responsible for designing your website, getting it up and running on the Net and performing any maintenance or security work yourself. Now, many hosting services are available that will take care of some of these tasks for you and there are lots of tools and tutorials that can help you with this process, but ultimately WordPress leaves all of these things in your hands. This gives you almost infinite flexibility but it also leaves you with a lot of work to do.


Squarespace vs WordPress 2020: Style and Design


There is a sharp contrast between designing a website in Squarespace vs WordPress.


Squarespace templates are some of the best provided by any website builder. These templates offer beautiful, modern designs and responsive user experiences. Building out web pages is done using a drag-and-drop editor where what you see is what you get. In addition, Squarespace themes have extensive customization options to change colors, fonts and spacing to highlight your distinctive brand.


Creating good styling in WordPress can be somewhat harder, and really comes down to finding the right theme. The vast number of themes available means that you will have to be careful to make sure your theme is compatible with your plugins, is mobile responsive and will fit your branding.


Either Squarespace or WordPress can offer the potential for great website design. You can rely on quality templates in Squarespace or pick the pearls from the swine with WordPress themes.


Squarespace vs WordPress 2020: E-Commerce Tools


Either Squarespace or WordPress will support e-commerce sites, but they differ in flexibility and ease of use.


Squarespace provides integrated e-commerce tools in any subscription level above the Squarespace Personal plan. The business plan hits users with a 3 percent transaction fee, but with more expensive commerce plans you can get additional features including:

  • No transaction fee,
  • Customer accounts, and
  • Abandoned cart recovery.


The most notable limitation here is that Squarespace only supports a select group of payment systems like Stripe and PayPal.


WordPress does not support e-commerce by default, but you can add tools for this by using a third-party plugin like WooCommerce. Like most things in WordPress, this is highly customizable, starting with the ability to choose which plugin you use and extending to custom themes and other extensions.


Squarespace vs WordPress 2020: Additional Features


When it comes to adding custom features and expanding your website, you have several options with either Squarespace or WordPress.


Squarespace offers built-in integrations with many sites like YouTube and Instagram. In addition, Squarespace is always working to add features like their new stories tool. They offer a curated selection of extensions including:

  • Easyship,
  • QuickBooks Online by OneSaas,
  • Outfy,
  • inFlow Cloud and
  • FreshBooks.



When it comes to language options, Squarespace is somewhat limited. They only offer built-in support for six languages and their advice for multilingual sites is to create copies of every page in each language. This option may work for some but is quite limiting for many website designs.


WordPress only has a few features built-in, but there are an almost infinite number of features available using third-party plugins. And if you ever think of a feature that isn't implemented already, you still have the option of building it yourself or hiring a developer to implement it for you.


WordPress also supports several multilingual plugins with different approaches to making your site multilingual. Comparing Squarespace vs WordPress, WordPress has dramatically better multilingual support.


Squarespace vs WordPress 2020: Search Engine Optimization


When comparing Squarespace vs WordPress, Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is an important thing to consider. SEO is how you make sure your website is indexed by common search engines like Google. Of course, you can have good SEO with either Squarespace or WordPress.


Squarespace provides SEO best practices by default. Every page will be optimized in various ways behind the scenes to make the site easier for search engines to index and more highly ranked in search results. Squarespace recommends a few steps to keep your site optimized, but everything is pretty straight-forward.


With WordPress, you can tweak every detail of your HTML and hosting setup to maximize SEO in the exact way you choose. Doing this by hand can be an overwhelming task for anyone, so many website owners use a plugin like Yoast to help manage SEO.


Squarespace vs WordPress 2020: Backups and Exporting


At some point in the future, you may need to move your website to a more powerful or flexible solution. In addition, you will need some way to back up your site to prevent data loss or roll back unwanted changes. Either Squarespace or WordPress will allow you to do this.


Squarespace allows you to export much of your web content into XML files and your e-commerce inventory into a CSV file. When Squarespace exports image blocks, it only exports links to your images hosted on Squarespace and not the original files. You will also only be able to export one blog with all its posts, so if you have more than one blog you will have to choose which one to export.


As far as data recovery, Squarespace manages this for the user. They have internal structures to make sure your site won't just disappear. For reverting unwanted changes, Squarespace has a feature like Windows recycle bin that allows users to recover accidentally deleted pages. Unfortunately, there is no feature for automatically recovering style changes to a previous state.


WordPress allows you to export almost everything from your site, with the exception of your e-commerce store. An exported WordPress site can be used to roll back changes to your site, or can easily be imported to a new hosting service like Squarespace or WordPress.


WordPress offers more flexibility in terms of backups and site migration. This functionality is also more necessary because WordPress updates have been known to completely break websites due to incompatibility with older plugins. We prefer Squarespace vs WordPress because Squarespace manages updates and data security internally, allowing the user to focus on content.


Squarespace vs WordPress 2020: Domains and Hosting


Either Squarespace or WordPress will have excellent hosting options available, although there are some usability advantages for Squarespace vs WordPress.


The hosting provided by Squarespace is high-quality and includes industry standard security measures. They have been known to have occasional trouble with distributed denial of service, or DDoS, attacks, but their uptime is very good overall. Their web site load times tend to be on the slow side but still in an acceptable range for most purposes. In addition, Squarespace websites come with unlimited storage and cloud hosting. This means you never need to worry about running out of space for your content or having service failures due to traffic spikes.


WordPress requires you to manage your hosting and domain name yourself. There are many hosting services available, some of which are tailored specifically for WordPress sites. These services vary widely in cost and quality.


You will have to do your own research on how your hosting service manages DDoS attacks or other service interruptions. In addition, you will have to make sure your hosting service provides enough space for the website you are planning and that it has ways to support increased traffic levels.


Comparing Squarespace vs WordPress, you can find all of the same features with Squarespace or WordPress, but with WordPress you will have to put the package together yourself.


Squarespace vs WordPress 2020: Customer Support


Squarespace offers several forms of customer support. They have a some community support like forums, tutorials and how-tos. Their main form of customer support, however, is a team that is available 24/7 by email, real-time chat or phone. This provides a considerable safety net for all of the unexpected things that inevitably arise for a website.


Squarespace vs WordPress are almost exact opposites in this. WordPress offers a large number of forums with many users posting questions and helping with answers as well as an overwhelmingly large selection of tutorials and how-tos. This wealth of information is spread all over the Net and varies in quality and relevance. WordPress doesn't have a dedicated customer support team. This means that when you encounter a problem you will have to figure it out yourself or try to get an answer by posting on the forums. You can get good results this way, but its nothing like the dependability of 24/7 support.


Squarespace vs WordPress 2020: Plans and Pricing


Squarespace Pricing is on the higher end for website builders but is still relatively affordable. They also have many Squarespace Promo Codes available all year round. A Squarespace website is a fixed cost, making it easy to budget for.


Squarespace Plans and Pricing


Personal

$12 per month paid annually (or $16 per month paid monthly)

Up to two contributors

No email

No premium add-ons or custom CSS

No e-commerce tools

Business

$18 per month annually (or $26 per month paid monthly)

Unlimited contributors

Professional email through G Suite

Premium add-ons and custom CSS

E-commerce tools with a 3% transaction fee

Basic Commerce

$26 per month annually (or $30 per month paid monthly)

Unlimited contributors

Professional email through G Suite

Premium add-ons and custom CSS

E-commerce tools with customer accounts, no transaction fee and other benefits

Advanced Commerce

$40 per month annually (or $46 per month paid monthly)

Unlimited contributors

Professional email through G Suite

Premium add-ons and custom CSS

E-commerce tools with customer accounts, cart recovery, no transaction fee and other benefits



WordPress pricing is a little harder to pin down. WordPress itself is open source and therefore doesn't cost anything. However, there are some expenses you will have to budget for. Website hosting can cost less than $4 per month or more than $30 per month, depending on your particular service and options. In addition, if you use any paid themes or plugins, you will have to pay for those as well. Some estimates place the cost of starting a WordPress website from $200 to over $1,000.


In addition to startup and hosting costs for your WordPress site, you may encounter updates or broken functionality that will require changing what plugins you use. If you have to move to a paid plugin as a result of this type of malfunction, that will be a maintenance cost. And, of course, all the time that you spend on your WordPress site is also an expense, even if you do the work yourself.  Be sure to take a peek at the discount available on Squarespace especially if you are a Student, see the Squarespace Student Discount page for more information.


Either Squarespace or WordPress can be great value for the cost. For our money, we prefer Squarespace vs WordPress for the reliably budgeted expense.


Squarespace vs WordPress 2020: Overall Rating


Squarespace vs WordPress does not have a single winner. Instead, both platforms have their own advantages and disadvantages.


Squarespace vs WordPress 2020



Squarespace

WordPress

Usability:

10/10

6/10

Features:

6/10

9/10

Value:

9/10

7/10



For overall usability and customer experience, Squarespace wins. Their best in class website templates, robust hosting platform, user-friendly site management and dedicated customer service are incredible assets for any business. With this solid base, you can rest assured that your website will perform well and look good, allowing you to focus on content and connecting with your audience.


WordPress is the winner in terms of flexibility: You can build almost anything with WordPress, so you will never be limited in what directions you can go. The trade-off is that WordPress will take a lot of resources to develop and maintain, making it a constant consideration in your budget. Head to our Squarespace Tips and Tricks page for more information on obtaining a Squarespace Discount.


Squarespace vs WordPress 2020: What Works for Your Business Model


Choosing either Squarespace or WordPress means finding which platform fits your business the best. Each platform has unique benefits that will be ideal for certain businesses.


Squarespace vs WordPress 2020: Decision Flow


Some of the questions you should be asking yourself when considering whether to choose Squarespace or WordPress are:


  • Who will be maintaining this site?If your site will be maintained by marketing or business professionals, Squarespace may be the better choice. You will be able to save a lot of time with robust and well-designed templates and tools from Squarespace. If your site is going to be maintained by professional developers, WordPress may feel at home to them and will offer your company freedom and room to expand.
  • What are the technical demands of your website?If your website needs specific functionality not offered by Squarespace like user-restricted forums or integration with an uncommon payment processing method, you may be forced to use WordPress. This won't come up for most small businesses, but it is a deal-breaker when it does.
  • How will you answer these questions in one year?Migrating from one platform to the other is always a big job. If you know that sometime in the future you will lose your professional programmer and marketing personnel will have to take over managing the website, you may be better off choosing Squarespace now and making the transition as easy as possible for yourself. If you know you want to expand your online news platform to include a user forum sometime in the future, it may be best to start with WordPress so you don't have to migrate your entire site when you add this functionality.



Squarespace vs WordPress 2020: Examples of Business Needs


Some concrete examples of when to choose Squarespace vs WordPress might be:


  • For a local business looking for a website to increase its online visibility and integrate with existing social media presence, Squarespace is an excellent choice. Excellent third-party integration allows you to automatically generate social media posts every time you create a new blog post and makes sharing pages or content easy. Either Squarespace or WordPress are still options, but with WordPress it will take time to optimize your site for social media. This means less time to create posts and connect with your audience.
  • For a small manufacturing operation, Squarespace offers robust e-commerce tools that work out-of-the-box. This allows you to focus on developing quality products and marketing materials without wasting time on technical e-commerce details. You will have excellent inventory management and a web store that looks great and functions reliably. Squarespace wins this in Squarespace vs WordPress because WordPress will take extra resources for initial implementation and troubleshooting problems when they inevitably arise.
  • For a blogger looking to create a website with managed, member-only forums, you will need WordPress. It will demand a lot of time to develop and maintain your web forums but the investment will be worth it for the deep connections you will be able to form with your audience. Squarespace doesn't offer this functionality so WordPress wins this in Squarespace vs WordPress.
  • For a business planning to implement a complex web app with advanced functionality like user-managed content, social networking or similar features, Squarespace won't be an option. You will likely need a dedicated development team to create a custom solution using a full web application framework like Flask or Node.js.



Summary


Squarespace vs WordPress can be a difficult decision to make. Both platforms offer excellent functionality and the ability to make beautiful and engaging user experiences. To summarize the strengths of each platform:

  • For most small businesses, Squarespace Business websites have the best in class design while saving you valuable time through robust technical implementations and real-time customer service.
  • For some businesses, WordPress offers unbeatable flexibility with the option to implement unique or advanced functionality.


Which platform is right for you will depend on your business's needs, but with good information and careful planning, we're sure you'll find the right solution.