“Two of the biggest website building platforms out there have a lot to set them apart. By the end of this blog, you’ll have a much clearer picture of which platform is best suited for creating your bespoke business website!”
Are you trying to decide between Squarespace vs WordPress, but you don’t know the main differences? Then you are in the right place to find out that, and much more!
Most business owners know that WordPress and Squarespace are tools for building websites, but they lack the necessary knowledge when choosing the best option for them and their business. In this article, you will learn all about what these platforms can do, their main key features compared, and why WordPress is the best choice.
- What is Squarespace?
- What is WordPress?
- Who are both platforms aimed at?
- What are the costs?
- Which platform is easier to use?
- Squarespace vs WordPress features and benefits
- Final verdict: should you use WordPress or Squarespace?
What is Squarespace?
Squarespace is a complete, all-in-one package that includes everything you need to create a general website, such as:
- Drag and drop editor
- Intuitive interface and easy to use
- A content management system (CMS)
- A domain name (if needed)
- e-Commerce features
The best part about Squarespace is that you don’t have to worry about any technical details like setting up a website host. The platform provides website building and hosting services whilst allowing the users to use pre-built website templates, which can be easily dragged and dropped to create and modify any website pages. Most business owners love Squarespace because it needs no coding or web development expertise to use it successfully.
According to Buitwith.com, there are around 2.7 million live websites built with Squarespace.
What is WordPress?
There are 2 main WordPress options: WordPress.com and WordPress.org. In this blog, we are going to talk about WordPress.org, where you can really get your hands dirty and host your website yourself. However, to decide on which version is right for you, head over to the WordPress Support website to get all the answers and information you need about the 3 different WordPress options before moving onto the juicy stuff.
Unlike Squarespace, WordPress is not a complete, all-in-one package, however, it is a highly flexible open-source content management system that you can customise however you like. What is very important to know is that WordPress hosting is not included, which means that you will have to install it on a third party host provider, which is a great benefit compared to other platforms like Squarespace. Why? Because Squarespace can’t be installed on multiple web hosts but only on Squarespace servers.
According to Buitwith.com, there are around 28 million live websites built with WordPress, which is a huge difference when compared to Squarespace. Now let’s start exploring why!
Who are both platforms aimed at?
It is fair to say that Squarespace is aimed at users that lack web development skills, which means that anyone can use the platform to create their website, whether for business or personal reasons.
However, that doesn’t mean that WordPress can’t cater for these users as well. It is possible to create and maintain a website through the WordPress website builder with ease! We genuinely believe that there are many benefits of learning WordPress and how to use it, despite being a steeper learning curve than with Squarespace. Due to its nature, WordPress is also directed towards users who want to use the platform to create a highly customised website with significantly increased functionality, which is not available on Squarespace.
Squarespace and WordPress are two completely different platforms, so it makes sense that they each appeal to diverse audiences. To make it even more precise, we like to think of it in this way:
- Squarespace is a website builder that has all your templates, security, features, SEO tools, and more, all ready to use
- WordPress is a content management system (CMS), which means you are fully responsible for every single aspect of your website
Squarespace is the ideal choice for:
- Anyone who wants a professional but creative website that requires a minimal amount of time, effort, and tech skills
- Creatives that lack coding expertise such as photographers, restaurants, musicians, small business entrepreneurs, and fashion designers
WordPress is the ideal choice for:
- Anyone that is seeking complete customisation, total control, and a real hands-on approach to their website
- Those who want a challenge, whether in coding, updating, installing, or just learning how to use it
Here’s a little secret from us – WordPress gives you 100% ownership over your WordPress site whilst offering the chance to create complex websites. Even more? It is the number one choice for writing content and blogging!
What are the costs?
One of the first things people think about is the difference between Squarespace pricing and WordPress pricing and which one is cheaper. With Squarespace, you get clear price plans, which allow you to quickly calculate how much it will cost you per year, all included. The prices for Squarespace are:
- £10/month for a personal website
- £15/month for a business website
- £20/month for a basic online shop
- £30/month for an advanced website
With WordPress, you have to budget in your hosting plan, website theme prices, and the cost of additional plugins, which ultimately makes it a slightly more expensive option. To get it properly working, you will need to pay for many elements. However, in general, five main things will affect your costs:
- Hosting – the server space on which to install WordPress and store your website (for £3/month for a very slow hosting speed, but our recommendation is to use Siteground’s hosting, which starts at £3/month as well for the first year, which then increases to £8/month)
- Themes – your website design
- eCommerce integration (if applicable) – additional tools that will help you sell products online
- Plugins – apps that can be added to your website for increased functionality
- Paying a developer (if involved) – to build your website
Technically, you could easily get away using a free WordPress theme, eCommerce integration, and plugins. However, if you want to get high-quality results from your website, you will have to invest a bit more in your site. But don’t worry, we will get to the reasons why you should do so now!
Which platform is easier to use?
It goes without saying that when it comes to ease of use, Squarespace wins! This is because Squarespace is a website builder, where all you have to do is pick, switch, and personalise already existing templates using drag-and-drop.
It allows you to simply choose an element like a text box, drag it wherever you want, and drop it. It’s that simple! This is also called “What you see is What you get” editing (WYSIWYG). This makes it super simple to make any changes because you see everything right in front of you, in the same way in which online visitors will see your site once it gets published.
On the other hand, WordPress is a bit different from Squarespace. Because WordPress is a CMS platform, code and third-party plugins can be added to customise your site. What does this mean? You will get much more control, but it does come with a downfall – it makes the whole process a bit more complicated, especially if you are not tech-savvy. When creating your site, you won’t see what you are doing, as you do with Squarespace. Instead, you can edit anything you want in the backend.
However, WordPress gives the option of using a builder-like feature called Gutenburg editor. This helps to compose the text and media on each website page, and instead of having to type in custom code or plugins, you will only have to use the “blocks” that let you add elements such as paragraphs, quotes, images, and more.
If by now you are thinking if you should invest in using WordPress when creating your website, the short and sweet answer is yes! Why? Because it’s one of the most powerful platforms, which allows you the best flexibility in achieving your dream website, despite it being slightly harder to use.
Squarespace vs WordPress features and benefits
At this point, it’s pretty clear that you don’t just want your website to look good, right? You want it to have an attractive design whilst packing it with the best features out there. To start with, as a general rule of thumb, there are both pros and cons when it comes to Squarespace vs WordPress’s features.
- Free Typekit
- Free Google fonts
- Multiple templates
- Audio collections
- Adobe Image editor
- Social integration
- Dropbox file synchronisation
- Blogging features
- Email campaigns
- Product quick view
- Possibility of selling digital and physical products and services
All of these features come as a standard package included in your Squarespace editor without having to install any extra apps or plugins.
- Endless plugins
- Customisable designs
- Publishing tools
- Multiple contributors
- Password protection for pages
- Image editing tools
- Multilingual options
- Comments management
- SEO friendly
- Easy and accessible
- Responsive mobile design
- … and much more
These are only a few of the benefits of using WordPress in creating a website from scratch, and although there are fewer intuitive features like Squarespace has, WordPress has the most powerful set of features and tools that can set up your website for success! Now let’s have a quick in-depth look at the main 6 features that differentiate WordPress from Squarespace and why WordPress is the best choice for your business.
It is true that all the Squarespace templates look great and that there are many options to choose from (around 125 templates are currently available), however, it can’t beat the vast number of templates available in WordPress.
In WordPress, thousands of templates can be used, both free and paid-for, which can be accessed from the official WordPress theme directory, or various third-party websites like Template Monster or Theme Forest. One slightly frustrating thing about Squarespace is that none of the templates allows you to add a sidebar. This is a shame, as sidebars are a fantastic way to embed e-newsletter sign up forms, show ads, highlight popular blog posts, and more. In contrast, on WordPress, you can do many wonderful things with sidebars! If you choose to source your WordPress theme, make sure you do so from a reputable source, as some themes may contain malicious code, which will negatively affect your website security.
To put it simply, the main reasons why WordPress is better than Squarespace when it comes to templates are:
- High-quality templates available
- Flexibility in features
- Wide range of choices
When you are on the go, your website has to be as well! Luckily, now you can simply place your website in your pocket and keep managing it wherever you go. Generally, there are pros and cons in mobile design when talking about Squarespace vs WordPress.
- Offers 4 mobile apps to choose from
- It’s easy to download
- It’s free
- However, the main Squarespace App is available only for iOS and not Android
Squarespace has various apps through which you can manage your website on the go, and the 4 available mobile apps are:
- Analytics (iOS and Android) – to view KPIs for your website
- Commerce (iOS and Android) – to manage your online store
- Blog (iOS and Android) – to write, edit, share and manage blog posts
- Squarespace App (iOS only) – to update pages, write blogs, add gallery images, review pages, and track analytics
Lacking the main Squarespace App for Android means that you won’t be able to edit your website pages in case you have anything else other than an iPhone, however, the other apps are free to download from Google Play.
- Offers one mobile app for both iOS and Android
- It’s easy to download
- It feels somehow limited when compared to the desktop version
With WordPress, all you need to do is install the right app for your device for free, connect it with your website, and start managing anything you need! The advantage of using WordPress is that you will be able to work on your site from all types of iPhones, iPads, and Android devices. We know that having a pretty website is good, but having the option to customise it anytime you want, no matter your device, it’s a big plus! We have a great article on the most common UX design mistakes that kill your conversions if you want some valuable tips to ensure that your website’s user experience is the best it can be!
When talking about content management in a Squarespace vs WordPress shoutout, WordPress is the winner by far! There are 4 main reasons for that:
- WordPress comes with content versioning – which means that you can have multiple versions of pages and blogs that can get easily stored on the system, allowing you to restore backups of your whole website too, whereas Squarespace doesn’t let you do this
- WordPress allows you to toggle between HTML and WYSIWYG when editing your blogs and content – which means that you can add “code blocks” to have full access to the main HTML behind your pages and blogs, whereas, with Squarespace, you can only see your content progress visually
- WordPress has an impressive media library – which can be used to store, access and edit images and documents, making it very easy to locate and re-use existing content, whereas Squarespace doesn’t offer any similar tools for managing files
- WordPress allows you to use categories and tags with more flexibility – which enables you to present your website content in more relevant ways to your audiences, where they can also easily filter it to find exactly what they’re looking for
Also, if you are now wondering how your blog writing process is going, we have a great article from which you can learn how to write a blog post that converts in no time!
Apps and Plugins
And this is where the WordPress plugin range beats Squarespace without a doubt!
By using WordPress, you could create any type of site you like by either installing the already existing plugins or by commissioning a developer to code anything on your behalf. There are thousands of plugins available on WordPress that you can choose from, and they are straightforward to install and update. Suppose you use a WordPress developer to craft a truly unique site with your template and functionality rather than a third party. In that case, you will definitely beat your competition and impress your online visitors!
However, the visual aspects of your website are much more flexible when using Squarespace than WordPress. This is simply because you can tweak visuals easily in templates when using Squarespace, as the drag and drop editor makes everything so much easier.
Another hot topic in the world of website design is Squarespace SEO vs WordPress SEO. To put it simply, SEO has been, is, and it will always be the king in the digital marketing world, so knowing how to do SEO keyword research like a pro is a must when creating your website and your content.
- It has built-in SEO tools
- It requires minimal input
- However, it is much less powerful than the SEO WordPress plugins, and it’s not very user friendly, especially for beginners
Squarespace has excellent built-in SEO tools that can boost your website, including indexed and searchable pages, automatic and canonical tagging, clean URLs, and much more. All of these are integrated already, so you don’t need to download any extra plugins.
- Plugins provide powerful SEO tools and features
- However, it’s not very user friendly either, especially for beginners
The most popular plugins in WordPress are for SEO! For example, Yoast SEO has a 5-star rating and over 5 million active installations. Yoast can easily guide you through the best SEO practices, from adding the right keywords and meta descriptions to creating great content. This will surely satisfy search engines, especially considering the most recent Google algorithm update for 2021.
One of the main things that Squarespace users don’t have to worry about is website maintenance. If you perform a simple Squarespace review on various sites, you will see what we are talking about here!
All the key technical aspects of running a website, like software updates, web hosting, server configuration, and so on, are all handled by the company itself. With WordPress, it’s completely different, as you are in control and in charge of using the most up-to-date version of WordPress. Even more, you’ll always have to keep an eye that your website server is configured correctly and that all your active plugins and WordPress themes are updated.
But the great thing about being in complete control of your website maintenance is that you will be able to see exactly what is going on at all times! No more wondering why things aren’t working the way you want them, which will save you a lot of time instead of sending emails back and forth to the platform companies.
Final verdict: should you use WordPress or Squarespace?
Perhaps by now, you are very tempted by WordPress but aren’t convinced it’s the right choice for you. In this case, here are the main reasons why people choose WordPress to create a bespoke website, both for personal and business use:
- You can build a complex site
- You can have full customisation
- You are up for a challenge to learn how to code
- You can have access to a wide array of powerful blogging tools
- You want to have high security on your website
- You want to have flexibility in choosing the right tools and features that your site needs
- You want a responsive web design
- You want to design landing pages that convert
The key takeaway when comparing Squarespace vs WordPress is that they both have strengths and weaknesses. This is why you need to know these differences to choose the right tool for your website.
To put it simply, Squarespace is a complete and highly intuitive package, whilst WordPress has much more features and flexibility, but it’s slightly harder to use. For that reason, our recommendation is to use Squarespace only when creating conventional websites, but always turn to WordPress for websites that stick out of the box! If you want to get started with building your website using WordPress, we can help!
At Lnet Digital, we can make your website work for you whilst drawing in the audience you want and speak to them directly! Just book a FREE web design consultation with us, and together, we can start creating a bespoke website for your business. In the meantime, why not download our FREE Landing Page Audit Tool to find out everything you need to know before launching a new landing page!