Squarespace vs WordPress: Which one to choose?

In this evaluation, we’ll examine the benefits and drawbacks of using these popular website builders. WordPress has long been the go-to platform for recommended website platforms, but it may be intimidating to newcomers. As a result, many people are comparing Squarespace with WordPress. The WordPress learning curve has created a market for several other service providers, such as Squarespace, whose all-in-one user interface allows clients to get up and running faster, but is it really better?

We’ll break down the benefits and drawbacks of each platform in this article so you can decide which is ideal for you based on your needs.

Introduction to WordPress

WordPress is used to power more than half of the world’s websites, thanks to its nearly limitless capability and inexpensive cost. In comparison to platforms like Squarespace, however, new users often discover that WordPress’s great functionality comes with a high learning curve. You’ll have to devote some time to understanding the WordPress platform, but it’ll be well worth it if you want a site with limitless capabilities.

Like Squarespace, WordPress isn’t an all-in-one solution. It’s a free, standalone platform that works with any hosting service, including Hostinger, A2hosting, Bluehost, GoDaddy, WPEngine, and a slew of other WordPress hosting options.

WordPress is also infinitely extendable, thanks to plugins that add a variety of features and free e-commerce themes that offer limitless design options. When you combine WordPress with a variety of plugins and design themes, you can create almost anything on the internet. WordPress can power influencer blogs, e-commerce storefronts, promotional websites, affiliate marketing websites, video lesson portals, membership sites, and more.

Over 42% of all websites are powered by WordPress.

Introduction to Squarespace

Squarespace provides an all-in-one website builder platform that includes promotional, blogging, and online commerce functions. Squarespace is also very user-friendly, and you can quickly develop and publish a wonderfully branded website. In contrast, Squarespace does not provide a free plan.

The blogging options in Squarespace are good, but WordPress is the clear leader in blogging and content-focused websites. Squarespace has fewer design options, but they are all ultra-modern and eye-catching. Plus, you can effortlessly change your general look by swapping out Squarespace templates.

Squarespace does not provide a free plan, but it does offer a free trial so you may try it out without risk. If you believe Squarespace is the ideal fit for you, you can upgrade from your free trial to one of their paid plans and continue working on your project without interruption.

Squarespace has certain e-commerce capabilities for small-to-medium-sized businesses. Volume sellers and e-commerce-focused firms, on the other hand, are often better off with more robust e-commerce systems like Shopify or WooCommerce, both of which run on WordPress.

For the first year after you establish a Squarespace website, the domain name is free. Squarespace adds a yearly fee after that.

What makes Squarespace and WordPress so different?

Squarespace is a hosted website builder that comes with pre-built templates, automated updates, e-commerce, and hosting.

It’s also more user-friendly, and you have the option of turning on built-in features like email marketing and member areas appointment scheduling. Although WordPress is more flexible and scalable, it nearly always necessitates the usage of additional plugins to get your website completely functional. It’s also a better option for larger websites with specific requirements, such as numerous languages.

We’ve already discussed the benefits and drawbacks of this content management system, but the most important thing to remember is that WordPress.org is both strong and adaptable. Like, incredibly strong and super adaptable.

To put it in superlative words, there isn’t a website that WordPress can’t develop. Regrettably, this comes at a cost. The primary one is that you’ll have to set it up on your own domain, which means you’ll have to find a good hosting service on your own (ideally a specialized WordPress hosting company ). The remaining points will be discussed in greater depth below. Please note that we are discussing the.org version in this article. To learn more about WordPress.com, please read this article. Is Squarespace a good choice?

Squarespace is a well-known name in the website-building market.

While the exact number of users isn’t available, it’s one of the most popular website builders (especially in the US, Canada, UK, and Australia).

What is the secret of their success? They’ve created a one-stop-shop that makes it incredibly simple for beginners to launch a website in a matter of minutes. Okay, it’s more like two minutes, but it’s still impressive.

Squarespace manages all parts of your website, allowing you to pick a template and a domain name while the service ensures that everything operates smoothly. So, does it outperform WordPress in every way?

Blogging and content management

Squarespace is a one-stop-shop for getting your website up and running. With WordPress, you’ll have to put everything together yourself.

Before a website can be accessed online, it must be hosted on a server. Hosting is a built-in feature of Squarespace. Overall, a Squarespace site can be set up and ready for your personal customization in a matter of minutes. If you don’t want to do it yourself, there’s a list of Squarespace experts who can help you out.

It takes longer to set up a WordPress site, and you can’t rely on any of the behind-the-scenes features. You’ll have to set up each component (web hosting, domain name, SSL certificate, Plugins, etc) separately before connecting them.

Even if the WordPress setup takes longer than the Squarespace method, having control over your hosting provider allows you to see all of your website files, verify whether the hosting service is using the latest security software, and even identify ways to speed up your site as it grows. Furthermore, respectable hosting providers have support teams available to assist you if you get stuck at any point.

In a battle of content management WordPress comes out on top.

This is due to four key factors.

  • WordPress, for starters, and most crucially in my opinion, includes version history functionality. Many versions of pages and postings can be saved in the system, and you can go back to any of them at any time.
  • (Backups of your full WordPress site can also be restored.)
  • Squarespace does not permit this, presumably to save money on hosting and infrastructure.
  • Squarespace doesn’t even offer an autosave option, which is a major oversight.

Second, you can switch between HTML and WYSIWYG while editing your content on WordPress; on Squarespace, you don’t have direct access to the HTML.

Third, WordPress provides you with a dedicated media library where you can save, access, and modify your photos and documents. This makes it simple to find and reuse information on your website.

Although Squarespace is improving in this area (with the addition of a new “picture re-use” function), it still lacks a similar facility for managing and updating files.

Finally, unlike Squarespace, WordPress allows you to be more creative with categories and tags. This helps you to deliver your site’s material to users in more relevant ways, and users may more simply filter it to match their needs.

User-Interface Design

Squarespace’s UI is simple and straightforward, yet action buttons are buried several layers deep. WordPress’s dashboard is crowded and difficult to use.

Squarespace’s side navigation, which you’ll use to access site admin features, is simple and intuitive. What’s the drawback? Because the top-level navigation is kept as simple as possible, you may need to click four or five times to conduct more detailed actions within your site.

On the other hand, the WordPress user interface is at the other extreme of the spectrum. The left sidebar of WordPress contains all of the links you’ll need to operate your site, with no hierarchy. Minor activities (such as viewing your users’ permissions) are listed with the more “essential” ones (like editing page content with a text editor). This sidebar menu will most likely be updated every time you install a new plugin.

The WordPress design isn’t particularly flashy, and it can be difficult to navigate unless you’ve learned the system inside and out.

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The Learning Curve and Ease of Use

The majority of business owners and novice users are unfamiliar with HTML, CSS, and other code-related terms. They want a platform that allows them to establish a website quickly and easily without having to hire a developer.

WordPress is the most popular platform for individuals who want to establish a blog or small company owners who want to develop their own website.

While WordPress is pretty straightforward and simple to use, it does have a learning curve.

Beginners should become familiar with WordPress terms and ideas, such as the distinction between posts and pages, categories and tags, themes, and plugins. The content editor in WordPress is fairly simple to use. It includes unique blocks for adding content pieces to your pages, allowing you to create stunning layouts with multimedia content.

Despite the minor learning curve, most users rapidly adjust to WordPress, in our experience.

Squarespace, unlike WordPress, does not offer a large number of options. Due to the lack of options, it is incredibly basic and straightforward to use. Even complete beginners may swiftly create and publish material.

Squarespace, like WordPress, employs a block editor. It’s a lot easier to upload images, movies, and audio files than it is with WordPress. The block editor has a lot of content blocks and layout control options.

Squarespace has a visual editor that allows you to change your layouts and pages. You are, however, limited to the customization possibilities accessible in the customizer. Because you’re in a restricted setting, your alternatives are limited.

So, in terms of simplicity of use for absolute newbies, Squarespace outperforms WordPress out of the box. Its restricted features, on the other hand, may not be perfect for all business owners.

WordPress, on the other hand, gives newcomers a lot of options straight away, which might be bewildering at first but makes it a lot more adaptable in the long run.

You may use various WordPress page builder plugins to create fully customized web pages using drag and drop (without hiring a developer).

Flexibility and design

Squarespace’s website themes are stunning. And there’s a good range to choose from — the most recent Squarespace update added new templates to the collection, in addition to the existing ones.

Squarespace’s templates have a contemporary touch to them. It’s worth mentioning that the templates in the most recent release differ slightly from those in previous releases. Thanks to the addition of pre-built parts that allow you to cut and modify designs, you have additional layout versatility. While you won’t be able to change templates once they’ve been chosen, you’ll find that you have more influence over the design if necessary.

However, Squarespace layouts have one major drawback. Sure, they appear to be very fashionable when you pick them up, but this is due to the fact that they have been professionally made with large, stunning photographs. If you don’t have access to the same level of quality for logos or background graphics, your beautiful website may wind up looking a little shoddy.

Themeforest has WordPress themes. With WordPress, you have access to a nearly limitless number of free and paid templates, each with virtually limitless customization options. While this is a good thing for those who have a clear vision for their website, it also means two things:

It’s a little overwhelming;

As previously said, it is beneficial to have some basic HTML and CSS expertise in order to apply all of the style options you require. However, given the dozens of possibilities available, you might not need to perform any tinkering at all. (Websites like themeforest.net have a plethora of professional-looking WordPress themes.) Winner: This is a hard one. You have nearly endless options and design freedom with WordPress – but you’ll need coding ability to get the most out of it.

Squarespace’s designs are beautiful and easy to customize, but you lose the power to fully charge them. So, we’ll call this a tie.

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Sites with multilingual content

Many companies need various versions of their website in different languages or for different regions (or both).

For this, WordPress is far superior to Squarespace; you may use the WordPress Multilingual plugin or the WordPress Multisite option to construct numerous copies of a website in multiple languages.

There are a few workarounds for getting Squarespace sites to appear in several languages, such as using a third-party translation service like Weglot, but if multilingual/multisite functionality is critical to your project, WordPress will be the best choice.

ECommerce capabilities of each platform

While eCommerce may not be a factor for everyone, if you want to sell things through your website, WordPress will give you a lot more flexibility.

Squarespace’s e-commerce platform Squarespace is an e-commerce platform. However, in comparison to WordPress, it is somewhat limited. Squarespace has built-in cart recovery emails in addition to typical eCommerce functions. That is something you can achieve with your WordPress eCommerce store, but it will necessitate the use of a third-party plugin.

However, you’re still constrained when it comes to Squarespace and eCommerce, despite that high point. To begin, you have only three options for payment gateways:

  • Stripe
  • PayPal
  • Apple Pay is a service that allows you to pay

That’s a small list in comparison to WordPress’ payment gateways. Second, you’re missing out on WordPress’ massive plugin ecosystem once more. Because there are so many eCommerce-focused plugins, you’re missing out on a lot of functionality.

Finally, unless you upgrade to the more expensive eCommerce options, Squarespace levies a large transaction fee on top of credit card processing fees, which is a significant disadvantage.

WordPress may be turned into a fully functional eCommerce store using a variety of plugins like these:

WooCommerce is a shopping cart for tangible goods (though you can also use it to sell virtual products).

Easy Digital Downloads is a company dedicated to assisting you in the sale of digital products.

You may add tonnes of extra plugins to your store to offer functionality beyond those basic eCommerce plugins. You’ll also never have to pay any transaction fees (beyond what your payment processor charges). You can also discover plugins to add more advanced features to your store, such as an affiliate network.

Plugins provide a wealth of functionality

WordPress has a large plugin repository with thousands of plugins that extend the main software’s capabilities. Plugins can provide almost any function you might possibly want or need for your website, ranging from contact forms and SEO to security and eCommerce.

Squarespace, like their visual editor, gives you exactly what you see. You’re out of luck if a feature you require isn’t available.

Suitability for large-scale or complex projects

Squarespace can be a great answer for small businesses, but it’s not the ideal option for bigger organizations, especially if you’re planning to develop a large, sophisticated website.

This is due to the platform’s inability to support deep website hierarchies; it only allows for two layers of navigation, resulting in a rather “flat” website structure.

A flat structure for your site is now a smart concept in many aspects, because it may make it easier to use and its information much more discoverable.

However, for some firms, especially large organizations or those that provide a wide range of services and resources, a deep hierarchy becomes a critical prerequisite for website development.

However, in this case, you’ll want to make sure you pick a WordPress theme that allows for many levels of navigation (or enlist a WordPress developer who can create one for you).

Multisite Operation

It is a WordPress feature that allows you to establish a network of websites. This means you can operate as many sites as you like on a single WordPress installation and manage them all from one location.

As a result, it’s ideal for a wide range of settings and applications. For example, like the renowned education website Edublogs, you could host your own blog or site, or you could host all of your clients’ sites under one roof for easier management.

Squarespace does not have a feature like this.

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Security and upkeep

Squarespace is in charge of your site’s security, whereas WordPress is in charge of your content.

Your major duty for web security with Squarespace is to keep your login information safe. Because Squarespace hosts and manages your site’s data, it’s up to them to keep your site secure and prevent any hacker damage. Similarly, maintenance is kept to a bare minimum: Squarespace is committed to keeping sites up to date using the most up-to-date technologies. They don’t impose any traffic bandwidth constraints on your site, so even if it begins to receive thousands of daily visitors, they’ll work to keep it running smoothly.

With WordPress, the responsibility for site security and upkeep falls squarely on your shoulders. You’ll need to accomplish the following:

  • For maximum speed and security, be sure your hosting provider is using the most recent software.
  • If possible, get a dedicated IP for your server hosting.
  • Protect against brute force assaults (bots that try to log in to your site repeatedly) and check for file changes and unusual site activities with this trusted security plugin.
  • Make regular backups so you can restore your system if a security issue arises.
  • Keep your plugins up to date, as they can leave your site open to hackers.

A WordPress site requires extra security and upkeep, but there is an advantage: if your site is disturbed, you can simply restore a backup or switch web hosting providers. You are solely relying on Squarespace to fix issues, however, their customer assistance is there if anything goes wrong.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Squarespace allows you to do basic SEO, but WordPress plugins give you a lot more power.

You’ll need to learn the principles of search engine optimization (SEO) if you want your website to appear in Google searches. On a fundamental level, this entails paying attention to page names, meta descriptions, alt tags, and URLs, among other things. However, more complicated factors such as XML sitemaps, page speed, and mobile optimization have a role in your site’s visibility.

Squarespace includes built-in SEO optimization features that allow you to adjust page names and meta descriptions, as well as a comprehensive SEO optimization guide in its support documentation to assist you to understand what happens automatically and what you’ll have to handle yourself.

Mobile performance

All Squarespace designs are responsive, meaning they will instantly adjust to accommodate any device.

It’s not difficult to find a responsive WordPress theme these days, but you should double-check its appropriateness across devices before installing it.

One of the things I admire about Squarespace’s approach to mobile content is how simple it is to display your blog content in AMP (‘Accelerated Mobile Pages’) style. AMP is a Google-backed technology that uses code stripping to substantially reduce the time it takes for your websites to load on mobile devices.

Using AMP entails the following:

  • Your material may be accessed by a larger number of individuals (web users routinely abandon slow loading pages on mobile)
  • You may notice a minor increase in search results (Google sometimes prioritises AMP content in various ways)
  • In Squarespace, enabling AMP is as simple as clicking a button.

Possibilities are Countless Possibilities

WordPress is only the site’s base. Themes and customization options are limitless, and they have an impact on the site’s functioning and design.

Themes are available in both free and premium versions. Each of these can be tailored to your specific requirements, guaranteeing that no two websites appear alike.

Though it’s worth mentioning that most themes take a significant amount of tweaking to look well, premium themes are usually easier to customize.

(I personally prefer Thrive Themes, which allows for easy customization and has a drag-and-drop interface with Thrive Architect.) Then there are plugins, which add to the unlimited possibilities of themes.

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Forms and data collection

Squarespace makes it simple to add stunning data gathering forms to your website.

These allow you to collect a wide range of data, however, it’s worth noting that Squarespace forms do not presently support file uploads, which is a bummer.

Squarespace forms may send data to an address you select, which is then uploaded to a Google Sheet and delivered to Mailchimp via Zapier for connection with other apps.

If you’re collecting email addresses with the intention of sending e-newsletters to subscribers, you can preserve the information in Squarespace and use it to email subscribers with Squarespace’s new “Email Campaigns” tool (more on this in a moment).

Squarespace makes it simple to design forms, but they only transmit information to Mailchimp, Google Sheets, or an email address. Any e-marketing tool can be integrated into WordPress.

Given the ubiquity of these two applications, the Google Sheet and Mailchimp connectors are definitely valuable, but direct integrations with additional programs would be nice.

Thousands of potential Squarespace users use services like GetResponse, AWeber Campaign Monitor, and others, and while you can combine those services using Zapier or Squarespace’s code blocks, it’s not as simple as the Mailchimp / Google Sheets integration.

Additionally, if you’re using code blocks to add forms to a Squarespace site, you’ll have to fiddle with CSS to make the generated forms appear as nice as the regular Squarespace forms.

WordPress, on the other hand, makes it simple to integrate all of these services. You’ll need a plugin like the fantastic Gravity Forms to get started, but once you do, you’ll have rock-solid integration with all of the major e-marketing solutions, as well as additional functionality (conditional logic, confirmation emails, file uploads, entry limits, and hidden fields) that Squarespace lacks.

If you utilize a forms plugin for WordPress, such as ‘Gravity Forms,’ you’ll find that the data capturing options available to you are far more sophisticated than those provided in Squarespace.

One thing I don’t like about Squarespace forms is that you can’t just create one and place it on any page you want. You must create a new form each time you want to insert one.

(WordPress simply allows you to construct reusable forms that you can use wherever)

Data capture is easier to get started within Squarespace than it is in WordPress, but the options accessible to you in WordPress are more extensive.

The Price

WordPress is available in two versions: hosted and self-hosted. The former ( WordPress.com ) is free for the basic version, but add-ons such as connecting your site to a custom domain cost money.

The self-hosted version is available for download from WordPress.org for free, but it must be hosted somewhere.

You now have to pay for WordPress templates in addition to hosting; there aren’t many good ones available for free anymore.

The expense of hiring a WordPress designer to maintain your site up to date is another cost that is frequently ignored in these comparisons.

In Squarespace. Everything is extremely clearly stated, and there are no bandwidth or storage constraints, and templates are always included.

You must pay for hosting regardless of where you go. Squarespace’s price structure appeals to me since it is straightforward, inexpensive, and upfront, with no hidden or unexpected fees.

Customer Support

Squarespace and WordPress.com take different approaches to customer service. Squarespace offers email and live chat assistance from 4 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST Monday through Friday.

Each of WordPress.com’s paid tiers includes email and chat support 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Priority support is given to business and eCommerce accounts.

Unfortunately, neither Squarespace nor WordPress.com offers phone assistance, which might be inconvenient when you just want to talk to someone.

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Which is Better: WordPress or Squarespace?

WordPress is the most customizable platform. It has thousands of templates to choose from as a foundation for your website. These templates can be easily customized to meet your specific requirements. WordPress also has tens of thousands of plugins that you can use to enhance the look and functionality of your site.

If you’re a beginner, Squarespace is a terrific place to start. For those who are just getting started, the methods for constructing a website on this platform are basic and straightforward. Squarespace doesn’t require you to join up for hosting or buy a domain separately, and the designs offer a variety of customization possibilities that aren’t overwhelming.

To be completely transparent, this post may contain affiliate links. This means that I earn commissions on purchases made via those links at no additional cost to you. Please realize that I have experience with all of these businesses and recommend them because they are beneficial and useful, not because I earn a little commission if you decide to purchase something. You can learn more about my disclosure policy by reading it.