Squarespace vs. WordPress
Which website building tool is best for your small business?
Your business needs a good website. Without an internet presence, it’s hard for customers to find information about you and take you seriously. If you don’t have web development skills or the funds to hire a developer, your best bet is to go with Squarespace or WordPress, which allow users who lack coding skills to create professional websites.
So what’s the best option for you?
Though both solutions give you the ability to create a great site, Squarespace and WordPress each have their own advantages and disadvantages.
It depends on what you want for your site—do you want total control? Everything you need bundled together in one place? A totally unique website?
There isn’t a definite winner, so check out our table to decide which one best fits your needs.
|Pros to Both||Cons to Both|
|Allow you to create a professional looking website without having to hire a developer||Can be expensive to get what you really want out of them|
|Ability to monitor viewers and metrics||Do not include email service|
|Both are popular, so each has a large community with answers to problems you might encounter||Can be limited without coding knowledge|
|In Summary||Squarespace is an easy to use platform that allows users without much development experience to create beautiful websites, but doesn’t offer much flexibility or room for creativity beyond the basic customization of themes.||WordPress is a content management system that allows users to write content for their website without having to code. If they do know how to code, it also allows users to take full control of their website and customize it to make it truly their own.|
|Pros||Everything—domain, hosting, payments, traffic statistics, and mobile-compatible site—are all included together and on the same platform.||WordPress has an open-source platform, so anyone can create plugins and themes and as a result, there are thousands available for use on your site.|
|Cons||Offers less room for creativity. Beyond editing the content there’s not much else you can do to make your website what you want it to be outside of the developer platform. Blogging capabilities are especially limited.||Though WordPress is free, there are hidden costs—the domain, hosting, better themes, and many plugins need to all be paid for separately. Because anyone can make a plugin, they can be finicky and break your site. To get exactly what you want, you might have to hire someone who’s very familiar with WordPress.|
|Best for||Less tech-savvy users who want a relatively simple but professional, easy to use and easy to build website. Its visual-focused layouts and easy to use ecommerce makes it perfect for designers, photographers, restaurants, and online shops.||Users who are more comfortable with web development and able/willing to put in the time and effort required to get the most out of the power that WordPress offers. Many developers will also use WordPress as a content management system to give you the ability to update your site after they create it.|
|Coding skills required||None, unless you want to use the developer platform||Not for basic customization, but if you want anything different from what’s provided, knowledge of HTML, CSS, and PHP is very important|
|Developer tools||The developer platform, which enables you to take control of your website using HTML and CSS. However, enabling the developer platform on your existing account will break your current template and design.||Anyone can create their own themes (using CSS, HTML, and PHP) and plugins (using PHP).|
|Themes included||Only about 25 themes, but all are included and all are good and professional looking||There are a lot, but only basic blog themes are included—if you want a good theme for your website, you need to pay. They range in price but are generally $50-$100.|
|Support||Live chat, community knowledgebase, and 24/7 email support-usually answered within one hour||
Depends on level purchased:
|Hosting||Websites are hosted on Squarespace’s servers||Users need to find someplace else to host them|
|Mobile friendly?||yes||May require plugins—some themes are mobile-friendly, some aren’t.|
|E-commerce||Fully integrated with features such as inventory tracking, tax, and shipping included, but on the lower two plans there is a limit to how much you can sell.||Requires installation of new themes and plugins (except on business package)|
|Security||Since it’s fully hosted, Squarespace takes care of security and updates for you||There are often security issues with WordPress, and everything you install needs to be updated often|
|History||Launched in 2004 by Anthony Casalena as a way to combine website building, content management, blogging, and hosting.||Released in 2003 by Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little as the successor of blogging platform b2/cafelog.|
Squarespace takes care of almost every aspect of website building for you—all you have to do is design the site. Everything is hosted on Squarespace’s servers, so you don’t have to worry about things like security, updating your site, or even creating a special mobile site. There aren’t a ton of options for customization, but you can’t really go wrong with anything you pick, and if you just want a simple website Squarespace has more than enough to offer you.
The Kind of Website You’ll Get
With Squarespace, what you see when you’re building is what customers will see when they go to the site, so there won’t be any unexpected changes when your site goes live. Your site will be stunning, and very visual-based—great for photographers, designers, anyone who wants pictures to be the main focus of their website. It will feel kind of cookie-cutter, and chances are there’ll be another website out there pretty similar to yours, but it will impress customers.
Squarespace has three options, all paid. More expensive plans give you more space, the ability to sell more products on your site, and access to the developer platform, which gives you some more control over your website.
The Bottom Line
If you want a beautiful, professional website but don’t have a lot of coding ability and don’t want to hire a developer, Squarespace is a great choice. You’ll have everything in one place, and since it’s pretty easy to get used to, it won’t take you very long to get your site up and running.
Review of WordPress
WordPress lets you make your website into anything you want—with all the plugins and themes available, there are endless possibilities. Whether you just want a blog or you want to build a whole website, you can do it with WordPress. It can also be used as a content management system, and many developers will use it to allow you to update your site after they build it. To add content and do basic customization, you don’t need to be a skilled programmer but if you want to really take control of your website, coding skills are pretty helpful.
The Kind of Website You’ll Get
If you don’t want to spend a lot of time on it, you’ll end up with a pretty generic looking blog. But if you have the coding skills and time to really get into it, you can create a truly unique site that does whatever you want it to. If there’s something you want for your website, chances are somebody’s made a plugin for it, and if they haven’t then you can make your own.
WordPress is free, but that’s just for the basic blog. The domain name and hosting service aren’t included so you’ll need to pay for those separately, and if you want a nice theme (most of the free ones aren’t very good) and plugins, those will cost even more.
The Bottom Line
WordPress is great for skilled developers and people who know what they’re doing, but for the less tech-savvy this can be a little overwhelming. It can take a while to figure out, and if you don’t have the skills or the time to devote to it, you might have to hire someone who does. If you’re able and willing to take advantage of everything you can do with WordPress, then it can allow you to create exactly the website you want.
- Drag and drop interface where you can insert elements anywhere you want
- Free version and five paid plans from $7-$30 per month
- A lot of great templates to choose from, but once you pick one you can’t change
- Really easy to use drag and drop site builder
- Free version and three paid versions ranging from $4-$25 per month
- “What you see is what you get” web host
- Free version and two paid versions at $90 and $240 per year
- Second most used CMS after WordPress
- Open-source and completely free to download
- Not intuitive and not great SEO
- Very powerful CMS used on many corporate and government sites
- Difficult to learn and not a lot of theme options