On one hand, you’ve got WordPress.
On the other hand, you’ve got SquareSpace.
Which one should you choose? Let’s discuss.
Make sure to grab my visual list of the best templates for both WordPress and Squarespace.
But first, here’s a quick disclaimer:
I use (and love) Squarespace. For reasons we’ll discuss below, I think Squarespace is a perfect option for many beginners, but that doesn’t mean this is a major spoiler alert.
When it comes to website builders, there isn’t a “one size fits all”. What works perfectly for one business will not work for another. Squarespace is no exception to the rule. So, I promise I’ll give a fair assessment of both WordPress and Squarespace and let you make up your own mind about which will be a better fit for your business. Deal? Let’s get to it!
What are Squarespace and WordPress anyway?
If you’re a complete beginner to the website builders, and don’t worry—we all were at one point—here’s a brief definition.
Both WordPress and Squarespace are website creation tools. They make it easy for you to create a website without knowing all of the geek speak (in other words, html).
You can use WordPress, Squarespace, or one of many other tools to create a beautiful and professional-looking website. You simply find a design you like (which is known as a theme or template), and then populate it with your own content and images. All website creation tools are similar in this way, but that’s pretty much where the similarity stops.
Since we’re focusing on WordPress and Squarespace in this post, you’ll be able to see the clear differences between the two. And, to be honest, both have diehard fanatics.
First, let’s start by talking about what both WordPress and Squarespace have in common:
Both are mobile friendly*. I’ll put an asterisk there and say that most WordPress themes are mobile-friendly, however this depends on the theme (website design) you choose. Some designs are still stuck in the dark ages before it became absolutely essential for websites to look good on smaller screens. To be mobile friendly, the website must automatically fit the screen without requiring the site visitors to pinch to zoom.
On Squarespace, all themes are mobile friendly.
But, please note that not every website builder is mobile friendly. So, that’s one thing that both WordPress and Squarespace have going for them.
Squarespace Vs. WordPress: Flexibility
WordPress allows you to do a lot of extra things you simply cannot do on Squarespace. With the use of plugins, you can turn the out-of-box WordPress into a powerful website that does just about everything those fancy sites do: Offer live chat, play full-size background videos, increase your search engine optimization (SEO), and more.
While you can do some of the same things on Squarespace, it’s definitely not as flexible. Squarespace doesn’t offer plugins which allow you to expand your website’s functionality for your visitors. However, Squarespace does have a lot of built-in features that you’ll love. You’ll still be able to collect email address, sell items, and look good doing it. But, you just won’t be able to do everything you can on WordPress—at least not yet.
Squarespace Vs. WordPress: Ease of Use
Squarespace wins this one by a country mile. WordPress is complicated and clunky. There’s nothing intuitive about WordPress. Let’s just say you definitely need an expert to show you how to use it, or maybe even manage it for you.
Squarespace, on the other hand, is extremely intuitive. Plus, with its 14-day free trial, you can play around with it without pressure to perform. And trust me, you’ll get the hang of it pretty quickly.
Squarespace offers drag and drop functionality. You don’t have to code, you don’t have to even look at it if you don’t want to. Squarespace is “what you see is what you get” (WYSIWYG). You can position your content where you want it by simply moving it into place.
Unlike with WordPress, you don’t have to configure plugins or update your site constantly (if you’ve been on WordPress before, you know what I mean).
If you’re not tech savvy, or if you just don’t feel like learning how to use WordPress, Squarespace is an excellent choice. Plus, it’s not just for beginners—it’s for anyone who wants to create and maintain a site without messing around with code.
Squarespace Vs. WordPress: Design
This category is almost impossible. With Squarespace, you have around 50 website templates to choose from. All the templates are beautifully designed with a leaning towards minimalism, although you can definitely customize your site to bring in your unique personality.
Compare Squarespace’s 50 templates to the thousands (and counting) of WordPress designs. You can spend days sorting through places like ThemeForest or Elegant Themes looking for the perfect WordPress theme, and still not come to the end of the rainbow.
It can be overwhelming trying to decide on one theme that you love (and that’s also mobile friendly). And then, adding to the chaos, you can also commission your own WordPress theme from a designer.
So, while you’ve definitely got way more options when it comes to WordPress, sometimes that can cause more problems than it’s worth.
Do you really want to spend the rest of your month looking through 7,150 WordPress themes? (And that’s just the amount of themes on one site.)
Although there are a ton of beautiful WordPress themes out there, you’ll definitely have to hunt for them, and that’s no easy feat.
When it comes to quality, consistency, and aesthetic harmony, I think Squarespace wins. They don’t produce a ton of templates—they’re very deliberate on what they release to their customers. You can be sure that every template looks good and operates even better.
Squarespace Vs. WordPress: Pricing
Before we discuss pricing, let’s discuss hosting.
With Squarespace, everything is packaged in one—that includes your hosting. With WordPress, you’ll have to secure your own hosting.
Wait, not sure what hosting is? I’ve got you covered.
You’ll need a web host for your website. A web host provides storage space and access to your website. You’ll store all of the files for your website (that includes design and content) on your web host’s computer or server. Then, anytime someone accesses your website, they’ll actually be accessing files that are on the web host’s computer.
If you go with WordPress, you’ll need to pay for a web host. You can do shared hosting, which basically means that you share a server with multiple other websites. This service is usually the cheapest and most popular type of web hosting service. There’s also dedicated hosting, which is when you rent the entire server. This option definitely means faster performance and enhanced security, but it also means more money.
There are more options, but these are the most popular types of hosting.
You’ll need to pay for hosting monthly, quarterly, or annually. It’s a recurring charge. Whatever you do, please don’t get sucked in by the .99¢ per month hosting services out there. In this case, you’ll get what you pay for, which means slow service.
Expect to pay around $40 to $50 per year for web hosting service. Additionally, you’ll need to select a website theme. WordPress offers over 2,500 free themes, but many people choose to buy a more robust and powerful theme. If you do, you’ll pay a one time fee of around $60 for a professionally designed WordPress theme.
The Squarespace model is configured differently. Squarespace hosts your website on its own servers, so web hosting is included in the price. The price also includes the template itself. If you pay annually, prices start at $12 per month. That’s $144 per year.
Yes, that’s a lot more than WordPress, for sure. But remember that you’re not just paying for hosting, you’re also paying for:
Access to 24/7 customer support (you won’t get this with WordPress although you can try your luck on the forums).
Integrated e-commerce (you’ll be able to sell items from your website without installing complicated third-party plug-ins).
Pick and choose from all templates on the site (you won’t be tied to one design and can simply select a new one when you’re ready).
WordPress is an amazing tool that so many people trust to run their websites. In fact, it powers over 25% of the web. However, Squarespace is so darn easy to use, and it’s a great choice when you want something that just works without the headache. And, just like WordPress, Squarespace has a huge community of users that freely share tips and tricks on how to make your Squarespace site even more effective.
So, which one do you choose? Let me know in the comments below.
Don’t forget to grab my visual list of the best templates for both WordPress and Squarespace!