Comparing Squarespace to WordPress is kind of like comparing apples to oranges. On the one hand, you have an easy-to-use website builder, and on the other, a robust and incredibly powerful open-source content management system.
However different they may be, Squarespace and WordPress often share the same breath because of the end result: they both allow you to build a website. Both provide a means to an end, and in this article, we’re going to highlight each of these platforms’ strengths and weaknesses so you can make the most informed decision.
What is Squarespace
You may have heard of companies like Squarespace, Wix, and Weebly already. What they have in common is that they are all software as a service (SaaS) website builders, meaning you pay a monthly fee to use their proprietary software that has everything you need to build and maintain a website, including hosting, eCommerce, templates, a content management system, and more.
What makes Squarespace unique, is that they have two versions of the platform: their standard and most popular version, designed for those without coding skills, as well as web developer version which allows access to the source code.
What is WordPress?
WordPress also has two versions: hosted (wordpress.com) and self-hosted (wordpress.org). Their hosted version is similar to Squarespace in that it is a SaaS tool you pay a monthly fee for which gives access to a whole host of features that enable you to build and maintain a website.
WordPress.com isn’t quite the all-in-one solution Squarespace is, however, and it requires the use of third-party tools and applications like Shopify to add eCommerce features. You also have to pay extra if you want to use one their nicer themes.
WordPress.org is an open source, downloadable piece of software. So it’s completely free and available to be modified.
In this article, we’re going to focus on the most popular versions of Squarespace vs WordPress, which would be the standard version of Squarespace and the self-hosted version of WordPress.
When it comes to flexibility, WordPress takes the win, hands down. Due to its open-source nature, you can modify and adapt the code to create any kind of website you want. WordPress has thousands of themes to work off of and just as many plugins available to add additional functionality.
Squarespace also offers a fairly flexible platform with a wide range of apps and widgets that can add functionality to your website, such as eCommerce, blogging, and more.
As mentioned, you can get even more out of Squarespace if you’re handy with code. Their Developer Platform gives full code control, from top to bottom of your web app.
Ease of Use
For some people, having a piece of technology that’s intuitive and easy to use is key. Squarespace shines in that it has a clean, clutter-free, and uncomplicated user interface. You can get a website built fairly quickly, whether you know how to code or not.
Squarespace makes building out web pages incredibly easy with their drag-and-drop tool that allows users to literally drag and drop elements—like videos, images, and text—anywhere on the page.
With Squarespace, you get everything pretty much right out of the box. You can customize, design, publish, and maintain your site all in one place without having to do any technical heavy lifting.
WordPress is also an intuitive content management system but has more of a learning curve than Squarespace. Even if you don’t know how to code, you can buy one of the thousands of beautiful WordPress themes and modify it as you like, but it definitely takes some time to learn how to navigate and modify components in your theme.
Squarespace is an easy to use website builder designed for the non-techies in mind, but if you’re no stranger to website creation, you might actually prefer exploring and learning the nuances of WordPress.
Squarespace is often praised for their beautiful library of stylish and modern website templates. These templates are fully responsive and can be further designed with custom CSS.
Their trove of templates include categories like creative services, food & drink, entertainment, health, non-profit, wedding, and plenty more to fit the style of any industry. The builder offers 58 website templates and 9 online store templates.
Choices for WordPress themes are simply endless, with thousands of free and paid themes on the market. As already mentioned, however, it can take some time to learn how to navigate the theme for further modification and customizing.
These themes are also typically mobile responsive, but quality amongst themes can vary, so be sure to check reviews and how often they make updates.
Squarespace plans range from $12-18 per month and online stores range from $26-40 per month. Prices depend on the size of your website as well as subscription period. They also provide a 14-day free trial, which is a great way to test drive their platform and services.
Squarespace plans include:
- Unlimited web pages, blogs, and galleries
- Unlimited Bandwidth and storage
- 2 contributors
- Mobile-responsive templates
- Free domain (with annual purchase)
- 24/7 customer support
Additionally included in the Business Plan
- Professional Google email
- $100 Google AdWords credit
- Fully integrated eCommerce
- Promotional Pop-ups
- And more!
If you’re only looking to get a blog or simple portfolio site off the ground, stick with their basic plan. To get full access to the Developer platform for deeper integrations and customization, go with the Business plan, which is more geared towards web-stores.
WordPress is free, but you still need to pay for things like hosting, a domain name(s), SSL certificate, themes, and so on. If you aren’t handy with code, you might also have to hire a developer, which can be costly.
Squarespace vs WordPress: Conclusion
As you can guess, Squarespace and WordPress are two very different platforms, each offering a rich and robust set of features and functionality.
For developers and the more technically inclined, WordPress is incredibly flexible and scalable, making it an excellent option to build any kind of website. But on the flip side, it can also be overkill for a lot of simpler projects.
Squarespace is cheap, easy to use, and can get you off the ground fast, but it’s not as scalable as WordPress. So if you think your company is going to be growing rapidly, Squarespace may not be able to handle it.
It all comes down to what kind of website you need to be built, your budget, and how technical you are. Now that you’re more familiar with these two web building platforms and what they offer, it’s time to make a decision!