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 - both a powerful open-source content management system, and a website builder.
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
Squarespace is similar to Wix, Weebly, and many other website building platforms. 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. That includes hosting, eCommerce, templates, a content management system, and much 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.
But at the core of everything Squarespace has, there are its templates - all beautiful, modern, and ready to be turned into a website of your dreams.
What is WordPress?
WordPress is more complex than a regular website builder. First of all, that's because it is separated into two different platforms: WordPress.org and WordPress.com.
The WordPress.com (the hosted version) is quite similar to Squarespace - in a sense that you pay a monthly fee for which you get access to a whole host of features that enable you to build and maintain a website.
WordPress.org, however, is a whole different animal. It's an open-source platform that can be downloaded and put on a hosting account. It requires more technical knowledge in order to run smoothly and in general, is less suited for beginners. However, it does have pretty unlimited features - that are all defined by the skill of the users.
You can find out more about the differences between WordPress.org vs WordPress.com in the post we wrote previously.
Squarespace Is Easier To Use - But Is It Worth It?
For some people, having a piece of technology that’s intuitive and easy to use is key. And when it comes to simplicity, Squarespace is better than WordPress, as it offers 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 it 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.
Design: Both Have Their Strengths
Squarespace is often praised for its beautiful library of stylish and modern website templates. These templates are fully responsive and can be further designed with custom CSS.
A solid selection of Squarespace 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.
But if that's good - well, WordPress is even better.
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.
Also - not all of those templates are going to be beautiful and modern looking. And a lot of the best WordPress themes are also going to cost you a bit extra. While everything on Squarespace is included in the purchase.
So overall, it's a matter of preference. Squarespace has the quality. WordPress has the quantity and the customization. Choose your poison.
Squarespace vs WordPress: Pricing
Pricing is where the comparison of the two platforms gets a little bit confusing.
Squarespace website 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 the subscription period. They also provide a 14-day free trial, which is a great way to test drive their platform and services.
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 as well.
eCommerce on Squarespace starts at $18 a month. But this plan has a 3% transaction fee - so if you're serious about selling, stick to the $24 a month option.
Now, let's go to WordPress. The WordPress.com platform has a very limited free plan - but it also offers 5 premium options, going from $3 to $45 a month.
They include different features for them - for example, the cheapest plan gets you a .blog domain and a limited selection of templates. Meanwhile, the $45 eCommerce plan allows eCommerce stores, allows third-party plugins and premium themes.
Now, here's the kicker:
Using WordPress.org, you don't need to pay for the platform, as it's free. But you'll need to pay for a domain name, web hosting, and you'll need extra experience if you wish to run a big website or an online shop.
So overall, WordPress has cheaper options - it includes a free plan, and also a free open-source platform, so you can decide the pricing by yourself.
That being said, Squarespace and its pricing are much more streamlined - and if you wish to sell online, it's $18 and $24 monthly plans are a great value, and much better than the $45 plan offered by WordPress.com
Squarespace vs WordPress: Conclusion
Overall, Squarespace is a simpler option than WordPress, offering streamlined plans and easy to edit, beautiful templates. But WordPress wins against Squarespace when it comes to pricing. It has a free plan, two very cheap plans, and also can be downloaded as open-source software.
In the end, Squarespace vs WordPress battle is determined by whether you like the simplicity of Squarespace, or the customizability and pricing of WordPress.
Your preference will decide your winner. And I hope that overall, this has been a helpful post - and don't forget, you can check both of these options out with no risk, as WordPress has a free plan and you can start building a website with Squarespace with no charge.