Okay, so you’ve decided to build a website. You know what it’ll look like, which web design mistakes to avoid, and what it’s purpose will be. What’s next? Well, when it comes to actually building your website, the first step to pick a web design platform. This decision often comes down to Squarespace vs. WordPress, and which is right for you.
Both web design platforms allow users to create a website with minimal technical skills and experience; however, they aren’t created equal. There are pros and cons to each, when considering which to choose.
The main points of comparison between these two website platforms are a result of their fundamental differences. Web design powered by WordPress (and we are referring to WordPress.org, here) uses an open source content management system, where as Squarespace is a cloud-based website builder.
That said, they’re often used for the exact same purpose – building and maintaining a website for use as a business tool. So, which should you choose, and why? Well let’s take a look!
Squarespace vs. WordPress: Design Flexibility
Variety and Availability of Themes
It’s pretty safe to say that there’s little comparison here. When it comes to design flexibility, WordPress is going to have Squarespace beat. This is because WordPress is intended to be built upon, while Squarespace is intended to be a one-stop shop.
When designing a site from scratch, the options offered by WordPress are nearly endless. To date, there are over 7,000 free WordPress themes. And then there are thousands more premium options available for purchase. Most, if not all, WordPress templates are customizable in terms of colors, fonts, layouts, etc. Additionally, WordPress web design provides more in-depth functions and allows for complete, customizable control.
Squarespace is a “feature rich” web platform known for it’s beautiful, sleek templates. But given the nature of Squarespace itself, there is a relatively limited number of templates available. On the other hand, these templates are ready-made and come with plenty of preset features that are simple to use.
Extensions and Integrations
In a way, this could fall into the category of “design flexibility” above, as it can refer to the options you have when creating your website. But, it also refers to the options you have after your site is up and running. As your business, following, or customer base grows, you may find yourself in need of additional functionality.
WordPress is much more adaptable in this situation. In addition to the most essential WordPress plugins, you’ll have close to 47,000 options to utilize. Whether you need to connect with third party software, tools, and services, or simply need to add a new feature – there’s a plugin for that. As your business grows, you’ll find endless opportunities to grow your website alongside it.
The list of available extensions for Squarespace, compared to WordPress, is very short. There are a few third-party integrations, but there isn’t a very robust API to build upon. If you want to extend a site using Squarespace, you’ll have to work within its limitations.
Squarespace vs. WordPress: Performance
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is super-important these days. It’s how you get your website to show up in a Google (or Bing or Wiki) search. But SEO optimization is an ever-changing science, and it can be a bit tedious to learn. Enter: SEO tools.
There are several SEO tools integrated into Squarespace, versus WordPress which requires plugins to achieve the same goals. WordPress plugins like Yoast SEO will guide you through best practices to optimize your site as well as your content.
Website security is a hot topic, and for good reason. Your customers have to trust that you will keep their information safe. There’s one main difference between Squarespace vs. WordPress when it comes to security – who’s responsible for it.
WordPress requires that you keep your site’s security up to date. While this may seem a little scary, you need not fear! There’s a plugin for that. In fact, there are several plugins that automatically take care of security for you.
On the other hand, Squarespace manages security for you. The platform ensures your site stays safe from hackers and that the system functions properly.
Squarespace vs. WordPress: Convenience
You’re probably on the go just as much as your customers are! You’ll want the option to edit, track, or analyze your site without having to sit down at your computer.
The free WordPress app allows you to edit content, review analytics, and update your pages from your smartphone. The official Squarespace app only allows you to edit your pages. There are additional apps available which provide the ability to update Squarespace content and track performance.
In short, you can edit from your mobile device regardless of which web design platform you choose. The only difference is the number of apps you’ll need in order to do so.
Ease of Use
When it comes to getting something new off the ground, the decision often comes down to ease of use. So, let’s talk about that!
WordPress is pretty intuitive. Given everything we’ve discussed here, it stands to reason that WordPress will take some time to learn. The good news is that the learning curve isn’t terribly steep. Most beginners adapt to WordPress after a just few days of working with the web design platform.
On the other hand, Squarespace’s visual, drag and drop operation very beginner friendly. In fact some might argue there’s no learning curve at all. Yes, it offers fewer choices in general, but that can simplify the decision-making process, thus shortening the time from inspiration to complete creation. Plus, you still get everything you need to design, publish, and maintain a full website.
Squarespace vs. WordPress: Cost
And here we are. The bottom line. What is each one going to cost you? Well, just like everything else on this list, there’s no black and white answer.
Technically WordPress is free. You don’t have to pay to use their software. But you do have to pay to host your site, as well as incur the one-time costs for any premium themes, templates, or plugins. There are plenty of hosting options available. For a service like Bluehost, which starts at $7.95/month, it’s a relatively inexpensive investment.
Squarespace is software as a service. Basically, you’re creating your site and paying a monthly fee for Squarespace to maintain it on your behalf. As with any service, there’s a cost. The cost of Squarespace includes hosting and starts at $12/month.
To be honest, the costs of each will probably equal out over time. You might spend less initially on Squarespace vs. WordPress, which could have a higher up-front cost. On a monthly basis, however, you will likely spend less on WordPress site.
Conclusion – Which is the Best Website Platform?
Well, as you might imagine, there’s no straightforward answer, here. Squarespace is certainly easier out of the gate for a beginner. However, it’s limitations can make future expansion of your site challenging, or even impossible. WordPress may take more time to learn, but most believe its flexibility is worth it.
The best platform for web design comes down to your ultimate goal. What do you intend to use your site for? Where do you see yourself and your business in two, five, ten years’ time? Our best piece of advice – start with the end in mind and work backward form there.
We’re Here To Help!
Want to talk it out? Interested in learning more about Squarespace vs. WordPress? Need a second opinion or some assistance? Get in touch! We’d love to help you design and build a website that meets the needs of your business today and well into the future. firstname.lastname@example.org
contributed by Melissa Lucas, senior staff writer