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WordPress vs Squarespace: Which Website Tool Is Best For You? (2022)

By James LePage
 on January 20, 2022

WordPress vs Squarespace: Which Website Tool Is Best For You? (2022)

By James LePage
 on January 20, 2022

Gone are those days when you would spend weeks (and even months) building a website.

Thanks to powerful content management systems (CMS) such as WordPress and Squarespace, building a website is no longer a challenge.

While both these platforms have robust capabilities, there are important differences that can help you decide which platform to choose for your next website building project.

Content Management System vs Website Builder

WordPress is essentially a content management system (CMS). Squarespace, on the other hand, is a website builder. Let’s break this down.

A website builder consists of dozens of tools to help you create a website. Often, website builders offer both website designing templates as well as web-hosting. And you do not have to be a programmer or a coder to use these tools.

With their visual, drag-and-drop interface, website builders allow even the average person to create a powerful, aesthetically pleasing website. For this reason, beginners love the ease of use of Squarespace.

screen-shot-2022-01-20-at-4-58-24-pm

Content management systems (CMS), however, take website building to the next level with their advanced capabilities. These are good for handling larger websites containing large chunks of data.

However, unlike a website builder, a CMS requires knowledge of coding. In short, people looking for more storage and scalability prefer a CMS over a website builder.

What to look for when choosing WordPress or Squarespace?

Are you building a small website or a large site? What level of customization do you need? Are you hands-on with coding? Do you need dedicated, 24/7 support? Can you handle technical tasks such as hosting, security, and updates?

You should look into these questions before choosing WordPress or Squarespace website-building platform.

Key Differences Between WordPress and Squarespace

As of writing this post, Squarespace has over 255,265, with a 31% market share. WordPress commands over 64% market share. There are over 4 million WordPress websites.

In terms of ease of use, Squarespace might have an upper hand over WordPress. Both these tools feature a drag-and-drop editor. However, with Squarespace, you can preview the entire website using the editor. WordPress lacks that functionality.

You might require less time to set up a Squarespace website. With WordPress, you would require more time, but you would have a wide array of hosting options.

WordPress shines when it comes to plugins.  There are more than 50,000 free WordPress plugins. Throw in the premium plugins, and these numbers would increase quickly. Squarespace offers beautiful themes for website building.

With WordPress, you can navigate the marketplaces to find appealing website templates. Squarespace allows template customization without needing to edit the code. With WordPress, one has to play with code to customize templates to their taste.

Both Squarespace and WordPress offer e-commerce functionality. Finally, WordPress might have an edge over Squarespace when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO).

Let’s dive into the core differences between WordPress and Squarespace.

UI, UX: Ease of Use

In terms of user-friendliness, Squarespace has an edge over WordPress. One can hop on to Squarespace dashboard, and learn how to build a website within a day. WordPress, on the other hand, poses a steep learning curve.

Many first-time users find it challenging to find their way through the different features of WordPress. With Squarespace, you do not have to mess with HTML or CSS. WordPress does not offer that luxury.

WordPress vs Squarespace: Page Editor

When you are using Squarespace, you can easily move text, images, videos, and even forms using Content Blocks. The drag & drop page editor is fun to work with.

screen-shot-2022-01-20-at-4-59-16-pm
Squarespace Builder

When using WordPress, you will be using their Gutenberg editor, which helps you add Content Blocks such as text, images, videos, and forms.

screen-shot-2022-01-20-at-4-59-34-pm
Gutenberg Builder

One issue with WordPress is that when using its Page Editor, you cannot see a preview of the full website. This can be challenging if you are a visual person and want to see a better context. However, there is a way around this. You can use a WordPress plugin called Elementor to address this issue.

Elementor Demo

Getting Things Started: Setup

With Squarespace, you can get started in less than 20 minutes. You do not have to search for a website hosting platform as Squarespace comes with that. WordPress, however, requires you to set up the website hosting before you can build a website. For some, the WordPress dashboard might not be user-friendly.

WordPress vs Squarespace: Configuration Options

As mentioned earlier, there is a steep learning curve when it comes to WordPress. However, that gives you a lot of powerful software, with a host of customization options.

Put simply, simpler software is easier to use (with limited functionality), whereas complex software might be difficult to use at first but would have a larger number of features and capabilities.

Given the open-source nature of WordPress, the sky is the limit when it comes to customization. One can also easily find WordPress developers.

There are thousands of skilled developers who bring years of experience with WordPress. With a CMS, you can also use a CDN (content delivery network) for a faster and better user experience. Squarespace does not offer that feature.

WordPress vs Squarespace: Pricing

Squarespace offers four pricing plans, ranging from $12 to $40 per month (billed annually). Squarespace plans include:

  • The Personal Plan: Ideal for beginners
  • The Business Plan: Personal Plan + Marketing features
  • The Basic Commerce Plan: Good for online stores with a few products and basic ecommerce features.
  • The Advanced Commerce Plan: Supports large e-commerce stores with advanced ecommerce functionality that want to sell unlimited products.

screen-shot-2022-01-20-at-5-02-47-pm

Talking about WordPress pricing, since WordPress is an open-source platform, it is free to use.

However, that does not mean you won’t have to spend some money building a website with WordPress.

With WordPress, you would be spending money on a web hosting account, premium themes, plugins, domain names, and, of course, the development costs.

You can also find free WordPress themes and plugins. But if you want more features, you might have to dive into premium themes and plugins.

The biggest cost associated with WordPress is development. WordPress has several moving parts, which calls for a dedicated coder. And that could add up quickly.

Search Engine Optimization: SEO

We all know the importance of digital marketing.

You can have a beautiful website. But if you do not market it well, it might not generate enough revenue.

This is where SEO comes in handy.

While both Squarespace and WordPress offer SEO-related features, WordPress has a much better lay of the SEO land.

Customer Support: Squarespace vs WordPress

Dedicated customer support, available 24/7, could be useful for those who do not know how to code. In this regard, Squarespace provides 24/7 email support and live chat service.

Since WordPress is an open-source platform, you do not get that level of support. However, if you are using a premium plugin or a premium theme on your WordPress site, you can reach out to them for support.

Verdict: Squarespace vs WordPress

It would be unfair to suggest one is better than the other without looking into the specifics- your budget, level of familiarity with coding, nature of business, and so on.

You can check out both these tools and get a feel for them before you decide which platform is right for you.

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Article By
James LePage
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James LePage is the founder of Isotropic Design, a digital agency that builds WordPress websites. I read, write and design constantly!
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