Squarespace and WordPress are two of the world’s dominant web building platforms. Are you stuck wondering which to use for your business? Below is an overview of what each platform can provide examining their key features and what each bring to the table.
Squarespace provides software as a service that includes website building and hosting. The customer pays a monthly fee that includes pre-built website templates, hosting, customer support, a content management system and e-commerce.
Squarespace has two versions, a standard, and a developer’s version. The standard version is intended for users with little to no development skills. The bulk of Squarespace users use this version. The developer’s version allows its users access and control of the source code. This allows for a larger range of capabilities to Squarespace sites and of the website templates. This version is best for experienced developers.
Hosted WordPress (wordpress.com) is similarly to Squarespace, a software as a service. Users also pay a monthly fee to gain access to a wide range of features that allow you to build and manage a website.
Unlike Squarespace, users need to use a third-party tool such as Shopify to incorporate e-commerce features and additional fees are added if users want the most appealing themes.
Self-hosted WordPress can be downloaded from wordpress.org and is a piece of software that can be installed on your own web server. It is open-source, meaning the code can be easily altered. Sites built with WordPress can be largely customized and adjusted to meet the needs of any website design plan.
Installing WordPress on your server is free, but there are costs for hosting and domain registration as well as fees for plugins and development.
The main attraction for Squarespace is that anyone can use the platform to create a website. So, naturally, users are mostly ones with zero web development skills. No need to learn code! Similarly, WordPress can also appeal to users without web development skills. However, WordPress often needs a bit more work before a website can be published. Because of its open-source structure, WordPress is tailored to users who want to create a largely customized website with more range of capabilities than Squarespace can offer.
What are the costs?
Squarespace offers four monthly plans:
- Personal – $16 per month
- Business – $26 per month
- Commerce Basic – $30 per month
- Commerce Advanced – $46 per month
If you pay annually, the plans go down in price to $12, $18, $26 and $40 per month respectively.
The leading difference between the four different Squarespace plans includes the number of pages that you can include on your website. The Personal plan is very confining and is not very preferable for businesses. It doesn’t allow for e-commerce and it inhibits the number of third-party apps that you can integrate.
The most expensive Squarespace plans include more features, notably when it comes to e-commerce.
Also, if you pay for your Squarespace plan annually, you can receive a free custom domain.
For WordPress to work best, there are fees associated. Here are five things that will involve additional costs:
- Hosting – you will need to pay for server space to install and keep your WordPress site
- Themes – designing your website
- E-Commerce Integration
- Plugins – apps that can be bought and used on your site to add different functions
- Developer – paying a professional to help build your site
The one thing you will have to pay for no matter what with WordPress is hosting. There are many available options for this with one major decision to make. You can choose a shared hosting company that is cheap but slower, or something like WP Engine that is faster, more secure and more expensive. Depending on what path you choose, your costs will be between $4 and $30 a month.
WordPress and Squarespace Features
When it comes to templates, Squarespace offers about 100 whereas with WordPress has thousands to choose from.
WordPress tops Squarespace when it comes to content management. WordPress is equipped with content versioning which means every version of each page is stored and can be easily set back to any of them. Additionally, WordPress gives you a media library where you can store, access and edit your images. Squarespace does not offer a similar tool.
When it comes to flexibility, WordPress wins over Squarespace hands down. You can use WordPress to build any kind of site you want with thousands of plugins available to add functionality to your site. Larger and Complex Sites If you plan on building a large or complex website, unfortunately, Squarespace is best stayed away from. This is because Squarespace only offers one level of navigation, creating only ‘flat’ websites. For businesses that offer many types of services and resources, multi-leveled navigation is crucial.
Squarespace does come with a built-in e-commerce system but it does have its limitations such as not allowing you to export digital products. WordPress doesn’t have a built-in e-commerce tool but the ease of downloading one of many plugins is key.
WordPress takes the cake when it comes to search engine optimization. WordPress has a wide range of advanced SEO plugins that are available. A popular one, Yoast, determines the quality of your on-page SEO and suggests changes. Squarespace, unfortunately, does not have anything similar.
Control of Your Content
Something you may not have thought about is control of your content. If using WordPress you generally have complete control over what you put on your site. If you use Squarespace, they can remove content if it conflicts with their use policies. Additionally, it is very easy to export content out of WordPress than Squarespace where you are limited.
Among most developers, WordPress is easily the winner as it is a more adaptable and dynamic tool than Squarespace. Squarespace would be a great option for the following reasons:
- It can be easier to set up than a WordPress site
- You don’t have to worry about maintenance or security issues because the site does that for you. Although you have to be on top of SEO methods.
- Your hosting and domain names come with the price of Squarespace
If you are looking for more range and flexibility, WordPress is for you. You can pretty much build any site you wish to with WordPress and take advantage of the huge number of plugins and themes. It has mass e-commerce and blogging capabilities as well as being a more scalable solution because of the multilingual and multi-site options they have available.