Want an amazing-looking website that delivers a great experience for your customers? Of course, you do! There are many alternative website building tools out there to help make your vision come true. Today we are going to compare two popular options and see which website wonder wins. Let’s get started.
Squarespace or WordPress?
Two popular website creation tools are Squarespace and WordPress. They are both excellent products, allowing you to create stunning websites and conduct e-commerce from within them. Unlike some of our previous comparison articles, these two products try to offer something slightly different from each other. Squarespace aims for the non-technical user, who is happy to drag-and-drop their website into creation. WordPress appeals to someone who values more flexibility and is happy to put the work in to get it. WordPress offers its basic tools for free, and Squarespace offers an array of chargeable options, but arguably includes more value in them. Which one is more suitable for you? Time for a quick summary of them both.
Squarespace: A quick look
Founded in 2004, Squarespace promises the ability to create easy-to-edit websites from templates, with no coding needed. It claims to offer the full range of commerce and marketing features you need to run your business online. Squarespace offers the ability to quickly build an attractive website without the need to go anywhere near (or understand) coding. According to internet statistics company Builtwith.com, there are around 4 million websites powered by the platform.
Squarespace is a hosted website builder and is known for its dedicated customer support and sleek, modern templates. If you are new to website creation and want to get an attractive-looking site up and running quickly, Squarespace is certainly an option to consider.
WordPress: The summary
WordPress is the world’s most popular content management system (read ‘makes it easy to create and manage a website without being a deep techie’) and currently, it hosts 43% of the world’s websites. Its ease of use, plethora of features and tools, and open-source nature makes it a great option for bloggers, first-timers, and experienced creators alike.
Being open source means that there are thousands of user-developed functions and themes available for you to use, some are free, and others are paid for. WordPress uses plug-ins to add functionality to a website. This gives you a huge amount of flexibility, but requires some planning of the design and function you really want, to avoid an over-functioned and confusing website. If you want to do something with WordPress, you almost certainly can, just be careful what you wish for!
Squarespace vs WordPress: Let the games begin!
To decide which is best for you, we could compare the Scrabble score of each (Squarespace is 24, WordPress is only 15) but we think there may be a better way. Instead, we are going to compare the two products across five key areas, which experience says are important to both web creators, and the businesses the websites will represent. A battle of features, flexibility, and finance. But let’s start by going back one letter and look at an important ‘E’.
1. Ease of use
Squarespace: If you can use a mouse, you can create a website with Squarespace. It’s user-friendly and intuitive. You can build a great looking (if slightly formulaic) website without knowing how to code, or hiring anyone for help.
WordPress: Let’s be honest, WordPress is not as easy to use. The open-source nature means lots of functionality, but it’s a little harder to stitch it all together. Having said that, there are plenty of free themes and plugins to get you started, and it’s not hard to create a great site without help, just not as easy as Squarespace.
Winner: If all you want is ease of use, look no further than Squarespace. Equally, if you just need a simple website that looks great, then Squarespace is probably right for you too. It’s a clear winner in this category.
Squarespace: Websites are built within the online Squarespace builder. Whilst it may be easy to use, it offers significantly less control and customisation than its rival. If what you are looking for is provided by one of the existing themes, happy days, but if not, you may struggle.
WordPress: We mentioned that WordPress was not as easy to use, and much of that comes from the sheer flexibility it gives to create a unique website. If you can imagine a website, you can create it with WordPress.
Winner: If you want to break out from the world of templated websites, and create something that stands out to your customers, WordPress is the easy winner here.
3. Finances (or what does it cost?)
Squarespace: Whilst there is an option of a free trial, Squarespace only offers paid monthly or annual plans. Starting at around £12 a month, for a ‘personal’ plan, and rising to £35 a month for more advanced e-commerce functionality, these prices include hosting and a ‘free’ URL (for the first year). Make sure that the online payment services you wish to use on your website are supported by Squarespace, however.
WordPress: As open-source software, you can download the tools you need at WordPress.org and use them for free, although note that no hosting or domain names are included. WordPress.com also offers a free plan, including limited hosting, which might be suitable for a blog or similar. They also offer a range of plans, from $4 (yes, billed in USD) to $45 a month, depending on the functionality you need. There are many more e-commerce options supported by WordPress too.
Winner: A closer battle, but the availability of a free plan at the low end and greater granularity of paid-for options (plus the e-commerce abilities) makes WordPress the narrow winner.
Squarespace: Included is an impressive selection of templates to start your build, with good functionality. There are third-party integrations, for example, Twitter or Instagram blocks, Apple Pay, or FedEx shipping. So long as you are happy with the Squarespace ecosystem, there is probably all you need.
WordPress: There are thousands of free or paid-for themes and plugins to add extra features and functionality to your website. There are plugins for everything you could conceivably need; search engine optimisation (Yoast SEO, etc.), e-commerce platform (WooCommerce – the top e-commerce plugin), social media tools, and the list goes on. In fact, there is almost too much choice, so choose your features wisely!
Winner: A clear win for WordPress. Many creators will be happy with the functions that Squarespace provides, but it cannot match the breadth of its rival.
5. Help and support
Squarespace: Support is excellent, with all packages offering a 24/7 helpline, plus online tutorials, and guides. If you like your support directly from the vendor, you will love what Squarespace offers.
WordPress: By contrast, there is no direct support offered by WordPress. Instead, you have access to a thriving community of experts (the open-source thing again) and probably more online tutorials than any other platform (just Google something!). Companies that use WordPress to create amazing websites (ahem) will offer their customers the support they need, knowing they have a community to help if they need it.
Winner: This is apples versus oranges, with help and support being offered in both camps, just via a different route. We don’t wish to appear fruitist, so we’ll score this round a draw!
Naming a winner depends on what you are trying to achieve. If you want a ‘fast, simple, and perfectly reasonable’ DIY solution, then Squarespace may be the answer. Many smaller businesses that just want a web presence and to conduct some basic e-commerce will be happy with what they can do.
For those who want a more comprehensive website, or where their online presence is of fundamental importance, there is no doubt that WordPress offers more. A lot more. There is a reason why WordPress is behind more than 40% of the world’s websites!
Yes, the winner is WordPress, but if you are worried that the additional complexity or choice of functions might be an issue, don’t be. Milk & Tweed are WordPress specialists. We have built hundreds of amazing WordPress websites for a wide variety of businesses across the country. We take your vision, needs and desires, and magically* turn them into reality. So, if we can help, give us a call on 01249 847 447 or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(*) Not 100% magic, includes lots of hard work by very talented people.