With WordPress powering almost 32% of all websites on the internet, it is inarguably one of the most popular content management systems to design and build a website. However, of late, Squarespace — with its user-friendly interface, secure community, and reliable tools — has been earning the trust of millions of users across the globe. Irrespective of whether you are a website designer or a businessperson looking to having a business website, if you are confused between Squarespace and WordPress as a better platform to design a website, you are at the right place. This blog will answer all your Squarespace vs WordPress questions and help you get started in the right direction. Before we proceed, let us quickly introduce you to Squarespace and WordPress.
What is Squarespace?
Squarespace is a ‘SaaS’ (software as a service) website builder, i.e. it is a ‘software plus services’ tool that helps you design a website. Based on the kind of website you need, you can choose one of its packages for a monthly fee. The package includes everything you would need to build and maintain your website — be it hosting, templates, content management system, e-commerce, support, and if needed, a domain too.
There are two versions of Squarespace:
1. The 'standard' version of Squarespace enables people without web development skills also to design a website. Majority of Squarespace customers use this version.
2. The developer’s version of Squarespace, as the name suggests, is best suited for professional web developers since it involves coding. It helps the developers come up with bespoke websites with a lot of customized functionality.
What is WordPress?
Unlike Squarespace, WordPress is a free software. However, you will need to shell out money for hosting, domain, secure themes, etc.
WordPress is also available in two versions:
1. Hosted WordPress, like Squarespace, is a SaaS tool. You pay a monthly fee to get access to a broad range of features needed to build and maintain a website. Though it’s more flexible than Squarespace is, here, users need to use third party tools to add e-commerce features, and pay an extra amount to use attractive themes.
2. Self-hosted WordPress is a piece of software that can be installed on your own web server. Since the code behind it is freely available, it may be modified easily. Not only does this practice make a website extremely flexible, it also makes it highly susceptible to bugs and viruses.
Now that you have an idea of WordPress and Squarespace’s basics, let’s delve into the details that will help you decide which one of these is ideal for your needs.
Squarespace vs WordPress
We live in an era where you don’t need to know Photoshop or CorelDRAW to edit a picture. There are several apps and tools that enable you to edit pictures with ease. Similarly, as a layman, you need not know coding to design and build a website. Both Squarespace and WordPress have versions that can help people with no knowledge of coding to design a website. But which one of Squarespace and WordPress is easier? Read on to know.
No doubt, WordPress is an easy way to design a website, but Squarespace is easier — it’s as hassle-free as it could be for a newbie. A layman may have no idea what ‘hosting’ is, or how to purchase a ‘domain name’. With Squarespace, they don’t need to worry about each of these aspects of website building; here, all the heavy lifting is taken care of by the system. However, in case of WordPress, the user will have to sign up for web hosting, purchase a domain, and install the WordPress software, before they proceed to designing a website. All this can be too complex for someone who’s new to the world of website designing.
Click on this link to know how to build a website using Squarespace.
2. Flexibility + security
Who wins the battle between WordPress and Squarespace in this parameter depends on what’s more important to you — flexibility or security. While WordPress scores high on flexibility, security could be a point of concern. On the other hand, Squarespace scores high on security, but at the cost of flexibility. Why this polarity, you may wonder. The answer lies in who develops the plug-ins that aid functionality and flexibility.
WordPress needs a plugin for pretty much everything — slideshow, commenting, social media linking, SEO, managing advertisements, etc. The more plugins you add, the heavier the site becomes, which in turn increases the load time of the website. Conversely, since it is an open source platform (i.e. anyone can develop a template/theme or plugin for it) there are numerous contributors who develop new tools regularly. That means you have hundreds and thousands of options to choose your desired theme or plugin from. However, on the flip side, this has led to several substandard themes and plugins, as well as malware being offered on WordPress. Thus, you see, WordPress offers sufficient flexibility but at the cost of quality, security, and load time.
On the other hand, Squarespace is a secured ecosystem that doesn’t allow third party tools; it has its own team of developers that comes up with quality tools catering to user needs. However, Squarespace’s focus is on quality and not quantity. Hence, you may not find thousands of options to choose from, and will have to make do with whatever they have to offer. One of the primary USPs of Squarespace, though, is the uncompromising collection of neat templates it offers.
3. Customer support
Squarespace has an efficient customer service that caters its users via live chat, community forum and email. Besides this, the brand also organizes regular one-on-one workshops at its New York and Portland customer care headquarters in order to furnish its users with all the necessary information and updates. Thus, Squarespace is diligently making efforts to ensure that its users are always equipped to make the best use of what it has to offer.
With no go-to email address or helpline number, customer care is practically non-existent in the case of WordPress. This probably has to do with the fact that the platform has several third party tools and hence is not keen on troubleshooting issues arising because of them. Also, the number of WordPress users is higher than that of Squarespace; catering to all of them could be a huge challenge for the brand. However, there are several blogs and videos aimed at helping users understand how to build a website using WordPress.
Contradictory to popular belief, WordPress isn’t free. You will need to shell out money for hosting, certain themes, requisite plugins, e-commerce integration, etc. There are several free themes, e-commerce integration tools, and plugins available, but they may not be secure. So, it is better you opt for the paid versions instead of the free ones. In total, they may cost you around $300 a year. An inevitable expense in WordPress is hosting i.e. the server space on which WordPress is installed and your site is stored. Even for a small to medium project, hosting may cost you anything between $50 and $360 a year.
The reason why Squarespace is a more reliable option here is that even with the most basic plan ($12/month) you get unlimited bandwidth, 24/7 customer service, secured SSL, website metrics, and more. You can also track your site’s performance in real-time with Squarespace Analytics. Besides hourly, daily, weekly, and monthly traffic reports, it also shares information about visitors who used mobile devices to reach your site, referral sites, your most popular content/pages, and much more.
Depending on whether you want a generic website or an online store, you may choose one of the plans Squarespace has to offer. Click here to know the monthly rates of Squarespace plans and what each of them offers. Going for their annual packages proves to be cheaper since you get discounts. Millions of people have opted for a paid Squarespace membership after its free 14-day trial; that says a lot about its results, doesn’t it?
Search Engine Optimization is crucial for online businesses. So, no matter on what platform you build your website — Squarespace or WordPress — it is essential that you implement the best SEO practices to boost your website’s search engine ranking.
While you do your part for your website’s SEO, Squarespace does its bit to make things easier for you. It allows you to easily edit title tags (the clickable headline of a result on search engines) and meta description (the short description seen under title tags). It even creates 301 redirects. It also allows you to customize URLs to maximize search performance. In fact, Squarespace automatically creates a sitemap to let Google know the pages to crawl and index.
As compared to Squarespace, WordPress is equally powerful if not more in terms of SEO options. However, in order to boost SEO on WordPress, you need to either tweak the existing HTML codes, or use plugins that simplify the job of making the meta (title and description) Google-friendly.
What is the final verdict, you may wonder. For us at Foundous, a clean design and security are attributes that are supremely important. That is why we prefer Squarespace to WordPress. Similarly, you need to set the priorities for your website straight and accordingly decide if Squarespace is better for you or WordPress. We will leave you at that and let you take the final call. All the best!
Foundous believes in working with you as your design partner so that you can focus on your business. We believe design should be uncompromising as it gives the first impression of your business. That’s why, we give your website the ideal look and feel. Most of all, we understand cashflow; accordingly, we have amortized the cost of building your website, over time, with our affordable pricing. Contact us to know how we can help with your business.