WordPress and Squarespace are two of the world’s leading web building platforms but deciding between the two can be tough. In this blog we hope to give you a better understanding of when to use Squarespace and when to use WordPress. By the end of this article, you should have a clearer idea of which one is best suited for you.
What is Squarespace?
Squarespace is a hosted website builder that provides you with already included templates, automatic updates, and ecommerce. It has become one of the goes to website builders if you are a beginner at website creation. It includes a drag and drop editor giving you an easy tool for designing your webpages.
Squarespace was created with the idea of a code-free solution making it possible to construct and edit a website without having to touch CSS or HTML. Designed to be an all-in-one package it allows you to not think about the technical details like setting up a web host as it is all taken care of behind the scenes.
It is important to know that Squarespace is not a Content Management System but is a website builder meaning it is not suited for all website needs. You also need to consider that you may not own your domain and you will not be able to move the site to a new host.
What is WordPress?
WordPress is one of the most used Content Management Systems out there as it provides you with a flexible, open-source CMS that can be customised however you like. Although it may not have a drag-and-drop page builder there are options such as Elementor, Divi, etc.
With WordPress you have almost an unlimited amount of free and paying templates that you can use, and they also come with the benefit of being completely customisable. If you are looking to turn your site into an ecommerce site, then there are options such as WooCommerce which is open-source and provides more functionality than a Squarespace online store.
WordPress provides you with the freedom to create any website you can think of whether that is a blog, ecommerce site, large business websites, etc. However, you will need to setup your own domain and find a good hosting service. If you are looking for help on finding the right Hosting Service Provider, you can read our blog here.
Differences between Squarespace and WordPress
Ease of Use
If you are a beginner and are looking to build your own site, then Squarespace is the best option for you. Thanks to its built-in drag and drop page Squarespace is extremely beginner friendly. However, WordPress does have its own editor that allows you to use building blocks like that of Squarespace. You will still need to have minimum technical knowledge.
Out of the box WordPress allows you to edit pages in the back end and preview/publish it before you see your changes. If you are willing to but in time and research into configuration WordPress provides a lot of front-end visual editing plugins that allows you to achieve the drag and drop page editing that comes with Squarespace.
This is where depending on your preference your opinion may be split. Squarespace has roughly 110 themes and templates whereas WordPress has about 11,000+ themes. WordPress comes with 3 themes by default which are free and can be altered by using the appearance in the WordPress dashboard.
WordPress themes however allows you to fully customise them if you are willing to code or have hired a developer. We recommend that you should have a basic understanding of CSS and HTML if you are looking to implement your own style choices to the themes that WordPress provides. But since there is so many themes available you might not even need to implement your own changes as there may be a theme out there that is perfect for you.
As more and more companies look to move their business online e-commerce sites are becoming widespread and ensuring you have e-commerce built correctly into your site. Squarespace offers an in-built system with key features that include:
- Ability to add discount codes and gift cards.
- The ability to sell an unlimited number of products online.
- A shopping cart system that is user friendly.
- The ability to sell services and subscriptions along with digital and physical goods.
- Receive Payment from PayPal, Stripe and Apple Pay.
Squarespace starts with the Business Plan (£15/month), but you need to keep in mind that they have a 3% commission on all sales so if you are planning on taking in more than £3000 we recommend going with the Basic Commerce plan (£20/month) at least.
The standard e-commerce option for WordPress is WooCommerce which is an open-source e-commerce plugin. This plugin does offer more functionality than what you would find with Squarespace’s option. With WooCommerce you can setup up specific tax settings along with numerous other add-ons such as the ability to add additional carriers. However, these additional options for WooCommerce may come at an additional cost so it is best to do your research.
Squarespace benefits from having 24/7 email support and a live chat service. This means that there will most likely be someone available to help you with your problems. If you are not involving a developer or agency, and you are a beginner to website creation then Squarespace may be the way to go. When you buy an account with Squarespace you are then entitled to their customer support (live chat or email).
WordPress does not officially have a support team that you can email or have a live chat with. However, you will benefit from the huge community of users that is present along with the extensive amount of documentation that is provided. But finding the answer to your problem may quickly become difficult to find if you do not know your CSS from your jQuery.
However, if you purchase a paid WordPress theme, there may be free support that is provided by some developers so you can contact them to tweak your website design to your heart’s content.
Squarespace offers very clear pricing plans allowing you to quickly calculate the amount you will be paying per year. Squarespace plans can start from £10/month to £30/month for their most advanced plan. Each plan includes hosting, templates and domain name registering with the more advanced plans including e-commerce.
WordPress is free to use but you need to host your site somewhere with a hosting plan most likely coming out to the same price as a Squarespace plan. If you are looking for a paid theme you can be looking at prices around £30 – £85 for a premium theme. There are also numerous free plugins that you can get with WordPress however some plugins may have a recurring bill.
If you are looking to get started with a WordPress site and are needing some extra advice, please get in touch. We would love to work with you and have a chat about your project. Alternatively, if you are looking for advice on choosing the correct Hosting Service Provider for you, then read our blog here.
Our Final Thoughts
WordPress is the more flexible and powerful web building platforms. However, if you have a low budget and your intent is to build a website without an outside developer helping you then Squarespace is a better option. Squarespace is easier to setup than WordPress and once it is setup you do not need to worry about maintenance or security issues. We recommend a Squarespace site to people that are planning on using their website for photography and small businesses that are looking for a simple website that has minimum fuss.
However, if you are looking for an advances e-commerce site or have specific blogging requirements then we recommend a WordPress site. For the simple reason that you can build literally any kind of site you want making use of the vast number of plugins and themes that WordPress provides. WordPress is more adaptable due to its multisite and multilingual options that are available. Squarespace is fine for business that know they are only going to operate in one location with one currency and one language.
If you are looking to go down the WordPress route, we recommend working with an experience developer or agency to ensure that your site is polished and maintained giving you a peace of mind. At Portal we offer a tailored WordPress Website Design and Development service if you would like to find out more about this please click here. If you have a project that you wish to discuss then you can get in contact with us here.