Over several years other CMS Website Platforms like Squarespace, Weebly, Webflow and Wix have entered the market. So in this blog post, we’re going to compare two popular Website Platform choices for a local business website:
With a designer’s viewpoint, you’ll get a detailed glimpse into how both platform’s measure up with one another. At the end of this post, you will have a informed decision on which Website Platform to choose for your website needs.
So Squarespace and WordPress have different approaches to building a website. Mainly due to the audiences they’ve targeted their solution towards. Each CMS Website Platform is trying to solve specific problems for their audiences needs.
Which is really a balancing act of two opposing Website Builder components:
There are many other designer differences between these two Website Platforms.
Keep reading along as we dive into those specifics below.
If your ultimate goal is simplicity, then Squarespace is victorious!
While Sqaurespace doesn’t offer the flexibility in terms of customizing your website or adding functionality, it is as straightforward as it comes.
With that in mind, I’m not discrediting WordPress in ease of use building a website, there’s usually a few more steps using this platform. More on that below.
The bonus with Squarespace is there isn’t a need to sign-up for hosting and domain names. All of this is done for you. All that is required is to sign-up for a Squarespace account. After sign-up, you’re prompted with Website Template (layout) to choose:
After a few questions, you have an operational website. All that’s next is to customize elements on your pages.
The nice thing about this whole process? It can take up to one minute to complete!
As mentioned above, with WordPress you’ll need to sign-up for web hosting and purchase a domain separately before you can start using the Website Platform.
Once you’ve taken care of hosting and domain name stuff, it’s time to install WordPress. While this may seem overwhelming, it’s quite painless, as most hosting companies offer 1-click WordPress install functionality.
While this is an extra step in the website building process, it’s definitely something a beginner could manage on their own. Once WordPress is installed, you’ll have an operational website. Much like Squarespace, you can change the appearance (layout) of your website by choosing different Website Themes.
If you’re looking for a quick-loading, and stunning WordPress theme, we always recommend the Astra theme by Brainstorm Force to clients. Plus, it’s FREE.
If your goal is functionality, than WordPress knocks it out the park! With over 50,000 plugins (21,000 of them FREE), adding functionality to your website is endless. Whether you want to add a learning management system (LMS) for your online courses or integrating a lead capture form with Mailchimp, WordPress can do it!
Whereas, with Squarespace, you’re limited to what the Website Platform supports, which is small in comparison to WordPress.
Squarespace allows you to make any changes to your website in a single-view interface.
Basically, you can:
While it may appear that you have control over your website’s functionality, it’s still missing one component, and that’s third-party plugins.
Much like Squarespace, WordPress has everything needed to make changes to your website, plus the ability to enhance functionality.
Let’s say, you like the seamless way Squarespace Drag and Drop Page Builder works for designing a website. In order to get that same functionality in WordPress, you would download a third-party plugin like Elementor (it’s FREE). This is what we use for Level Up client websites.
Want to add a Landing Page? Install a plugin. Looking to optimize your website for search (SEO)? Install a plugin.
The WordPress developer community is HUGE, and you can find a plugin for practically anything. Which means you can add the functionality you need for your small business website.
With this said, there remains a caveat to the benefit of flexibility…things aren’t as user-friendly for beginners at website design.
Where Squarespace offers everything in a single-view interface, you have to navigate through the WordPress platform to find the features you’re after.
For most people, this caveat is worth it, given the advantages in design flexibility and overall functionality.
When I say “ownership”, I basically mean – how easy can you migrate your website content over to a new CMS platform?
So if you ever have a need to export your content (now or in the future), WordPress claims another victory here. The main reason for this, WordPress is an open source CMS platform. Which means, you have more ownership rights to your website data and content.
With Squarespace, you can export some of your website content into an XML file.
The type of content you can export:
What you can’t export:
Lastly, you can’t download a complete copy of your Squarespace database files. Which means you don’t really “own” your entire website if you decide to move over to another Website Platform in the future.
WordPress grants you 100% ownership over your files and data. Which also means, you can easily export your data and content.
Not to mention, you have the ability to download a copy of your WordPress database files. You own your entire website and can move over to other CMS platforms in the future.
Squarespace is a closed source CMS Platform, which means, you won’t have to worry about website maintenance tasks. So if you’re looking for a maintenance-free approach, Squarespace takes the win!
With WordPress being a open source Website Platform, you will have to take a proactive stance with maintaining your website.
Squarespace manages the routine tasks of platform updates, maintenance and security. Taking that responsibility off your plate.
There is one thing to keep in mind here, Squarespace doesn’t offer a method to backup your website. Which is a risk to consider.
So with WordPress, the responsibility of managing platform, themes & plugin updates, backups, and security is left to you.
While the thought of this may seem overwhelming, there are a variety of ways to automate these tasks with these plugins:
If you choose a WordPress Managed hosting plan, the hosting company will likely handle these tasks for you, at the expense of a higher monthly/annual cost.
Squarespace has clear, yet concise pricing plans on their website. This helps provide an upfront understanding of website costs for the year. There cheapest plan available starts ~$192 a year.
The cost of WordPress isn’t as cut and dry, since you basically have to shop around for the two essential components for a Website Platform:
SiteGround offers web hosting for ~$24 a year.
So if you’re looking to create an easy, starter website for your local business and don’t mind a limitation in flexibility or content ownership. Squarespace for the Win!
For the business owners who want complete freedom with their website, at the expense of a slight learning curve and maintenance responsibilities. WordPress is a solid Choice!