SquareSpace vs. WordPress, which is the better website platform for your business?

by websitetooltester
by websitetooltester
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Squarespace is one of the cleaner, easy to use content management systems that can help you build and manage your site. It’s a SAAS-based software that millions of people use to server up their website. It’s sleek and elegant style reminds you of the Apple’s OS  (simple, yet functional). Squarespace is growing (with offices now in Portland, OR) and becoming a popular option for small businesses.

 

WordPress was released in 2003 and was designed to be an open source platform so anyone can contribute to and build on the software. Over the past 11 years, the WordPress community has developed over 26,000 plugins that have been downloaded hundreds of millions of times. Right now, there are over 60 million websites that use WordPress. WordPress has a very large variety of themes, from the basic to the complex.  Some of their premium themes have built into them slideshows,  e-commerce, social media buttons and, most importantly, search engine friendliness.

Let’s compare Squarespace to WordPress and see how it stands up.

 

Themes and customization

Squarespace gives you everything you need to start your blog, add pages, format posts, add photos etc, in a friendly and elegant interface. Even the typography and spacing is well thought out. That’s why I called it “The Apple” of the CMS world.

WordPress in the other hand, has a decent interface, but it’s not as pretty elegant as Squarespace. WordPress gives you the ability to install and modify everything you want for your blog. This means you can go deep into your backend files and modify a line in the code, but you can break the site and need to hire someone to help you fix it.

With WordPress, you have an countless ways to customize and scale your site. Your website could be a simple blog, non-profit website or a massive e-commerce site. WordPress can be the right fit for you regardless of the size and scale of your site. You can open up your website’s code and change whatever you would like and customize it for your needs.There is also a huge support community of thousands of developers around the world who work in WordPress and can help you build exactly what you want. There are no limits when you want to customize your site, if you can dream it (and pay for it), you can build it.

 

Functionality

WordPress has so many option for functionality, there are 100s of plugins (free and premium) you can add to your WordPress site. Anything can be done on your site with a plugin, the sky is the limit. Plugins give you the freedom to customize your website and how you interact with your customers. Examples of plugins are newsletter signups anywhere on your site, related posts on your blog page, and affiliate links on pages.

 

There are no plugins with Squarespace. Of course there are exceptions, but in general, your functionality is limited with Squarespace. Squarespace platform is the limited by number of themes and plugins they provide.  If you want a special type of functionality that Squarespace doesn’t offer, then you just don’t have that functionality. If want an alternative to Squarespace’s existing designs and themes, then you have run out of options. Squarespace is not open source platform,  they control and maintain the platform. You can’t edit code and change things like you can with WordPress. For a business or blogger who doesn’t want or need a lot of functionality with their website, Squarespace can be a good option.

Squarespace does have a ‘Developer’ option available where individuals can customize and open up the Squarespace code. This is difficult to recommend because the support community for Developer mode is extremely limited and  that makes it hard to keep sites built in Developer mode easy to maintain.

Mobile-Friendly  and SEO

Squarespace’s websites are optimized for SEO and it is integrated into the theme and platform. For the normal blogger or business who isn’t focusing on SEO as a major part of their marketing strategy, the Squarespace platform works fine.

If you are serious about SEO and have ranking at the top of Google as a priority, you might be frustrated by the limitations with Squarespace’s SEO functionality. You’ll find that you’ll hit some roadblocks and can’t move around them.

With WordPress, you have a large number of plugins and themes that are dedicated to SEO. Yoast and All-in-one-SEO optimize your post and pages, but Yoast reminds which keywords you are targeting and helps your optimize for those keywords within your posts. This is just one example of WordPress’  advanced SEO functionality. If you are serious about SEO and this is a priority to your business, then WordPress is the better path to follow.

eCommerce

eCommerce is available on Squarespace. The first challenge is you will only be able to use Stripe as your payment processor. You don’t have the option to use Paypal or any other payment processor. This can be a huge deal breaker for some.

Second, you will find extremely limited options during the checkout process. Squarespace has one process built for how your customers will check out.If you want to customize it, you’re out of luck. This is fine for a blogger or website that has a few products for sale and isn’t selling a lot of things, but  frustrating for someone who wants to customize the shopping experience for their customers.

With WordPress, you have unlimited options for your eCommece solutions. Plugins like WooCommerce offer you lots of options to customize your eCommerce experience and you aren’t limited to a single payment processor.

Price

Squarespace has different plans for each of its packages.
For a basic website of 20 pages / blog posts or less – $10 per month,
A professional website with unlimited pages – $20 per month
An eCommerce website – $24 per month
WordPress is completely free. The platform is open source so you don’t pay anything.What you do need is a hosting account from a provider such as Blue Deer Forest Web Hosting which costs just under $7 per month. We offer security packages that monitor and update your software on a monthly or quarterly basis.

 

Support

Squarespace has a strong tech support team. When you have a question or problem, you can just submit a ticket through their help desk, they guarantee a response within 24 hours. The support covers technical problems or bugs, but they won’t update your site or make adjustments and redirect you to resources for that.

As with any software, there are on-going and existing glitches in some of the Squarespace themes, and unfortunately if you run into one, there is nothing you can do about it other than to change your website design or wait for Squarespace to fix the problem.

WordPress is open source, so there is no official WordPress “tech support” to fix problems.  You may need to contact WordPress for an issue related specifically to WordPress, or your hosting provider for an issue related to your hosting, or your theme provider for an issue related to your theme.

There are services such as the WordPress Security Package that provides worry-free support for your WordPress site at a monthly or yearly cost, and it lets you sleep at night and not worry about your site breaking or being hacked into.

In addition, WordPress also has a large support community. With WordPress being used for so many year,  many web designers and agencies work with it and know how to use and manipulate it.

Which is better?

SquareSpace is a fine solution if you want a simple website as a small business or blogger and don’t mind the limitations of the design and functionality such as e-Commerce and SEO. A brochure website can be a perfect fit for a Squarespace site.
WordPress is the best bet if you are looking for a customized website with more functionality, e-Commerce, and custom design. You can have a more hand-on approach and get the exact website you desire and easily find the support to maintain and help grow your website.
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