In this blog post, I’m providing an overview of two of the most popular website platforms Squarespace vs WordPress so that you can decide which one is best for you.
To be fair, I have far more knowledge of and experience with WordPress compared to Squarespace however, you’ll find this overview mostly unbiased. Truth be told, I was a longtime WordPress advocate until I recently starting using Squarespace and, like it a whole lot more than I expected. Squarespace works a lot differently than WordPress and there are pros and cons to both. And in this post when I refer to WordPress, I am referring to self-hosted WordPress.
I should also mention that I am mostly a self-taught web designer. I didn’t go to school for website design. I initially learned WordPress working as a Virtual Assistant (VA) for a busy website designer and from there, took a few online courses, and once I got comfortable with the platform, it was trial and error. I also have some coding experience from my years of building and managing websites for myself and others.
What I like best about WordPress is the amount of customization that you can do. That can also be one downside of WordPress, especially for a newbie because it’s kind of overwhelming how much you can do with WordPress from design elements to eCommerce to blogging to sales pages and more. And, there are thousands of plugins that allow you to run backups, create sitemaps, check for security weaknesses, and optimize your website keywords for the search engines.
The good news is that Squarespace is highly customizable as well. There are dozens of templates to choose from where you can add and remove sections as well as, change the font style and colour scheme for your website. There are no plugins but there are a variety of different modules or content blocks that you can add to different pages or sections of your website.
Included are pages for an eCommerce store, a blog, a contact form, a portfolio along with standard pages where you can add and remove blocks for text, images, and video. You can a newsletter sign-up box, calendars, menus, and maps to your pages.
Squarespace is simple and clean. That’s what I like best about it. Analytics are built-in so that you can monitor your website traffic and all templates are mobile-friendly. You can add social icons and SEO keywords to each page and blog post.
The downside of WordPress is that constant updates are needed. There are always theme updates and plugin updates every time I log into the dashboard of any of the WordPress sites that I manage. And sometimes, when an update is made, it breaks the site (temporarily) that’s why it’s always necessary to run a backup before doing any updates. Thankfully, I’ve never had any issues restoring a website. Worse case is that I had to call support for either the plugin or the hosting company to get help with fixing the issue. It all worked out in the end thankfully.
However, one very valuable plugin that’s available for WordPress is Yoast SEO. This plugin is so useful for guiding you in following SEO best practices for your website. Unfortunately, this plugin is not available with Squarespace but…as mentioned earlier, you still have the ability to SEO your Squarespace website. And to be honest, I don’t even use all of the features of Yoast SEO because it’s one of those plugins that’s got so much to it, it’s kind of overwhelming. I use it enough to get the SEO benefit out of it though.
One downside with Squarespace is the ability to run backups. With WordPress, I’ve got a plugin installed on my websites that I use to run backups and then download to the cloud and my hard drive. However, that’s because my WordPress sites are self-hosted. With Squarespace, the hosting is included and it’s a closed system so there isn’t a need to run backups. However, it’s a good idea to do so anyway…just in case. The way you can do it is with a Chrome extension called Full Page Screen Capture. That way, you can more easily rebuild your Squarespace website in the very unlikely event that it one day disappears.
Lastly, there is the cost comparison. With WordPress depending on the cost of your hosting and whether or not you have free or paid plugins installed and a paid or free theme, the cost can run you anywhere from $10-$30 per month on average. With Squarespace, it’s an all in one cost that can run you anywhere from $12 – $46 per month depending on the package you choose and whether you opt to pay monthly or annually (there’s a discount for annual). Most small businesses will be on the lower end of that scale with only a small online shop.
Deciding between Squarespace vs WordPress depends on your needs. There is a much steeper learning curve to WordPress and more hassle with constant updates however, it’s much more robust and flexible. Squarespace is much easier to learn and an all in one solution that removes a lot of the hassle that WordPress has. The Squarespace templates are clean and customizable but if you want to build a big online store, it’s probably not the right solution for you. It’s a really good option for small businesses and solopreneurs, however.
If you are looking for help with designing a new website or updating an old one and Squarespace or WordPress websites are on your radar, reach out to me here and we’ll book a time to chat about your project.