You’re ready to build a website for your business – amazing! You find yourself sitting in front of your screen, nuzzling your drink, the perfect mood board open in Pinterest but you have no idea which platform to pick… WordPress or Squarespace.
Do I have a personal preference? I do, and I think you can guess it just by the fact that this site is built on WordPress (lol!)
But that’s not to say that both platforms don’t have their pros and cons. As with anything I share about business and entrepreneurship, what worked for me, may not work for you.
So in order to help you make your choice, I’m helping you run through the main features of both platforms, as well as the pros and cons, to help you familiarise yourself with what’s possible and the various plans, services and optional add ons available.
WordPress vs Squarespace: Which one to pick for your business website
Before we start
Before we dive in, please bear in mind that the platform you choose should depend on a few things including your business needs and goals, your budget and the features you envision needing.
Keep an open mind as you read and take the information side by side with where you are in your business right now and what you really need your website to do. The nuance will be in the details.
Similarities between WordPress & Squarespace
At first glance, the platforms seem very similar and you might be tempted to say “Well I might as well just pick one and get on with it!”
Here’s what you’re guaranteed to enjoy from both of them:
- Predesigned themes and templates: Both platforms come with predesigned themes which you can pick from for ease of design.
Squarespace has around 70 themes and WordPress has well over 10,000 themes. This means that, if you didn’t want to spend time designing from scratch, or didn’t have the budget for a designer, you could plug and play a ready made template.
- Drag and drop builders: Both platforms have drag and drop builders which allow you to literally, drag and drop blocks of elements to customise your pages.
- Both have various tiers of plans for different budget types: When it comes to your website budget, it’s not easy as you would think to say that one platform is cheaper than the other.
Squarespace offers four all-inclusive plans which range from $12 – $40 per month. Seems simple enough but we’ll explore the details of these plans below.
WordPress is separated into WordPress.org and WordPress.com ( < Read this article to understand the difference > ). The former is technically free but you have to budget for hosting, themes and plugins (all of the most efficient and reliable ones are for sale).
WordPress.com is paid but comes with its own limitations which you can read about in THIS article.
The Pros and Cons of WordPress
The Pros of WordPress
(NB: I’m purely talking about the benefits of WordPress.org below, NOT WordPress.com)
- It’s self hosted and open source. This means that you have the choice of where you’d like to host your website. Your host is the server that stores all your website data. Using a host of your choice (the one I use is called Siteground) and therefore allowing your website to be open source, allows for greater possibilities in how you can grow, build, customise and modify your website.
- It is versatile and flexible. Although the dashboard itself has more features than Squarespace does, making it seem intimidating on the first look, this is in fact the biggest benefit of WordPress. More actually does mean more in this case meaning that the potential of what your WordPress website can do and have is greater than Squarespace.
- You can install the theme of your choice: You can either pick from the thousands of free WordPress themes or invest in a third party custom theme which you can upload.
More experienced users can create a custom design without the use of any coding with one of the many available building tools like Elementor.
The designs that can be made in WordPress are limitless, and more unconventional layouts and features are more easily imaginable, without tons of coding.
- Your budget is flexible: Because WordPress.org itself is free, you get to be more flexible with what your website costs. You have the chance to compare different hosts, pick from a variety of themes of different prices and choose your free or paid plugins.
- Access to thousands of Plugins: A plugin is a piece of software that allows your website to run a certain feature, for example a form, or a countdown timer, or even a gallery of images. There is a WordPress plugin for literally anything, which can be sourced from WordPress itself or from third parties.
The Cons of WordPress
- It takes some getting used to: ie. it has a steeper learning curve. Because of the more complex dashboard and the sheer quantity of things you can do to it, there’s a lot to learn.
That being said, if you’re committed to designing your own website, that comes with the commitment to learn as much as possible about the platform that will run your site.
The alternative would be to hire someone to help you, that way you could be certain that everything has been set up properly and your design is as optimised and functional as possible.
- Access to such a big library of themes and plugins can be misleading. While many of them are excellent, other run the risk of being outdated or not compatible with updates of your site.
Sometimes plugins and themes can clash which often requires getting in touch with the developers and using some coding to fix.
This can be frustrating and time consuming but if you have a good host, their customer support should be able to help most of the time and is free.
- WordPress.org itself doesn’t have ongoing support or live chats. This is because it is self hosted and open source. They do have a blog and support forum with plenty of DIY resources.
That being said, as mentioned above, hosts like SiteGround (which I recommend) do have excellent live chat services with experts that can help with many, if not most, of the common WordPress related issues you might come across.
The Pros and Cons of Squarespace
Similarly to WordPress.com, Squarespace is both a website builder as well as a hosting platform, meaning that users can buy a plan that includes the builder itself, a domain that is free for the first year, as well as hosting for your website data.
They have a variety of plans, with more features becoming available the bigger the plan you invest in.
The Pros of Squarespace:
- It’s an ‘all in one’ platform and simpler than WordPress. So you don’t need to know any coding or HTML to design simple and conventional layouts and themes.
If f you’re looking to create a website with the general features of a photo gallery, some text, some forms, all with a clean sectioned effect, Squarespace is equipped with the basics.
- Access to around 70 Sitground themes. You can access up to 70 themes with which to design your site within your plans.
- Live chat support: Should an issue come up, you have access to someone from Squarespace who can help guide you through the problem and possible troubleshooting and solutions.
The Cons of Squarespace:
- It’s a closed ecosystem: Because it’s a host platform in itself, Squarespace is what we called a closed ecosystem, which means it retains tight control over what you can and cannot do with your own website.
So your freedom to access tools, resources and features are limited to those that Squarespace itself offers and it’s almost impossible to bring in third party tools.
The above becomes a problem when you want to use some of the top plugins in the industry for example for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) or e-commerce. Squarespace has its own in built SEO options but it doesn’t rival Yoast SEO which is one of the best free (although premium plans are available) plugins for SEO on the market.
- It’s simple functionality is often its downfall: If you’re looking to create an avant guard website with more powerful interactive features and an unconventional layout, Squarespace just doesn’t have the tools to oblige.