If you’re looking to create an impactful website, choosing between Squarespace and WordPress can be a difficult decision. Both content management systems (CMS) are highly regarded as user-friendly website builders that create beautiful designs and intuitive functionality.
Currently, 3.2% of the entire internet is hosted on the WordPress platform. Providing thousands of themes, plugins, and widgets that provide near unlimited customization, WordPress is suitable for blogs, businesses, eCommerce websites and more. With so much power comes complexity, and often, WordPress developers need to step in.
Relatively new on the market, Squarespace has earned a reputation for providing designer templates targeted to beginners looking to build a successful website easily.
Building a website can be complex. Between deciding on price, themes, and add-ons, it’s easy to get lost in the CMS technical jargon.
Imagine spending time and your precious budget on the wrong website builder. To save you time and money, it’s important to do your research to decide which platform will better meet your needs.
Ask yourself a few questions:
- What type of website are you building?
- What is your budget?
- How many users or admins are you going to have?
- What type of template and functionality do you need?
- What are your security requirements?
After you have these squared away, you can dive into the Squarespace vs. WordPress debate and begin to compare the distinguishing features between the two.
Follow along as we identify the pros and cons of both platforms to help you understand which platform is truly better suited for your website.
Pricing and Costs
Understanding each platform’s cost will help you better determine your budget to make informed business decisions. Otherwise, building a website can turn into a pricey expense.
Squarespace is a ‘software as a service’ (SaaS) platform where users pay a monthly fee to use it. They offer a few different pricing plans:
- $12 personal plan: Includes unlimited bandwidth and storage, mobile-optimized design, analytics, free custom design, SSL security, 24/7 support, and two contributors
- $18 business plan: Includes everything from the personal plan, unlimited contributors, Google email, $100 Google Ads credit, pop-ups, eCommerce capabilities, customization, premium blocks
- $26 basic eCommerce: Includes all features from the business plan, unlimited products, mobile-optimized checkout, commerce metrics, inventory, orders, coupons, label printing, integrated accounting, customer accounts, Instagram products
- $40 advanced eCommerce: Includes all features from the business plan and basic eCommerce, subscriptions, abandoned cart auto recovery, advanced shipping, gift cards, and orders API
While the personal plan is the least expensive, it’s also the most limited. If you plan on growing your website or selling any sort of products, you’re better off going with the basic eCommerce package.
Squarespace may be more expensive than competitors, but it includes everything you need in one package.
WordPress is a free open-source website builder that is available to anyone to start building a website on. Although they offer a few priced packages, the cost in WordPress is paying for a hosting provider and domain name.
Depending on the type of website you’re building, you can start with a WordPress hosting provider like Bluehost that only costs $2.75 monthly and includes a free domain name with SSL certificate. However, if you need something a more complex, a managed provider like WP Engine, costs run up to $29 per month.
WordPress costs begin to add up when you throw in premium themes and plugins to add more functionality and design into your website. However, this can be managed by finding credible, free versions to help minimize your overall spend.
Because Squarespace locks website owners into a monthly or annually set cost, WordPress wins. WordPress users have options to choose their hosting provider, themes, and plugins to control the overall spend.
Because most beginner level users or business owners are not familiar with website coding, they need a platform that easily lets them build features without hiring a developer.
Squarespace utilizes a what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) editor that makes changes incredibly easy. You can essentially edit their content exactly as they want it to appear live – hit publish – and that’s it.
With their simple drag and drop builder, you can easily drop in blocks for text and media to arrange and have control over your layout.
However, with such an easy builder, it doesn’t come with many overall choices. While you can customize Squarespace templates, there are serious limitations that could hinder the actual uniqueness of your website.
With 32% of websites powered by WordPress, it’s been a crowd favorite for blogs and businesses. While WordPress is generally user-friendly, there is a steeper learning curve, and a WordPress developer may need to step in to design it correctly.
If you’re slightly technically savvy, you will need to familiarize yourself with WordPress navigation, posts, pages, themes and plugins to start.
However, WordPress also includes a WYSIWYG format and a visual editor to develop content. The content editor is easy to use and a customizer to add different elements to your page.
Although WordPress is known for its customizable and flexible platform, it may be too complicated for beginners without coding knowledge.
Strictly speaking ease-of-use, Squarespace takes WordPress. It’s simple web builder is convenient for all levels of website builders without needing to hire a developer.
Design & Flexibility
Both Squarespace and WordPress offer pre-built templates and design tools that make it easier for website owners to build a custom site.
Squarespace provides professional and modern themes that are categorized for website types like blogging, portfolios, restaurants, fashion, and more. They offer a stunning homepage with bold imagery that looks great across all screen types.
The Squarespace website themes are all mobile optimized, and you can edit colors, fonts, logos, and other basic functions. You can also add in custom CSS for more personalization.
With that said, these Squarespace templates are limited and so is the customization you can truly do within them. Only offering 60 versions, you’re bound to have a similar theme as another site on the internet.
WordPress offers thousands of premium and free website themes that give you total control and flexibility. These WordPress themes are highly customizable, allowing you to make the website of your dreams.
Providing every website category available, these templates often include different layout versions, page builders, photo galleries, and more.
While you can choose a free theme, they often come with limited support and functionality. Generally, premium WordPress themes cost anywhere between $30-$100 and can be purchased from Themify, ThemeForest or Elegant Themes.
Even better, you can further customize your WordPress theme with widgets and plugins.
While so many options can be overwhelming, especially for those without developer skills, there are no limitations on what your website can look like. You might just want to brush up on your HTML and CSS knowledge.
In the Squarespace vs. WordPress argument, WordPress is the clear design winner. With thousands of choices and endless design possibilities, WordPress functionality is unmatched.
Plugins and Extensions
Website integrations improve functionality and the overall user experience. As your website continues to evolve, these features will become important in the site’s growth.
Squarespace doesn’t have powerful API’s that extensions can add upon. Additionally, Squarespace doesn’t have a separate app store or offer extra plugins that can be added to your website.
However, they do provide third-party extensions like social links, SoundCloud, OpenTable, and Amazon.
Squarespace also includes in-house apps for blogs, analytics, and portfolios that are already integrated, so you can feel confident that it will work seamlessly.
Honestly, Squarespace lacks app functionality that you might need to grow your website.
With more than 55,000 WordPress plugins available, WordPress is known for its powerful plugin ecosystem. These plugins help transform a normal website into a highly impactful one.
While many great free plugins exist, other premium ones will come with a small monthly cost. WordPress plugins do everything from design, security, analytics and more to add increased functionality and experience to your website.
With such a large community of WordPress developers, it’s important to ensure the plugins you download are of quality code and credible design. This can be verified by other customer reviews.
WordPress plugins are incredibly advantageous for any website owner hoping to take their site up a notch.
Without a doubt, WordPress wins this one with thousands of integrations available that increase functionality tenfold.
If you’re interested in Squarespace vs. WordPress for bloggers, both platforms offer advantages to churn out successful content.
While Squarespace is a less established blogging platform, it does offer bloggers the ability to have everything set in one platform. With the easy drag and drop builder, this platform is great for bloggers new to the scene without any development experience.
Running a blog business can be tricky, which makes the Squarespace integrations helpful when collecting email addresses, building social media followers, or booking appointments.
Even with those features, Squarespace is still limited in terms of overall functionality and appearance. True, your blog will look great and still offer user experience. But, how many bloggers will have the same layout?
Created as a blogging platform, thousands of bloggers have chosen WordPress as their content management system. WordPress includes a native commenting system and access to thousands of plugins that add features like social media buttons, complex forms, and analytic tracking.
Additionally, WordPress offers a Gutenberg block editor which lets bloggers customize their layout and fit content into posts.
Packed with impactful functionality and design capabilities that every WordPress blog needs, this platform will help boost your blog’s appearance, traffic, and search engine optimization.
WordPress beats out Squarespace when it comes to blogging. If you’re serious about becoming a blogger, WordPress is the chosen platform by thousands to create a successful blog with features unparalleled to none.
Squarespace vs. WordPress: Who Wins?
It comes down to what your website goals are, along with technical knowledge and overall budget to determine which website builder to use.
Building a maintaining a website is no small feat. You need to prioritize your website needs but also allow the freedom to grow.
WordPress is incredibly flexible to create any type of website with a large collection of themes and plugins. It starts with a low cost, but demands its user’s learn the terminology and build a technical skill set.
Squarespace is ideal for smaller websites who need beginner-friendly editing capabilities. With a higher cost and few design choices, this platform could limit the possible growth opportunities.
While the Squarespace vs. WordPress debate is not clear cut, it is your decision. Make it count and have fun building your dream website.
What’s your favorite: Squarespace or WordPress?
Share with us in the comments below!