In the “do-it-yourself” webpage space, WordPress and Squarespace are two of the giants. Both have great reputations as leading website-building platforms. Both are good choices for those without a lot of, or any, web development skills. If you’re looking to start your own website or blog, either would likely work well for you. But there are differences, so digging in a little will help you decide WordPress vs Squarespace.
So let’s take a look, starting with a basic introduction.
What is Squarespace?
Squarespace is a ‘software as a service’ or SaaS website builder. This means that you pay a monthly fee to use the service. But it includes the important things that you need to put your site together and keep it maintained. Things like templates, a content management system, hosting, support, a domain name, and more.
There are other Squarespace features like Squarespace Email Campaigns and Squarespace Video Studio that are valuable marketing tools.
Squarespace is often referred to as a “code-free” solution, meaning that you can put together a website without having to know the first thing about website code.
What is WordPress?
WordPress has two different versions available, Hosted WordPress and Self-hosted WordPress. Hosted WordPress is also a SaaS website builder. You pick a plan and pay a yearly fee, which gives you access to hosting, storage, and lots of other features that help you maintain your site.
A free version of hosted WordPress also exists. But if you go this route, advertisements display on your site.
Self-hosted WordPress is a piece of software that you download and then install on your own server. This option is “open source” which means that the code used for the site is freely available and can be easily modified.
This WordPress option is very customizable but requires more know-how. So you would either need to find a web developer that could help you or spend some time and effort learning some basic website design.
WordPress vs Squarespace?
Here are a few more basic comparisons to help you decide WordPress vs Squarespace.
Squarespace’s pricing is pretty straightforward. There are four main plans available, priced between $23-$65 per month. As you would assume the lower-priced plans are more limited, so even if you’re just starting out it may make sense to pay a little extra for one of the higher-tier plans.
Plus, if you pay annually, you get a free domain name from Squarespace. There is also a two-week free trial available.
WordPress pricing is a little more complicated. The software is open source which means you can download it for free. But you will need to pay for other things, beginning with hosting, or server space to store your site.
Then there are themes to help you design your site. WordPress plugins are important apps that you can add to your site to help it run smoother, give you security, and many other options.
There are many more variables with WordPress, which means narrowing down the price is tougher, but you can look to pay between $192 and $780 a year for a self-hosted version of WordPress.
Squarespace wins on quality, and WordPress wins on quantity.
Squarespace is known for its very attractive, and even award-winning templates. There are 140 designs to choose from, which seems like a lot until you compare that number to WordPress.
WordPress has thousands of templates to choose from. Again, due to the open-source nature of WordPress, many of those choices are from outside the official WordPress site. Some are free, and some are not.
But even if you just looked around the official WordPress theme directory, you’ll find between 9,000 and 10,000 templates to choose from.
Ease of use.
As stated earlier, Squarespace is designed for people with little to no web development experience. So its style editor is very straightforward, and changing the basics like colors, fonts, heading sizes, etc. is very simple. The controls are very evident and easy to use.
Also a drag-and-drop editor exists that makes it easy to arrange your content the way that you want it. You can move images or blocks of text around to assemble them as you like.
Editing WordPress is by no means difficult, but as opposed to editing right on the page as with Squarespace, you have to edit the page on the back end and then preview it to see what the final result looks like.
As with many of the WordPress features, editing may not be quite as easy, but there are more options and flexibility if you know some basic web design principles.
This is just a scratching-the-surface comparison when considering WordPress vs Squarespace. But there are other topics that might be important to know. Ecommerce, content management, blogging tools, email marketing, SEO tools, and more, all might be important factors in helping you make a choice.
But either way, you can be confident that both companies are well-respected and valued members of the web design community.