WordPress vs Squarespace, a clash of the CMS titans!

A battle of old and a question that would-be business owners face when determining which platform takes the cake in:

  • Design and ease of use?
  • Upfront costs and upkeep? 
  • Blogging and being found in Google?
  • Security and e-commerce? 

In this piece, we teach you about the pros and cons of WordPress or Squarespace for business so you can make an educated decision to ensure your website works for you!

Let’s dive right in!

 

WordPress VS Squarespace: Open-Source or All-Inclusive?

 

It’s no secret that WordPress and Squarespace are two extremely well-known household names in web development. 

WordPress itself has been a familiar term to me and thousands of others since the early days of the wonderful place we love – the Internet. 

You’re probably asking yourself right now, “But which is better for my business?” and we’re going to tackle this, in this article without boring you too much with technical jargon. 

The first factor that makes WordPress a no-brainer is the fact that it is open-source. 

Simply put, this means that anyone can use, change, study, and redistribute its source code. 

Due to its open-source licensing, WordPress has become one of the best solutions for blogging, e-commerce, SEO, and much more. 

Squarespace, on the other hand, while not open-source, is a “software as a service” (SaaS) website builder. 

Users pay a monthly fee to use it, but everything a business owner needs is included in their plans. Templates, a content management system (CMS), hosting, e-commerce, support, and even a domain for your business. 

wordpress vs squarespace

 

Is WordPress Easier To Use Than Squarespace? 

 

The next, glaringly obvious question is, which platform is easier to use? 

WordPress, for those who are not tech-savvy, can be challenging to use.

The CMS dashboard, for the unwashed masses, can be pretty overwhelming at first, but with our guidance and know-how, WordPress could quickly become the platform you’re going to love. 

Once you’ve begun to understand the basics, the options for customizing your website are close to endless. 

There are thousands of plugins currently available which allow users to design without any coding. There’s no need to know HTML, CSS, or Java to get your website started. 

However, learning the basics doesn’t hurt either. 

Squarespace, on the other hand, as mentioned above, is an all-inclusive drag-and-drop website builder. 

Currently, the popular SaaS offers more than sixty professional templates that users can start using. While it may not be the easiest of site builders out there, it’s definitely easier than WordPress for newbies. 

With a few hours of playing around within Squarespace’s builder, you’ll be able to launch a beautiful website with no coding required. Lemon squeezy, easy peezy. 

Isn’t that what life is meant to be?

 

WordPress vs Squarespace: Cost

 

The million-dollar question: Which is the cheaper option between WordPress and Squarespace? Money talks in this day and age, doesn’t it? 

WordPress might seem like the obvious choice here, considering that its software is free to download. However, nothing in life is truly free. A free lunch always comes with the expectation of paying the next time you see the person paying. 

You will need to pay for the hosting and domain of your business’s website. The hosting costs can vary from as little as $3 to upwards of $30 a month; however, this depends on what your business needs from its website. 

Squarespace on the opposite end has payment plans which start at $18 for businesses. Their top-tier plan costs around a whopping $40 per month, which includes hosting and domain costs. Money talks when it comes to Squarespace it seems. 

Squarespace’s pricing plans are as follows:

  • Personal Plan: $12/month.
  • Business Plan: $18/month.
  • Basic: $26/month.
  • Advanced: $40/month.

 

WordPress vs Squarespace For Bloggers 

 

Using WordPress to create blog posts is hella easy. Making your blog posts look good isn’t that easy. 

The built-in blog editor is not the easiest to use, even with WordPress’s Gutenberg block builder. 

I myself found using the Gutenberg block builder intimidating at first, but after many a blog post, I now find myself able to breeze through the process. 

 

Brain of a blogger

 

Understanding how HTML, CSS, and Javascript work is no easy feat, and this is why website design was left in the hands of a select few for many years. 

However, there are several drag and drop builders which give the user design control without the need for coding. Coding of course, does not come easy to all of us, and that’s okay as much like me, my noggin is more creative than analytical.

In addition to this, users have access to the HTML code, but of course, this requires a basic knowledge of coding. 

With Squarespace, the interface is remarkably intuitive, thanks to its style editor, which makes changing a basic template design relatively simple. 

Squarespace’s built-in editor boasts several free blog templates that noobs can use to get the ball rolling. These templates simplify the blogging process and allow for easy as pie designing of great articles. 

WordPress, with a little bit of help from qualified WordPress developers, boasts several more robust features, which ultimately leads to maximizing the experience of using the platform. 

With a little bit of time and help from us, WordPress’s CMS becomes extremely responsive and idiot-proof.

With just a little bit of research into the configuration, it becomes possible to tweak things that suit your workflow with several front-end “visual editor” plugins available, which makes the WordPress experience a lot more like Squarespace.

 

Security: How Can You Protect Your Blog From Malicious Attacks?

 

Security in this day and age is absolutely imperative for all websites. 

There are countless simple hacks out there in the great ether of the web which make it easy for the Russian black hat hacker sitting in a basement to take full control of your website and your money.

The first thing every blogger needs to remember is “use a goddamn strong password!”. 

Gone are the days where your mother’s maiden name plus 1234 are considered safe. For the love of security – these kinds of passwords should never have been considered as “strong”. 

 

Wordpress login security

 

Now I know I started out this article leaning towards WordPress. 

However, that being said, even with WordPress, security for your website is not built into the free open-source software. 

Remember what I said earlier about nothing ever being free? 

Despite the annoying fact that security is not built into this open-source software there are still hundreds of plugins available. In addition to hundreds of security plugins which aid in security management of your site many hosting providers also offer free SSL certificates.

WordPress is powered by an incredible development team that releases regular security patches. Additionally, the service also offers a myriad of excellent security plugins that users can install to bolster the security of their websites further. 

Read 5 Common WordPress Security Issues and How to Avoid Them here!

Squarespace on the other hand, winning one round finally, includes security and also manages everything for the user. Surprise, surprise, they also offer a hands-off maintenance service which includes a free SSL certificate. I guess I have to admit in this round Squarespace is the winner. 

 

WordPress VS Squarespace: Design Limitations

 

“No, no, no, no, no, there’s no limits,” the popular nineties dance track pops into my head when thinking about design limitations with WordPress. 

You’ll have almost limitless control over the look, feel and functionality of your website.  

Add to that the thousands of dope themes to choose from. It’s like a candy shop for those who love designing websites.

Then there’s Squarespace templates which are no doubt – beautiful, and often their offerings are worlds better when compared to those offered by their competitors. 

Obviously there is a catch. 

Squarespace only offers a lacklustre 20+ official templates available to choose from. 

However, there are third-party templates and kits available, which are easy to edit, with changes being visible in real-time. 

Squarespace might be easy for even my Dad to use, but compared to WordPress, users are restricted in customization and functionality options.

 

Adding Functionality To Your Website

 

WordPress, once again wins this round. The popular-as-heck site builder features a crazy 54,000+ plugins which users can utilize to add various forms of functionality to their websites. 

Once you’re comfortable with the dashboard — believe me this doesn’t take long — the installation and management becomes as easy as looking both ways when crossing the road. 

Squarespace, on the other hand, offers applications and functionality within the constructions of your website from the get-go. Yes, I agree that while this does make design and creation easy, what you get is what you see. 

 

WordPress Plugins VS Squarespace Plugins

 

WordPress’s core functions are really impressive, but every business has specific needs. 

That’s where plugins come in. 

Simply put, plugins are extensions that you can add to your WordPress site. While WordPress developers create some, thousands of others are developed by third-party developers.  

Hooray for third-party developers!

You don’t need to be Steve Urkel to install them either, and to top that, they allow you to add whatever features your heart desires.

Say your business needs an integrated mailing list service such as Mailchimp?

 Well, with some guidance and a few clicks, this could be done.  

There are plugins for e-commerce (we’ll get to that in detail later), social media, SEO (YOAST), security plugins, page building plugins marketing plugins and so much more. 

YOAST SEO


Yoast’s simple-to-use interface.

Simply put, anything your business needs from its WordPress site can be achieved with the help of the correct plugin. 

Plugins are king! They’re amazing and there are thousands available!

Squarespace also has first-party plugins, but these are listed under their premium features, which incur extra costs. 

Remember what I said about nothing ever truly being free?

With Squarespace, users are not permitted to freely make changes or import themes and elements offsite, since the company’s development team owns all the tools and features available to Squarespace users. 

Talk about being cheeky, for the amount users of Squarespace pay, one would think they’d permit third-party plugins. 

WordPress, once again wins the race, with regards to the freedom you’ll have in customizing your website. I’m trying my best to not be biased here, but from what you have read thus far, you should start understanding why I lean towards WordPress. 

 

WordPress vs Squarespace: E-commerce

 

Online shopping has become a staple for millions of people around the world. It’s simple and cost-effective to create an online store in most cases, Squarespace, however, is not such a case. 

While Squarespace does allow for the creation of stunning online storefronts with the available template options, if you’re opting for the lower-end plans, you’ll only be able to sell 20 products. 

To scale up your online store efforts and sell unlimited products, you’ll need to buy a more expensive plan.

That’s not all. No matter which plan you choose, Squarespace takes a percentage of each transaction made from your e-commerce site. Furthermore, payments can only be collected in certain currencies through Stripe.

WordPress, on the other hand, with the WooCommerce plugin, is one of the most popular e-commerce platform options in the world. 

By making use of WooCommerce hosting and similar tools, you’ll be able to set up your online store any way you like via a WordPress site. Furthermore, you’ll also be able to collect payments through a myriad of commonly-used portals and keep all profits from your sales. 

Let’s not forget plugins. Remember I mentioned plugins earlier? Well, there are also bucket loads of WooCommerce plugins to enhance your website store.

 

Which Site Builder is Better For Online Support? 

 

With WordPress, should your site be experiencing any issues, chances are someone has already solved it. 

WordPress boasts an impressive and expansive community of WordPress users and devs dedicated to helping users of the platform. 

There are tons of helpful articles, video tutorials, and many other free resources online. 

Should your problem require professional help, there are many online website managers who can help too, like us (just saying)! 

With Squarespace, there are countless guides, videos, and tutorials within the Squarespace library. Their in-house team develops them, so you know the information is accurate, and they have a team of support staff ready to help when things get messy.

 

WordPress VS Squarespace: SEO 

 

WordPress is hands-down the winner in terms of search engine optimization when compared to Squarespace.

Why? Well, firstly, with WordPress learning the basic terms of SEO is more accessible due to the fact that meta tags, alt tags, and all other SEO related terms are referred to by their correct names, something that’s not always the case with Squarespace.

Secondly, WordPress allows for the use of a wide array of specific and sophisticated SEO plugins such as Yoast, which features a nifty and simple to learn backend quality assessor of your on-page SEO efforts.

Furthermore, the plugin has a simple-to-use feature, which automatically suggests improvements. 

Currently, no equivalent tool boasts such ease of use within Squarespace. 

SEO is imperative for all business websites, especially those that are starting out. That being said, SEO practitioners are costly, but Yoast negates the need to employ their services. 

Thirdly, with Squarespace, you can’t add rich snippets without coding. Rich snippets are small bits of data which enhance search results by:

  1. Displaying contextual information: ratings, pricing, etc
  2. Giving search engines a detailed idea of what your page is about

With WordPress, adding rich snippets is straightforward, with many plugins readily available, which allow users to simply add the relevant data to your pages without much fuss.

However, all this being said, Squarespace is by no means utterly awful for SEO, or no-one would use it. 

Google loves Squarespace sites as they automatically generate a sitemap XML file — something YOAST can generate manually in WordPress — that uses clean HTML markups and loads quickly. 

While optimization with Squarespace is possible, it’s harder to do than with WordPress.

 

The Verdict

 

WordPress is the top and my favourite choice if you: 

  • Want 100% control over design and functionality
  • Don’t mind learning necessary code and a steep learning curve
  • Care about developing an in-depth SEO strategy
  • Plan on blogging to attract visitors
  • Are comfortable figuring things out on your own
  • Plan on building a large site with loads of content
  • Are looking to spend less money

Squarespace is better for you if you:

  • Are willing to pay more
  • Want a drag-and-drop site builder
  • Don’t need full customization and control 
  • Plan on having a smaller website with a handful of pages
  • Don’t want to worry about SEO

 

WordPress Management at Your Fingertips

 

From what we’ve explored here, if you agree with us that WordPress wins the battle, you’re in good hands. Here at We Manage Your Site, we’re advocates of all things WordPress because of the flexibility and control it offers its users. 

In fact, we love it so much that we’re willing to manage all the technical stuff on your behalf. 

We specialize in ongoing WordPress website maintenance services, support, and management.  We’ll leave all the fun stuff for you to do, while we tinker with the techno-babble.

Contact us today to find out more and put all your WordPress technical woes in our hands!