A strong online presence is essential for businesses, service providers, and freelancers alike. The good news is, you don’t need to know how to code or program to create a great website! There are lots of website builders out there to help you out. But how do you know which platform is best for you? To help you out, in this article we’ll compare two of the most popular website builders: WordPress vs Squarespace.
We’ll look at cost, ease of use, templates and design, plugins and integrations, as well as which is best for blogging and e-commerce. But first, let’s look at the two platforms in more detail.
What Is WordPress?
WordPress is the world’s most popular website builder, hosting nearly 450 million individual sites. It uses a simple, block editor interface that you can use without any coding skills. WordPress offers free and paid options and a huge variety of plugins for extra functionality.
While it started as a dedicated blogging platform, WordPress has now evolved to also meet the needs of e-commerce and other niches in the online space.
What Is Squarespace?
Founded in 2004 as a blogging platform, Squarespace has continued to deliver impressive website creation services using a drag and drop interface. This allows users to easily build a wide variety of websites without the need to learn coding or complex web design techniques.
Squarespace has continued to add extra functionality to its platform including e-commerce facilities, analytics, and the ability to choose your own domain name. But how do you know whether Squarespace or WordPress is best for you?
WordPress vs Squarespace – Cost
One of the main deciding factors when choosing a website builder is cost. Both WordPress and Squarespace are very reasonable in their pricing. But there are some differences to be aware of.
WordPress has a great selection of pricing plans to choose from, ranging from a functional free version up to several premium paid versions. The premium subscriptions cost between £3-£47 per month.
Even if you use the free plan, there are costs involved. You may have to pay for some premium themes and plugins. You’ll also need to have your own domain name and hosting service. Through WordPress, you can sign up for web hosting with Bluehost for just a few pounds/dollars per month. This then gives you the option to choose a free domain name.
When you’re first starting, the basic Bluehost package is probably the best choice. Later, you can upgrade your hosting package for extra functionality, including e-commerce.
We also recommend checking out Hostinger. They have very cheap hosting from as little as £0.99 per month for one website for your first year. They also have an excellent customer support team on hand to answer any of your burning questions about web hosting! If you want to learn more about Hostinger, check out our full review here.
A basic Squarespace plan costs £10/$12 per month (billed annually) or £13/$16 (billed monthly). Small business packages start at £15/$18 or £21/$26 per month.
The basic package doesn’t allow you to sell products or services and you can only have a maximum of two site contributors. This can be very restrictive if you’re running a project as a team. If you upgrade to an e-commerce package, Squarespace charges a 3% transaction fee which adds up over time. But bear in mind you’ll have to pay your chosen payment provider (PayPal etc) similar fees for transactions on WordPress. So, it’s worth looking at these fees and shopping around for payment providers if e-commerce is your goal.
Verdict – WordPress
When it comes to pricing plans and e-commerce packages, WordPress is far better value for money, giving you more choice in terms of hosting solutions. It delivers more resources and functionality at a lower cost. Squarespace packages are inflexible and restrictive and cost more than their main competitors.
WordPress vs Squarespace – Ease of Use
If you’re new to web design, then the ease of use of a site-building platform is a critical factor in deciding whether to use it. These days, most website builders are intuitive and easy to use. However, there are some differences between WordPress and Squarespace.
WordPress pioneered using a block editor interface for designing and building websites. So, it’s always been easy to learn the basics. You do need to pick up WordPress terminology to use the block editor effectively. But there are plenty of free tutorials and assistance on the site and you can always check YouTube if you get stuck.
This means you can create professional-quality websites without having to learn coding or difficult programming techniques, no matter what type of website you’re building! Once you’re more proficient, WordPress offers more complex functions to really amp up the design and functionality of your website. If you do have programming knowledge, rest assured you can implement it on WordPress too!
Squarespace is a streamlined platform that’s easy to use. Like WordPress, it uses a block editor interface and it’s quick and easy to pick up the basics of how to use it.
There’s a good range of elements to choose from and it’s not difficult to put together a nice-looking design for your site. Squarespace offers free tutorials if you need assistance and there are also lots of YouTube videos out there.
But Squarespace’s simplicity also limits your ability to personalise your website. You can subscribe to one of Squarespace’s more advanced packages to customise your site, but this will increase your costs.
Verdict – WordPress
Although both platforms have a similar intuitive interface that is easy to use, it’s probably quicker to pick up the ins and outs of WordPress. WordPress also offers a higher level of customisation, so you can continue to improve your design skills and website over time. On top of this, WordPress offers more tutorials both on its site and other platforms. This means that you can learn everything you need to know for free!
WordPress vs Squarespace – Templates and Design
Templates make designing a website super simple. So, you’ll be glad to hear that both WordPress and Squarespace have a nice selection to choose from. With that said, there are differences in the tools and choices that are available for you to use.
WordPress has an amazing selection of thousands of templates you can use to build your website. WordPress offers both free and paid templates, so you can make your choice based on both functionality and budget. The templates are compatible with all devices including phones, laptops, and iPads, and most offer automatically responsive design.
Most WordPress templates offer a great choice of layouts, easy-to-use drag and drop options, and galleries. Once you’ve chosen your template, you can customise it to suit your brand and the type of site that you want to run. You can upload your own images, multimedia, logos, background images, and colours.
In fact, WordPress offers so many themes and templates that it can be a little overwhelming for beginners! But this also increases your chances of finding a ready-made template that suits the needs of your website without requiring extensive customisation.
Squarespace offers lots of professionally designed templates to build your site. The templates are compatible with all types of devices which is particularly useful if you’re running an e-commerce business.
However, one of the issues with Squarespace is that, while the templates are high quality, there is a limited number available. The design possibilities are quite restricted, as are the layout choices. However, you can make all the basic modifications such as changing colours, logos, uploading images, and choosing your own fonts.
Verdict – WordPress
In terms of templates and design, WordPress comes out on top. In fact, if there’s one thing that WordPress is famous for, it’s the huge number of templates to choose from!
Squarespace offers a reasonable number of templates, but the scope for customisation is quite limited compared to WordPress. On balance, WordPress is likely to be your best choice in terms of its templates and design capabilities.
WordPress vs Squarespace – Plugins
All website builders offer extra features, both free and paid. WordPress refers to these as plugins or extensions and Squarespace calls them integrations. These allow you to increase the functionality of your site and improve user experience for visitors and customers. So, it’s vital to have access to the best additional features when deciding which website builder to use.
WordPress has an extensive range of both free and paid plugins which allow you to add numerous features to the basic template of your site. In fact, WordPress has more than 50,000 plugins to choose from!
The plugins cover every feature you can imagine, including SEO tools, lead generation plugins, chat software, e-commerce, and payment facilities. In addition to plugins listed on WordPress, there are also thousands of other plugins developed by third parties available to download and use from other websites. But given the range on offer, it’s unlikely you’ll need to look beyond what WordPress offers.
Squarespace has a smaller selection of integrations, primarily provided by third parties. They’re limited in scope and don’t always provide the functionality that you expect from a website builder that has been around for nearly 20 years.
For an e-commerce site, you can use the built-in Squarespace e-commerce features. But there are no additional features that you add to your site to further improve the experience for customers. Overall, Squarespace’s integrations and extensions are disappointing, at least when compared to WordPress’ massive selection.
Verdict – WordPress
When it comes to additional features that improve the functionality if your site, there’s no competition. Squarespace falls seriously short of the mark while WordPress is the clear market leader in terms of range and functionality.
So, if you’re wanting to design a highly immersive website that gives your users a fantastic experience, then WordPress is the only option worth considering.
WordPress vs Squarespace – Best for Blogging?
Blogging is one of the internet’s mainstays. Whether you want to blog alongside running a business, or simply publish your thoughts online, choosing a website builder that has great blogging facilities is vital!
After starting as a blogging platform, WordPress has gone from strength to strength, adding more templates, block editing options, and plugin features. This gives your blog more versatility and functionality, and helps you stand out in the competitive online space.
Squarespace is also a good platform for a personal blog. It offers all the functionality you need to share your thoughts, post galleries, and add multimedia to your posts. But beyond the basics, the site doesn’t have a lot to offer, with limited additional extension features and relatively high costs for upgrading your hosting plan.
Verdict – WordPress
Both platforms are perfectly functional for basic blogging. But WordPress gives you the potential to build your blog to a much higher standard, in terms of the features it offers and the impact you can have on your audience.
In comparison, Squarespace has failed to keep up with the expectations of its users and has fallen behind WordPress when it comes to more customisable blogging functionality.
WordPress vs Squarespace – Best for e-Commerce?
E-commerce functionality is important for many websites. And the key to running a successful e-commerce site is user experience. You want to make the buying process as easy as possible for the customer.
WordPress is a powerful platform for creating a successful e-commerce site. It allows you to accept payments from all major payment providers including credit cards, PayPal, Stripe, Google Checkout, and Bitcoin. WordPress can accommodate any number of products and display them on your website any way you want.
WordPress also offers lots of useful plugins to help you manage your accounting, sales, and stock. One of the most popular and easy-to-use is WooCommerce. There’s also a good selection of extra add-ons to improve user experience on your site and help you manage your business operations.
Squarespace offers limited e-commerce features if you use a Business or Commerce plan. On these plans, Squarespace lets you accept payments from PayPal or Stripe and provides enough functionality to run a basic online business, but that’s all.
However, there are also limits to Squarespace’s e-commerce functionality. It charges a 3% transaction fee and isn’t very compatible with other payment platforms. For startups or small businesses, this can make it difficult to scale your business.
Verdict – WordPress
When it comes to e-commerce, WordPress is a far more powerful platform to grow your business. Squarespace has limited e-commerce functionality and lacks the necessary plugins to properly streamline your operations.
So, if you’re setting up an e-commerce site, WordPress is the clear winner. But which website builder is the ultimate winner overall?
WordPress vs Squarespace – Which Comes Out on Top?
Based on the above factors, WordPress is the clear winner compared to Squarespace when it comes to the best website builder.
There’s been a huge amount of innovation in the website building space over the last few years, largely led by WordPress. Squarespace lacks the high degree of functionality, ease of use, and customisation its rivals offer while still charging higher prices.
So, if you’re looking to set up your website, we recommend using WordPress. You can see how WordPress compares to Wix in this article, and we’ve also compared it to Shopify here. If you want to learn more about website creation, check out our other articles on the Sophical Blog here!