WordPress and Squarespace are two of the most popular website platforms out there. Each has its pros and cons, and many website experts have strong opinions about which platform is better than the other. If you’re looking to create a new blog or website for your business and struggling to decide between WordPress or Squarespace, this post is for you. In this unbiased review, I’ll break down the features of each platform to help you determine which is a better fit for your unique situation.
Before we dive in, I’ll share a bit about my background and expertise in case you’re new around here. I’m Steph, a brand and web designer who’s been creating strategic websites for small businesses full-time for about four years. Although I primarily work with WordPress, for reasons I’ll get into later, I’ve also worked with Squarespace, Wix, Shopify, and Weebly. Through this experience, as well as many hours of research, I’ve formed a pretty solid understanding of which platforms are the best fit for various circumstances.
Now, let’s dive into this comparison on WordPress vs Squarespace!
WordPress vs Squarespace: An overview
What’s the main difference between WordPress and Squarespace? For starters, WordPress is a content management system (CMS). This means it’s well suited for content-heavy websites, such as blogs, memberships, courses, and so on. Squarespace, on the other hand, is a template-based website builder. Although it does support blogs and other content, Squarespace is mostly intended for small, simple websites.
In a nutshell, if you plan to add a ton of content to your website, whether through blog posts, video, podcast episodes, or something else, you may prefer WordPress over Squarespace. But if you don’t need a lot of content on your site, Squarespace might be a more desirable option for its superior ease of use.
We could leave the comparison there, but there’s a lot more to say about WordPress and Squarespace. Before we get into the nuts and bolts of each platform, here’s an at-a-glance overview of how these website builders compare:
- Ease of use: Squarespace’s interface is simpler and more intuitive than WordPress’. That’s because Squarespace is designed for laypeople, whereas WordPress is open-source software that’s intended to be highly customizable.
- Pricing: Squarespace pricing is relatively straightforward and reasonable. WordPress pricing is more complex and varied; since WordPress.org is open-source software, you have to self-host your website through a third-party hosting service, such as Bluehost or Siteground. (Read my WordPress hosting review here.)
- SEO: Both platforms are good for search engine optimization (SEO); WordPress makes it slightly easier to rank however with the aid of plugins like Yoast. (Read my Yoast SEO tutorial here.)
- Design: Squarespace comes with a variety of beautiful templates for every kind of website. Creating a beautiful WordPress website is slightly more difficult. There are thousands of themes to choose from; or, you can use a page builder like Divi to create something completely custom (Learn more about Divi here.)
Starting to get a better idea of which platform is more suitable for you? Keep reading to dive deeper into the pros and cons of each platform so that you can make the most informed decision possible.
WordPress: What you need to know
Before we talk about WordPress, it’s important to first clarify the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org – a source of confusion for many. WordPress.com is an all-in-one website platform. In addition to the WordPress software, it also includes hosting and a custom domain. The Pro plan also comes with access to plugins, premium themes, and premium support. WordPress.org is simply the free, open-source WordPress software. In other words, it doesn’t include hosting, storage, domains, or anything else. In order to use WordPress.org, you’ll need to purchase a hosting plan through a service like Bluehost or Siteground.
When I create WordPress websites for clients, I always recommend that they self-host their website. In other words, I recommend WordPress.org over WordPress.com. The reason for this is that self-hosting gives you more flexibility and ownership over your site. Click here to learn more about WordPress hosting and discover my top 3 recommendations.
I mentioned previously that WordPress is the website platform I use the most when creating websites for my clients. I also use it to create affordable website templates. Here’s why: As a professional designer, it’s important for me to have complete freedom when designing websites. My clients get the most value out of their website when it’s completely unique to their brand and optimized for their specific goals and needs.
Another reason I love using WordPress is that I’m a huge proponent of blogging as a marketing strategy. Every type of business can benefit from blogging; it’s a fantastic way to establish your authority and expertise, grow a loyal audience, and expand your reach through SEO. And WordPress, a content management system, is arguably the best platform out there for blogging. Click here to learn more about the benefits of blogging and how to get started.
Here are a few more pros of using WordPress for your website:
- If you self-host your site, you’ll have complete ownership over it. Platforms like Squarespace technically “own” your content.
- Tons of variety when it comes to themes and plugins; your options are virtually limitless. (Click here for a curated list of my favorite plugins.)
- Ideal for creating custom websites without code using page builders like Divi.
- Flexible pricing options through different hosting providers.
- Very established; anything you have questions about you can easily find an answer for online.
Next, we’ll take look at some of the cons of WordPress.
As much as I love WordPress, I can acknowledge that it’s not the best solution for everyone. Compared to Squarespace, WordPress is far less intuitive and has a somewhat outdated-looking interface. WordPress isn’t sexy; but then again, it doesn’t need to be as long as it looks good on the front-end and accomplishes what it needs to.
Here are some of the cons of using WordPress:
- Maintenance: Unlike Squarespace, WordPress software, apps, and themes require regular updates. Although these updates are quick and easy, they can be a bit of a hassle, and very occasionally, can inadvertently break something on your site.
- Learning curve: Depending on how tech savvy you are, it can take a little while to get the hang of using WordPress.
All in all, the pros of WordPress far outweigh the cons. However, if you need a simple, beautiful website that’s easy to use, you may prefer Squarespace over WordPress.
Squarespace: What you need to know
Squarespace is a popular website builder with beautiful, trendy templates and an intuitive user interface. Although ideal for DIYers, many web designers choose to specialize in Squarespace. Although template-based, Squarespace websites have the potential to look totally unique when you customize them with CSS.
Squarespace is my second platform of choice when WordPress isn’t a good fit for my clients. (The one exception to using either WordPress or Squarespace is when I’m creating an e-commerce site, in which case I’ll use Shopify). When I recommend Squarespace to a client, it’s usually for one or all of the following reasons:
- They can’t afford a fully custom website and are okay with using a template.
- They already have experience with Squarespace and prefer to stick with what they know over learning a new platform.
- They need a basic website ASAP to legitimize their business; these clients are a perfect fit for my One Day Website experience.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the top pros and cons of using Squarespace.
Squarespace is an ideal solution for small business owners and creatives who need a simple yet professional website to legitimize their business and collect leads.
Here are some of the pros of using Squarespace for your website:
- It’s pretty intuitive with a simple editor and drag-and-drop page builder.
- Comes with a variety of beautiful templates to use as a foundation.
- Requires very little maintenance once it’s live.
- Good support through the Help Center and Forum.
Now, let’s consider some of the cons of using Squarespace.
I’ve already mentioned that Squarespace can be limiting when it comes to customization. This is arguably the biggest downside of using Squarespace vs. WordPress. If you’re not a designer and wish to create a unique website, you’ll be hard-pressed to break out of the confines of your chosen template without delving into custom coding.
Here are some of the cons of using Squarespace:
- Although the templates are beautiful, they’re also limiting.
- Mobile optimization can be tricky and usually requires a bit of custom code to get where you want it.
- Doesn’t have nearly as many features as you can find through WordPress plugins.
All in all, Squarespace can be a fantastic website platform for anyone who needs a simple, hassle-free website.
WordPress vs Squarespace: Summary
Now that we’ve considered all the major pros and cons of WordPress and Squarespace, you’ll hopefully have a better understanding of which is the better solution for your needs. To reiterate, I typically recommend WordPress for small business owners who plan to share content regularly, whether through a blog, paid membership, or something else. I also prefer WordPress for anyone who wishes to invest in a truly custom, unique website that will help their brand stand out among competitors. Squarespace, on the other hand, is a great fit for small business owners and creatives who don’t have the resources to invest in a fully custom site, or who simply don’t need a really robust website.
Whichever platform you choose, you can’t really go wrong. Ultimately, the quality of your content and design will outweigh most of the pros and cons discussed in this post.
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If you’re in the market for a new website, but don’t have the expertise, patience, or time to create it yourself, contact me today to find out how I can best support you. As a small business owner myself, I offer flexible packages that meet you where you’re at: whether you’re just getting started or on the path to a 7-figure business.
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