Without a doubt, WordPress is the most popular web building platform in the world. But as you probably already know, it is not the only one. Various other platforms offer powerful blogging and web tools as well, and some of them are quite good competitors. And just like with anything else in life, there are pros and cons to using WordPress and those other platforms.
Today, we are going to focus on Squarespace and compare it to WordPress. To avoid any confusion, we are going to talk about the self-hosted version of WordPress. Since there are some very significant variations, please see the differences between WordPress.com and self-hosted WordPress since we have covered the topic in detail.
In order to make it easier to understand the differences, we have divided this article into several segments that will help you compare WordPress and Squarespace more quickly:
- Themes and Plugins
- Content Management
- The Costs
- Comparison table
- Which one should you choose?
When it comes to starting a new blog, most of the users prefer a simple platform that lets them publish a new site as quickly as possible.
If it weren’t simple enough, WordPress would not become such popular in the first place. But when talking about the self-hosted version, it definitely takes some time to catch up on all the terminology and basics before you can publish a personal blog by yourself. While a lot of choices is a good thing, dozens of hosting options and thousands of themes & plugins can be just too much for someone who has just started.
After few days spent with WordPress, most of the beginners adapt to the platform, and they have no problems in customizing blogs and writing new articles.
It could always be a bit more simple, though, but the fact that it allows you to upgrade your beginner’s blog into a professional money making machine is a good enough reason to spend some extra time learning more about WordPress. If you need help, we have started a new WordPress learning section which will be your personal guide.
Since everything about Squarespace is visual, it makes it much more beginner-friendly. Although you can create a similar environment with WordPress, it would take time and skill to prepare the turf. But with Squarespace, you get to use drag and drop editor to create pages from the very start.
Squarespace also features a quite lesser number of choices. This will help beginners to make faster decisions, and it will be easier to learn. But, obviously, if you decide to upgrade your blog and customize it in more details, you will find this lack of choices as a big problem.
Themes and plugins
In order to personalize a website, users without technical skills will have to use themes and plugins to customize blogs. How do WordPress and Squarespace stand on this issue?
WordPress offers thousands of themes and plugins that you can use for free. To be more precise, there are more than 40,000 plugins to be found in the official repository, and you can use them all without charge. And this is not the end – there are numerous online markets that offer premium themes and plugins for a specific price. So, for every problem that you come across, there’s probably a plugin that can solve it.
Also, the thousands of themes have been designed for specific niches. That means that whether you’re building a personal blog, photography portfolio or a professional business site, you will find a theme tailored to your needs.
If you want to extend a site using Squarespace, you will have to adapt. Unfortunately, Squarespace offers an insufficient choice of templates and extensions. Unlike WordPress, you will have to settle down for the available solution or simply ignore the problem and ask for support.
On the other hand, this limited choice may not represent a problem for some users. If you don’t plan on extending your site and you’re happy with the options available with Squarespace, you can relax and stop thinking about all the other available extensions like with WordPress. Sometimes, having fewer options is better.
If you want to start a new blog, it is vital that the platform of your choice allows you to freely move around text editors. Are WordPress and Squarespace good enough for bloggers?
Undoubtedly, WordPress is a powerful tool for bloggers and one the best around. It will let you use both visual and text editors so you can enjoy writing and you can still add custom HTML if needed. WordPress takes care of your articles, so it will automatically save your progress. Just in case something bad happens, you can rely on WordPress at any time. It also keeps revisions, so if you decide that you want the old paragraph back at some point, you will be just one click away from having it on the page.
Unfortunately, Squarespace isn’t as good for bloggers. There is no autosave feature, and the platform will not let you use revisions. While there are code blocks that you can use in Squarespace, the feature still won’t let you run your own HTML or CSS from the page. For some bloggers, this can be a deal breaker.
Squarespace isn’t that good with media as well. While WordPress will let you reuse images that you uploaded in the past, Squarespace will force you to upload the same image once again if you decide to reuse it. If you tend to use photos on a regular basis (which you should), this can be a nightmare.
If you are just starting with WordPress or Squarespace, the chances are that you are not a professional in this field. So, sooner or later, you will need help with the platform. What kind of support do you get with WordPress and Squarespace?
Since you will be hosting your own site, practically everything is in your hands. While there will be some technical issues that your hosting company should solve for you, there will be many more problems that you will have to solve on your own or hire professionals.
Support for free themes and plugins is quite limited. If something goes wrong, the only help comes in the form of support forums and other online resources. Luckily, because of its popularity, there are millions of tutorials and how-to articles that will help you solve practically all kind of difficulties. If you use premium products, you can expect help from the developers, but that will depend on each company/individual.
If you really want to be sure that your site will always work as expected, consider hiring a company that will keep maintenance. There are dozens of maintenance businesses that specialize in taking care of clients’ blogs.
By starting a site with Squarespace, you immediately get access to the professional support. There’s an entire team of experts who take care of the system. You will have access to entire libraries of articles, video tutorials, live chat, and email support. Similarly to WordPress, there are support forums where users get to discuss problems and features.
Since Squarespace has a quite lesser number of features than WordPress, the chances of something malfunctioning are much lesser. Because there aren’t tens of thousands of plugins that you get to install, there will be fewer compatibility issues in the first place.
Many people think that you can get a website online for free. Although we would love to tell you that it is true, everything has a price. So, even WordPress and Squarespace will force you to open your wallets.
Yes, you have heard it correctly – WordPress is free. But that’s only true for the platform itself. You are free to download WordPress, modify files, install free plugins and themes and do whatever you want with them. But before you can display a site to people all around the world, you will have to pay for hosting. There are some free options even when it comes to hosting, but we suggest skipping them altogether.
Still, you can find hosting and a domain for as little as few bucks per month. Obviously, you can’t expect much for that price, but it will get your site up and running.
Spending money doesn’t stop here. Although it is possible to run a site without spending an extra cent, you will probably want to buy a new theme or one or two plugins that will let you have a specific feature on the site or just make it more beautiful. Also, if you decide to hire maintenance guys to help you out, or get a programmer to develop something specific, the costs will keep on rising. Do you still think WordPress is free?
If you want a personal website, you will have to pay $12 monthly for the account that does not include that much, to be honest. For that price, you get to create up to 20 pages, galleries, and blogs with unlimited bandwidth and two contributors. If you want to upgrade the account to business one where you get unlimited options, it will costs you $18 per month.
Do you want to prepare an online store to sell products and services? If so, be extra careful when choosing the right platform to start your e-store.
WordPress allows you to build online stores on your own. Several popular plugins can transform your site into an eCommerce system without much knowledge about it. You can set up an entire store with a theme of your choice and a few plugins that will extend WordPress’ standard features. Yes, it will take some time and tutorials until you get everything right, but just the fact that even beginners can open a new online store is exhilarating.
The popular CMS allows you to easily integrate PayPal, Stripe, 2Checkout, Google Checkout, Payoneer, Skrill, and Bitcoin.
There are also plugins that will help you with affiliate programs. What more do you need for a simple store?
Unfortunately, Squarespace is quite limited here. For starters, it allows you to use just Stripe for payment processing which will repel many users. Not only that Stripe isn’t as popular as PayPal, but it is limited to a few countries.
Additionally, Squarespace has put a limit on how many products you get to sell from your site. If you want to open a small store, this will be just fine, but knowing about the limitation can be exhausting. What if you happen to have more customers than expected?
|Simplicity:||Beginner-friendly with a learning curve||Perfect for beginners|
|Themes and Plugins:||Tens of thousands of extensions||Very limited choices|
|Content Management:||Revisions, autosave, custom HTML…||No revisions, autosave or custom HTML|
|Support:||Community, pay for support||Professional support team|
|The costs:||From a few bucks per month||From $12 per month|
|eCommerce:||Huge variety of options||Very limited options|
Which one should you use?
But in the end, the choice shouldn’t be that hard to make. It’s quite obvious that WordPress beats Squarespace in practically every area. It has more features, gives you much more freedom and control over your blog.
If you are any serious about starting a new website or personal blog, we strongly suggest picking up WordPress and going with the self-hosted version. It will take a bit more time to learn about it, but it will pay up in the long run.
On the other hand, if all you want is a simple website that won’t bother you with tons of choices to make on weekly basis and you want to make sure that support will be always there for you, Squarespace may be just good enough.
We would always recommend WordPress over Squarespace, but it’s time for you to choose. If you have any questions and you’re still not sure about the platforms, let us know by leaving the comment below. What are your opinions on WordPress vs. Squarespace?