WordPress and Squarespace are the two most popular website building platforms among small business owners. WordPress is a free, open source, and perhaps the most flexible website builder you’ll find out there. Squarespace is no pushover either. Boasting high-quality designer templates to easily build a site, it has a large number of dedicated users who keep increasing by the day. Below, we compare the two platforms side by side to help you pick the best website platform for your organization.
Ease of Use
Both WordPress and Squarespace have taken measures to make their platforms easy to use for beginners.
Although using WordPress involves a small learning curve, it’s not that demanding and there are a ton of resources and videos online at the end of any Google search. Beginners just need to understand WordPress terminology and concepts such as the difference between categories vs. tags and posts vs. pages, and the different themes and plugins. Beyond that, the platform’s new content editor is packed with custom building blocks to effortlessly add content elements to your pages.
Squarespace takes ease of use seriously as well. The platform comes with a huge database of building blocks and has made adding images, videos, and audio files quite simple. It can take a bit to figure out how things can be dragged around, inserted, and moved but overall it is simple and easy to use.
Tie between the two in this arena.
Design and Templates
Both WordPress and Squarespace come with hundreds, if not thousands, of ready-made templates to help you customize your website.
WordPress offers 6,800+ free templates and hundreds of premium templates. Better still, the templates are customizable; you can edit them to include your logo, business colors, and images. Also, the majority of these templates come with drag-and-drop page builders, photo galleries, sliders, and several other useful features.
Squarespace has many templates too, neatly grouped into business categories. However, there are two problems. First, the number of pre-made templates on Squarespace is much smaller than what WordPress offers. Secondly, the customization is limited. You can add colors, fonts, and other basics, but that’s about it.
So, here, WordPress wins.
Extensions and Integration
Although website builders come with a range of useful features to help you create beautiful, professional websites, the time comes when you need to add more features not offered by the builder. This is when integration becomes necessary. Fortunately, both WordPress and Squarespace offer reliable extensions and integration support.
WordPress currently provides 54,000+ free and premium plugins, most of them full-fledged platforms, to help site owners add whatever features and functions they need. Whether it’s SEO, email marketing, live chat, or lead generation, you’ll find plugins for them.
Squarespace offers many plugins and integrations too, but not to the level of WordPress. Moreover, Squarespace doesn’t have powerful enough APIs that outside developers can build upon.
So, here, again, WordPress wins.
SMB owners are also concerned about support for e-commerce activities, especially payment processing.
WordPress easily comes out on top here. The platform integrates with close to a dozen third-party payment processors, including; Stripe, PayPal, Google Checkout, Payoneer, and Skrill. Even Bitcoin plugins are available. As if that’s not enough, the world’s most popular e-commerce platform, WooCommerce, is now a WordPress plugin.
Squarespace, unfortunately, only supports two payment systems; Stripe and PayPal, and even these are only available in selected countries.
So, here too, WordPress wins.
With regards to cost, WordPress is open-source so you only need to pay for your hosting and any help setting the site up you need from a developer. Unless you choose to purchase premium templates and plugins, costs only come from your domain name purchase and hosting, and any of the paid plugins you need for advanced features.
Squarespace meanwhile is fully premium with plans starting at $12/month billed annually or $16/month billed monthly.
So, yes, WordPress wins here too.
With Squarespace, you cannot move your site to another web host. You essentially are “leasing” your site and using their tools so porting it elsewhere is not an option. WordPress, on the other hand, is code you own and can take with you to any hosting provider or another developer to work on. You are not tied to the server and system in a limiting way.
So, Squarespace can work well for the small entrepreneur needing an initial web presence they want to do themselves. WordPress is a stronger solution for the long-term, for owning your customizations on your site, and for adding custom features you need as you grow.
That’s a wrap on this comparison! Now, go ahead and make your pick.