Squarespace and WordPress are two of the most popular CMS platforms in the world. You can easily build a website for your business with both these platforms.
In terms of website CMS market share alone, WordPress stands at 43%. Squarespace along with relatively newer CMS platforms like Wix are around the 2% mark. WordPress is one of the most popular, and oldest CMSs around, which is why a lot of website developers prefer and use WordPress to this day.
How does Squarespace compare with WordPress? Is it as flexible as WordPress or are there areas for improvement?
Before getting into a detailed comparison between Squarespace and WordPress, let’s get a brief look into both platforms.
Squarespace and WordPress: An introduction
Squarespace is a proprietary CMS platform that allows you to setup a website without any knowledge of coding. It is the ideal website builder if you’re a beginner looking for a point to start.
Every paid plan comes with domain and hosting along with a range of other features.
WordPress is an open-source CMS platform. Anyone can install WordPress on their website server and get started. There’s no need to sign up for a subscription plan, but you do need to purchase a website domain and hosting.
WP Engine is a great option for hosting WordPress websites. It is fast, secure, and fully managed. You don’t need to worry about your website’s hosting needs as WP Engine manages everything for you.
Squarespace vs WordPress: A detailed comparison
While both Squarespace and WordPress are viable platforms for website development, you can only choose one.
The following sections compare Squarespace and WordPress in detail. Here’s a table that consolidates all the points covered in the comparison.
Squarespace plans start at $15 per month. Every plan comes with a different set of features. You can choose a plan based on your business needs. For additional features like ecommerce support or memberships, you need to go with a higher plan.
WordPress is free. In order to enhance the scope of your website with extra features, you can use third-party plugins and themes. Generally, you should be able to integrate basic features like membership and ecommerce with free solutions.
Ease of use
Both WordPress and Squarespace are easy to use.
WordPress involves a bit of a learning curve. It’s a powerful and open CMS that allows you to customize your website as much as you want.
Squarespace is a little easier to use because it’s fully managed. You’re not required to make extensive changes to your website in order to essential features like ecommerce support. Most popular features come loaded automatically with the template you choose while setting up your website. This way, it’s is much easier to add functionality to your website.
Scope of features and functionalities
While WordPress natively doesn’t support many features, its scope can be expanded significantly via plugins and themes.
You can practically build any kind of website you like with WordPress. There are close to 55,000 plugins available in the WordPress marketplace, and over 31,000 themes.
Squarespace offers some features natively. You can also install extensions to increase your website’s overall scope. Compared to the number of WordPress plugins and themes, Squarespace is still limited. In ecommerce for example, the level of customizability possible with WooCommerce is significantly more compared to what Squarespace can offer.
Squarespace is a fully managed solution. With numerous templates to choose from, you can build many different types of websites.
Since most of the features are built into the Squarespace platform, users are not required to add external plugins and themes. You can always change the way your website looks by switching between different templates.
WordPress is also highly customizable. With tons of themes and plugins available, you can customize your website any way you want. As it’s an open CMS, you can fully customize the overall setup of your website.
While both Squarespace and WordPress are very customizable, the open nature of the former makes it a better option. Better availability of page builder solutions, plugins, and themes, makes WordPress slightly more customizable.
Domain & Hosting
Squarespace covers your domain and hosting with each of its paid plan. You’re not required to purchase domain and hosting separately.
If you already own a domain, you can point it to your Squarespace website.
WordPress is an open source platform and doesn’t include any domain registration and hosting. You’re required to cover domain and hosting on your own. As mentioned earlier, hosting partners like WP Engine are ideal for hosting WordPress-based environments.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Squarespace manages the basics of your website SEO like sitemap maintenance, Google Search Console integration, etc. You can also add meta information for every page on the website, add redirects, mark pages as noindex, and more.
Natively, WordPress doesn’t offer a lot of SEO support. Most themes meet standard technical SEO requirements. For managing your website’s meta information, you can use Yoast SEO.
It is a great solution to manage all your website’s SEO needs. Yoast will automatically add schema markup, update your sitemap, enable you to add placeholder titles and descriptions, and more.
Most importantly, you can manage the meta information of every page via Yoast. With the premium version, you can also setup 301 redirects, get internal linking suggestions, and more.
As a paying customer, you can contact Squarespace support any time you face an issue. There’s always recourse you can seek in case you need direct support.
Since Squarespace is still relatively new, tech support is necessary as you may not be able to find alternative forums and websites for guidance.
WordPress comes for free and doesn’t include any paid customer support. You can however find endless documentation and tutorials online that cover every little part of using WordPress.
If there’s a WordPress website error or issue you’re facing, chances are that there’s a dedicated video or article that explains how to resolve it.
Ecommerce is a part of Squarespace’s offerings. It’s available to users on a Business plan or higher. Some of the features offered in its ecommerce support include coupon support, unlimited products, product reviews, subscription-based products, and more.
You can technically install third-party extensions to supercharge your website.
In WordPress, ecommerce is not a native feature. There’s however an easy way to transform your WordPress website into an online store. You simply need to install WooCommerce and start adding products to your store.
One of the main reasons people turn to WordPress and Squarespace is to start a blog.
For bloggers, both Squarespace and WordPress are viable options. The only stumbling block with Squarespace is that it involves a subscription fee.
WordPress natively supports basic blogging features. With the help of a few free plugins, you can supercharge your blog as well. If you’re a beginner, Squarespace might be a little easier, but it can be expensive.
Maintenance should be a consideration when you’re getting started with a website.
Squarespace makes this simple for you. You’re not required to worry about any general site maintenance tasks. From optimizing your website speed to keeping your website secure, Squarespace manages everything for you.
WordPress doesn’t have any a lot of in-built maintenance tools. You’re required to update your plugin and themes, take steps to secure your website, and optimize your site’s loading times.
You cannot leave your website alone without regularly taking steps to maintain it. A badly maintained website will affect your site’s speed, cause SEO issues, and even lead to your website getting infected with malware.
Speed & Security
Squarespace takes care of your website’s hosting, thus ensuring you don’t need to worry about its speed and security.
To make your website load faster, you can always take steps like reducing the number of extensions you’re using, upload compressed images, and minimize the JS snippets you’re using.
For WordPress, the speed and security of your website depends primarily on your hosting partner. Besides choosing a good website host, you can also take additional steps to improve your site’s speed.
Read: How to optimize your WordPress website’s speed?
Some frequently asked questions
You must have questions before settling on the right website builder. Here are a few common questions businesses have while choosing between WordPress and Squarespace.
Q. What’s the main difference between using Squarespace and WordPress?
Squarespace and WordPress, in broad terms, are very similar. Both allow businesses to create websites with little to no coding.
Squarespace in essence is a fully managed platform. You can sign up and build out your website without worrying about domain registration and hosting.
WordPress is open source, which means you need to take care of domain & hosting on your own.
There are other differences in terms of general usage too. Most features in Squarespace are bult into the system. You’re not required to rely too much on third-party plugins. WordPress is different as you need the right theme and plugins to build a good website. However, the sheer size of the WordPress plugin and theme marketplace makes its overall scope much greater.
Q. If I already have a WordPress website, can I migrate it to Squarespace? What if I want to switch back to WordPress later?
You can easily import native WordPress data like posts, categories, media, pages, and tags to Squarespace. Other data created with third-party plugins will not be importable. Also, custom designed sections on WordPress like headers, menus, footers, sidebar, and the overall aesthetic of your website cannot be imported.
You should first make your Squarespace website design-ready before importing all your WordPress content. When everything is ready, simply point your domain to Squarespace.
To migrate back to WordPress, you would again need to export content from Squarespace and import it back to your new website.
It’s easy to migrate to and from Squarespace.
Q. Is Squarespace bad for SEO?
This is a popular question many website owners considering Squarespace have. Squarespace is not bad for SEO. It has all the options you’d need to optimize your website’s SEO. It is however true that a majority of Squarespace website owners don’t rely on organic traffic. According to an AHREFS study, only 15% Squarespace websites get atleast 100 organic monthly visitors.
This doesn’t mean Squarespace is bad for SEO, but instead suggests Squarespace website owners rely on other sources of traffic.
With WordPress, SEOs have more familiarity. The same AHREFS study also shows that 48% WordPress websites get atleast 100 organic monthly traffic. As one of the oldest CMS platforms around, WordPress offers familiarity and covers some of the basic essentials that top SEO professionals look for.
Which platform is better for creating a mobile app with AppMySite?
If you’re trying to convert your website to a mobile app with AppMySite, does it matter whether you’re using Squarespace or WordPress?
AppMySite provides support for all CMS platforms, including Squarespace and WordPress. It shouldn’t matter which platform you’re using. As long as your website is mobile responsive and optimized for fast loading times, your app should work properly.
For WordPress-based websites specifically, AppMySite currently offers deep integration. This means your site’s content is synced to a high-performance native interface, as opposed to a plain webview.
This deep integration is also extended to WooCommerce-based websites. If you wish create a WooCommerce mobile app, it is possible with AppMySite.
WordPress. Squarespace. One is a tried and tested option with plenty of customization options and no limit on scalability. The other is a new website builder that makes it easy for any beginner in website development to create something without coding
Which is best for you?
If you’re new to web development and need a simple platform to get your feet under the table, Squarespace is perfect. It’s designed for people who don’t want to get bogged down by site maintenance and hosting issues.
If you want a feature-rich website with a lot of customizability right off the bat, WordPress is the best option. It’s free, scalable, and extremely malleable.
This article is a detailed comparison between the two website builders. Based on the points covered, you should be able to take a call on which suits your needs best.