Why I Choose Squarespace Over Wordpress
BY BIG CAT CREATIVE
As a website designer, I have used both Wordpress and Squarespace to build websites, and I remember when I was first starting out, trying to decide which one to specialize in. They really are very different.
I did a lot of research and read a lot of blogs comparing them both, and of course tried both of them out to see which I preferred, and which would be best for my business and clients.
After doing my own experimenting with both platforms, I ended up choosing Squarespace to specialize in. But, disclaimer, I do realise there is a place for both of these platforms, and Wordpress may suit your needs better. And if you're perfectly happy with Wordpress and have never experienced any problems with it, I'm not here to bully you into using Squarespace. But if you're not happy with Wordpress and are considering changing, this is the article that may fuel your fire even further.
The following is an easy-to-understand, this vs that, where I explain the main differences between each platform and how you should be considering these when you’re deciding which platform to use.
If you want the shortened (TLDR) version, head to the bottom of the page where I’ve done a summary of the main points!
Flexibility vs Security
Wordpress: High flexibility, Low security.
Wordpress is an open source platform. This basically means that it’s an open system, where every man and his dog can go in and design their own tools and plugins which anyone else can use.
This is great, because it means there are thousands of different plugins you can choose from to enhance your site, but the downside is that most of these plugins are non trustworthy, not secure or could actually do more damage to your site than good, like create bugs or crash your site. So you really have to know what you’re downloading and be careful. You also have to make sure these are constantly updated, otherwise your website will be much more prone to hackers. Hackers = dangerous. I’m not using that word lightly, either, there’s some really shady sh** that goes on in the back of hacked Wordpress websites!
Wordpress is high maintenance, and any updates and security problems have to be updated and fixed manually, and regularly I might add. You couldn’t create a Wordpress website, not touch it for 5 years and expect it to still be standing. What you’d probably find is something much worse in its place.
Squarespace: High security, Low flexibility
You may have guessed it, Squarespace is a closed source platform. This means that only the head honchos at Squarespace can design any sort of fancy functions.
This is fantastic, because you know everything you use on Squarespace is completely safe and conveniently integrated with the platform. The downside is that there isn’t as many options, as there’s probably only a handful of professionals working on these. But it’s a quality of quantity situation. This ensures that your website will be conflict-free. No bugs, crashes or hackers.
The Squarespace team is constantly working behind the scenes to make sure your website is updated and free of any problems, making it so easy for the user. All you have to worry about is what your website looks like and what’s on it, they take care of the hard, techy stuff. You could literally create your site, and not touch it for 5 years, come back and it would still be there, breathing on it's own, just as you left it.
I think this is where Wordpress and Squarespace are the most different, and probably the main reason I choose Squarespace for my clients. Low maintenance = less cost, less stress, happier clients.
Initially, Wordpress is free. But you have to pay for Hosting, a Domain name, a theme if you’re DIYing and of course the Plugins we talked about earlier. And unless you want to spend time learning Wordpress, you will probably need to be paying someone to make updates for you and maintain your website.
Squarespace has a few different pricing tiers, from $12 p/month to $40 p/month. Then on top of that you will need to purchase a domain which are usually around $20 p/year. Squarespace offers a domain name free for the first year.
When it comes down to it, Wordpress and Squarespace are actually very close in pricing. There’s a myth that Squarespace is more expensive, but by the time you buy everything you need to run a Wordpress site successfully, they’re about the same. The real crunch comes if you plan to hire someone to help you maintain your Wordpress website, which unless you plan to learn to do it on your own, you will most certainly need. With that in mind, you’re definitely looking at a much higher price with Wordpress.
Ease of Use
Unless you have experience with Code, or want to dedicate A LOT of time learning the ins and outs of Wordpress, you’re going to struggle using the backend of this platform. If you don’t mind paying for help, this isn’t a problem. But it’s one or the other, a lot of invested time learning how to be a developer, or paying for help. There’s no easy way around the complexity of running the Wordpress backend.
Easy peasy. I love this about Squarespace. Now, I’m not saying it’s easy to design a custom, unique Squarespace website (that’s why I make a living designing them!) but once the website design is complete, it’s SO easy to make minor changes. Once I handoff a Squarespace website to a client, that’s the last I hear from them. I give them some tools and briefly show them how to use their new site, and they never contact me again because they can do it all themselves. It’s as simple as typing where you want it to go, drag and drop, easy blog post manager, easy store manager. This is a huge money saver for clients and they love to feel like they have complete control over their site (aka their business home!)
I think there’s a clear winner here..
Wordpress doesn’t have a support team. Though, they do have a community forum of help. Much like we talked about before, this is a case of quantity over quality. Because Wordpress is such a widely used platform, there are millions (not an exaggeration) of forum posts with questions and answers. While that means there’s a lot of help out there, it also means that it could be nearly impossible to find an answer to your question. And if you can’t find the answer to your question within the millions of posts (likely…) then it’s time to hire someone to help fix your problems (more money).
Squarespace has a team dedicated to responding to questions about their platform and helping users. They also have this HUGE free library of articles on exactly how to use EVERYTHING. Even I sometimes still refer back to this library, and I often send clients useful articles from this library to read. They can do this because they are in charge of the whole platform, they know exactly how everything works. I haven’t had to contact Squarespace much, but when I have they have replied to me within the hour (that’s impressive). They have chat support (which is much faster than an hour), email support and a support forum. My experience with Squarespace support so far has been 10/10. All of their support is free.
There’s support for both platforms, but I think the main difference comes back to the flexibility vs security. The huge flexibility of Wordpress means that there’s a huge amount of problems, which means there’s a huge amount of questions and answers all over the internet. Because Squarespace is self contained, there’s very little problems, meaning it’s unlikely that you’ll need to contact them at any time. But if you do, they’ll be able to tell you what’s up, because whatever is going on is likely their problem and theirs to fix.
Wordpress = Super Dooper flexible, you can build and design anything
Squarespace = Not as flexible, less features and capabilities (if you hire a good Squarespace Website Designer, they should know how to use custom code to add capabilities you couldn’t do on your own!)
Wordpress = Prone to security problems, crashing and hackers if you’re not maintaining and updating it regularly.
Squarespace = No maintenance required, Squarespace takes care of that for you and keeps the security problems and hackers at bay.
Wordpress = Much the same as Squarespace, unless you need to hire someone to perform maintenance (highly recommended) then much more expensive
Squarepace = For what you get, one of the cheaper available website platforms
Wordpress = Hard to use. You would need to invest a lot of time or money, usually both, to run it correctly.
Squarespace = Easy to use, quick to learn and great free learning resources via Squarespace.com.
Wordpress = No direct support but millions of free articles to help you. Potentially might have to invest in paid support.
Squarespace = Free dedicated support team on call 24/7 + great free resource/tutorials library.
It’s probably clear to you now why I choose Squarespace over Wordpress. The only advantage of Wordpress that I see, is that it has a HUGE range of capability. But as a Squarespace designer with lots of experience, I can push Squarespace’s capability to much more than a regular DIY Squarespace user can do. There are still times when a Wordpress website is the best option, but 99% of the time, Squarespace is my top pick.
Oh and if you’re thinking, “you haven’t even touched on e-commerce!”, I would say… neither - Shopify all the way! (I design Shopify websites, too!) But guess what, Squarespace does awesome e-commerce stores too, though I would only use it for roughly >200 items.
So what do you think? Are you on Wordpress or Squarespace? Are you ready to make the switch to Squarespace, or do you love Wordpress?