If you’re trying to hit off on a choice between a Squarespace site and WordPress site and don’t know which one to choose and go for— this post is designed to guide you through everything and make a decision.
Both SquareSpace and WordPress allow you to create fully-functioning sites. But the level of control and execution efficiency you get on the sites differ on the two platforms.
Here I will guide you through the features and differences of each platform, their pros and cons so that you may prime yourselves to make the best possible decision for your benefit. Along with that there’s also the cost to benefit ratio to analyze as well.
Primarily we would be considering things like ease of use and flexibility of use—them being defined on the relative ease with which you ought to be able to create a well-functioning site.
Squarespace however isn’t the easiest web 2.0 around. The easiest to work with is Wix. That said on Squarespace you build pages by adding content blocks upon one another.
This way you can build just about anything ranging from photo collections, buttons, audio blocks. Just drag and move around content blocks, copy paste text, add images and you’re done.
There are a lot of out of the box solutions for everyday problems inside the platform.
The exceptional variety of themes ensures you come out looking good on the other end every single time you build a site on the platform.
For example if on a store you’ve ever linked out to a pdf file it’s because it’s difficult to format it correctly using the available options on most kinds of builders.
How You Build A Website With Each Platform
Squarespace literally holds your hand and walks you through each and every step when building a website. There’s nothing left to chance which makes it easy for anyone to set things up. Also, the design and set up process is easy to do as well. A great looking site is ready in minutes just by dragging and dropping things around.
With Squarespace they provide the hosting. The cheapest plan starting at $12 per month comes with unlimited bandwidth as well. You need not worry about buying a domain name either. After sign up you can get started almost immediately. The ease of use is what makes the platform a preferred channel to build websites among people who are just getting started with sites. For people who prefer going into the least number of technicalities Squarespace is the best option. You can also use a QR code generator online to promote your Squarespace sites.
Get started by choosing a template for the site.
Squarespace unlike Weebly or Wix doesn’t list over 500 different templates. Instead they have very well thought out themes that are few in number.
Most of the themes listed in their repertoire are extremely good looking too.
There are a lot of beautiful templates to choose from. Once the template is chosen you’re asked to answer a few questions the answers of which customize your site to your liking. After that you’re done.
With each template there’s a set number of options that allow you to edit and customize the template however you like. You can choose layouts and employ the drag and drop editor to drag in buttons, images, videos, lines and other graphics. There’s plenty of options to play around with and customize the entire template to however you feel like.
It’s a page builder through and through.
The initial few steps on WordPress aren’t the easiest to begin with. You need to get right on a couple technical details to start with. Without that, you will be on to a bumpy start and spend more time than needed ironing out details, dealing with errors and wasting a boatload of time fiddling around things to no end. The technical steps can be mastered if you read through a couple tutorials on the subject or watch a single video on hosting, WordPress customization and similar things like that. Once you get the hang of things, it moves quickly. I must have installed WordPress on 50 different sites by now in this 8 years of my online career.
You should begin by signing up for a web-hosting plan. Next purchase a domain through Namecheap. They’re cheaper than godaddy in the long run and offer discounts on renewal along with offering FREE lifetime who is protection.
Next install WordPress from your host’s cPanel. Most allow one click install. It takes a few minutes to get everything ready and you need to be patient as a result.
With these things out of the way you have set up your WordPress blog and have completed all necessary technicalities.
Squarespace supports Google AMP dubbed Accelerated Mobile Pages that loads websites for mobile visitors much more quickly. AMP is touted to help rankings. While that remains up for debate one thing is certain is that AMP pages certainly improve conversions. There’s the option already present. If you enable it it would go live.
Meta titles and descriptions
These till date remain important facets of on-page SEO optimization.
With the keyword in the meta tag you will be better able to swoon rankings in your favor. There’s however one big feature that’s amiss. Meta titles and descriptions for individual blog posts aren’t allowed.
I think that’s a big shortcoming. I experimented a lot with meta tags and can say with certainty that altering tags influences search engine rankings. With the right keyword you get better rankings.
Mobile Friendly — Squarespace’s each and every theme is mobile friendly and mobile responsive meaning the theme adjusts without losing any of its features based on the device it gets viewed in.
Suqarespace provides ssl protection to all domains under it. It’s a ranking signal now among 200 other factors. Yes, having ssl doesn’t hugely sway rankings in your favor but they can help.
They come with sitemap.xml that can be submitted to the new Google console to help with better indexing of the site.
Alt Tags — Not available on every kind of website builder but with Squarespace you can set alt tags too.
What can you do on each platform
With WordPress you’re not limited in the kind of website you can make. You can add all kinds of functionalities to it and create a basic site or a much advanced eCom site if you want to. WordPress is a true beast when it comes to adding functionalities and adding many more features to your site.
On SquareSpace you aren’t allowed to install your own code and change its functionality. It makes sense for them because a single broken line of code can cause sites all over the world running on Squarespace to crash. So no new functionalities or ability to extend what you’re able to achieve on the platform.
However some functionalities do come in pre built. Like code that lets you set up an eCommerce store and sell through it.
In WordPress we have plugins for everything. On SquareSpace they have pre-built modules for most things like social media sharing buttons, subscription forms for newsletters, contact forms, tools for analytics and so on.
Squarespace tries but is way limited in functionality compared to WordPress.
With WordPress you get hundreds of thousands of plugins for everything you can imagine. You can turn your site into a functional eCommerce store, into a forum and similar things based on your imagination. For everything there’s a plugin available.
Installing a plugin takes only a few seconds and most of them are free and yet fully functional too.
Who owns your data
One thing I dislike about sites like SquareSpace and Blogger and all other web 2.0s is most times they own your data and there’s nothing you can do about it.
When building a site on Squarespace you hand over entire control of data to them. However with WordPress data remains in your hands. You can delete it, manipulate or discard it.
Data ownership is important because should you choose to migrate away from one platform to another you need to know if the years you spent writing all that content and adding all those images is going to matter or if it’s going down the drain.
You’re at the mercy of Squarespace since they own the data. However they do allow you to export content in .xml format.
- Regular Pages
- Gallery Pages
- One Blog Page and all of its posts
- Text Blocks
- Image Blocks
- Text from other blocks like the Embed Block, Twitter Block, Instagram.
However if you run an eCommerce store or a blog there’s limit to the kind of data you can export. You are not allowed to export:
- Product Pages
- Index Pages
- Event Pages
- Album Pages
- Cover Pages
- More than one Blog Page
- Audio Blocks
- Video Blocks
- Product Blocks
- Style changes
- Custom CSS
Squarespace integrates one of the best blogging tools on any website builder. It comes with a detailed feature set that lets you set categories, draft of a post, put comments in queue, moderate them, customize urls and so on.
As a blogger you get plenty of options to— assign roles, moderate comments and also edit content. Contributors can also be listed as multiple authors on a single blog post.
There are different integrations available that let you build your subscriber base.
With WordPress, you have 100% ownership and access to your data.
WordPress gives you total control over the site’s data and handle it well. You can export it and do everything you want to do with it.
How You Handle Maintenance And Security On Each Platform
Squarespace has the best minds in the development world working to keep the platform secured and away from hackers. Maintenance is done by people behind the scenes.
With WordPress you need plugins and security procedures to keep it safe from hackers. Being based on php the whole ecosystem is vulnerable to hackers.
- It’s essential you check plugins for exploits or backdoor pages. You must also keep them updated.
- As a security measure you must take regular backups of your site and run your site with web host that does it for you. JetPack too offers automatic backups for a fixed monthly fee.
- WordFence and Sucuri do a great job at protecting your site. There are also plugins that enable two factor login.
Squarespace has a fixed monthly cost and there’s no hidden charges or overages you need to pay for. The basic site would cost 12 per month which is billed annually. And it can go up to 40 per mo for eCom sites.
You pay for hosting and a domain name at the least and you choose how expensive or cheap to go with.
Should You Choose Squarespace Or WordPress?
WordPress is hands down the best choice for functionality and data ownership. Squarespace fares poorly on both aspects.
WordPress gives you flexibility which is much needed trait as your sites grow and expand. With Squarespace that’s not the case. The platform is user-friendly though and creating an eCom site which is fairly the most common use of Squarespace is pretty easy with them guiding you each step of the way. WordPress is somewhat difficult when it comes to adding products and positioning the site as a front for eCommerce activities.