Ready to create a web presence for your new business but not sure which website builder to begin with?
The two most popular small-business website platforms are WordPress and Squarespace. Both provide flexibility for the business owner and an appealing and professional look for your customers, but deciding between the two can be difficult.
To help you make a choice based on your unique business needs, we’ll provide a straightforward comparison of these two powerful platforms.
If you're starting from scratch, establishing a business web presence can be daunting. We'll help you simplfy.
WordPress was founded in 2003, and based on recent statistics, over 50,000 WordPress sites are being added daily, while 75 million websites already use the platform – somewhere around 5% of the internet. Squarespace meanwhile has a smaller but still impressive share – closer to .5 %.
Still wondering if a website is necessary?
In the age of social media, some business owners may be tempted to rely solely on platforms like Facebook and Instagram for visibility, engagement, and brand recognition. However, a dedicated website for your business has a couple of important advantages.
- Leads collected from your website belong to you -- meaning you can contact them directly via email or phone -- whereas followers on social media do not. The same goes for your content, such as blog posts or videos. Many online marketing experts will encourage you to look at your social media audience as temporary due to the frequent changes made to terms and usage on those platforms.
- SEO is still a powerful force for reaching your customers. Content you place on social media is searchable within the platforms, and that’s important, but it’s not as heavily indexed by search engines such as Google as content on your dedicated website will be.
Having your own website is a critical way to reach customers, and WordPress and Squarespace are powerful platforms with which to build your web presence. Each one has its advantages and disadvantages. Read on for a full comparison of the two.
With either platform you can create a professional, functional, and visually appealing site for your business.
Squarespace offers a completely coding-free, drag-and-drop website building experience, if that is your preference. It’s also possible to insert your own code and make changes to the template you choose, but not necessary.
With Squarespace you get hosting as well as a library of themes and ready-to-use widgets. You won’t need your own web hosting account and will have little to learn about website management outside the platform itself.
Squarespace presents a well-organized and intuitive dashboard with which you can design, publish, and maintain your site. This user-friendly dashboard gives Squarespace the win over WordPress when it comes to simplicity and ease-of-use.
WordPress on the other hand is an open-source CMS (Content Management System). As such, it does require some advance preparation and learning if you’re new to website creation and management. WordPress requires you to set up your own hosting. You’ll need to purchase your domain separately and connect it to the WordPress platform.
While this sounds like a drawback, and does require more effort upfront, it also means that you maintain full control over your site and can add features that may not be possible on the Squarespace platform. Some business owners choose WordPress because they aren’t willing to sacrifice that control.
Square space lets you focus on your content not website hosting and management.
Squarespace gives you a wide array of tools with which to build a professional looking and functional site. It allows you to set up and sell products, create discounts and hold sales, collect taxes, connect to outside payment services and collect payments.
It offers full blogging capability and the ability to import and export blog content to and from other sites. With Squarespace, you’ll be able to connect your site to all social media accounts and enable simultaneous posting to save time.
Squarespace also offers the flexibility of assigning multiple access levels for your team. Roles that you can assign within your site include:
- Content Editor
- Comment Moderator
- Trusted Commenter
- Store Manager
WordPress offers you the ability to do almost anything imaginable with your site using an extensive variety of plugins that can be easily added. With a bit more effort, you can do all of the above and more with WordPress. But be aware that the more plugins you use, the more of a task managing the website becomes.
It’s important to note here that certain WordPress plugins and themes will create the same drag-and-drop functionality that’s available with Squarespace. With WordPress you have a larger variety of choices, yet almost anything is possible. For this reason, WordPress is the clear winner when it comes to flexibility. In fact, if a feature isn’t already available on WordPress, you can use the open-source platform to create it or have it built for you. Truly, the flexibility cannot be overestimated.
With the vast number of plugins available on WordPress, almost anything is possible.
Squarespace, as mentioned above, provides a fully functional ecommerce platform. It does, however, have some restrictions. The only payments you can accept at this time, for instance, are Stripe and PayPal. For some small businesses, that fact alone rules Squarespace out, while for others it’s not a deal breaker.
Squarespace also has limitations on the number of products you can sell. The number of products will be tied to the price you pay for the Squarespace service. Such restrictions imposed by Squarespace can hamper your ability to grow online sales quickly and properly depending on your business goals.
WordPress, being fully customizable, doesn’t impose these types of ecommerce restrictions. Again, the theme for WordPress is flexibility. WordPress will allow you to integrate with any payment processor, even Bitcoin. Also, there are no limits on the number and type of products you can list.
With this platform, you can choose from an array of themes that will create an instant online store or build your own to suit your needs. You can also easily manage affiliate links to your site and manage affiliate tracking.
As you can see, WordPress is our clear winner when it comes to ecommerce. That said, many small business owners that don’t plan for massive online sales and need to establish an online presence quickly, may still find the lack of complication with Squarespace worth the trade-offs.
If you don't need massive online sales capability, Squarespace may win out for its simplicity.
In case you decide to upgrade your site, change your mind about hosting, or migrate to another platform for whatever reason, it’s important to know ahead of time what that will entail. Data portability refers to your ability to take your existing content and move it.
Squarespace limits your ability to move your web data.
These items may be exported in an XML file:
- One blog page with all its posts
These items may not be exported and would be lost:
- Product pages
- Album pages
- Audio blocks
- Video blocks
WordPress lets you move your data easily and offers multiple backup tools to make this happen and protect your information in case of a catastrophe. This makes WordPress the clear winner in this area, and illustrates how time and effort with WordPress in the short term often pays off in the long term.
Squarespace has a dedicated support team. They offer email support, online tutorials, and a library of resources to help answer your questions and guide you.
WordPress, just like it’s endless number of features and plugins, seems to have an endless amount of information, support groups, resources, and tutorials that will help you in a bind. However, finding the information you need may not be a simple process. Information available may not be reliable, and you’ll have to do a good bit of weeding through it all to find the exact answers you’re searching for.
In an online forum for WordPress, it would not be unusual for one troubleshooting topic to have over a million related posts. Sifting through them all would be impossible. For that reason, Squarespace again takes the “easy” title and wins out when it comes to user support.
WordPress makes backing up and moving your content easier.
True to form, Squarespace has a simple pricing structure with 3 tiers.
- Personal plan with up to 20 pages and 1 product = $8 per month.
- Professional plan with unlimited pages and up to 20 products = $16 per month.
- Business plan with unlimited pages and products = $24 per month.
Making use of WordPress to build your site is free, but your ultimate site won’t be. You’ll pay for hosting and may pay separately for features such as themes and plugins.
It’s difficult to put a price on a hypothetical WordPress site, as the price will depend on the choices you make in building it. That said, it is possible to create a site on WordPress for as little as $3.95 per month for the hosting.
How they stack up.
Both Wordpress and Squarespace are powerful platforms with which to build your business presence online. Each one has a couple clear advantages over the other. The final choice rests with your unique website priorities and technical savvy.
Do you need to get set up quickly with minimal effort? Do you have a very specific vision for your website with built-in technical requirements? The choice may become obvious when you take the time to clearly delineate the ways in which you expect your site to compliment your business. Either way, choosing the right one now can save you headaches and lost time in the future.
In the final analysis, here’s how they shape up.
WordPress is best if you:
- Have technical skills or can hire someone who does.
- Have time to learn and do the work upfront.
- Have specific needs that go beyond drag-and-drop.
- Need to easily and quickly backup all your content.
- Have extensive ecommerce plans.
Squarespace is best if you:
- Have a limited amount or no products to sell.
- Need to set up quickly and don’t want to spend time learning complicated steps.
- Know that you’ll need and want easily accessible customer support.
- Are technology averse and don’t plan to spend much time managing your site.
- Require simplicity over all else.
Overall, Squarespace can help you get a beautiful and functional site up and running in minutes with accessible support, while WordPress brings ecommerce benefits and flexibility for growing your business in the long term.
Learn More About LumaTax