WordPress is the world’s most popular CMS (content management system) powering over 30% of all websites on the world wide web. Squarespace, on the other hand, is another hugely popular website building platform. Although technically not the same, for the average user, both are used for website development.
As such, the question comes up on which platform is better and ideal for you? And to give you an answer, we have put together a short read covering how each platform handles the basic aspects of website development. This includes topics on design, feature-availability, e-commerce support, growth opportunity, and most importantly, the cost. So without further ado, let’s get started:
WordPress is complete and an open-source. Anyone can download it and use it as they like following the GPL license. However, setting up a WordPress powered website isn’t free. You will need to purchase a domain and also get web hosting. This is where the majority of the cost goes into setting up a WordPress website. However, you are free to get hosting from any web host service which gives you a lot of flexibility in your choice.
Now, Squarespace is a paid software that follows a subscription model, but luckily bundles in a free domain name and web hosting with all its plans. Their base plan starts at $12/month which is pretty similar to a shared web hosting plan for WordPress but is extremely limited. If you want more options you can scale up to their most premium $40/month advanced commerce plan which also bundles in e-commerce functionalities - more on that later.
Through and through, Squarespace is a website builder. As such, it gives you access to the most diverse and rich collection of website templates in the market. On top of that, its drag and drop enabled WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) designing interface allows for easy customization. You also get access to basic settings to give you control over the colors, typography, and much more.
WordPress is also no slouch on the customization front. You will get access to a massive library of free and paid WordPress themes, built proprietarily or by third-party developers to help you set the stage for your WordPress website. On top of that, you can install WordPress plugins like the Divi page builder to give you a similar WYSIWYG experience. And for advanced designing flexibility, you can install a custom CSS WordPress plugin.
Out of the box, both Squarespace and WordPress are pretty barebones when it comes to features and functionalities, giving you access to the bare minimum for managing your website or blog. However, as your site starts to grow, you will need to access more powerful tools and options.
This is where WordPress shines. The CMS gives you access to over 55,000 free plugins and many more paid options that you can install to augment your website with powerful features. You can create an online community, set up a booking system, accept payment from different payment gateways, and much more.
Squarespace is at a clear disadvantage here. It does have the option to add third-party integrations but the lack of powerful APIs doesn’t spark any developer- internet. And although some extensions and add-ons are present, it doesn’t come close to what WordPress has to offer.
Vanilla WordPress lacks any inherent e-commerce functionalities, but that changes when you install the WooCommerce WordPress plugin. Also, tons of third-party and proprietary WordPress plugins and WordPress themes are available to help you enhance your site functionality as well as aesthetics. There is also the option to include almost every popular payment gateway, even Bitcoin, to help you accept payments.
Now Squarespace, notably their eCommerce plans, offers you the necessary tools and options to set up an online store. But it is no way near to what is available with WordPress. Furthermore, the only available payment gateways are PayPal and Stripe, meaning you won’t be able to accept payments if your customers don’t have these accounts.
Clearly WordPress offers more bells and whistles compared to Squarespace. However, it also translates to a steeper learning curve, meaning people would need to invest some time in learning WordPress before they can unleash its true potential.
Now for complete beginners, Squarespace will no doubt, offer a more intuitive experience and an easy to use platform for deploying their website. And if you are simply looking for a basic landing page or portfolio website, then Squarespace might be a worthwhile, no-hassle option. Users won’t have to go through any tutorials or plugin reviews. It is almost a plug-and-play option for website creation.