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By published 10 August 21
Uncover the pros and cons of these popular platforms in our head-to-head comparison.
WordPress vs Squarespace! Which is the right web builder for your needs? Trying to select the best website builder for your new website or portfolio can seem like an impossible task, especially if you don’t have a lot of experience in the field. There are countless high-quality options available, and they all have their own selling points and use cases.
In our WordPress vs Squarespace comparison, we take a close look at two of the world’s most popular portfolio building options. But before we start, it’s important to understand the fundamental differences between the two.
For one, Squarespace is a popular website builder that’s known for its extremely attractive templates and excellent native tools. It offers all-in-one website creation solutions, which makes it a decent option for those who want to get online with a minimum amount of fuss.
On the other hand, fully hosted WordPress solutions are available via the WordPress.com website builder. These come with virtually everything you need to build a new site, but it’s quite a limited platform with terrible design flexibility and high prices.
Because of this, we’ve focused on the extremely popular WordPress.org platform in this comparison. It offers excellent design flexibility and virtually every tool you can imagine, enabling you to build virtually any type of website or online store.
01. Wix: The best website builder for just $3.54 / £3 per month (opens in new tab)
Wix makes it quick and easy to get your site up and running. Choose from 500+ templates, add your own content, and you’ll have your own site online, at a bargain monthly price.
02. HostGator: Simple to use and great value (opens in new tab)
Need to get a basic website online, fast? Hostgator is a great and affordable choice. Offering a drag-and-drop editor and 150 templates to choose from, it’s easy to set up – no coding or technical knowledge required.
03. Squarespace: The best option for professionals (opens in new tab)
Squarespace puts the emphasis on beautifully designed templates that make your portfolio work look great, making it ideal for creative professionals. Plus it’s easy to use, there are great SEO tools, and you can add an online store too.
Both WordPress.org and Squarespace bring a lot to the table, with suites of advanced features to help you build the website of your dreams.
WordPress and Squarespace both excel on the template front. With either option, you will be able to find a high-quality design to create a portfolio, online store, or virtually any other type of website.
Squarespace is known for its excellent, professionally designed templates. Although the library is rather small, every design is completely unique, and you shouldn’t have any trouble finding something that meets your needs.
On the other hand, WordPress.org is backed by a huge theme library containing over 8,000 versatile designs. You can also import a theme from any one of a range of third-party libraries or hire a developer to create a custom design if required.
WordPress and Squarespace are both great options for eCommerce.
Squarespace makes it very easy to set up a new online store, with a suite of advanced selling tools and great templates. It also enables you to sell digital products, subscriptions, and various other types of content, which makes it an attractive option for creatives trying to monetize their work.
Meanwhile, WordPress can be combined with a plugin such as WooCommerce to build an extremely powerful store. Add virtually any tools you want, or code your own custom widgets if required.
Squarespace offers a small number of extensions that you can use to connect your website to third-party platforms. However, these are a little limited, so don’t expect too much functionality here.
On the other hand, the WordPress plugin library is huge. Here, you will find add-ons for everything from search engine optimization (SEO) to portfolio creation and more. There are also numerous tools available to help musicians, artists, and other creatives showcase and/or market their work.
Overall, expect to have access to much more advanced features with WordPress.org than with Squarespace, although Squarespace certainly isn’t a terrible option.
To compare the performance of WordPress and Squarespace, we looked closely at the management interface and website editor of each platform.
For one, WordPress clearly excels on the design flexibility front. Although it’s far from the most beginner-friendly platform we’ve used, it enables you to customize virtually every aspect of your website.
Now the native WordPress editor is quite basic. But, you will have full control of your site’s code, which means that you can make changes here as required. Or, use a website builder plugin such as BoldGrid to unlock full drag-and-drop editing.
Meanwhile, Squarespace’s builder interface is far from the best we’ve used. Although it does offer drag-and-drop functionality, you will be largely constrained by the template you decide to use.
On top of this, the editor is quite confusing and will take some time to get used to. Many of the design elements aren’t where you would expect them to be, and just familiarizing yourself with the platform will take a decent amount of time.
Ultimately, neither platform is a great option for beginners. However, if you want to create highly personalized website or portfolio, WordPress.org’s design flexibility certainly sees it come out ahead here.
Squarespace clearly excels on the customer service front, with fast, reliable live chat and email support. The only downside here is that live chat can be unavailable periodically, but at least it’s there as an option.
Meanwhile, the Squarespace help library contains a suite of self-help resources. These include a selection of guides and tutorials, along with videos detailing various aspects of the website creation process.
Unfortunately, support is the one area where WordPress really falls down. As an open-source platform that’s free to use, it offers absolutely no live support services. However, it’s extremely popular among web developers throughout the world, which means that there are countless resources available across the internet.
As an open-source CMS, the base WordPress.org software is available for free, forever. However, it’s important to understand that it’s not a stand-alone platform, and you will almost certainly incur some costs during the website creation process.
For one, you will need some sort of web hosting to store your website and its files on. Although free hosting is available, we’d recommend paying for a premium plan from a reputable web hosting provider (opens in new tab), with prices starting from just a few dollars per month.
You will also have to pay for a custom domain name, any premium themes or plugins you use, and, if you need help building your site, developer fees. You will probably end up having to go through multiple providers for the various services required.
On the other hand, Squarespace offers four different subscription options. There’s no free forever plan, but you will benefit from a 14-day free trial and excellent annual payment discounts.
A basic Personal subscription ($12 per month) includes everything you will need to build a basic portfolio or informational site, but it lacks marketing and e-commerce tools. Upgrading to a Business plan ($18 per month) unlocks advanced analytics and basic online selling features.
The Basic Commerce ($26 per month) and Advanced Commerce ($40 per month) plans add increasingly powerful e-commerce tools.
All things considered, Squarespace and WordPress are both great options for creatives looking to build a new portfolio or website. But they are also very different platforms with different selling points.
Squarespace offers a streamlined editing interface, a suite of extremely attractive templates, and advanced integrations to help you maximize your content exposure. Design flexibility is a little limited and it’s quite expensive, but it remains a great option for those who just want to get an attractive site online fast.
But to unlock ultimate design flexibility and create a truly personalized site, you will want to use WordPress.org. It’s certainly not the easiest platform to get started with, but you will find that the pros far outweigh the cons if you’re willing to put the time and effort in.
Daniel is a freelance copywriter with over six years’ experience writing for publications such as TechRadar, Tom’s Guide, and Hosting Review. He specialises in tech and finance, with a particular focus on website building, web hosting and related fields. For Creative Bloq, he mainly reviews software, including website builders, cloud hosting and web hosting services.
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