Squarespace vs. WordPress: Three questions to consider

At Top Draw, we’re big fans of WordPress and Squarespace, but they are not created equal. Both platforms have their pros and cons, varying learning curves, and suit different website needs. Evaluating which platform to choose can be overwhelming. To help you choose, I’ve outlined three questions to consider.

1. How tech-savvy are you?

If you enjoy tweaking/customizing a website, appreciate the inner workings of a platform, and get excited about plugins and widgets, WordPress is your friend. If you have a “get it done” attitude, code frightens you, and find comfort in editing your website using a “what you see is what you get” interface, Squarespace is the way to go.

Squarespace is one of the industry leaders in drag-and-drop content publishing, designing a seamless and intuitive interface that many DIYers can grasp quickly. You can create professional-looking websites optimized for both mobile and desktop devices with only small number of configuration settings.

Although you can achieve similar results on WordPress, it takes a bit more work to get there. Out of the box, it’s sufficient for bloggers or people who have very simple page content. If you want more control over the look and layout of your website, you’ll likely want a custom theme and/or install a few plugins to extend WordPress’ functionality. Things can get complicated rather quickly, which is why you’d want to hire a contractor or an agency to help you.

Enter “Gutenberg”

Notably, one game-changing feature to look out for later this year is the new Gutenberg editor for WordPress. WordPress is embracing the concept of content blocks and a drag-and-drop interface – much like Squarespace. The WordPress team plans to roll this out with WordPress 5.0.

2. What are you hoping to accomplish with your website?

You can build a “pretty” website using either WordPress or Squarespace, but don’t lose sight of what you’re trying to accomplish. Are you promoting a cause? Do you have a large line of products to sell? Do you want to leverage digital advertising but don’t want to spend a fortune for a website? Your website’s purpose should influence which platform you choose. Here are some pros and cons for each platform to consider:

WordPress

  • Pro: It’s highly flexible and customizable
  • Pro: It’s scalable; great for websites that have a lot of content
  • Pro: Can develop custom plugins for third-party integrations
  • Con: Plugins can be buggy and vulnerable to exploits if not maintained
  • Con: Setup and configuration can be overwhelming

Squarespace

  • Pro: All-in-one hosting, domain, and website platform
  • Pro: Easy to setup and use; quick turnaround time
  • Pro: No maintenance required; automatic updates
  • Con: Less scalable; difficult to manage large amounts of content
  • Con: Proprietary platform; limited capability for customization and integrations

Both platforms are free to try – if you’re a hands-on person, experiment with both platforms to get a better sense of which might work for your purposes.

3. How cost-sensitive are you?

The good news – you can get a website up and running with either platform at a fairly low cost. WordPress is open source software that is free to use (not to be confused with the subscription-based, hosted version WordPress.com). Additional costs come from website hosting, domain registration, and likely a SSL certificate – these costs will vary depending on which provider(s) you choose. Squarespace is subscription-based, ranging from $12 to $40 USD per month depending on the package. It’s an all-in-one platform, which includes website hosting, one free year of domain registration, and an SSL certificate.

So, what’s the catch?

Getting a low-cost website up and running is one thing, but will it effectively achieve the goals of your business/organization? Websites that generate results don’t happen by chance, regardless of the platform. Keep in mind: a solid digital strategy will help answer your tough business questions and goals, including choosing the right website platform, and a well-planned design approach will ensure the website experience is effectively tailored for your target users.

Need more help?

Whether you’ve went through one or two iterations of your website already, or you’re starting fresh, chances are you need some help. Interested in learning more about which website platform is a good fit for your business/organization? Reach out to us! We’d love to hear from you.

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