14 Mar SquareSpace vs. WordPress
Before we begin to split wires, it’s important to know that both WordPress and SquareSpace are reliable and reputable websites. Neither platform will do you wrong. This post is intended to give you my personal pros and cons to give you a better idea of which platform can give you exactly what you’re looking for.
- SquareSpace has a smaller learning curve. In the grand scheme of things, both SquareSpace and WordPress have a learning curve. Both sites have their own way of organizing things, and that can take some time to figure out. However, SquareSpace tends to be slightly more intuitive if only because they don’t have as many options (which in my opinion, is a good thing, especially for beginners). WordPress has thousands of themes and thousands of plug-ins, all customizable, which naturally complicates things. SquareSpace has 58 website templates and 9 online shop options. All the extras are built-in and are generally easier to choose from and apply.
- SquareSpace is easier because it doesn’t have as many customizable options. SquareSpace is a website builder, while WordPress is an open source platform (meaning the source code is available to the general public for use and/or modification from its original design). This is interesting because it means that SquareSpace is more limited, but in this case that means SquareSpace is easier to use because there are fewer customization options. You are not at all required to know any code, or really anything at all about web design in order to create a beautiful SquareSpace site.
- SquareSpace’s built-in features are free. That said, there are significantly less built-ins for SquareSpace than there are plug-ins for WordPress, and there is a monthly fee for SquareSpace which I’m sure covers the cost of those built-ins. However, my point still stands that I believe the less options the better because SquareSpace has all the vital built-ins any beginner would want or need.
- The customer support is unbeatable. When I made my first website with SquareSpace, I was on their customer chat support almost every day – not because I was overwhelmed, but because they are just so dang helpful! 24/7 you can instant message chat with a real life representative. The best part? All the SquareSpace support staff are fully trained and prepared to personally handle whatever problem you’re facing. They won’t assess your needs and then hand you off to another department – the person you’re chatting with is the person who will solve your problem. This is key for beginners!
- The SEO functions are mostly ‘automatic.’ SquareSpace claims on their site, “Your SquareSpace site is already optimized for search engines.” That’s great if you don’t care to get involved with optimization; however, I’m not sure how successful their bold claim is. I have no reason to doubt it, and I might just a be a control freak, but I don’t like that there are so few SEO options to manage.
- SquareSpace has a more limited export than WordPress. This means that if you were to want to change or delete your site, not everything will export like it will on WordPress.
- There is no free version of SquareSpace. It costs between $12 and $18 a month for basic personal or basic business sites. WordPress has a free option which is great for those looking for minimal overhead costs.
- ECommerce. Again, SquareSpace is more limited in options. This is a running theme in the WordPress/SquareSpace comparison. SquareSpace only allows Stripe for online purchases while WordPress has many fee processing options.
- Free is possible! As I’ve repeated many times, WordPress has so many features, functions, and options available, including the option for you to run a blog/website for free. That said, it will be slightly limited, and you won’t have a wholly customizable URL (you’ll most likely have to use NAME.wordpress.com) or site.
- WordPress is an open source platform. This means that the source code is available to the general public for use and/or modification from its original design, meaning you really can create whatever you want on WordPress with few limitations. That said, with more power comes more complication. There are literally hundreds of thousands options which can become a major time-suck. If you’re going to be using WordPress I highly suggest drawing out a wireframe first, or at the very least, having a clear idea of what you want your site to look like before beginning the set-up.
- WordPress has SEO that shows it all. You can be as control freaky as you like because all the functions, settings, and options are listed underneath your content ready to be reviewed or altered in any way you like. If you are a beginner, SEO can be really confusing, so I suggest watching a tutorial first, or adding the Yoast plug-in for assistance!
- The ECommerce is fantastic. Why? Since there are so many themes and plug-ins, your online shop is fully customizable. There are many WordPress plugins that allow you to easily integrate PayPal, Google Checkout, Stripe, 2Checkout, Payoneer, Skrill, and even Bitcoin. As I said earlier, SquareSpace only allows you to use Stripe. In my opinion, if you’re looking to set up an online shop, WordPress is a much better option.
- WordPress is massive with thousands of themes and plug-ins, and you have access to the source code so you can literally do whatever you want. That’s a lot of pressure. For beginners, WordPress tends to be extremely overwhelming. For the more experienced and those that code, WordPress is a really exciting place, just beware of getting carried away and wasting hours on playing with themes and plug-ins.
- The WordPress customer service is really good, but it’s not as great as SquareSpace. It’s important to remember that WordPress is a much larger platform and therefore they have a lot more clients to deal with. They have a 24/5 chat service, which is great, but they just generally won’t be as there for you as SquareSpace will be.
- You might need to know some code or have a general understanding of the backend of websites. WordPress is a wild beast that needs to be tamed. The options are unlimited and they give you full reign to change the source code in any way you’d like. WordPress can be really complicated unless you’ve used it before or you know how to code (at least a little bit). Just be sure to set aside some time to learn the system, because it’s definitely not as intuitive as SquareSpace.
SquareSpace – great for beginners who want an easy experience with fewer (yet very high-quality) options while still creating a gorgeous and personal website. Warning: not nearly as customizable and the SEO doesn’t leave you much control.
WordPress – great for blogs because of the free option, great for ECommerce, great for people who code and/or really know what they’re doing. Warning: be careful not to spend 3 days looking for the right theme because it’ll also take you a while to learn the way they organized the backend of their system.
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Which platform do you use? And why do you like or dislike it? Tell me below!