You’re ready to start a blog or launch an ecommerce store, but where do you get started? There are tons of great options, but we’re going to focus on two of the most popular options: Squarespace and Wordpress.
Squarespace is an all-in-one website builder that will get you up and running quickly, but you’ll sacrifice some of the more customizable options that you get from WordPress. WordPress is a free and open source content management system, allowing you more freedom and flexibility in creating your store or website.
Let’s dig in and see if we can help you decide what’s right for you. For the purposes of this article, please keep in mind we are talking about the WordPress available at wordpress.org, which is free to all.
Considering a switch from Squarespace to WordPress? Check out this handy guide.
Squarespace vs. WordPress: Ease of Use
Squarespace is perfect if you want the simplest solution. Sign up for an account, answer a few questions, select a template, and you’ve got yourself a website to customize! WordPress requires a bit more effort – but results in much more flexibility. For WordPress, you’ll need to purchase hosting space, a domain, then install WordPress.
There are many hosting providers who offer the option of managed WordPress in their hosting products (including Nexcess! You can check out our managed WordPress hosting here). They come with WordPress installed. Even the newest beginners can handle setup tasks. The extra time it takes to set up WordPress amounts to just a few moments.
Squarespace vs. WordPress: Customization Capabilities
While Squarespace is the simplest, it’s definitely more rigid with functionality. You can customize templates with words and pictures – but if you want full creative control, you won’t find it here.
What exactly does Squarespace allow you to customize?
- Basic SEO Settings
- Social Share Buttons
- Existing Design Styles
WordPress, however, is customizable in almost every way. From customizing your chosen WordPress theme (the equivalent of templates) to choosing your payment processor when you’re running an ecommerce site. There are thousands and thousands of plugins available for pretty much everything you could think of.
What exactly does WordPress allow you to customize?
- Everything Squarespace does
- Everything else you want to
You may be thinking, everything else I want to do? Yeah, right. Except – it really does! At the time of this writing, there are over 50,000 plugins available that enable you to do whatever you’d want to do on WordPress. Page caching? Yep! Site Backups? Check! LiveChat for your customers? You got it! While everything is possible, you want to be careful not to overload your site with every plugin you can find.
Squarespace vs. WordPress: Cost
Squarespace’s cheapest plan costs $14.00/month and its most expensive at $49.00/month. In an average year on the cheapest plan, Squarespace costs $168.00. There’s no getting around the costs here – Squarespace is a subscription service to use its website builder. On top of the monthly costs, Squarespace also charges a 3% transaction fee on the minimum business plan (which is more expensive than the basic plan). Higher tier, more expensive plans have that fee waived. Then, there are also credit card companies’ fees.
WordPress as a content management system is free. It’s free to use, free to install, and many plugins are free as well. There are costs associated with setting up a server, hosting, and purchasing a domain name – but WordPress itself is free. If you’re looking for a mix of both worlds, you should consider Nexcess managed WordPress hosting, where you can customize your site’s experience via StoreBuilder and other plugins, but have the professionals handle the maintenance.
Squarespace vs. WordPress: Platform Capabilities
If you’re planning a blog with no ecommerce capabilities, there isn’t much to consider. The Squarespace platform is easy to set up and start writing. Despite that, WordPress is the most popular blogging platform for a reason. WordPress is intuitive and easy to use, which is why approximately 60 million blogs are running WordPress.
If ecommerce is more your style, there are some important things to consider. While Squarespace is certainly capable of ecommerce, gaining access to their ecommerce functionality means a pricey upgrade. That $14 plan jumps to $23.00/month – totaling up to $276.00/year. The more ecommerce functionality you want, the more you need to pay per month to get those features. Squarespace also limits you to two payment processing options, Stripe (which allows Apple Pay from supported devices, AfterPay, and ClearPay) and PayPal.
WordPress, on the other hand, does not have that same cost structure. It also has some pretty robust plugins that help turn your website into an ecommerce site. The most popular plugin is WooCommerce – which helps you set up a store with physical products, digital products, or both. There are also many dropshipping services that integrate well with WordPress and WooCommerce. They can even handle all the shipping and handling for you. This is especially helpful if you want to put your designs on various goods, but don’t have the space or desire to keep them on hand.
Squarespace vs. WordPress: Other Considerations to Keep in Mind
Who Controls Your Website Data?
If you ever want to leave Squarespace, you’ll leave behind more data than you’ll be able to take with you. You’ll end up leaving behind your blocks, drafts, and so much more. If you have more than one blog page, you have to choose which one you want to export.
With WordPress you are in complete control of your data at all times. You own your data. Export your database, and boom: all of your data ready to go with you. WordPress even allows you to export in formats that are easily compatible with importing to other content management systems, if you don’t want to deal with the database.
WordPress is open source, so you can pack up and go wherever you wish, whenever you wish. With a closed source platform, you have to remake your site when you move elsewhere.
What About Mobile Editing?
Both Squarespace and WordPress have a mobile app to keep up on the go. Write, share, and edit posts from your phone or tablet. You can even handle your ecommerce store from the road.
How About Security?
Squarespace handles security for you, but you are responsible for keeping WordPress up to date. Unless, of course, you choose a managed WordPress hosting plan.
Squarespace vs. WordPress: Head to Head
We created a quick side by side comparison for you in the table below.
|Ease of Use||Winner: Easy to set up and get going almost immediately||Only a few minutes extra effort to set up|
|Customizability||Only customizable in specific ways allowed by Squarespace||Winner: Customize however you want, with thousands of plugins, or tinkering yourself|
|Cost||All plans have a monthly cost, plus a transaction fee on the cheapest ecommerce plan||Winner: Free|
|Ecommerce Capabilities||Capable, but costs more, and limits your payment processors||Winner: The most options for what fits you best|
|Website Data||Only able to export a portion of your data if you ever decide to switch||Winner: You control all your data|
|Mobile Editing||Tie: Both have a mobile app available||Tie: Both have a mobile app available|
|Security||Winner: Handles security for you||You are responsible for the security of your site|
WordPress is the clear winner in our minds. The customizability, the cost, and best of all, you own your own data — not another company. If you need even more reasons to choose WordPress, you can read more about it here.
Get Started With WordPress Hosting
Be in complete control of your site’s look, feel, and data. If you are unsure about your ability to manage your WordPress site, we’ve got you covered — you can get started with fully managed WordPress hosting by Nexcess at any time. Check our plans today.