When it comes to business websites, Squarespace and WordPress are two of the most prominent players in the game. Choosing one of these website builders means that you know you’re getting trusted, reliable service. Still, Squarespace and WordPress each have distinct features that make them suitable for different types of businesses.
Our Pick for Best Website Builder: WordPress
We’re going to go over all the features of both builders, but the overall choice for us between these two is WordPress. It does take some time to put together a WordPress website, but the full customization, the ability to code where you’d like to and use plug-and-play when you don’t, makes WordPress the more versatile and valuable option for building your business’s website.
Squarespace vs. WordPress: Ease of Use
It’s one thing to find great features at a reasonable price, and it’s another thing to be able to create and use your website the way you want. And if there’s any trouble with your site, you need to know that the host is there to help get you back up and running. Let’s see how Squarespace and WordPress shake out in this department.
Ease of Use: Squarespace
Squarespace utilizes intuitive point-and-click and click-and-drag menus, and the dashboard makes for smooth navigation while building and editing. You can preview your site in both desktop and mobile formats, and Squarespace has plenty of useful guides for assistance with building and troubleshooting. If you still can’t figure things out, you can get 24/7 support from the Squarespace helpdesk for all plans.
Squarespace isn’t perfect, though. You should know that the design tools can have a learning curve, and changes do not autosave; they must be manually saved while you work. Also, Squarespace’s pages are image-heavy, so photos all need to be high resolution. Consequently, this can lead to slow loading times.
Ease of Use: WordPress
WordPress has themes and menus that are easy to navigate for beginning your site, and it does autosave while you work. There is a lot of room for customization, and you can edit blocks in text or HTML, whichever you prefer. If you have trouble, you get unlimited email customer support at all levels of pricing plans. The quirks with WordPress usually show up after updates, and many of the WordPress menus can be redundant or not instinctual to use. It can take time to learn how to navigate all the customization menus on WordPress properly, but your resulting site will be well worth the time and effort.
Squarespace vs. WordPress: Templates and Themes
Much of how you design your business’s website depends on what you want it to look like and the feeling you want it to convey. You also want it to be aesthetically pleasing to your customers and offer them ease of navigation.
Templates and Themes: Squarespace
Squarespace has over 100 pre-made themes and templates that you can use to build your website. They’re categorized by business type, so you can find something that fits your industry and style. The templates and themes are clean and professional-looking, but they can be almost too sterile. That being said, Squarespace is well-suited for people who value aesthetics and may not have the technical knowledge or time to code their own website.
Templates and Themes: WordPress
WordPress is technically not a dedicated website builder but rather a content management tool. Its open-source format means you have the freedom to customize WordPress’s templates (within parameters) or write your own code. WordPress offers a lot of control of the appearance of the themes and finished websites, but building a website in WordPress is not for a total beginner nor the faint of heart. Once learned, however, creating a WordPress site is a rewarding experience.
Squarespace vs. WordPress: Apps and Plug-ins
Even if you choose a template that’s right for you, you’ll still need some other elements to give your site some personality and more functionality. That’s where apps and plug-ins come in.
Apps and Plug-ins: Squarespace
Squarespace doesn’t have “apps” or “plug-ins” the way you might think of them from other website builders, but instead calls its website additions “extensions.” They are all third-party applications that integrate with your Squarespace website. Beware any that seem too good to be true; you don’t want to snag an extension that’s on sale because its developer’s partnership with Squarespace is winding down.
Apps and Plug-ins: WordPress
WordPress has tens of thousands of apps and plug-ins that you can use to customize your website. Of course, not all plug-ins work with all themes, so pay attention to the compatibility rating when you’re searching through the app listings. The higher the compatibility with your theme, the less likely it is that the plug-in will give you problems.
Squarespace vs. WordPress: Ecommerce
The point of a business website is to drum up business and, if you’re selling anything, you need ecommerce solutions that work for you.
Squarespace plans offer unlimited product and service listings, making them a good fit for small retail businesses with or without a brick-and-mortar store. The higher the plan level you choose, the deeper the analytics you’ll get for free without a third-party extension for metrics. Squarespace’s relationship with the SquareⓇ payment system can save you time and money at point-of-sale. Since Squarespace was founded almost exclusively to support ecommerce, the management, analytics, and metrics menus are intuitive and easy-to-follow.
A WordPress site can be pretty much whatever you want it to be, and there are plenty of ways to use WordPress to sell your products and services. You can integrate apps for payment systems, product catalogs, custom analytics and metrics, client profiles, and so much more. Your WordPress ecommerce website can be as simple or as involved as you’d like it to be. There are thousands of plug-ins you can use to make your WordPress website a thriving ecommerce hub, but WooCommerceⓇ and BlueHostⓇ are the most popular.
Squarespace vs. WordPress: Pricing
Budgeting is essential when you’re starting or growing a business, so it’s important to strongly consider how much you want to spend on your web presence. Let’s see how pricing tiers stack up between Squarespace and WordPress.
Squarespace offers four plans for its websites, which are discounted slightly when you pay for an annual contract. All prices are slightly higher when you pay month-to-month, and you do have 14 days to try out a website before committing to a plan.
Personal, $12/month when billed annually: The lowest pricing plan Squarespace offers is perfect for people who are using it for a side business or project. This low-cost option gives you a domain name, SEO and basic metrics options, free website templates, unlimited storage, the ability to add a second user and plug-ins, and 24/7 support.
Business, $18/month when billed annually: The most popular plan from Squarespace includes all the features of the Personal plan but also adds unlimited users, custom email, the ability to change templates with coding, and a fundamental ecommerce platform. The ecommerce platform does come with a 3% transaction fee and does not include full integration, but there is no limit on transactions. You can also accept donations on this plan. This is a good plan for start-ups or service-based businesses that have value-added goods as a secondary purpose.
Basic Commerce, $26/month when billed annually: This plan includes all previous features but strengthens the ecommerce platform to add features like on-site checkout, customer files, sales and traffic metrics, and marketing and merchandising tools. The Basic Commerce plan works well for small retail businesses that sell through brick-and-mortar, pop-up, and online stores. There is no transaction fee for web stores on this plan.
Advanced Commerce, $40/month when billed annually: This top-tier ecommerce plan takes the lower-tier plan a few steps further by including all those features, plus subscription and discounted shipping options. This plan is excellent for small-to-midsize businesses that want to increase sales and keep their overhead manageable.
WordPress also offers four levels of pricing plans. Like Squarespace, the plans are slightly less per month when billed annually. You can, of course, build and maintain a WordPress website for free, but you won’t be able to have a custom domain without “.wordpress” in the name. Remember that WordPress is an open-platform host so that you can migrate a domain in from almost anywhere. If you choose to acquire your domain through WordPress, it will be free for one year, and you’ll have to renew it at WordPress’s going rate. If you have a lower annual cost on your domain elsewhere, don’t forget to keep it renewed.
Personal, $4/month when billed annually: This low-cost plan is terrific for bloggers, service-based businesses, and people who are using their website for a side project or start-up. It gives you a custom domain without WordPress branding, allows you to take basic payments, and comes with unlimited email support from the WordPress team.
Premium, $8/month when billed annually: The second-tier plan costs just a few dollars more but gives you a lot more freedom to design your site with access to premium themes. You can also add audio and video media to your site with this plan and integrate Google Analytics to track your site metrics. This plan is suitable for freelancers and small business owners and adds live chat support to the already unlimited email support.
Business, $25/month when billed annually: There’s a pretty hefty price jump from the Premium to the Business plan, but it comes with some big perks. With this plan, you get everything included in the lower plans, but you can begin to add any of WordPress’s thousands of plug-ins. Plus, you get the protection of automatic backup and site protection, and advanced SEO features. This plan is great for busy small businesses who need a professional-looking site that is fully customizable.
eCommerce, $40/month when billed annually: This plan is designed specifically for ecommerce-heavy businesses. It includes all previous features but also has premium themes and customizations for online storefronts. The eCommerce plan also allows businesses to integrate shipping plans and accept payments from over 60 countries.
Squarespace vs. WordPress: Pros and Cons
Features are a big draw when choosing a website builder, sometimes more than price or services. You want to build a website that represents you, your business, and your values. Both Squarespace and WordPress have pros and cons to their available features, so let’s review what we’ve looked at thus far.
Pros and Cons: Squarespace
- dozens of templates, with a frequently updated theme library
- platforms that support both service and sales-based businesses
- ecommerce tools and analytics; no limit on storage or transactions
- dedicated space for galleries and portfolios
- integrated blogging and blog management tools
- domain transfer available
- click-and-drag website formatting
- SEO tools
- seamless payments through Square POS integration
- ability to sell products and schedule services and appointments
- limited customization of set themes
- no autosave while editing
- 24/7 support doesn’t include phone support, only chat and email
Pros and Cons: WordPress
- freedom to create and expand with unlimited storage
- can be free forever due to its open-source formatting
- customizable themes and the ability to code your own site
- can import domains from most other major web hosts
- excellent for blog management and text-based pages
- thousands of plug-ins to add features and security to your website
- supports ecommerce with plug-ins; credit card/PayPal integration
- incorporate social media links and widgets
- built-in galleries, contact forms, and subscription buttons
- works with G-Suite and Google Analytics
- plug-ins can become expensive
- full customization requires moderate to advanced coding ability
- frequent updates might cause theme and format glitches
- free sites cannot remove “.wordpress” from the URL
- site-building can be time-consuming as it’s not click-and-drag
The Bottom Line
Squarespace and WordPress were developed quite differently, although their function and result are similar— a beautiful website for your business. If you don’t want to spend time coding and you’re looking for something that will “maintain” itself, then Squarespace is the website builder for you. Our overall winner is still WordPress, though. If you like having a massive amount of control and you don’t mind doing the upkeep, then WordPress is simply a better choice. You may want to choose Squarespace for a business website because it’s easier to use, but we’ll always select WordPress for value, reliability, and flexibility when it comes to personal expression.
Now you have the basic facts needed to determine whether to use Squarespace vs. WordPress for your business website. Since it doesn’t cost anything to get started with either, you might want to sign up and play around with the builders to see which you like better, or maybe you’ve already made up your mind. If you’re still in the planning stages of a new enterprise and need a little guidance and inspiration, try these articles and tools for defining your business interests, choosing a name for your business, and designing a standout logo. For additional help getting your business up and running, you can check out these tools and articles: