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WordPress Vs. Squarespace

With so many platforms to choose from, researching the pros and cons of website content management systems may seem like a daunting task.

Many organizations underestimate the importance of selecting not only the best platform for their website, but also the right one based on their current and forecasted needs, goals, growth, and challenges.

Unfortunately, many businesses underestimate the importance of selecting not only the best platform for their website to live, but also the right one based on their business needs, goals, and challenges. Many businesses aren’t even sure what they’re looking for.

For this reason, we’ve decided to compare two CMS solutions that our clients often ask us to evaluate, and ultimately to recommend the right solution for their business:

 

WordPress Vs. Squarespace

 

Key Similarities

Let’s start by talking about the similarities between WordPress and Squarespace.

Affordability

Both WordPress and Squarespace provide affordable solutions for website design and development. Though you’ll pay for different services with each CMS, the total cost for each platform starts around $20/month or less, which is significantly lower than many other applications out there.

Ease of Use

While many will argue that WordPress is not a user-friendly platform, at Pistil, we beg to differ. Though there is a bit more of a learning curve than with Squarespace, it’s not rocket science, and anyone with some technical knowledge and a knack for figuring stuff out shouldn’t have much trouble getting up to speed. Therefore, we’d classify both platforms as relatively easy to use.

Aside from the fact that they are both CMS platforms, that’s about all they have in common. Can they both be used to build eCommerce sites? Yes. Can they both be integrated with other applications? Yes. However, what these features look like on each platform are very different.

 

Key Differences

When it comes to talking about the differences between the two platforms, the list gets a bit longer.

Cost Basis:

First, let’s look at how the costs break down for each:

Hosting

WordPress is technically free. However, because it is a self-hosted CMS, you’ll need to purchase a hosting plan, which can start as low as $3.95/month through companies like Bluehost for a basic subscription, though we strongly recommend WordPress optimized hosting solutions such as WPEngine

Squarespace offers a hosting solution bundled with their monthly (or annual, depending on what plan you choose), starting at $12/month.

Domain Registration

You’ll need to buy a domain if you don’t already have one.

We recommend Google Domains for their simple user interface. Also, because Google Domains is a provided by Google, your domains will be purchased via your Gmail.com or other Google account, ensuring you one less login credential to remember or record. 

Software Components

Plugins are, as defined by WpBeginner, a software component that adds a specific feature to an existing computer program. When a program supports plug-ins, it enables customization.

There are thousands of free WordPress plugins, but we typically recommend buying premium plugins because the fee typically includes technical support and testing of the plugin software itself.

WordPress plugins (website software) or themes typically come with a small fee, though there are many free plugins and themes available.

How much you spend on your website depends on your customization and hosting needs.

 

Usability & Customization:

Squarespace

For those with limited resources (time, money, web skills) Squarespace may be the right platform.

Squarespace is a cloud-based platform, so there is no downloading of software or special installation required.

With that said, the website design options are quite limited – Customers can choose from a limited number of templates, and, while customization is possible, there is only so much you can do depending on which theme you are working with.

To boot, because of the limitations of Squarespace’s closed-source platform, most Squarespace website’s end up looking the same.

You don’t need coding skills when working with Squarespace, and you can preview your site as you’re editing it.

Squarespace is a popular choice for those who are in a hurry to get a website up and working in a short amount of time, and without requiring a person to be tech-savvy.

^ Emphasis on “hurry.”

Squarespace is a great short-term solution, but organizations begin to feel the limitations of the platform after about a year because, simply put, Squarespace falls short of customizability and adaptability.

 

WordPress

WordPress is not the beast it is often described to be.

However, because there is more opportunity for customization and flexibility, beginners can find this platform to be a bit confusing at first.

WordPress’ available features can be overwhelming for some. But in the end, those with a little bit of patience and a desire to learn often find that WordPress is worth any initial frustration that comes with learning a new program.

With the right web development team by your side, a WordPress website should be as easy, if not easier, to update than a Squarespace website.

Yes, technical skills come in handy if you’re considering building your site with WordPress on your own, and you have some basic HTML and CSS knowledge. Technical skills are not required if you’re working with a qualified team with web development expertise, such as Pistil Brands.

The ability to adapt and expand to your website in tandem with your business makes WordPress an ideal website solution for any organization.

 

SEO Optimization:

With SEO being a top player in today’s game of marketing and advertising, you can’t afford to settle when it comes to optimizing your site.

Knowing how Google views your website, what keywords you’re ranking for, and how to improve your search rank is critical to your online success in the long run. Squarespace does claim to offer SEO services, indicating that it’s all taken care of for you. Unfortunately, those who enjoy taking part in the SEO optimization process will be disappointed with Squarespace’s mysterious and generic SEO practices.

WordPress offers an SEO-friendly user interface, with pages and posts explicitly designed for SEO optimization, but it doesn’t stop there. By providing access to free SEO plugins like Yoast and similar applications, users receive feedback on how well they’re pages are performing, as well as tips for making improvements. Users may make changes on a much more granular level, resulting in greater involvement in the overall SEO strategy.

WordPress is a clear winner when it comes to SEO.

 

eCommerce:

If you’re looking to sell things online, Squarespace does allow for this, but the options are limited as far as payment processors go. As of the original date of this post, users may only accept payments via Stripe or PayPal.

You’re also limited in what your checkout experience looks like in Squarespace. While it’s easy to get an eCommerce site up and going, it may be difficult to expand and integrate with more advanced applications as your business grows.

WordPress offers several eCommerce plugins to choose from, many of which are free. According to WinningWP.com, “WooCommerce is the most popular eCommerce plugin around, powering around 30% of all online stores.” It is also easy to integrate with other applications, which makes setting up your online store and customizing it for your brand easy to do.

If you want more options to choose from, and a more customizable eCommerce platform, WordPress is the way to go.

 

Security & Support:

SSL Certificate

An SSL certificate is an important component of your website’s security strategy. SSL certificates are required if you plan to process any type of payment on your website.

Squarespace includes an SSL certificate in all of the plans they offer. With WordPress, you are ultimately responsible for the protection of your site. Many hosting plans include SSL certificates, or there are also several third-party certificate providers to choose from.

Security Software

Because WordPress is an open source application, it does lend itself to more security vulnerabilities. However, when users follow best practices, security vulnerabilities and functionality issues are limited. Again, because WordPress is open source, anyone can create plugins. Therefore, it’s best to use only plugins from well-established vendors. These plugins get updated on a regular basis and are thoroughly tested before they are released. When you use plugin vendors with proper licensing, you will get the best results.

We recommend installing a comprehensive security plugin on your WordPress website to block hackers and brute force attacks. Our favorite is iThemes Security Pro.

While both platforms provide varying levels of technical support and maintenance to users, the WordPress community allows access to the knowledge of developers and users from around the world.

Conclusion

WordPress Packs a Powerful Punch.

We prefer WordPress over Squarespace for our clients because it allows us the flexibility to create a precise design, functionality that improves results.

If all of the above reasons aren’t enough to steer you towards WordPress, here are a few fun facts that may influence your decision:

  • WordPress powers 28% of the internet
  • WordPress is the most popular CMS in the world, with approximately 15,886,000 websites on the entire web using WordPress
  • WordPress.org’s plugin database surpassed 47,000 in late 2016

 

Are you still unsure about which platform to use? 

Get in touch with Pistil Brands, and we’ll help you choose the best CMS for your business now and in the future.

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