If you’re trying to start a new website, then there’s a good chance you’re looking for a builder to use instead of creating your new site completely from scratch. Two top choices to consider today are Squarespace and WordPress.
Both options can help you to quickly get your domain up and ready to receive visitors. You can create e-commerce solutions with both platforms. They are both flexible and easy to use in their own way.
Here are some key points to consider if you’re thinking about using either Squarespace or WordPress today.
1. How Easy Is It to Use?
Squarespace has several restrictions that are in place when it comes to designing a new website. It’s built in a way to make it easy for a non-tech person to create a website for themselves, but you basically get what you see with this platform. You can drag and drop pictures and content into an exact location and that lets you know exactly what each page is going to look like.
When you add content, you can quickly adjust the spacing and positioning of what you want to create the perfect look.
WordPress offers a little more for those who want customization, but it is also a lot harder to get to know when you’re first getting started. Not only do you have themes and templates to research, but there are plugins and other additions you may need to make to your site so that it functions the way you want it to work.
When you insert content into your site dashboard on WordPress, you need to either preview or publish the page you’re working on to see what it will look like. This makes positioning and spacing a somewhat tricky proposition, especially on complicated templates.
2. What is the Customer Support System?
Squarespace offers consumers a dedicated and centralized support team that is available to answer any questions a builder may have. Their team has created an extensive library of questions and answers that are common to their platform. There are numerous methods of contact available as well, including live chat, 60-minute email support, and an extensive community forum.
It is a highly effective and organized system of customer support.
WordPress is more reliant on their community to provide help when it may be needed. The WordPress is community is quite large and highly active, but this can create a disadvantage to someone who is first getting started. Some forums and communities might have unwritten rules about asking questions or seeking advice and this can make it difficult for new builders to find the help they need.
It is a system that offers extensive resources, but relies on the individual seeking help to find it on their own instead. For this reason, many who use WordPress tend to hire a developer to create their site instead of doing it all on their own.
3. How Flexible is the Platform?
Squarespace is a tightly controlled platform. It is consistently tested and monitored to verify the quality of services that are being offered. This occurs within an interior environment where the development team can monitor the platform for conflicts or issues and have them immediately resolved.
Although this limits customization and flexibility when using Squarespace, it does improve the reliability of the platform. Whenever the platform is updated, the available add-ons are updated as well. You’re not stuck updating every plugin manually and hoping that the developer as adapted to the new changes like you are with WordPress.
WordPress is an Open Source platform, so there is a lot of variety available for those who are looking for a customized experience. This makes it possible for a developer to create their own tool or download one from the available plugins that are approaching 50,000 in number. Many of these tools are shared for free or are sold by third-parties for a small investment.
The Open Source nature of WordPress is both its best advantage and worst disadvantage. When using the tools that have been created by the community, there is no guarantee that they will work as intended. It is fair to say that there are just as many poor plugins available for a new site as there are fantastic ones.
This keeps costs down for those on WordPress, but it also creates additional problems. A free plugin means there is no obligation to provide support.
4. How About Adding New Content?
Squarespace doesn’t offer many options when it comes to adding content. It is possible to quickly add content to the platform and publish it. The uploading of files for video, digital, or other forms of media content is a simple process. It only takes a few clicks to create a good-looking page and know what it will look like when you publish it.
New users will find this platform to be relatively straight-forward in its approach and what it can do. Design options may be limited, but that also increases the speed from start to publication for the average user.
WordPress is designed to give users more choices. This makes the platform more difficult to use, but it is still designed in a way that is somewhat intuitive. If you’ve used a word processor like MS Word in the past, then most of the commands for WordPress are going to feel familiar. The learning curve involves locating where your commands happen to be.
New users will also need to learn the jargon and terminology that is used by WordPress, which is slightly different than what some beginners may know from their time with other software products. You have more design options available to you, which creates a customized look, but it takes more time to get the design right.
5. How Much Does It Cost?
Squarespace offers four different tiers for building a website or online store. Websites can be as low as $12 per month, while online stores can be created for as little as $26 per month. Although this may seem costly, the site is hosted by Squarespace, so new subscribers aren’t stuck trying to find an independent web hosting company before they can begin building their website.
Because WordPress is Open Source, it has no cost. The problem that many domain owners face when using this platform is that their web hosting provider will not accept it. WordPress sites can get very big, very quickly on a server. With the size limitations that many web hosting agencies have, they are forced to limit the scope of what a WordPress site can be – if they don’t outright ban it altogether.
During the initial investment phase for a new site over its first 12 months, the costs of Squarespace and WordPress are about equal. If you are creating a long-term presence, however, WordPress can often be cheaper – especially if you are wanting to run an extensive e-commerce platform.
6. How Difficult is the Ongoing Maintenance?
Squarespace requires very little maintenance. This is because they operate within a closed environment. The development team for this platform remains in control of every update and all the maintenance work that may be required. It is a process that allows site owners to focus on their content and service rather than focusing on ensuring that their website is up and running like it should be.
There are rarely any conflicts that occur when using Squarespace. Updates occur automatically.
WordPress is a maintenance-intensive platform. Whenever themes, plugins, or the overall platform receives an update from its developer, then everything else requires an update as well. Users are also at the mercy of the developers for product updates. If a plugin isn’t updated in some time and it is essential to the site that has been built, it could be disabled by a platform update and take the website offline.
Users are responsible for maintaining every aspect of their website. Conflicts can be caused when plugins are not updated in a timely fashion. They can also be caused by out-of-date plugins that are installed on a site.
Squarespace vs WordPress: Which to Use?
If you want to build an e-commerce site and have your brand represented quickly, then Squarespace is the better option here. The monthly cost may be higher than what a WordPress site may offer, but you have built-in tools to use and you can connect Stripe, PayPal, or both to your site to accept credit card payments right away.
WordPress accepts e-commerce solutions as well and offers more choices for an e-commerce platform. It takes longer to build a site of any type with this platform, but you have more customization options available to you. Choosing WordPress does mean committing to more ongoing maintenance over time.
In the Squarespace vs WordPress debate, one really isn’t “better” than the other. Each platform is designed to meet the specific needs that a new site may have. Compare these features to your specific needs and you’ll be able to determine which option is the right one for you.