Squarespace vs WordPress – Our Detailed Comparison

Last updated on December 15, 2014

squarespace vs wordpress reviewSquarespace vs WordPress is a tough one.  Both have the potential to help you create beautiful and functional websites, but which one is better for you?

We’ll break things down and cover the pros and cons of Squarespace vs WordPress in this review so you can decide for yourself which website builder suits your own unique needs.

To start off, both Squarespace and WordPress are both excellent website builders (see our detailed review of Squarespace here).  Each one of them has its own strengths and weaknesses, and understanding them and how they will affect you is critical in your decision making process.

After all, nobody wants to spend an enormous amount of time to build a website using WordPress (for example), and end up starting all over again with Squarespace.

In this review, we’ll benchmark Squarespace vs WordPress in the following 5 categories plus our conclusion:

Squarespace vs WordPress – Flexibility

Simplistically, WordPress is an open source platform, meaning that their codes are open to everybody to use and customize.  So any developers / programmers can use WordPress to create their own tools (such as templates / themes or plugins) to share for free, or sell to WordPress users.

Due to a broad range of tools being made available, the WordPress community has grown to more than 65 million websites since the end of 2011, and has no signs of slowing down as more people start to build websites.

Currently at the time of this review, there are 26,000 WordPress plugins which are downloaded more than 490 million times. 

Squarespace vs WordPress - WordPress Plugins

It’s hard to beat such a large community when every single feature you can imagine to be built into a website is available either for free or for purchase if you decide to use WordPress.

However, one of the biggest problems with allowing anyone to build plugins for WordPress is that the quality of the tools can either be great, or they can be terrible.  In our observation, there are probably way more terrible plugins than great ones.

Since the WordPress community is so large, it’s practically impossible to police the quality of all the tools being created.  So WordPress being an open source platform really is a double-edge sword – lots of tools, but most of them are mediocre or terrible.

(See this Blog post from WooThemes about the dangers of too many faulty plugins in WordPress.  WooThemes is a leading WordPress themes developer)

Further, to get good WordPress plugins, while some are free, a lot of them are “premium” plugins meaning that you will need to purchase them (this gets factored into our pricing analysis below).  There is absolutely nothing wrong with paying for great tools, as in our minds, I’d rather pay as it holds the developer accountable for creating and maintaining the product.  With free tools, the developer won’t have as much incentive to improve the tools and if the tool breaks, they’re not obligated to fix them for you.

As for Squarespace, which is not an open source website builder, means that their platform is gated off so only their own in-house development team can produce tools for users.  The benefit of this is that all their tools will be high quality and fully integrated into their website builder.

If you want to build a website, it’s nice to know that all the tools that you use have been thoroughly tested to ensure that it works perfectly every single time.  It’s also nice to know if you run into questions or problems, the Squarespace team will be there to assist.  Squarespace has made a commitment to answer all questions within 1 hour – you just don’t get that level of commitment from WordPress.

SUMMARY

While with WordPress, you can have access to thousands of different tools and plugins to help improve your website, you should be aware that a significant number of these WordPress tools may not be built by good developers.

If you do end up using some of these poor WordPress plugins, it may potentially cause conflicts with your website resulting in poorer performance, cross-browser conflicts, or even crashing your website.

If that happens, you ask the developer of the plugin for help but keep in mind that:

  1. They’re not obligated to help if the plugin is free
  2. You won’t be able to pinpoint which specific plugin caused the conflict if you have multiple plugins installed

With Squarespace, everything is closely controlled, monitored and tested within their own environment.  This will give you peace of mind that your website will be conflict-free, so you can focus on more important things instead of fixing your website. Further, their support team is there 24/7 to help you.

Squarespace vs WordPress – Ease of Use

The learning curve of WordPress is a lot steeper than Squarespace.  WordPress is a very powerful platform and because you can potentially modify the codes, a skilled developer can customize a WordPress however he/she wants to. But are you a skilled developer?

With Squarespace, even though it is a bit more restrictive when it comes to customizing a website, Squarespace is built in a way that it is a lot easier for a non-tech savvy person to learn how to use it.

Squarespace is a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) website builder. Meaning that when you drag and drop pictures, text, slideshows, etc directly into the website builder, you immediately get a glimpse of how the website will look like “live” as you are building the website.

With WordPress, when you are inserting information, you can’t see what it really looks like on the page until your Preview the page or Publish it.

Squarespace vs WordPress - not WYSIWYG

Further, with a drag and drop builder such as Squarespace, you can quickly and easily drag content into the website and position it however you want for each of your webpage.  In other words, you can pretty much create any layout you want since you just need to drag and drop content, however you want, on to the page.  You don’t need to know how to code or need any external tools to help you do this.

With WordPress, if you want to adjust the spacing of where the images sit, or add a slideshow on the top right corner of one page, and on the lower left corner of another page, this gets very tricky.  You may need to modify codes to accomplish this, or spend hours looking for the right WordPress plugin to help you accomplish this task.  Not to mention you won’t really know if the plugin will eventually cause issues with your website.

SUMMARY

Squarespace makes it easy for beginners to advance level users to build websites.  The fact that you can drag and drop content wherever and however you want, makes it a much user friendly way to build your website without committing weeks to learn how to use WordPress properly.

Although WordPress is a much more powerful platform, if you don’t want to dive face first into learning the technology of how to work it, or spend what can potentially be a lot of money to hire developers or designers to help you create a website, I’d suggest you give Squarespace a try.

Squarespace vs WordPress – Support

When it comes to support, WordPress has a massive community and “endless” amount of resources and tutorials to help you.  However, in our experiences, it’s hard to find good and relevant help – due to information overload.

Squarespace vs WordPress - WP support forums

I think this is mainly due to the fact that anyone can develop tools for WordPress so the quality of the tools are not monitored and most of the time, only the original developer of the tool can help you (that’s assuming they are even willing to help).

One alternative is to hire your own contractor that’s skilled in WordPress to help you configure your website, but that can get expensive very quickly – even if you outsource to the likes of India, Eastern Europe or Asia where wages are not as high.

With Squarespace, because they have a centralized support team that’s dedicated to their own website builder, they’ve created a library of support articles, Workshop videos, live chat, 1 hour email support and a community forum to help you build your website.

squarespace vs wordpress - live chat

squarespace vs wordpress - workshops

 

Further, as mentioned, because they create and test their own tools, the chances of your website running into issues are fairly low.

SUMMARY

You can most definitely find a lot of good help articles and tutorials about WordPress, but you will have to be patient in your search as it will take time.  If you email someone for help, it may take days before you get your questions resolved (if at all).

Hiring a WordPress contractor can move this process along quickly, but it may cost you quite a bit, and you also need to consider the time you spend in interviewing and evaluating the contractor.

With Squarespace, their support team will get right back to you within 1 hour. Or, you can find a lot of relevant help in their library.

It’s really a matter of personal choice.  As powerful as WordPress is, it’s definitely more difficult to find relevant and good help.  But on the flip side, WordPress really allows you to build some amazing websites with the right resources.

With Squarespace, you get help right away, get your website up and running, and you can move on to doing other things.

Squarespace vs WordPress – Ongoing Maintenance

One important thing you should know is that WordPress is continuously updating its platform to fix bugs and improve security.  So whenever it has updates (could be multiple times a year), you will also need to update your WordPress site.

The headache comes when you have a custom theme and also using multiple plugins.  Some reputable theme and plugin developers will also update their products so to make it easy for you to update them within your website to remain compatible with the WordPress updates.

Squarespace vs WordPress - plugin update

However, this is not always the case.  If the theme and plugins that you use for your WordPress site are not updated by the developer, you run the risk of these tools causing conflicts, harming the performance of your website, not working properly with the updated version of WordPress, or even crashing your site.

Squarespace vs WordPress - plugin outdate

With Squarespace, all updates are tested and pushed to your website automatically.  So Squarespace takes care of all that for you, so you can focus your time on other things that may be more important for you.

SUMMARY

While WordPress is a lot more powerful compared to Squarespace, WordPress is definitely more maintenance work to keep your website in good shape through the updates.  If the WordPress plugins that you use are not constantly being updated by plugin developers, they may potentially cause conflicts to your website.

With Squarespace, they handle all the updates so you don’t have to do anything.  This is especially helpful if you are a one person team without a dedicated website team to support you.

Squarespace vs WordPress – Pricing / Ongoing Commitments

How much to invest in your website is definitely a very important consideration.

Squarespace offers 3 premium packages:

1) Standard – $8 per month for an annual plan (or $10 if you are paying month-to-month)
2) Unlimited – $16 per month for an annual plan (or $20 if you are paying month-to-month)
3) Business – $24 per month for an annual plan (or $30 if you are paying month-to-month)

Squarespace vs WordPress pricing

So the ongoing cost for Squarespace ranges from $96 per year (Standard Plan) to $288 per year (Business plan).

Note that the plans comes with a free domain name ($10 – $12 value) and 24/7 support (this could be worth a lot of money to you since it can save you hours every time you need help).

We have more details about Squarespace’s pricing plans in our full Squarespace review.

Here’s an Official Squarespace Coupon to get you started [When and if you are ready to upgrade, just click on the “Enter an offer code” link in the upgrade page, and insert the coupon code.  You can find this link on the lower left side of the upgrade screen.]

With WordPress, you will need to get your own hosting which can cost about $7 per month (so $84 per year).  Further, you will most likely need to purchase a theme which on average could cost about $30 – $80 per theme, depending on how dependable and reputable the theme developer is (general rule of thumb is, the more expensive the product, the more reliable it is).

If you want to add more functions to your WordPress site, you may need to add a few free or paid plugins (which could be around $15 – $50 per plugin, again depending on the reputation of the developer).

With WordPress, you will also need to purchase your own domain name, which will be around $10 – $12 per year.

So the initial investment for a WordPress website could range from $139 to $200 or higher, depending on how many paid plugins you pick up or if at all.

Depending on your WordPress needs, you may also have to hire a contract developer or designer to implement your needs – which will also cost you extra money to invest in this (ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars).

See our video guide on how to set up a WordPress site with your own hosting.

SUMMARY

Based on our own experiences, purchasing products for WordPress it not the primary issue at hand.  What most people sometimes forget is that it’s hard to find good help with WordPress.  There isn’t a live chat function or someone that you can email and get an answer within 1 hour.  When we were learning how to use WordPress, it takes hours of research to just fix one issue.  Imagine if you have multiple issues.

You can always hire someone to help you make customizations and troubleshoot, but that’s a hit and miss approach sometimes.  We’ve hired some contractors before and there are good ones and there are nasty ones.  It’s so hard to ascertain whether the WordPress contractor is good or not until you actually pay them to work for you.  To us, this is the real cost of using WordPress.

On the flip side, if you’re willing to invest time and money into learning WordPress, you will, through trial and error, eventually become pretty decent at it.  That’s what happened to us and now we can make minor customizations ourselves without contracting out the work.

But that’s a very personal choice.  If you much prefer not to invest time in learning the technical side of website building, and rather save time and money to focus on other things, WordPress might not be the best platform for you.

With Squarespace, you get ongoing and fast help which in my mind, are worth the investment.

CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION

Picking Squarespace vs WordPress is a very personal decision.  As outlined above, while WordPress is a lot more powerful and flexible than Squarespace, the drawback with WordPress is that it takes time to dig through all the “clutter” to find the right ingredients / tools to build a good and function website.

Hiring a WordPress contractor is a very common practice for most non-technical WordPress gurus and the cost can add up over the years – we’ve had our fair share of contractors.  The hiring process could be stressful and you really don’t know what you’re going to get until you pay them to do the work.  Further, when WordPress updates its platform, you may need to hire the contractor again to ensure all the custom work is compatible.

With Squarespace, all the updating and servicing are managed by the Squarespace team so you don’t have anything to worry about.  With their 24/7 support team, it really makes build your website a lot easier so you can focus on other more important things.

With Squarespace, they provide you with gorgeous and polished responsive themes so you can build beautiful websites.  These themes are all tested and quality controlled by Squarespace so you just need to pick one and start building. [See our full review on Squarespace templates]

Although we may sound a bit biased towards favoring Squarespace, it is our honest opinion that if you are a one person team or don’t have the dedicated resources to help you build, maintain or troubleshoot a website, we would recommend trying Squarespace.

But if you do have a tech savvy person on your team, and you want to build a very sophisticated website that goes beyond what Squarespace has to offer, then definitely go with WordPress.

We just want you to be aware of the key issues when deciding between Squarespace and WordPress.  In our minds, time and resources are the 2 key critical considerations you should weigh in your decision making process

  • Squarespace = less maintenance and lower cost in the long run (Get Coupon)
  • WordPress = more flexibility, but higher maintenance, higher learning curve and cost more in the long run

For us, we built this website using WordPress because it suits the purpose of our website better (writing articles and blog posts), and also we’ve already committed thousands of hours and thousands of dollars in hiring WordPress contractors and learning from them in our other projects.  So for us, using WordPress is not very difficult, after paying price to learn.

For you, this might not be realistic.  So choose according to your available resources.

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About Jeremy Wong

Maybe just like you, at first we didn't have a darn clue about how to build a website, nevermind write half a line of code if our life depended on it! We wanted to build a website to start a side business, and felt overwhelmed, confused & scared about how to actually do it, which builder to use, and making wrong decisions. After years of trials & errors using different website builders, we're here to share our experiences with you.

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About Jeremy Wong

Maybe just like you, at first we didn't have a darn clue about how to build a website, nevermind write half a line of code if our life depended on it! We wanted to build a website to start a side business, and felt overwhelmed, confused & scared about how to actually do it, which builder to use, and making wrong decisions. After years of trials & errors using different website builders, we're here to share our experiences with you.

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145 Responses to Squarespace vs WordPress – Our Detailed Comparison

  1. Mike Duval December 19, 2014 at 8:05 PM #

    Wonderful and very useful comparison, specially if you are a small team without having the finances to hire a developer, or use their service.

    Thanks a bunch, you saved me from trouble big time!

    Needless to say, I go with Squarespace

    • Jeremy Wong December 19, 2014 at 9:26 PM #

      Glad you found this discussion helpful Mike! Best of luck with building your website!

      Jeremy

  2. genesis December 5, 2014 at 9:16 PM #

    Trust this guy. He’s a super code expert that he created very beautiful themes for Weebly users.

    divtagtemplates.com

  3. LucySG December 1, 2014 at 5:53 PM #

    Hi
    You had me completely sold on Squarespace, until the last paragraph (where you said you use WordPress because it suits the purpose of our website better – writing articles and blog posts).

    The reason I was originally going to use WordPress was exactly that – I need really good blog facilities that make it easy for people to follow, share, etc. WordPress blogs seem to get marketed and promoted really widely too.

    I take it you think Squarespace blogs aren’t as good, since you use WordPress??

    • Jeremy Wong December 1, 2014 at 11:19 PM #

      Hey Lucy,

      It’s really a personal preference to be quite honest. Yes I’d say that WordPress is really awesome with blogs, mainly because the user most likely won’t have to do a lot of graphical / functional tweaks to a WordPress site to run a blog.

      On the other hand, if you wanted to build a graphic oriented site on WordPress, it can get really challenging since you’ll have to start customizing the site. this is where drag and drop builders such as Squarespace allows you to do all that without knowing how to code.

      But having said that, you still have to invest time to learning how to set up WordPress, and how to use it. So it really depends on how much time and whether you think you have the patience to learn how to use WordPress properly.

      Squarespace, on the other hand, you can probably learn most of the in’s and out’s in a day.

      So if you’re sort of sitting on the fence, I’d say to give both platforms and try. It’s worth spending some time to test things out!

      Jeremy

  4. Joy Black November 29, 2014 at 5:19 PM #

    Several years ago, I purchased (and have continued to renew) a domain name through Network Solutions. I am now ready to create a website using this domain. I am interested in using Squarespace but am wondering about how to go about hosting the site once it is ready to go live. (Network Solutions currently hosts an active site of mine with a different domain name. The new Squarespace site with different domain name will replace it.)

    Thanks so much in advance for your recommendation re: hosting for the new site, going live with the new site and “turning off/discontinuing” the current site.

    • Jeremy Wong November 30, 2014 at 8:56 PM #

      Hey Joy,

      If you build a site with Squarespace, they host the website for you so you don’t need any other hosting services at all.

      What you then need to do is point / connect your domain name to the Squarespace website. Here are some tutorials from Squarespace on how to do that. Scroll down to the list of domain name providers and you’ll find Network Solutions there.

      This is of course assuming that you are using a separate domain name from your current “older” website. If you are using the same domain name that you are using with your live site right now, you probably want to wait until you complete your new Squarespace website before connecting the domain name – or else your visitors will see a work-in-progress website!

      Jeremy

  5. Utomo November 29, 2014 at 3:18 PM #

    WordPress need to improve easy of use for new user. it need WYSWYG.
    and they must collect all image on image folder instead of date folder

  6. MsWilson November 16, 2014 at 3:55 PM #

    Great review that has led me to consider using Squarespace for my clients who want to manage their own content ongoing, but don’t want to set up the original site.

    The one query I have though, is that I haven’t seen any Squarespace sites that are more ‘text” heavy. Do you know of any examples?

    Most of them are beautiful sites that are image rich, however I have a lot of clients in the finance industry, so I’m not confiden that Squarespace will suit them. I am encouraging the use of images and a more modern look, but when it comes down to it, they need to provide more than a few words on many of their pages. Mind you, WP doesn’t suit them either as its too complicated for them to learn.

    Any suggestions?

    • Jeremy Wong November 17, 2014 at 8:40 PM #

      Hi MsWilson,

      I don’t have any examples handy, but for sure you can populate a Squarespace website with more text. I’d agree that a lot of examples are more image heavy (which looks nice) but you can always add more text into the content area of Squarespace sites. No problems there!

      Jeremy

    • Raymond Duke November 17, 2014 at 8:42 PM #

      The amount of text on a page is completely up to you. Just because you haven’t seen any text heavy SS sites does not mean they don’t exist. And since you can easily change the size, font, and style of the text, you can easily manipulate a text heavy site with Squarespace.

    • anna November 28, 2014 at 5:40 PM #

      one that I know of is http://www.jacquelyntierney.com she writes and sells etc

      How I see it, Squarespace is the Apple/iphone of websites. Exclusive, great support, paid, classy and gorgeous image/visuals, simple.

  7. Rev. Grace May November 4, 2014 at 10:58 AM #

    Jeremy,
    Your article comparing and contrasting WordPress and SquareSpace is exactly what I needed and it’s coming at a critical time when our group Women of Wonder, Inc. is needing to decide which to go with. Many thanks for your helpful evaluation.
    Grace

    • Jeremy Wong November 5, 2014 at 12:19 AM #

      Glad we can be helpful Rev. Grace!

      Jeremy

      • Ignacio gomez November 11, 2014 at 7:05 AM #

        the squarespace forum for developer have more questions than answers. Way too many questions with no answer.

        i think you have highlighted the best of SS and the worst of WP. WP is not that bad and SS is not that good.

        • Jeremy Wong November 17, 2014 at 7:30 PM #

          Hi Ignacio,

          Fair enough. I was trying to highlight that while Squarespace’s tools are not as flexible as advanced platforms such as WordPress, all their tools and content are “curated” by Squarespace and so all their tools will work well together, and if not, they’ll fix it.

          For WordPress, as flexible as they are, there are great tools built by great developers, and there are also poor tools built by poor developers, and really no one to “monitor” the quality of the developers.

          So the spectrum of helpful tools / services is quite broad.

          For someone who is looking to build a good looking, functional website, while not investing a huge amount of time to learn codes, figuring out advanced platforms, climbing steep learning curves, or bother with hiring developers (there are good and bad service providers out there), Squarespace offers a very attractive way for such users to build websites.

          But of course, there has to be a good match between what Squarespace offers and what a user wants to build!

          Thanks for adding to this discussion!

          Jeremy

  8. Sam October 30, 2014 at 9:54 AM #

    Thanks for this comparison. As a coding novice on a tight budget, Squarespace definitely appeals to me as far as user friendliness. I guess my problem is the domain hosting–we just started a contract with Bluehost, which doesn’t offer Squarespace as a sitebuilder. We have fought hard to keep our domain through several transitions, and it doesn’t seem like a “custom domain” from Squarespace would fit with that. Your thoughts would be appreciated!

  9. Leonie October 29, 2014 at 4:05 AM #

    Great comparison. So helpful. Thank you!

  10. Dee October 4, 2014 at 2:45 PM #

    Wow, thank you so much for this article, i was for weeks debating what to do and who to go with since im not a tech savvy at all, but i get by. i wanna something fast nothing that i have to do much to start because im also press for time. Today i decided to search a little more online and i finally was going with wordpress but still wasnt 100% sure if this is what i want, but everyone talks a lot about wordpress so i figure all the hype means most be good place for me, but when i search for (W vs any other blog or website builder) “WALLA” here was your blog.

    thank you, thank you it seems that squarespace is a way much better fit for me. I read your info on both with good qualities wordpress is good but is not a good fit for me, now squarespace i can see working with that since is more easy when it comes to builder. thank you again for such a great article.

    • Jeremy Wong October 4, 2014 at 4:05 PM #

      Hi Dee,

      Glad our discussion here has been helpful. Your approach is well thought out. WordPress is definitely more powerful than Squarespace, but if you are in a time crunch and want to best allocate your time, Squarespace is a fantastic platform to build a great looking and functional website. So sounds like it’s going to be good fit for you!

      – Jeremy

  11. Drakefire October 3, 2014 at 11:32 AM #

    WordPress is pain to use, in all honesty. I could not get the to even start designing the website.

    • Jeremy Wong October 3, 2014 at 8:53 PM #

      I understand how you feel. When we first started out, it was a real challenge. Then we switched to drag and drop website builders as it was a better usage of our time.

      But once we went into the web publishing industry for a couple of years, with a lot more technical skills, we were able to pick up WP a lot faster than at the very beginning!

      – Jeremy

  12. Martha October 3, 2014 at 9:10 AM #

    I have a massage therapy business and want to showcase 2 specific kinds of work, with options to add more, as well have a links page, a contact page, a schedulicity payment button, paypal, a forms page, and an ‘about me’ page. Some pictures. Pretty simple. Have zero knowledge about how to do this. Which squarespace templates do you suggest?

    Oh, want to be able to insert various words that are not in my web name so that when people are searching, they will find me. Looks like that is not a problem with any template on squarespace?

    Thanks.

    • Jeremy Wong October 6, 2014 at 2:33 PM #

      Hi Martha,

      I’m not entirely sure which specific template to recommend as it’s really a personal choice. But one thing great about Squarespace is that you can try out different templates to see which one works best for you. So even if you have inserted content into your site, you can always test out a different design template if you want to.

      Hope this points you in the right direction!

      – Jeremy

  13. Don Kennedy October 2, 2014 at 1:32 PM #

    Wow, timing is everything isn’t it? I have tried desperately to determine which platform (Squarespace vs WordPress) to use for my personal site.

    I have reviewed a number of books available, read through magazine articles, and actually interviewed a Graphic Designer (whose client list use both products), a one-man e-commerce owner (WordPress) , and reviewed a number of current blogs (eight by last count, three WordPress and others) being used.

    This article resolved it for me. Thanks Jeremy!

  14. chana September 28, 2014 at 10:49 AM #

    I’ve been struggling for weeks with wordpress. I have a blog that I want to monetize sometime in the future, do you think squarepace is good use for a blog? I’ve heard that wordpress is best for blogs but I’m having such a hard time I don’t know what to do.

    • Jeremy Wong September 29, 2014 at 1:08 PM #

      Hi Chana,

      WordPress is indeed very good for blogs. But if you find it too challenging, Squarespace is also a very good option as they do have a lot of decent tools for blogs.

      Here is a video workshop hosted by Squarespace demonstrating how to build a blog using their platform. This will give you a better idea of what you can do within a blog.

      – Jeremy

  15. Jhon Mourish September 23, 2014 at 11:04 PM #

    Great and a unique post. I got many useful information’s after reading this blog. Thanks a lot for sharing.

  16. Bob September 23, 2014 at 8:21 AM #

    So, which do you use for this site? SquareSpace or WordPress?

    • Jeremy Wong September 23, 2014 at 1:23 PM #

      Hey Bob,

      We use WordPress for this site as this site is focused on blog posts – which WordPress is a much better choice. We don’t need any gallery functions, etc, just basic blog post features.

      Also, we’re pretty proficient from a technical perspective, since we started exploring building websites over 4 years ago and have been doing this full time so we’re pretty good at making code tweaks, and managing hosting services, etc.

      There is definitely a place in time when using WordPress makes more sense, but when we first started over 4 years ago, without having any technical skills, the likes of Squarespace made a lot more sense in allowing us to build websites. Instead of spending over 90% of our time worrying about technical issues, using drag and drop builders like Squarespace allow users to get a website up quickly and efficiently.

      – Jeremy

      • Bob September 23, 2014 at 2:40 PM #

        Thanks, Jeremy!

  17. Adrian Vignarajah September 16, 2014 at 2:18 PM #

    Your comparison helped me a lot while i am not a technical person and only looking to build a website to start my photography on a commercial basis.

    • Jeremy Wong September 18, 2014 at 3:28 PM #

      Glad our discussions are helpful Adrian!

      – Jeremy

  18. Jim September 2, 2014 at 2:25 PM #

    Hello again, it’s me, Jim…the super novice. I am looking to build 2 websites, but I truly need the kiss (keep it simple stupid) rule to apply. I want to be able to say, go in each day and write a few new paragraphs about certain things or say, answer a question that someone has asked me. Which one is the easiest to learn and then do? If I build a business site, can I sell things from places such as Clickbank? Is it easy to construct a landing page? Thanks again for any help that you can give me. P. S. I recommended you on FB! Peace!

    • Jeremy Wong September 3, 2014 at 1:12 PM #

      Hi Jim,

      I answered your question on the other page already.

      And yes you can definitely sell products on any of the website builders we’ve discussed!

      – Jeremy

  19. Rich Uhrlaub August 29, 2014 at 11:11 AM #

    Thanks Jeremy. I’ve used Squarespace for my own business as well as those of small-to-medium-size non-profit and business clients since 2009, and still love its simplicity, easy-to-understand metrics, SEO, elegance, great templates, flexible design options and great support. For larger sites, I’m a Joomla fan. If you need a site that makes you look like Microsoft or Mercedes Benz, Squarespace is probably not the right choice. But, for most small-to-medium size operations, it’s hard to beat!

    • Jeremy Wong August 29, 2014 at 2:10 PM #

      Hi Rich,

      Thanks for sharing your experiences with us! Glad to hear that Squarespace has been helpful for you to build your websites.

      I’d also agree with your assessment that for very large websites, it might be worth considering using something more advanced.

      Just FYI, if you haven’t seen it before, but Squarespace also has a developers platform that is used to power some pretty big brands.

      Thanks for adding to this discussion again!

      – Jeremy

  20. Dale Smith August 18, 2014 at 7:45 PM #

    Hello Jeremy, thank you for this very helpful (albeit admittedly biased) comparison between Squarespace and WordPess. Can I request that your future comparisons PLEASE include the very important issue of – “Integration”? What do I mean by “Integration”? For example, having form data on a Squarespace web form automatically post to a Lead or Contact record within a CRM would be a common use case for “Integration”. With WP someone, somewhere and some point in time has created a plugin to enable WP integration with practically anything and everything.

    Although I am not yet a Squarespace user (researching it lead me to your site), I am impressed by the visual sophistication of the available templates and the overall ease of use especially when combined with good SEO features. What Squarespace is missing is the Integration features that enable a website to easily or automatically exchange information with other systems (think Zapier) to create the integrated online infrastructure that enables a website to dramatically impact business performance.

    Anyway, could you possibly consider a special look into the “Integration” possibilities of Squarespace?

    • Jeremy Wong August 19, 2014 at 10:46 AM #

      hi Dale,

      Thanks for your comment. Yes it’s true that Squarespace isn’t as powerful as WordPress as WP is an open source in that a lot of developers can build a lot of cool and functional add-on’s to bolt on to a WP site. So from that perspective, for sure, WP is more of a “complete” platform.

      In your specific example, Squarespace does allow any data that is submitted through the contact form to either be emailed to you directly (so you can read it on the fly), aggregated into a Google Doc (allowing you to compile a list of raw data), or can be added to MailChimp (the auto responder newsletter software).

      While WP can have much more sophisticated integration options, what Squarespace has to offer is much much better than other drag & drop website builders. Further, the benefit is that all these integrations are managed and updated by Squarespace itself, ensuring that everything works flawlessly and its codes are updated.

      With WP, while they have a lot more options, the updating of the codes whenever the platform updates is completely reliant on the developer of the plugin. I suppose there are options to purchase premium plugins and pay for annual support thereafter.

      As for more custom integration tools for Squarespace, they do have a pool of independent specialist that you can potentially hire to help you customize your site.

      Also, if you want to build something completely custom, they do have a developers platform here, and you can either do it yourself or even hire someone to build something from grounds up for you. The benefit is obviously that you can make it a lot more flexible than what Squarespace normally prescribes!

      Thanks for adding to this discussion!

      – Jeremy

      • Jeremy Wong August 19, 2014 at 10:51 AM #

        Just as an added piece of this discussion thread (which is really good for all the readers to understand!), to a certain extent, WordPress and Squarespace are targeting different crowd of users.

        For those who need something really advanced / sophisticated with a lot of flexibility, WordPress is a really great choice. And the decision should be made together with the points I’ve outlined in the article above.

        For those who want a great looking site and have everything else taken care of (without worrying about integrating external tools, managing hosting (for wordpress.org), or learning how to use WordPress which has a steeper technical learning curve), Squarespace is a great choice.

        – Jeremy

        • M Holden September 25, 2014 at 4:22 PM #

          Hi Jeremy,

          I’ve read a bunch of the great posts on this site (thanks for them!) and I’m particularly interested in this thread…

          We are an established business and already have a website, but it was created a long time ago, and it grew organically over time, mostly via trial and error additions by non-technical staff. As a result, the navigation is a bit of a mess and it’s not superbly maintained (one or two broken links and/or pages “under construction”). Long story short, we are looking to re-design it and want it to be made with a robust CMS. After a couple less-than-great experiences with developers in the past, we would LOVE to create the new site on a website builder such as the ones reviewed here. It would be ideal to do it all ourselves, which makes Squarespace very appealing, but I’m concerned about a few things and wonder if you know the answers to the following:

          In Squarespace:

          1.) Are we able to include PDFs that people can download from our site?
          2.) Are we able to include something like a map with a zip code search function? (store locater for retailers who carry our product) ?
          3.) In the future, we would love to be able to integrate a web form that creates a contact in a CRM in the way Dale describes above. If we have a Squaresapce site, and hire a developer from their pool, would that person be able to make this happen (i.e., would it be a function that’s supported in the site we have?). Ideally we’d love to be able to capture info from anyone downloading the PDFs mentioned in 1.) and/or create a customer login area where people could get access to special information and/or post questions, etc.

          Relatedly, I saw in your video review of Squarespace that you can import from and export to WordPress — is there value in that for us, given our above needs? Also, if we imported a WordPress site that had plugins or tools that give us expanded capabilities, but managed it in Squarespace moving forward, would we have the same issues you describe above with updates to WordPress (and possible lack of updates to the tools/plugins we are using)?

          Thanks in advance for any insight you are able to share, Jeremy!

          Cheers.

          • Jeremy Wong September 29, 2014 at 12:58 PM #

            Hi there,

            You can upload PDF files into your Squarespace site and people can download them directly on your webpage.

            Squarespace does have a Map block that you can insert, but there won’t be a zip code search. But if you have a widget that provides this, you can try to insert the map widget into the website using the “inject code” function in Squarespace.

            I don’t think there is a way to create a CRM within Squarespace. But you can definitely consult with some dedicated Squarespace developers to see if there is a workaround for this?

            – Jeremy

            • M Holden October 2, 2014 at 4:27 PM #

              Thanks!

              I did speak w/ a specialist and for the benefit of anyone else who might read this, you can use Zapier with Squarespace to connect to a CRM such as Insightly.

  21. Rachel August 13, 2014 at 8:21 AM #

    Thanks for an excellent comparison. I’m probably going to go with Squarespace. Although I will do some of the work myself, I may want to hire a Squarespace “expert” who can help me with certain aspects. Any suggestions about an easy way to find such a person? I tried finding someone through my local colleges but was not successful. Most of the people who responded work with WordPress.

    • Jeremy Wong August 13, 2014 at 1:49 PM #

      Hi Rachel,

      It’s not surprising that a lot more people respond to WordPress help as it is definitely a much more popular platform at the moment. Also, there is a very broad range of WP freelancer quality, so you have to be extra careful there if you decide to get some help with WP.

      As for Squarespace, they do list out some Squarespace Specialists here.

      Also, a popular place to look for freelancers in general include oDesk and Elance.

      Hope this helps!

      – Jeremy

  22. A Man August 7, 2014 at 3:42 PM #

    Hey! THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THESE ARTICLES! They are very informational and specific on the topics listed. You are a lifesaver! One quick question though.

    I am currently using Bluehost for hosting and I have my website (not finished) through WordPress. My website designer bailed on me and left me with a unfinished WordPress site.

    I am seriously thinking about going to Squarespace. Could I use Squarespace to build my website and still keep BlueHost for my hosting (I have already paid for three years) ?

    Also can I export my website from WP to Squarespace what I already have done? Down the road if I need to can I take my website from Squarespace somewhere else?

    Does the squarespace have ads like the Wix versions do?

  23. Irene August 6, 2014 at 10:55 PM #

    Hi, Jeremy,

    Do you recommend I use Squarespace for my web site of which 2/3 of visitors will come from China, while 1/3 comes from HK as I expected?
    I sincerely want to hear your advice in it. many thanks!~

    Cheers,
    Irene

    • Jeremy Wong August 7, 2014 at 11:47 AM #

      Hi Irene,

      Squarespace shouldn’t have any issues with getting traffic from China or Hong Kong. I know that there are firewalls in the mainland of China, so just as long as international websites are not blocked, then all should be able to access the website.

      – Jeremy

  24. Chris August 2, 2014 at 7:52 AM #

    While I think this is an excellent review for the true “newbie” or one-site, one-time web designer, it’s worth noting that the price argument goes exponentially in WordPress’ favor the minute one adds another site or has an evergreen site that is up for many years with no theme change. Basically, this sums up the argument between a subscription model (squarespace) and a more diy model with WP:

    I run a small shop with 12-15 live websites, each averaging a couple hundred hits a day each, and to host them effectively costs only $30 a month on a VPS. Although (as you noted) I’ve got a couple hundred dollars invested in start-up costs in themes and plug-ins, that is a one-time cost amortized over 12 websites over x years.

    At $16 a month x 12 months for a squarespace “unlimited” account, just 5 squarespace sites would cost a whopping $960 a year, compared to my annual WP hosting for 12 sites of $360, which also has room for growth, reallocation of resources, etc.

    So I would stress to anyone considering squarespace that if they want to expand beyond one website, be prepared to pay the price! It could well be worth the extra time and satisfaction of learning some of the ins and outs of WP, which let’s be honest, can be quite simple if necessary, to save a whole lot of bucks!

    • Jeremy Wong August 2, 2014 at 9:55 AM #

      Hey Chris,

      Thanks for taking the time in providing your thoughts!

      I’d agree with your thoughts in that if one wants to have multiple sites, the cost of using drag & drop website builders such as Squarespace will indeed start to add up. Your point about just paying a “flat” fee for hosting, while being able to host multiple websites in that single account is definitely valid!

      I suspect that a good chunk of Squarespace users are single website users (though I could be completely wrong as I don’t have any data to support this!), so it’s still worth considering using Squarespace. But yes, I agree that from a pure economics point of view, once a person start to run multiple websites, it’s worth considering the WordPress route.

      Thanks again for sharing your thoughts!

      – Jeremy

  25. R June 19, 2014 at 10:57 AM #

    I have a question about this statement in your article:
    “Squarespace is a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) website builder. Meaning that when you drag and drop pictures, text, slideshows, etc directly into the website builder, you immediately get a glimpse of how the website will look like “live” as you are building the website.

    With WordPress, when you are inserting information, you can’t see what it really looks like on the page until your Preview the page or Publish it.”

    I find that as I’m building my pages in Squarespace, I have to do exactly what you criticize WordPress for above, I have to repeatedly scoot things a little here and a little there, hitting “Preview” each time to see what it actually looks like on the web page. The way things look in the website builder is not at all the way they look on the website. Is there something I’m missing?

    • Jeremy Wong June 20, 2014 at 1:27 AM #

      Hey R,

      That’s a good observation, and we mentioned it as a drawback in our main Squarespace review discussion.

      The main reason is that all of Squarespace’s templates are responsive, so they are more “fluid” and the content positioning will shift slightly depending on the size of your display monitor or viewing device.

      Responsive templates “respond” to different display sizes so to optimize the viewing experience. This is why what you see when you are building your site in Squarespace’s editor will look slightly different than what actually shows up after it is published. But the viewing experience will always look good versus a non-responsive template which may not fit properly on different viewing devices.

      At least with Squarespace when you are inserting your content, you can drag and drop content into the webpage you are working on, so you can position items as you build out your content, and insert text directly on the page.

      With WordPress, you really don’t have that visual option. Hope this clarifies things!

      – Jeremy

    • Amor July 2, 2014 at 11:23 AM #

      I find it annoying too, but what I do is open two tabs. One for when I’m logged into squarespace working on it and the other just my domain so I can just refresh to see my changes, rather then hitting preview and going back each time to make a change. I know it’s not ideal but it works fine for me.

      • Jeremy Wong July 2, 2014 at 11:36 AM #

        That’s brilliant thinking Amor! That will cut down some hassle switching between editing and viewing the site. It’s as close as to a “real time” preview.

        Thanks for adding to this discussion!

        – Jeremy

  26. Jon June 18, 2014 at 9:02 PM #

    After having done research to evaluate Squarespace, i have determined that it is in fact what I’m looking for and it’s no wonder that the only competitor worth really mentionong is WP. Pictures and text with easy options and a friendly shipping truck outline. It’s very attractive/classy, and monetizing is cake. Love the dollar sign option within for commerce.

    Thanks guys.

  27. Jon June 18, 2014 at 9:22 AM #

    Hi! I didn’t know you guys existed! I’ve dreaded learning WP b/c I know that it would take the better part of a year of continuous research / trial&error to learn the basics of. I do NOT want that.

    Anyways, Here’s what i need, please tell me if this would work with Squarespace. I want to publish unlimited articles about my passions to help people. I need unlimited comment thread capabilities for users to comment to me and also reply to each other.
    I want to log in from anywhere and update my content at any time. I want to sell ebooks to consumers limitlessly, without any sort of “off the top” skim by anyone. In other words, for my written content and ebook sales, i want all the profits. I would be paying for the website, afterall right?

    This review you gave was very helpful to me. Is there some “guide to Squarespace” that I can read that will answer all of my questions so that there are not potential surprises later on? Like can I sell my website when I don’t want it anymore. Are others allowed to advertise on my blogs for my personal gain? That’s a lot of questions. Thanks for reading… I have no problem getting the professional version. Just need to know my limitations.

    • Jeremy Wong June 19, 2014 at 3:41 AM #

      Hey Jon,

      To my knowledge, I don’t think there are any limitations to how many blog posts / articles you can publish, or any commenting limitations. But you can clarify that with Squarespace’s support team if you want a definitive answer.

      As for selling of products, aside from the payment processor fees (these fees are charged by the payment processor (Stripe in this case), and not Squarespace), you get to keep all the profits as Squarespace doesn’t not charge any transaction fees.

      As for selling your website, I suppose you can just transfer ownership to your buyer and provide the buyer with your log in details. Then the buyer can insert his/her own payment information within Squarespace for ongoing subscription purposes.

      Hope this helps!

      – Jeremy

  28. Caitlin June 16, 2014 at 5:03 PM #

    Hi Jeremy, thanks for this article. I am considering building a personal portfolio website and have been doing some research about the best options. I’ll do some more looking, but I am pretty much convinced that Squarespace is the way to go.

    • Jeremy Wong June 17, 2014 at 5:53 AM #

      Hi Caitlin,

      Thanks for leaving your feedback. Squarespace is a great website builder to use, especially if you want to showcase your portfolio. Their templates are very well designed and are very suitable for showcasing for sure!

      – Jeremy

  29. Cheri W. June 14, 2014 at 6:18 PM #

    Great info! I’m using the 14 day trial for SquareSpace and wanted some info on WordPress before I made the final decision to launch my (beautiful) SquareSpace site. After I got over the initial “shock” of having to learn ANYTHING about self-design, I got the hang of things and love it. Couple little quirks on SquareSpace that I need to work through, such as creating new “boxes” next to ones that already exist. Not easy. But overall, if I can do it, most people probably can, too. I don’t want to do any extra design or hire someone to do it for me. I want to be totally independent, so SquareSpace it is. BTW, they respond via email within MINUTES to your questions.

    • Jeremy Wong June 15, 2014 at 5:52 AM #

      Hey Cheri,

      Thanks for sharing your experiences! And congrats on gaining “independence”! Squarespace really makes it easy for users to create their own website (without technical knowledge as well).

      Of course, for those who want to hire experts to help with their Squarespace websites, they can continue to do that. But in general, you can totally be independent for sure!

      And thanks for sharing about Squarespace’s support responsiveness. They’re excellent in our experiences too!

      – Jeremy

  30. Eliza Conquest June 8, 2014 at 9:27 AM #

    Hi,

    I found this site extremely helpful to help me to decide whether to invest time in working out how to use WordPress or Squarespace – so as I am a one man band, Squarespace wins hands down.

    I am a photographer, and have also been investigating another web design site called Clikpic.

    So now it will be a choice between these two.

    Thanks for such readable & understandable advise, without any waffle!

    Best wishes. Eliza

  31. Svi May 28, 2014 at 3:35 AM #

    If you need to migrate an existing site with more than 20 blog posts, you really need to pay for the Professional version to find out if migration from WordPress is a reasonable option. According to Squarespace customer care, the import mechanism on the trial version is limited and there is no way to know if the information that is lost when importing from WordPress is due to the limitation (incomplete transfer) or if the import mechanism is broken.

  32. Cody W. May 24, 2014 at 12:42 AM #

    Hi Jeremy- Your site has been extremely helpful. I’m reviewing website builders for my small tourism operation and a very important component for my shopping cart/e-commerce needs is a widget/plugin that keeps track of my bookings + calendar/availability. I came across Peek.com powering the bookings of a competitor site, and I’m curious if you have any insight on integration issues with Squarespace? Any thoughts on whether I’d be limited with SS for this key component of my business? Thanks for any feedback you can offer!

    • Jeremy Wong May 24, 2014 at 1:56 AM #

      Hi Cody,

      Thanks for your feedback and glad that you’re finding our discussions helpful!

      We haven’t come across Peek before, but that’s mainly because we never had a need to use a booking engine for any of our projects. In general, if Peek gives you an embed code, you should be able to incorporate it into a Squarespace website using its Code Block.

      The best way is to sign up for a free trial account with Squarespace and test the Code Block to see if Peek works properly!

      – Jeremy

  33. Jeff Combs April 16, 2014 at 10:39 AM #

    Your article is a great help. Thanks very much!

  34. Susan April 11, 2014 at 11:52 AM #

    Hi Jeremy,
    Thanks for your input. I currently have a WordPress and would like to switch to Squarespace. I would like to keep my domain name. Is there a way I can export my WordPress into my Squarespace and also keep my domain??

    • Jeremy & Connie April 11, 2014 at 5:22 PM #

      Hey Susan,

      Yes you can. For your content, you can follow these instructions here to import them from WordPress to Squarespace.

      As for domain name, you just have to go to your domain registrar, and point your domain name to your Squarespace. Here are the instructions.

      – Jeremy

  35. Kerry Townsend April 6, 2014 at 8:53 AM #

    One aspect not mentioned in this comparison is portability. IF (and possibly when) you decide to move your website to another hosting company, what then?

    Converting to another web platform can be VERY COSTLY. WordPress has the edge here. I have dealt with converting several ‘in-house’ web builders that prevent this type of mobility. Yahoo, Web, Homestead, to name a few…

    • Jeremy & Connie April 6, 2014 at 12:21 PM #

      Hi Kerry,

      That’s a great point you’ve raised. Portability has always been an issue for hosted drag and drop builders. Squarespace does have an export function where you can export pages and your blog from Squarespace to WordPress, so in this instance it’s an option here.

      Obviously, there will have to be some tweaking for this migration process, and one may have to touch codes (or hire someone to do this) to style the new WordPress site after the data is migrated from Squarespace to WordPress.

      I wished all drag and drop builders had this option. The only other website builders that we’ve tested that have export functions (but not into WordPress) are Weebly and IM Creator. Here’s a chart where we’ve highlighted this.

      – Jeremy

  36. Julie April 4, 2014 at 8:44 PM #

    Wow!!! Thanks so much for sharing your experiences! :)
    I have spent days and hours on end trying to decide who to go with for an E-Commerce website. The only thing I am unsure about is using stripe? I haven’t heard of it before and was wondering if you can use PayPal instead? Thanks Julie

    • Jeremy & Connie April 5, 2014 at 10:47 AM #

      Hi Julie,

      Stripe is actually a very well known payment services provider, at least amongst the e-commerce community. PayPal is more well known amongst the “general” community since they have a much bigger brand.

      You can certainly use PayPal on your squarespace site, but it won’t be fully integrated with their e-commerce functions. Stripe is growing quite rapidly and more and more online shops are adopting their services to power their shopping carts. For instance, Weebly (another powerful drag and drop website builder) also recently adopted Stripe as one of the service providers to power their online stores.

      – Jeremy

      • Julie April 5, 2014 at 2:34 PM #

        Hi Jeremy, thanks for getting back to me so quickly. Maybe because I’m in Australia is why I hadn’t heard of Stripe. I realised this after some more research. I’ll keep on with a bit more research before I finally decide who to go with. I’m very impressed with squarespace. Have a great day! Thanks again :)

        • Jeremy & Connie Wong May 7, 2014 at 7:53 AM #

          Hi Julie,

          What you can do is actually set up an online store with Shopify (a leading online store builder), then use their Shopify Widget to embed the entire store (or just products of your choice) into your Squarespace website.

          Shopify offers you more than 70 payment gateway choices, so you can be sure to find something that works well for you in Australia! Here is our detailed discussion on how to use Shopify widget with your Squarespace site.

          – Jeremy

  37. Marcel March 31, 2014 at 8:24 PM #

    Thank you for your generosity and candid opinions. What seems to have escaped so many is that millions of people don’t have the time or resources to even begin to use WordPress. From everything I have read so far, the learning curve is way too steep. When becoming competent with any software for a website requires considerable time and effort, support is king and must be 24/7. Nothing assures me that I can expect that from WordPress. Add all the comments around the web concerning widgets not working and templates interfering with this and that, and it’s enough for any complete newbie to seek other options. And then there are the costs.

    Maybe I need to ask Squarespace directly, but it seems that they emphasize photos more than the subject of text. What limitations are there to the use of superscripted numbers for references with links and the use of special characters? What about fonts? I would like to think that they supply a vast range for free use and that the option is open for paid fonts from outside suppliers. I raise these queries because many writers are science-based and could be under the impression that all fonts are free.

    • Jeremy & Connie April 1, 2014 at 5:46 PM #

      Hi Marcel,

      All valid points about WordPress versus platforms such as Squarespace. At the end of the day, it all depends on whether the user has sufficient time and perhaps financial resources to commit to creating a good WordPress site!

      As for fonts, Squarespace integrates Google fonts which has over 600 custom font styles available. You can also integrate TypeKit, which is a third-party service that allows an extra 67 custom fonts to be used within a Squarespace website. So a lot of choices and flexibility!

      – Jeremy

  38. Isabel Garcia March 21, 2014 at 12:18 PM #

    Jeremy, thank you for providing amazing content! After reading all your articles on Square Space, I’ve decided to give this platform a try for time and cost reasons. I love using WordPress, but the costs of getting a web designer for help to set up the site adds up. I am wondering, though, will I get the same great SEO Google search results using Square Space. I appreciate your comments.

    • Jeremy & Connie March 21, 2014 at 12:25 PM #

      Hi Isabel,

      Thanks! Glad you’re finding our discussions helpful. In terms of SEO, this is a frequently debated topic and there really isn’t a 100% right / wrong answer (I wished there was!)

      If you do a quick search on your browers for the term “SEO” on this page, you will see that I’ve inserted my thoughts in numerous comments below that will be helpful for you.

      Thanks!

      – Jeremy

  39. Pete March 14, 2014 at 6:49 PM #

    Very good article. A few points to make in favor of WordPress:

    CUSTOMER SUPPORT
    Wordpress theme developers now include at least 1 year of technical support. I’ve had many detailed questions answered by UD Themes and Foxhound Band Themes in the past. The developers helped me customize their site using CSS. Typical responses were within 12-24 hours.

    PLUGIN RELIABILITY
    The reliability of a WordPress plugin can be determined based on the user reviews, ratings and compatibility with the most recent WordPress update. Therefore, of the thousands of plugins made available to users for free, all of those that appear at the top of the search can be trusted.

    EVERY BUSINESS NEEDS A WEB DESIGNER
    Setting up a website is only half the challenge. Every business requires a designer who can envision the marketing strategies necessary to sell their company to a specific target demographic. For this reason, I find it useless to judge Squarespace and WordPress based on their ease of use for novice users. If a business wants to compete in the big leagues, they need to hire a web designer. Period!

    • Jeremy & Connie March 14, 2014 at 10:11 PM #

      Hi Pete,

      Thanks for your points and they are very valid and I’m agreeable for the most part.

      A lot of people who want to build an online presence may not have the time or financial resources to hire a web designer / coder to build out a website. Having said that, not everybody needs a “full” website either, depending on what they’re doing, how much of their hobby or business relies on an online presence, and various other factors.

      I know quite a bit of people visiting our blog as they have tried the WordPress route, and either don’t have the time nor technical savviness (not judging!) to pursue that journey, or they just don’t have the budget for that. I’ve even heard some people have a hard time hiring the right contractor for help (some great stories there, and some really terrible ones too).

      In any case, I think there is a case for both platforms, depending on the users’ personal situation. That’s why drag and drop builders such as Squarespace is becoming quite popular (even running a Super Bowl ad compaign this year!)

      For sure, WordPress is still the big elephant in the world of website building. There ‘s definitely enough room for different service providers to thrive!

      Thank you again for taking the time to add to this discussion Pete!

      – Jeremy

      • Chuck Hamman March 18, 2014 at 6:02 AM #

        I’m with Jeremy on this one.

        This goes out to all the small business owners who don’t have “big league” dollars.

        I’ve been burned badly by WP. As a small business owner, I’ve flushed thousands and thousands down the toilet on developer fees.

        After spending thousands, what am I left with? A clunky site that requires additional design fees for every change. I’ve had a handful of good ideas I’ve wanted to implement, but can’t because we would have to rewrite our theme or programming fees are cost-prohibitive.

        The point about using multiple plugins is spot on. One of my plugins crashed my site a few weeks ago. I wasted an afternoon getting it back up.

        I’m a start up. I just need a good-looking, functional e-commerce site that I can understand.

        I wish I would have read this article earlier. I would have used Squarespace in a heartbeat. Thanks for sharing your insight guys!

        If anyone wants to ask more about my experience, you can find me at ‘www.drinksleepyhead.com.

  40. Andrew March 11, 2014 at 5:27 PM #

    Thanks for the comparison! Do you know if it’s possible to use any 3rd party things like Optinmonster and other plugins with SquareSpace?

    • Jeremy & Connie March 11, 2014 at 8:05 PM #

      Hey Andrew,

      I think OptinMonster only works with Squarespace. Generally speaking, any plugins that are created to work for WordPress won’t work with Squarespace. Both platforms are completely different.

      – Jeremy

  41. Kara March 4, 2014 at 2:20 PM #

    Hi Jeremy & Connie —

    Once again, you’ve provided fantastic content. Very much appreciate all of your expertise!

    Question regarding membership type sites. I really would prefer to utilize Squarespace over WordPress, but I would like to sell videos & written content where customers pay for access to a private site to view the content, like a membership site. I know there are many plug-ins that can help make this happen through WordPress, but do you know if Squarespace’s platform is capable of this type of business set-up?

    Thank you advance for any insight you are willing to provide!

    • Jeremy & Connie March 4, 2014 at 7:43 PM #

      Hi Kara,

      Squarespace doesn’t have any membership capabilities built into its core platform. But if you check out Sentry Login, they are an independent membership gateway services provider and their product can be integrated with a Squarespace website, making your website a membership site!

      Hope this helps!

      – Jeremy

  42. beth w March 2, 2014 at 11:32 PM #

    Wow! You write some great stuff, and the comments are killer. I was all about SS, then started reading comments.

    How could editing and making changes be live? I currently “publish” when finished working, must have the ability to publish at discretion.

    Also, no backup or restore function? Oh my word… that’s a must too.

    Thanks so much, your review are getting me closer to an informed decision!

    • Jeremy & Connie March 3, 2014 at 11:14 AM #

      Hi Beth,

      With Squarespace, you just need to click on the “View Page” button at the top of the page and you can see what your page looks like.

      Yes – currently there isn’t a backup or restore function for Squarespace. You do have the ability to export the site though. If you creating backups and restoring older versions of your site is really important to you, GoDaddy website builder has a backup / restore function.

      Hope this helps!

      – Jeremy

  43. diane February 18, 2014 at 10:54 PM #

    Thanks for such a great overview! After several less than satisfactory experiences dealing with the complexities and nuances of WordPress, with and without a web designer, I am about to turn to SquareSpace. I am launching an art gallery website and I love the clean minimal designs from SS and their treatment of images.

    My first question deals primarily with the content management capabilities of SquareSpace. Are there search capabilities for a name, word or term? If so, how will the results be displayed? Does SquareSpace allow articles, blog posts or images to be categorized or tagged? I love the use of tags in WordPress and I also like having a tag cloud. Is any of this a possibility with SquareSpace?

    In terms of SEO and Google searches, for example searching an artist by name, will it be necessary for me to write individual posts about specific artists represented, or will it suffice if I just provide a website page with the artist’s name, brief bio and their artwork? In other words, will a dated news or blog post take precedence over a static web page?

    I did have great SEO Google search results with virtually no effort on my part when I used WordPress. I did nothing more than write a short blog post about an artist (not in the least bit famous) and my article came up on the first page of search results. The blog had been up all of one day! I was shocked! So if SquareSpace does not yield this kind of result, I might consider using SquareSpace for the gallery website only, and using WordPress for the blog portion. What are your thoughts?

    Thank you in advance for your input and advice!

    • Jeremy & Connie February 19, 2014 at 6:28 PM #

      Hi Dianne,

      Yes there is a “Search Block” that’s available for you to insert into your website, so that your visitors can type in a search term to find relevant content within your site.

      Yes you can tag and categorize blog posts, galleries, events and product pages.

      As for SEO, I heard that Google does place preference on “fresh” content, meaning content that is updated instead of from say 5 years ago. So something dated might work better perhaps? Something worth testing for sure.

      As for Google search results for your WordPress blog, there are many different factors playing into how / why your posts ranked on the first page! Perhaps the artists have unique names and not a lot of competing content?

      In any case, I can only wished I had a concrete answer for you other than “I’m not sure, it depends?” but perhaps this is something that’s worth testing as well! But if you’re doing really well with blog post rankings with WordPress, don’t change that up! As you said, you can split the content between Squarespace and WordPress.

      – Jeremy

  44. Erokhane February 17, 2014 at 7:45 AM #

    There are very good free hosting services. WordPress also offers WordPress.com for those who don’t know enough about web site building. WordPress.com is completely free.

    WordPress.org and WordPress.com are built with the same software. And WordPress.org or WordPress.com site can be had completely free.

    • Jeremy & Connie February 18, 2014 at 3:10 PM #

      Hi Erokhane,

      Thanks for adding to this discussion. The only exception to the “free” part is that there are certain upgrades in which a user of WordPress.com may want to pay for, such as being able to use your own custom domain address (instead of using a WordPress domain address), video storage, get more storage space, remove advertisements and also get better support.

      So in a way, WordPress.com, while it is free, is somewhat similar to what you get from the likes of a free Weebly or Wix website. There are still some strings attached if you don’t upgrade.

      Here is the link to the pricing table for WordPress.com for those who are curious!

      – Jeremy

  45. Frank February 16, 2014 at 6:19 AM #

    I appreciate all of the great information. Quite simply, I need to be able to build a website and insert 3rd party web forms on various pages of it. Of the different website programs you have recommended thus far, which will allow me to do so? (I’m sure that it is possible with Word Press, although I am likely to need developer assistance, but what about all of the other WYSIWYG site builders?)

    Thanks,
    Frank

    • Jeremy & Connie February 16, 2014 at 10:01 PM #

      Hey Frank,

      All of the website builders that we’ve reviewed and tested will allow you to embed newsletters / auto responder sign up forms to web pages. They usually have an element / widget where you can embed codes – and you just need to retrieve the codes from the newsletter service.

      – Jeremy

  46. Gabrielle February 14, 2014 at 7:40 PM #

    Appreciate the comparison, I was ready to go with square space until I found out they have absolutely no images /Content that I can use to create a professional looking page. They said they would “point me to some content that I could use.” What Does that even mean? I contacted them about setting up the trial, and they only had a few templates but they stressed that content and images for the website construction would be available, and I have to upload my own images. That’s confusing to me because I’m not sure what it is I am paying for. Further, the “professional” looking website with that slick templates sort of loses its appeal & it seems quite misleading if there are no images one can use. I’m not a photographer, that’s why I’m looking for a website that has images I can use. Previously, I used iPage but their template images are mediocre at best. I hoped that square space would offer me something much more professional looking but they are now telling me I have to upload my own images or search around to find some. Can you clarify this? Is that the way it works? I’m such a novice with this, but it seems that images should be a part of the whole construction. Otherwise what’s the point in using this versus buying a book on how to use Dreamweaver which is available in the Adobe creative suite for a monthly fee that includes all of the Adobe creative suite products for almost the same price? Any ideas or advice? Thanks…

    • Jeremy & Connie February 15, 2014 at 10:51 AM #

      Hi Gabrielle,

      It’s normal that if you use a website builder, you have to supply your own content such as text, images, videos, etc, whatever you want to insert into your own website. A website builder’s services (Squarespace in this case) is to provide a user with the infrastructure, the tools, to build a website without him/her having to be very technical, or know code in most cases.

      If you need some good resources for finding images, check out our page here for a few different sources. Hope this helps!

      – Jeremy

  47. Donna February 5, 2014 at 3:42 PM #

    Hi! Great article! I’m trying to decide between WordPress, Squarespace, and Weebly. (I’ve built WordPress sites before but I’m leaning away from WordPress because, like you said, it’s time consuming and doesn’t have the customer support I’d like).

    Do WordPress or Squarespace provide HD video/audio players and password protected pages like Weebly provides in their Pro plan for $6 a month? Weebly’s Pro plan also allows unbranded videos (while their free plan only allows youtube videos).

    Mostly, I need blog features with password protected areas (or possibly password protect the entire site) with lots of videos that are 3-5 minutes in length each. And I’ll need live video chat, like through Skype or Google Hangout. (Can that be added to the website or would it need to be linked to, and the user is redirected?) And I’ll need 1-3 Paypal buttons. Based on that, which website builder would you recommend?

    Thanks!

    • Jeremy & Connie February 5, 2014 at 8:22 PM #

      Hi Donna,

      I don’t think Squarespace has an unbranded video player. Their video player can play YouTube, Vimeo and Wistia videos, the those videos are all branded by their players. So Weebly does have an unbranded player if that’s important to you.

      One of the good things about Squarespace’s video blocks is that you can insert your own custom image overlay. I’m sure you’ve seen this but on some websites where they display a YouTube player, you see a random still image on the player. So for Squarespace, you can insert whatever image you like as the “face” of the player, so that allows you some freedom to inject some creativity and design over the surface of the video player.

      As for password protection of pages, both Weebly and Squarespace have this feature.

      I think for social tools such as Google Hangout and Skype, for both web builders, you will have to link them up manually. Both builders can add PayPal buttons.

      Hope this helps!

      – Jeremy

      • Donna February 5, 2014 at 9:05 PM #

        Thanks, Jeremy! Yes, that’s great information! I do like that SS allows us to insert our own custom image overlay on videos. Does Weebly allow that, also?

        Re: password protected pages, I’ve just learned about Paypal’s Subscriptions Password Management feature that generates unique usernames and passwords with each purchase. That’s exactly what I’m looking for, so that when a client purchases a service, they are given a unique password to a restricted webpage, but it requires installing a Perl script, and I have no idea what that is or how to do it. Paypal has instructions but I don’t understand the instructions either (grr!), so I’m not sure how to proceed. Are you familiar with Perl scripts or have any suggestions on how to proceed? (I will call Paypal but thought I’d ask if you have any advice in the way of pros/cons for Perl scripts and Paypal’s Subscription Management System, or know of any other options that are easier to implement).

        Also, I noticed another commenter recently (in the last few months) was concerned Weebly didn’t support HTML5. But I saw on a Weebly blog (from 2010) that they had added HTML5 for videos. So does that mean they have HTML5 for video players but not for entire web sites? Is Weebly’s mobile optimization not as good as SquareSpace’s?

        Overall, what are your feelings about SS vs Weebly? I like that SS makes it easier to export to another site in the future if I outgrow SS, and Weebly is more difficult. But I like that Weebly backs up our site for us and SS doesn’t do that.

        Thanks for your help!

        • Jeremy & Connie February 6, 2014 at 12:29 PM #

          Hi Donna,

          Weebly currently doesn’t have the image overlay function on its video, but DivTag Templates has a Video Widget product that has this function and works with Weebly websites (disclosure: we also operate DivTag Templates).

          As for subscription / membership gateways, have a look at Sentry Login, which is compatible with Weebly and also Squarespace.

          Weebly has made a transition to HTML5 a year ago. So the websites you create with them are HTML5!

          Weebly’s mobile mode is not as good as Squarespace’s, as Squarespace’s templates are all responsive. Weebly has its own mobile editor, which is decent, but not as optimal as responsive templates (from some perspectives).

          I think Squarespace also backs up your site for you. They “should” have an auto daily backup mechanism for all the websites built, just in case anything crashes, they can recover all their customers’ websites.

          Jeremy

  48. Hannah January 30, 2014 at 2:35 PM #

    Great information, very useful. Most blogs and sites just copy and repeat info found elsewhere. This is original, new. Thank you.

    • Jeremy & Connie January 31, 2014 at 10:03 AM #

      Thanks Hannah! Glad you found this website helpful. – Jeremy

  49. Ray December 28, 2013 at 7:34 PM #

    I made the switch from WordPress to Squarespace 4 months ago and I could not be happier. WordPress is a nightmare to deal with. I invested tens of hours configuring the backend and was always confronted with problem after problem.

    I feel strongly that WordPress enthusiast have an interest in the platform for their business. That is, they are a designer or a programmer that depends on the complexities of WordPress to help them… they don’t want it to be easy because that would mean clients wouldn’t hire them.

    With SS I can do anything WP can. And I can do it better. I can sell stuff, host a podcast and do it all with simple drag and drop ease. WP cannot offer that. WP gave me problems with simple things like adding columns on a page or adding content in my footer. Really? Yes. Really. Those things require plugins from 3rd parties (and you have to pay extra for the best plugins).

    • Jeremy & Connie December 28, 2013 at 8:37 PM #

      Hi Ray,

      Thanks for sharing your experiences. WP does have a much higher learning curve for sure, and with more advanced features, this comes with additional complexities. So that’s why WP surrounds itself with independent developers and specialists, available for those who want to use their services to advance their websites.

      I’m glad you found Squarespace helpful and can fulfill your website needs! Thanks for sharing your experiences with us!

      – Jeremy

  50. Kai December 8, 2013 at 7:22 PM #

    I truly appreciate this article. I have been with Squarespace for several yrs now. I wanted an upgrade to my site and decided to call on some experienced web designers and almost every designer I spoke with was unfamiliar with Squarespace and encouraged me to go to WordPress.

    Thank you again for the Article. It renewed my faith for Squarespace!

  51. Emmanuelle Hessel November 10, 2013 at 1:31 PM #

    Hi Connie and Jeremy,
    A great article thank you.

    It does come from personal choice (and often budget, as a Squarespace site is much faster to set up so much cheaper initially) but I always make my clients aware of certain limitations that I have found with Squarespace:

    – the ability to share a page on social media. Squarespace lets you share posts but not individual pages. Well, not in a straight forward way anyway.
    – a “follow” plugin. Again, there is no straight forward way in Squarespace for people to register and follow a blog. If they leave a comment on a post they can register to receive updates on that post but that’s all. You can set up a kind of follow system by integrating with mailchimp / rss-to-email, but I wish it was easier.
    – what I also try and explain – somehow – is that Squarespace is not as intelligent as WordPress. I mean Squarespace gives you flat sites where each page is built individually whereas WordPress gives you database driven sites where you can “intelligently” call in and display information. That is the biggest difference in my opinion.
    – having the ability to preview a page in Squarespace before publishing would be useful
    – and finally, being able to get a backup of (and the ability to restore) a Squarespace site would be reassuring.

    I use Squarespace a lot and I really enjoy the system, as my clients do, but it is essential to be aware of these limitations when making a decision on which platform to build your website on.
    Do you agree?
    I would love your opinion if you have a moment. Thank you.

    Emmanuelle

    • Jeremy & Connie November 11, 2013 at 2:51 PM #

      Hi Emannuelle,

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts and adding to this discussion. Overall, I’d agree with you! The key point to understand is that WordPress is a full “content management system” that allows you to manage your website and content in a much more sophisticated manner. However, this comes with a trade off in that there is a much higher learning curve when it comes to learning WordPress vs Squarespace.

      I think you also bring up a very good point about being able to preview your changes prior to publishing. For those who are not familiar with Squarespace yet, is that changes you make when you are editing Squarespace are being instantly published live which can be a bit inconvenient.

      Thanks for sharing Emmanuelle!

      – Jeremy

    • Candace November 28, 2013 at 12:52 PM #

      Hi Emmanuelle!

      How do you do the mail chimp/rss-to-email?

      I am currently thinking about switching to Squarespace from WordPress, and I love it but my only draw back in the subscriptions and email platform.

      Thanks!!
      Candace

      • Emmanuelle Hessel December 3, 2013 at 5:23 PM #

        Hi Candace,
        Sorry for the late reply; I thought I would be able to give you exact details but I am yet to see my first RSS campaign go out! The testing so far hasn’t been 100% but I think we are there and the first mailout should happen on Monday.

        In the meantime, here is a very quick step through guide so you can give it a go:

        1. get your RSS feed URL from Squarespace
        Note that for some reason, image width will automatically be resized to 500px wide by Squarespace. It is important to know for when you design your email template.

        2. create a Blog subscribers list in Mailchimp (+ customise the subscription confirmation emails).

        3. set up a campaign in Squarespace. They have a series of RSS ready templates so that is the best way to start. I am planning on designing a specific template once I am convinced it all works smoothly! Follow the steps in Mailchimp, it is pretty straight forward, they give you lots of RSS short codes. However, I could not get the post extract to work properly so my email shows the whole post. The campaign is scheduled to go out automatically at a certain time / day(s) when new posts are published.

        4. TEST! Subscribe and test… My client only publishes 1 new post per week so testing is slow.

        5. on your Squarespace site, create a simple form and connect it to your Blog subscribers list in Mailchimp and start collecting new subscribers.

        I hope it makes sense.
        I’ll be keen to know how you went.
        Thank you.

        Emmanuelle

  52. Rebecca Russell November 4, 2013 at 10:50 AM #

    Hello Connie and Jeremy,

    I’m really new to website design (but have a magazine design background) so really appreciate your posts. I inherited a ghastly website which I am about to throw away and start from scratch. I have looked at WIX and SquareSpace, but everyone seems to say WP to me. However, I like the design feel of Wix and SS. My only worry now is SEO ranking as this is vital (obviously!). The general articles I have read seem to say that Wix is inferior to WP on this front. I blog (currently with Blogspot), so also need to incorporate this in the new site.
    What do you think about the SEO situation? I would be grateful for your opinion.

    • Jeremy & Connie November 4, 2013 at 12:58 PM #

      Hi Rebecca,

      I think that there is definitely merit in that WordPress is a much more powerful and flexible website building platform, mainly because they are an “open source” so a lot of developers can build add-on products for it versus the likes of Squarespace or Wix, which is closed to the public so they control your entire experience within their environment. A lot of the pros and cons are discussed above and also in our article on Wix vs WordPress.

      As for SEO, I also mentioned in my May 20 2013 comment in the Wix vs WordPress that it is broadly agreed amongst industry experts that the code structure for WP sites are more search engine friendly, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t rank well with hosted web builders such as Wix or Squarespace.

      If you have a good traffic generation strategy, I think that is more important than using the right platform. For instance, if you built a site on WordPress, but dont’ write any interesting content or articles to drive inbound traffic, create repeat visitors, and have great content that your visitors will spread your content around the web (social media, word or mouth, etc), it’s pretty much “dead in the water” anyway. It doesn’t matter which web builder you are using in that scenario.

      So I think picking a website builder from the perspective of SEO is just a part of your overall strategy and consideration. I would recommend picking a builder that you are most comfortable with (do consider my pros and cons of each in the article above – such as if you need more focused support, if you are tech saavy, or have the time to learn WP or not, or financial resource to hire developers, etc), build your site, then continually create great content as an inbound traffic generating strategy. If you do that, I think you can perform very well as a website.

      Hope this helps!

      – Jeremy

      • rebecca Russell November 4, 2013 at 2:02 PM #

        Thanks Jeremy, this is very helpful indeed. I really appreciate your advice. I will now have to go and think about it all over again! I think the thing with WP is that it seems so huge and overwhelming in terms of choice. I kind of get lost looking at the options. Wix appeals in its design and ease. I take your point about sites needing to be active and interesting…. this is my plan once I have a site I can work with :)

  53. Sally Parrott October 27, 2013 at 5:11 AM #

    Great article, really helped me decide that Squarespace was for me (rather than WP which I have been struggling with) with my limited coding and configuring skills. Only thing I would have like to have known (now that I have signed up to Squarespace) was about the workability in Australia for eCommerce as the built in payment system, Stripe appears not available in Australia….?

    • Jeremy & Connie October 27, 2013 at 1:23 PM #

      Hi Sally,

      If you visit their pricing page, you can see under the Business plan that Squarespace does make e-commerce available in Australia.

      – Jeremy

      • Sally Parrott October 27, 2013 at 2:07 PM #

        Thanks Jeremy, the reply I received form Squarespace is that Stripe is not available in Australia but buy doing some configuring you can use paypal. Hopefully Stripe will be added soon as it is in beta phase.

        • Jeremy & Connie October 27, 2013 at 2:15 PM #

          Hi Sally – thanks so much for sharing that piece of information with us (and everybody else here).

          The last I heard is that they were in beta phase with Stripe in Australia (that was a couple of months ago?), but when I saw their description on their pricing page that e-commerce is now supported in Australia, I made an assumption (incorrect one!) that Stripe is now available!

          Thanks for letting us know!

          – Jeremy

          UPDATE: You can also consider using Shopify to power your ecommerce functions while using Squarespace. Shopify is one of the leading ecommerce online store builder, and they offer you the ability to embed an entire store or just products into your Squarespace website. We have more details regarding how to use the Shopify Widget with your Squarespace site here.

  54. Phill October 6, 2013 at 9:27 AM #

    I think you missed a key point in WordPress’ favour, which is if you find your own host, you can have unlimited sites for the same price.

    On Squarespace, you are paying for each site.

    • Jeremy & Connie October 6, 2013 at 11:25 AM #

      Hi Phill,

      You’re right and thanks for including that point into this discussion. One benefit of getting your own host is that you can have unlimited installations of WordPress whereas for Squarespace, it’s a monthly plan for one single website.

      Having said that, the majority of people are only focused on building one website (I can’t say that with statistical certainty though, just a gut feel), and so the key for them, I feel, is to build the best website that works for them, and get the best experience out of the process.

      While both WP and Squarespace can provide great experiences to users, what users perceive as great experiences are very different from one another.

      For instance, someone who is a bit more technically savvy, doesn’t mind going through somewhat disorganized libraries of knowledge / help, WordPress might be a great solution. But for people who don’t want to climb the steeper learning curve, and prefer to build websites quicker with drag and drop tools while still having a really good looking website, Squarespace will provide that experience.

      In any case, thanks for raising this point and adding to this discussion! Much appreciated.

      – Jeremy

    • JEG October 6, 2013 at 12:57 PM #

      Actually that is true although if you only have one site doens’t really matter that much. One thing I did forget to mention is that the SS software only works with their hosting. WP works on any host that supports PHP and MySQL.

  55. Bob September 17, 2013 at 3:52 PM #

    Great review! Thanks for making things very clear. One thing I didn’t see though is information about the perspective that with Squarespace (SS) you’re going with a single vendor and cannot move your website to another vendor. So if you have any problems (hey, it happens every now and then) with the SS folks, you’re stuck. I know you can “export” a SS site to a WordPress format, but then you’d be back to recreating a WordPress site, likely with some didn’t-go-to-well issues in the export. Still it’s a nice feature to be able to do an export, but this “single vendor” issue is a big one.

    • Jeremy & Connie September 18, 2013 at 11:52 AM #

      Hey Bob,

      Thanks for your comment. Actually, Squarespace does allow you to export pages and blog posts into a WordPress compatible format. We discussed it in our full Squarespace review (http://www.websitebuilderexpert.com/squarespace-review/) and I’ve included more information there.

      But in general, I absolutely agree with you, that most website builders don’t allow for exporting of websites. Weebly is another website that allows you to export the website, though not in a WordPress compatible format.

      – Jeremy

      • Bob September 18, 2013 at 12:07 PM #

        Hi Jeremy. Yes, I did know about and mention the SS (Squarespace) export feature in my earlier post. That’s not in question. The bigger problem is that SS is a single vendor for their proprietary format. If you have to export a SS site into WP (WordPress) format, then you’re back to just having a WP site with all it’s limitations, plus the export is likely to have snags… I think SS is great, just that this little “single vendor for a proprietary format” issue is underplayed I think…

  56. JEG September 14, 2013 at 8:54 AM #

    This was an excellent review. The cost was well explained as well as what it is like to use each platform. I recently went through this exercise and wanted to share my findings with your audience.

    Like you said what it comes down to is how technical are you and how much time are you willing to put into building and maintaining your site. If you are a biz owner that just needs a site and you don’t have the time or the inclination to do a lot of customization or maintenance…..SS is definitely the way to go and their templates are very beautiful. (I hear its CSS editor is top notch for those that want to customize the look and feel further). If you like web design and development and have some basic knowledge of HTML, CSS, and PHP you’ll like WP more. The tools available for WP and its community are massive. I think I read somewhere that 3 out 10 sites that get built on the web run on WP. SS is actually a very small player from a pure numbers stand point.

    I think the issue of plugins quality referenced might have been slightly overblown. Yes there are some plugins that aren’t very useful or stable but Automattic does a great job in the WP repository and you can find reviews, # of downloads, and tech support stats that clearly show you if a plugin is worth your time or not. I carefully research plugins before using and never had any problems on getting info from the developers although you are right….it won’t be as fast as SS. Also if you buy theme packs from reputable companies you do get support within 24 hours. For me that is good enough.

    Why did I go with WP instead of SS for my sites and the ones I build?

    – Number of tools and plugins available. SS modules are top notch but there is so much more available for WP. There are tons of books, podcasts, and online courses dedicated to WP which aren’t available to SS users.
    – Community. WP forums and number of users is much bigger than SS.
    – Ability to see what is on the database. You can’t do that with SS
    – Ability to work offline. It is so much faster and easier to work offline and then upload changes to your host. I like that flexibility.
    – SS is very US centric and its support for international customers is very poor and well documented. If you need a site in a language that is not english or need to support multiple languages SS is simply not able to handle it. Users have been asking for this and SS has not made it a priority yet. WP community is truly international.
    – SS doesn’t offer email hosting. This is missing from your review and it is a cost that needs to be considered. Why SS doesn’t offer this is beyond me.

    I hope that helps and thank you again for taking the time to write a great article.

    • Jeremy & Connie September 14, 2013 at 9:20 AM #

      Hi JEG,

      Thanks for sharing your experiences and adding another voice to this discussion. I really enjoyed reading your thoughts.

      I think WP is much more flexible & international because of the “open source” nature of their “project”, versus Squarespace which is run as a private “close source” enterprise. As such, there are armies of developers adding to the WP platform all the time, whereas with Squarespace, their growth and membership is a lot more “contained” and “measured”.

      Both are extremely different models and have their own pros & cons, resulting in very different experiences and application for end users.

      Having said that, you’re absolutely right that there are a lot of quality codes (WordPress products in general) available for WP users, so if I’ve slightly exaggerated about the issue about plugins, that wasn’t my intent! We use a lot of WP plugins ourselves and a lot of them are great. But we’ve also used a few duds and they did end up with some conflicts for our sites. We’ve also read about security issues with some of the plugins, especially the outdated ones.

      In any case, you’re right that there are a lot of resources online to distinguish which plugins are great, and which ones you may want to stay away from.

      As for email, one would have to get that either way (with WP or SS). Some other web builders include it as part of their plan, but personally, I’d rather set up my own email account with Google Business Apps (for those who are considering). We use it across few of our businesses and we like it a lot! So just a tip for those reading this :)

      I’d love to hear from someone from Squarespace about some of the international support and their plans for international expansion in the future. I know Squarespace has recently expanded their e-commerce platform to Canada (where I’m living :) ) and also the UK.

      Thanks again fro your input JEG – I really enjoyed reading it!

      – Jeremy

      • Jesus Garcia September 14, 2013 at 9:37 AM #

        No problem Jeremy.

        I should clarify something about email hosting. The point was that just about every hosting plan you purchase comes with this included. I forgot to point that out.

        About SS international support do note that last time I checked was about 1 year ago. I did a lot of research in the topic and the feeling that I got was that SS wants to focus only in the US and other English speaking markets.

        Best

  57. Ben August 5, 2013 at 8:47 PM #

    Hi guys,
    Is the blogging functionality in Squarespace any good? How does it compare to WP?

    Thanks,
    Ben.

    • Jeremy & Connie August 6, 2013 at 10:43 AM #

      Hey Ben – I think there isn’t any platform out there that can outperform WP in terms of blogging due to their built in functionality and flexibility. Having said that, although using WP is not “rocket science”, it does have a higher learning curve than using Squarespace.

      So if you are going to build a “huge” blog and have the resources such as time and money (to hire designers, developers, if needed), WP is the way to go. But if you want to build a blog that looks attractive, yet doesn’t consume most of your time but just focus on creating something that works, Squarespace is a good choice for you.

      HOpe this helps!

      – Jeremy

  58. Hugo July 23, 2013 at 10:19 PM #

    Hello there! First off, I would like to congratulate you for the great article you have written. I came across it when searching for alternatives that could help me building my first website. The website I have in mind will be used for a real estate company I am planning to start up now. I have read quite a few articles which compared solutions such as Squarespace, Weebly, Wix and WordPress. Not only have I read those articles, but also I tested some of the mentioned competitors myself. After all the research, I am still a little insecure about what path should I take. I graduated from the university with a Computer Engineering degree, so programming would not be a real problem for me. Nevertheless, I am not a very experienced web developer. Given the industry where I am inclined to run this next business (real estate field), I believe that what I really needed now would be a visually beautiful website that could enable me to present listings of the apartments which I have for rental/sale. Just for you to get a better picture of what I am trying to describe, this website does pretty much what I have in mind for mine: www. luxuryrealestate. com Taking everything that I said into account, what do you think would be the best approach for me to build this website? Should I use Squarespace, WordPress or some other CMS? What else would you suggest? Thank you very much in advance.

    • Jeremy & Connie July 24, 2013 at 9:21 AM #

      Hi Hugo,

      The website that you shared is a very “complex” website – meaning that there are a lot of moving parts and complicated codes underneath the service. If you want to mimic something like this, I don’t think any drag and drop builders will have the power nor flexibility to do this.

      Drag and drop website builders are easy to use, and you don’t have to touch codes if you don’t want to. But it does have its limitations. I would suggest you find a capable developer and see what they have to say in terms of best CMS to use, and how much it would cost to get all the functionalities inserted into the website. WordPress is a very powerful / flexible platform and I believe it can work for these sort of websites.

      It won’t be cheap to develop it (in the thousands of dollars), and you probably don’t want a “cheaper” developer to build it for you as you may end up spending even more time, energy and money to fix it up later if it isn’t stable.

      But if you are willing to simplify the website, without so many “moving parts”, Squarespace has a lot of beautiful themes that can make your site look professional, and functional at the same time.

      Hope this helps.

      – Jeremy

      • Hugo September 14, 2013 at 6:18 AM #

        Jeremy, I am so sorry for the late reply! Thank you so much for the great response. You gave me some very helpful insights here. I really appreciated it. After doing a very time intense but productive research over the internet, I was able to find quite a few WordPress responsive templates which I do think would work perfectly for my website. Summing up and confronting their aesthetics/responsiveness features and real estate related functionalities, I would say that the following templates are probably the ones which rank better from all the alternatives I have seen so far.

        What I am doing now is trying to analyze which of them would be a better fit for my needs. :)

        Thank you very much!

        • Hugo September 14, 2013 at 1:16 PM #

          The links for the themes didn’t really work out. Can I send them to you through email?

  59. Amy Cygan July 19, 2013 at 9:42 PM #

    Hi there,

    Thank you for the enlightening articles and for putting my mind more at ease.

    I am an average-Jane, who wants to launch a small online business. I tried using WP and was frustrated almost immediately. I did not want to start paying for things/plug-ins when I wasn’t sure I was even going to go with their platform.The one thing I DID like was the potential for exposure among the WP community; I seem to recall that you could write a blog article and then post it publicly, where it would circulate and potentially attract other members. I thought that was a nice feature, but honestly, I just found the platform too hard to work with. Then again, I am not a coder or web-developer.

    My first “fun and creative” website was with FreeWebs. I enjoyed the website and learned a lot. But now that I want to get serious about pioneering a business, I’m nervous to stay with FreeWebs — not to mention, I don’t like that my FreeWeb store photos were so small onscreen. It seems to me that Google doesn’t rank it as highly either, but I’m not sure how all that works.

    Anyway, I chose to try Squarespace — because I need to feature large photos, since I believe customers respond to imagery more than anything else. I like that SqSp’s templates are streamlined, elegant, rich, and VERY easy to use, although I do agree that I’m still trying to figure out exactly how to move modules around.

    Overall, I think SqSp also seemed to be, overall, more advantageous than Volusion and Shopify.

    BUT, I specifically wanted to write to yout to ask two questions:

    I am using the Five template. I would like to offer a product — as a non-true example, a poem in a bottle. I’d like to charge just ONE price that the customer pays. But, let’s say, I want the customer to be able to then choose the style of bottle, choose the color of paper, and choose a trinket charm. And, let’s say, I want to keep track of my Inventory (the colored paper, the trinket charms, the bottles). How do I offer those items for “$o”? It seems I HAVE to charge a price for any “product” listed in my inventory. Not sure how to get around this. Any suggestions?

    Also, I have been researching “security” measures, as obviously, I would be conducting transactions across the web. I love that SqSp has the green lockpad with the “https” designation. Of course, because I am designing my website myself (with limited coding experience; I know a bit of HTML, but am heavily relying on most of SqSp’s template coding), I am very concerned about maintaining a secure website. Now, when I’m viewing a SqSp page, my green lockpad switches to a yellow triangle. I read on another forum that it’s not that SqSp is not secure, but that the connection from my computer when I’m uploading my own pictures onto the website is not utilizing the HTTPS protocol. Is there a setting in my control panel that would take care of this? How do I make sure that everything on my page is HTTPS???

    Any info would help. Thanks so much.

    Amy

    • Jeremy & Connie July 20, 2013 at 12:34 PM #

      Hi Amy,

      Thanks for sharing your experiences and thoughts. I think that really helps our community. One side note is that when you are inserting images into your site, make sure that you insert an “alt text” for the image. Search engine bots doesn’t know how to look at images, and so they rely on what you insert into the image’s “alt text” to understand what the image is all about. It’s a simple, but effective SEO tactic.

      As for your questions:

      1) A very good question. We never had to try that out before, and it sounds like a logical shopping requirement but I would suspect it may not be easily implementable for shopping cart tools. Have you tried asking Squarespace support to see if anyone has done this before? I would be curious to know as well.

      2) I’m not sure if this is possible either. Usually HTTPs is used when a financial transaction takes place, to protect sensitive information such as credit card information, etc. So most people (I would think) are pretty relaxed about uploading other information without using HTTPS, as the information would end up being public anyway (such as when one publishes the website). I think this is also a technical question that you might want to bring up with their technical support team, as I’m not sure if you can purchase a HTTPS security certificate and implement it into your Squarespace site.

      Let me know how that goes!

      – Jeremy

  60. [email protected] June 13, 2013 at 8:19 AM #

    I want to weigh in and thank the author for taking the time to do a proper review of the two competing platforms. I have often weighed my decision of going with one over the other. I will tell you, that I am definitely jealous of all the great wordpress designs, but am also terrified of all the hidden costs. Ultimately, I think that wordpress is a better platform, but its the equivalent of making the decision between purchasing a mule or a race horse. Each has its own benefits, as well as their own drawbacks. I just wish that the mule could be a little more like the racehorse at times.

    • Jeremy & Connie June 13, 2013 at 10:06 AM #

      Thanks for weighing in! WP is definitely more powerful and flexible, but to use it proficiently,one will have to invest a lot of time (and money) to learn how to use it properly!

      – Jeremy

  61. VGER June 5, 2013 at 7:41 AM #

    I do not think it is very useful to compare these two, it just adds to the confusion and perpetuates the fallacy that Squarespace is a comparable development platform to WordPress. In reality, comparing Squarespace to WordPress is like comparing an electric car to a spaceship. Squarespace has a range of about 200 miles and WordPress has no foreseeable limits.

    • Jeremy & Connie June 5, 2013 at 1:07 PM #

      Hi Vger – thanks for your comment. It isn’t our intent to say that Squarespace is on the same level as WordPress, as the truth is that they are very different platforms with pros and cons for each.

      There are a lot of folks out there who are trying to determine whether they should commit the time to learn WordPress, or go with something like Squarespace which has a much lower learning curve. It’s a popular discussion topic, and so we just wanted to weigh in on this discussion and contribute to the community.

      A lot of times, some of these issues are obvious to a lot of people, but at the flip side, not so obvious for those who are just starting out.

      But thanks for adding to the discussion – we appreciate it!

      – Jeremy

  62. suzanne May 27, 2013 at 10:12 PM #

    Excellent artice on the pros and cons of Squarespace vs. WordPress. You just saved me a world full of anquish and trouble, not to mention time and $$$. This was the perfect information at the perfect time. Thank you.

    • Jeremy & Connie May 28, 2013 at 7:10 AM #

      You’re very welcome Suzanne! Glad we could be helpful. So which way are you leaning towards? Squarespace or WordPress? Either way, if you put your mind and commit to it, I’m confident that you will be able to do well. There really isn’t a right or wrong website builder, but rather, the more suitable platform based on your own needs.

  63. Cherita April 18, 2013 at 1:26 PM #

    Great post. Thank you. I’ve been a bit torn between WordPress, Weebly and Squarespace. I have built a WP site in the past, and yes it took a LOT of time. My main concern with using Weebly or Squarespace is ranking in the search engines (specifically Google) and security. Are any of these platforms more vulnerable than the other for hacking? Do Weebly and Squarespace allow you or do they back up your site in case it is hacked and needs to be “redone”? Can you rank with Weebly and Squarespace using the same tactics that you would with a WP site and does Google in anyway discriminate against a site built with a builder? Any insight you can provide would be great. Thank you.

    • Jeremy & Connie April 18, 2013 at 6:57 PM #

      Hi Cherita – thanks for your thoughts.

      In terms of security, I really can’t comment on that but if a person wants to hack into your website, it will be pretty tough to stop them. For all the website builders, you can change your passwords so it’s not a bad practice to rotate passwords once in a while. But we’ve ran Weebly and WordPress websites for a long time and we’ve never had any issues with them.

      You can backup your WP and Weebly websites, but for Squarespace you can only “export” it into a WP blog if you wish. But in general, even though hacks are risks, it probably won’t be a serious threat unless you have a really popular site.

      In terms of SEO / Google ranking, we’ve had success ranking WP and Weebly sites on page 1’s of Google. So it’s definitely achievable We’ve recently started using Squarespace so the jury is still out on that one :) At the end of the day, creating good content and consistency will be important for good ranking.

      Hope this helps.

      – Jeremy

      • Lisa August 12, 2013 at 9:38 AM #

        I love my Squarespace designed site so much that I’m willing to pay the extra money for it; however, I needed just one professional site to send people to and the others are blogs. One thing I don’t like with WP is that so many of the designs look the same, even on custom templates. I finally just started using the Genesis theme by StudioPress and found that I can customize everything I needed to. It still looks like the same WP site as everyone else has but I love what I can do with some simple clicks. In that way, the Genesis theme is almost comparable to Squarespace on design. But not quite.

        WP took me some time to learn, but once I learned it, I loved it. You can do anything with it and it has always performed well. My WP site is performing better from an SEO standpoint but I don’t have as much content on my Squarespace site so I’m not completely ruling it out. However, I know with WP there’s always a developer making a new plugin or theme that encompasses the newest SEO requirements/suggestions so I don’t have to worry about learning everything that’s out there. Squarespace may do that, but design seems to be their emphasis.

        Regarding security, my WP site has gotten malware and that was a pain to deal with since my hosting company wouldn’t assist (Bluehost). I had to buy another service for that. I’m sure Squarespace can be hacked but the security and customer service makes me confident that I won’t have the same issues. Or at the very least, if I do, I can just put in a ticket.

        • Jeremy & Connie August 12, 2013 at 11:33 AM #

          Hi Lisa,

          Thanks for adding to this discussion – really enjoyed your thoughts.

          If you are worried about malware or hacking while using WP, check out WP Engine. We use them to power this site and their service, features and security is first class. I’d actually highly recommend them to anyone who has a growing / larger WP site.

          They’re also lightening fast compared to other “generic” hosts, and all their customer service personnel are all WP specialists so they can answer a lot of your WP questions (we’ve found this seriously helpful). They cost a bit more than your “generic” host, but for us, it’s money well worth it as they’ve saved us so much time in fumbling around with “generic” customer service knowledge.

          – Jeremy