Deciding on how to create your own website isn’t easy. There are plenty of options out there, but if you’re reading this, you’ve probably decided a website builder is your best bet.
If you don’t know already, a website builder is an online platform that helps you create your own website, without having to code.
Once you’ve opted to use a website builder, the next big decision to make is which one you should choose. After all, there are so many out there!
Using GoDaddy is the fastest way to build a website. It’s easy to use, and cheap, too – prices start at just $10 per month. Squarespace is a little more time-consuming, and costs a tiny bit more – the cheapest Squarespace plan is $12 per month.
You get what you pay for, however – Squarespace’s designs are the best on the market. GoDaddy’s templates can’t help but look a bit ‘Plain Jane’ in comparison. Our users were pretty much equally likely to recommend both GoDaddy and Squarespace, but for different reasons: there’s a clear tradeoff between speed/cost, and design.
You can see this reflected in our scores, having put both platforms through our full research process:
Here at Website Builder Expert, it’s our job to test products and tell you just how good they are. Below, you’ll find out which of these platforms is the better all-around website builder, what everyday people think of GoDaddy and Squarespace, and which one is the best fit for you.
10 Best Website Builders – read our reviews of the top 10 best website builders on the market (spoiler alert – GoDaddy and Squarespace both feature!)
Website Builder Comparison Chart – the best (and worst) of each builder in a handy ‘at a glance’ format for direct comparison
Squarespace Offer Code – already set on Squarespace? This code will get Website Builder Expert users 10% off any paid plan.
Take Our Website Builder Quiz – too much choice? Take our two minute quiz to find the best website builder for your needs.
6 Best Designed Websites – take inspiration from our top picks from this year!
GoDaddy Pros and Cons
|#1||Builds sites with ADI, providing a speedy solution to website creation|
|#2||Switch themes any time and your site will automatically reformat your content|
|#1||Some features lack depth|
|#2||Restrictions on creative freedom|
Squarespace Pros and Cons
|#1||Real quality features to help bring your website to life|
|#2||Breathtaking themes with loads of customization|
|#1||Relatively expensive pricing plans|
|#2||Editing interface can take a while to get to grips with|
When most websites tell you a platform is easy to use, it’s often a throwaway comment. They’ll try it for a few minutes, then give it the thumbs up or down. We do things differently.
Since we’re used to spending our days conducting research, what’s easy for us may not be so easy for you. So, we met with some everyday people and got them to test GoDaddy and Squarespace too. We asked them to build their own website and score how easy they found different tasks.
After that, we sat down with them for a quick interview, where we really got to know their thoughts on the website builders. Here are a few things people had to say:
I think GoDaddy is a really fast way to build a website. In less than an hour, I have a site that looks good.
The theme Squarespace provided me with not only looked incredible, but all the features I needed to be successful were there waiting for me.
Picking the right theme with Squarespace is important. They all look incredible, but finding one that has the features you need already built-in will make it easier for you in the long-run.
We also asked people how likely they’d be to recommend GoDaddy or Squarespace to a friend. GoDaddy came out with an 8% higher recommendation than Squarespace. This came down to how simple it was to put a GoDaddy website together from scratch.
GoDaddy vs Squarespace – Ease of Use: Verdict
Overall, GoDaddy is the easier platform to use. It runs on pure speed to design a website for you, which you can then customize. With Squarespace, you’re relying on its stunning themes, and what features are available, to build your own website.
Design comes down to two things: appearance and control. Ultimately, you want your website to look good, but you also want to be able to put your own stamp on it. To do that, you need to have a good level of customization.
Both GoDaddy and Squarespace’s themes are mobile responsive.
GoDaddy works with ADI (Artificial Design Intelligence) to help design your website for you. By asking you a series of questions, like what you want a website for (e.g. blogging, business), it can create a design based on your answers.
After that, you have a certain level of creative control. You can change the theme, edit text size/font, insert buttons, and so on. However, because GoDaddy takes charge when designing your website, you do lose some creative control yourself.
Squarespace, on the other hand, puts you in the driving seat. You start off by selecting from a range of themes that have been expertly put together. You can then populate the theme with your own content, make adjustments, and drag in any extra features you want.
Not only do Squarespace’s themes look as good as a professional web developer’s (in fact, they’re all created by designers!), they’re also really flexible in terms of what you can edit. Squarespace offers a level of customization that few other website builders match.
GoDaddy vs Squarespace – Design: Verdict
Squarespace is clearly the better option for design. Its themes are beautifully crafted, and once you’ve got the hang of the editor, you’ll be in full control over your website’s final design. GoDaddy is more stripped back and simplistic; it’s quicker, but you lose a bit of creative control.
It’s always good to look at what features a website builder has. After all, this determines what you can or can’t do on the platform.
It’s especially important in the case of GoDaddy and Squarespace, as neither has its own app market. This means that the only features on offer are the ones that are built-in – there’s no way of adding in extras. So, let’s have a look at what they can both do in certain areas.
There are a few key differences here, but we’ll start by going through the features both platforms have in common:
- SSL Security – protecting customer payments and transactions securely
- Support for PayPal, Stripe and Square as payment processors
- Option to sell unlimited products
- Abandoned cart recovery – send customers an email that reminds them to check out if they leave your site before paying
- Ability to create promotion and discount codes
Where they differ, however, is that GoDaddy doesn’t enforce its own transaction rate. This means that with Squarespace, you’ll have to pay an additional fee on top of the payment gateway you choose for processing the transaction.
Squarespace wins on a couple of things itself. For one, you can sell digital products as well as physical ones, such as online courses and software downloads. On GoDaddy, it’s just physical products.
Squarespace also lets you sync your store with Instagram. This means you can sell to people directly on Instagram, without them having to leave social media to make a purchase.
Squarespace now offers a Square integration, meaning you can sell products offline, take card payments, and keep everything synced with your online inventory – all you need is the Squarespace Commerce app, and a Square card reader ($49). This isn’t something GoDaddy currently offers, so is a huge plus for Squarespace.
Want to compare them to other ecommerce platforms?
This is an area GoDaddy falls down in. You can separate your blog posts into categories, embed an RSS feed, and track your blog’s performance through analytics, but that’s as far as it goes.
With Squarespace, you can do all that and more. It’s blogging features are pretty darn good. You can add a comments section for readers, archive old posts, social bookmark, and add a search feature so people can find what they’re looking for quickly.
Both allow you to get your own custom email addresses through G Suite, although GoDaddy does also have a built-in email service at an extra cost.
GoDaddy and Squarespace also let you run email marketing campaigns. GoDaddy’s is hosted onsite, while Squarespace’s is also hosted internally using Squarespace Email Campaigns. You can pick from a handful of email templates, then add your own content and fire them out to your users.
Social Media Integration
This is another area GoDaddy is light in, in that you can only embed social buttons onto your website. You can link to your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages, and people can click through on them to see your work and follow you.
Squarespace again takes things a step further. It gives you ‘social shares’, so users can post your content on their own social media with a few clicks. Embedding a social feed is easy too, and it’s a great way to show users your most recent posts, tweets and pictures.
GoDaddy vs Squarespace – Features: Verdict
It’s another win for Squarespace. It has plenty of features to choose from, but more than that, they are genuinely well built. It’s that extra bit of quality that sees Squarespace beat GoDaddy here. There are still lots of options on GoDaddy, but not of the same standard.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the process of helping your website rank highly on the likes of Google. The higher up the search results you come, the more likely people are to see your site, then click on it. There are loads of ways to improve your site’s SEO, and website builders do a great job in providing certain tools to help.
GoDaddy and Squarespace are almost identical in terms of their SEO support. On either, you can:
- Edit meta titles/descriptions – the text that appears in a Google search
- Change URL slugs – the text between the forward slashes, ‘/’, after your domain
- Add image alt text – write something about your pictures so Google understands what they display
- Receive keyword support – so you know which words or phrases to include in your copy
- Use mobile responsive themes – meaning your site will automatically adjust to different screen sizes (something search engines look out for)
Where GoDaddy just pips Squarespace is through site mapping. GoDaddy allows you to upload a copy of your website’s URL structure to Google, which means Google will have a far better understanding of how your site is laid out.
GoDaddy vs Squarespace – SEO: Verdict
It’s close, but GoDaddy picks up the win for SEO. Your level of control is the same on both website builders, but with GoDaddy, you can submit a sitemap to Google for mutual benefit. Squarespace is still great for SEO though, and you won’t have trouble ranking highly with a Squarespace website.
The level of help you receive is vital to the success of your website. Alongside the quality of support, it’s also nice to get help in a variety of ways.
With GoDaddy, you receive 24/7 phone support and have a live chat option which is open until 6pm. Unfortunately, there’s no email support.
With Squarespace, you get 24/7 email support and also have a live chat option from Monday to Friday, 4am-8pm EST. It doesn’t have phone support, though.
Once again, the pair are hard to separate, but there is a deal-breaker – their help centers. A help center is an inbuilt resource where you can find handy guides on how to do certain things. You simply type in your question, hit search, and find the relevant guide.
We found GoDaddy’s help center to be a little cluttered. GoDaddy changed its platform at the start of the year to use ADI, but not all of the guides have been updated.
Squarespace’s help center, on the other hand, is clean and clear. It’s easy to navigate and find exactly what you’re looking for.
GoDaddy vs Squarespace – Help and Support: Verdict
Squarespace takes the crown for help and support. Both GoDaddy and Squarespace offer 24/7 support, live chats and help centers. Squarespace wins because its help center is, well, more helpful. The guides are all up-to-date, and it’s easy to find what you’re looking for.
If you’re not a tech whiz, knowing what is and isn’t value for money with website builders can be hard. Luckily, we’ve had a thorough look through both GoDaddy and Squarespace’s pricing plans to see which gives you the better deal.
GoDaddy has four pricing plans, ranging from $10/month to $25/month. As website builders come, GoDaddy’s plans are very cheap, but what are you getting for your money?
Well, you can use the same editor, have the same themes, and get the same support on all four plans. If you’re a business, though, you should be looking at the $15/month Standard plan or, even better, the $20/month Premium plan.
Here, you get extra social sharing options, SEO tools and guidance, and the option to accept online payments for services and bookings. With the Ecommerce plan – yep, you guessed it – you can sell products online. This opens up all the ecommerce features we spoke about in the features section, and gives you a nice little dashboard to work from.
Squarespace also has four pricing plans, ranging from $12/month to $40/month. The two cheaper plans are for individuals or businesses who don’t need to sell online. You get access to almost everything, and unlike GoDaddy, SSL security is included on all plans.
The upper-tiered pricing gives you ecommerce functionality. You can turn any Squarespace theme into a beautiful storefront and integrate your website with Instagram shopping.
Save 10% on Any Squarespace Plan!
We have an exclusive offer code which will save you 10% on your first purchase with Squarespace! Simply enter the code WBE at the checkout.
Check out our Squarespace offer code to find out more about the savings you can make.
GoDaddy vs Squarespace – Value for Money: Verdict
It’s a tie! GoDaddy has the cheaper pricing plans, but Squarespace gives you more. If you’re not bothered about all the fancy extras, GoDaddy is a great choice for simple sites. Squarespace is quality-rich and can help you create a visually stunning, functional website.
By now, you should have a clear idea of which website builder is better in each of the areas we’ve looked at. Here’s a quick recap:
|GoDaddy vs Squarespace||GoDaddy||Squarespace|
|Ease of Use||A really simple and fast approach to web design thanks to ADI.||Bit of a steep learning curve, but easy enough once you understand the editor.|
|Design||Limited theme selection and creative control due to ADI.||Gorgeous themes and a great level of customization.|
|Features||A good amount of features and tools on offer, but a few lack real quality.||High-end features of real quality that are perfect for online stores and blogs.|
|SEO||Great level of control over things that impact SEO, plus a brilliant sitemap option.||Access to all the basic SEO functions and tools.|
|Help and Support||24/7 phone support and a live chat option. Slightly outdated and ill-informed help center.||24/7 email support and a live chat option. Really clean and clear help center.|
|Value for Money||Cheap pricing plans and the option to build an online store.||Relatively expensive pricing plans, but you get a lot of quality for your money – both in the design and features.|
Now we’ve compared GoDaddy and Squarespace in more detail, you can see there’s a lot more to set them apart than just speed and design. GoDaddy’s cheapest plan is a couple of dollars cheaper than Squarespace’s – but Squarespace’s plentiful and well-built features mean you get as much bang for your buck.
Looking deeper still, Squarespace has better SEO capabilities than GoDaddy, and is better equipped for online selling, if this is something you want to try in the future. The Squarespace help and support is also noticeably stronger. All in all, Squarespace is our winner – unless time is truly of the essence.
Who are GoDaddy and Squarespace’s main competitors?
There are plenty of other website builders out there, but two which stand out are Wix and Weebly. Wix is a website builder that offers both ADI and a drag-and-drop editor. To read more about Wix and Weebly, check out Wix review, and our Weebly review.
Why shouldn’t I just hire a website developer?
It’s not just the price that puts people off developers – it’s the ongoing maintenance. The world of web design is changing all the time, and websites become outdated quickly. It’s easier to be on a platform that reinvents itself and updates features for you to use as times change, rather than having to contact your developer every year or two to make changes.
What if I just need an online store?>
If the sole purpose of your website is ecommerce, you’ll want a more powerful solution. GoDaddy and Squarespace are fine for selling the odd product here and there, but online store builders like Shopify and BigCommerce help merchants take their stores to the next level. You can read our review of Shopify, and BigCommerce review.
Found our comparison helpful?
Did this guide help you decide whether to use GoDaddy or Squarespace, then help to get you started building your website? If so (or if not!) leave a comment below.
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