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!
GoDaddy and Squarespace are both popular website builders, but they are designed for very different people.
Using GoDaddy is the fastest way to build a website. It works with artificial intelligence to design a website for you in a matter of minutes. GoDaddy is also the world’s largest domain registrar, so if you just want to purchase a domain name, it’s the perfect place.
Squarespace is a bit more time-consuming, but the results are well worth it. Squarespace offers stunning themes that act as your template. After picking one, you can customize it to create a beautiful, bespoke site for yourself, or your business.
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.
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.
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, they’re also really flexible in terms of what you can edit. Squarespace offers a level of customization that few other website builders match.
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.
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. 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, whereas Squarespace’s is hosted externally. 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.
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.
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.
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 $5.99/month to $19.99/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 Business or Business Plus plan.
Here, you get an SSL security certificate included, extra SEO guidance, and the option to embed social media buttons. With the online store 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.
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Check out our Squarespace offer code to find out more about the savings you can make.
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.|
GoDaddy is for people who need a website up fast. Its design is simplistic, but if you need a basic online presence, GoDaddy represents a cheap, time-efficient option. It’s also great for novices thanks to how easy the ADI is to use.
Squarespace is for the more creative out there. Its themes are chic, well-designed, and very customizable. For a website that stands out from the crowd as a shining example of brilliant web design, Squarespace is the platform for you.
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, check out our detailed Wix review here.
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 here and BigCommerce review here.
Found our comparison helpful?
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