Firstly, though, prepare for a thrilling ride through the ups and downs of each platform. We’ll take you through all the key areas of building a successful website, including ease of use, design flexibility, and pricing, and find out how each builder fared.
Choosing a website builder is hard, especially with so many options out there. It’s even more difficult here, given how Wix, Squarespace, and WordPress are all excellent platforms.
It’s like being at Disneyland, trying to decide which ride to go on. Everything looks so exciting, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.
That’s where we come in.
It’s our job to make your computing life easier. That’s why we’ve carried out independent research on each platform to really understand how they work. By reading this article, you’ll be able to make a fast-track decision on which builder is best for you.
Right, are you thrillseekers ready? You should be – the park gates are now open…
Wix Pros and Cons
|Wix Pros||Wix Cons|
|Best overall website builder||Can’t switch themes after publishing|
|Very easy to use||Choice can feel overwhelming|
Wix is the best overall website builder on the market. It’s the complete package: great value, easy to use, and backed by superb customer support.
Its drag-and-drop design makes it easy to reshape your website, but be warned: once you’ve hit publish, you’re stuck with the theme you’ve chosen.
Squarespace Pros and Cons
|Squarespace Pros||Squarespace Cons|
|Beautifully designed templates||Little trickier to use at first|
|Best for creative industries||Limited choice of pricing plans|
Squarespace is the leader when it comes to design. It has beautifully crafted templates suited to any creative industry. With such beauty, though, comes a steeper learning curve.
WordPress Pros and Cons
|WordPress Pros||WordPress Cons|
|Unlimited customization||Requires coding knowledge to get the most out of it|
|Access to all kinds of third-party plugins||Need to set up web hosting yourself (we recommend Bluehost)|
WordPress lets you run wild with customization. It’s a self-hosted software, which means you have unlimited coding capabilities. However, if you don’t know how to code or set up web hosting, we’d recommend you look elsewhere.
Knowing the difference between each builder will help you decide which one will best suit your needs. So how do they differ, exactly?
For starters, Wix is an all-round website builder. It uses drag-and-drop design to help you personalize your site with ease, without touching a line of code. It’s best for tech beginners who want some creative control.
Squarespace is like Wix’s more fashionable sibling. We’re not saying it’s better, but it’s the best platform for design, supplying the most stunning themes around. However, it requires a bit more creative and technical effort than Wix.
Finally, WordPress is a self-hosted software. This means you need to find web hosting yourself (it’s like internet rental space for your website), and you need to code everything, too. WordPress is for tech-savvy users who want total freedom.
Building a website should be for everyone. What good are the latest and greatest web design features if you aren’t able to use them?
Let’s cut to the chase – Wix is the easiest to use of the three builders. The drag-and-drop design lets you personalize your site with ease, and the interface is clearly laid out. In a nutshell, it’s for complete tech beginners.
Think it couldn’t get any easier? Think again. Wix ADI (Artificial Design Intelligence) lets you build a site in a matter of minutes. Simply answer a few questions, and you have a website that’s ready to go live.
Compared to Wix, Squarespace is a bit more tricky to use at first, but provides sleek designs. It’s for design-lovers who don’t mind a small learning curve.
Is beauty a curse, then? Of course not – Squarespace is still easy to use after a few trial and error clicks, and there’s no coding involved, either. Its powerful tools just take a little getting used to.
Designing a Squarespace website takes a bit more time than with Wix, but you’ll have a beautiful end product. Trust us – you’ll have a hard time convincing people your site wasn’t designed by professionals!
This is where things start to get tricky. WordPress is a self-hosted software, meaning you’re required to find your own website host and customize everything with code. It’s the hardest platform to use, by a long way.
- One-click WordPress installation
- WordPress-centric user dashboard
- Free domain name and SSL security certificate
- Automatic WordPress updates
- 24/7 support from in-house WordPress experts
WordPress is for tech-savvy users who want total freedom in customization, or for people who are willing to spend hours learning about coding and hosting.
Making things even more complicated, there is no dedicated support team, so if you come into trouble, you’re on your own.
Wix vs Squarespace vs WordPress – Ease of Use: Verdict
Wix is fun for all ages, and the easiest builder to use. You never feel lost when building a Wix website because it’s so intuitive, using drag-and-drop to help you personalize everything with ease. Squarespace is slightly more tricky at first, while WordPress is for people with strong coding knowledge.
Design is all about keeping your visitors happy. A gorgeous website will stick in a user’s mind, and encourage them to return.
All themes are fully mobile responsive, meaning they look just as good on a phone as they do on a laptop screen. Feeling confident? Select a blank template and let your creative juices flow.
A quick tip: make sure you’re happy with your artwork, because you cannot switch themes after you publish.
Does Squarespace, the king of design, deliver in this department? Of course it does. The platform offers a curated selection of professional-looking templates, which you can easily search for by category.
Squarespace has better designs than Wix, but limits you more in terms of what you can change. You work in blocks, so you can’t just drag things anywhere and everywhere, as you can with Wix. This preserves the look and feel of the professionally-designed template, which is no bad thing.
Designing a WordPress website is slightly different. There are hundreds of thousands of themes to choose from, and you can customize to your heart’s content. If you’re confident with tech, you can add plugins or use code to make each theme do or show whatever you like.
In other words, there’s no real limit to what you can do with your WordPress website. However, the themes aren’t as impressive as those on Squarespace.
Wix vs Squarespace vs WordPress – Design Flexibility: Verdict
Squarespace is the coolest looking ride here. It has the most professional looking themes, which you can edit with drag-and-drop or even code. WordPress is also flexible, but the templates can’t match those on Squarespace. Wix offers very flexible editing, but you can’t switch your template once your site has gone live.
Why are tools and features important? Because the bigger the toolbox, the bigger the opportunities. Inspiring, huh? In basic terms, though, you can do more with a website builder if it has better tools than a competitor platform.
With global e-retail sales reaching $2.3 trillion in 2017, it’s important your website has features that are powerful enough for you to jump on this growing trend.
Wix has three ecommerce price plans, all of which give you extra storage, the ability to sell without transaction fees, and the option of over 20 different payment gateways. Our research found that Wix was the best ‘generic’ website builder with ecommerce functionality.
Or, check out our 7 Best Ecommerce Platforms.
Squarespace isn’t just a pretty face. It has real quality in its ecommerce features, which include product image zooming, coupon generation, abandoned cart recovery, and zero transaction fees.
As you’d expect by now, WordPress does things a little differently. There’s nothing built-in, so to get ecommerce functionality, you need to add a separate plugin.
WooCommerce is a specific ecommerce plugin for WordPress. It doesn’t offer as much as Wix or Squarespace, but does come with one-click refunds, as well as the ability to embed products in different store pages.
You can easily take offline payments with any of these platforms – you just need to add an integration to Square, and buy a basic Square card reader ($49). This is ideal for those planning to sell at fairs or pop-up shops, as well as online. Square instantly syncs with your online inventory, so you don’t need to worry about over-promising stock.
Blogging is great for keeping your website’s visitors informed, which is important for growing your online community. For example, blogging is perfect for announcing new products, information, or deals.
Wix offers something of a quick fix when it comes to blogging. You can include galleries to your blog, add comments, and incorporate the free Wix Blog app for more features.
However, a major issue is you cannot archive posts, meaning valuable content will be lost over time.
Squarespace is a well-rounded blogging platform. It provides everything you need for a successful blog or portfolio, including social sharing, user likes, and multiple author support.
Take it back to basics with our How to Start a Blog Guide.
WordPress is best known for its blogging power. It’s hugely popular, helping millions of people get their blogs online – in fact, it powers 24% of all websites today. These numbers are impressive, and so are WordPress’ blogging capabilities.
As you know, WordPress.org is a self-hosted software, letting you customize everything with code and throw in any plugin you like. Overall, it’s perfect for tech-savvy bloggers who need a more complex platform.
Promoting your website is vital for success online, and can be done in many ways.
Wix makes marketing a breeze. You can run email campaigns, create newsletters, or add banners with just a few clicks. You can also integrate marketing apps like Wix Shoutout, or pick from a third party option in the app market under ‘Marketing apps‘.
Squarespace has almost everything built-in, although the only downside of this is that it means you’re restricted to what Squarespace offers, which includes email campaign creation with Mailchimp. That said, you can easily find marketing apps in its Squarespace Extensions app store if you want to give your site a boost.
WordPress is the polar opposite to Squarespace. Everything you need for promoting and sharing needs to be integrated with a plugin. There are over 54,000 plugins to choose from, with the best marketing apps including Keap (for emails) and Disqus (for managing comments).
This means that while there is a lot of choice, it requires a lot more technical effort.
Social Media Integration
Reaping retweets and luring in ‘likes’ will help your website flourish.
With Wix, you can add sharing buttons and integrate social media live feeds. Best of all, it comes with a dedicated dashboard for promoting social media posts.
Squarespace has similar offerings, but lets you link accounts from over 25 different social accounts (more than Wix offers) including Instagram, Facebook, Spotify, and Pinterest.
Flexibility is a common theme with WordPress, and that doesn’t change here. For all your social media needs, you can integrate any number of plugins you like, including share buttons, auto-posting and social comments.
Wix vs Squarespace vs WordPress – Marketing Tools: Verdict
It’s a tie! Wix and Squarespace are well balanced in terms of tools, with varying strengths within their built-in features. WordPress doesn’t provide much built-in, but does give you access to over 54,000 plugins to help boost your website – provided you have the technical skills.
We’re sorry about giving away the plot, but Squarespace doesn’t win this round. Why? Because its app store is pretty small.
You’ll find 23 carefully chosen apps in the Squarespace Extensions store, covering shipping and fulfillment, finance, inventory and products, and sales and marketing. It’s not a huge selection, but then you don’t need tons when Squarespace includes so many built-in features already.
The Wix App Market is really easy to navigate, too, providing user reviews, pricing breakdowns and simple installation.
If Wix has an app market, then WordPress has a mega mall. To improve your WordPress site’s performance, you can pick from over 54,000 plugins, both paid and free.
Because there are so many, we recommend choosing plugins with large user bases, that are updated regularly, and supply customer support.
Wix vs Squarespace vs WordPress – App Markets: Verdict
WordPress wins the app lap! While Wix provides 200 excellent apps that are really easy to install, it cannot match the sheer choice you get with WordPress. At the time of writing, there are 54,302 WordPress plugins to choose from, covering all the key areas for building a successful site.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. This is the process used to help your website rank higher on search engines like Google. Why is it important? It comes down to visits – having good SEO practices helps people find your website way more easily.
Wix makes SEO Super Easy Overall (see what we did there). It uses an ‘SEO Wiz’ to guide you through the process, helping to create a personalized strategy (after you pick a few keywords that best describe your website).
On top of that, both Wix and Squarespace provide basic features for improving your website’s SEO. These include:
- Updating URLs – so users can find each of your web pages more easily
- Customizing meta descriptions – what Google displays on the results page
- Editing image alt tags – helps Google identify what an image is and how to categorize it
However, where Squarespace falls short is its lack of an SEO specific app and best practice prompts (both of which are provided by Wix). So you’re better off sticking with Wix if you want your site to scale search engines more effectively.
WordPress gives you plenty of freedom when it comes to SEO, but as usual, it demands far more technical prowess compared to the other builders. There’s no real limit to what you can customize in order to help your SEO performance, but we recommend installing the plugin ‘Yoast’ at the very least.
Wix vs Squarespace vs WordPress – SEO: Verdict
Wix jumps ahead of the queue again. It provides all the basics for improving your site’s ranking online, including a ‘Wiz’ to guide you through. Squarespace doesn’t provide much support for beginners, while WordPress gives you lots of freedom, but leaves you to your own devices.
Like anything in the world of tech, you may encounter some issues when building a website. Receiving effective help and support is vital – it lets you focus on the important stuff, like managing your awesome website.
Wix offers the biggest helping hand of the three platforms. If you experience any Wix-related woes, you can reach out via:
- Phone and email (Monday to Thursday, 5am – 5pm PST)
- Social media
- The Wix Help Center
Seeking support from Squarespace isn’t so simple. It provides a smaller choice of customer support avenues, offering:
- 24/7 email support
- Live chat (Monday to Friday, 4am – 8pm ET)
- A comprehensive Knowledge Base
Customer support isn’t a pressing issue for WordPress. As a free platform, there is no call center, email support, or live chat. However, it does have an impressive support community, where you can find guides, tutorials and FAQs. Some hosting providers – including Bluehost – give you access to their in-house team of WordPress experts when you subscribe to a hosting plan. This can prove invaluable should you run into difficulty with your website.
Wix vs Squarespace vs WordPress – Help and support: Verdict
Wix stays in front. It goes the extra mile with its in-depth knowledge center, phone and email support, and social media support. By contrast, Squarespace doesn’t provide any phone support – or even much customer help at all – while WordPress doesn’t offer any customer support apart from a forum.
To paraphrase the famous saying, money makes the world wide web go round. For would-be website owners, the question of cost can play a key role in choosing one builder over another.
Wix is known for its free plan. But if you want more from your website – like ecommerce features, more bandwidth, or your own domain – you’ll need to upgrade to one of the seven premium plans, ranging from $14 to $49 per month.
Check out the image below for more information on Wix’s plans.
Squarespace doesn’t have a free plan, but you can trial the platform at no cost for 14 days. If you enjoy using Squarespace, you’ll need to upgrade after that period.
It offers four core premium plans:
- Personal ($12 p/m)
- Business ($18 p/m
- Basic ($26 p/m)
- Advanced ($40 p/m)
Each plan helps you design typically beautiful Squarespace websites, but for selling online, you’ll need to be on Basic or Advanced.
See the image below for more detail on Squarespace’s offerings…
Exclusive Squarespace Discount for You
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Calculating the costs for WordPress is more tricky because they are different for everyone. The WordPress software itself is free to use, but you’ll need to pay for web hosting (around $10 p/month), themes, SSL certificates, and plugins.
Bluehost’s prices start from just $2.95 p/month for its WordPress hosting package, and includes a free domain name and SSL certificate.
As you can see, WordPress pricing can vary. Wix and Squarespace have clearly laid out price plans which may cost more overall, but are more easy to manage.
Wix vs Squarespace vs WordPress – Pricing: Verdict
Wix is the best value experience overall. While its paid plans are a little more expensive than Squarespace’s, the free plan offers great value, and an easy way to test the waters, or bring a project to life without paying.
And so, our journey of contrasts and comparisons is nearly over. We could go on forever, but you’ve got websites to build!
You now know which platform is best in each area of website building, but let’s quickly recap which battles were won, and where.
|Ease of use||Intuitive and very easy to use thanks to its drag-and-drop feature||More challenging at first compared to Wix, but simple after a few trial and error clicks||Not for tech beginners; coding and web hosting knowledge required||Wix|
|Design Flexibility||Offers over 510 mobile responsive themes, but you cannot switch after going live||The king of design; lets you customize with code, if needed||Lots of creative freedom, but themes are not as impressive as Squarespace; much more difficult to customize overall||Squarespace|
|Features and Tools||Solid all-around features, but the blogging tools could be improved||Offers beautiful blogging features, but ecommerce tools are lacking||Doesn’t provide much built-in, but you have access to over 54,000 plugins||Tie|
|App Markets||Really easy-to-navigate market, with over 200 apps to choose from||23 apps to choose from in the Squarespace Extensions store||54,000 plugins to choose from, covering all the industries you’ll need||WordPress|
|SEO||Provides helpful SEO Wiz and all the basics needed for improving Google rankings||Not much support for beginners, but has a good range of SEO tools||Effective SEO tools, provided you know how to code||Wix|
|Help and Support||Provides comprehensive support across phone, email, social media, and help forum||Email and live chat help, but no phone support||Doesn’t provide customer support||Wix|
|Pricing||Offers a free plan and seven premium plans, starting from $14/month||No free plan, but offers four premium options and a 14-day free trial||As a self-hosted software, the prices vary due to costs of web hosting, SSL, themes etc.||Wix|
As you can see from the table, Wix has the longest queues at the theme park. Why so popular? It comes down to accessibility – if anyone can use Wix, it’s bound to be the website builder of choice for most people. Remember, Wix is best for tech beginners.
Second-placed Squarespace is best for design. You should use Squarespace if you want sleek, professional-looking templates, and don’t mind greater creative challenges than those found on Wix.
Unlike Wix, WordPress certainly isn’t for everyone. Using WordPress requires extensive coding and web hosting knowledge. However, with such technical demand comes total freedom – you can really make a WordPress site your own.
Overall, then, WordPress is for tech-savvy users who want total control over how their site looks or performs.
Wix vs Squarespace vs WordPress was a true roller-coaster, right? We had SEO spirals, customer help helixes, ease of use loops, and design dive-drops. But as our day at the fair comes to an end, we’ll remember Wix as the wildest ride of them all.
Wix is the best all-around website builder on the market, simply because anyone can use it. It has intuitive drag-and-drop design features to help you create any website you like, while offering useful visual guides and comprehensive customer support to fix any Wix issues quickly.
Squarespace has four price plans to choose from: Personal ($12 p/m), Business ($18 p/m), Basic ($26 p/m), and Advanced ($40 p/m). The two higher plans give you ecommerce functionality, while Personal and Business let you build beautiful websites for yourself or your company.
WordPress.org is an open source software, which means you’re required to organize web hosting yourself. You should use WordPress if you’re technically savvy and confident with code. It gives you total freedom when designing your website, but only if you have the necessary skills.