squarespace-vs-wordpress

Which Platform is best for you?  Here are the Pros & Cons between Squarespace and WordPress…..

This is the third post in a series that looks at three web platforms to help you decide which would be best suited to build your site.  If you missed my first post that summarizes all three platforms, jump over & check it out and last week I covered the pros & cons of  Weebly.

As I previously outlined, this all started with a conversation I had with my friend Arlana.  She couldn’t decide between using Squarepace or  Weebly to build her website which I couldn’t understand.  I didn’t understand why WordPress wasn’t even in the running until she explained that she has tried WordPress before but found it confusing and she struggled to create what she wanted.  She dabbled with Squarespace but quickly found the same problems as wordpress before she moved onto Weebly.

I am a designer and I build my sites in WordPress.   However, I recognize there are special features to Weebly and Squarespace that make it a lot easier for the beginner.

So then I’m faced with the question of which one is best?  I have to always answer with the ever annoying “it depends”.

This is true…  It depends.   The answer always revolves around who the end user will be.

Which brings me to my compare & contrast guide for the platforms.  By using this guide, I am hoping I will help you decide which features may work best for you. Since last week I covered Weebly, this week I will venture into the compare & contrast of Squarespace vs WordPress.  I think this is a better suited argument to be having.  While Weebly may be great for a non-technical newbie, Squarespace is also used by designers alike to create sites that are pretty, sophisticated & functional.

WordPress allows you to customize everything on your site from start to finish.  With all of the themes there are available + all of the plugins at the ready, there are countless possibilities to design for your site. This is great for a Designer like me. I love not being tied down to one solution based system.  Additionally, with themes becoming more & more sophisticated, there is more I can design + program rather then depend on a programmer to do my dirty work.

Again, I feel the need to disclose that I have never used Squarespace.  What I’m assuming is that Squarespace takes out the need for a programmer all together (edit: I’ve read this post & it is arrogant to assume there is no need for a programmer for squarespace. I’m sure there are features or site needs one can not program without the assistance of a programmer).   Where WordPress you piece your site together including the Domain, Hosting, Themes and Plugins,  Squarespace is a fully-managed web service meaning all of these features are in one place.   They do not have plans to make a downloadable version. (meaning you walk away w/ the site & move hosts).

WordPress is tooted as being user friendly as is Squarespace.. However, again, this depends on the end user.  Something for me can seem very intuitive however, Arlana, a painter & non-techie, does find these platforms frustrating.

What are the Features?

So let’s get to it…  Here is a breakdown of the features that Squarespace offers against those of WordPress. For this discussion,  I am sourcing these features off of the Squarespace Full Features page.

There are TONS of features to Squarespace. The sheer amount they are advertising is one reason I view Squarespace as a viable platform (read between the lines: Weebly is lame).

The Full List of Features Includes:

  1. Designs
  2. Image Manager
  3. Galleries
  4. Audio Collections
  5. Connected Services
  6. Layout Engine 2
  7. User Data Collection
  8. Site Control
  9. Multiple Contributors
  10. Cover Pages
  11. Blogging
  12. Commenting System
  13. Commerce
  14. SEO
  15. Blog App
  16. Metrics App
  17. Note App
  18. Portfolio App
  19. Squarespace Logo
  20. Website Analytics
  21. Reliable Service Architecture
  22. Google Apps for Work Integration
  23. Custom Site Search Engine
  24. Importing & Exporting
  25. Developer Platform

All of these features expand the descriptions.  I will not go through these 1 by 1 as that is a bit redundant however I will say:  Designs, Image Manager, Galleries, Site Control, Multiple Contributors, Portfolio, Blogging, SEO, Commerce + Importing & Exporting are all features that you find in WordPress.

Cover pages are a fancy way of saying 1 page website.  There are themes designed that have this feature available or one can just design one page.  to pay

So what makes Squarespace different?  Why would I want to use it? 

Well, again, the ease factor of setting up your domain, host & installing the platform is done for you.  It is set up the moment you give your credit card info and select your package.

My tipping point for Squarespace are the App features provide.  This not to say that these features are not available in WordPress.  In fact, pretty much everything is available on every platform. The differences between the 2is the ease of integration. Where as squarespace offers you a menu of features that you can implement and improve your site, wordpress has plugins you can search and get a list of results.  Squarespace offers you one

As Squarespace is a fully managed web provider, they can develop apps for the end user & market them across the board.  In addition, they update their features, and hosting for you so your maintenance for the site is minimal.  This can leave a lot of stress out of the picture. As well, you can be certain your site will not have disruptions due to service & maintenance.

Because you don’t out right have the site on your own host, they do touch upon features such as importing/exporting, developer platform, metrics, google app integration etc…

So what does this mean for you?

When I graduated from Design School, website design was such a specialty niche and it was barely covered in my program. I took half a semester on Flash and called it a day.  Slowly, it became more & more widespread and well, required. Then the onset of blogging came to be.  Websites like Blogspot were developed and every0ne could spit out their own ideas. However, this was not enough.  People wanted to own their ideas on their very own site.

 

Thanks to big Mark Z, social media became a thing and we then wanted to spit out our thoughts on a minute by minute basis.  I’m not sure what led what but blogging + social media including the platforms we use have evolved so much that anyone with a laptop can create a site.

Where WordPress can easily require some programming knowledge, Squarespace offers a design model that is sophisticated enough for the designer but takes out the awkward tech knowledge that can hold people like me back. (but as mentioned the

I mentioned this early but another glaring difference is that Squarespace advertises their features (and by features I mean mailchimp integration, or analytics).  While all of these features can and are available on WordPress, there is a little more hunting & pecking involved.  When you search a plugin on WordPress, you will come across a handful of solutions.  Sometimes they are not always compatible with your chosen theme or it is an outdated plugin.  So there can be some head scratching & research needed and even some trial and error which usual means a lot of error. So while you are trying to find all of this on your own,  Squarespace has done that for you.  Want to integrate Amazon into your site? They have the 1 solution that works and it is up to date. Want a gallery of your images, just insert the feature.

Squarespace advertises that they have over 1,000,000 customers with clients that include: Cisco, Dixie Chicks and Fast Company.  That is nothing to snuff at.

Pricing

So those are the features but like most things, we want to know what the bottom line is which is… How much will all of this cost me?

Like Weebly, Squarespace offers package pricing but what makes them different is how they Catagorize these packages.   You can choose either a Cover Page (1 page landing site), Website (personal or business)  or Commerce (basic or advanced).  The prices range from $5 (cover page) to 70/month (advanced commerce)

With Squarespace, there is no free option. There is a 2 week trial but after that, you must be paying into one of their packages.

How does this stack up between Weebly & WordPress?

As mentioned, WordPress is offered in an a la carte kind of fashion.  You can shop for your domain, host & wordpress theme.  Both Weebly and Squarespace offer pricing tiers based on your website needs.  The benefit to WP here is that the cost for your site is the same no matter the complexity.  (not including ecommerce).

So the question remains: Would I recommend Squarespace?

This time I have to say…. yes.  It is dependable and sophisticated & you can create the site of your dreams with all of the features.

As I started using WordPress long before I heard of Squarespace (and when I initially did, Squarespace was not nearly as sophisticated as it is now) it has become the web builder of preference for me. Additionally, I know of several programmers that work primarily in WordPress so I can always call upon them when there is a project that is beyond my technical scope.  I have become an expert so to speak on this website platform and so advertise my site building that way.  I rarely work on outside platforms as it creates a huge learning curve & slows down the process.

However, I would recommend Squarespace to you if you are any of the following:

  • A Designer or Photographer
  • Creating a wedding website (yes, they have those themes)
  • Have previously built a website before in WordPress
  • Have an ability to edit images in Photoshop
  • Have limited website technical know how (but some!)
  • Want control on the design of the website
  • Need to get a website up quickly
  • Need to integrate many applications but are not sure where to start
  • Want a professional looking website

Til Next Time….

 


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