Many businesses are looking for a simple solution when it comes to designing a website. With today’s technology, you don’t really need coding skills to build a professional looking website with lots of features. Two of the most popular platforms for creating websites are WordPress and Squarespace. Let’s compare these two and determine which is the better choice.
Easy to Use/Install
In terms of simplicity and being newbie-friendly, both WordPress and Squarespace are good choices. WordPress is an open source blogging and CMS (content management system) that anyone can download for free. All of the leading web hosting companies make it simple to install WordPress using a script installer such as SimpleScripts, Fantastico, or Softaculous. Once you install WordPress, it’s not hard to build your website from scratch. The features are fairly straightforward, letting you create posts and pages and edit your content as necessary.
Squarespace is a very user-friendly platform in its own right. In fact, it’s created especially for beginners with little technical knowledge. Of course, as we’ll see, one reason it’s so easy to use is that Squarespace doesn’t provide as many themes or design features as WordPress.
Themes and Customization
When you install WordPress, you start with a default theme. However, you can easily replace this. There are thousands of themes for every purpose, many free and others available at reasonable prices all over the internet. You can also hire a designer to build you a custom theme. This lets you customize your WordPress site to your specifications. By comparison, Squarespace only offers a small number of templates. Because it’s not an open source platform, you can’t find the many choices of themes that are available for WordPress. This makes it more difficult to create a truly customized site.
Another WordPress benefit is that there are plugins for every purpose, many of which are free. There are plugins for SEO, e-commerce, optimizing images, creating opt-in forms to build an email list, making your site more secure, e-commerce, creating forums and membership sites, and countless others. Plugins are software applications that anyone can easily install and they help to make WordPress extremely flexible and useful for businesses. With Squarespace, you’re limited to the built-in functions provided by the company. You can’t add external plugins.
One of the major advantages of WordPress is that you can easily optimize your content for the search engines using this platform. There are many built-in SEO features, such as the ability to place tags and categories on your posts and pages. There are additional WordPress SEO benefits as well. It’s simple to optimize permalinks and meta descriptions. Many SEO tasks can be automated by installing plugins such as Yoast SEO.
Squarespace also has some good SEO features, such as a built-in sitemap and the ability to add tags, URL slugs, and custom meta-descriptions in the settings. You can’t, however, add SEO plugins as you can on WordPress. Nor can you choose themes that have built-in SEO benefits as many WP themes do. The bottom line is that you can build SEO-friendly websites with either WordPress or Squarespace. WordPress, however, has a long track record of being favorable for SEO.
WordPress is free to download and install. You do have to pay for a domain and web hosting, but this is true for any website. Squarespace, on the other hand, has several plans to choose from. There are different prices depending on whether you want a personal, business, or e-commerce site. The costs are between $12 and $40 per month. WordPress, then, is the cheaper option.
WordPress vs Squarespace: the Verdict
Based on the above comparisons, you may have concluded that WordPress is our recommendation for business websites. One of the best things about WordPress is that it’s constantly evolving. As a massively popular open source platform, there’s a large community providing support and introducing improvements all the time. New versions of WordPress are frequently released to add more features and ensure security. It provides a far greater selection of features and options for customization.
Squarespace does have a few benefits of its own. The templates, though limited, are attractive and professional looking. The company does add templates and other features over time. If you want a very simple website, Squarespace is a low-maintenance solution. If, however, you want a site that has more potential for scaling up and customizing, WordPress is the better choice.
At Allison’s Alligator Digital Storytellers, we provide WordPress design and everything else local businesses everything they need to succeed online. For more information about our services, contact us.