Squarespace vs. WordPress

You’ve heard of Squarespace and WordPress, right? Maybe you wondered, “Which one should I use when I create my own website?” I’m asked this question all the time so today I’m sharing a comprehensive list explaining key differences between the two.  Full Disclosure: I believe that in every single category, the clear winner is WordPress, and I’ll explain why.

 

Individuality and Creativity: Which gives you more options?

The WordPress platform and community is amazingly flexible. Programmers of all types and backgrounds know how to use plugins to make your site your very own. If you need a customized design or framework, chances are good that you can find somebody who can create that for you. Squarespace, on the other hand, isn’t flexible, giving you only about 70 designs to choose from.

Rush Hour: What happens when you get major traffic?

When using WordPress, you can host or even move to a new hosting provider whenever you wish. But with Squarespace, you are stuck solely with their hosting, so don’t expect to pick up and move your site whenever you want. And although Squarespace says “unlimited,” that’s not exactly the case. In the Terms of Service, Squarespace states that they can shut down your site if they feel like your site is too much stress on their servers, so make sure you don’t get popular too quickly. For example: Let’s say you have a moderately sized DIY site like Designer Trapped, and then you end up on the TODAY Show or Good Housekeeping. Your site is likely to get some major traffic overnight. Without a doubt, you’d want your site to stay up and running instead of getting shut off due to “too much traffic.” With Squarespace, there is no guarantee of that.

Traffic in downtown Greensboro

Paying for Growth: Which evolves with you?

Speaking of growing too fast — when you’ve grown your business or blog and need to, in turn, grow your site, or maybe even have multiple sites, which will help you evolve? With WordPress, these kinds of advancements are easy and free. With Squarespace, not so much. You will need to get a new subscription.

Trusted by Big Names: Who’s got the strongest celebrity status?

Who’s got the most street cred?

Did you know that Fortune 500 companies and other big scale organizations and celebrities that have tons of web traffic trust WordPress as their website software? I’m talking about ESPN, CNN, Walt Disney, Playstation, Bloomberg, BBC, Katy Perry, Beyonce, Snoop Dogg, so on. Squarespace —  well, they did have a John Malkovich commercial on during the Super Bowl which was pretty cool. I don’t know any other high profile company associated with them, though.

It’s Your Content, Protect it: Which one claims your copy and images as their own?

There’s something I am absolutely adamant about: Your content should be yours! Did you know Squarespace has the right to use whatever content they want to for FREE if it’s on their servers? Yikes! According to their lengthy Terms of Service that nobody reads but that you must agree to, Squarespace can use any part of your site for their own advertising without letting you know.  

 

If You Build It, They Will Come…If They Can Find It First: Who offers better SEO?

If you’ve got the right programmers and copywriters who know their stuff, your content is going to be much more SEO-friendly with WordPress than with Squarespace, meaning the major search engines will pick it up more effectively. If you are going to take the time to write something or hire a copywriter to tell your story, you might as well make sure you get the most search engine bang for your buck.

 

Don’t Get Cheated Out of Your Own Business: Who’s more likely to charge you fees?

Want to sell products? WordPress has some pretty amazing eCommerce features and plugins. The company that owns WordPress recently acquired the most popular eCommerce platform to add to its advantages. And guess what? It’s free to install and use. Contrast this with Squarespace, who charges transaction fees for each sale you make, unless you upgrade to receive a “discount”.

 

International Trade: What if you want to go global?

If you have a good understanding of programming or can get a developer with WordPress experience, you have the ability to make your transactions in any currency. Squarespace, HOWEVER, limits you to only 13 options.  You might think 13 currencies is plenty, but if your long term goal is to go global, that simply won’t be enough.

 

Accessibility: Which platform is more inclusive?

Want to be user-friendly and accessible to users who are visually impaired? Maybe you are getting ready to update your state funding higher education website or you’re a non-profit. With the right programming, your site will be fully accessible to all viewers, including screen readers. Not a bad idea. Squarespace on the other hand? Ouch! Most of the 70 themes don’t even include any accessibility tests. That’s not good if you are trying to be all-inclusive.

After years of programming, my professional opinion is this: It is very rare that WordPress will not be the best option for you. Don’t get me wrong, you can make a very attractive site with Squarespace. But your customization options are extremely limited. Instead, get with a good team like Tigermoth who can help you design, develop and write for a WordPress site — because with WordPress, if you can imagine it, it’s possible.

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Kevin Shoffner is Co-founder and Director of Digital Services at Tigermoth Creative. With 20 years professional experience in the digital realm, he understands the ever-changing technologies that impact web environments every day. He’s a father, hiker and professional sarcasm expert.