A friend of mine recently asked for some help in addressing the issue of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) for her Squarespace website. Not only did this give me the opportunity to help a friend out, but I also got to look at Squarespace in more detail.
Squarespace appears to be increasing in popularity in the UK as a way of businesses setting up their own websites. So in the following blog, I look what Squarespace has to offer it’s customers in comparison to WordPress.
WordPress and Squarespace
I’ve gone into a lot more detail about WordPress in another blog, but to summarise, WordPress is a piece of software that allows you to create and manage your digital content on a website.
Squarespace is a competitor service to WordPress. Again, it allows your to create a website but it does so as SaaS (Software as a Service). Meaning that it’s a piece of software that is licensed to you on a subscription basis while being centrally hosted. Similar to WordPress.com.
Sqaurespace starts from £13 per month (£10 if you pay annually) for a Personal account. However for a Business account the cost is slightly more at £21 (£15 if you pay annually).
The cost is higher if you wish to have an online shop.
So that works out as a startup cost of at least £120 for the first year. With the added benefit of having hosting organised too as Squarespace hosts your website for you.
WordPress on-the-other-hand is an open-source piece of software so it’s absolutely free. Bargain!
What you will have to pay for with WordPress is your domain name and hosting. Plus you have to source these things yourself. My preferred website host has packages that start from £12 for the first year (£60 after that).
Addition costs for WordPress may include themes, plugins, designers and developers. However these are all optional.
Summary: WordPress has the option of being more expensive to set-up. However that extra cost can come with a website that is more catered to you and your business, and, depending on your hosting package, be cheaper on a yearly basis.
Ease of Use
With Squarespace you’re only a few clicks away from setting up your website. Their drag-and-drop editor makes it very simple to choose a layout and start designing your website.
The negative aspect of this ease is that is comes with fewer options for design.
WordPress has a few more clicks to get your website up and running. Although help is at hand if you need it. And once your website is set-up, there is minimal learning to do in terms of keeping it up to date.
The added complications that come with WordPress are due to the sheer extensiveness of what you can do with this powerful software. So you can make it as simple or complicated as you’d like.
Summary: It’s difficult to go too wrong with Squarespace. They make it very simple to learn. However WordPress gives you far more control over how you’d like your website. Well worth the learning curve.
Design and Features
There are a limited amount of templates and features available with Squarespace. That doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to create a beautiful website, but it does mean that you’ll probably have to make a lot more compromises along the way.
Squarespace only use plugins and features that they’ve designed, so although they’re limited, it does come with the added benefit of knowing who to go to for help and support.
The sheer volume of themes and plugins that are available on WordPress is breathtaking. So chances are, if you’d like it, someone’s developed it for you to have on your website.
Summary: WordPress surpasses Squarespace with the design and feature options that you have for your website.
Because Squarespace hosts your website, it is chiefly in charge of maintaining security. But because it is the host for millions of websites, it is a target for hackers.
The security of your WordPress website is in your hands, and it’s important to keep the software, plugins and themes updated. As well as performing regular backups.
This isn’t as big a task as it sounds though. There are plenty of ways to set these things to happen automatically.
Plugins and themes from third-parties are probably the biggest risk to WordPress websites. So it’s important to learn about what you’re uploading on to you website before you do it.
Summary: Both Sqauarespace and WordPress have their own risks associated with them. But, as long as you keep your WordPress website up to date, both are very secure.
If you decide to move your Squarespace website, you are only able to export some of your content. Which could mean that your hard work goes to waste.
The Squarespace Terms and Conditions also opt you in to allowing them to use any part of your webste for uses such as advertising and promotion. Even if that content is copyrighted. You can opt-out, but they don’t make it particularly easy!
With WordPress, 100% if your content is just that. Yours. You’re free to upload, export and move your website to your heart’s content.
Summary: WordPress gives you full control over your data.
There is no doubt about it, you can create yourself a brilliant website with Squarespace. But the ease of using the software comes with the need to make too many compromises for my liking. There are too many limits on what you can do.
When you’ve put so much time and effort into your business and your brand, you want your website to reflect that exactly.