WordPress vs. Squarespace: which option is really best for you and your business this year? When you’re building the website of your dreams, finding a platform that fits your needs can be a total pain. Cost, customization, and ease-of-use are all major factors but let’s be real: what you really need is your time. Let me save you some headaches and break down which website platform is best for YOU: WordPress.org or Squarespace.com?
Here’s a hint: I exclusively use WordPress for all of my clients. Skeptical? I thought so. Let me tell you why I use WordPress exclusively and why it’s most likely the best fit for you too. We’re going to take Squarespace and WordPress head-to-head in 5 main categories:
- Ease of use + customization
- Scalability / Biz Growth
- Website Speed
Let’s dive in, shall we?
Note: this compares WordPress.org rather than WordPress.com. Post on the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com coming soon. Subscribe to the mailing list to stay up to date.
1. Ease of use + customization
- Squarespace is easier if you don’t have direction. Looking to get started without a brand or custom website template? Squarespace is for you. If you purchase the right WordPress tools, however, working with WordPress can be a total dream.
- Squarespace offers several themes to choose from, but what you can do within those themes if very limited. Want a cool dropdown FAQ section that’s not offered in the template you chose? You’re out of luck.
- Within WordPress, you can choose from thousands of free and paid themes to fit your exact needs. You can also choose a theme that is lightweight and increases the speed and SEO of your website. The great thing about these themes is that you can connect them to easy page builders like Elementor to give yourself full flexibility in editing.
- If you use the right tools, WordPress is a total piece of cake and way more powerful. By using a page builder like Elementor, you can easily plug in existing themes, move things around, copy and paste styles, and really make your website your own without ever touching code. You also have access to a library full of thousands of plugins to make everything you want within your website possible. Want to offer a subscription plan for your clients to join a private Facebook group? Totally doable. In order to offer subscriptions on Squarespace, the monthly cost increases dramatically- but more on this later.
2. Scalability / Biz Growth
- Let’s talk about business growth. If you’re a smaller business, selling less than $3k/year, and don’t anticipate an overload of traffic, Squarespace again is a piece of cake. But let’s think about your future goals: do you ever want to host a course directly on your site without paying through the nose for a Kajabi plan? Would you ever want to offer an exclusive members-only blog and content section of your site? What about a recipe library? Although Squarespace has a lot of cool tools, the more you scale the more limited you become.
- If you want to sell more than $3k (more about this on e-commerce below), anticipate higher traffic to your site, or eventually want to host a membership site or online course platform, you’ll want to host on WordPress.
There’s a reason Disney, Time, and Beyonce (yes, the Queen herself) all build their websites on WordPress. It’s wicked powerful.
You can not only choose your own hosting package to make sure your website runs at the speed it needs to for the traffic you get (Squarespace doesn’t allow this), but you can also install any plugin you need to reach your business goals. From online legal document signing to membership platforms and learning CMS’s, you have everything you need with WordPress.
- Selling your products and making that cash is a huge goal of many websites. Make that #passiveincome right? If you use Squarespace, the tools you need to sell online effectively are available, but at a greater monthly cost. The great thing about Squarespace is the platform is set up for you and managing your products can be very easy. Once you get into more custom, variable products, you may end up paying more for less capability.
- Selling products through WordPress is totally free using a variety of plugins (Woocommerce is my favorite). Depending on the payment processing system you use, you can avoid any transaction fees, while Squarespace charges you 3%. If you have more advanced products, setting these variables is super easy and free within wordpress. Just like the business growth section, there is a library full of free and paid plugins that allow you to sell subscriptions, memberships, and anything else you could imagine.
- This is a big one, and one of the main reasons I use WordPress over Squarespace. There are no tools available in SquareSpace to optimize photos on the site. Anything you do in the re-optimization of graphics files must be done before they are uploaded, which is certainly an issue for you with a photo-heavy existing site. The majority of Squarespace themes are very photo-centric, which makes for gorgeous themes but awful SEO. WordPress has a number of potential solutions that are easily implemented for photo optimization. My SEO expert’s favorite is IMAGIFY which works on PNG and JPG files and excels every other compression technique he’s tried.
- Although Squarespace claims to have built-in SEO capabilities, my SEO expert won’t even take on a project if the website is on Squarespace because the results he will see from the work he does is very limited. Sure, you can set the basics, but if you really want to show up in the top 3 Google search results, Squarespace is not for you.
5. Website Speed
- This is another major reason I use WordPress over Squarespace. There are a few reasons why WordPress has much more capacity to increase the speed of your website.
- First, you have the ability to choose any hosting package you want and connect it to WordPress (we’re talking about wordpress.org here, not wordpress.com). I personally recommend the Bluehost Choice Plus plan to all of my clients, which fits the needs for most small-medium sized businesses. If you’re a bigger business, however, you may run into some speed issues when you’re on a shared server. There are plenty of amazing options to get your own server space and connect it to WordPress, not so with Squarespace.
- Finally, we’re back to the photo-heavy Squarespace sites. Since there is no great way to optimize the photos on your Squarespace site, this can cause major website speed issues. With a few free and paid plugins in WordPress, speed is no longer an issue.
TLDR: If you want something quick and easy, are a new business, and aren’t worried about scaling, customization, and showing up on search engines, Squarespace is a great place to start. For most of you, however, investing in your website is something you want to actually serve your business and be something you can use and upgrade for years to come. If this is the case for you, WordPress is where you need to be.
Here’s the catch: WordPress can be super tricky if you’re not using the right tools. The key to WordPress is all in the tools and plugins you use. Learning this can be really trial-and-error unless you come to someone who’s already done the work for you (yep, shamelessly plugging myself).
That’s why I created templates that give you all the tools and plugins you need to build, launch, and run your website like a total pro. Get early access to the templates and exclusive discounts by signing up here.