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Building a website? Squarespace and Wordpress compared.

09-May-2017 | Jenni
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Having a website for your business is imperative for your business.

(Read the blog we wrote on Why your business needs a website for Current Consulting).

There are many website design platforms, but deciding which platform to use can be a difficult decision to make.  Here is a table from Website Builder, comparing two excellent and popular website builders: Wordpress and Squarespace

 

1) Flexibility

Squarespace is not an open source website builder, so only their in-house developers are responsible in creating their tools.

This means that all their website building tools are built by the same team to ensure that none of the tools will conflict with each other and are of high quality.

All the tools provided by Squarespace are closely controlled, monitored and tested within their own operating environment, so you won’t have to worry about certain functions not working, conflicts with your website, or even breaking / crashing your website.

But this does mean that you won’t be able to easily integrate non-Squarespace tools (though not impossible if you really want to, to a certain extent).

If any issues arise, Squarespace has a dedicated, 24/7 support team to fix them for you (more details below).

WordPress is an open source platform so you can customize your website however you want to – provided that you are a capable coder (or if you are working with a strong coder).

WordPress is an open source platform so you can customize your website however you want to – provided that you are a capable coder (or if you are working with a strong coder).

The free plugin developers may or may not help you when issues arise. Buying premium plugins will entitle you to support, but that does not guarantee that they will troubleshoot all issues for you as the conflict may be caused by other plugins (which is beyond the premium plugin developers’ control).

There are really good WordPress plugins out there, but just be careful and test them thoroughly with your site before using them, or they may have negative implications on the performance of your website.

2) Ease of Use

Squarespace is a much easier website builder to use, compared to WordPress.

It is a drag & drop website builder, so you can place content almost anywhere you want to, without touching a line of code.

Squarespace is ideal for people who are not tech-savvy, don’t have interests in learning codes, or just don’t have the resources (time & money) to deal with codes or building highly customized sites.

It also provides you with a comprehensive library of user guides (video & text formats), so becoming good at building websites with Squarespace is not too challenging.

But don’t be fooled that only beginners use Squarespace, as this platform is used by all levels of website owners (including very advanced users, or large organizations).

The learning curve of using WordPress is much steeper than learning how to use Squarespace.

WordPress is not a drag & drop website builder, so if you want to reformat your page layout (such as inserting a slideshow on the top right corner, or moving a piece of content to an exact spot) you will have to modify your template codes in order to do so (or hire a capable developer to help you do that).

Although WordPress is a very powerful platform, to be able to use it effectively, it’s inevitable that you will need to modify some codes to achieve what you want.

If you are proficient with code, or working with a good coder, WordPress can definitely deliver a much more customized site than Squarespace.

3) User Support

Squarespace provides you with a dedicated, 24/7 support team to answer your questions should you have any.

They provide 24/7 email support (in which they respond within 1 hour), user guides (video & text), live chat (Monday – Friday, between 3am – 8pm EST), and also forum support.

As mentioned above, since all the tools are built by Squarespace themselves, they will be able to take ownership of issues and resolve them (instead of shifting this responsibility to other developers).

Since they have a dedicated support team for you, all questions from you are answered, and it does not matter how many times the same questions were asked by others before (unlike the WordPress forum).

WordPress has a massive forum that includes millions of posts where people are asking questions in search for answers.

A lot of questions are answered, and a lot of questions are also not answered. Also, just because questions are answered, does not mean that they are solved effectively, or at all. Getting questions responded to also might take days.

The challenge is due to the volume of questions being asked, and a lot of the questions have been discussed before. So if you post a question, it might be ignored as it has been asked in the past. So you may have to dig through volumes of forum postings to find some sort of answer to your question.

As mentioned above, no one really “owes” you an answer unless you pay for it. And given WordPress.org and a lot of its plugins are free to use, getting someone to respond can be difficult (unless you hire a good WordPress developer to help you).

4) Ongoing Maintenance

As mentioned above, Squarespace is a “closed” system so they manage all the performance and security updates for you.

You don’t have to click any update buttons, or worry about any potential conflicts. All updates are tested by the Squarespace team and deployed to your website automatically.

Having all this managed for you, frees up your time to focus on other things that are more important to you.

WordPress is continually updating its platform to fix bugs and improve security. When there are updates, your WordPress dashboard will alert you, and you just have to click the update button to update your WordPress version.

That is the easy part. The challenging part is that when WordPress updates, your theme and plugins will also need to be updated.

While a lot of theme and plugin creators will also update to ensure they adopt WordPress’ latest updates, a lot won’t (especially for free themes & plugins). So this potentially exposes your website to user, performance or security issues.

So the ongoing maintenance work, especially if you don’t have a person / team dedicated to managing your website, can be an additional burden to you.

5) Pricing & Ongoing Financial Commitments

Squarespace offers you 4 price packages :

·         Personal $12/month

·         Business $18/month, Basic Store $26/month

·         Advanced Store $40/month)

The higher the plan, the more tools you get.

The monthly plans include the drag & drop website building interface (no coding required), designer templates for you to choose from, hosting services, and dedicated support team.

It’s pretty much a one-stop-shop service where you pay a monthly fee to get a full serviced package, without having to piece together bits and pieces like you would have to with WordPress.

If you sign up for an annual plan, Squarespace gives you a free domain for the first year ($10 – $15 value).

The ongoing cost of using Squarespace can range from $144 (Personal Plan) to $480 per year (Advanced Store Plan).

Unless you are in need of an advanced ecommerce store set up, you will most likely only need to use the Personal or Business plans. So the price per year will usually range from $144 to $216.

I would say that just the 24/7 dedicated support (with 1 hour email response time & live chat), as well as having all the technology managed for you to free up your time, is already well worth the monthly plans (getting good help on the internet nowadays is difficult and rare).

With WordPress.org, you will have to find your own hosting services which can cost about $7 per month (being very general here, as the range really varies depending on the quality of the hosting service provider. 

If you purchase a premium theme, this can cost you anywhere from $30 – $80 per theme (depending on how reputable the theme developer is).

While a lot of plugins are free, some of them are paid as well (ranging from $15 – $50 per plugin), depending on what you need and if you want support (as mentioned above).

You will also need to purchase your own domain name($10 – $15 per year).

The initial investment can range from $139 to over $200, depending how many premium plugins you pick up.

If you hire a developer to help you build your site, make modifications or for troubleshooting, your cost will go up substantially on an ongoing basis, and can be a challenge to budget for.

Don’t forget that the learning curve of using WordPress effectively is also fairly high. So you should factor in the cost of your own time as well (this is a “hidden cost”).

Which one appeals to you the most?

Happy website building!