These two popular website building tools have their own strengths and shortcomings. But which one should you use?
Note: There’re two ways you can get WordPress (via the .org or .com site). Mostly, they have the same characteristics with some differences to be mentioned as they arise.
Flexibility and ease of use
WordPress has a bit of a steeper learning curve. As an open source platform, you can customise as much as you want.
There are thousands of plug-ins (or features) to enhance your website’s functionality on WordPress.org. However, it can be hard to determine which one is of good quality, much like the thousands of browser extensions, or millions of mobile apps out there.
Moreover, if the plug-ins are not frequently updated by their creators, you risk running into security problems. The same could happen if you forget to update your site to the latest WordPress version.
These problems are minimised on WordPress.com as there’s actually an in-house team working to develop features for the service.
Squarespace is more intuitive, with what-you-see-is-what-you-get, drag-and-drop interface.
This makes it easy for newbies or those without a technical knowledge to get started, as they don’t have to set up their own domain and hosting.
Their features are fully developed and supported in-house, so users don’t have to browse through thousands of plug-ins like in WordPress. Hence, it’s better for those who don’t have an internal technical team to support their website.
Both website building platforms support multiple purposes: business website, blog, eCommerce, portfolio etc. with various integrations with third-party services (such as cloud storage, email).
There are also built-in social media sharing, analytics and SEO.
The amount of themes on WordPress is comparable to the number of their plug-ins. That means if you are big on customisation and don’t mind paying extra for premium themes, WordPress is better.
Squarespace offers under 100 themes with some customisation. You also need to have top quality, beautiful images in order to maximise these themes’ features.
Both platforms have mobile apps to manage and publish posts. Squarespace also has extra apps such as Analytics, Note, and Commerce to help users enhance their experience.
While Squarespace doesn’t run ads on your site without your permission, WordPress.com only has ad-free versions when you use the paid plans.
Monetisation is available on Squarespace, but you can only get that with the Premium and Business plans on WordPress.com, or install monetisation plug-ins on WordPress.org.
Squarespace doesn’t have a free version for you to try out. There are 4 different pricing levels for Personal and Business; Websites and Online stores.
WordPress.org is free but you have to pay for hosting, domain, and premium themes or plug-ins. That’s not to mention hiring costs for external technical support if needed. This can work out to be quite expensive ($200 – $15,000 according to this source).
WordPress.com, however, seems more competitive with pricing similar to Squarespace.
WordPress seems to be more content-focused as they are used by several famous news sites or blogs around the world, whereas Squarespace seems more suited to eCommerce and small businesses.
Squarespace targets design-conscious users and businesses that desire a modern look and feel without compromising simplicity. WordPress, on the other hand, is about customisation and creating highly functional or sophisticated sites.
Thus, it all comes down to what you need for your business or personal use.