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WordPress is the most widely-used CMS platform, and according to a web survey, 39.6% of the world uses WordPress to manage their content.
I am part of that nearly 40%. WordPress is my go-to for managing my NeilPatel.com blog as well as my other websites.
However, several other options are growing in popularity that prove to be worthy opponents for WordPress. One such competitor is Squarespace. This beginner-friendly content management system is a favorite amongst many, but how does it hold up against the trusted WordPress?
I’ve been building websites for years, so I have gathered knowledge and experience in both WordPress and Squarespace.
If you’re looking to build a new website and are not sure which platform is best, check out my comparison of WordPress vs. Squarespace.
WordPress or Squarespace: Which is Better?
WordPress is best for customization. With this platform, the options seem unlimited. WordPress offers thousands of templates that serve as a starting point for your website. These templates can be greatly modified to best fit your needs. WordPress also offers tens of thousands of plugins to add to your site to further improve its design and function.
Squarespace is best for beginners. The steps to creating a website on this platform are simple and easy for people just starting out. Squarespace does not require signing up for hosting or purchasing a domain separately, and the templates give you options for customization that don’t feel overwhelming.
A Review of The Best Website Builders
We reviewed dozens of website builders and narrowed them down to the four best options. Check out our top picks and get the information you need to pick the best builder for you.
With my years of experience building websites, I have done extensive research on which ones work best in specific situations and specific people. My list of top picks reflects this work and the ones that shine the brightest for those looking to build a website.
Though Squarespace did not make the Best Website Builders list, it is still very popular and, as you’ll see in this review, has some great qualities. WordPress made our top list for several different reasons that we cover in the article, including its thousands of template options, the plethora of extensions/plugins, the amount of control you have over your website, and more.
With the right website builder, it won’t take a great deal of technical experience to get a website up and running that looks professional and has excellent functionality.
WordPress is the chosen winner. This website builder offers several different benefits that other platforms do not.
Control: WordPress allows for a great deal of control over how your website looks and works. With thousands of different templates to choose from, you have more options than necessary to get your website’s basic outline up and running. Add to that the tens of thousands of plugins available, and you can personalize your WordPress website in nearly every way imaginable.
Templates: While Squarespace offers templates, WordPress offers many more. On top of that, WordPress templates are easier for the average person to personalize even more. Many websites use WordPress templates without anyone ever knowing.
Added Functionality. WordPress is known for its plugins. Need something on your website? It’s almost a guarantee that there is a plugin for that. WordPress currently offers nearly 60,000 different plugins, some of which are free. Plugins have the power to do a variety of things, including help you with your website’s SEO, set up a contact form, track your site’s analytics, and much more.
Built-In Blog. WordPress was created as software for content management, so all of its sites have a built-in blog feature that makes adding a blog to your website easy. There is no need to create a separate blog for your WordPress site. Simply add blog content to your existing website to share information and updates with your readers.
Community Support. WordPress is open-source and free, so people who contribute to the platform have built a great community to support each other. Though WordPress itself doesn’t offer a great deal of online or phone support, the forums created by the community of users has answers to all kinds of WordPress questions.
There are also events called WordCamps that exist all over the world put on by WordPress to help people learn how to better use and develop the platform. Ticket prices are affordable and open to all WordPress users, developers, designers, and fans.
Cost. Because WordPress is open-source, it is free to download. Templates and plugins are not always free, but the ability to download and use the platform is. Hosting as well is something that does not come free, but that is typically done through an external site such as Bluehost.
Easy to Manage. While many companies offer expensive packages to manage WordPress sites, it can be done easily on your own. Updating plugins is a regular occurrence but requires minimal effort. And you get reminders when updates are available. Management also includes ensuring backups are in place (which happens through plugins or your hosting plan).
SEO Help. Since SEO is a must for your website, it’s great to have tools to help you get there. WordPress has SEO built into it via its automatic generation of both meta descriptions and title tags. The popular Yoast SEO plugin on WordPress is free and a must-have tool for your website.
Every page and blog post you create can utilize SEO to boost it and let search engines know what you’re doing. Yoast SEO has you do things such as:
● Create a focus keyphrase
● Write a more detailed meta description
● Create an SEO title
● Create a slug
Yoast also features a readability analysis area where it determines how easily people will be able to read your content and provide suggestions on making it better.
Steep Learning Curve. WordPress is not an intuitive platform. There is information to help you learn it, but you have to be willing to put in the time to do so. The layout of the dashboard is something that takes getting used to and learning how to navigate the editing. Since templates on WordPress are created by users, they work differently, and that means adjusting each time you use a new template.
Lack of Hosting. To run your WordPress site, you need to purchase hosting through a third-party such as Bluehost. This adds an extra step to the building of your website and is a step that can be confusing to people new to website building.
Speed Issues. Some of the WordPress themes are built with a lot of code, which can cause the load time of the site to slow down. If you are new to WordPress, you likely won’t know that some of the code is unnecessary and can be erased. Ridding of the excess code helps speed the site up but shouldn’t be done unless you know what you’re doing.
Hidden Costs. Though the platform itself is free, a WordPress website’s functionality and success depend on customizable themes and plugins. And most of these come at a price. Though it may not seem like much at first, each new paid plugin adds to the site’s overall cost.
Site Vulnerability. Because WordPress is open-source, it is at higher risk for hackers. It is also the most widely-used content management system, so the volume of hackers increases with the platform’s increased use. WordPress plugins are also developed by different people not affiliated with the WordPress company itself, so it is possible that bad code could get into your site.
Though not as strong of a contender as WordPress, Squarespace does still offer some great things.
Ease of Use. It doesn’t get more straightforward than drag-and-drop, and Squarespace allows you to do just that. Squarespace templates are ready for you to use with little to no previous experience and almost no learning curve.
Simple Editing. Changing your Squarespace website is a zero-stress task thanks to its user-friendly backend. It does not require knowledge of web design or development.
Marketing Tools Included. While you have to pay for and individually download and install every plugin with WordPress, the marketing tools you need are included with Squarespace. This means things such as analytics, contact forms, SEO, and more.
All-in-One. Squarespace is everything. It is your website builder, your design hub, and your host. You don’t have to hop to other sites to get what you need and then figure out how to connect it to your Squarespace site. It’s a one-stop-shop for all you need to get your website up and running.
Very Responsive. All templates on Squarespace are responsive and built to work on all computers, phones, and tablets. You can even see while building your website how it looks on each of the different devices, as they can vary greatly.
Excellent Support. The customer care team at Squarespace is available 24/7 to troubleshoot any issues you may be having. The platform also has community forums that connect you with other Squarespace users to answer questions and get information.
Social Integration. Squarespace offers customized widgets that allow you to integrate your social media handles easily. And they can look like they were part of the original design.
Automatic Updates. Any new features rolled out by Squarespace automatically show up on your page or allow you to simply opt-in on them.
Lack of Customization Options. While I love how user-friendly Squarespace is, there is not nearly the level of customization as WordPress offers. And changes to the coding of your Squarespace website is not as easy as WordPress.
Fewer Templates. The number of templates available on Squarespace is merely a fraction of what’s available on WordPress. If you’re looking to build an ecommerce site, Squarespace only has 14 to choose from.
Basic SEO. Squarespace offers some basic SEO tools such as HTML markup and automatic sitemaps but does not allow for the level of SEO optimization that WordPress does.
Lack of Ownership. When you purchase a domain through Squarespace, you don’t legally own it. When you get a free domain through Squarespace, it applies WHOIS privacy, which means it is owned by Tucows Inc. Tucows is the primary contact of the registered domain, and since WHOIS privacy is applied to all Squarespace domains, you technically don’t own it.
Limited Number of Sites. With one Squarespace subscription plan, you are only able to have one website. Adding another one necessitates an additional subscription.
Limited Number of Contributors. Squarespace limits you to two contributors with its personal plan. To add more, you must upgrade. WordPress allows for an unlimited number of contributors.
Comparing The Top Website Builders
Finding the best website builder is a challenge. There are great options out there for platforms to build your website, and it is not a decision to be taken lightly. Whether it is for your small business, a personal blog, or a life-changing non-profit, your website plays a major role in your business’s success.
That’s why you need to take the time and read up on the top website builders. Here are my top picks from my research and experience:
- Wix — Best for general use
- Weebly — Best for beginners
- Shopify — Best for ecommerce
- WordPress — Best for content management
After reviewing the numerous website builders out there, I have found different options work best for different people.
If you are choosing between WordPress and Squarespace to build a great website, WordPress is our top pick.
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