Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison… Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner… Godzilla and Mothra. History’s greatest rivalries all pale in comparison to the bitter rivalry that exists between Squarespace and WordPress.
Alright, maybe that’s a bit overdramatic. But if you’re a small business trying to figure out which CMS is the best fit, the decision can be a tough one.
Luckily, knowing some basics and asking yourself the right questions will make it a lot easier. Let’s compare.
What is it? Think of Squarespace as the Panera Bread of website building tools. Technically, it’s fast food, but with higher-quality ingredients. Essentially, the platform allows you to create a modern, great-looking website without the hassle or price tag of more complex platforms.
What are the pros? Squarespace is easy to use and pre-loaded with everything you’ll need to launch a basic website in no time. They take care of hosting, make regular updates, and offer affordable pricing, starting at $12/mo. You can choose from a number of professionally designed templates, which are all fairly customizable. No programming knowledge is required, although you can add custom code, if needed.
And the cons? Although there are some basic design options, Squarespace is mainly a “what-you-see-is-what-you-get” CMS. There aren’t any plugins (mini packages you can install to add extra functionality), and the themes can look unimpressive if you don’t have high quality photos to replace the stylish demo content. Overall, the limited customization options make it difficult to grow your website or add unique features.
What is it? WordPress is an open-source CMS, which means that the options for customization are limitless. Much like a big box of Legos, you can use the platform to build almost anything. However, Wordpress is not always user-friendly. You’ll most likely want to work with a web developer.
What are the pros? The biggest advantage of WordPress is flexibility. From SEO to social integration and interactive forms, the platform can be customized to your exact needs and goals. WordPress is ideal for managing many different types of content, like services, articles, and directories. Worldwide, it’s being used by almost 60% of sites with a CMS—by brands like The New Yorker, TechCrunch, and even Beyoncé.
And the cons? If you don’t have a web developer to help, WordPress can be challenging to work with. While it’s possible to customize your site with no coding knowledge (and many people do), the thousands of themes and plugins that are available vary widely in quality. You can compromise the security of your site and create major headaches for yourself fairly easily—which is why I would always recommend having a developer build and update your site for you.
7 Questions to ask yourself…
Q: Is this site an experiment or a long-term investment?
A: Experiment, Squarespace. Long-term, WordPress.
Q: Do you have many different types of content (services, articles, etc)?
A: Yes, WordPress. No, Squarespace.
Q: Do you prefer DIY projects or delegating the small details?
A: DIY, Squarespace. High-level, WordPress.
Q: Do you have plans to grow your website or add unique features?
A: Yes, WordPress. No, Squarespace.
Q: Are you connected with (or open to finding) a web developer ?
A: Developer, WordPress. No developer, Squarespace.
Q: Does the site need to be up in two weeks or less?
A: Yes, Squarespace.
Q: Do you have (or are you willing to invest in) high-quality photography?
A: Yes, Squarespace. No, WordPress.
Still not sure?
Talk with an expert. I’ve worked extensively with both Squarespace and WordPress, and I’m happy to answers any questions or help you find the perfect fit for your business and project goals.
Good night, and good luck!