Squarespace

Is Squarespace the Website Builder for You?

Nicole Sison – 
  – 

Having an official website for online marketing is essential for many business owners today. However, not everyone has the time or resources to work on web development for their brand. This explains the growing popularity of website builders like WordPress and Squarespace, which make it easy for users to create websites without any programming or coding experience needed.

squarespace logo overlaying image of woman using a website builder to design a website

What is Squarespace?

One of the biggest website building platforms worldwide, Squarespace was initially built for creating and hosting blogs. The software has since evolved to support other functions such as e-commerce tools, analytics and search engine optimisation. 

How much does it cost to use Squarespace?

Like other software-as-a-service (SaaS) website builders, Squarespace operates on a monthly paid subscription model. The annual plan also gives users a discount on the monthly costs. Users can create their own websites with the aid of online tools like pre-built web templates, widgets and other drag and drop graphic design elements.

 

A second version of the platform, which is aimed at developers, also allows users to access and edit source code. This makes it possible to improve functionality for websites hosted on Squarespace and allows the creation of custom-built websites from scratch.

Squarespace for Developers homepage

What is WordPress?

WordPress is another widely popular website building platform, and an alternative to Squarespace, which comes as an open-source content management system (CMS). The company offers free and paid versions of its online services for Hosted WordPress websites (WordPress.com) and for Self-Hosted WordPress websites (WordPress.org). 

Similar to Squarespace, WordPress provides website creation and hosting solutions to both beginners (anyone with no prior knowledge of coding languages like CSS and Javascript) and experienced website developers looking for a more flexible platform. For comparison purposes, we will be referring to websites created with WordPress.org in this guide.

Squarespace vs. WordPress: Which is Better?

Both site-building platforms tout an impressive variety of capabilities and tools for users, although WordPress has been around for a little longer having launched in 2003 followed closely by Squarespace in 2004. While both are great for beginners, the choice boils down to the needs of the user. 

Squarespace offers sleek and stylish website templates for beginner website owners

Squarespace’s platform offers users with a number of professional-looking website templates as a starting point for new users. The editor allows you to change text, drag-and-drop page elements, and even upload your own photos and media to design your website base. While the results can be very visually appealing, users are limited to the platform’s capabilities and editor options. Additionally, using a limited selection of website bases or templates can result in repetitive or, in worse-case scenarios, generic designs. On the other hand, a self-hosted WordPress setup can accommodate additional plugins and widgets for a truly unique look and optimised performance.

Screenshot of the Squarespace media editor in action

While WordPress’ own drag-and-drop Gutenberg Blocks editor did not fare as well in terms of public reception, it is still a newbie-friendly option for users getting started with a self-hosted WordPress setup.

 

But to truly unlock the potential of WordPress, some (if not a lot) technical assembly is required. The vast number of free and paid plugin options should be enough evidence of the platform’s flexibility:

Selection screen of over 48,000 WordPress plugins

But isn’t the Free Option Better?

It depends. WordPress does indeed offer a free alternative to Squarespace with more control for website creation but the platform comes with a steeper learning curve and needs more hands-on configuration. There are also other important factors to consider with a self-hosted WordPress setup such as hosting, themes, e-commerce integration and plugins. Whereas, Squarespace is a paid all-in-one service that takes care of all the technical work for coding newbies, a self-hosted WordPress site may end up costing more depending on the configurations you have in place.

Platform Hosting (monthly) Themes E-commerce (annual) Plugins
Squarespace $16 – $46 Free (Packaged Plans) Free but includes 3% transaction fee Free (Packaged Plans)
WordPress.org $4 – $30 $0 (Free) – $175+ (Premium) $0 (Free) – $180+ (Premium) $0 (Free) – $100+ (Premium)

To simplify: Squarespace is a good option for users who need a stylish, professional-looking website but the platform’s options can still be limited and a fixed packaged monthly subscription can be costly for users who want to maximise the benefits of owning their own website. 

A free self-hosted WordPress website offers the best of both worlds and can be further optimised to custom-fit the specific needs of users without coding knowledge but requires more technical configuration. Factors like hosting costs, domain registration, site plugin development and maintenance will also affect the final pricing of a self-hosted WordPress website.

Then Should You Consider Hiring a Professional?

Absolutely! Setting up a self-hosted WordPress website can be a tough job even with the existence of pre-built website theme templates and the sheer volume of platform plugins to choose from. You’ll need to spend more time researching web development techniques or hire a professional to truly unlock the platform’s potential capabilities and tweak every little detail to optimise your website for your business or company.

Nicole Sison
Nicole is an in-house Writer/Web Designer hybrid at CX Vibrancy International. When she's not busy editing blog articles or making websites look fabulous, she spends her days binging on anime and playing online video games.

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