Squarespace vs WordPress: Which Is Right For You?

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Anna Fitzgerald
Anna Fitzgerald

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When deciding what tool to use to build your website, consider how much functionality, flexibility, and ownership you want over your site. Choosing between Squarespace vs WordPress can seem challenging, but it doesn’t have to be after considering your website goals.

Student deciding between Squarespace vs WordPress for her website

Do you value a tool that is easy to use with a quick set-up process? If so, you’ll prefer a website builder like Squarespace. With website builders, you’ll get tools and hosting in one place without paying for more advanced features that you don’t have time to learn or use.

But let’s say you value more control over your website’s functionality and appearance, even if that means more day-to-day management. In that case, you’ll want touse a content management system like WordPress. CMS platforms provide advanced features and customization options to manage large and complex sites.

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To help you decide which solution is right for your site, we’ll look at one of the most popular website builders and one of the most popular CMS platforms: Squarespace and WordPress. 

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With any of Squarespace’s premium plans, you get hosting, SSL certification, domain registration, templates, eCommerce features, and support all in one place. You’ll also get dozens of out-of-the-box features, including gallery boxes, podcast support, newsletter signup forms, and more. This allows users with little to no technical knowledge to quickly build and launch custom sites without worrying much about day-to-day management.

In exchange for this ease of use, you’ll have to give up some flexibility. Besides a few extensions primarily dedicated to e-commerce sites, you’re limited to the features Squarespace provides.

Site owners looking to build sites with more advanced functionality will prefer WordPress. With this open-source CMS, you can edit the underlying code or select from one of the largest collections of plugins and themes to customize the design and functionality of your site. There are over 60,000 plugins in the official WordPress plugins directory and approximately 31,000 WordPress themes available in the official repository and third-party marketplaces.

That means site owners will have plenty of customization options — and a steeper learning curve and greater responsibility in managing their sites.

Now that you know a little about the major differences between these platforms, let’s see how Squarespace and WordPress compare for blogging, SEO, and pricing.

Squarespace vs. WordPress for Blogging

Whether you choose Squarespace or WordPress, you can easily add a blog to your site. Blogging can help you attract more quality leads, establish yourself as an authority in a particular industry, and engage your online community.

Below we’ll compare the blogging features and templates of Squarespace and WordPress so you can pick the one that best meets your needs.

Squarespace for Blogging

With Squarespace, you can easily add and manage a blog on your site. You can have landing pages for multiple blogs, create unlimited blog posts using the block editor, tag and categorize posts, create post excerpts, enable comments, share your posts on social media, and more.

Because certain templates have special blogging features, you’ll want to pick one of those for your blog homepage and individual posts. For example, the template Farro comes with thumbnail images, a related posts widget, customizable share buttons, author profiles, and infinite scroll, which makes it ideal for blog landing pages and posts.

The Most Critical Differences Between Squarespace & WordPress

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Squarespace does lack some features that you’d expect, like auto-save and more than three heading styles, which can frustrate content creators. For blogging, Squarespace is best if you want to keep things simple.

WordPress for Blogging

Since WordPress has its origins in blogging, it offers the standard blogging options that Squarespace offers — including a drag-and-drop block editor, native commenting system, tags, and categories — as well as more advanced options so you can publish a complex blog.

You can build a site in your language, assign user roles and permissions, make your content public or private, or secure posts and pages with a password. You can also choose from thousands of themes designed for blogging to customize the appearance of your blog. There are more than 10,000 free blog themes available in the official WordPress directory alone.

wordpress theme marketplace

To add any additional functionality to your blog, like displaying a list of recent posts in your sidebar, then you can install a plugin or edit your source code. These advanced customization options set WordPress apart from Squarespace and other website builders.

Squarespace vs. WordPress for SEO

After creating quality content, the next step is optimizing it for search engines before publishing it. This improves your chances of ranking on Google and other major search engines, which can increase your blog’s visibility and get you more organic traffic.

The way these platforms handle search engine optimization is a primary difference between WordPress and Squarespace. There are different ways to optimize your website. You can focus on technical SEO, like reducing page load time, or edit on-page SEO, like keywords, meta descriptions, links, and images.

To maximize your efforts, you want a platform with built-in functionality for optimizing both these types of SEO. Let’s compare the SEO features of Squarespace and WordPress below to see which is better for your site.

Squarespace SEO

Squarespace allows you to customize the title, meta description, image alt text, and URL of your posts and pages, which is essential to your on-page SEO. You can create 301 redirects to avoid broken links and 404 error pages and build a responsive site by choosing from over 60 mobile-optimized templates.

You won’t have to worry about manually creating or updating a site map — Squarespace takes care of that.

However, because no SEO plugins or add-ons are available, you’re limited to the features Squarespace provides. For example, there are no tools you can install on your site to automatically suggest where to add internal links or compress and optimize your images.

For that reason, Squarespace is an excellent option for users already familiar with SEO best practices.

WordPress SEO

WordPress is the more versatile platform for creating an SEO-friendly site. Like Squarespace, WordPress lets you add image alt-text, meta descriptions, headings, and custom URLs in your posts and pages and lets you choose from responsive themes and templates to design your site.

What makes WordPress unique is that you can optimize your site in two ways - through back-end or plugins. If you have experience in web development, then you can edit any part of your site’s underlying code to remove any unnecessary HTML, CSS, or Javascript that’s slowing down your site or preventing search engine bots from crawling and indexing it.

If you don’t have experience in web development, you can download or purchase WordPress plugins. Plugins like Yoast SEO, WP Rocket, Google XML Sitemaps, and Redirection will simplify or automate the process of optimizing your content, images, page speed, XML sitemaps, and redirects.

Downloading, purchasing, and updating these tools will require time and money, but they can vastly improve your site’s on-page and technical SEO.

Squarespace vs. WordPress Price

Budget is a key factor in deciding where to build your site. Pricing is a big difference between WordPress and Squarespace. With Squarespace, you’ll pay more when first setting up your website.

WordPress, on the other hand, is free to use, but you’ll have to pay for hosting, domain registration, and premium plugins and themes.

Look at the costs associated with building and managing a site on each platform below.

Squarespace Price

Unlike other website builders, Squarespace does not offer a free plan. Its personal tier costs $16 per month and comes with a free custom domain for a year, unlimited bandwidth and storage, and templates for quickly building a custom site.

However, since it doesn’t support more than two contributors on your site, premium integrations, advanced website analytics, or full integration with the platform’s e-commerce features, you’ll likely need to upgrade to the business tier, which costs $23 per month.

To build and manage a fully-functional e-commerce store that directs customers to a secure checkout page and accepts different currencies, you’ll need to purchase one of the Squarespace commerce plans. These plans range from $27 to $49 per month.

It’s important to note that these rates only apply when you purchase a plan for an annual term. If you want to pay month-to-month, then rates increase to $23, $33, $36, and $65 per month, respectively.

With these price points, Squarespace is one of the most expensive website builders on the market.

Squarespace pricing tiers

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WordPress Price

The WordPress software is free to download and use but to launch your site, you’ll have to pay for hosting and a custom domain name. You may also need to purchase a premium theme and plugins to build a site that behaves and looks exactly as you want.

Since hosting, domain registration, themes, and plugins vary in price, the costs of building and managing a WordPress site can range from hundreds to tens of thousands of dollars.

Average costs are relatively moderate, however. Data from Website Builder Expert shows that building a WordPress site costs around $200, and managing it costs $11 to $40 per month.

The Key Differences Between Squarespace and WordPress

Squarespace and WordPress allow non-developers to build and customize a site without touching a single line of code. Each offers unique advantages to users with different skill levels, budgets, and needs.

To help you decide which solution is right for you and your site, we’ll summarize the key differences between Squarespace and WordPress below.

  Squarespace wordpress
Software Proprietary website builder Open-source content management system
Extensions There are a handful of free and premium integrations to extend your site’s functionality and 15 extensions designed specifically for online stores. Otherwise, you’re limited to the features Squarespace provides. Over 55,000 plugins are available in the official directory. More premium plugins are available in third-party marketplaces.
Blogging Comes with blogging templates and built-in features for adding multiple blogs to your site, but it lacks some functionality you’d expect, like an auto-save feature. Offers a robust selection of themes and out-of-the-box features designed specifically for blogging, including user management and content visibility. Additional features can be added via plugins.
SEO Out-of-the-box, you can customize page titles, meta descriptions, and URLs; set up redirects; and build responsive pages using templates. However, optimizing your site in these ways will fall on your shoulders without any plugins to help you. In addition to built-in functionality, hundreds of plugins are available for download to help you improve on-page and technical SEO.
Price Plans cost $16, $23, $27, and $49 per month if purchased for an annual term. Month-to-month rates are higher. Software is free to download, but factor in additional costs for domain registration, hosting, and premium plugins and themes.

Choosing Between Squarespace vs WordPress

Both Squarespace and WordPress are great options for you to take your website-building journey. After all, they are the most popular builders on the market for a reason. Your choice between the two comes down to what you’re looking for out of your website builder.

If you want something that is relatively easy to use and lets you focus more on the business side of things, you should consider Squarespace. If you value flexibility in terms of design and plugins as resources, even if it means extra work, you should consider WordPress. 

Whichever direction you choose to go in, you can’t go wrong.

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