Squarespace vs WordPress (2014) – Which one is for me?

After writing my Squarespace review a few weeks ago, I find some people asking whether they should use Squarespace or just go for WordPress to create a new blog.

Fair question! I’ve been there too.

But this one is easy to explain. It all depends on your style and needs.

Try Squarespace for FREE and decide whether you like it or not in 14 days!

So let me explain the advantages and disadvantages of each CMS platform and help you select the best for YOUR NEEDS. Here’s my Squarespace vs WordPress comparison:

squarespace vs wordpress

Which one is better for you?

Squarespace vs WordPress – User interface (A.K.A. Dashboard)

Squarespace tells us their interface and design is easy to use, and it actually is. However, WordPress is easy to use too. The main difference relies on the capabilities and quantity of options and features on each CMS.

Squarespace gives you everything you need to start your blog, add pages, format posts, add photos etc, everything in a friendly and elegant interface. Even the typography and spacing is great, and it looks great no matter where you’re reading it. That’s why I called it “The Apple” of the CMS.

WordPress in the other hand, has a pretty decent interface, but non as pretty and elegant as Squarespace. WordPress gives you the ability to install and modify everything you want for your blog. This means you can go deep into your CSS or functions.php file and modify a line in the code. But this also means you can screw it and lose access to your blog (other than FTP).

I’d say it really depends on how deep you want to go on your design and functionality. WordPress is the biggest CMS contender nowadays, and offers everything you need no matter if you know how to use it or not.

Squarespace on the other hand, is prepared with powerful options and elegant designs. You’ll lose some capabilities but maybe they’re not important for your. All the basic stuff is there.

squarespace vs wordpress dashboard

Squarespace vs WordPress – Design and Templates

When you signup to Squarespace, you’re loaded with a full set of BEAUTIFUL templates to start a blog. Squarespace has different categories including: Portfolios, Blogs, Photography and Business. But that’s basically it.

I admit I can do a lot of things with the templates on Squarespace, but it could different for you. In fact, some of the things I wouldn’t ever to on Squarespace are: Magazine Style (News) websites.

Update (February 2013): Squarespace now supports E-commerce. This is great news and one of the features it was lacking off. Read here for more information: Squarespace E-Commerce.

On the other corner, with WordPress you have bazillions (really!) of free WordPress Themes for your blog.

Most of them are almost junk and pretty simple, but they work. I’d say 90% of the free themes aren’t worth it. But when you decide to go pro and grab a Premium (or even a Framework) Theme, you get the best of the best, including SEO, Layout, Plugins, Support and more.  This can cost from $10 and up to $100 or more, depending on the package or enterprise you’re looking into.

I’d call a draw here. Why?

Well, with Squarespace you’ve got a relatively small quantity of options, but almost all of them are great. So you have a hard time deciding which one to use. And Squarespace’s SEO is really good, according to MOS, and it’s got a fast server included.

With WordPress, you have A LOT more options, to decide, but plenty of them are crap. Except of course, when you’re trying to create a website that differs a lot from photography, portfolios, business or blogs.

squarespace vs wordpress design

Squarespace vs WordPress – Pricing

Oh yes. Pricing is one important factor to consider when building a blog/website.

Especially if you’re just starting your business or blog, you want to invest a small amount that you can later recover with a good ROI.

Squarespace offers 2 different plans for your needs.

You can either pay $10 or $20 per month, but you get a 20% discount (on both plans) if you pay a year in advance. If you’re just starting or you don’t need more than 1-2 blogs, this standard plan is for you. You get an additional discount if you use the following coupon/code for 10%: GIMME10. But I’m not adding it to this analysis.

If you’ve got big plans for a business or you’re looking forward to create 3 or more blogs, then you should better go with the unlimited plan.

Mainly because the unlimited plan has unlimited pages, galleries and blogs, and you can link your service with an email account and more. But again, if you’re just starting, the standard plan is more than enough.

So, that gives a sum of: $10 x 12 = $120 per year. Or $8 x 12 = $96 in advance.

Double that for the unlimited plan.

To create a WordPress blog (initially) you need:

  • Domain Name: $10 per year
  • Host Service: $5-10 per month. Hostgator and Bluehost both cost around $7 per month with the “unlimited” plan. So $7 x 12 = $84
  • WordPress Theme: If you want to compete with a Squarespace Template, you’ll pay at least $30. Probably more if you go for a Framework and a child Theme. But this is normally a one time payment. Let’s use Elegant Themes as an example because you pay $39 on a yearly basis subscription.
  • Additional Plugins: (not necessary, but useful and recommended): $30 (one time payment or subscription)
  • Total: $10 (domain) + $84 (Hosting) + $39 (Themes) + $30 (Plugins) = $163

Now we’re talking…

It seems that the WordPress blog can cost you at least 50% more if you want to match something like Squarespace in terms of design and functionality.

However, you can make it definitely less expensive. If you use free plugins or even a free WordPress Theme, you can cut the final amount to $94 or so. That’s the beauty of WordPress!

In fact, you could get a free hosting service or get a very cheap domain (totally not recommended) and cut your costs to $20 a year. Again, doable but not recommended.

So to wrap things up, I think this one is really a draw. The price won’t change a lot between one or another. It all depends on how premium you want to start, but to put them on the same level, you need to pay around the same or even a little more on WordPress. So, which one do you prefer?

Oh, and I forgot to tell you that with Squarespace everything is integrated. That means you pay everything with the same account (Squarespace). They take care of everything including host, domain name and themes. So if you’re struggling to start because you don’t want to know about so many different services and remembering different passwords, Squarespace could be the winner here. It all depends on you.

squarespace vs wordpress pricing

Try Squarespace for FREE and decide whether you like it or not in 14 days!

Squarespace vs WordPress – Traffic Statistics

With WordPress you can add all the traffic statistics codes you want (i.e. Google Analytics, Quantcast, Alexa, etc.). Just add the code on the template or add a plugin to manage all of your codes and you’re done.

On the top of that you also have Jetpack which comes integrated with a WordPress.com account which displays decent results.

I like it, but analytics can drive some people (including me sometimes) crazy!

With Squarespace you’ve got your own Traffic dashboard (simple but elegant) similar to jetpack. But you can also add your Google Analytics code to have detailed information.

Do you really need more? I’m OK with that.

So, unless you want to add massive traffic analytics to your blog, Squarespace should be OK. Still, WordPress wins this round.

squarespace vs wordpress analytics

Squarespace vs WordPress – Plugins and functionality

As explained before, you have tons of plugins (free and premium) to add with WordPress. You can basically search for anything you want and find a plugin on the WordPress repository.

Plugins are very important, especially if you’re looking forward to customize your website and add functionality (aside from the basics).

With Squarespace you’ll miss plugins.

Want to add related Posts? Nope

Want to inject a code or add a plugin for affiliate links? Haha, nope.

So consider this before going for Squarespace. There might be some workarounds to different features, and I know Squarespace is already working on many plugin solutions, but until now, stay away from SQS if you want to use specific or premium plugins.

WordPress wins this round without a doubt.

Squarespace vs WordPress – Advertisement and Banners

Monetizing your blogs can be very important. I know in fact most of you are here to know how to improve your earnings and traffic, so I can’t leave this behind.

With WordPress, you can add as many banners as you want. You can also add Google Adsense code (no more than 3 banners per page) and basically post a banner or any advertising script whenever you want.

Please don’t confuse this with WordPress.com (free). You can’t have Adsense Banners there.

With Squarespace I was a little worried about this, but after digging up in the forums and their support team, you can easily add banners and even Adsense Code to your blog via 3 options:

  • Sidebar Widget (pretty much the same as WordPress)
  • Content (using an Squarespace form)
  • Design (you literally modify your website’s design to add a banner

So, it’s pretty much another draw here. Both of them allow you to monetize your blog without problems. It all depends on your website’s design/template.

Squarespace vs WordPress – Mobility and Apps

When I talk about mobility, I’m talking about mobile responsive Themes. This is a “new” factor you can’t miss if you want to stay in the game. With the increasing sales of Tablets and Smartphones there’s a big probability that your site will be visited using a mobile device. And when that happens, you want to be ready.

What do you need? Either a Mobile version of your site (typically used in the past), or a mobile responsive theme.

With a mobile responsive Theme your visitors can ready your website from any device and it will automatically fit their screens dynamically changing the layout.

With WordPress, you need to buy a mobile responsive them, and there aren’t a lot of them right now.

Squarespace has you covered already. So hands down with Squarespace.

Additionally, if you’re looking forward to craft and publish – or at least, moderate comments and check statistics – posts on the go, both WordPress and Squarespace have their own iOS/Android Apps. Squarespace even has a Note App so that you can write down your best ideas and read them later on your account. Nothing you can’t do with a 3rd party app, but it’s nice to have.

Summary and Conclusions

Let me start this with the Summary and the Winners:

  • Traffic Statistics = WordPress
  • Mobile Responsiveness = Squarespace
  • Mobile App = Draw
  • Design and Themes = WordPress, but almost a draw
  • User Interface = Squarespace
  • Price = Draw – Subjective
  • Advertising and Banners = Draw

As you can see, both contenders did pretty well on this comparison. Both WordPress and Squarespace offer you a great CMS (Content Management System) to start a website/blog.

So, which one should you choose?

Choose WordPress if…

You want a powerful robust platform that allows you to modify everything you want. Expect to mess up with code sometimes, install and test tons of plugins and themes. At the end it will be a 100% unique site, and you’ll be satisfied, but the learning curve could take days, weeks and even months depending on how tech savvy you are. Also, expect to pay and manage all of your services separately.

I’m a proud WordPress user, and I wouldn’t go back to Joomla or any other nowadays.

Choose Squarespace if…

You want a stunning design and an easy user interface. Think of it as the iPhone. You get functionality, great support, a great product and performance. Everything you probably need is there, at a touch of your hands. You won’t mess up with anything difficult and don’t expect to test tons of plugins and themes. However, you’ll be able to integrate everything in one platform, including payments, statistics and notes.

After testing Squarespace I can clearly see that the idea here is to focus con content, and content is King. Instead of losing hours/days on themes, plugins, statistics and more, I just focus on content and it works.

Am I moving everything to Squarespace? I don’t think so. But I’ll start some projects there and see how it goes. I’m tech savvy, and sometimes I want the ability to modify (and screw) everything with a click of my mouse :)

Squarespace FAQ

1. Can Squarespace be monetized using Ads or affiliate links?

Yes, Squarespace allows this without problems. You’re paying a little amount, so of course you can put ads or affiliate links since this is different to using the wordpress.com (free) version.

2. Can I move my current blog to squarespace and all the way around?

Yes, you can export your posts from WordPress, Blogger or other platforms and do it rather easily. And if you later want to change to another CMS Squarespace allows you to export everything again. Just don’t forget considering your link estructure to be identically to your old blog, or you’ll lose you SEO value over time and will have to build it again.

3. Can I put an opt in box on Squarespace?

One of the big things on WordPress is the ability to use different designs for optin boxes and Squeeze pages. Unfortunately, Squarespace offers a very simple solution which at the moment works with Mailchimp and Feedburner, but not Aweber or other big companies on the email space. This is a big down specially for Internet Marketers.

Try Squarespace for FREE and decide whether you like it or not in 14 days!

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I hope I was able to make things clear for you. If you’re looking for more information please let me know and I’ll be back to you as soon as possible.

Greetings and let me know which one you decided to go for! Cya

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Comments

  1. says

    Thanks for the comparison. I was about to go with wp dotcom and came across this piece, which convinced me to try Squarespace. And thanks for the additional discount code! Just starting out now.

  2. says

    This article was super informative. We are looking to change our site over from joomla to either wordpress or squarespace. In my research I came across your blog. Thanks so much for this article it helped shed light on a lot of questions that I had!

  3. says

    Awesome things here. I’m very satisfied to peer your post.
    Thank you a lot and I’m taking a look ahead to contact you.
    Will you kindly drop me a e-mail?

  4. says

    For the past two months, we’ve been trying to get Squarespace to fix a critical failure that prevents reposting blog posts into LinkedIn. It used to work just fine. You’d publish your title and post-specific URL and it would display an abstract of that actual post. Now, only the general domain URL appears when you post to L/I.

    This is killing our content marketing program, and we can’t get Squarespace to fix it. Obviously, they changed something because it worked before. All we get are chirpy emails from customer support reps empathizing with our problem. Absolutely fail.

  5. Warren Yiu says

    Hi Servando,

    Great piece – really informative!

    I’m looking to create a website which includes a lot of images, but also a lot of text (articles). I’ve been leaning towards Squarespace due to its image-rich layouts, and your article helped me out a lot. Thank you!

    I was wondering if you had any suggestions with templates for Squarespace if you were looking at uploading genuine feature articles? I seem to be having a touch time finding a suitable template which balances rich imagery and text at the same time.

    Cheers,
    Warren

  6. Jenn says

    Hi, great article! I was wondering if you have an opinion on WordPress vs. Squarespace if you are considering one for a website that you will then want to use to create an app?

  7. says

    First off, I think this is a pretty good comparison of SquareSpace vs WordPress. And while I think SquareSpace is better than other options such as Wix or some of those trade specific hosted solutions, people should be aware of some other things before deciding between SquareSpace and WordPress. And a lot of this depends on whether your website is a hobby or a crucial part of your business.

    If your website is a crucial part of your business, then your website should have a contingency plan. What happens if SquareSpace’s servers crash or the company goes out of business. Will you have copies of your website to import to another? If not, have fun explaining to your boss why the company website is down and now you need to build a new one somewhere else.

    If you have a WordPress(.org) site and your WordPress host disappears, goes bankrupt, etc., you could restore a backup to another host, re-point the DNS records and you’d be back up pretty quickly(an hour or so).

    All web hosts will have problems eventually and how quickly you can recover from them is important.

    Website speed would concern me, or more so the inability to control it, but I would have to build similar sites on both platforms to compare.

    There are other reasons and many people already listed customizations, plugins & payment gateways in the comments.

    I’m not if SquareSpace has anything as flexible as Gravity Forms for custom form design. That plugin can do some amazing things.

    I also don’t think SquareSpace can handle membership sites.

    So the more custom or specific your needs, the better WordPress is suited for you and your business website.

    It’s always better and cheaper to do things right from the beginning.

  8. Mary says

    Dear Servando,
    After reading your blog/website I am leaning heavily on SS. But, I read the comment that it does not support paypal. I am going to host workshop teleconferences and meditions, possible a book etc that customers will want
    to buy. Who will they do that? Is paypal coming? I am a newbie to all of this and so WP seems a little overwhelming. I need easy schmeasy…but PAYPAL
    seems like a must. Please advise and Thank You! Mary

    • says

      Hello Mary.
      For ecommerce sites, it doesn’t support paypal and that’s a headache.
      However, if you’re just hosting a few conferences every now and then, you can always create a paypal “buy now” button in a few minutes and add it to the page were they’re subscribing to it.
      It’s good enough if you’re selling 1-2 products or hosting conferences and workshops every few weeks, but not good for ecommerce sites with thousands of products available.

  9. Rob Krause says

    BEWARE
    I am just getting started with Squarespace after being with GoDaddy.

    There are 3 huge ecommerce problems with Squarespace.

    1. NO CARRIER CALCULATED SHIPPING.
    They do not offer calculated shipping based on published rates for UPS or FedEx. To get that feature you have to sign up for an extra service called “Ship Station” that costs $25/month, which is more than the whole website package itself. Ship Station comes with a bunch of other features, but if you use QuickBooks for your business, you’ll never use them.
    $24 for the website. $25 more to offer UPS shipping.

    2. NO PAYPAL
    PayPal is not available as a standard payment option for ecommerce.

    3. NO MERCHANT SERVICE OPTIONS
    Already have a merchant services account for credit card payments? Too bad. You can’t use it. They only allow credit payment through “Stripe” which is similar to the “Square” payment set up.

    • says

      Hello Rob.
      Thanks for your input.
      I think for ecommerce, SS is pretty new in the game. They started a year ago or less. So yes, they still don’t offer as many alternatives for payments or shipping.
      For the rest, it should be pretty fine unless you use tons of plugins or add ons to the code.

      • Rob says

        There was another that I forgot about.

        No Google Merchant Center Integration.
        If you want to promote through Google Shopping, you’ll have to maintain your product files by hand. There are no provisions to create a feed for Google Merchant.

  10. Maarten Hendriks says

    Good article

    I ran into a problem in SS, with analytics I didn’t manage to link goals in Google Analytics with my contactform because a “thank you page” with a unique url is not possible so far I know.

    Do you have experience with that?

    • says

      Hello Maarten.
      Try checking with SS about that. One of the things I don’t like about them is contact forms or email forms. Not nearly as good or customizable as it can be with WordPress, but perhaps Mailchimp can automatically redirect to a contact form for you?

  11. says

    Thanks for the article. I’ve been using Squarespace for a few months now, and I REALLY like it. It seems to continue to be getting better, too. Considering I’m not too tech savvy, and I’ve used a couple clunky platforms in the past (only to put in lots of frustration to get an ugly product), Squarespace has worked. I think you are right: Squarespace is the iPhone. One day, I’d like to dabble in WordPress, but I know that if would have started there, I would probably still be dabbling.

  12. Gene says

    Hi Servando! Wow! This is a great article and I am glad you took the time to share it. Since I am kinda new to all this, I want to see if you’d be willing to answer this question (I totally know it’s real basic and may seem stupid to a whiz like you, but am hoping you might still take the time to help me out): What is the difference between wordpress.com, wordpress.org, and GoDaddy? Do you recommend one over another? Thanks so much, keep up the great work!

    • says

      Hello Gene, no problem.
      Wordpress.com is the free version of WordPress. They host your website in THEIR SERVER. It’s pretty much like blogger. You own the content, but the website isn’t 100% yours. You can’t monetize it.

      WordPress.org is the self-hosted version of wordpress. You download wordpress and install it in your server. You own everything, including the domain name, website and control over your content. You can monetize it.

      Godaddy is a services provider, to buy domian names, hosting and more. It’s on a different category.

      Hope this helps.

      • Gene says

        Hi Servavndo! Thanks so much for the info. This will be my last question bcuz I know you’re busy (smile): so if I wanted to create a site like yours where I can post/blog, insert video and audio, and allow people to comment and I act as moderator, is that something that can only be accomplished thru wordpress.org or can the wordpress.com do that also? Thanks so much for your help as I am new to this! :-)
        I gotta admit though, I’m kinda thinking about going with Squarespace bcuz I get a free 14-day trial which could be helpful to check it all out before I’m totally committed.

  13. says

    A nice comparison between the two.

    I’ve now been using SquareSpace (SS) for my own site for 6 months and am delighted with it. I had considered using expressionengine, MT, WP and designing my own site but opted for SS and so happy I did.

    I find it easy to set up pages, add content blocks and customise the general look of my site. They are regularly adding new features and their customer support is excellent. When I submitted a ticket on Saturday morning UK time I had received a response within 15 minutes resolving my issue.

    They also have a great Metrics app which gives you stats for your site in seconds on your phone.

  14. says

    Hello! Thanks for the comprehensive comparison. I’m looking for a platform for a blog to accompany my shopify store. After doing some digging around on SS, I noticed that for bloggers, a major stumbling block is the inability to create a blog index. Any thoughts on this issue?

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  16. says

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  17. says

    Hi there are using WordPress for your site platform?
    I’m new to the blog world but I’m trying to get started and set up
    my own. Do you require any coding knowledge to make your own blog?

    Any help would be really appreciated!

    • says

      Hello Adolfo. I’m using WordPress here but I use Squarespace for other website.
      You don’t need code knowledge but it usually helps. I recommend you to subscribe to my newsletter and get the free guide to build a blog!

  18. says

    First thanks for a great post, and really useful thread. I’m a designer, from a print background where I’m used to fine control over all typographic elements. I’ve been shocked at how comparatively clunky something like WP is to use, very frustrating, like stepping backwards in terms of the finer points of layout.
    SS was a revelation. The templates are so much more sophisticated, thoughtful, beautiful, clear and uncluttered. However I’m not very techie and find WP easier to use, a bit frustrating. Really wish someone would offer a day course in SS, like they do in WP. Online tutorials all very well but I prefer classroom type tutorial. Any takers? London? South East UK?

  19. says

    Hello Servando
    Thanks for posting this comparison; very clear and helpful. I am a professional horticulturist with some computer and design experience and it seems that I should move from IWeb to SS. Problem is I created my IWeb website on a PPC IMac and have just bought the latest IMac. Naturally the two computers won’t talk to each other. How to I export my IWeb pages to SS across this imcompatibility barrier? Thanks again. MIchael

    • says

      Hello Michael.
      I can see you have a problem there. Have you tried checking if there’s any other program that is compatible with your iWeb archives?
      Otherwise, since you’re moving to Squarespace, you might be able to just copy and paste the content from your old site to the new site without exporting anything. Can I see your website?

  20. mary says

    Thank you. Guess I should have added–will it retain content and transfer over to new theme or “skin” immediately as in WordPress?

  21. mary says

    Can you change the theme mid way of Squarespace if you no longer like ?
    With WordPress.com you can easily do so.

    Thanks,
    M

  22. Roger Tobie says

    Very informative blog on Squarespace vs. WordPress. I’m in the beginning stages of researching and deciding how to set up a blog for (initially) 4 people to use interactively as a conference web site for posting ideas, questions and responses on 3 dimensional structures. There will be a lot of visual material, graphics, photos, videos, etc. I am wondering if Squarespace would be adequate for starters. I had been moving toward WordPress until I stumbled upon some Squarespace stuff this morning. I understand that WordPress can handle multi-author blogs. I wonder if Squarespace can.

    • says

      Hello Roger.
      Squarespace can handle multiple authors depending on the plan you pay for. The basic one allows 2 authors while the medium and advanced allow multiple authors.

      In my opinion, Squarespace feels a lot more like a platform for starters compared to WordPress. It let’s you focus on creating content and the design tools are really powerful but easy to use. WordPress can be easy but you need to know at least a few basic things or pay someone to do it for you.

  23. says

    Excellent Blog post!!! Thanks for writing such an in-depth piece on square space. I have been considering them but will stay with joomla and wordpress. They seem to have something very interesting….

  24. Kira says

    Love this write up, it clears some things up for most people, I would imagine.
    I’m an artist + photographer and have been looking for the perfect portfolio website. I used a few in wordpress, but always had to go into the css to tweak them which can be time consuming. I’m not completely in the dark when it comes to html/css, but as for everything else, I have to learn as I go along and I got tired of putting so many hours into making my website when all I wanted to be doing was making art!! Like another commenter mentioned, I also dislike having to upload a plug-in for every little thing. I *finally* found the (almost) perfect template on wp (was looking for a side-scroll), but in order for it to scroll sideways, you had to put your gallery into a blog post which meant I couldn’t have a blog on my website. Annoying, but I dealt with it. Just yesterday, after all this time-consuming tweaking and such, I deleted my wordpress account due to security issues. My site’s meta-description had been hacked with some viagra such and such and for the moment I have no website. I began perusing other artists’ websites that I liked and their source code to see what they were using and I found squarespace and cargo collective to be the most user-friendly, minimalistic and pretty designs. The wordpress ones I like tend to be on the expensive side, and again, the security issues. I’ve been using the squarespace free trial and OH MY how much I appreciate that I don’t HAVE to use CSS if I don’t want to! Also, knowing that my site is safer from hackers makes me happy and I’m willing to pay a little extra money for all these perks. So far, I’m loving the experience….but would you know anything about cargo collective?

  25. David Ontaneda says

    Hello Servando,
    First of all, thanks for the superb article. This really puts the options in perspective with our needs. However, you speak of wordpress as if it is more versatile for those not scared to get their hands dirty with code.. does squarespace offer the ability to inject our own code in a template if we choose?
    My case is such that I am only considering SS because of its mobile responsive templates.. However, I need the ability to customize fully. Can I still work with a web-developer (who doesn’t know much backend stuff) to customize my squarespace site?
    Thanks again,
    David

    • says

      Hello David.
      There’s a limited amount of customizations you can do on Squarespace. What kind of code injections do you want to do?
      Anyone who’s really willing to get the hands dirty (even though not completely necessary) should go with WordPress, in my opinion.

      If you’re just considering Squarespace because of the mobile responsiveness, then Studiopress is going to be better for you: http://stream-seo.com/go/studiopress-themes/
      Just click on the details on any theme you like and you can select after that how would they look in a mobile device. They have a lot of great themes and I’m using one of them in this site.

    • says

      You can’t control the code in Squarespace, and from what I have seen, that makes it pretty limiting. Squarespace is for people who want a theme that looks cool out of the box (which they do) but the themes aren’t really all that customizable so your “cool” website is going to look very similar to a lot of other cool websites out there. Additionally, from a resource perspective, WordPress is a global community where many people contribute their PlugIns and hard earned knowledge on forums and through WordPress.org. Squarespace is privately owned, and privately controlled. I would rather work with a professional using a professional development platform (WordPress reigns supreme here and I have experience with Joomla! as well as other CMS) than be lured by the false appeal of Squarespace’s “slick” responsive themes. What happens if you don’t like the way your site is resizing for mobile? You can’t finesse those break points like you can in WP. For complete control and a firm foundation, I will continue to choose WordPress, hands down. It is good to see debate about this topic though!

      • says

        You’re definitely right :)
        There’s no better option if you want a completely customized website.
        Squarespace has a developer platform, BTW, but hiring an Squarespace developer gets you limited options vs. the millions of WP developers around the world.

        • says

          I do have a Developer account with Squarespace, but one thing I have noticed is that once you start making changes to their core theme, they will no longer offer theme updates and bug fixes. They don’t seem to allow child theme-ing in the same way WordPress does. Maybe this functionality will eventually be added.

  26. John says

    Hi could you elaborate more on why you wouldn’t use Squarespace for a news magazine type website? Do you think WordPress is better for this and if so why?
    Thanks
    John

    • says

      Hello John. As explained before, basically I think some widgets or plugins are great for WordPress and magazines.
      Squarespace has a great design for magazines and for most people is OK. But it’s not enough for me and my customizations.

  27. Marla says

    Hello would you mind letting me know which webhost you’re utilizing?
    I’ve loaded your blog in 3 different browsers and I must say this blog loads a lot
    faster then most. Can you recommend a good hosting provider at a honest price?
    Cheers, I appreciate it!

  28. Michael says

    Hello there,

    I have looked at both WP and SQS and I really don’t know and would like your thoughts.
    I’m a photographer and I make movies and post them to vimeo and I want a place to share my media. I don’t do a lot of typing with my stuff its mostly media and maybe like location and info about what I’m working on but it’s normally very short. So what do you think?

    Thanks
    Michael

  29. DSharma says

    Hi Servando,

    I’ve been given the task to refresh the blog for my department of the agency I work for.
    The current blog is made on Blogger and is very archaic to look at. I want to make it more visual and easy to post. The kind of content will be a mix of both rich media (links, images, short lines) and longer write ups (articles)

    I’ve used Posterous which was great for the email posting function and have a personal blog on tumblr http://div-ise.tumblr.com/ so I know those two platforms.

    I’m looking for something that is easy for a group to post on and that looks visually vibrant.

    Ideally the stuff I’d want from Posterous : sharing long articles, PDF files, email posting
    and from Tumblr : sharing video, website links, an image with a short write up and such rich media. also the option for people to like posts and leave messages

    Linking to social media would be a bonus.

    I’m just found Squarespace and also Posthaven.

    Do you think they’re worth moving to or should I stay on Blogger.

    • says

      Hello.
      If you’re really revamping your website and you want to look pro for the agency, I think the updates is really needed.
      You can get a very similar looking site with Squarespace and do many of the tumbler functions, but to be honest, if you also want email posting, sharing PDFs and all the extras you may think of, then WordPress should be the best choice for you.

  30. Marcellus says

    Servando,

    Thanks for the awesome breakdown of the two different services! I have a question for you, if you don’t mind. I’m experimenting with Squarespace (still in the 14 day trial) and am seeing that every page must have the same template–and while that is usually advisable, I’m creating a site with multiple projects, thus needing different templates for each project (as in, entirely different menu bar, different layout, etc,). Is that possible with wordpress, to purchase/use different templates per page? Thanks!

    • says

      Hello Marcellus. Your case is really interesting and probably not common.

      Even with wordpress, you can’t really have like a lot of different layouts around in different sections. You can always have custom pages like landing pages or perhaps without sidebar or footer. But that’s totally different compared to having different themes for each category or section of your blog.

      Perhaps what you need to is to setup a multiblog or just a main domain that allows you to enter to all the areas and redirect them to different blogs? I haven’t really heard about this but try looking for “multi blogs” on Google.

  31. Hugo says

    Hello there! First off, I would like to congratulate you for the great article you have written. I came across it when searching for alternatives that could help me building my first website. The website I have in mind will be used for a real estate company I am planning to start up now. I have read quite a few articles which compared solutions such as Squarespace, Weebly, Wix and WordPress. Not only have I read those articles, but also I tested some of the mentioned competitors myself. After all the research, I am still a little insecure about what path should I take. I graduated from the university with a Computer Engineering degree, so programming would not be a real problem for me. Nevertheless, I am not a very experienced web developer. Given the industry where I am inclined to run this next business (real estate field), I believe that what I really needed now would be a visually beautiful website that could enable me to present listings of the apartments which I have for rental/sale. Just for you to have a better picture of what I am trying to describe, this website does pretty much what I wanted mine to do: http://www.luxuryrealestate.com/ Taking everything that I said into account, what do you think would be the best approach for me to build this website? Should I use Squarespace, WordPress or some other CMS? What else would you suggest? Thank you very much in advance.

    • says

      Hello Hugo.
      Considering you’re a computer engineer like me, I’d definitely go with WordPress. Hands down.
      Not only because you can program, but because you’re tech savvy enough to create a website and customize it as you want it. Don’t worry about not being a web developer yet. Installing things and learning isn’t that difficult (you could try downloading my guide when registering on the opt-in form at the end of the post or at the top of my sidebar).

      Aside from that, I think the Genesis framework would work great for you, because they have some great real state prepared themes already.

      • Hugo Calazans says

        Hello, Servando! I’m sorry for the late reply! The thing is that I only saw your answer now. Thank you very much for your suggestions. I’ll take a look at the Genesis framework. By the way, I have just subscribed to your newsletter. :)

    • says

      Nice insights Howard.
      I’m every day more in love with SS, but because of the themes and mobile responsiveness. Also, I love to have one account for eveything instead of managing different apps for analytics, hosts, domains, SEO, etc.

  32. says

    I am currently using xsitepro with a wordpress blog in a subdirectory. I am thinking about changing over to SS. The site navigation is a little complex, so I use megamenus coded by allwebmenus to generate code that I put on the site through xsitepro currently. I don’t know how much of this capability could be lost with SS. (I also use code from a html5 slider for example). Also, a key reason for the change is to improve SEO. Page load time would be very important and I don’t know how well SS does there (comparing apples to apples with the same stuff on the page). Lastly, the mobile site sounds very helpful as I see about 20% of my traffic is mobile. Some people have said the way SS reinterprets the page can be very strange and totally useless in their mobile app. Last key point is by moving my blog from a subdirectory to the main site, I am hoping for an SEO bump, although I do not know if that is true. Other criticisms I have read suggest SS does not work on ie7 or 8, you can’t recover deleted items and their contact forms do not allow thank you pages so you can track activity in google analytics. What do you think?

    • says

      Hello Steve. Pageload on squarespace is faster than most shared hosting plans, so that’s a good point. SEO is good too, and approved my the guys from SEO MOZ (Now called MOZ).
      But to be honest, I have never used xitepro so I can’t help you decide if SS will be good enough for you.

      You can always use the 14 days free trial and check if it works for you. That’s the good thing.

  33. lynda says

    I keep going back to Squarespace. Personally I prefer their original format where the owner could easily control every aspect of the website, not so easy now that they added fancier templates. Each template has differences in the way things can be controlled, if they can be changed.

    I do question myself every month when the payment comes due, you can pay for a year at a time and save money. Two things Squarespace excels in, customer service and security. WordPress frequently has had its security issues. Squarespace seems to really take care of this issue better than most companies.

    I got tired of WordPress having frequent security issues as well as having to have this plugin and that plugin to do simple things that are included in Squarespace. I do hope Squarespace will somehow combine great looking templates with the simplicity it once had in making changes.

    • says

      Hello Lynda. What kind of security issues did you have with WordPress? I mean, aside from reading the news and that stuff, did you actually had one in your blog?
      I love Squarespace for many reasons, and also the hosting service and page load is great. Of course I’m still waiting for them to include functionality as we can get from WordPress with some plugins, especially for Internet Marketers or similar stuff.

  34. anon says

    I need to say a negative about SQS. Their customer service is quick but the learning curve is steep. the biggest negative is that I purchased my own domain and my own host and spent hours “mapping” it onto SQS. I have a good following on Twitter and I go to tweet my articles and every single one of them said http://www.websitename.squarespace.com.

    How embarrassing! What’s the point? I felt futile at that point. I didn’t want it so obviously known I was using squarespace. You only have one chance to make a first impression. That was a bad one. If I’m trying to be competitive in a very competitive field and have a website, it’s game over.

    It was never properly fixed either. I was very disappointed since I had my domain and everything. I quit SQS and decided to start over on Word Press.

    —> YOU CANNOT EXPORT YOUR BLOG with SQS TO ANOTHER PLATFORM, YOU HAVE TO START OVER.

    I still think it has strengths and a nice interface (although certain elements are maddeningly complicated and perform inconsistently) and their support is good so it might work for some but it just can’t compete with WordPress, imho.

    • says

      Hello Anon.
      Thanks for your insights. In fact, I have heard of some of the problems you’ve mentioned before too.

      The Squarespace subdomain is definitely bad, thta’s completely true and somehow they always redirect your domain name to theirs and happens what you said about it. And yes, it’s not been fixed yet… Let me add this con to the analysis this weekend, as it might be important for some people.

      About the export function, I guess we all think about importing but not always about exporting things. I gues when I started a blog in Squarespace I never thought about changing it later back to WordPress.
      I’ll add that too.

      Thanks for your feedback.

      • Lisa says

        Thank you Servando for your review on Squarespace vs. WordPress. The comment above from anon has me a little worried about Squarespace. I’m primarily a print graphic designer that wants to get more into the interactive space and am deciding between the 2 builders. I think it would be easier for me to get up and going, but still have some control, if I used SS. I’m not really sure if I need a lot of different plug-ins?

        I usually leave technical stuff up to my coder, but I really want to learn more myself so I can upload new projects to my site without another person helping me.

        So my 3 questions are:

        1. How do you merge existing domains from another hosting site to any web builder? Or do you have to at all?

        2. If I use my pre-existing domain name will the builder add on an automatic tag to my site like it did to anon’s tweets? And if I ever got into more social media would these tags exist? Do they only add on tags to social media like tweets?

        Example: If I had preexisting site http://www.rumrunner.org, would SS change it to read in the search bar to http://www.rumrunner.squarespace.org? Would WP change it to read http://www.rumrunner.wordpress.org?

        I don’t really want people viewing my end site to know I used a template since I’m a designer, so adding on tags seems like a huge turn-off.

        3. How do you know if you will need plug-ins? Should plug-ins or lack thereof be the sole purpose you would or not use SS?

        Sorry if I’m not using the correct verbiage. New to doing it myself!

        • says

          Hello Lisa.
          First of all, thanks for expressing your concerns. So let me try to take on your questions one by one.

          1. You don’t merge domains. You just point your domain name (i.e. http://www.yourdomain.com) to your Squarespace server (appears in your account). Once it’s done, when people type the URL they’ll be redirected to your Squarespace page.
          I’d reconsider doing the change if you already have a blog with lots of content and traffic, however. Mostly because in order to avoid losing your SEO you’ll need to copy all your link structure to Squarespace. If it’s a new blog, then no problem.

          2. The problem with Anon seems to be a general problem with Squarespace. However, I just tried 5 different Squarespace websites and non of them auto tag the “Squarespace” keyword in the URL when trying to retweet or share an article in any form or by any social network. I don’t know why, but I think there’s a difference between buying your domain with squarespace directly and mapping it trough another domain vendor.
          I wouldn’t worry that much anyway. You can always check and strip that tag when posting your articles. If not, you can try Squarespace support.

          Additionally, if you install a site with WordPress.org, then the URL would be clean. If you use WordPress.com (the free version), then they add the “WordPress” keyword to the URL and you CAN’T use plugins.

          3. Plugins usually add functionality to your blog. Sometimes it can be done via code or HTML directly, but sometimes it’s just easier to use high quality plugins. For example, in my site, you can see an optin form at the end of each article and in the sidebar. You can also see related articles and the sharebar right on the left of my content. All this was done with plugins, and probably won’t be easy on Squarespace.

          Finally, I’d just like to let you know that installing a website in WordPress is quite easy. In my case (as an example), it doesn’t take me more than 60 minutes or so to do it. In fact, if you’re looking for some help let me know and we’ll see what we can do :)

          Don’t worry, I’ve always been a tech savvy guy but we’ve all been there, where we don’t know how to proceed and we see everything as difficult tasks.
          Take care.

          • Lisa says

            Thanks Servando for getting back to me so quickly because I really want to make a decision soon on who to go with. I am not trying to write a blog right now, but just have a portfolio site up with my samples (not that I wouldn’t want a blog maybe attached at a later date to reinforce it.)

            I’m thinking of going with SS just because I like the idea of starting with templates that are already very clean and professional. I also like that they sound very responsive to people who will have questions (which will be me!) : )

            I also think that if they put that much thought into the design of their web builder and templates, but are still smaller than WP, that means they won’t slack on their product because they’ve become complacent by being on top. I feel like they too, will probably have more plug-ins available at a later date, but probably designed better in the long run.

            I’ll get back to you once I’ve built something to let you see who and what I’ve created with their tools and report back on how easy/difficult the whole process was.

            Thanks again!

            • says

              No problem.
              You know, it’s hard to compare things like that. Squarespace isn’t as big as WordPress and probably will never be, because WordPress is an open source project meant to be free for developers. While Squarespace is more like an all-in-one service.

              However, if you like the design and templates of Squarespace and want something similar with WordPress here’s something that could work for you: http://demo.studiopress.com/modern-portfolio/
              Just an example.

              Please let me know if you need anything else.

    • says

      YOU CAN NOT EXPORT YOUR CONTENT EASILY FROM SQUARESPACE.

      If you do any galleries, those are not coming over.

      I’m in the process of moving 200+ articles over and the galleries did not come in the export file.

  35. says

    Thanks for the help. I have been on SQS 5 since June last year and overall enjoy it, but keep getting told by other more successful bloggers or developers to migrate to WP. I am trying to make a decision – I have a lot of time and some $ invested in SQS. Most important right now is I am looking for a commentluv style widget or plugin that works with SQS. SQS can’t offer me something similar that has a space for a commenter to add their website. Any thoughts or suggestions?

    • says

      Yeah. WordPress is so open and widely used, that you can find a plugin for almost everything you want. That’s something you can’t do with Squarespace. Unluckily, I don’t know a way to do that.

      For many niches I think it won’t matter, but if you try to get comments and engagement, commentluv is a great plugin.

  36. Espree says

    This was awesome! Man, thanks for writing up such an in depth review. Just tweeted it out and followed you. I think Square Space does have such a clean professional look that you can’t mess up, but taking on an additional yearly expense just because I can’t wrap my head around. Especially since I know how to build sites using self hosted WP. Now if I could easily had a great minimalist WP theme for my new blog … :) Oh cool! Just noticed your stuff below…The creator of comment luv is awesome!

  37. Akos Fintor says

    Hey Servando,

    That’s a pretty decent in-depth review of both interface.
    I’m on wordpress and will be sticking with it.

    thanks for the share!
    Akos

    • says

      Thank you Akos. Most people could stick with WordPress, especially if you’re already using it and understand a lot of things.

      But for those who’re just starting or have problems with technical stuff, Squarespace is the best alternative.

  38. says

    When you start new business or blog you must look for longevity. You never know how much you’ll grow and how large space you need to fly high. Rather than experimenting with different things (let the designers and developers do it) you should adapt the top notch technology and most standard and popular options. Looking at all the factors you’ve discussed, I still suggest to go for WordPress. You’ll never find the heard of people involved anywhere other than in WordPress.

    Thanks for this nice comparison. Your views is really useful for anyone confused.

    • says

      I’m still with WordPress, but for many people who don’t rally care about tech and coding, squarespace is still a great option.
      If you just want a website for your business (not online business), Squarespace could be the best way to go.

      But yeah, for most of us, WordPress will still be the best option.

  39. says

    I understand the points you make for Squarespace vs WordPress design, but I can’t help feeling that the quality of designs on Squarespace are leaps ahead of anything WordPress makes (easily) available. Trawling through lists of poor quality themes can be a pain!!

  40. says

    WordPress is very easy to use cause wordpress is free to use and there are lots of people who is using wordpress for this main reason.You have discuss about the squarespace vs wordpress and shared some good points about it.

  41. Mac says

    Thanks for this. You put things in a fair perspective. Usually with the “X vs. WordPress” articles people forget or de-emphasize the extra costs for running a WordPress site like plug-ins and a decent theme.

  42. says

    You have shared some valuable points about Squarespace Vs WordPress.I Didn’t know about the Squarespace but after reading this post i have gain some important ideas and points.You have shared nice information here.

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