Squarespace vs WordPress [July 2021] | Who Will Win?

By LitExtension

squarespace vs wordpress

Introduction

In this article, we’ll help you cover the ins and outs of both Squarespace vs WordPress in 8 critical criteria. Hopefully, by the end, you’ll be able to figure out which platform is the perfect fit for your specific blend of objectives, needs and budget.

In case you’re selling elsewhere and you would like to migrate to Squarespace or switch to WordPress, LitExtension is always willing to help. Our automated migration tool ensures 100% uptime and data security, and all SEO rankings are preserved.

Overview

What Is Squarespace?

It is, at the time of this writing, powering about 2 million websites on the Internet. It’s true that Squarespace is not as popular as its competitor WordPress. However, it is currently home to some of the most high-profile websites on the planet such as Shutterstock, Skyscanner, Sciencemag.

What Is WordPress?

WordPress is by far the most popular CMS in the industry, powering over 28 million websites around the globe. SoundCloud, Bloomberg, The New York Times are some gorgeous websites that you probably have visited, but might not know were created on WordPress.

There are two versions of WordPress: WordPress.com vs WordPress.org. The former is the hosted solution whilst the latter is the self-hosted, open-source one.

In the case of this Squarespace vs WordPress battle, we’ll be solely looking at WordPress.org, which is the open-source version and is what most people are referring to when mentioning “WordPress”.

Squarespace vs WordPress — 8 Things That Make A Difference

Squarespace vs WordPress ultimate comparison

Clear-cut Distinction

Squarespace is a drag-and-drop website builder where all the templates, attributes and security measures are provided right out of the box.

On the contrary, WordPress is an open-source CMS which generally has more advanced blogging functions than a website builder. As a WordPress user, you’ll have more control, from choosing a theme to performing regular updates and managing your site’s security. It’s more work but it comes with the perk of flexibility and customizability.

Ease of Use

Squarespace Ease of Use

Squarespace is a great choice for true novices and non-techy users. With Squarespace, you can create a basic site in a couple of minutes. Being a hosted solution, Squarespace doesn’t require you to sign up for hosting or purchase a domain name to get started. All you need is to register a Squarespace account, pick a template, add some more features and you’re ready to get off the ground.

Create your Squarespace site in 3 steps

Squarespace interface is minimal and intuitive, allowing you to easily make changes to your site. You can add, move or delete images and sections, or customize settings including color palettes, fonts and page configurations.

Another wonderful thing about Squarespace is that it takes all the maintenance work off your plate. All Squarespace updates are in-house and automatic.

In case you’re still having difficulties with Squarespace, let’s check out our comprehensive Squarespace tutorial.

WordPress Ease of Use

Just like Squarespace, WordPress also gears towards beginners more than experienced users. It only takes a few minutes to figure out how the system works. But the installation process requires more time and effort investment.

You can find out how to set up WordPress in our WooCommerce tutorial below:

However, compared to Squarespace, WordPress has a steeper learning curve. This is due to the fact that WordPress is an open-source platform which relies on custom coding. If you wish to build a more custom-looking and custom-operating WordPress website, you may need to work with complicated code lines.

Update to the latest version — WordPress 5.7

You’ve also got to be aware that WordPress has a regular update cycle, and you’re fully in charge of upgrading your WordPress site to the most current and bug-free version. The WordPress update process can be a bit of a bother as you need to back up data, update WordPress themes and plugins as well.

Verdict: Squarespace is simpler than WordPress, making it a smart choice if you’re not a tech guru. Nonetheless, WordPress is more powerful and flexible, making it the better option if you’re confident with code and you want to have more granular control over your site.

Pricing

Squarespace Pricing

Squarespace Plans Detail
  • Personal: Ideal for those who want to create a basic website. This plan provides access to Squarespace’s stunning template repository, unlimited storage and 24/7 customer support. But if you intend to make money online, you should avoid this plan as it doesn’t facilitate eCommerce features.
  • Business: A good choice for a personal business website. This plan comes with lots of notable eCommerce features such as inventory management, shipping tools and much more.
  • Basic eCommerce: Everything needed to build up your online store is included in this plan. With this plan, you won’t have to spend a penny for transaction fees.
  • Advance eCommerce: Upgrade to this package when your business expands. This plan offers a full set of Squarespace features such as Abandoned Cart Recovery, Automatic Discounts, Sell Subscriptions.

Good news is you can make use of a 14-day trial to try out Squarespace before deciding whether it’s your next destination or not.

WordPress Pricing

The estimated cost breakdown below will give you a good idea of how much you have to pay.

  • Domain name ($12/year)
  • WordPress hosting fee (from $3.95/month)
  • Security (from $50, on-going or on-off charge)
  • Developer fees (from $50/hr).

Due to the open-source nature, WordPress also greatly depends on customization themes and third-party plugins.

  • Paid theme (from $30)
  • Plugins ($0 — $1000).

Beyond that, if you want to sell online, you’ll need the assistance of an eCommerce-specific plugin for WordPress (e.g: WooCommerce) as well as some free and paid efficiency-enhancing features.

Verdict: When comparing the pricing of Squarespace vs WordPress, it’s quite hard to give one single declaration about which platform is cheaper. The final answer depends on what type of website you want to build as well as what attributes you want to be entailed.

Templates & Themes

Squarespace Templates

This platform gets its name on the scoresheet by providing elegant, mobile-optimized templates. You can even utilize one of its prefabricated designs as a baseline and tweak it at your will. Once you’ve selected your Squarespace template, you can make it yours by adding images and videos or changing the fonts, colors and backgrounds.

Besides, all Squarespace templates come with a Product page. There are three styles of the Products pages: Classic, Advanced and Unique. In comparison to the Classic style, the Advanced one offers more features such as Image Zoom and Quick View. Meanwhile, the Unique option supports more template-specific eCommerce attributes, like the Supply template with the product hovering option.

WordPress Themes

When it comes to the number of available themes, WordPress outshines its competitor Squarespace. WordPress provides its users with a decent collection of themes — 8547 themes to be more exact. You can browse commercial themes, or even upload your own theme to host on WordPress.

WordPress Themes

However, WordPress’s humongous theme library sometimes turns out to be a double-edged sword. Many themes mean different levels of quality. In fact, some WordPress themes were created years ago and they were not mobile-optimized. Thus, always check carefully to make sure your theme is mobile responsive before purchasing.

Verdict: With WordPress you are choosing from a thousand of designs, whilst the Squarespace templates number in the hundreds. Nevertheless, Squarespace offers more high-quality designs and it’s way easier to customize your Squarespace templates.

Apps & Plugins

Squarespace offers in-house apps including an analytics app, blog app, note app and portfolio app. In case you need more advanced functionality, you can turn to its separate app market called Squarespace Extensions.

Those Squarespace apps are not that plentiful but pretty much cover all the bases. Some notable Squarespace apps are Outfy, Shippo and EZ Texting.

WordPress Plugins

Being an open source platform, WordPress is open to everybody to use and customize. Any developers or programmers can create their own tools such as themes, plugins and share for free, or sell to other WordPress users.

There are nearly 59,000 free and paid WordPress plugins, and this number goes up day by day. Basically, there is always something for your site, from logistics, marketing to payment gateways.

Verdict: Compared to Squarespace, WordPress has a better range of add-ons. WordPress has thousands of plugins, while Squarespace just has a few in-house apps. But some WordPress apps created by freelancers may contain malicious codes, which then opens up your site to security breaches.

eCommerce Functionality

In this section, we will take the most popular eCommerce plugin of WordPress — WooCommerce as an example. So please be aware that when mentioning WordPress’s eCommerce features, we are actually talking about WooCommerce’s.

Product & Inventory Management

The Squarespace product creation module is super user-friendly, allowing you to easily manage your inventory and create dazzling product pages. With Squarespace, you can sell both digital and physical products, set up variants and SKUs.

Squarespace also lets you import products from your existing Etsy, Shopify, or Big Cartel store or via a CSV file. Additionally, you can manually import customers, orders, and other pieces of data.

Adding products in Squarespace

WooCommerce supports selling digital, physical products and even services. Besides, you can incorporate things such as product add-ons and variants. Also, the product management interface is easy to navigate and follow, letting you arrange your product pages and keep track of your inventory.

However, for large-scale stores with a great number of product variants, WooCommerce’s flexibility turns out to be a better choice. Squarespace imposes a 100 SKU limit on product variants, whereas WooCommerce has no limit. Check out the detailed guide on how to create WooCommerce Variable Product.

Shipping & Tax

Shipping

Implementing effective eCommerce shipping strategies in place is an impactful step you can take to grow your online business. Here is the definite guide to eCommerce shipping that you may need.

Currently, Squarespace has three shipping methods: Flat Rate, Depending on Weight and Carrier Calculated Shipping.

Squarespace’s shipping options

With Flat Rate, you can either offer the shipping fee on the whole order or per product. This option also allows free shipping. Or else, you can pick the Depending on Weight option to define specific shipping cost ranges based on the weight of the item. For more convenience, you can choose Carrier Calculated shipping either by FedEx, UPS or USPS. This option will give you the exact fee regardless of shipping distance and the parcel’s weight.

Similarly, WooCommerce offers 3 shipping methods. They are Flat Rate, Free Shipping and Local Pickup.

  • Flat Rate: Create a standard rate per item, order.
  • Free Shipping: You can offer free shipping on any order or set the “Free shipping requires…” field.
  • Local Pickup: Customers can pick up their parcels at no cost.

Tax

With Squarespace, you can create tax rules for the countries, states, provinces. Customers with shipping addresses that match these locations will be charged the sales tax you have specified. For instance, your tax rate for the United States is 0%, Arizona state is 3% and Phoenix city is 0.5% then the total sales tax rate will be 3.5%.

In the case of WooCommerce, it gives you a great deal of control over the implementation of tax. You can configure settings so that tax is calculated on the shipping address, billing address, or your store location.

Payment Gateways

Although Squarespace supports several payment gateways such as Paypal, Stripe and Apple Pay, it doesn’t support payment via Google Pay yet. It doesn’t facilitate multi-currency payments, which is probably a serious omission.

WooCommerce payment gateways

Contrastingly, WooCommerce is a big player in the game of payment gateways. This platform offers over 100 payment methods available as extensions. In addition, this platform provides its own payment processor designed only for WooCommerce stores. This payment plugin is free to download, with no setup or monthly fees.

Analytics

Squarespace provides a wide variety of analytic tools. These tools bring you a real-time overview and detailed analytics of key factors such as visitor, order, revenue, and so on.

For example, you might find out that most customers live in Philadelphia, the U.S.A or maybe email marketing works better than Facebook and Instagram. This kind of statistics will be beneficial for your next campaign.

Squarespace analysis panel

WooCommerce Analytics gives you detailed reports about your revenue, orders, products, categories, coupons, taxes, downloads and stock. You can also further customize your reports for specific product types and categories. Furthermore, WooCommerce enables you to export your data to a CSV file to import into a spreadsheet.

SEO

SEO is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your site through organic traffic search engine results. The firmer your eCommerce SEO strategies are, the closer your online store is to success.

All of the established SEO best practices are automatically built into every Squarespace site. You can change all relevant settings like the product page’s URL, page title and meta description.

Since its inception, WooCommerce has gained a well-deserved reputation for its SEO-friendliness. This platform has built-in features that help to optimize your product pages for search engines. With the WordPress editor, you can make changes to content, images, alt texts, meta descriptions and much more.

At the same time, WooCommerce offers several plugins that support you to optimize your online store. Yoast SEO and All in One SEO Pack are currently two of the most highly-rated SEO plugins.

The only small downside is that WordPress’s loading speed on mobile devices is relatively slow.

Marketing

Email marketing is an important tool in every marketer’s arsenal to achieve a marketing goal. Well-executed approaches can help you craft the perfect email marketing strategy, which in return can boost your lead and drive conversions.

As you sign up for a basic eCommerce plan with Squarespace, you’ll get Mailchimp integration for your site as standard. Moreover, with the tracking email campaign analytics, you can keep track of your campaign and make adjustments if necessary.

Squarespace also comes packed with robust blogging features. You can write posts, enable comments, and push content to social media — all of which will come back to driving customer engagement with your business.

Just like Squarespace, WooCommerce is also outfitted with all of the standout marketing tools you’ll need for your site.

Automated emails are sent out when someone makes a purchase, so you can absolutely use those for branding and advertising other products. However, your best bet is to consider an email marketing service like MailChimp to create personalized emails.

Furthermore, blogging is where WooCommerce shows off its muscles. It inherits all innovative writing blog functions from WordPress, the most popular and dedicated CMS. Accordingly, you can create a blog for WooCommerce by adding a post right from the WordPress Admin dashboard.

Verdict: Squarespace vs WordPress or Squarespace vs WooCommerce, both are great for eCommerce business. WooCommerce seems to be a better match for medium to large-scale stores as this solution gives you a great degree of flexibility and adaptability.

Squarespace, however, is still favored by lots of small businesses because of its minimalism and simplicity. With Squarespace, you can enjoy the “everything is included” approach with all business-crucial functions packaged in.

Security

Squarespace Security

Being a hosted solution, Squarespace takes care of the security tasks for you. It’s the platform’s responsibility to ensure your site stays safe from hackers and all data is backed up.

In fact, all domains connected to Squarespace are protected with free Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates. Besides, Squarespace also provides two-factor authentication, which adds an extra layer of security to your personal and financial information.

WordPress Security

Meanwhile, with WordPress, most of the security falls in your own hands. In other words, you’re the one who are in charge of your own SSL certificate and regular WordPress updates.

You’ve also got to keep in mind that WordPress’ security risks may stem from non-verified 3rd party plugins.

Because the number of WordPress plugins is enormous, ensuring all plugins employ proper safety standards is mission impossible. Therefore, you need to be very careful about which ones you install to your store.

Verdict: This category is a no-brainer. Squarespace sites are ultimately less vulnerable to malicious codes than WordPress ones. And should something go amiss, the Squarespace team is responsible for addressing the issue for you.

Support

Squarespace Support

Squarespace customer support is available 24/7 via email and Twitter. This platform has also developed a library of help guides, workshop videos as well as a community forum that can give you insightful responses to almost every question.

The only customer service element that might raise eyebrows is Squarespace’s lack of phone support. Nonetheless, Squarespace creates and tests its own tools so the chances of your website running into issues are fairly low.

WordPress Support

Due to the open-source nature, customer service is essentially nonexistent with WordPress. There’s no live chat, phone, or email support.

But with the enormous user base, you can seek help from a variety of locations: WordPress forum, a hosting company, a plugin provider or a peer who has a good command of the system. In addition, you can come across loads of multiple texts, video tutorials, guidelines compiled by other users.

Apart from that, you can always hire WordPress experts for a more personal level of support. These experts will provide you with WordPress-related services including installation, design, hosting, module development and site building.

Verdict: In this support department, Squarespace outshines WordPress. This is simply because when you pay for a Squarespace plan, you already get customer support included with it. So, in case unwanted contingency happens, there’s always somebody at your service. Despite its limitation in customer support, WordPress is suitable for those who want to take control of their own support strategy.

Squarespace vs WordPress — Which One Is Ideal For You?

But there are also categories where it’s quite hard to determine the clear winner between Squarespace vs WordPress such as pricing and eCommerce features.

As a matter of fact, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer for deciding between Squarespace vs WordPress. Either might fit you better, depending on your needs, budget, and goals.

Squarespace, without a doubt, is ideal for small to medium-scale businesses. If you’re a layman longing for a stylish site appearance, you should definitely go for Squarespace. Thanks to its wealth of modern, splendid templates, Squarespace is a solid option to showcase your photography portfolio, your blog or simply items that you’ve handcrafted and wish to sell.

Or else, if you are tempted by the idea of full control over your site, let’s join the WordPress team. With WordPress, you can also enjoy powerful blogging tools as well as a greater degree of functionality and flexibility.

In case you’ve wavering between WordPress and other brilliant CMSs like Joomla or Drupal, you can take a look at our Joomla vs WordPress and Drupal vs WordPress comparison for a comprehensive analysis.

Final Words

If you’re currently using Squarespace and you would like to migrate to Squarespace or vice versa, LitExtension is always happy to help.

As the world-leading migration expert, LitExtension provides top-quality migration services. Besides Squarespace vs WordPress, we currently support data migration for over 120 most popular platforms.

At LitExtension, we ensure accuracy and the highest level of security to your data with a 30-day money-back guarantee and 24/7 dedicated support.

Let’s join our Facebook community for more eCommerce tips and news!

Our Automated Shopping Cart Migration Service helps you move your online store to a better e-commerce platform with ease. Learn more at https://litextension.com